KC3EF 4/20 After Action Report


Richard Rohrer
 

Well, today was better and worse that 4/19.  We started heading for DL99 and I went on the air in DM09.  Saw Barry, VA7GEM calling but could not make contact.  Then a quick QSO with Rick, N7WE just before the grid, so he was waiting for me to hit the grid.  When we hit the grid, saw Jerry, N9AVY calling with a really strong trace.  When I answered him signal went down quite a bit, but made the contact.  Tried calling Rick, N7WE for quite a while with no success.  Saw a W9 pop up briefly, but did not get a complete call. Tried calling Steve, W3HF, with no luck.  Stopped for lunch at Amistad Natural Area with a nice view of a lake on the Rio Grande.  Saw several birds, including a Hooded Oriole, which is a life bird for us. 

Headed for EL98 in Eagle Pass, TX and started calling while still in EL99.  Worked John, KC3FL who had a great signal into TX.  After that finally worked Rick, N7WE not great copy, but good enough for a complete contact.  When we got into EL89 worked Jerry, N9AVY with a good signal and then worked John, KC3FL.  Called Steve W3HF many times with no success.  We finally exited the grid with no success for a QSO with W3HF and headed back to San Antonio.  

The bands were not very good to us PSK31 operators today.  Saw signals appear and disappeared before a contact could be made.  Hopefully propagation will improve over the next few months.  We are still planning on activating EL59 in LA as long as the weather cooperates.  

Thanks to all who tried to contact us during this trip.  

73 
Dick - KC3EF
--
Dick - KC3EF
070 - 747


Rick - N7WE
 

Well prop was WEIRD yesterday to say the least!  At times Dick you were S9+ with 100% copy on this end - yet you couldn't hear me.  At other times, you would suddenly disappear off the waterfall.  I've never operated HF mobile, but from operating HF portable I have to wonder if local terrain plays a major role.  I know when portable I have been in places where I was getting out (feedback via internet), but was receiving nothing.  And that was with a 24' EagleOne off the back of the motorhome.  

Thanks so much for doing all these road trips and grids.  And for your perserverence despite tough conditions.  Special thanks to Kathy too!  If she didn't do the route plan and the driving, this would not be possible!

I'll be looking for you in EL59.  If we make it, it will finish LA for me.
--
Rick - N7WE
070 - #1602


Steve W3HF
 

Thinking about this and Dick's description of his setup (hamstick on a tail light mount), I have a few questions and a speculation:

- What does the tail light mount look like? I presume it's a bracket that sticks out between the tail light lens and the metal body of the car.
- Which direction does it stick out--to the back or to the side?
- Which tail light is it on?
- How much of the hamstick extends above the top of the T&C minivan? (Or what fraction of it is below the roof line?)

I wonder if part of this could be the direction the car is pointing and thus the location/orientation of the ground plane, which is affected by the answers to the questions above. It might be an interesting experiment some time to find a large empty parking lot and ask Kathy to drive around the perimeter so that the car ends up rotating 360 degrees (multiple times). If we had multiple stations listening, all in different directions, we might be able to get an idea of the pattern the antenna-on-car generates.

And if someone is good with antenna modeling software, we could compare the experimental pattern with an analytical prediction.

Steve
W3HF


Jerry N9AVY
 

My 2 cents worth ...

Not an ideal spot to mount HF antenna. Years ago I had a minivan and mounted antenna on left rear quarter panel about half ways up. It did okay mostly. Any higher and I hit overhead wires which were sometimes too low or low overpasses. Everything worked pretty well until I got new van and mounted the High Sierra HF-1500 a bit lower... some impatient person passed me on left trying to get into left turn lane. Driving a big, black muscle car (her boyfriend's) she had a nice white stripe from front to back. Sure she heard about it from BF.  The high Sierra was destroyed and before I could get replacement parts High Sierra went belly up.  (Deductible was more than parts !)

Eventually went with 3 magnet mount on roof with ham stiks which worked fine except on 40/80m (wind loading problems pulled antenna off - and mag mount).  This worked okay until I worked for a company with said "NO" to ham radio. Was SSB back in those days and enjoyed whizzing alone highway yakking with hams in Europe & Australia.

A ham stik mounted in center of van roof is what works and gives best radiation pattern, but clearance to tip has to be less than 13" 6" otherwise you'll have problems with overpasses and drive up windows. Yes, I lost a few Ham Stiks to drive up windows because I was too lazy to get out a walk !

Am sure there is info somewhere on net about mobile antenna installs, but one needs to hunt for it.

Jerry N9AVY


On Wednesday, April 21, 2021, 12:09:22 PM CDT, Steve W3HF <w3hf@...> wrote:


Thinking about this and Dick's description of his setup (hamstick on a tail light mount), I have a few questions and a speculation:

- What does the tail light mount look like? I presume it's a bracket that sticks out between the tail light lens and the metal body of the car.
- Which direction does it stick out--to the back or to the side?
- Which tail light is it on?
- How much of the hamstick extends above the top of the T&C minivan? (Or what fraction of it is below the roof line?)

I wonder if part of this could be the direction the car is pointing and thus the location/orientation of the ground plane, which is affected by the answers to the questions above. It might be an interesting experiment some time to find a large empty parking lot and ask Kathy to drive around the perimeter so that the car ends up rotating 360 degrees (multiple times). If we had multiple stations listening, all in different directions, we might be able to get an idea of the pattern the antenna-on-car generates.

And if someone is good with antenna modeling software, we could compare the experimental pattern with an analytical prediction.

Steve
W3HF


 

It might also be interesting to add a 2nd Ham Stick off the front, and phase them. They'd "fire" broadside, And I'd be pleased to donate a 20m stick and the harness if you'd like to try, John.
The harness would be 1/4 wavelength, X the velocity factor of the RG-6 phasing coax.
I've done that before, and the +++ was that it improved my receive a few db.'s. Receive is based almost entirely on resonant capture area.
Milt.
N6MG
070-650

-----Original Message-----
From: Steve W3HF <w3hf@...>
To: main@070Club.groups.io
Sent: Wed, Apr 21, 2021 10:09 am
Subject: Re: [070Club] KC3EF 4/20 After Action Report

Thinking about this and Dick's description of his setup (hamstick on a tail light mount), I have a few questions and a speculation:

- What does the tail light mount look like? I presume it's a bracket that sticks out between the tail light lens and the metal body of the car.
- Which direction does it stick out--to the back or to the side?
- Which tail light is it on?
- How much of the hamstick extends above the top of the T&C minivan? (Or what fraction of it is below the roof line?)

I wonder if part of this could be the direction the car is pointing and thus the location/orientation of the ground plane, which is affected by the answers to the questions above. It might be an interesting experiment some time to find a large empty parking lot and ask Kathy to drive around the perimeter so that the car ends up rotating 360 degrees (multiple times). If we had multiple stations listening, all in different directions, we might be able to get an idea of the pattern the antenna-on-car generates.

And if someone is good with antenna modeling software, we could compare the experimental pattern with an analytical prediction.

Steve
W3HF


Richard Rohrer
 

Hi Steve,

To answer your questions: 

1.  The mount is on the left tail light of the mini-van. 
2.  The bottom quarter/third of the hamstick is near the van body.
3.  It sticks out to the side and some what of the back. 

I chose this method, since the van has sensors on the rear bumper which trigger if any thing is around the back of the vehicle.  I had previous experience with having a ham stick mounted on a mag mount and it was fine until the xyl hit 70 mph and it flew off the back of the vehicle.  

Kathy, my xyl, has often wondered if position of the van would improve propagation in a specific direction.  She thinks that doing the experiment you proposed would be great to do.  She is a post masters nurse and computer person, so this seems like a neat idea to her.  We are going to be in South Carolina next month and could drive around the island and send test transmissions.  We will be in Tennessee in June and could do the same thing.  In July we will be in Maryland for work and could also do the same type of experiment.  It would be interesting to get several 070 members to participate and see what happens.  

73
Dick - KC3EF


Richard Rohrer
 

Hi Rick,

Kathy says thanks for your kind comments, but she still is not going to EL88, hi hi.  She think we should get together and spend the $100 and go to Dry Torguas.

73
Dick - KC3ER