Scouthike, JIDX & Quad loops

Last weekend I packed up my portable station and went away to help out with Scouthike, a competition hike for scouts.

Along with other members of the SRESU and my son VK3FASH we provided welfare and safety communications for 312 scouts.
The main platform for this operation was 2m via our portable repeater VK3RSR. This repeater had been placed on a hill within the area and provided excellent coverage to all sites, all weekend.
In addition to the Scouthike work I also set up HF using mt FT-7 and my trapped 80/40/20m dipole. I made a few contacts into VK2, VK4 and VK7 before the JIDX contest started.
One contact was with Felix, VK4FUQ, who was using a full wavelength Quad Loop.
After talking to VK4FUQ I thought I should try a quad loop, since I was out in the bush and could get a rope in the trees at about 30 foot without too much trouble.
I had taken my rhombic antenna away with me but there were too many trees to get that baby in the air. It has 4 legs, each about 22 metres long, and is feed with a 12 : 1 balun and has an 800 ohm load at the far end. Works great on 20 and 15m but is not easy to erect amongst trees.
I took one of the rhombic legs and divide it in four, making a loop held by PVC electrical tape at each 1/4 point.
I strung a rope in a tree and lifted the top of the loop to about 10m above the ground and ran the two sides out to other tees to form a diamond.
 At the feed I just brought the two wires into a terminal block and connected RG58 coax directly to the loop. The feed point was about 300 mm of the ground. The whole thing took about 30 minutes to erect.
I checked the SWR around 14.150 and it was less than 1.2:1 so I was happy. I didn’t check it in other places as I really wanted to see how the antenna went compared to my trapped dipole that was about 12 m in the air.
Listening around I found VK4 stations were 1 or 2 S points stronger on the loop but JA stations were about the same as the dipole.
Both the loop and the dipole were in the same orientation.
I didn’t get to talk with anyone on the loop as I got busy with other stuff and then dinner and so forth but at least I gave it a go and I will try it again next time I am out in the bush.
I made 4 contacts into Japan shortly after the contest started and then went off for dinner. After dinner the bands had died and there was no more contesting to be had.
I was pleased with making 4 QSO into Japan from a 10W portable station.
Sure, it won’t be all that impressive when the results are published and VK3ZPF scores 16 points, possibly the lowest submitted score ever, but at least I gave it a go.
If I am lucky the dates for 2009 JIDX contest and Scouthike won’t clash and I can then give both events my full attention.
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