Friday, June 6, 2014

Getting into HF - My Journey - The Antenna

It's been a few weeks since I have had time to put a post out, for that I apologize.  It's baseball season, and with that small fact, my time to do anything other than coaching, or umpiring vaporizes.

However, even with the baseball, I've still had a chance to move the construction of my QTH - HF station forward.  As a quick review, I started out with a Kenwood TS-520S.  I mighty fine tube driven hybrid radio.  However, in my trip home from Dayton, I found a steal on eBay, and picked up a new to me TenTec Model #538 Jupiter.  Wow, what a radio.  I'll be doing a write up on it, sometime this summer.  So I have the radio.  I picked up a free power supply from my buddy W9ILF, a decent RadioShack 25A switching job.  It so far has been doing the job fairly well.  I have an MFJ Versa Tuner 2 to do the antenna tuning.

So with all that said, the final piece de resistance is an antenna.  This is another area where I had made an early decision to get an Alpha Delta - DX-CC that I would just hang up in the attic, similar to how my dad's station works.  This just never came to fruition.  I ordered the antenna, and I still have it.  In the bag, all nice and shiny, but no place to go.  The attic is a hostile world of high temperatures, and over flowing with insulation.  I just could never bring myself to go up there and give the antenna a proper hanging.

With that on my mind, I began polling the local amateur radio community, and was overwhelmingly pushed to a vertical, given my HOA restrictions.  One vertical that kept coming up in conversation was the "Eagle One HF Vertical Antenna".  This antenna is built by a HAM and his wife over in Ohio.  I checked out their web page, which was pretty simple but focused.  I ordered one.  I figured I'll sell the AD, or maybe use it on field days, or when NVIS may tickle my fancy.  I ordered the complete kit.  It included the antenna, a tripod, and a mounting pole.  It also included 3 rather long copper grounding rods.

I installed the tripod out in the back of our home, and put in the ground rods.  I only had time to attach a single 34 foot counterpoise, and hooked up my RG-8X coax between the tuner and the antenna.  When hooking up the counterpoise, I ran a peice of 14awg grounding wire of about 2 foot in length, over to an aluminum grounding block.  I then ran my counterpoise, and future radials from the grounding block.  I have also thought about running a grounding braid over to the tripod itself, just to ensure that it was participating as well.

In a few hours time, I had racked up several QSOs.  Most of them on 40m, and most of them in the eastern US.  I did hear quite a few DX stations, but I just wasn't making it through the pileups with just the single counterpoise.  Over the next few weeks, I hope to get the number of radials up to around 24 of the 34' length.  When running the radials, I also used some landscaping staples from Lowe's to secure the radial to the ground.  This should keep them from getting caught up in the lawn mower.

If you are looking for an HF Vertical Antenna, I highly recommend the Eagle One.

73's  de N9AWM

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