I was finally able to get on the air for a little lunch time portable today. I used my KX3 with the 31' Jackite pole and ran my EFHW on 20 meters.
I built the little matching device from scratch using the schematic from the SOTA tuner at QRPKITS.com about a year ago. I have had really good luck with it on a couple of camp outs with my oldest sons Boy Scout troop.
I have always been able to get it to a 1:1 SWR, but today, the best I could do was 2.3:1 - it must have been the proximity of my vehicle - maybe I will try adding a counterpoise next trip to see if that helps.
So today, I drove over to a park near my office and got busy setting up for a little portable operations. This is when I encountered my first problem.
I used a couple of 36" bungee cords and wrapped the Jackite to a bollard on the edge of the parking lot with my vehicle parked right next to it. Then I ran the wire into my car to the tuner and then to the rig. I set the internal ATU to bypass.
Well the bungee cords were not quite the right length, and it made it very difficult to get the pole wrapped tight enough to the bollard so it would not fall over - need to get some longer bungees!
Finally got it rigged up and tuned around the 20 meter CW portion of the band. I heard KN4ZQ calling CQ. Gave him a call and Dave came right back to me from Palmyra, VA. He was a solid 589 and he gave me a 229! He copied me perfectly, so it must have been good enough.
It had been about 2 weeks since I charged the internal batteries and they were running about 9.3 volts - I kept getting the low battery indicator on the KX3 - which was irritating when trying to copy CW. I will put the rig on charge tonight to get them topped off.
The good news was that I could actually run the engine with the AC on and there was no extra electrical noise on the receiver! This was great because it was pushing 89 degrees!
Next time I go out I will take a picture and publish it here so that you can see my setup from this park.