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New Shack and Antennae

About three years ago, I lost the room my radios were set up in to the need to move children around (we had two more 4 and 5 years ago), so for the longest time my radios have been collecting dust in a corner of the closet, with the exception of the occasional mobile operation. Last year we converted our storage room into another bedroom for my older son with the caveat that I could build my shack in there. Well, it has taken a while to actually get the shack set up, partly because I needed to figure out my antennas. I have been trying to get the funds together to set up my tower (I have the tower itself, just not all the rest of the parts) but need to get the blessing of the city which involves some engineering documents and approvals etc. Well, to make a long story short, it is out of the budget for the foreseeable future. Instead I hatched a scheme to get my G5RV mounted more or less permanently. Here is what I ended up doing:

I had to do some house surgery as well

So far I have been able to get out on 40m pretty well. Let’s see how it goes on the rest of the bands.

Field Day Fail

I finally completed the buddipole as I scrambled to pack before leaving Thursday morning for the camping trip with the scouts. Soldering the PL-259 connector onto a piece of RG-8 mini that I had dangling from the 70 cm Jpole I never hooked up. It was all of about 30 feet, but it was enough.

2016-06-23 17.39.15We found a pretty good camping location in the Hal canyon campground along highway 128. We set up camp and I got the radio hooked up. Since I have never had to manually tune my radio given that I usually have my AH-4 auto tuner hooked up, I brought my manual along so I could look into it. It turns out the IC-7000 has a neat feature that lets you plot a range of SWR across a segment of a band. I hooked up the buddipole with the 20m coils following the recommendations in the instructions and extending the whips all the way minus a quarter of one segment, and proceeded to tune it. I was unsuccessful in finding anything close to a 1.5 match though, so I extended the whips fully and found that it tuned well in the Extra only segment of the bad. We were able to pick up a station from northern Italy and another one from Spain, but were not able to make any contacts. I think it had to do with the narrow canyon we were in.
2016-06-23 17.42.112016-06-23 18.36.35


I am planning a trip to Arches National Park next weekend with my Scouts. As the scoutmaster, this is extremely convenient as this weekend is also Field Day. Also, we will be in a national park which means we can do NPOTA. I have the portable HF rig, (an Icom IC-7000) and the power. What I lack at the moment is a portable antenna.

I am working on building a Buddipole as described by WW1X on his video at I ordered the featherweight whips and a pole adaptor. Now I need to go to the store to get the rest of the components.

Extra class

On wednesday, I passed  my Extra class exam. This is something that I have been preparing to do for over a year now. It felt good. I am not sure what I am going to do with it now. Currently my shack has been displaced by the need to shift my children’s rooms. I have a tower lying in pieces in the back yard. The hole is dug for the concrete base. I just need to get the components together. The trick is, I just had to sink several thousand dollars into fixing my truck and replacing the family car that was totaled in an accident. Oh well. At least I don’t have to keep checking off “Ham radio study” from my daily todo list .