Monday, June 11, 2012

Radials Everywhere and Tapping the Key

Over the past few weeks I’ve continued to slowly add more ground radials to the 30 meter vertical with the total now approximately at 50 odd wires, but I’m still getting 40 ohms at reactance, the swr holds at a steady 1:4.
If the ground is wet the reactance will drop to around 38 ohms so I’m pretty certain that it’s now not the amount of radials but the ground that the vertical is sitting on. The other factor which may play a part is that I cannot circle the whole antenna with radials, it’s just not possible as there is no way I could have an antenna mounted right in the middle of the garden, certain members of my family would be none too impressed.
So with the vertical placed to one side of the garden the majority of the radials (about 40), are spaced out in a semi-circle in a westerly direction, the rest are placed where I can around various obstacles. 
Earlier in the year I managed to lay out a large piece of chicken wire at the edge of the field which is over one side of our perimeter fence facing east. I have connected the chicken wire to the ground plate via 10’ of old earth wire, but I’m not certain that the chicken wire is doing very much as it is some distance from the antenna. The problem is having a shed in between the wire and the antenna hence the 10' of eath wire! I suppose the chicken wire should really be close to the antenna as possible but beggars cannot be choosers and from what I’ve read the more ground connections I can put down the better the antenna.
As I busily connect up more radials I do find myself muttering that it probably won't make any difference and so far I've been proved right. I'm not really sure why I continue to add them because in all honesty the vertical is working perfectly well and I have managed to get contacts throughout the globe, I guess I'm just searching for perfect reactance!
The bands continue to be reasonably good if you are prepared to be patient and listen carefully. Normally first thing in the morning before going off to work I have a listen on 30 and there is always something interesting happening, I even heard a couple of VKs the other day but before I could reply a handful of European stations had dived in before me.
My CW is back on track after having a period where everything seemed to be a struggle, I seem to get good and bad periods, (god knows why) probably not enough practise! But it’s definitely picked up now and I can happily tap away at around 18 wpm.
I had a few good chats over the weekend and I even found myself not bothering to write stuff down as I was translating most of the details in my head; there’s no question that once you’ve had a few good qso’s your confidence picks up and you can find yourself chatting away at speeds that you didn’t think you were capable of, just goes to show the more you practise the better you become!

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