Tuesday, April 28, 2009
The antenna is marketed as an "end fed half wave dipole antenna". It's cut to use on the 40-20-and 10 meter bands and a LOT shorter than 66 feet.
I never gave it another thought. (other than it worked excellent and was a good choice for my portable station). I love the thing... and have worked several DX stations from both my New York location and the Outer Banks of North Carolina. It's also highly adaptable since the matching network on the end allows me to attach the proper "half wave length" of wire, and change bands in a matter of minutes. And I DO mean ANY band from 10 meters to 160 meters.
Recently, I made a comment, on a message board, to the fact that I was going to North Carolina soon and would be taking the "end fed dipole" with me since I hoped to work a few of the guys back here in West Virginia while I was at the beach.
What a discussion.....
It seems the "end fed dipole" isn't (technically) a "dipole". My antenna is (technically) a Zepp. A little confusion here.....
But does it really matter that the original version of the dipole antenna (Rudolph Hertz in 1886) isn't what it was today? We learn new things and antenna designs have advanced to a different level now. The original design of the dipole was established 123 years ago.
The classic example being the G5RV and the Carolina Windom. The G5RV is fed directly in the center of the radiating wire. The Carolina Windom is fed "off center" but I've heard them both described as dipoles.
Sometimes I think we get a little too hung up on our "technical descriptions" about antenna's. The G5RV and the Windom are much MORE than a simple dipole antenna. I'd go as far as to say they should be classified as vertical antennas.
So the opinions go round and round....and to me, it really doesn't make a lot of difference if the feed point is in the center, offset, or on the end. As long as they function well and are dependable.
But why is the Zepp now being called an "end fed dipole"? I think the physical descriptions and radiating characteristics are exactly the same.
And besides...Zepp is a lot easier to send in CW than the long drawn out explanation of "half a dipole, fed at the end of the wire, with a matching network attached".
I'm not complaining about my antenna, and perhaps nothing more than a "definition".
I'm just here to have fun with my radio and pass along a few things I've learned over the years.
If you have an opinion about either the Zepp or the "end fed dipole" I'd like to hear about it.
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
We remembered each other early in the QSO and (happy to say) the conversation started revolving around the upcoming Dayton Hamvention . The "standard QSO" gets a little mundane at times and it's always exciting to 'rag chew' for awhile about different things happening in the world.
He gets a bang out of the "FISTS Club" (me too) and you will probably find him somewhere near their booth. He also loves "fleas". This year, the convention starts on the weekend of May 15th and if you attend, I'd say you'd find at least 20,000 Hams wandering about the grounds.
Before retirement, I worked in the retail industry and worked weekends for most of 21 years. (need I say more?) He motivated me when he said he won a prize a few years ago from Kenwood! And talking with him today sure makes me want to spend some time exploring the aisle's and displays in Dayton. I'd especially like to view the 'QRP' booths.
But this year I'll be taking care of the grand kids while my daughter and her husband spend a well deserved "vacation" by themselves at the beach. But maybe next year (don't have that retail job anymore) I'll be able to drive up and gander at all the gear.
I worked another interesting station today on 20 meters. Gary (AB0BM) and I had a nice QSO from his home town in Quimby, Iowa. That's not a real distant station (especially on 20 meters) but I was surprised to continue the conversation for nearly an hour. At 800 miles, I found it rather fascinating. Gary is also a "FISTS" member, and a SKCC member. We even exchanged "area code" numbers.
I also heard WB5QYT in New Mexico, but couldn't exchange the necessary info for confirmation. Tom is almost 1,400 miles from me here in WV. (I copied his call and name) I sent him an e-mail with the hopes of working him when the band is in a little better shape.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
The really fun thing about this event is EVERYONE is using 5 watts or less. Every contact is QRP x QRP and, for me, that's where all the joy comes together in these two hours.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Last week, when I worked K3QEQ, we started an e-mail exchange, which allowed us to share a few "Sea Stories". They've been about our time serving as a Radioman and a Signalman back in the mid 60's. I was on the Navy Destroyer USS Corry (DD-817).
Bill was a radioman aboard the USS Wasp (CV-18) when they picked up the Gemini IV Space Capsule. (and the 6th, 7th and 9th). Can you imagine the "pile ups" for this "rare DX ?" The dipole was in the crossarms 160 ft off the water.
I got his card today and found it SO interesting, I decided to put in on the blog. He also included a picture of himself in the "radio room" using "Collins" gear. That same kind of radio is still being used today and they STILL work. (I believe better than the NEW radio's of today). I don't think anyone has ever developed a better set of "filters".
We were always friendly with the "radio guys" but found differences in the way we interpreted Morse Code. "Seeing" and "hearing" Morse Code are two different things. I could never transfer the "speed" back and forth.
The brain processes that information differently, and we often amazed each other when we tried to decipher Morse Code in a different mode. On a "searchlight" Morse Code starts to "blur" together at about 10-12 wpm. (You can't distinguish the "dot's" from the "dashes"). When I was active in the Navy, there wasn't anyone in the fleet I couldn't follow with my "eyes".
I've known radiomen that could "hear" code at 45-50 wpm. At this speed, (and still today) that sounds like a swarm of bee's to me. I've never been able to hear it correctly. It took me awhile to change from my "eyes" to my "ears" when I was first licenced as a ham radio operator. I often wonder if I will EVER be able to read "fast" code.
Due to today's "Digital Age", the Navy quit using "code" several years ago. (at least that's what I'm told). But I can't imagine the "art" becoming forgotten and obsolete.
We were able to send and receive "code" at 10 miles distance with a simple light on a clear night. We could also send and receive Semaphore at two miles. (We had a pair of "eyes" that could see the "tip of a mast" barely sticking above the water line on the horizon). And I still remember the "filters" we used for flight operations at night.
I'd be interested to know if the "old" skills are still being taught in today's Navy? You never know when "the most basic of all modes" might be needed again?
I can't imagine using those "shutters" to communicate now , but I bet 100 years from now, it would be really nice see them again , if the satellite "fizzled" out.
I've really enjoyed this e-mail exchange with Bill (K3QEQ) and look forward to hearing him on the air again. Of course, we're both a little older now, but once the "salt" is in you, you never forget it.
Monday, April 6, 2009
Sunday, April 5, 2009
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
So, this morning, when I worked K0ZXQ, in Hannibal Missouri, the thoughts of Steven's "Walk Around the World" was again returned to my mind. K0ZXQ (Ken) lives in the "boyhood home town" of Samuel Clemens (aka Mark Twain). I also have friends that were married on April Fools Day. (you got'a have a sense of humor)
I worked K0ZXQ about this same time last year and work Missouri easily with QRP power from here (about 500 miles). I've worked several stations, this last week, in the area around St. Louis and band conditions (at least for me) still favor this area. When I was living in an apartment complex many years ago, I worked NF0R/qrp, who was using 1 watt and a "St Louis Pocket Vertical" antenna taped to the inside wall of his home. I had about 30 foot of random wire laying on the floor and "tuned up" (amazingly) using bell wire.
Getting back to radio, I've always enjoyed a good hike (a walk with a purpose) and take the radio along with me whenever possible. In my early radio days, I carried a " Portable Packet Station" with me when I hiked the "Appalachian and Allegheny" trails in West Virginia and I once worked the Russian MIR station while sitting in a "cow pasture" with the TNC, a HT and a "palm top computer" (a Hewlett Packard 95LX ). I carried the entire thing in my backpack and it didn't weigh much more than a pound. Steven could have carried the thing along on his "World Walk" and hardly known he was carrying it.
April Fools means different things to different people. I'm sure many jokes will be played with one another today. But this April day made me think on the long hikes I've often taken with my radio gear. If you have a few minutes, check out "The World Walker".
Steve is the only person to have ever solo hiked around the world!