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Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Strain Relief for an End Fed Wire

Once a friend asked about how to anchor an end fed antenna ( such as an EFHW ) at the rig end. A lightweight QRP rig attached to a 67' long wire slung over a high tree limb won't stay put without help. I solved the problem with a "split bolt connector" and some nylon twine.

I found split bolt connectors in the electrical department of my local big box hardware store. The nut, with it's captured cross-piece, screws onto the slotted bolt.

I cut off a couple of feet of nylon twine and looped each end. One loop goes into the split bolt.

Looping the twine around a convenient object (in this case a porch railing) and securing it gives a solid anchor for an end fed wire.

Friday, October 28, 2011

On the Air with my Hartley

The AWA 1929/Bruce Kelley CW Party is coming up the first two weekends in December and the weather has started to cool off here in Minnesota. I've put the K1 back into it's winter operating position (a top the 75A4) and started to warm up the classics.

Right now I'm running my Hartley paired with my 1940 Simple Superhet. They make a good pair but my signal reports remind me of one of the Hartley's main limitations. On the 18th I worked Lynn, NG9D. Lynn commented that my signal had a fast QSY to it. Last night I worked Dave, WA9DOF. Dave reported that he wouldn't have known the transmitter was a vintage rig if I had not told him. The difference was the wind. Last night we had no wind here while on the 18th the wind was 10-15 mph. The antenna blowing in the wind shifts the load slightly that it presents to the transmitter. This in turn pulls the frequency slightly. Lightly loading the rig when tuning up helps (see my Nov 16, 2009 Blog entry) but wind can still be a factor. Pulling my wire antenna tighter or a completely new antenna might be needed. I'll see what I can do.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Another Chance to Operate QRP

Beth and I try to get away at least once a month. Almost always I pack along my K1 (and Beth, a good paperback). This time I also had along my Crappie Pole 20 mtr C-Pole vertical.

Last weekend we took the trailer down to the Wisconsin Dells, about 150 miles southeast of Rochester. Besides doing some of the the usual tourist stuff (and there is a lot of it at "the Dells") I got on the air, both from the campground and from an I 90 Rest Stop at the Minnesota/Wisconsin border. Stations worked included KF4IZE, K4ZH, WG0AT/P (A real high for the weekend. See Steve's video report here), WA3SEE and KI4UUZ. The weather was great for sitting at the picnic table with the K1 and I had no problem making a few contacts.

With cooler weather approaching my picnic table QRPing will move into the basement and start to split time with the boat anchors...but we'll still see what can be done outside this winter for the Arizona ScQRPions FYBO contest.