M is for Mag Loops in March

March’s portable radio gathering of the Ocotillo Hams group featured two different mag loops in use at Veteran’s Oasis Park in Chandler. Two vertical antennas were also tossed in the mix, but the fastest setup time and most contacts were definitely had with the mag loop configurations.

We set up early in the morning at the Curved-Bill Thrasher Ramada, which is close to the parking lot, and thus a pretty short walk with our gear in tow in an array of little wagons.

A small wedge of grass to the east of the ramada was filled with our antennas, cones, and radials, along with a plethora of warning signs to keep the other park visitors at bay. 😉

Now that the weather is warming up the park is quite busy on Saturdays and we had many interested people stop by to find out what we were doing.

The Reason for Hams to Practice Often

As many hams offer their services in event of emergencies, it really useful to get out in the field frequently to test your equipment and make sure it’s working as expected.

So far, there hasn’t been a single portable radio event where all the equipment has worked flawlessly for everyone. But this gives us an opportunity to correct problems before we end up in an emcomms situation in the middle of the night deployed far from home with non functioning equipment.

M is also for Midway

The bands were looking good and were so busy that it was hard to find an open spot to transmit, but some fun DX and US contacts were made, including one from a ham stationed on the USS Midway Museum (the museum ship parked in San Diego California) made with Norm, K7NWF.

Gorgeous QSL Card from the USS Midway Museum received by Norm, K7NWF

Ocotillo Hams at Play 🙂

While there is quite a bit of work involved in going portable– packing up and hauling the gear to vehicles, and hauling it into the park and setting up, stringing wires, and radials etc.. this hobby is also supposed to be FUN.

So here are a few pictures of us happy hams playing on the air 🙂

Don WQ1E grinning ear to ear finally getting his G90 back on the air after chasing out all of the vicious gremlins.
Norm K7NWF chasing DX on 20m
Lisa KJ7DJR working FT8 and FT4 on 20m
John AI7AQ burning up the band on 15m with his Icom-7300 and MFJ Mag Loop.
Happy Hams “synchronized surfing” the airwaves 🙂 Norm and Don resorted to transmitting on alternating time slots to work the same band at the same time.