It’s that time of year again, twice a year, ham radio operators from around the state and beyond gather in Belton, TX for one of the states’ biggest hamfests. So if your in Central Texas this weekend, come on down!
I’ll be there with a few friends, this time I’m going to take better pictures & video of the event. Usually there is some eye candy boat anchors in the parking lot, and of course Flex Radio will probably have their display up and running, I can hope & dream can’t I? 😛
Heck the fun starts as soon as you land in the parking lot! As you look out across the horizon you’ll see so many different antenna contraptions on vehicles it looks like something out of a sci-fi movie! It runs Friday & Saturday, i’ll be there early Saturday morning with my buddy Sam, K5JM. We’ll be looking to sell/trade a few odds & ends too.
As far as operating goes, I’ve been monitoring WSPR quite a bit, and remotely controlling my station. I’m listening on as many bands as I can, but was especially surprised to see such distant spots as of late on 630m (MF):
You might be surprised what signals you can pickup on your antenna, I was using my OCF for these spots, but I can even pick these up on my vertical. Some hams have even said they’ve had great results on a mini-whip for 630m! It’s all about the signal to noise ratio though… I monitor these stations occasionally to send data to the folks who were granted experimental licenses. Some of the antennas these guys use are just astounding! Not only that but they even homebrew their own amps for 630m! I was pleased to find out that my 590SG is able to ‘listen’ on these bands. I do get some crazy RFI interference on the LF band (2190m) waterfall though, and I’ve yet to hear a station on 2190m, I don’t think I’ve seen a station transmitting yet on that band.
Shifting gears….. when I went to check on my vertical this past weekend I discovered that fireants had taken up a mound around my vertical base, nasty little boogers, the rain usually drives them up into huge mounds here in Texas. They’re hard to kill too, usually requires chemicals that I don’t like sprinkling in my backyard due to pet/child safety. I doused them with a gallon of vinegar, they didn’t budge, so I just blasted the mound away with the water hose, they’ll just build another mound somewhere else. But this is making me realize I should have ‘prepped’ the site around the base a bit more to prevent grass & insects from penetrating, I’ve thought about pouring some gravel around the base but I think this would encourage even more insects. What I really want to build is a flat concrete base of some sort like so:
After I blasted the ants away I decided to show the 12m & 17m modification that I made to my 6BTV a few months back & made a post on:
You can see around the base where I blasted the little guys away. I usually just pull up any grass/weeds that happen to pop up. Round-up is nasty stuff…. I recommend that you don’t use it. Has similar chemicals to what they used in ‘Agent Orange’ in Vietnam. I could have a whole ‘nother discussion on pesticide/herbicide usage, but we’ll keep it ham radio related 😛
The Hustler is my preferred antenna of choice for DX, and it was a great value considering the other multi-band commercial antennas available. I’m still amazed at how far I can get with this antenna, the only downside is having to hoist it up anytime I want to use it, but it takes a mere 3 minutes to prop it up and guy it. I will admit that it has been difficult to tune the traps though, I’ve still yet to be able to get the Hustler to resonate exactly where I want it to on the trap frequencies, I just got it as close as I could!