My Most Recent QSO's

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Changes at the Home Station

All my "radio decisions" revolve around choosing "light weight and portable equipment" that can be easily transported, so I've made a change to my "antenna farm"; notably removing the 80 meter Isotron antenna from my array that I've kept in the spare room.

I hope to sell it and (maybe) re-invest in a 30 meter version.

Although the entire array could still be transported in the car, (without taking it apart) it was difficult to get this array downstairs and into the car for transportation because of the "tuning hats" on the 80 meter antenna, and looking back at the decision to add 80 meters to the "farm", it was a bad decision for me.

To be honest, I don't find much interesting on this band. I've heard some "horrible" language on this band (always on the SSB portions) and it's NOT a long distance band from here in the valley. With a few rare exceptions, my contacts were usually very short distance. I think it resembles the 11 meter band now. (no, it's NOT as bad as it used to be but still is NOT good)

I'm looking at two different options to replace the 80 meter band. Number ONE is using a random wire of 47 feet for 30 meters and the other is to add the "matching network" from my PAR end fed "dipole" (not the correct terminology). Regardless, I have a small MFJ tuner that will help with the random wire.

Last weeks excursion to Richwood WV (at 4,000 feet), and the warmer weather, makes me want to operate MUCH more outdoors and with the summer season approaching, I'll be spending time in the West Virginia State Parks, New York, and North Carolina. I'm looking forward to setting up at these places and spending some quality time on the air.

I really want to operate more on the 30 meter band, I like what I heard last week in the mountains.


QRP Station M6RDP said...

Good luck in choosing a nice antenna for portable ops. It's great to take the hobby outside, isn't it. Enjoy the warmer weather and let us know what antenna you decide on. I have always had a soft spot for that T1 ATU from Elecraft - pricey but very nice piece of gear!
73 Adam

Unknown said...

I think that's a good move, John. 80m is a tough band to work with low power and a compromise antenna anyway. 30m is a great low power CW band (I believe even in the USA ops are restricted to modest power) and you might have some fun trying WSPR on the band as well.

Jspiker said...

Thanks guys....Looking back at the 80 meter purchase, I'm scratching my head and wondering if I had lost my mind. It's not for me.

You're right about the antenna too....shame I can't get some wire outside or in the attic. 200 watts is the max here in the US but I heard the strongest German station I've ever heard there when out in the mountains.

I think that 30 meters is the answer to QRP operations.

Dick said...

John, is the photo your own balcony and Isotron? If so, what if you draped it with a colorful bed-sheet. You know, flower design or somthong like that. Tie the bottom with a length of riband. Should keep the wife and HOA happy. No one would know what was under that cover.

Wish I had my remaing FT-817 here now. I'd get outdoors too. 73 Dick

Jspiker said...

Hello Dick, This is a picture I took a few years ago when the relatives rented a home at the Outer Banks of North Carolina. (there are nearly a dozen of us pitching in on the expenses)

We have a family gathering in this area every year and I always take the radio along with me. (the reason I only operate QRP)

The Isotrons are VERY easy to set up but I'll be taking some dipoles this year. In the past, I haven't been able to orient a dipole towards Europe. I never know what is going to happen until I see the exact location on the beach.

I like a vertical radiating antenna with its omni-directional characteristics. The 20 meter Isotron is so easy to set up, I might take it along just for fun.