On The Air (Again)

I made my first contact yesterday after many years.

I ran an End-Fed Half Wave (EFHW) as a vertical up the side of a tall palm tree using the rope and pulley installed recently while having the trees trimmed.

All of my equipment is hand-built from kits.

First, because the EFHW has a very high impedance at the feed point, I used a WA5BDU EFHW tuner – basically a toroid with a primary and a secondary winding – to match it to the 75’ of RG-8X coax that ran into the “shack” through an open window. The tuner is housed in a box with coax and two banana jacks, one for the antenna and the other for the ground plane. The vertical was a 33’ piece of wire and I used four 16’ radials laid out on the ground.

The rig was a Small Wonder Labs PSK-20 running BPSK-31. The rig, in addition to being assembled from a kit, has two very minor modifications: I added a red LED that shines through the power connector hole when the unit is “on”, and a second yellow LED shining through the AF OUT connector hole when in transmit mode.

I used a PSKMeter to initially get the transmit level set but then took it out of the loop to reduce the number of connectors between transmitter and antenna.

Power was measured with a NoGaWatt meter, 3.8 watts forward, 0.8 watts reverse which calculates out to a VSWR of about 2.7 to 1. As with the PSK Meter, the NoGaWatt meter was removed from the transmit string before operation, again to minimize losses.

Bill, at KX1H in Lebanon TN (a few miles east of soggy Nashville), said I was 599 at his location. And he was booming into Arizona so I gave him the same for his stated 10 watts. Not quite a QRP to QRP contact but darn close.

That success with all kit-assembled items will help motivate the completion of a Juma TX-1 transmitter, companion to the already kit-assembled RX-1. And that will, in turn, motivate me to get my CW back out of the single-digit WPM world. My old Advanced Class license necessitated my proficiency at 13 WPM but that was decades ago. Since upgrading to Extra class and a little listening to 40 meters on the RX-1, I can tell I want to be at 20+ these days even though CW is no longer required for the license.

Between the kit building, BPSK’s need for technology, and my desire to work CW, you might say I like to do things the hard way.

There are a couple of lead acid batteries on my shelf waiting for a mountain-top hiking expedition. And we’ve got lots of peaks in Arizona.

See you on the air!


EDSkinner.net began in 2023. Fiction and non-fiction publications are included as well as (blog) posts and supplemental materials from flat5.net (2004-present).

Comments submitted on individual pages are subject to approval. General suggestions may be sent via the Contact page.

© Copyright 2024 by E D Skinner, All rights reserved