Practice makes ‘perfect’


May 24, 2024

After a fantastic trip to Hamvention last week, I’m back in the ham saddle again this week supporting two special events: A statewide mass casualty drill with the Red Cross and the Trans-Sylvania Mountain Bike Epic.

The Red Cross event involved deploying to a location in Milesburg, PA and setting up a remote station capable of sending and receiving Winlink messages. I used the Yaesu FT-891, an Evolve III (12 V) notebook, a SOTABeams 20m/40m linked dipole, and a SOTABeams portable mast with a drive-on mount. Two 60 W solar panels kept the Bioenno 40 Ah battery charged. Band conditions were much better than the dry run two week ago. Geography made a VHF Winlink connection to the W3SWL-10 node unlikely, so we had to use a hotspot and Telnet. Yesterday, however, we were successful in sending three Winlink messages on 40 m. We also used the W3GA (146.76) repeater for local communication. It was very hot, so we were glad for the shade of the popup and the AC and tasty lunch ready for us inside the Milesburg Community Center.

Communications station outside the Milesburg Community Center

The post-event beverage at Voodoo Brewing Company made it an especially excellent day.

Today, I supported Stage 4/2 of the Trans-Sylvania Mountain Bike Epic by providing communications at Aid Station 1. The humidity and temperature had dropped from earlier in the week, and so it was fun to support the cyclists participating in the event using the new Yaesu FT-5DR I acquired at Hamvention. Aside from some differing opinions about my audio quality, I really like the rig. I got there early, and that gave me time to try-out the KX-2 and a new Jackite 31’ pole that also followed me home from Hamvention.

Jackite 31’ pole deployed near Bear Meadows

Both events provide outstanding opportunities to play radio and practice setting them up and taking them down. Every time I do this, I learn something. I’m no where near perfect, but I am getting better. Or as K3YV might say, ‘more gooder.’