QRP Hike - N7RR - Bruce Prior - Pacific Crest Trail Thur-Hike HF Plan

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Posted by:  James Johnson VE7HJ

Posted On:  03/25/08

Subject:  QRP Hike - N7RR - Bruce Prior - Pacific Crest Trail Thur-Hike HF Plan

Message Posted:

I've decided to give the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail (PCT) another shot for 2008. I tried to hike it in 2006, but I got waylaid by a spinal ailment. I'm feeling much better now. My plan is to start at the US-Mexico border near Campo, CA on Saturday, April 19th. Tom Aterno KI6ASP has volunteered to help with some southern California transportation, and he is planning to hike with me for the 20+ miles from the Mexico border to Lake Morena County Park. All going well, I hope to arrive in Manning Park, British Columbia in late September or early October. Well-known DXer Rick Tavan N6XI, owner of a Cessna T210N with the tailnumber N7RR, has expressed interest in joining me on the PCT for a few days when I get close to Truckee, CA. My wife Margaret K7MWP will likely be hiking some segments of the PCT with me as well. GENERAL HF OPERATION In 2006 I set up regular HF schedule times, with poor results. Those pre-set schedules ate into some prime hiking time and resulted in very few contacts. This year on off-days typically in rainy weather I'll explore the IARU Region 2 HF QRP watering holes www.iaru-r2.org/band-plan/ (3560 kHz, 7030 kHz, 10 116 kHz, or 14 060 kHz), but I won't set up a fixed schedule. I'll call: . My preferred exchange will be name (including Polar Bear QRP Club names mine is "Nanuq" which doubles as my PCT trail-name) and Maidenhead coordinate I'll use the 4 or 6 character version. The PCT starting point at the Mexico border is DM12so and the Manning Park Lodge is CN99ob. To understand the Maidenhead system and to calculate your coordinates, see: www.arrl.org/locate/gridinfo.html . I have no plans for pedestrian-mobile operation. I'll normally wait until evening after I've set up camp before getting on the air, but occasionally I may decide to operate in the daytime, such as from the summit of 2865 m (9399 ft.) Mount Baden-Powell or at the California-Oregon border on the PCT. EQUIPMENT Unlike 2006, I won't take along any VHF/UHF equipment, so I won't be telemetering my position on APRS. This is one example of steps I'm taking to reduce my backpack weight for my 2008 trek. Elecraft KX1 My workhorse radio will be the Elecraft KX1 with the 30 m/80 m module installed. Largely in response to my KX1 review in the April 2004 QST, Elecraft's Wayne Burdick performed some engineering wizardry to make the KX1 80 m capable. Because he couldn't find a small enough latching relay, one standard mini-relay is always energized while operating on the 80 m band, so the rig draws a bit more current on that band than on other bands a small trade-off for this backpack-ready radio. One beauty of the KX1 in contrast with the Elecraft K1 is that it covers the whole spectrum on any of its bands and it can receive on either sideband, so cross-mode CW/SSB contacts are straightforward. I'll carry resonant half-wavelength dipole antennas for the 80 m, 40 m, 30 m and 20 m bands, each loaded directly from the KX1 through a BNC-to-dual-post adapter without a transmission line. In most situations, that will make the dipole operate in the Vee rather than in the preferred inverted Vee formation. Rather than the rudimentary internal tuner, I'll carry instead the more versatile Elecraft T1 tuner (which I reviewed in the January 2006 QST) mostly in case I want to do cross-mode on the upper part of the 75 m band or if some mishap occurs with my antenna segments. In case something goes awry with the KX1, my Small Wonder Labs DSW-80 (a fine rig which unfortunately is no longer in production) will be in my bounce or drift box, which I'll mail ahead to the next post office stop along the PCT. That package is a complete 80 m CW station. Small Wonder Labs Rock-Mite I've had lots of fun playing with various versions of the Small Wonder Labs Rock-Mite.www.smallwonderlabs.com Both the Rock-Mite and the accompanying American Morse Equipment MityBox www.americanmorse.com are back into production. I already own Rock-Mites for 14 060 kHz, 7030 kHz (the new 40 m IARU Region 2 QRP center of activity), 3560 kHz, and 3579 kHz (in which I'm planning to install 3533 kHz crystals for working the Northern California Net frequency). I will be carrying the 40 m Rock-Mite as an "SOS Package" in a thigh pocket, for use in an emergency in case I get separated from my backpack during some mishap. In that package is a complete emergency station with power supply, resonant dipole, BNC-to-dual-post adapter, primitive keyer paddle and earbud headphones. All of the Rock-Mites are equipped with the N0XAS keyer chip www.hamgadgets.com/product_info.php?products_id=48 , so I could load it with a beacon message in an emergency and haul the transceiver over a tree branch so that the Rock-Mite itself forms the center on an inverted Vee dipole antenna. TRAFFIC NETS Most of my on-the-air time during my PCT trek will be sending and receiving radiogram traffic on a series of 80 m CW nets. The main ones, in south-to-north order, are: April-June:Southern California Net (SCN) 3598 kHz 0215Z (Monday-Friday PDT)April-August:Northern California Net (NCN) 3533 kHz 0200Z (less frequently the slow net 0400Z) dailyAugust-September:Oregon Section Net (OCN) 3569 kHz 0130Z, (rarely at 0500Z) dailyAugust-October:Washington State Net (WSN) 3563 kHz (rarely at 1430Z) 0145Z (rarely at 0445Z) dailyApril-October:Idaho Montana Net (IMN) 3578.5 kHz 0300Z (often checking in before net time) dailyAugust-OctoberBritish Columbia Emergency Net (BCEN) 3652 kHz 0200Z daily Anybody wishing to contact me should do so directly through those nets or through a formal ARRL National Traffic System (NTS) radiogram addressed to:Bruce Prior N7RRPacific Crest Trailvia such-and-such 80 m CW traffic net I hope to check into at least one net about every other day or so. This will normally be in the evening through those 80 m CW nets. On occasion, it may be more convenient for me to check into a 75 m SSB net. If necessary, I may utilize the higher-level NTS CW nets, such as the Sixth Region Net (3575 kHz 0245Z & 0430Z), Seventh Region Net (3560 kHz 0230Z & 0430Z), Twelfth Region Net (3570 kHz 0230Z & 0400Z) or the Pacific Area Net (3552 kHz 0330Z), or a regional net like the USB Alaska-Pacific Emergency Preparedness Net (14 292 kHz 1615Z Monday-Friday) to pass priority or emergency traffic.

73, Bruce Prior N7RR/VE7HR

Link:  Postholer Journal for monitoring Bruces progress

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