Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Antenna woes

Last night, while serving as "Fox" during the 8o Meter QRP Foxhunt, I tried switching over from my G5RV to my HF9V vertical for a bit. Much to my surprise and chagrin, the HF9V was once again "deaf". I went out in the backyard tonight, after work, flashlight in hand to see what was the matter. Unfortunately, I discovered that the center conductor of the coax broke right at the antenna connection.

Rats!

As I sit here typing this, it's 15 degrees Fahrenheit outside - and it's dark. Perfect antenna working conditions, right?

Wrong!

Maybe tomorrow after work, I will go out and hook up a temporary jumper which will serve me until Spring or somewhat warmer weather makes a comeback. But it doesn't look like I'll be out there with a soldering iron any time soon. Although, maybe I can stop by the local Radio Shack and pick up a couple of replacement butane tanks for my crappy Radio Shack portable soldering iron. The temperatures are supposed to moderate all the way up to the mid 30s on Saturday; so maybe I can do something more "permanent" then. It's hard enough as it is, lugging an extension all the way out there with a high wattage soldering gun during the Summer. I'm sure it's absolutely brutal to attempt it in the Winter!

In any event, I ended up using the G5RV for the entire time during last night's hunt. I really wanted to see if the vertical would allow me to maximize the signals of the "farther away" stations; but it was not to be. In the end, I worked 41 stations; and my best DX was K0EVZ in New Mexico.

The last almost 40 minutes were taken up by working a CW station that didn't realize I was in a QRP contest. The gentleman I was working has been a Ham for 15 years; but has only been on HF CW for the last four months. I decided to take the opportunity to have a bit of a QSO. Courtesy dictated that I not be rude; and besides I didn't want to just blow him off and leave him with the impression that all QRPers are a snobby bunch only interested in communicating amongst themselves. As a result, we had a pleasant, though relatively short QSO. I hope we meet up again for the opportunity for a good ragchew. We've exchanged e-mails and I'm hoping for the best!

It's nice here in the Rec Room with a fire blazing away in the fireplace. But in a few moments I'm going to tear myself away to go down to the basement to try and have a QSO or two for the day. It's chilly down there. When it's in the teens outside, it's only about 58 or so degrees in the shack. I may be a wimp; but I do hate the cold. I have a T-shirt, a sweatshirt and a fleece sweater on over that. That should keep me comfortable for at least a little while. Although i have found that my fist does get bad when my fingers are cold. Paddles or straight key, it doesn't matter - when my fingers are cold my CW suffers!

73 de Larry W2LJ

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