As per my previous post, this past Labor Day weekend I traveled to Galveston for a family vacation. We left DFW on Friday morning and arrived around 4pm Friday afternoon. We stayed until Monday, Labor Day, and left to come home around 10am that morning.
This trip was the first time I had taken a mobile base station to setup and operate. Lately, since I have returned to ham radio, I have been reading about other hams taking portable base antennas and masts, along with a radio and a power supply, and setting up operation on camping trips, or vacation spots. Obviously this sounded like a fun idea, so that is exactly what I did this time.
I only worked 2M/70CM this time, even though I brought my Yaesu FT-8900 which will do 6M and 10M FM operation. But currently the only antenna I have that is portable enough is Ed Fong’s PVC-style dual-band J-Pole. I used this at home for a few months and it worked great. The ears on it are a bit limited, which one might expect from a PVC-style antenna, but really its operation abilities are fantastic for a $20 antenna.
I setup this antenna on a 9-ft tripod base, but the sweet-spot of the setup was that I was sitting on the 3rd story deck of a beach house. So in total my antenna was about 30-ft in the air. This made for a fantastic operational area from which I could hit many 2M and 440 repeaters. Many of these repeaters were on the Saltgrass Link System so they reached out pretty far. I made several good contacts which I logged on my QRZ logbook.
This was a fun trip. I met and heard several new hams who were licensed within the last year, so the Houston/Galveston area seems to be a hot-seat for new hams. I generally do not hear much activity from new hams in the DFW area.
Next year I will plan to take some HF gear and a most robust antenna. Sitting on the ocean, making contacts on HF around the globe sounds like fun.