I started in 2016 in Mauritius, but since getting a temporary license there requires a few months lead time, I wasn’t able to operate from there. I had about two days on the ground in Madagascar, and then packed again for the US for meetings in DC and San Francisco. This time, the FT817 came along and saw some use.
The night after I arrived, I rented a car and drove up to visit my parents in New Jersey. It was the weekend of the winter NAQP-CW contest, so when I got there I threw my end-fedz 10/20/40m into a tree, suspended the matchbox from another tree about 3 meters up, and ran the coax into the kitchen since it was chilly and drizzling out.
One issue I’ve never encountered operating on picnic tables and park benches is concern about marring the wood finish. However, I wanted to be careful with the kitchen table, so borrowed some computer mouse pads: one for the radio and one for the key. Sometimes I use the magnetic base of the palm paddles to mount them directly on the rig. This time, I looked around for something hefty to serve as a base. Not finding anything, I asked my father if he had anything heavy, flat and iron, and he produced the solid iron ingot shown in the picture. I’m not sure where he got it, but it was just right for the purpose (but not something I would like to carry for portable operation in the field).
For logging, I kept it simple: index cards. I wasn’t worried about making so many contacts that I’d run into dupe issues. I’ll enter them into my main logging computer when I get back to Madagascar, and then upload them to the web. Best “dx” was ON to the north, FL and PR to the South, and CA to the west. Contacts were about evenly split between 40m and 20m, with no activity on 10m. I worked the contest for a couple hours with about 50 contacts.