Monday, August 22, 2011

Contesting Weekend and Planning a Vertical

I have to be honest, I’m not a great contest fan but I do realise that there are loads of operators out there who love it and it’s a big part of our hobby. This weekend when switching on the rig I tuned up on 20 meters and heard the familiar TEST on cw. Checking 40 and 15 meters it was the same and there was a hive of activity as the contester were busy calling cq. 10 meters seemed closed, so all the contesters were concentrating on the 3 available frequencies, the noise was incredible and I found it hard to understand any of the cw either because it was just too quick or it seemed to me it was overlapping, (just goes to show how much I still have to learn).

So I switched over to the WARC bands (30 meters to be precise) which was also very busy, no doubt others like me had switched over to see if they could just have a chat on 30 or 17! For the first time in a while I heard some VK stations but had no luck as I was up against many of our European cousins who were busily turning up the candle to try and get in on the action. So I had a quick cw chat with a couple of stations and then decided to spend some time working out how I was going to improve my 30 meter antenna.

I’m still looking for the ultimate 30 meter DX antenna, but am like most realistic as to what I will be able to achieve. However I did manage to put up my 30 meter vertical (see earlier post) and tried to compare it to the inverted v and the loop I had raised the week before. There is no question the quietest antenna is the loop but not far behind is the vertical, which by all accounts from such a simple antenna works very well. But with the usual difficulties of how to fit each different antenna in to my garden without upsetting the XYL I decided for the moment to stick with my inverted v, at least until next week when I am taking a holiday. I may well then decide to really start having ago at building a sturdy 30 meter vertical and hopefully have the time to do some proper planning and have a good think where to bury all those ground radials!

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