Progress report

All in all, the bands have been in pretty good shape lately. Good openings on those above 20 meters, and the usual suspects 20 meters and down. I’ve certainly enjoyed listening and operating after work in the evenings.

There’s a solar storm going on now, so I’m not sure what the bands will be like tonight. I’ve got a radio club meeting tonight with dinner beforehand, so I doubt that I’ll get much chance to try operating this evening. But, I’ll at least check the bands. Just like a fisherman, you never know what you’ll catch until you put your line into the water :-).

I was just thinking the other evening … yeah, sure, I miss the operating with a few hundred watts and a tribander at 75 feet when I was exotic DX, but I’m having lots of fun with my height-challenged Windom and 31-ft vertical at ground level. I guess it’s all relative … even with limited antennas I’m doing a lot better than those with a license and no antenna (thus, no operating :-(). I’m not a fanatical op, spending hours every night at the rig, but I do enjoy it when I have a chance to get on the air … and, I do snag a few good ones.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that you can’t work ’em unless you get on the air. Good operating practices can boost your signal a bit at the other end. Having been DX, I can say that power and S-units aren’t all that matters.

73 de Dick

Good Ops

OK … finally getting some action above 14 MHz. Ten through seventeen meters all were showing some life this weekend. The WARC bands were especially fruitful. I suspect the RTTY contest drove quite a few onto the newer bands. Forty meters was a zoo with the RTTY contest pretty much covering the whole band. Not much room left for CW. Got shoved right down to the bottom of the band.

I worked a few new countries and a bunch of Texans in the Texas QSO Party so I’m happy. It never fails to amaze me how supposedly “dead” bands come to life during a major contest weekend.

The new vertical is working out pretty well, but I’m not sure if its better or that much different from the Windom. I did a bit of work on the OCF antenna, fine tuning the length and getting the ends up higher and do see some improvement in its performance. Sometimes one antenna is better than the other on receive and the next time it’s the other. I do notice that the vertical has a lower noise level most of the time, which is exactly the opposite of what I’d always been led to believe. So go figure … I’ll use whatever works the best at the time.

Well, the bands are still pretty good so enough writing … back to the radio!

73 de Dick


Well, I’m still wringing out the new vertical. I’m likin’ it! I had time to work a couple of stations tonight — European Russia on 20 and Greenland on 12. The XP3 station was booming in … 59+ at times. He had a respectable pileup going and I grabbed him sending my callsign once.

Overall though, the bands don’t seem too lively. Not much action on either antenna here at just past 0000Z. It was better earlier in the evening. Now’s a good time to catch up on YouTube 🙂 .


73 de Dick

Good Weekend

OK, I was pretty happy with the performance of the new vertical. I cleaned up the installation and it looks OK now. I still have to bury the coax, but I did operate with it this weekend. l worked a few new countries/bands/modes and even a couple of US stations on 80-meter CW. I’m quite pleased with it.

The 17-meter band was quite good today. I listened to a Welsh YL working the states for a couple of hours, and she was booming in here. The Scandinavians were coming in well on most bands for the contest. All-in-all, a good weekend for working ham radio.

73 de Dick K4FTW

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