LA1K recently got 9 new members and with the license course starting next week, we thought this weekend would be a perfect time to introduce them to amateur radio.
The trip started mid-afternoon behind the Student Society, where the antendees joined to hop on the bus up to Estenstadmarka. A few of us showed up a couple hours early to pack all the gear, and get things ready. We decided to bring two shacks, a 20m dipole and the 40m vertical antenna that we made on our trip to Straumsvågen. We also brought a 20m vertical and the 80m vertical to have some options out in the wood.
After some time, we were finally able to locate everything we needed, including the 40m vertical antenna that turned out to be at LB0VG’s home. LB1DJ and LB9WI took a quick detour to get the antenna from LB0VG, buy firewood at the store and get an RG-58 coaxial cable from our storage container at Dragvoll. The rest of the group had already gone ahead and found a spot at Fuglemyra, the same place we were on our trip in October.
By the time everyone had made it up there, it was already around 14:00 and we wasted no time getting our antenna up to take advantage of the sunlight we had left. Unfortunately, one of the portable batteries was forgotten back at our QTH, so we could only set up one shack. We went for the 20-meter vertical antenna for our single shack.
Since the mast we brought was much longer than the antenna, we also decided to try an elevated ground plane, just for fun. Since the radials have to float above the ground, we had to tape the RF-9A ATU to the pole. Notice the new feature of banana plugs in the radials, antenna element, and the ATU for easier use, thanks to LB0VG!
We connected a coaxial cable to the antenna, and after realizing it was a bit too short, we connected the other one using a nifty combination of adapters that we had thankfully brought. We had brought our analog SWR meter along to tune the RF-9A ATU, but it turned out to need new batteries. Instead, we tuned it using the SWR meter on our FT-891 portable radio. After tuning, we are able to achieve an SWR of 1.6 and we could start transmitting.
We got a few handfuls of QSOs but the highlight of the trip was probably receiving an SSTV contact from LB0VG at home, who was feeling under the weather and couldn’t join the trip. Enough of us had SSTV decoder apps on our telephones to be able to see the SSTV picture right away. In addition to that, LB6GH had made and brought his own homemade audio interface cable with an isolation transformer, which connected between his phone and the radio.
All in all, a fun trip and a good introduction to amateur radio for all the new ones who joined. Thank you to LB1BH (and Kira), LB1HH, LB1DJ, LB4FI, LB5PI, LB5DH, LB6GH, LB9WI, Patrick, Stefan, Ingvild, Aleksander and Alexander for joining!