Saturday, October 11, 2008

Antenna repairs

The Cobra Ultralite Jr that's been way up in the maple trees in the back yard for the past few years needed a little repair today, so after the Marine Corps Marathon meeting at the Armed Forces Retirement Home this morning, I headed to Ham Radio Outlet to get a new slingshot.

It looks like squirrels chewed through one of the support lines -- that line was through a crook in one of the trees that I think also contained a squirrel's nest.

After about an hour of fussing around getting the new line in the tree, I had things back to better than they were when I did the installation the first time.

So, the good news is that the HF antenna is back up, and appears to be working just fine. The bad news is that we're still at the sunspot minimum, and propagation is TERRIBLE. Well, if history is any indication, it (and the stock market, for that matter) will get better.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Rhue Hollow on the air

I spent some time yesterday hanging an Alpha Delta DX-OCF (apparently not marketed by Alpha Delta anymore) in the trees to the north of the house on Rhue Hollow.

The center of the antenna is at about 35 feet, a bit higher than the spec value of 30 feet. The ends of the antenna are at about the spec value of 8 feet. One is a bit close to the rear deck pilings, so a tuner will be required to reduce SWR.

It's a pretty nice installation; I'm hoping that as Cycle 24 gears up, I'll have good experiences with that antenna.

I'm using an FT-897D, with LDG AT-897 tuner. I connect the rig to the laptop, and run Ham Radio Deluxe (HRD) and the full DxLab suite for both computer control of the rig and for logging.

I participated in the California QSO Party this weekend, but with all the station set-up (and a LOT of noise), I made only one CA contact. I made a contact with an operator in Ohio, and another operator in the Azores.