My last activity was in January when I participated in an “NAQCC Sprint” — that is, a monthly contest, two hours long, sponsored by the North American QRP CW Club.
Not been on the air because of other demands on my time — family, local volunteer activities, and the like.
I have ordered a new antenna, an 80-10 meter end-fed long wire that I will install as soon as it arrives. This will enable me to operate on 80 meters, which should help because 40 meters and the bands above 40 are fairly dead in the winter.
Dec 27, 1015 PM EST, 7050 KHz, had a nice chat with Larry, K4WLO, in Manchester, Tennessee. I was using my Elecraft K-1 at 5 watts output to my end-fed wire antenna. Larry had an excellent signal.
Not much activity on the band at this time — I heard a few stations between 7020 and 7035 KHz as well as a couple of stations around 7052 – 7054 KHz.
Good contact this afternoon with Dwight, KM4FO, in Manitou, KY.
I was using my Elecraft K-1 with the power output backed off to 0.7 watts — 7/10 of a watt, into my only antenna, an end-fed wire cut to 40 meters.
Dwight had a strong signal; he was copying me well also.
I had two good 40-meter CW contacts tonight, Oct 21 (Oct 22 UTC), 2018.
Bob, W5UX, in Darien, GA. Signals were fading badly. We managed to exchange signal reports, QTH, and names, then, signals faded.
Ken, K5WK, in Hattiesburg, MS. Signals were solid with this contact. We chatted for about 15 minutes.
I was using my Yaesu FT-857, running 80 watts into my new end-fed 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.
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.
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.
This week I added a 500 Hz CW filter to my FT-857. The filter really improved my ability to copy CW signals under crowded band conditions or weak signal conditions.
Here is a link to a page describing the filter installation.
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.