First tests with homebrew Buddistick

Reasonably good weather here yesterday afternoon so decided to try the home brew Buddistick out on 20m with the FT-817. I had mixed results. Setup took about five minutes. The antenna was mounted on a fully extended light camera tripod bringing the feed point up to about 66 inches. The 9.5 foot whip was fully extended and the 7 turn coil was used. I then extended the radial out to about 15.5 feet and two feet off the ground. So far so good.

Plugged in the mini-60 antenna analyzer and ran a sweep. The minimum SWR was high indicating I needed more radial deployed. I added three feet and it swung the other direction. I started having some problems with the analyzer. I had left it on and drained the batteries, doh!  Ok, so I let analyzer charge a bit and plugged the antenna into the radio. The tuner found a match and I started scanning the band. Reception was quite good with a noticeable reduction in background noise. I scanned the band a bit more and started noticing an intermittent drop in signal strength that finally just stayed down. Now I plugged in the analyzer again and got really odd results on the next sweep. So odd I wondered if I fried the mini60 somehow. Checked all the connections and did not notice any issues. The SWR sweep showed the same weirdness.

It was starting to get dark by this time so I tore down the setup and brought everything inside. I plugged the mini60 in to get a full charge and later verified that it was working correctly by measuring a series RLC circuit. Next was to look at the antenna again in detail. Found a bad solder joint on the banana plug going to the feed point…doh!

Although I failed to complete the tuning of the antenna or make a contact I am sure now that this antenna will tune nicely now on 20m. I also replaced all the connectors with Anderson powerpoles to make switching in and out easy. Hope to fire this up again this weekend.

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