Ontario QSO Party 2015 - Rover`s operation from Amherst Island, Eastern Ontario

In the recently concluded, annual Ontario QSO Party 2015, Igor VE3KAO and I teamed up to participate in the category of Multi Operators – Rovers from Amherst Island (Ontario`s county Lennox-Addington).

What made this year’s OnQP unique from the ones before were our chosen base of operations, the rooftops of our two cars. My radio station – the dream of any HAM-Radio operator, the transceiver YAESU FTDX5000 – was commandingly displayed like a monument on top of my otherwise pedestrian Toyota Camry, while receiving an electrical feed from a charged UPS. The intimidating car ornament was a 10 meter`s vertical as an antenna.

In parallel, Igor VE3KAO was operating from his Mitsubishi on high bands 14-21-28 MHz, 3 elements Spider Beam antenna that we strategically set up a day in advance at the start of OnQP. My partner was working on a Kenwood TS-590, which is excellent for working CW. A 100 watt in antenna is not very much, but with Igor’s blasé rabid efficiency, we had no time to momentarily pause the contestant obtainment of new CW contacts, from Europe to North & South America, everything was business as usual.

After about one hour into OnQP, we agreed that it was time to move on to the high bands in SSB. What this meant for us was the need for a manual adjustment to the position of the Spider Beam, using the elegant, specialized tool known as a long rope bound to a tree. The 1st CQ European`s stations started to call us, which ran simultaneously with Northern and Central America with an average speed of 1 to 2, and sometimes even 3 QSOs per minute.

Afterwards, in the evening time, there was a clearing to the West Coast and which fortuitously permitted us to establish many, many more QSO`s with W6 and W0.

The first tier of the OnQP concluded at 1:00 am. Fatigued, but buzzing with a joyous satisfaction from a successful tournament performance, we went to sleep.

On the morning of the following Sunday, Igor and I had to get up and leave in a steaming hurry. It was empirical for us to sail across the nearby body of water by ferry, to make our way to the neighbouring county of Frontenac.

For context, Frontenac (FRO) is about 15 kilometers away from Amherst Island. We parked at a local lot known as the Royal Legion and began; once again, setting up our vertical antennas on their respective designated automobile groundings. All of this could not have been made possible without the UPS and supplementary batteries, that where solely responsible for giving us the opportunity to operate for several hours several hours at a time.

Igor VE3ZF with rover`s antenna to Toyota Camry

Igor established the first contact with Puerto Rico, which mildly impressed me, as I had spent that entire morning anticipating that our 40-meters unit would only be able to establish local contacts within in Ontario.

We went on to conduct several dozen of QSO`s, mostly with by CW, we had a QSO with Ian VE3JI and Harry VA3EC on CQ OnQp calls. They also operated as Rovers, later Harry told me that the trip was 500 km and operated from 8 different counties during OnQP.

Well done, guys!

After 4 hours of operation, we had decided to return to Amherst Island and thankfully everything continued running as smoothly as before.The clarity of the reception wasn’t amazing, but it wasn’t terrible either, mostly local and central USA.

Finally, when we finished the OnQP and weren’t even that tired.

Our results:

975 QSOs

313 mult

Total – 391.844 points

This was the first time we attempted to operate in the Rover category. Before OnQP I had a few lighthearted discussions with a few of my friends on the subject of Rovers, and to my surprise, a handful of which expressed a personal interest.

VA3ATT, VE3JI, VA3EC, VE3ZF, were the new Rover operators who contributed additional points, which made the competition much more interesting.

Also I would like to thank Boris VE3DQ for his quintessential help with the equipment and the Rover’s antenna. It was by the virtue of his efforts that I was able to effectively raise and lower a 3-meter`s vertical from the roof of my Toyota Camry. You honestly cannot imagine how convenient this really was.

Thanks to everyone who was in OnQp 2015; I look forward to seeing you in OnQp 2016!

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