Saturday, November 30, 2013

Small Business Saturday, Radio Style

27 Degrees and Clear
Winds Calm

It's freezing...really.  The high today was only 32.  The ground is feezing, but there's no snow yet.   All the leaves have fallen, and the poison ivy is dead.  In other words, all the ingredients are in place for putting up a new home-brew antenna!

The internal tuner in my new Flex 3000 will not tune the existing wire antennas on 80 meters CW, so this was just the excuse I needed to put up a new dipole.  I considered several options including an off center dipole, end-fed zepp, and trying to rebuild my inverted-L (that never seemed to work that well).   I settled on a straight forward dipole cut for the lower part of the 80 meter band.

Today was "Small Business Saturday" encouraging all to shop with local merchants.  I'm proud to say that I visited my local radio shop, Lentini Communications, to get some necessary parts for the build:  JetStream Center Insulator, Insulators, PL259 Connectors, and Coax Seal.  You can never have enough Cox Seal.  I'm very lucky to still have a radio shop in town.  Lentini's stock favors HTs, mobile rigs & antennas, and supplies with an occasional HF Rig to admire..  Bill, N1JBS, is always behind the counter ready to help, give advice, and chat about ham related topics.

I used the online KWARC Dipole Calculator to determine a length of 66 feet for each leg of the dipole, and suspended the center connector from a pre-existing tree mounted pulley left over from the inverted-L.  This dipole is a sloper, with an angle of about 30 degrees at the apex.    At test time, the antenna is receiving nicely, and the SWR is 1.2 at 3.510 MHz.   That was fun, and relatively easy.  In fact, I'm thinking about trying an Off-Center Dipole.  The East-West orientation of this new antenna may give me a DX advantage on other bands using a OCD build.  I think I'll have to make another visit to Lintini's next week for a 4:1 current balun.

I hope to C U on 80m CW this winter.

Phil, N1DN