Being the day after Easter, most of the people didn’t have to go to work this Monday around these parts. The weather was finally nice and sunny after more than a week of daily rain, so it felt like the perfect oportunity to go out with the family for a picnic and also taking the portable equipment for a spin.

We chose to go to Paltinu lake, a beautiful place about 90km north of Bucharest, near a town called Campina. This place was also situated in a Flora and Fauna region – YOFF-491, but as the propagation didn’t seem to be helping alot and there wasn’t GSM coverage to add a cluster spot, I decided not to take the high road of activation-style operation and just search and pounce what I could hear, while relaxing with the family and friends.

The soft, grassy and humid soil served as a good ground for a vertical fishpole antenna, plus the trees were really useful for the installation, I didn’t even need to use guy wires.

The setup:

– Yaesu FT-897
– LDG Z-100Plus
– 12V/7Ah SLA
– 6.5m vertical wire, 9:1 UnUn, 2 radials

Most of the time I worked with 25W output, but when I couldn’t get trough I bumped the power to full 100W. Logged in 13 stations, the bands were not that busy and the radio time is what it is when you’re out with the family and you also have to handle the barbeque. Nevertheless I got two stations from Brazil on 10m, Algeria on 15m and a few portable and mobile stations. I also got PH9HB/AM, who was up in the sky aboard a Boeing 737 about 150km south of Paris. The 7Ah SLA was good enough for 3h30min and it still has some juice left in it, but the TX cycle was really low – I would be satisfied with 2 hours of high TX-cycle work.

All in all, the portable setup seems to be working great – I think there were only 2 stations I heard but I couldn’t work, one of them being a very busy SOTA activation. I am not satisfied with the weight, for now it’s about 10Kg with the FT-897 being a big chunk of that, I definetely need to move to the FT-857 the first time I get a chance.