Scribbles, &c.

Antenna update

We live on a great piece of property with an unfortunate shape: wedge-shaped, with the fat end on the road and the house situated on the tip at the rear. This means we have a nice, expansive front yard and enough physical space for things like chickens and my poor excuse of an apiary. The one thing for which we’re not well-situated is an antenna. We’re bounded in the back of the property by power lines (and close neighbors), and it’s highly unlikely I could sell a tower in the middle of the front yard to my wife. There aren’t too many trees close to the house, which is blessing inasmuch as I don’t have to clean the gutters but it also limits my longwire antenna options.

Even so, I’ve been having a decent amount of luck with the end-fed antenna. I’ve had it sloping out of a 2nd-story window and down to a tree, in a semi-vertical configuration with the far end up in an ornamental magnolia tree, and finally in a gradual sloper from a rear corner of the house to the closest tree of consequence, a honey-locust in the very back of the yard. Copious amounts of paracord and a halyard helped me get it a decent height above ground, though nowhere near the best-practice heights. It occurred to me that if the antenna were longer, the end of it would at least be closer to the top of the tree, which might be useful. Turns out that 124.5 feet - which is an ideal length for a random wire - is just the trick.

So I ordered a bunch of Flex-weave from HRO and spent yesterday measuring and soldering. By the way: Flex-weave is a colossal pain in the ass to strip. A little tip from me to you. I had to bring an Xacto knife to bear. Anyway, I reconfigured the halyard a bit and got the whole thing up into the air. Seems to be working, too. The LDG was able to tune it for 160m, and I made a few FT8 contacts there for the first time. Worked a little DX this morning into Europe, too. It seems to really like 40m and 15m. Works decently on 80m, too. May give SSB a run later if I have some time and conditions are decent. As it is, I’m splitting time between eyeballing my inbox for 12th hour work problems and keeping watch on the smoker, which has tomorrow’s turkey in it.