Radio W4KAZ

Thanks for stopping by the virtual KazShack. Feel free to comment - I often approve them.

One down, one fixed

The 160m-L has been “on the fritz” (i.e., broken) since the ARRL 160m contest. It went crazy when it started raining during the contest. The SWR went high, and it became deaf.

The ground was still covered with snow from our very rare in central NC five inch snowfall. Old XYL tales relate that antennas work best when installed/repaired in inclement weather, so the time seemed right.

It turns out there was a bad connection on one of the jumpers. I took a bit of time to find the problem, and only about 30 seconds to fix. To debug it I plugged the dummy load into the feedline system out at the antenna end. The high SWR into the dummy load told me the problem was in the line and not the antenna. Fixing the line solved the immediate issue.

That whole antenna system needs closer scrutiny. It was intended to be ‘temporary’ when it was hauled up three years back, and the feed line is a hodgepodge of jumpers which were available around the KazShack at the time. If it stays up, the matching network needs to be corrected. At last count, it now has 18 elevated radials. The feed point is about 8 feet off the ground mounted atop the kid’s wooden swing set. The radials are all of different lengths, tied off to trees. The distance of the tree from the antenna center determines the radial length. It seemed to be playing much better with 18 radials than it did in the original four radial configuration.

I suppose I’ll play around in CQ 160 CW, but I expect it will be an all US contest here in the KazShack. 100 watts is effectively QRP when run into a poorly matched inv-L. I’ll find out if I feel like trying to run stations.

The heavy winds from a couple of weeks back knocked loose a rather large branch, which clipped the nested rectangular loop for 15m and 10m. That simplifies the job of fixing it, something that has been much lower on the radio project list.

But without sunspots, I’m still in no rush to get 10m fixed. 15m either, unfortuneatly.

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