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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