Sunday, July 24, 2011

Shake-Down Hike on the Metacomet Trail

I had big plans to head out early this Sunday for QRP (low power) radio operating on the Metacomet Trail as it runs through Penwood State Park, here in Central Connecticut. Well, things got more interesting when sunrise met with rain. Finally, a break in the heat!

I'm not interested in dragging electronics out in the rain, BUT this was a great time to build a new antenna. Enter my Massachusetts neighbor, Pete, W1PNS. Pete is a blogger extraordinaire, fine builder in the New England QRP Club, and a very generous fellow ham. Among Pete's many great blog posts, I learned of the NorCal Doublet. This is a lightweight version of the quarter wavelength dipole fashioned from computer ribbon cable. Perfect for launching into trees and getting on the air. Well, W1PNS had kindly sent me a portion of his ribbon cable stock, and it's been sitting on the workbench waiting for this rainy day.

Our home driveway serves three distinct purposes (1) get car into garage, (2) basketball court for kids, (3) ham radio antenna construction range for long wire antennas. Using the above web references, I was able to quickly fashion a balanced line fed dipole for 40 meters in the driveway, while dodging my wife's run in the minivan to pick up bagels for breakfast.

The rain continued on and off through mid afternoon. I got restless, and decided to head out on the Metacomet to scout for an operating position for next week's Flight of the Bumblebees. I think I found a pretty good site with boulder operating position, elevation, trees for shade a antenna support. The rain persisted, so my Yankee version of the Norcal Doublet has not seen radio "first light" just yet. ....Looking forward to next weekend.

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