I headed out this afternoon for a bike ride along the Schuylkill River Trail. I pulled off the trail where it passes through Valley Forge National Historical Park. I wanted to ride across Sullivan’s Bridge, which opened recently. This pedestrian and biking bridge crosses the Schuylkill River and provides a connection to other trails.
After riding across the new bridge and back, I made a pit stop in the Betzwood Picnic Area. I wanted to do some testing with an antenna that I’ve been playing around with lately. It’s simply a lightweight, 19-foot vertical fed through a 9:1 unun. It’s built around an inexpensive, lightweight, Chinese fishing pole I bought on eBay.
I set up at a picnic table under a shady tree. I mounted the vertical on a tripod, using an adapter that I cobbled together from PVC pipe this morning. The internal tuner in the KX3 tuned it up on every band from 40 meters through 6 meters.
I didn’t hear any activity around the 30 and 20 meter QRP watering holes, so I moved down to 40 meters. Forty meters is the least efficient band for this antenna but I worked a few Ohio QSO Party stations. I also worked Joe N2CX who was doing an NPOTA activation in Ohio (NS78). I didn’t set out to activate Valley Forge today but I sent Joe the NPS unit number (HP46). I have to confess that I cranked my power up to 10 watts for the QSO with Joe. I think that’s the first time I’ve used more than 5 watts on the HF bands in the past 20 years or so.
Feeling comfortable that this short vertical seems to be making some radio waves, I packed up the bike and got back on the trail for the ride back.
It was a nice day but I’m glad I got my ride in before it really started warming up.
72, Craig WB3GCK