December 27-29, 2019 - Grid Square DO00ON


It felt like it was about time for another radio-themed camping trip. Jane VE7WWJ and Mike VE7KPZ loaded up their Unimog camper, affectionately named "the Lunchbox" and headed out to Hidden Lake for some HF contesting fun.

You see, out in the woods, far away from civilization, QRM/QRN is low. So low in fact that sometimes it doesn't even read on the S-meter. This makes for a great radio operating experience.

The first challenge was getting into the site. The Unimog with camper weighs in at approx 7000 kg. This meant the truck's 45 inch "gravel" tires needed to have chains installed to traverse the unplowed road. Chains were installed within an hour but progress down the road slow at a top speed of 10 km/h, all lockers engaged.

Arriving at the site, it was soon dark - too late to throw a line into a tree. So the first antenna up was the Wolf River Coils TIA vertical. A couple of contacts were made with the TIA, a notable QSO into Ontario on 80m, but the call was made to go to bed early and get up at first light to set a line into a promising tree for the big antenna.

At first light, the right tree was selected, the line thrown and soon the HyEndFed Field Day EFHW antenna was up. This antenna is a monster at a full 40m in length. It is resonant on 80, 40, 20, 17, 15, 12 and 10 meters (and usable on 30m with a tuner) - perfect for a single-radio portable contesting effort.

Mike quickly got to work with his Yaesu FT-891 making many QSOs on 80, 40 and 20 meter bands. Some operators said 15 meter was open, but every time Mike checked, it was quiet.

By the contest finish time of 4 PM PST, Mike had made 65 QSOs, collected 11 multipliers and achieved a total score of 4972 points. Not bad for a single operator, 100 watt, phone-only, completely unassisted effort.

Highlights of the event:

  1. Working VE3CX in Ontario on 80m on Friday night 7:38 PM Pacific time.
  2. Hearing VA7GE Tym's ground wave.
  3. Hearing VA7AEJ Aaren's ground wave.
  4. Working VE7OGO Mike (VE7FI) and the Kevin (VE7XY) at Chute Lake on 80m on Saturday afternoon at 3:51 PM Pacific time.
  5. Getting S9+20 reports from various ragchew stations on 80m after the event.

Big thanks to Jane for her assistance in every aspect of the weekend.

It was fun,
NORAC Vice-president 2017-2020, technical committee member and RAC Canada Winter contest participant