Monthly Archives: February 2017

20m EFHW Vertical Revisited

Back in December, I setup the 20m EFHW antenna up as a 20m vertical and was able to make enough unique receive contacts to make the WSPR Challenge board.I have not since reproduced this performance. Today I started from scratch in a way. I first checked the matchbox I had built previously and confirmed the capacitor setting for 20m. This was dead on as before with a 3.9k Ohm resistor. Next up I replaced the 20 gauge wire with 16 gauge. This required about 30.5 feet to start out with . I setup the travel mast and the wire and then pruned it to resonance on the 20m capacitor position. I wired it up and immediately started seeing good performance on SSB compared to the end fed wire horizontal. There was a marked improvement in received signal strength. Running about an hour on WSPR showed 50 unique receive spots. Running JT65 is showing my signal making good rounds to Europe, South America and Japan.

I am going to play with this setup awhile and then turn it over to WSPR overnight and see how it does.

UPDATE: Should note that I made an SSB contact in South Carolina today and received a S9+10dB for the first time using this antenna. Right around dusk the travel mast collapsed and it was to dark to fix…sigh

Worked Pitcairn Island Today on 10m

Haven’t operated much over the last few days but did manage to get some time on the air today. Didn’t have much luck on 20m and 17m today. For grins I moved over to 10m which has been really spotty lately and heard VP6EU on Pitcairn Island coming in about 57 with considerable QSB. He was working split up 5-10. It took awhile, mainly to hear him come in without fade but I was able to make contact with him. This is of course an nice addition to my Oceania contact log. Pitcairn Island was the final home of the HMS Bounty.

17m Is Alive and Well

Noticed that 17m has been open in the morning and early afternoon into Europe and Central & South America. I made some SSB contacts as well as a bunch of JT-65. So now I am operating a bit more as I recover from the surgery. Can’t really work on my antennas yet although I do have plans for installing the S9V31 soon. I will be laying out at least 16 radials and will use the LDG RT-100 remote tuner I just acquired used at the base of the antenna. Hopefully the doc will clear me to do some light work next week about the time the tuner arrives.

Planning My New Base Antenna

I am making plans to setup my S9V31 antenna as my new base antenna. I have tested a similar arrangement with a 4:1 balun and 12, 16ft radials with no issues. I have found a used RT-100 remote tuner which I will use at the base of the antenna.When it arrives and I get some strength back I’ll set it up in the yard about 30 feet from the house.

CW Academy on Hold

I had to drop out of my CW Academy classes due to  the health problems. The good news is that I still remember and can send the alphabet and numbers at 20 WPM. I am getting recordings of all the classes and will have some time to practice reading the code and trying to follow QSO’s. The class has been great by the way and I highly recommend it to anyone trying to learn CW.

Life Sure is Great!

Ten days ago I started noticing a weakness in my left leg. It started pretty mild almost like my knee wanted to buckle. The next couple of days it seemed to be getting worse and I started noticing a lack of coordination in my left hand. Couldn’t type straight.My left leg felt like it was dragging when I walked. One more day passes and I can’t dress myself due to lack of coordination and weakness in my left arm and hand. Off to the emergency room. CAT scan showed a chronic Subdueral Hemotoma on the right hand side of my head squeezing the left side of my brain. The doctors were amazed that I was still responsive. Within the hour I was in the operating room getting a craniotomy.

Today I am counting my blessings. I have a radical new hairstyle, and a fresh 3″ scar on the right side of my head. My left side is recovering nicely and I have not suffered any other neurological or memory problems. Full recovery will take some time but the good news is I am still around.

The moral of this story? Trust your body when it tells you something is wrong and get some medical help. Had I waited a little while longer to seek medical help this outcome would have been very different.Not time yet to be a an SK (Silent Key).

Citizen Science with Amateur Radio

Space weather quarterly has  great article on how ham radio operators are contributing to the study of space weather using data collected from WSPR beacons as well as the reverse beacon network.

The article can be read here:

Space weather quarterly