Friday, February 07, 2020

Rain, rain go away!

It seems like it's been raining here in Central NJ forever.  There have been sunny days, I guess. It's dark when I leave for work and it's dark on the drive home (although that's starting to change). The room I work in has no windows, so I don't get to see much sunshine. Today it's misty, foggy and supposedly we're under a flash flood warning. But later today, it's supposed to start clearing, get windy and the temperature is supposed to drop like a stone.

And I hope the forecast for partly cloudy skies for tomorrow is accurate. I want to install a VHF/UHF J-Pole in the backyard.

I am and always will be an HF kind of guy. For me, the "Low Bands" are what Amateur Radio is all about. Ever since I discovered that there was such a thing as Amateur Radio, the goal has always been to communicate with people via shortwave. This will always be my passion and first love.

The outdoor VHF/UHF antenna is needed for ARES nets that I regularly check into. The NNJ ARES Net is conducted on a repeater in Morristown, NJ. While it is not that far away and not that difficult to check into from the car, it is darn near impossible from inside the house with a handheld. And it's a pain in the posterior to run out to the car on cold Winter nights.

In addition, as the appointed Emergency Coordinator for South Plainfield,  I run an ARES net for our group every third Tuesday of the month on the South Plainfield Amateur Radio Club repeater, NJ2SP. Hitting that with a handled is a piece of cake; but depending on what room in the house I am situated, sometimes I can get noisy.

The J-Pole, up about 20 feet or so, running down to a VHF/UHF mobile rig in the basement should do the trick. Hopefully, the job won't take more than a half hour or so. I have to run to Home Depot for a couple hose clamps. The bottom section of masting is already in place. I did that last Sunday. All I need to do is clamp the J-Pole to the top portion, connect the coax, make a balun of about 5 turns of coax and tape that to the the mast about a foot beneath the antenna, raise it and run the rest of the coax to the basement.

If all goes well, that will be another Amateur Radio chore taken care of.

Last night in the 80 Meter QRP Fox hunt, I was really able to see a difference in the W3EDP after "un-drooping" it last Sunday. The noise difference between the HF9V and the wire used to be like day and night. Now they are both pretty low. There's still a bit more hash with the wire on 80 Meters at night, but it's nowhere as bad as it used to be. I used the W3EDP to get both Fox QSOs last night.  For the majority of this Fall/Winter season, I have been relying on the Butternut to get the job done.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

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