Getting it up

View of a backyard with a dipole antenna. Feedline can be seen coming down at a 30º angleCommon advice to new Amateur radio operators asking questions about antennas is that “anything is better than nothing”. The idea being that you can always improve things later, but for now do something to get on the air.

I live in a small rental unit in a rural town, with overhead power lines across the front of my block. As far as antenna’s go, the only thing in my favour is that many houses nearby have UHF CB colinears mounted on roofs or free standing at around 6-7m. This proliferation of CB antennas is not a symptom of a thriving CB culture – more that mum and dad usually retire into town when sons take over the day to day operation of farms, and that before the widespread use of phones UHF CB was a staple of farm communications. Continue reading

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Trans-Tasman Contest

G5RV JnrNow my dipole is up semi-permanently, I can sort of operate every weekend I’m home. I say ‘sort of’ as it’s much noisier here in town than at the lookout where I made my first contacts, and I suspect I don’t get out as well with this little half size G5RV at only 6m high.

I turned the radio on last Saturday afternoon to have a tune around and heard VK6QM calling CQ contest. I wasn’t aware there was a contest on, but when no one else was answering I called back and got a quick lesson in what the exchange was (signal report and contact serial number) and scrawled that and my times on a piece of paper. Continue reading

Contact!

I went out for my first shot of HF operating today had had some success as well as learning a couple of lessons.

The set up was at a local lookout – it has a slight elevation compared to town, it’s out of the Snapped squid polenoise (nearest power-line is about 400m away) and partially surrounded by the salt lake that the town is named for. The lookout has an iron railing that is perfect for strapping my 7m squid pole to. The plan was to hook 20m of wire from that down to the back of the ute and run it as an end-fed.

Lesson 1 – there is only so much tension that can be placed on a squid pole before it snaps.

Continue reading