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Dec 20, Antenna Problem Solved

Finally weather dry enough and not too cold to work outside so I got up on the roof for a closer look at the pesky wire antenna with unacceptably high SWR.  I noticed that condition when my Kenwood HF refused to tune up on 80m altho it was tuning on 40m.  So I loosened the center halyard to drop the balun within reach and immediately spotted the problem.  The electrical connection on the shorter leg of the OCF Dipole had snapped off (see picture) so no wonder I had lousy SWR.  My junk box contained the proper lug connector and easily crimped it in place and rehoisted the dipole.  New SWR’s are as low as 1.1 on 17m up to 2.6 on 15m and 3.5 on 30m.  The biggest improvement was on 80m; it is now 1.9.  The Kenwood TS-590 does manage to tune up on 30m.  Next project: test that the old Yeasu FT-900 works well enough to sell it with a clear conscience.

balun-with-snapped-off-connector

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Split Personality

Illustrating my Split Ham Personality – QRP or QRO?  I am conflicted.  On the one hand Dr. Jekyll wants to use QRP for the fun and challenge of minimal operations; because you can build your own gear and antennas, and because of portability – take it to the field!

But Mr. Hyde wants to work DX and collect countries and is tired of being a 90-lb barefoot weakling being pushed around by more powerful stations so he craves power!

Yes, I know about John Shannon, K3WWP, (who is a national treasure by the way) who’s worked the world many times over on 5 watts and simple wire antennas and who has made a QSO a day for 19 years (>7,000) on QRP so we all know it is possible but if you are still working full time as I am and have a limited amount of time to devote to DXing or even to just hamming in general, a little extra power is nice.  Is this a long sentence or what?  John’s excellent and interesting website is http://home.windstream.net/johnshan/ and worth a visit, IMHO.

The upper amp in the pic is an old Heathkit SB-200 that I have not been able to get on the air and the lower is a “new” used Ameritron 811H I just acquired and with a tuner that is coming soon I will have it on the air when needed.  My strategy, initially at least, will be to go barefoot to try to make a DX contact calling CQ but failing that, up the power.

The rigs on the bottom are my Yeasu 817 bought used in 2012 and my NorCal 40A built from a kit in the nineties.  It needs a new keyer at the moment, by the way.

I still want DXCC QRP and have 88 countries so far, so I’ll resume that after I get to 200 countries barefoot or QRO.  Two hundred countries seems to be a nice threshold for DX accomplishments, based on the number of people at the DX dinner at Dayton a few years ago I attended.  A well-attended event, the moderator had everyone stand who had 100 countries and of course that was most of us, absent spouses.  Then remain standing if you have >200 and at least half the room sat down.  So, I scientifically conclude that >200 would put you in the upper half and that’s where I want to be.  As the count increased to 250, etc. more and more people sat down till just one hero remained but I don’t expect to ever get into a rarefied atmosphere; just the upper half will do for me.  So I’ll use my amp(s) to get me there, then sell one and keep the other for special occasions.

Wish me luck; I have 111 entities confirmed (but 146 worked) as of July 2013 so this could take a while!split-personality-qrp-or-qro

Up On the Roof

With a tip of the hat to the Drifters and Carole King, here’s what I found up on my roof yesterday.  So, what do you call half a dipole?  Answer: a lousy antenna!Balun with Snapped Off Connector.jpg

#sota #qrp #hamr activation of two mtns

#sota #qrp #hamr activation of two mtns in Smokies planned for Sat 2300. ck sotawatch.org for info. Tnx!

Poor Man’s Paddle finished and ready to

Poor Man’s Paddle finished and ready to op. Who will be first qso? #qrp #hamr http://ow.ly/i/Gzsf

Project; build “poor man’s pad

Current project; build “poor man’s paddle” for #qrp. Soldering in tight spots. Tricky little rascal. http://www.hamdom.com #hamr http://ow.ly/i/GvtJ

K9QRP makes his first #SOTA contact #ham

K9QRP makes his first #SOTA contact #hamr #qrp http://ow.ly/i/CG4b