Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Antenna work at KD8JHJ

On Sunday I managed to get my support lines for the EFHW antenna wires much higher into the tree out back.   The tree is a silver maple whose trunk splits into 3 smaller trunks about four feet above ground.  After closely looking at the tree for a month or so I settled on a target support branch about 25 feet up in the only area of the canopy that was in the clear and free of smaller branches and foliage.  I know it probably would not matter at my low power levels and the fact that the wire is insulated but it would bug me if the 40 meter wire was in contact with the foliage.  I was going to climb the tree and attach a pulley system but it was a bit windy and I don't enjoy climbing trees quite as much as I did when I was 13. 
One day at the local hardware I spotted a roll of very bright pink string.  I also picked up a 7/8" nut that weighs an ounce or two to tie onto the pink string.  I explained to my son how I would twirl the string with the nut and fling it up into the tree David and Goliath style and hopefully over the branch.  I could tell by his expression he thought I was crazy.   After ten or fifteen throws I got the string right where I wanted it and pulled up the black Dacron antenna cord.  Wyatt was impressed.  Showing tricks like this to my son is one of the little joys of parenthood that I really get a kick out of.
Searching in my scrap wood box I found some pieces of 1/4" X 12" mahogany to wrap the cordage on to keep tangle free for future use.
I had doubled the height at the far end of the antennas.  Back in the shack I noticed right away that the noise floor was lower and signals seemed louder.  I believe I was picking up lots of electrical noise from the house.  Incoming signals are not any stronger now, there is just less static in the background.  As for any improvement in my transmitted signals I can't really say.  I have made 7 contacts since the modification and the stations I am reaching are not reporting any difficulty hearing me.  One ham I worked last night on 40 meters, Bob W0CAB (Been a ham for 60 years!) near Kansas City said the rig sounded great for only 40 watts.   

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