Friday, February 4, 2011

KH6JRM's Amateur Radio Blog

This has been a very busy week in the radio station
news room.  The problems in Egypt have gained an
importance in Hawaii that we islanders usually don't
have.  Several Hawaii residents are trying to get out
of Cairo amidst the confusion, violence, and disorder.
I hope they make it.  Once this day is done, I'll be
glad to put the cares of the Middle East and Hawaii's
deficit economy behind me until Saturday morning.
Although our economic woes pale beside those of
Illinois, California, and New Jersey, the Aloha State
is just beginning to cope with a stubborn $844 million
shortfall.  Everything is going up now--taxes, fuel,
and electricity.  I know, what else is new?  Anyway,
it's off to the Swan 100 MX, the ole J-38 key, and the
new inverted vee in the backyard.  My yard is quite small,
so I had just enough room to squeeze in a 40-meter vee.
Fortunately, I had some extra 450-ohm ladder line, so I
can use the skyhook from 40 to 10 meters.  The ladder
line is attached to a 4:1 balun, which is joined to 50' of
RG-6 I had around the shack.  I found a suitable connector
which allows me to mate the RG-6 to the Drake MN-4
ATU.  The setup is simple, easily repairable, and works.
I still have the under the house 40 meter loop which doubles
as an antenna for my vintage Hallicrafters 62A.  The loop
is a few feet off the ground, since the house is supported
by a post and pier setup.  The arrangement is good for
local state-wide contacts and will load well from 40 to
10 meters.  Best of all, it cost me virtually nothing to
build.  I was able to salvage 150' of 20 gauge wire from
a studio rebuild a few years ago and I put it to good use.
The RG-6 I'm currently using came from a neighbor's
cable and internet installation.  The jacket was good and
showed no weathering.  The center conductor was clean
and didn't need much work to get it shiny again.  I had some
adapters around the shack and was able to use the cable
directly into the Drake MN-4.  These is some mismatch, but
the ATU doesn't seem to mind.  All told, I was able to erect
these antennas with minimal cost.  You could buy all of this
new at the nearest hardware/home improvement outlet for a
reasonable price.  My antennas certainly are no match for a
decent tower and a 4-element monobander.  But I work with
what I have.  Once the XYL and I retire, we'll get the house
built on our lot and get serious about a real garden, solar power,
and the super loop for the amateur radio station.  At my age, I
really don't want to climb any towers.  Some excellent trees are
on the property--perfect for stringing up loops, double zepps, and
vertical beams.  That scenario will have to wait until I gracefully
back out of the media circus known as the news room.  Until
then, it's ham radio on a very basic level...at least the current
antenna farm is easily maintained and, most importantly, it's cheap.
Have a good weekend...Aloha es 73 de KH6JRM.