Monday, August 2, 2010

Antenna Checkout: 20 Meter DX

Per my last post I installed a new end fed half wave wire at KD8JHJ for operation at 14 MHz.  Being a typical summer weekend I was pressed for time as usual and had many other things to do and places to be so a simple checkout of the antenna system using the analyzer was all I had time for.  I also had to remove and reinstall a new pool filter because the old one had quit and we had been keeping the water clean with shock treatments and lots of hand straining.  Hard work out in the sun I know!  I never did get to the lawn mowing.

Later that day before dinner around 7:00pm local time I finally got a chance to sit down at the desk and mercilessly force some electrons up to the new 20 meter end fed.

I set up for PSK-31 because there was many strong signals showing on the waterfall.  Power output was about 30 watts.  Here is the first five contacts in order.

DF9YC  Ostbevern, Germany  4,011 miles
SP4JEU  Ostrada, Poland  4,568 miles
F5TTI  Vermelles, France  3,955 miles
IZ5MXA  Viareggio, Italy  4,490 miles
EA1DFU  Burgos, Spain  3,934 miles

DX is a hoot on 20 meters!  Four of the contacts were established by my answering the CQ calls of the respective stations.  The second contact was my CQ call answered by SP4JEU in Poland.  Not only the greatest span covered of the five, this contact netted me a new country for my DX list.  Just a 33 foot piece of wire, no big towers, beams, rotators or amplifiers required.  I also got out my tape measure and made some accurate measurements of the feed point heights above ground:

20m EFHW  feed point:  30 feet
30m EFHW  feed point:  34 feet
40m EFHW  feed point:  38 feet 


  1. Hot damn! Poland? That's awesome! I'm so anxious to get into DX. That's why I'm interested in the 10m band. Will you receive a new QSL card from Poland? Congrats!

  2. Thanks Mike. Try this: go to and in the search window at top left under the qrz logo put in that call sign or any other one, try mine too.

  3. Oh yea, Tell the XYL (wife) that ham radio will keep you at home and keep you out of trouble!

  4. Wow, I like that QSL cards and bio's are searchable at QRZ; neat! Also neat to read about yourself and your equipment. I had wondered if you had some sort of military background. The Stratofortress is a nicely shaped plane; I remember building a large plastic model of one (among many other planes) as a kid. Your desk looks almost iconic with your equipment, map and QSL's. The only thing missing is a pack of Lucky Strikes! (J/K)

    Time to update your bio to include your new 20m EF antenna!

  5. Antennas have been on my mind out here in Arizona and after reading your post, I really think I need to sit down quietly and start looking at my property and maybe a few bands...20, 40 meters and maybe one more and finally figure out how I can mount wire antennas. I have "unofficially" determined that I JUST have enough room without being near the power lines or phone lines that screw up the back yard for antennas of any kind, while steering clear of the Pine tree out front. I'm sure I can do it. I'm sure there are other hams out there with worse situations.

  6. Hi Norm,
    Yes I think antennas and their deployment are the greatest challenge for us in the hobby. I sure put a lot of consideration into my setup. Always thinking and rethinking and changing my mind.

    I also think about the notion that we have to have the "latest and greatest" in our endeavors whatever they may be. My system is the proof that you can have a boat load of fun with just some wires. And I have also learned that these wires can be very effective.

    You said it in your last sentence. I feel very fortunate to even have a tower, rusty and short as it is. I'm gonna put some paint on that thing this weekend and then I think I'll be done for a while and maybe get on with some operating.

    OK! that's good news to hear that the wheels are turning.

  7. Thenks for contakt Romi SP4JEU 73! best dx

  8. Hello Romi,

    Great to hear from you. Hopefully we will meet again on the bands.

    Vry 73 to you sir,
    -Mike KD8JHJ