Going Pontoon Portable “APE”
SERC member Stan Robinson (W9SMR/9) and “up-North” pal Bob Billingsley (KC9UR) “went APE” for the annual Penn-Ohio DX Society (PODXS070) August PSK31 Expedition (APE). The purposes of the APE are to “encourage PSK31 operations in the field and to research and gain practical experience in the portable capabilities of the PSK31 mode”. Our personal goals were to generate excitement and enthusiasm for PSK31 operation, to work as many “070ers” as possible, and to have lots of fun in the process.
We set up two stations on Stan’s pontoon boat on Round Lake in northeast Indiana, and operated two evenings and two days (i.e. from Monday (8/24) evening through Wednesday (8/26) afternoon). To encourage participation, we offered a custom QSL card plus a custom certificate to everyone who worked us on 3 or more bands. The tactic worked, because this year a record 18 operators became certified “APE Hunters”, (8 working us on 3 bands, 7 working us on 4 bands, 1 working us on 5 bands, and 2 working us on 6 bands!).
Contact-wise, it was a record-setting year, working a total of 221 stations in 32 states and 18 countries. The best DX was E50B on South Cook Island on 20 meters (late at night when the band is normally closed). Until proven otherwise, we’re also claiming records for the first confirmed APE to APE contact (i.e. KC9UR with W6QP) and the first APE 6 meter contact (KC9UR with N4GBK).
For those interested in a bit of the technical details, here’s the info:
- Rigs: Two Kenwood TS-590s
- Software: Fldigi
- Homebrew Multi-band dipole at 25 ft (80/40/30/20/15M) – plans for next year will be to replace this with something more efficient on the lower bands (particularly 80M).
- Homebrew 6M Double-Bay antenna at 20 ft.
- Homebrew kayak-mounted “Swamp Monster” 31 ft. vertical (80 – 15M)
- Homebrew floating 20M 4-Square phased array mounted on an 8’ x 8’ swim raft; switchable NE, SE, SW or NW
Stan and I would like to thank everyone, especially the SERC members and Floridians, who took time from their busy schedules to work us! For the second year, Den, W2DEN, worked us on 4 bands. This year, Net, N2RDX, joined in the fun with a 4 band effort. We thoroughly enjoyed the “APE” experience and would encourage anyone who is considering an “APE” for next year to go for it! Information on the PODXS070 club can be found at www.podxs070.com.