Monday, July 2, 2018

New Antenna, Remote Switch

Over the past few weeks there has been a lot of activity in the shack with little focus for air time.  I have been getting to know the trees and branches on the property, figuring out the best position for a new Dipole.  Once I stepped back I realized I needed a half way decent multiband antenna.  The problem with a decent multiband is that my lot, diagonal, measures 132 feet.  Straight line front to back is 104 feet.  I ma blessed with several trees, up about 45 feet tops.  I settled on a G5RV but where to fit it was the problem.  After getting a stiff neck looking up at the trees contemplating the least invasive, least error prone locations, I took a chance on an inverted V configuration in my back yard.  My wulfhung is an 8oz plumb bob which has proven to be a great way to get a wire up, once you get the hang of it.  I found a nice hole in the branches that only has a few leaves touching the 450 Ohm ladder line that forms the 31.5 foot feedline.  So far, as of today, it is working on one of the worst days for HF this summer.  I am hearing the International Bible Study Net on 14.32250 and the ant appears to be staying true to its form by providing an omni directional pattern.
I sold a scanner and picked up an Ameritron RS8V  Remote Coax Switch which makes my wife a happy person by not having 4 or 5 holes in the wall!

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Cheap End-Fed From Hawaii

This is a link to the pdf that will provide all the info you need to make your own fun, effective and afforable end fed that is easily tuned.  Roll it up and take it with you for portable operation or up and down for the dreaded deed restrictions from your HOA.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

A Change of Focus

After consideration of several factors and looking at the true value of my several past-times, I decided to place my focus on the local, Emergency Communications portion of the hobby.  Time does not permit one to be full fledged into every aspect of the hobby.  I look back on the times when I have had the most fun, excitement, and respect for this grand hobby and it is during the times when WE are needed that stand as moments of true value.
I dumped my HF gear and put the money into a TD-D710AG, refreshed the Peet Bros. 2100.  It had been out of commission since 2011 when a strangely mean neighbor sawed down my mast on a Thursday morning and gave it to the curbside for trash pickup that day.  We had moved, I had not disassembled the mast and had returned to do finish the move on that Friday.  Gone!

So today, 9/2/2017, KI4FH has sent its first packet of weather data.  I am not able to replace the anemometer yet but upon selling off some more hf stuff, I will.  For now it is the basics.
It is good to be back.


Friday, June 23, 2017

Five Watts On The Beach

Tripping on cables, charging the Gel Cells, cutting the radials,  pining for proper propagation's  Field Day 2017.  Been preparing all week.  I think my wife and daughter are more than happy to have me out of the house at this point.  "So honey, if you setup at 1:00 you can play with your radio the whole 27 hours?  That sounds good, you deserve to get away"
Gone will be the RG213 and RG 58 strewn about.  Relieved they will be of the "Honey can you hold the end of the wire?"  "Keep it tight"  I have been promising all week that the mess in the house will be taken care of tonight.  I have been saying that all week, each afternoon.
So now I am putting it together.  I will be solo this FD.  On Siesta Key Beach!  The Number 1 Beach in America according to Trip Advisor.
I have scoped out a spot.  The county folks were friendly but stopped just short of giving me a permit to operate the full 27 hours.
So if you want a QSO from a QRP operator at the Number 1 Beach in America, look for KI4FH - KI4 Florida Hotel on 20 and 15 at day and 40 at night.  I will be on the QRP voice and QRP CW sections.

73 - Whooppeee!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

All Choked Up

I am announcing my support for Choke Baluns!  Lots of folks say they don't matter much.  I disagree based upon my own research here at the KI4FH labs!  With a Coax Choke at the feed point both my 40 Meter dipole and 20 Meter Dipole, both flat-tops, are pleasantly broad banded and offer a low SWR.  Without the choke, there was resonance to a degree but the antennas were not as broad banded.
So I have played around with several iterations of center feed insulators.  All homebrew using Sched 40 PVC.  I have also hidden a #73 Bead Choke Balun inside a PVC tube but the weight is too much for the occasional torrential summertime Florida storm.  I now incorporate a waterproof taped piece of Coax with 50 #73 torrid beads on the cable.  This is working out excellently although it is ugly.  To lower stress point issues on my 8X center conductor and braid, I have them fed into a straight through PVC cap to an SO-239.
I prefer the bead balun when the number of turns of cable to effect the same result would cause a lot of weight at the center.  On the 20 meter antenna, the turns are about 6 with a 4 1/2" air core  The cable is strapped together with UV resistant ties.  This works great.
To round things out, I purchased a Budwig Center Insulator from WizeSupplize and am now experimenting with that as opposed to one of my waterproof home brew centers.
It seems pretty tight!

So, that is it for now.

73, KI4FH

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Ok, so I gave up on the loop and the sloper.  Also tried a neat endfend with a 9:1 balun.  It performed ok but was really noisy.  So I installed Hustler 4BTV on DXSSB Contest Weekend. Thanks to Greg at HRO in New Hampshire for changing the order to allow me to pick-up the antenna at UPS. The radials were from #24 surplus wire from Sarasota Electronics and hooked up to ground bus bars for electrical boxes. The bus bars were about 7 dollars each. The wire was about 10. Much cheaper setup than the DX Engineering radial plate kit. Not as solid or as good quality but it works until I can afford the good stuff! Without tune up, out of the box, the antenna is ok.

  • 40 Meters 7.150 1.6:1
  • 20 Meters 14.150 1.4:1
  • 15 Meters 21.160 1:1
  • 10 Meters 28.5 1:1 

So I will need to tune up 40 meters and maybe 20. I am extremely happy with the antenna and had great success during the ARRL DX SSB contest this month.
Here are some pics. Radials are buried about 1" down to keep from getting chewed up by the mower.
Check my log on the Activity page to see how it is performing from Sarasota, Florida.

Full setup.  Off to the upper left is the feedline for my
G5RV Jr.  A great antenna.

Not perfect all around but very effective.  Lengths vary due to
obstacles etc.  Longest ones are 34+ feet and shortest about 16.


The Antenna does not come with an SO-239 So I borrowed the back side of an
old homebrew antenna tuner.  Saved some time.  The balanced feeders are 
still in place though obviously not used as I am using the PL259. 
All was sprayed with clear outdoor Enamel to help protect from corrosion.  

I liked the view!