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T Time
Sep 6th, 2010 by kmack

Labor Day here in the USA! So a day to play for most of us. Depending on the weather I may get a bit more on air time, but I have a project lined up too.

Some time ago I purchased a Deluxe Tuner kit from Dan’s Small Parts and Kits aka a QRP Mini Tuner by Mark L. Meyer as described in a 73 magazine article. It is a nice little set of parts and a schematic for the price.

T tuner

QRP Mini Tuner Kit

So I’m thinking this holiday might be the time to build that little T tuner out and see if I can load up the downspout that runs down the side of my back porch. I’ll let you know how it works!

Hope the bands hold up. Tonight’s QRP-L has a message from N4QA about how nice 40m is sounding right now! Sure would be fun to have our bands back from the QRN and low sunspot streak of late!

What Would You Do? Antenna ideas anyone?
Aug 12th, 2010 by kmack

We purchased our condo before I got back into ham radio. Like most in Orlando, we have antenna restrictions. I can put up portable or temporary antennas but cannot mount anything to the building permanently. I’d love to be able to get on the air without all the hassles of dragging gear to the porch, setting up an antenna and then tearing it all down again. It takes so much time to setup and tear down that it turns a few minutes of operating into a long process.

Here’s the layout I have to work with at the QTH…

The front yard

The front yard view... I am next door down from the blue car

backyard view

Preferred antenna site is the backyard

The buildings run north and south and these photos are shot facing due north. My condo is ground floor, second from the south end of the building. Yes, that is a big electrical transformer box and a major underground feeder line runs to it from the north.

I’ve used my Buddistick with some success but it doesn’t like being so close to the buildings and the swr is higher than when it is out in the open. I also have run a doublet inverted vee fed with twinlead but the north south orientation is not very favorable from my Florida QTH and sends most of my rf into the two buildings. My W3EDP works fairly well as an inverted L with my 20′ Jackite pole and I’ve used end fed halfwaves as slopers and inverted vees but again the directivity is not favorably oriented. I have a 3 foot magnetic loop propped against the wall but it is not working as well as I’d like yet. (i.e. the outdoor antennas work LOTS better so far)

Thought I’d ask ya’ll for some input.

Any outrageous ideas or thoughts for  me? Send me a comment and let me know.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

reBlog from va3stl: Downspout Antenna
Jan 24th, 2010 by kmack

I found this fascinating quote today:

I have read about rain gutter and downspout antennas but never tried loading my own or worked somebody using one, until earlier this week when I had a QSO with Craig, KA1GYB.  During our 80m PSK31 chat Craig told me he was using a downspout antenna and had worked 42 countries and 42 states, including Alaska, from his Connecticut QTH with that antenna. His signal gave great copy for me and I was very impressed.  He told me he could load it on 160m to 6m, using an antenna tuner.va3stl blog about Downspout Antenna

You should read the whole article.

As a condo dweller with antenna restrictions, this approach has appeal. Do you have experience with doing this? Our downspouts are connected to plastic piping leading to an underground drain. I assume if they are wet, it might be a tall dummy load.

Pipe in on this if you have some thoughts.

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