"AC4RD /lawnmower portable"

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(This was written when the Marvelous DX Mower was only a few weeks old. I've added updates in a couple of places, in the fall of 2011.)

Recently, I just never seem to have enough time to go to my radio room and play on HF. The last few months, almost all of my HF fun has been from the car, while driving to and from work. But I'm spending a lot of time in the yard lately, and I realized I could play on HF from there, now and then.

So I cobbled together a 20meter ground plane on the side of the garage, and hauled an FT-897D out into the yard. I hooked the radio to my riding mower's battery for power, turned the output down to 20-25watts, and had a bunch of fun, working DX from my riding mower. :-)

BTW, the antenna you see mounted on the back of my riding mower is a 12-meter homebrewed antenna for the car. I put an antenna mount on the mower because it's a convenient place to test antennas while I'm experimenting. I'm not actually transmitting on an antenna while I'm sitting so close to it. And I'm not actually riding on the mower while operating!

I use the lawnmower as a portable"radio shack," with the 897 sitting on the mower's hood, hooked to the mower battery for power, with coax running about 6-8 meters from the 897 to that 20meter ground plane. And I'm sitting on the mower with a logbook on the steering wheel.

The 20m GP was also an experiment. The mast is those fiberglass poles you see for sale at hamfests--cheap, and they work great! They make it easy to experiment.

The ground plane antenna seems to work pretty well. (Six radials tuned to 20m resonance, and another half-dozen that are either tuned for 15m or are just random lengths.) (update, fall: Now I'm mostly using a dipole, and most of the time I use a 12v power supply instead of the mower's battery. It's still fun.) :-)

(The power supply runs from a long 120v cord to the garage.)

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Another update, fall 2011: That mower is now eligible for DXCC (101 worked /P and 6-7 of those were all-time new countries for me.) :-) I'm having a lot of fun with it, though I'm not sure what to do when the weather gets cold.

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go to Ken's ham radio page "AC4RD"

or to the main "Kuzenski Central" page

including ST0R. :-)

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go to Ken's ham radio page "AC4RD"

or to the main "Kuzenski Central" page