Hard Water Command Center
Earlier I had left Calgary at about 6:30 am local, and my destination on this day was Chain Lakes located about 120 kilometers southwest of Calgary, the lakes bellied up against the front ranges of the Rockies.
When I left home, the temperature was sitting at about -10C, and by the time I arrived at the lakes just before sunrise, the temperature had climbed to +5C. With multiple choices for the clothes I could wear out on the ice stored in my truck, needless to say the temperature made it real simple as to what was required, although I did bring a few extras that were stored in the ice fishing sled if the weather turned while out on the ice. I also had room for my manpack in the sled without having to carry it myself.
Of course you already know from past posts as to what my manpack consists of, the Yaesu FT-897D with internal batteries, and as far as the antenna on this day, I once more brought my 10-40 meter MagLoop, as I wanted to run more tests with it under different operating conditions than those I've operated from since building the antenna and putting it on the air for the first time.
Once I was set up out on the ice, with lines in the water, I turned to the radio. I was pleased with conditions on 20 meters and before long was making contacts with stations located across Canada and the US.
The antenna continues to impress as to how it gets out, but I also enjoy the compactness of the antenna, both when torn down and stored, as well as when it is set up for operating.
In fact there was a bit of a wind blowing across the lake, and the antenna with its low profile tends to ignore the wind, a plus in regards to keeping the manpack and antenna vertical and not threatning to blow over while operating.
This is a a problem that can happen with my 10-60 meter vertical that I normally use, that stands 22 feet tall when set up, and does catch the wind requiring that I anchor the manpack in place under similar circumstances.
With the magloop, the set up is really quick considering it requires no ground radials, and one or two loop diameters off of the ground surface (or ice) is all that is required when set up.
With only myself to entertain on this day, although I did have other ice fishers stop by to see what I had going on, and the fishing on the slow side, although it had its moments, I found myself thinking towards spring, a time when I spend a fair amount of time fly fishing streams and rivers that have their origins in the Rockies. These waters then flow eastward through the foothills and continuing east across the plains of southern Alberta. So its rare to find me fishing frozen water in the winter months.
Still, there was a time when I spent a fair amount of time ice-fishing, especially when my daughter was very young, as its interesting that she took to it like a duck to water.
If you want to get kids hooked on fishing from the get-go, make sure their first outing actually produces rewards like the kid catching fish, that will hook them!
The other thing to make sure, is that its not really cold out when taking kids out fishing initially, as that can take the fun out of it for first time ice fishers.
Then there is the other ingredient that hooks kids good.....building snow structures on the ice. Of course you need wind blown snow that is hard packed, perfect for making snow shelters and Igloos.
I remember the first time I introduced my daughter Jennifer and her friend Danielle to building snow shelters. I had taken them out to Kananaskis Lakes Ice fishing, and once we were out on the ice, I realized that the snow was perfect for building an Igloo. Well, you never seen two kids that had more fun in your life, in fact I had to practically drag them off the ice to go home, and they couldn't wait for the next outing fishing on hard water!
The snow shovel you see in this photo I've had for years, and one of the neat things about it, is that it has a snow saw that is attached to the handle, and by pushing a release button, you can remove the handle with the attached snow saw. In fact it goes with me everywhere in the winter months, as it perfect when faced with survival situations, and building a snow shelter is in the cards.
My two fishing buddies from years ago.....
Bottom line is that I had a fun day out on the ice, and although the fishing was slow, I did learn more about operating my newly constructed Magloop while operating on hard water.
In case your wondering about the Kenwood D72 attached to my bibs, while out on the ice it was communicating with my mobile parked on the shoreline via APRS.
Interestingly enough, my mobile set up as a fill in digi wasn't required, as the Burton Creek digipeater located some distance south of Chain Lakes, and part of the FARS (Foothills Amatuer Radio Society) system was hearing my HT directly, not requiring my mobile. In fact, I lowered the power of the HT to 50 milliwatts, and the Burton Creek digi was still quicker than my mobile in grabbing my aprs beacons and decoding them before kicking them forward to be placed on aprs.fi and Google maps.
In case you were wondering about the water lying on the ice, it came up through the holes that I cut in the ice, probably due to the ice settling at some time adding pressure to the lake water.
I'm situated over 20 feet (6 meters) of water with the ice about 14" (35 cm) thick.
.Expand the photo for a closer look......
The Eye In The Sky......