Portland, OR: Day 1   Leave a comment

My son and I flew to Portland, OR, just because we’d neither one ever been to the state of Oregon. It makes my 45th state, and my son’s 44th, so we are running out of places in the US to travel.

Naturally, I brought along my Yaesu FT-857D and some hamsticks to operate from a few new counties.

My rental car is a 2012 Chevrolet Camaro SS Convertible, which is cool, but was not set up for amateur radio at all. First, there is almost nowhere to mount an antenna. I manged to mount it on the trunk, but when the convertible top is up, it bends the antenna pretty badly. Also, if I was ever to hit anything, the magnet has a clear path to the back of my head, so the airbag would save the front of my face, but then I’d get hit with a 10lb magnet in the back of the head.

Second, I have no idea where the battery is located, though Chevy was kind enough to put this positive terminal port under the hood:

Anyway, I pieced it together and found that I did not have power cables long enough to reach the radio box. For running the first county (Multnomah, OR), I stopped, put the radio box on the ground, and operated sitting on the pavement.

Before leaving Portland, I stopped at Ham Radio Outlet and bought more Anderson Power Poles, and a cigarette lighter to Anderson Power Pole converter, which is a big no-no, but I did it anyway. Using the cigarette lighter for power, I operated from Washington, OR and Clatsop, OR.

The car makes a bunch of noise on the standard 14.336MHz County Hunting frequency, so I was posting a frequency to look for me (14.345MHz) on the county hunter spotter network from my cell phone and then operating from there. It seems to be some internal noise that happens even when the car is turned off- not that I can get power from the lighter with the car turned off.

Anyway, we drove to the beach at Fort Stevens State Park and I operated for a few minutes on 20 meters and then tried to run CN86 on 6 meters, with no takers.

County hunting does take you some neat places, however:

I am also going to try my hand at making a video of all of this later on. I’ve been compiling little video clips, so we’ll see how it turns out.


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