20m. Bicycle mobile in Hawaii


From: Wayne_Estes (Wayne_Estes@csg.mot.com)
Date: Fri Mar 24 1995 - 17:46:25 EST

Hello QRP fans,

I just returned on Monday from a 15 day bike tour in Hawaii. I spent 5 days
on Molokai and 10 days on Maui. Bicycling, hiking, and visiting beaches and
waterfalls was my main activity, but I did get a little 20 meter
bicycle-mobile hamming in as well.

Here's a quick summary of the equipment which weighs a total of 7 pounds:

        MFJ 9420 SSB Travel Radio (12W output) in my handlebar bag.
        8 ft. Hamstick mobile vertical on a homemade mount on the rack.
        14.4V, 3 Amp-hr Nickel Cadmium battery
        Icom HS-10 headset
        PTT switch on the handlebar
        16 ft. counterpoise wire to improve signal when stationary
        Wall transformer that charges the battery in 5 hours.

I made a total of 97 contacts on 20 meter SSB. Most of the contacts were
made while stationary, but I did make about 10 contacts while riding the

        Location # of Contacts
        -------- -------------
        California 37
        New Zealand 10
        Washington 7
        Canada 6
        Australia 6
        Japan 5
        Texas 4
        South Cook Islands 3
        Hawaii (ground wave) 3
        Oregon 3
        Florida 2
        Colorado 2
        Christmas Island 1
        Kiribati 1
        French Polynesia 1
        Argentina 1
        Yacht NW of Christmas Island 1
        Nevada 1
        Illinois 1
        Wisconsin 1
        Arizona 1

The only place I expected to contact but didn't was Alaska. I heard several
Alaska stations but never made 2-way contact.

I expected to get good signals from mountain tops overlooking the ocean. But
it turned out that my signals were pretty weak when I was on mountain tops.
 Signals were MUCH stronger when I was near the ocean. Twice my signal went
from 5-2 to 5-7 when I rode from a high overlook down to the ocean. I
suppose if I used a bunch of radial wires I could have had much better
signals on the mountain tops.

I was lucky that my setup worked reliably for the two week bike tour.
 Everything got dropped, yanked, rained on, etc., and there were lots of
opportunities to get broken wires in the headset, PTT switch, battery cable,
charger, and coax. My antenna got bent once but it was easy to straighten.
 The MFJ radio was dropped, scratched, and dented but it kept on working!

The battery lasted a long time on a charge. Once I used the radio for 4 days
without charging the battery. The MFJ9420 is great for battery operation.
 Receive current drain is only 80 mA with the meter light bulb disconnected.

It was a lot of fun, and I want to do it again next year in some other DX


Wayne Estes WD5FFH wayne@csg.mot.com

                           (' O O ')
|                                                                |
|     Wayne A. Estes                                             |
|     Motorola Asia-Pacific Cellular Subscriber Division         |
|     600 N. U.S. Hwy. 45,  Rm. A-S345                           |
|     Libertyville, IL 60048-1286                                |
|     PHONE: 1-708-523-2386       Z-MAIL: wayne@csg.mot.com      |         
|     FAX: 1-708-523-8795         POST: w10191@email.mot.com     |
|                                                                |

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