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AC2UQ's Absolutely Excellent First Outdoor HF Antenna (April 2017)

Thanks to several OMARC members including Frank, AB2ZO; Rich, AC2Mt; Dave, K2JLV; CJ, KD2IIN and a wonderful teacher and coach Norm, NZ5L who has been a Ham for over 57 years...I now am on the air with an End Fed 80 meter to 10 meter antenna from MyAntennas.com, the EFWH 80-10.

Dave and CJ checked out the QST review of the antenna and Frank came to my home and eyeballed the available trees for hoist this 133 foot antenna. Conversations on the OMARC repeater with Dave and others led me to several very practical and important decisions about how to hoist the antenna and what specific pieces and parts I needed.

Rich was the VE who scored my General Class license exam and encouraged me to pursue HF. He also loaned me a lightning surge protector and advised me on the 'best practices' for grounding my first outdoor antenna. (I will admit being a little terrified about the lightning threat thing.)

Frank also helped me to understand how an antenna analyzer works and checked out my first antenna, an MFJ 17754 40 meter-20 meter, which I put up over the winter (December 2017) after earning my General Class privileges. Frank will be coming by soon again to help me make sure everything is properly weatherized.

Norm, whom I happened to meet when I checked in last November to the Southern Catskill Net, has been my 'Elmer' from the very beginning. He suggested a number of 'attic antennas' for me to consider including the MFJ 17754 which performed flawlessly with contacts in Europe and throughout the U.S. and Canada. However I wanted to get on more bands and then Norm came up with the My Antennas EFHW 80-10. Turns out Frank had the exact same antenna and confirmed Norm's recommendation. It was an easy choice for me and probably save me hundreds of hours of research and hundreds of dollars of failed experiments. However I still have a great deal to learn...at least I won't be able to blame the antenna.

I invested in an LDG Z-100 autotuner and even though the My Antenna folks say a tuner is not necessary I notice a significant improvement with the tuner. My radio is a Yaesu FT-857D. Yes, a little pricey, however as a septuagenarian, I had to consider that not only was it my first radio...it might also be my last. It performs flawlessly and makes scanning the HF channels extremely easy and fun.

So, as of several days on the air I can report contacts in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, Italy, Spain, Hungary, California, Hawaii, several states and Ontario, Canada. I am elated and appreciative of all the help I received from fellow Hams.

Happy to answer any questions, just email me or listen for me on the OMARC repeater...a fun place to be. 73 for now.

Tagged:

Comments


  • Early contacts

    Grounding Clamp and Surge protector (Thanks Rich)

    For shooting tennis ball high up over branch in the tree

    Success!

  • edited April 18

    Nice job Paul. I have the same Yaesu map framed and it still has the creases in it after over 5 years!

    Will have to work you on all bands one day. Do you have QSL cards yet?

    Just wait for me to be in /TF next month to see if you can hear me /QRP.

  • Hi Steve, I've ordered my first set of QSL cards from Jericho Printing, an ARRL Official Badge printer, http://www.jerichoprints.com.

    Janet is the owner and designer. Her late husband was a Ham. She was terrific to work with and designed just what I was hoping for. I'll post a sample here soon. Three day turnaround, 100 cards for $20 plus S&H. I like to support small business owners whenever possible.

    Hope to hear you on HF next month.

  • Sweet Paul! Nice writeup! B)

  • Thanks to Frank, AB2ZO, I can provide evidence of the new End Fed Half Wave 80meter to 10 meter antenna we recently put up.
    This is a practical application of the demonstration that Dave, K2JLV presented at our last OMARC meeting.

    This first chart below is for 80 meters, Frank feels we can improve it by trimming the antenna and we will do so in the next few weeks.

    This second chart below is for 20 meters. Not too shabby. I am delighted with the daytime 20 meters and have made contacts 'across the pond' in daytime as well as several states.

    This third chart below is for 40 meters. Frank pointed out that when we do the trimming and also when I raise the entire antenna several feet after my tree guy cuts away some interfering branches, 40 meters will improve. Although I have a fun many evenings with contacts U.S. and overseas. Learning every day. That, for me, is what this hobby is about.

    I'll keep you all posted as we make the changes. Any suggestions or questions are always welcome. I probably won't be able to answer the question, however lots of 'smarts' in our club, so I'm sure someone will chime in.

  • The SWR plots that Paul posted were made with a RigExpert AA-54 Antenna Analyzer attached with a USB cable to a computer. RigExpert provides the software with the analyzer. It is a Windows program but will run under a Windows Emulator on Linux and Mac OS. I run it under LInux and it works great.

  • WELCOME TO NEW TECHS!
    YOUR UPGRADE TO GENERAL WILL BE FUN.
    Privileges on HF bands earned is worth the effort.

    • All contacts shown in U.S. and International made in a 30 day period
    • AC2UQ is a ‘new ham’
    • Earned Tech license September 27, 2016
    • Upgraded to General December 17, 2016
    • Upgraded to Extra January 29, 2017
    • First HF Antenna in attic February 2017
    • First International contact March 2017
    • First outdoor HF antenna April 15, 2017
    • Date of this poster creation May 15, 2017

  • 13 Colonies 2017 Clean Sweep results achieved with HF End Fed 80-10.

    13 Colonies 2017 log for AC2UQ
    Clean Sweep plus Philadelphia Bonus Station
    July 7, 2017

    As a 'new Ham' [Technician as of 9/27/16] I had only heard of contesting. Frank AB2ZO was one of the Hams who scored my test, however I did not meet him at that time.

    After I earned HF privileges [General as of 12/17/16], I was only concerned about putting up my first antenna and learning to operate on HF. Rich AC2MT scored my test and we chatted a bit afterwards, however not about contesting. Little did I know that Rich and Frank would play an important part in these contest results, months later.

    I spent another six weeks studying for the Extra License and earned the additional HF privileges on January 29, 2017 and tons more about radios, propagation and antennas which was well worth the effort. Not time for thinking about contesting and no external antenna [my first HF was a 40-20 dipole I put up in our attic the day after I earned my General privileges].

    By March 2017 with the advice and coaching of Frank and Rich and another friend, Norm NZ5L I put up the End Fed 80-10 and began seriously operating on HF. Amazing how much time you have when you are not 'booking' for an exam.

    At the end of May 2017 Rich sent me an email about the 13 Colonies Special Event contest. I checked it out, however was not sure it interested me.

    When the 4th of July came around, I heard chatter about the 13 Colonies and decided to see if I could make contact with a few states and thereby hangs the rest of the tale.

    When I started, I was not planning on getting all 13 states, much less the bonus Philadelphia station.
    However, as many Hams have learned, this stuff can be addictive.

    After the third state...I was hooked. There were also two 'bonus' stations. One in Philadelphia where the Declaration of Independence was signed and one in England, that lovely island country where my British Bride was born. [She explained to me that the 'true story' about American independence had to do with the 13 Colonies becoming an 'economic burden' and England wanting 'to be rid of us'. Seriously...she learned that in school...so it must be true.]

    After about 8 states I was able to contact Philadelphia.

    I heard the Durham, England station and tried to break through for almost an hour without making it.
    However, I did get some good practice operating split frequency, so even that part was a pleasure.

    It came down to New Hampshire, K2K, Fred AB1OC, was operating and I tried for two hours between 7:30 to 9:30 pm with no success.
    I went to sleep and set the alarm for 11pm and began trying again on 40 meters…still couldn’t break through the pile up.

    Then, at about 11:45 pm with only 15 minutes to go, Fred switched to 80 meters due to the high noise background on 40.
    That did it…he came through as if he were sitting in our home.

    When we exchanged 59s, I told him he was my ‘clean sweep’ station and thanked him for switching to 80 M…he has obviously been doing this for many years.

    Lots of nice Hams heard over the several days. Amazing to hear calls coming in from all over the U.S; the Caribbean; South America and Europe. All from a little 133 foot wire in my backyard! I love this hobby!

  • What a great timeline story, Paul. Thanks for sharing!

    I was working an SO-50 satellite pass on 7/2 at ~10:15PM and almost got confused for K2J who was on at the same time. K2GOG, K2G and K2J were just too similar so I decided to just observe for the rest of the satellite pass instead of creating confusion in a 500 mile footprint for 8 minutes!

    Not bad for my 4ft long by 3ft wide antenna. :) Brief recording attached of K2J making a few QSO's

  • Thanks to a friend of mine who owns an amazing 'cherry picker' as part of his tree maintenance and health company, two nice young men came by yesterday and added about 15 feet of height to the End Fed 80-10 antenna and the results, in my opinion are amazing!

    Hearing more than ever before and confirmed contacts in California, South Dakota, Poland and Colombia. Tuning up on the higher end of 80 meters for more local contacts was a problem...no longer an issue.

    Lots of compliments on the signal and the improvement from local HF net Hams...still running just 100 watts.

    Not sure how I feel about amplification...hope to learn more about it in the weeks and months to come.

    I still love the romance of a 130 foot wire in my backyard allowing me to speak to hear and communicate with folks all over the world.
    Just as my Dad enjoyed the hobby in Brooklyn in the late 1940s.

    I quite appreciate the QSL cards I've received in this my first year in the hobby.

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