Once I got my skyhooks in the air on Thursday afternoon, I decided to try 15 meters, since that band is usually busy around 2100 hrs UTC in my location. As luck would have it, conditions were only fair with considerable QSB and other annoyances. However, I heard a CQ from Dick, W8PW, in Las Cruces, New Mexico and decided to hit the transmit switch on the old Swan 100 MX. We had an enjoyable qso for about 10 minutes before atmospheric conditions buried my signal in the noise. Dick’s station can be seen on QRZ.com. It’s quite impressive. He was using an ICOM 7600 and a “4-square” 15-meter antenna. His signal was peaking from 54 to 56 most of the time. I was feeding my 40-meter vertical with 50 watts and was able to peak around 53 before my signals were absorbed in the noise level. Eventhough the band was quite noisy, I heard several good signals. One never knows what will happen when you launch that CQ. I thoroughly enjoyed my chat with W8PW and hoped that I could “chew the rag” with him at someother time. Sometimes all I need to do is enjoy a nice, friendly conversation to brighten up my day. A good “ragchew” can be a great stress reliever from the cares of the day.
A few days ago, one of the young hams I know asked me where he could get some antenna ideas for his home station. I gave the usual references, including my haphazard experiences, ARRL and CQ antenna books, and the local ham club. I also suggested that he go to www.ac6v.com, where there are hundreds of good, simple antenna designs waiting to be built. Another good site is the mobile antenna library maintained by Allan Applegate, K0BG (www.k0bg.com). This site has all kinds of intriguing projects, from installing mobile units to basic stealth designs. Another good source of ideas are the antenna forums maintained by QRZ.com and eham.net. I’ve always enjoyed “rolling my own” antennas. Homebrewing antennas is fairly cheap and can teach one the basics of design and theory. Pair this self-knowledge with a computer antenna design program and you have the recipe for a decent antenna at a minimum cost. Building antennas is one of the few activities most hams can do. Of course, the surge of new transceiver kits and accessories bodes well for us do-it-yourselfers. I surely miss the old Heathkits of yesteryear. I remember burning my stubby fingers with solder as I tried to assemble a HW-101. I must have rebuilt that rig several times, correcting the mistakes of a novice builder. I got an immense sense of satisfaction when I turned on the rig and it actually worked. I wish I still had the old thing–it brings back mostly pleasant memories. But, time and progress move on. There’s nothing wrong with the modern equipment available to amateur radio operators…maybe there’s too much to choose from these days. Although most of my equipment is over 30 years old, I plan to get an up-to-date rig when the retirement budget allows. Presently, I’m looking at an Elecraft K3. I keep most of my older stuff because I can operate and maintain the equipment myself. However, as most of you know, replacement parts, tubes, and even filters are getting harder to find. So, one of these days, I’ll have to make the plunge and join the 21st century.
In addition to writing this blog, I maintain a local news blog covering events on Hawaii Island. I created this blog when I was the news director at Pacific Radio Group (Hawaii Island) and continued the process to keep my mind active and somewhat sane. The blog has a modest following and, like my amateur radio pursuits, I enjoy the interaction with my former listeners. You can visit the blog if you wish–http://prgnewshawaii.wordpress.com.
Have an excellent Easter holiday!
Aloha es 73 de KH6JRM
Filed under: Amateur Radio