N3HAL at@ Heckscher State Park K-2070

Parks on the Air Activation!

N3HAL and I activated Heckscher State Park park number K-2070 on 10/24.

The weather was overcast and a cool breeze was coming from the Great South Bay. 40 meters was open from about 16:00 to 17:00 UTC. When 40 dropped out we switched up to 20 meters. Since the CQWW contest was going on, finding a clear frequency was nearly impossible.

All things considered, we had a fairly successful activation with 25 contacts. We made contacts as far west as IOWA north to Toronto . We made two park to park contacts also. Pipestem Resort State Park and Point Rock State Park.

The old TS-50/AT-50 and Wolf River Coil TIA just keeps on chugging along. Visit my Parks on the Air Intro to learn more about the Parks on the Air program?

73 de KE2YK
The ICOM IC-705

Should I Buy an ICOM IC-705?

Thinking of buying an ICOM IC-705 All Mode Transceiver? Maybe you should reconsider. Here’s several reasons why you may want to explore alternatives.

A well known amateur radio store professes that the ICOM IC-705 is THE all purpose radio for the Ham Shack and mobile use. IMHO, I don’t think the ICOM IC-705 is a viable alternative for either situation.

It’s All About QRP:

First and foremost is the fact that the #ICOM705 is a QRP transceiver. If you are new to Amateur Radio and you don’t fully understand QRP, then spend the time to learn about QRP before laying out $1200+ on a transceiver that you may find to be a disappointment.

For novice or veteran QRPers, a way to learn a ton about the magic of QRP is to pick up a copy of Peter VK3YE’s book called Minimum QRP. Peter truly is the Godfather of QRP. If you have a Kindle reader on your phone, tablet, etc. then I believe Peter’s Kindle publication is still free. If not, Minimum QRP is also available in paperback. A link to Peter’s publications are found below.

IC-705’s Purpose:

Since the #IC705 is not IMHO an ideal transceiver for the Ham Shack nor a viable alternative as a mobile rig, what is it good for? It’s really all about backpacking for those portable, “on the air” adventures.

The ICOM brochure mentions #POTA and #SOTA among all the other features of the transceiver. Click here for my Intro to POTA or the Parks on the Air Program. Find more info on SOTA here.

At least ICOM is not attempting to mislead about the intended purpose of their awesome feat of RF engineering. Since I have no personal interest in VHF, UHF, Bluetooth, DSTAR and GPS, it’s best to use the ICOM brochure or other web sites for those details.

More Things To Consider:

The IC-705 only has one antenna port. Read my opinion called the Flawed ICOM-705 for more on that subject.

The IC-705 has no internal tuner. If you bring an antenna like the tunable Wolf River TIA System or antennas cut for the bands you plan to use then SWR is a non-issue.

Apparently Vibroplex is one of the first to rush an IC-705 tuner into production. According to the Vibroplex web site, their $220+ mAT-705 will be shipping in late October.

An Amplifier?

Sure you can rig up an amplifier for the ICOM IC-705 but doesn’t that defeat the purpose of having a QRP rig? If it’s power you are after, a Yaesu FT-991 or better yet an ICOM IC-7300 are far better alternatives.

The ICOM IC-7300 is about $300 less than the IC-705 and is capable of 100 watts. If QRP is something that truly interests you, the IC-7300 power can be easily set to 5 watts or less.

For the sake of saying it, my ICOM IC-7300 was a quantum leap from my Kenwood days. After a year with my IC-7300, I have no complaints.

One thing to note about the IC-7300 is that the internal tuner is not broad banded. The #ICOM7300 internal tuner handles antennas designed to operate on specific bands or tunable antenna systems.

Since I don’t have the space for an HF antenna farm outside of my Ham Shack, the alternative I chose was the LDG IT-100 external tuner. One nice feature of the IT-100 is that it utilizes the IC-7300’s tune button. LDG also provides live, one-on-one telephone support.

What is Your Opinion of the ICOM IC-705?

Amazon: VK3YE’s Minimum QRP

Amazon: ICOM IC-7300

Amazon: LDG IT-100 Tuner

73 de KE2YK

Intro To Parks On The Air

Operating Parks On The Air FINS K-0679 Fire Island National Seashore
KE2YK @ FINS K-0679

Parks on the Air or POTA is my favorite portable, off the grid amateur radio activity. POTA is much more than just whacking the paddles or yelling into the mic. POTA will get you out of the ham shack, off the grid and out into mother nature. Remember her?

POTA is an entire ecosystem run by amateurs for amateurs. POTA is not a contest but a fun activity where activators submit logs and certificates are emailed out to both park hunters and park activators. If you enjoy collecting fun certificates, open a free POTA account and, over time certificates will be issued out depending on the number of overall contacts you make.

Every State Park has a park number. To find parks in your area, click on the map, enter the DXCC entry (United States for me) and the State (New York in my case), then zoom in to your specific area. Click on any of the dots to get the related park number.

Not all State Parks are good for a POTA activations! Prior to bringing your gear out, take a drive to the park and be sure there are favorable conditions for operating. For instance, there is a local park here with no actual entrance. If there is a trail leading to the park (within 100 feet as the POTA rules state) and you can safely operate, then you have a park that can be activated.

If you have planned out a POTA day, then create your account or log into the POTA system and use the POTA scheduler to announce your intended park, time, date and band. When you get to a State Park, you can start off by spotting yourself on the pota.us Web site. Park Hunters seeking your Park Number will respond to your CQ. Now you are a Park activator.

Of course if you are unable to get to a park you can join in on the fun by becoming a Park Hunter. Park hunters can us use the pota.us spotting page to find park activators. No logging is required for park hunters. The park activators are responsible for all log submissions.

Rules for POTA ActivatorsHunters

An Intro To Parks on the Air by N9YO
73 de KE2YK