As I wanted to test out my new “Resonant Feeder Antenna” for 40m, I had planned an activation of a local GMA summit for Easter Monday when the weather forecast said, it should be warm and sunny. However as the Sunday, unexpectedly turned out to be dry and not as overcast as the last week, I decided to move the activation forward a day.
This activation would also serve as a signal that I have at long last kicked the influenza that had been troubling me for the last three weeks. While not a serious infection, this particular virus had gained a reputation for being difficult to throw off and 3 – 4 weeks has been normal for many people. After three years of “isolation” to protect ourselves from Covid-19 our immune systems have not been “exercised” by minor colds and flu and hence when this new strain appeared, it has has a high infection rate and the long duration.
For this GMA (Global Mountain Activity) activation, no car drive would be needed as the summit is only 4 kilometres (a 30-minute walk) from my home. This is the second time in a month that I have tried to activate Gagelberg (DA/AV-071) that time I managed no contacts as 20m was closed and I had no 40m antenna with me.
Apart from the 40m RFA the equipment would be the same – my “light-weight-pack” (Xiegu G106, 40m RFA and J_antennas for 20, 17, 15, 12 & 10m, external RF speech clipper).
Under the rules in GMA, a summit has to be at least 150m above sea level and be listed in online documentation (on an online map, in WikiPedia etc.). Gagelberg meets these requirements and while it is an open walk (on which I got lost the last time), there is also no rain cover should the showers return.
After the walk across the fields and up to the summit cross, I unpacked my throw bag and cord and threw it over a branch of the tree above the seating bank. This was higher than I managed the last time and needed to get the co-ax antenna up sufficiently to be usable. Originally not planned, but Mike 2E0YYY had gone out to his local summit and park to see if he could work me, as well as other stations but despite several tries with the new antenna, I could not hear him and he could not hear me. In fact, the whole 40m band seemed very “quiet” to me and this on a Sunday afternoon? Mike was reporting a band full of signals where I could probably hear only 5-6 stations. The RFA antenna had broken when I was putting it up but I had made, what, as far as I could see, was a good temporary repair. Despite the fact that when tested on my Rig Expert Antenna Analyser, the antenna looked resonant – it appears this antenna design (see article here) is more of a dummy load than an antenna!
I took down the RFA and put up my 20-metre LambdaHalde J-antenna and pulled it up, over the same branch and then tried and got a contact with Mike on 20m with no problems. So that was definitely the end for the RFA.
The J-antennas are single-band antennas, despite that, when I saw there was a lot of activity on 17m, I switched bands and tuned around and found Jack MM0PLX/P on the Isle of Arran, I gave him a call while I was still on the 20m J-antenna. We made the contact and I would have liked to switch over to the 17m J-antenna and call him again but that would have meant taking one antenna down and putting the other up, which would take a few minutes and while the sky was turning dark grey and the temperatures had dropped, I decided against it and simply headed back onto 20m using the 20m J-antenna.
All in all, I only logged 6 contacts – all were around the UK and all but one were portable stations. So the 5 watts from the G106 with the external speech processor seems to work well when attached to a working antenna! One GMA, One IOTA and One POTA is the six is also not a bad collection. In all but one case, I got the station on the first call.
While using the G90 and a mast-supported antenna would certainly get better reports and more contacts, it would also have been twice the weight to carry and need twice the time to put up and take down.
All-in-All the lightweight pack is performing well, I just need to find a solution for a lightweight 40m antenna that I can support using the “throw bag and cord tree mounting system”.
- Raddy small rucksack.
- Xiegu G-106 radio.
- Throw-bag and cord
- Lambdahalbe.de lightweight wire antennas (J-antennas) for 10, 12, 15, 17 & 20m (only used the 20m one).
- Homemade 40m resonant feeder antenna.
- 2 Ah Eremit LifePO4 battery.
- 2 Ah 3S LiPO battery (not used).
- Painter’s thick plastic sheet (not used).
- Lightweight JVC headphones.
- Smartphone for spotting.
- I qualified this simple summit, only on my third attempt but at least my bag-throwing skills have improved!
- The combination of the G106 and the J-antennas is a good combination but the “Resonant Feeder Antenna” is a complete failure and I will need to find an alternative antenna, that while small and light still performs.
73 ’til the next activation!
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