Fiddlin’ with antennas

At the Virginia Beach Hamfest a couple of weekends ago, I took a pretty close look at the Eagle One Vertical and said to myself, “I could build one like that!”

So I did.

It’s nowhere near as pretty, but it does work. I’ve got it sort of temporarily lashed to a clothesline pole with bungee cords, and the wire is on the outside of the Jackite pole I used. I’ve got one radial of some indeterminate length and a 4:1 UnUn dangling between the RG-8X and the antenna and radial wire. Like I said, not pretty. But I’ve got to straighten everything up before I head to work in the morning. Can’t leave anything on the ground. The guy is coming to cut the grass, and he has been known to chop up a few wires.

This weekend I’ll try to clean up the installation and make it more of a permanent-looking job. I’ve worked a few stations on it tonight, and it seems to perform OK. Actually, it’s comparable to the 40-Meter Carolina Windom I’ve got up … signal strengths seem about the same in most cases. Gives me another option.

One place it excels, though (relatively speaking) is on 80-Meters. The Windom will not tune on 80, and this will tune right down to 1 point zip to 1. Yes, I know it’s not that efficient, but at least the FT-450D will work into it.

I’ll keep you informed as I get more familiar with it and let you know if it pans out. Until then…

73 de Dick K4FTW

Post Field Day

I had real intentions of spending the weekend immersed in Field Day, but it was not to be. I was on call and of course, I never get called out … until this weekend. I spent most of Saturday escorting an HVAC tech at one of our radio sites. The A/C decided to pack up and die. By the time I got back home, I was just out of the mood. I think I worked a total of ten QSOs over the weekend, and that was from home, not from the club site. I did work N4BP on three bands. His was the strongest signal on all three when I heard him. I did have a few extended, non-contest style QSOs, and really enjoyed them … more so than the “1D VA TU” style.

I got a nice surprise in the mail this afternoon. The Sterling Park Amateur Radio Club mailed me a certificate for my participation in the Virginia QSO Party earlier this year. It says I was the “High Newport News Phone” entry. I suspect that was because I was the only Newport News city phone entry πŸ™‚ . Hey, you take what you can get, right?

I figured I’d work a few on CW this evening, but conditions are not great. Noise levels are OK, but not a lot of signals on 40. Maybe it’s burnout after the Field Day weekend. I do hear a few, though, so maybe I’ll call a couple before bedtime.

73 es CUL
Dick K4FTW

Update

Even though it’s been a while since I posted, I have done a bit of hamming. This morning, I tuned around and found 9A3OS on 15M CW. He was literally the only CW station I heard on that band … and he was 599. Where was everyone else? Obviously listening — not transmitting.

I’m going to participate in the CQ WW WPX CW contest this weekend. Hopefully, I’ll pick up a few new ones. It’ll be hit or miss, though … it’s our wedding anniversary, and the XYL has plans! I’ll try to fit in some operating when she’s not executing her plans!!

I recently bought and assembled a k1el WinKeyer USB and really am pleased with it. I’ve got it interfaced to the computer, so I’ll be using it in conjunction with N1MM software to give it a good workout during the contest. The only problem I had with it was no output onΒ  KEY 1, but KEY 2 worked fine. An exam with a magnifying glass quickly found an unsoldered pin on U3. Oops, my bad! A bit of solder fixed that just fine.

Well, I’ve got to run and take care of a honey-do … I took some time off from work this week to make a long Memorial Day weekend. I have to use a few days before the end of June. If you’re contesting this weekend … good luck! See you when I can!

Update to my update πŸ™‚ 5/28 …

I did get on for a while during the contest and worked 104 stations. I picked up a few new countries, so it was worth it. I did my duty a couple of days as grillmaster, making burnt offerings on my new Weber grill. It’s been so long since I grilled anything outside, that I had forgotten how much flavor charcoal and a few hickory chips can add to a plain old hamburger!

I spent a couple of hours trying to get my WeedWhacker running. It worked fine last summer before I put it away, but now it doesn’t want to start. I’ve got some weeds out by the fence that have stalks that could almost support an antenna!

‘Til next time …

73 de Dick K4FTW

7QP Contesting, NEQP

I spent a bit of time Saturday working the 7th Call Area QSO Party. I operated 20 meters CW and had a pretty good time. Conditions weren’t the best, but were adequate. I didn’t have time to do it justice, due to “honey-dos” on the schedule, but hey — any time on the radio is quality time, eh?

Sunday evening I had a bit of time, so got on for the last hour or so of the New England QSO Party. Lots of stations and pretty strong here in Virginia on 40 meters CW. I worked several and actually picked up a couple of elusive states for my WAS. Guess what? I checked this morning (the Monday after), and they were both confirmed on LOTW. How’s that for fast!

I used N1MM contesting software for only about the second time, and really like how it makes contesting so much easier. I remember the “good old days” with manual dupe sheets and paper logs. So much more fun now that you don’t need to concentrate on the housekeeping functions.

73, Dick

Club Meeting

I’ve missed talking to others face to face about radio. Having been absent from the hobby for a while, I’ve not had much opportunity to meet others, so last night i went to a local club meeting. I used to be a member but dropped out some time ago. There were some familiar faces … albeit a bit older … and fewer than we used to have, but still really great folks (as are MOST hams). It was nice catching up and renewing acquaintances. Definitely need some young folks though πŸ™‚ .

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Longevity

I came across an ad for the QCWA. I’d seen them before, and had said “OK, nice, but that’s for old timers.” Then I realized … I’m an old timer now. I was first licensed in 1967 …that’s FORTY-SIX years ago! Man, time flies! So, I decided to spring for a membership. I’m now the proud owner of Membership Number 36139. I’m usually not a joiner, but I do like a lot of the things they do (scholarships) and they seem like a pretty good bunch of guys.

I got on the air for a while tonight and worked a couple of Russian stations on 20m CW. One was in Europe and the other in Asia. There were quite a few other stations on, but I’m just beat tonight … had a long, hard day making a salary doing radio work. And it looks like there’ll be more of the same all this week. Bah! Off to the woods camping with the Boy Scouts this weekend, though. YAY!

73 and cul …

 

Aargh!

I answered a beautiful sounding CQ this evening. Thought I’d have a nice chat … WRONG! I understood about ten percent of what was sent. Why can’t people put spaces between words? It was literally 2 minutes (seemed like hours) of letters and numbers without a space … sheer torture to copy. Some days my sending isn’t real great either, but if you ever hear me doing that, feel free to let me know the error of my ways.

The 17 meter band was pretty good last night. I worked a couple of new ones there. The WARC bands are where I’ve had some of my more interesting qsos lately.

Well it’s time for bed, so I’ll finish up and get this posted. Got to be up bright and early to head to work in the morning. Catch you later …

Beautiful Sunday

I do believe that spring is finally here! Snow last week, and highs in the near-80’s coming up this week. Today it’s in the mid-60’s. Too nice to spend in the shack!

I did work a Dominican (J75PX) station earlier this morning on 17 meters. It still amazes me how he came back to me on the first call, even when others were calling. Hey, I haven’t got a great antenna here … it’s an off-center feed, configured as an inverted-vee, with the apex at about 20 feet, and that’s being liberal with my measurements. The ends are literally 5 feet off the ground. That coupled with 100 watts is not a big gun station. I guess I should just be grateful that it works so well.

Well, as I said, it’s beautiful outdoors, so I think I’ll sashay on outside and enjoy it. Who knows … the way things have been going this year, we might see snow again!!

CQ Contest!

I decided to work a few stations this weekend during the CQ WPX contest, and have to admit, I got a bit caught up in it. I was doing my Search & Pounce thing, and before I knew it, I was really getting into it. I’m not going to set any memorable scoring records, but I am having fun! And, I have logged quite a few new ones!

I’m taking a big break today. The bands were the pits late morning. I was at church from about 6:45 am onward and this afternoon we’re going to visit the kids and grandchildren. I may get a few more hours after we get back, but we’ll have to see

You know, I really haven’t heard much nastiness on the bands. A little foul language on 40 meters last night when the contest got a bit too close to the sacred net frequencies. So be it. It’s been that way since the spark days I imagine, and will be that way through whatever comes next. Hey … it’s a hobby, isn’t it?

 

Station Photo

I just snapped a photo of the shack setup and am posting it here. Outside, I’ve got a 40-meter Windom in an inverted-vee configuration, with the apex at about 25 feet. Yeah, not a great antenna, but it’s sure better than NO antenna.

I listened around a bit today and worked some 30 and 40 meter CW. Forty meters is pretty well populated tonight, and it’s a good night to be indoors. Here it is spring, and it’s snowing again on the Virginia coast.

I’ve been noticing a constant carrier on 14.030.50 … no idea what it is. Saw some mention of it on one of the QRZ forums that I noticed. Oh well, I guess it’ll just have to be one of the great mysteries of life.

K4FTW
K4FTW station