Spring 2019 BWCAW Trip
2019-05-14 This morning I made a "gadget" that allows me to measure the current requirements of something plugged into a power pole cable. My motivation was to measure the actual power requirements of of my QCX and x5105. On Receive the QCX draws 120mA while the x5105 draws 350mA. The QCX draws 500mA on transmit compared with 1780mA for the x5105. At 30% transmit duty cycle, I calculated that the QCX would draw 250mAh while the x5105 would draw 850mAh. So my 4.5Ah Bioenno battery should run the QCX for 18 hours while it would run the x5105 about 5.5 hours. More "data" for deciding on which rig to take on the Boundary Waters trip.
2019-05-08 I think about my ham radio setup for this trip a lot. Having recently built a QRPLabs 40 meter QCX transceiver I'm wondering about that as my rig and the 40 meter speaker wire inverted vee I just cut and tested this morning. That would be about as simple, inexpensive yet good setup I can imagine. Further, playing around on the bands with the QCX and my x5105 the past couple of weeks I'm near concluding 40 meters is where I'm most likely to find success anyway. Most operating will likely be in the late afternoon or evenings, say 4-8pm. Twenty might be open for the first hour or so but forty will be near it's best during that time and there is almost always activity there. It would be nice to have SSB capability but my experience indicates that is less likely in the evenings whereas CW is alive nearly any time. Another thing I like about the QCX is that should I lose it overboard the financial loss wouldn't be so great as losing the x5105! Finally, weight would be a big difference. Seven pounds, including a carrying bag, is about the minimum with the x5105. The same package with the QCX comes in at Five pounds.
2019-04-21 The weather won! We've postponed the trip to the second weekend in June as ice is still on the lakes and weather projections for this coming week are not favorable. More time to play with both the camping and radio gear!
2019-04-20 According to the Outfitter in Ely, MN where we are thinking of renting the canoe the lakes are still at least somewhat frozen where we want to go. So.... We'll have to see what the next week brings. Maybe a totally different Plan B! That's the fun of planning an outdoor trip, we control few if any of the variables!
2018-04-18 Late Yesterday I began seriously packing my backpack for the canoe trip to the Boundary Waters of Northern Minnesota next week. The full hammock setup plus the radio kit shown below came to 26 lbs. And I still have room in my backpack for food and clothes. Got the clothes laid out in the guest bedroom, just have to decide what to take. Probably will take two long sleeved shirts, one of marina wool for sleeping, marina wool long johns for sleeping, two short sleeved shirts and two hiking pants, one for sleeping if needed. I'll try to keep the marina wool shirt, long johns and one pants in a special dry bag for sleeping wear. They can also serve as backup during the day if needed.
I'm still thinking about foot wear. Your feet get wet while hiking/canoeing. I have a light weight pair of running shoes that I think will be my main pair. They are made of webbing and if they get wet will dry fairly quickly. I may take something for camp shoes as well. Socks are another issue. I'll probably just take a couple pair of nylon or synthetic ankle socks. They'll give some foot protection while portaging but will also dry quickly when wet. I've got a heavy wool set of socks for sleeping. Keeping your feet warm at night is important.
2019-04-17 The photos are of my radio kit ready to go. Of course since the trip isn't for a week it might still change but I don't think so. The kit includes:
Top Left: Bag Packed. Top Center: Antenna systems. Top Right: Rig. Bottom Left: Extra battery. Bottom Center: DIY protective envelops for radio, etc. Bottom Right: Note Pad.
I'll be operating in the Superior National Forrest which is designated K-4491 in the Parks On The Air Registry for ham radio.
2019-04-16 We are forging ahead with plans for our Boundary Waters trip next week (4/25-28. Weather is actually looking pretty good with warmish days and coldish nights. I put together our "dinners" and "breakfasts" tonight. Dinner will be Santa Fe Cheesy Beans and Rice and Breakfast will be Healthy Instant Oatmeal Packets. My wife and I enjoyed the beans and rice for lunch today.
2019-04-11 Yesterday, in spite of the fact that it snowed and stayed below 40 all day here, I got out my hammock stuff and hung two of them in the garage (it was rainy/snowy outside) just to remind myself how to do it and make sure I have all the bits and pieces in place. I was a few days behind my my listening to the Chronological Bible New Living Translation so decided to lay in the hammock and listen to a couple days worth to help catch up. That killed two birds with one stone, helped me get caught up and gave me a chance to see if the under quilt and top quilt would keep me warm. I had all cotton clothes on, blue jeans, cotton shirt, denim jacket and thin socks. I was NOT warm! Not sure if that was my clothes or what but does worry me a bit given the likelyhood of overnight temperatures in the 30's in the Boundary Waters in couple weeks!
2019-04-01 Yesterday the three of us reviewed things and committed to moving ahead with plans for our boundary waters trip the last weekend in April. The tentative route we are considering starts at South Hegman Lake and is described on page 122 of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wester Region book by Beymer and Dzierzak. titled "The Angleworm Fairy Route," The entry point is number 77. It includes three nights and is described as "a terrific route for seasoned canoeists with only threee days to spend in the wilderness." With a difficulty rating of "Challenging," it covers 22 miles, 13 lakes, 3 creeks and 15 portages. The book indicates that most portages are "quite easy," one is 1.5 miles long!
2019-03-08 My two son's and I had a trip to the Boundary Waters planned for last Fall. But winter came too early and we had to scrap that. Now we are preparing for one either the last weekend of April or the first weekend of May of this year. That's pretty early so weather could once again be an issue. We'll see.
I just watched a YouTube video of ham radio operator K8MRD operating from a lawn chair in the middle of a small lake in Michigan. That rekindled my interest in getting out and doing some portable operating. Then the idea of taking my x5105 package on this planned canoe trip hit me. I chatted via text messaging with my son, John, our primary organizer and he is encouraging me! The two primary "fears" are weight and waterproofing. The radio, batteries, wire, etc. will weight about six pounds including a wire antenna. The Wolf River Coils vertical would add another 4 lbs, so ten pounds total. As to waterproofing, I'll have to see what might be possible. Anyway, it is an intriguing idea.