FD 1C fm K8HVT

wallace offutt woffutt at davinci.netaxis.com
Wed Jun 26 10:30:02 EDT 1996

1996 Field Day Mobile Operation at K8HVT

CW  QSOs   526
SSB QSOs   201

Total      727 QSOs

Score:   2,506 points
Power:   100 watts


I operated from my 27' sailboat which is moored in the local harbor on
Long Island Sound.  WX forecast was for a very nice weekend so I was
looking forward to some sun and good hamming, but the WX on Sat turned out
to be terrible - rain, wind and rough seas.  The boat was bouncing up and
down 3-4 feet every few seconds.  I don't get seasick but it is very
tiring after a few hours.  Buoyed by predictions of improvement, I toughed
it out and the sky cleared up around 8 PM local. 

The aluminum mast on my boat is 40' off the water.  I've heard of hams
loading them up, but I've never had the time to try it.  I started off
with a 40 meter inverted vee fed with RG-58U hung from the top of the mast
with the ends tied off at the bow and stern.  This antenna worked very
well on both 40 and 15 and I could hold a frequency quiet easily.  It
definitely helps to have a salt water ground and no buildings or trees
around you.  My plan was to put up a G5RV in the late afternoon so I could
operate all bands, but the bad wx kept me from doing this until after
dark.  This was a tough job, and I couldn't get the antenna placed
properly until the sun came up, so I missed most of the midnight to 6 AM
operating hours.  Once operational, the G5RV worked well on 40 through 15
but wasn't too hot on 80, being only about 75 feet long.  Need to do
something about this for the future.  I guess a 60-foot boat with a mast,
say, 75 feet high, would just about do it. 

I use two deep-cycle marine batteries in parallel for power.  I ran the
engine 2-3 times for an hour or so each to charge the batteries and I
never had the hint of a power problem. 

Operating mobile from a sailboat is clearly much better than operating
mobile from a land-based vehicle.  If I could work out a few bugs, I could
be pretty competitive in this category. 

For a change, conditions were very favorable for the East Coast.  Skip was
very short on 80, 20 and 15.  Very few Texans or West Coast stations were
worked or heard.  With conditions like these in the NAQPs or SS, there
just might be some East Coast winners.  Fat Chance!


Hal Offutt K8HVT

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