Sunday, July 5, 2009

Independence Weekend

Happy 4th of July!! Drat, it was yesterday already. :-/

Since I had Friday off for the July 4th weekend I started working on a new antenna project. I'm building a HF NVIS antenna. I battled some weak structural integrity on the PVC mast due to the couplers not holding enough. I made it back by Ace Hardware just before they closed and got threaded couplers instead. They seem to add enough rigidity to keep it fairly stiff. It will still definitely have to be guyed.

I also made the mistake of using some 18-ga bare stranded wire from Home Depot. I thought it would work well but instead I ended up with a horrible rat's nest of wire that I'm tempted to just throw in the trash. The stuff knots, twists, and kinks horribly. I replaced the four runs with my 14-ga jacketed and it works much better.

I ran out of time today to get it on the air so hopefully I'll have an update tomorrow.

Right now I'm in the middle of my first digital contest. I'm participating in the 070 club's 40M Firecracker Sprint. Due to late birthday festivities I missed the first 1.5 hrs and I'm giving the rig a break to cool down a little now. The temp gauge looks fine but my output power is being reduced so I felt it prudent to let it breath a little.

I'm not getting anywhere near my goal of 100 contacts but it's still fun. If I get 40 I'll call it a success. It took me a few QSOs to get the contest macros worked out. I can still do a little tweaking but so far I'm not doing to bad I guess.

Well, I'm going to give it another shot. Wish me luck! :-P

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