Contingency Plan

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Brian - K3ES
Posts: 86
Joined: Fri May 27, 2022 12:55 pm
Location: NW Pennsylvania

Contingency Plan

Post by Brian - K3ES »

I created a big problem for myself last weekend, and had to solve it in the field. As part of our club event during summer 2022 Support Your Parks weekend, a teammate and I planned to combine a hike on the K-4239 North Country Trail with a pair of 2-fer activations. I decided that my KX2 was the optimum rig for the day, but that the tiny waist pack it normally lives in was too small to meet all my hiking needs. Soooo... I swapped the radio box, including earbuds, CW key, and preferred antenna into the larger pack that usually carries a different QRP rig. Top it off with lunch, water, and a couple of small LiFePO4 batteries, and all was good to go!

Two miles into the hike, I began to set up for the first activation, and realized that I had not transferred the external power cord for the KX2 into the new pack. Calamity!!! We were planning about 5 hours of operation at maximum power to maximize number of contacts, and there was no way the internal battery was going to make it, despite being fully charged.

Some improvised contingency plans let me reduce power consumption, and complete both activations successfully. Three things helped stretch battery life, while still making contacts:

1. I turned power down to 5 watts. Even so, CW mode punched through to make contacts.
2. I turned off the KX2's backlight. There was no benefit to running it during daylight, and had this been a night activation, my flashlight could have filled the need.
3. I extended the interval between CQ beacon calls from 8 sec to 15 sec. It cut my transmit time a lot, and the KX2 sips power in receive mode.

All-in-all, I was pleased with the recovery. On the other hand, I have resolved to make a checklist to avoid future opportunities for Improvisation.

Best 73 de Brian - K3ES
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