New antenna

This is a long story — I’ll skip the details.  I had to take down all my wire antennas, including my main antenna, an off-center fed dipole.

I replaced all the antennas with a single end-fed antenna for 40, 20, 15 and 10 meters.  The new antenna is the EFHW-4010 manufactured by MyAntennas.com.

Here’s a photo of the antenna installation.  The transformer/balun is mounted under the eave of my screen rear porch.  The two wires coming from the bottom of the balun are the coax feed line, and, #6 copper ground wire that terminates on the ground at an 8-foot copper ground rod driven almost entirely into the ground. There is a small loading coil on the antenna — that’s the dark object along the antenna wire.  The antenna is 63 feet long; the far end terminates near my garden shed.

end fed 1 (1)

The hooked object in the lower right corner of the photo is a hook that holds a hummingbird feeder in the summer.  The round object in the bottom center is our satellite TV dish.

I tied the coax and the ground wire together with nylon cable ties so the stiff ground wire prevents the coax from whipping around in the wind.

I’m very pleased with this antenna.  In the one week it’s been up, I have worked several stations between Florida and Maine on 40-meter CW running both 80 watts and 5 watts.

Here’s a close-up view of the transformer/balun, feed line and ground wire.

end fed 2 cropped

The balun is secured to the house with a couple of stainless steel lag screws.  The coax feed line is on the left, the copper ground wire on the right, the antenna runs to the left, 63 feet where it’s tired to a length of dacron rope that terminates at my garden shed.

Recent contacts and activity

Been very busy with other pursuits — mainly rescue squad volunteering where I an am EMT — and have not been on the air.  On April 27 and 28, got back on 40-meter CW.

Had short contact with Greg, NU4R, in Ocala, FL.  Band conditions were awful!!  When we established contact, he had an excellent signal, then, the bottom dropped out and we lost each other in the noise.

On April 28 had nice chat with John K0JVX, in Olathe, KS.  He and I are about the same age, both of us have been licensed since 1958.

May have a problem with my Yaesu FT-857 — power output was erratic during my contact with John.  Will investigate more this weekend.

Ordered a 30-meter dipole from MyAntennas.com.  Will install it as soon as it arrives and see how the 30-meter band works out.

John, K3WWP, and “the streak”

Here’s a link to an amateur radio website that celebrates a one-of-a-kind accomplishment that is still going on.

John, callsign K3WWP of Kittanning, PA, operates low power (QRP) CW (Morse code) with very simple equipment and antennas.  Several years ago John decided he would make at least one QRP CW contact per day just to see how long he could keep it up.

As of August 3, 2017, John’s streak has been going for 8,400 DAYS!!!  That’s right — using only low power (5 watts or less), very simple antennas and Morse code, John has made at least one contact per day for 8,400 days without a break — that’s 23 years!!  And he’s still at it!!

Go to John’s very informative website to follow his streak and to learn more about this interesting facet of amateur radio.

Very good contact with N1NUH

Had a good contact tonight on 40 CW with Joe, N1NUH, in Middlebury, CT.  Joe sends CW very well — it was easy to copy him.  We chatted on CW from around 0208Z to 0240Z 6/22/17.  Signals were strong and solid all the way.

I was using my old S&S Engineering ARK-4 QRP CW transceiver running 5 watts into my OCF dipole.  The ARK4 has a built-in keyer; I plugged in a paddle and was trying to use it.  I’m very rusty with the paddle; will try using it more and more to develop some proficiency with it.  Here’s the ARK-4.

ARK-4
S&S Engineering ARK-4; 40-meter CW; 5 watts output; built-in keyer (paddle for the keyer, or, straight key); no speaker, phones only.  Notice the thumbwheel switch tuning.

And here’s the paddle — built from a kit by American Morse.

portapaddle