Once again the northern Virginia team (hikers KX4O, W4EON plus logger KD6AKC) took to the mountains in support of the annual amateur radio Appalachian Trail Golden Packet (ATGP) event.  The setup was the same as last year including one dual band antenna, a Kenwood TM-D710A (with GPS module) and 10 AH LiFePO battery.

One difference this year was moving the radio from the mountaintop platform to the nearby shelter.  It was raining a little so we wanted to see how well our signal would propagate from this more luxurious location.  Here is the shelter looking east…

The Hawksbill Byrd's Nest #2 shelter looking east.

The Hawksbill Byrd’s Nest #2 shelter looking east.

Here is another view showing more clearly the antenna on a speaker stand…

The Appalachian Trail Golden Packet station six on Hawksbill mountain in the Byrd's Nest #2 shelter.

The Appalachian Trail Golden Packet station six on Hawksbill mountain in the Byrd’s Nest #2 shelter.

Here is a view from within the shelter showing the modest gear looking west.

Golden Packet station #6 in Hawksbill Byrd's Nest #2 shelter looking west.

Golden Packet station #6 in Hawksbill Byrd’s Nest #2 shelter looking west.

Our hope was the building and its metal roof would not interfere with the north and south radio links.  We were happy to observe this location worked just fine for the purpose of passing the VHF packet and communicating voice on UHF to the stations north and south of Hawksbill.

Due east of this location, my home station was set to log packets heard on the 144.340 MHz frequency and route them to the Internet and ATGP net control.  When the antenna was on the platform like last year, this radio path worked quite well.  This year, the building completely blocked eastward progress.  Fortunately, my home station did hear many packets from the station to the north (Maryland Mountains) including those digipeated by our Hawksbill station.  KD6AKC also listened for packets at his QTH.

Every year we simplify things a bit more.  The gear list is down to:

  • lightweight dual band antenna
  • one coax
  • 10 amp-hour battery
  • Kenwood TM-710A (with GPS)

Plus the year we got away with operating from the relative comfort of the shelter.

About John Huggins

John is an electrical engineer working in astronomy and aerospace including antenna/RF design spanning 36 years with experience in antenna design including improvements (US20170201002A1 & USD798847S1) to the J antenna.

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