Thursday, February 17, 2011

KH6JRM's Amateur Radio Blog

This has been an exciting week in the radio
station news room.  With all the events unfolding in
the Middle East and even here in Hawaii, there hasn't
been much time to get on the air with the trusty Swan
100-MXA.  I did manage to restring the 40-meter ver-
tical and an improved radial system over the past few
days.  The old MFJ fiberglass mast has been removed
from service.  The combination of salt air, wind, and
rain have weakened the pole considerably, so I re-
cycled the structure for whatever usable parts I could
and repositioned the Jackite mast I bought a few months
ago.  I attached 32' of #14 gauge wire for the radiating
element and attached 10 radials, varying from 16-32 feet
to fit the contour of my postage stamp lot.  I'll add a few
more radials in the days ahead.  Presently, the arrangement
seems to work well.  My Drake MN-4 ATU (with 1:4 balun)
seems to handle the system fairly well. I'm running approxi-
mately 25' of 450-ohm window line into the balun and about
20' feet of RG-6 into the Drake MN-4.  The set up is not ideal,
but it does work.  The RG-6 was left over from a studio re-
wiring, so I had very little outlay for the cable.  I had a few
F-connector adapters around, so connecting the cable to
the ATU was fairly easy.  Although there is a slight mis-
match, the ATU handles the assignment well.  I still have
the under-the-house 40-meter loop in reserve when good
strong local contacts are desired.  And so, I'm back in
operation--an enjoyable task once the workload decreases.
Also on the "to do" list is the removal of the old OTR tv
antenna.  Although I can receive two excellent digital
tv signals at the qth, I just don't have the time to watch
much television these days.  Other than a few games and
PBS shows, I'm not really interested in what's offered on
the tube these days.  My XYL and I work long hours too, so
time devoted to the box is getting less by the week.  I
don't really miss commercial tv at all.  My XYL hit the
sack pretty early, since our work day begins in the wee
hours of the morning (0230 for me at the radio station).
We just prefer to spend our evenings reading, listening
to music, and doing our daily walks.  By the time evening
comes, we're pretty much played out.  I'll work up a few
contacts before bedtime and get ready for the work day.
Our internet time is basic, owing to the lack of DSL and
cable in my area.  Dial up is slow but it does allow us to
keep up with e-mail and lesson plans for my better half,
who is a teacher.  Our existence is simple, but we pre-
fer that sort of life.  We have no desire to "keep up with
the Joneses" and spend our resources foolishly.  Your
mileage in this area may vary.  But for us, the laid
back, keep it simple, pay cash approach to life works.
We got out of debt a few years ago--you can't imagine
the relief that accomplishment gives you.  It's too bad
our great nation can't adopt a similar approach.  Too
much entitlement and not enough responsibility...what
a dead-end future that is.  I follow the often maligned
principle of "in God we trust, all others cash."  Of
course, your life is different and all of the above may
appear a bit too restrictive.  Each to his/her own.  I
guess it all boils down to being as responsible as you
can with the resources you have available.  Now that
my soapbox has begun to creak, I think it's time to
leave the confessional, tidy up the newsroom, and
head for the qth.  It could be worse--I could be
organized.  Get on the air and have some fun.
Aloha es 73 de KH6JRM.