The weather forecast wasn't especially encouraging. Debbie and I were up before dawn and we were almost ready to go by our planned time of 7:00 am and we were only 15 minutes late. That's good for me, since I am on "Ochu time" which translates into at least being 30 - 45 minutes later. Our eleven old son, Roman didn't complain and he, too, was ready for the trip. My idea of putting some Anderson power poles on one end of a pair of wires and a cigarette lighter plug on the other as a means of hooking up my 10 GHz rig in the car to warm up the 10 MHz oscillator worked well. I did not have my usual 20 - 45 minute waiting period.
By 9:00 am, I am up and running at the grid corner of EN50aa and EM59ax and not far at all from the corner of EN40xa and EM49xx (about 200 yards). I first try to work Zack, W9SZ on the hill in EN50rl about 81 miles away. I can copy his signal just out of the noise and there is severe QSB. Likewise with Zack. We both are experiencing 30-35 mile/hour winds and the temperature is about 42 degrees. It is cold outside. The 1.2 GHz antennas behave more like wind vanes so we didn't even attempt that band. So, Zack and I almost made a two-way, but not quite. Oh well.
I next called Jim, N5MU at the Y in EM48sq about 96 miles away and we tried, but neither one of us heard even a peep. The same story with Jim and Zack. At this point we are struggling to keep our dishes from toppling over in the wind. The wind broke up any ducts that may have formed so we called it a day.
I gave Ron, W9ZIH a call, but he was in the middle of a 2 meter QSO and he'd be happy to work me later and that was very nice of Ron, but I decided not to struggle with the winds and raw temps so we agreed to make it another day.
The grid corner of EN40, EN50, EM49 and EM59 looks like it will work. I met the manager of the property and he'd check with his boss to see if I could set up in the actual corner. Otherwise, he was fine with me staying of the field edges.
So what did I learn on this excursion?
* Zack, Jim, Debbie, Roman and myself are microwave troopers.
* It was COLD outside!
* Strong winds are not conducive to good microwaving
* My DC power cord from the van's cigarette lighter to my rig is a great idea!
* Quicker set-up time to get on the air.
* The new grid site looks promising.
* Starbucks coffee tastes even better in 42 F temperatures and strong, gusty winds!
* A big THANK YOU to Zack and Jim for braving the elements!
Debbie, Roman and I stopped for lunch at the Golden Corral in Springfield, IL. Notice the landmark smoke stacks from the electrical plant along I-55 about 2 miles away from us.
73, de Ron, KO0Z
Saturday, November 8, 2014
Sunday, November 2, 2014
It was good seeing most of the SLAMS members at our monthly meeting. This month it was held at the TA Truck Stop in Troy, IL just off of I-55. We chatted about inexpensive modules to get on 10 GHz, 24 GHz activity and our plans to activate the grid corner of EM49, EM59, EN40 and EN50 this upcoming Saturday, November 8 at 8:00 am. Zack, W9SZ drove down from Champaign, IL to my Girard, IL QTH and we carpooled the rest of the way to Troy. Good company and good food!