This is the summit I activated today.
It usually has QRM problems from the close by WPG (Wind Power Generators) but this morning there was no wind and they were still, so I decided to take advantage of such unusual situation and give it a try.
It’s location is about 15 Km South-West of Pamplona, being the last 3 or 4 Km driven on AWD 4L through a service dirt road for the WPG farm. This service dirt road can be perfectly driven on a 2WD in summer time. Not in winter when snow and ice may be and is sometimes present.
Today I felt strong enough as to climb the steps to the top of the tall trig point and install my 7m long telescopic fishing rod as high as possible.
From the top of the fishing rod, I hang as a sloper my 14m long endfed wire to a 9:1 unun from which a 5m long counterpoise wire was extended on the grass.
I also installed my 2m band Diamond mobile whip with a single wire radial.
First, I selfspotted for 145.525 and started CQing with the help of my Daiwa LA-2035 linear amplifier. After the sudden sporadic high SWR I experienced with it the other days, I had opened it up at home and not seeing anything obvious, I only rerouted a bit differently some internal wires which I found passing a bit too close of some transistors. The first CQ calls today with the Amplifier connected were perfect with no SWR at all on my FT-817ND meter, but after 4 or 5 calls, the high SWR issue appeared. What’s going on here???
I took off the Daiwa LA-2035 amplifier and connected the antenna directly to the FT-817ND front BNC socket, just to find with frustration that the high SWR was still the same. I disconnected the Daiwa mobile whip antenna from the front BNC and connected one of the rubber duck antennas I use with my FT-23R H.H. Again the SWR reading on the FT-817ND was high, very high with this rubber duck antenna. I can’t understand what’s going wrong but I’m starting to suspect that it’s a problem with my FT-817ND. I’ll have to do some more testing to find it out.
After all these problems with my FT-817ND on the 2m band, I decided to give up that band and concentrate to HF. The HF activation was much more satisfactory although not exent of problems. Keep on reading and you’ll see which other problems I had.
The HF activation went like this:
20m CW: 1 S2S with Elena @EA4DOS
10m CW: 5 QSOs after about 15 minutes QRV.
20m CW: 1 S2S with André @F5UKL.
15m CW: 8 QSOs after about 15 minutes QRV.
20m CW: 11 QSOs, one of which DX with @K4DY in the USA, after about 15 minutes QRV.
2m FM with my FT-23R H.H. and the Diamond mobile whip antenna: 1 QSO with @EA2LU.
All in all, 47 QSOs in the log, one of which was DX with the USA and 4 were S2S.
This is the full log:
You can see it on the map:
I went QRT right after my QSO with Jorge EA2LU on 2m, because my operating place wasn’t anymore in the shade after the Sun had moved higher and it was now hammering strong on me and my rigs. Also it was 11h51 utc (13h51 local) and it was time to get back home for lunch in family.
But before leaving, I made a final test consisting in trying to power my FT-817ND up with the 2 power banks I was using to power my FT-23R. The FT-817ND didn’t power on. It looks like the 10.2V connected as external battery are not enough for it to switch ON. So my guess of possibly using them as a backup in case the LiFePo4 battery I always use fails one day is not an option.
Now I quickly dismantled everything, throwed it into the car trunk and drove back home with a temperature of 31º C seen by my car thermometer.
During my HF activation under the Sun, I experienced a problem that I have been having some times in previous activations, but it was even more severe today. The problem is that sometimes the AF output is vanishing and sometimes completely disappearing. Sometimes I lost completely the audio signal on my headphones, not only for my morse side tone but also for what it was being received on the band.
Touching buttons, sometimes made the sound get back partly or completely, but it would soon vanish again, forcing me to try again touching buttons. Sometimes moving the AF gain (volume knob) made the trick, some others didn’t and it was touching the band change button. Some other times it was touching the VFO/M button, some other times it was touching the band change button. Some other times there was nothing I could touch to get the sound back into my earbuds and I just kept CQing blindly (deafly) until the sound of my morse side tone spontaneously got back.
This problem has happened some times in the past recent activations, but it was particularly severe today and I wonder whether the high temperature and the hammering Sun was the one to blame.
Not many weeks ago, I made a joint activation with my friend Javier @EA2GM. He operated with my rigs and he noticed this same problem of the AF gain vanishing or getting notably reduced. He told me that he was also experiencing that same problem with his FT-817 and I wonder whether some of the readers in this reflector have ever experienced or ever heard about this problem and a solution.
Thank you very much in advance for your feedback.
Thanks dear chasers for your calls and QSOs.
I’ll be looking forward to copying you all again soon from a SOTA.