Amateur Radio WB3GCK Polar Bear Moonlight Madness
November 14, 2009

Craig LaBarge, WB3GCK

I was overdue for participating in a Polar Bear Moonlight Madness (PBMME) event.  I hadn't really done much advance planning so, I decided to keep things simple and drove over to Charlestown Park.  The park is located in Charlestown Township, PA, just outside of Phoenixville, a few miles from home.  Since it was raining, I decided to operate from the truck.  

Once I was on site, I cobbled together an antenna that didn't require any thing to support it other than my truck.  I used one conductor from a 25-foot roll of cheap speaker wire from the local dollar store and supported it from a 28-foot Jackite fiberglass pole.  The pole was supported by my homebrew "roll-on" antenna support.  I had to splice on an extra 12 inches or so, in order to reach my 4:1 balun.  The other terminal of the balun was attached to the body of the truck as a counterpoise.  From the balun, I ran a piece of RG-8X coax into the cab of the truck, where it was connected to an LDG Z-817 auto tuner.  To my surprise, this kludge of an antenna loaded up nicely on 40, 30 and 20 meters.  I don't normally like to "force feed" an antenna like this but, what the heck; it seemed to work OK.  Plus, I could operate from inside the truck, where it was nice and dry.  The rig was a Yaesu FT-817 running 5 watts and powered from a gel cell battery.  

Here are the stations I worked:

40M:  K2OGT (NY), WA8REI (PB #21 in MI), W9JVC (IL)
30M:  K8IHY (MI)
20M:  N0EVH (PB# 144 in MO), W5IQS (TX), WO5X (PB# 155 in AR), K4UPG (PB# 173 in FL)

It was a lot of fun getting out and playing radio for a couple of hours today.  I also stumbled on an antenna configuration that I can put on the air in a few minutes.  Not a bad day...  even with the rain!

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Charlestown Park
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Antenna support
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Passenger seat operating position


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