Last night I checked into the two monthly ARES/RACES nets that I make an effort to attend. Both Joseph and Marianne got home late from school/work, respectively. I ended up checking into the earlier 7:00 PM Middlesex County ARES/RACES net from the dinner table, using the handheld. Bad manners, I know, but you do what you have to.
John N2DV, our Emergency Coordinator for Middlesex County, who is a reader of this blog and was NCS for the net, caught me on the air afterward and asked me if I had checked in using the new J-Pole. I must have been a little noisy with the handheld, which is spotty, depending on where I am in the house, or how I hold it. We talked for a bit and I explained the situation.
John W2VTV, our Section Emergency Coordinator must have been listening as well, because when I checked into the 8:00 PM NNJ ARES/RACES net, he told me upon check in that the J-Pole was doing a good job. I have no idea as to whether I was dead full quieting or not, but even if I wasn't, it doesn't matter. Just the fact that I was audible enough to be heard well and check in and participate from the inside my house was success enough for me.
For the record, this is a KB9VBR J-Pole. It's made from copper tubing and will last longer upon this earth than I will, in all probability. It's fed with RG-8X coax. I know, not the best choice for VHF/UHF but it's good enough. Even with cable loss, there's enough Watts to get the job done that I need it to do. As per the instructions, I made a choke balun of (5) four inch (10 cm) windings of the coax and placed them about one foot (30 cm) from the feed point. A two liter soda bottle is the exact diameter needed and made a good form to wind the coax around. The antenna itself is being supported by four sections of surplus military mast. That puts the base of the antenna roughly at a height of about 24 feet (7 meters). The antenna itself is about a meter long, so the tip is at 8 meters - roughly. Maybe a bit more or a bit less.
Buying an antenna does go against my grain a bit. I like to build my own whenever possible - especially for portable use and Field Day. But this one is made of really good material and I never brazed/soldered copper tubing before. I figured by the time I bought a butane torch so that I could do the job myself, it would probably end up costing more in materials and time than if I just purchased one. So I'll tell myself that I'm supporting the economy and am helping a fellow Ham put food on the table for his family. C'est la vie.
72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!