There was time today to head down to the basement shack and put the MFJ-1982LP antenna on the bench. This is the antenna that failed for me during Field Day - in the middle of the night (strains of Billy Joel in the background.) How does an end fed antenna go bad? I guess there are a number of ways so I had to eliminate them.
1) The wire itself was not damaged, kinked, cut or otherwise disturbed along its entire length.
2) Opening the UNUN box the toroid looked fine. No cracks, no breaks, again ..... no mars.
3) The toroid windings were of a stout gauge of enamel coated wire - no breaks or other visible defects.
That left two things - either the two capacitors in there shorted out, or one of the factory performed solder joints was dicey.
My gut went with the solder joints. Nothing was to the point of being loose or hanging free, but it looked like whomever soldered the joints thought that solder was going for about $200 a pound. The solderer could have been way more generous with the stuff.
I heated up the ol' Weller, added more solder to ALL the joints and headed out to Cotton Street Park, my home for the NJQRP Skeeter Hunt.
The first thing I did after setting up was to bypass the ATU in the KX3. A brief hit of the tune button showed about a 1.2:1 match on 20 Meters. No more infinite SWR readings!
As long as I had everything set up, I decided to work a few stations. First up was AC6ZM on 14.044 MHz. He was at POTA K-7605. I haven't looked up where that is, I'll do it later.
I know I said I wasn't going to bother with the 13 Colonies Special Event, but they provided such a target rich environment. Perfect for giving a repaired antenna a workout!
I worked TM13COL on 20 Meters, making it through the pile up with 5 Watts. Then I switched to 40 Meters and worked K2E is Delaware and K2M in Pennsylvania. I finished the test back up on 20 Meters by working K2G in Georgia. The op was Phil K3UT and he must have recognized my call as he didn't send that bit of info to anyone else he was working.
I listened for a bit on 15 Meters but didn't hear anything, so I packed up my hastily erected setup and returned home. It's a comfort to know that I have the antenna back at my disposal. However, I'm still going to set up a backup antenna next year at Field Day - bitten once, twice shy.
As far as 13 Colonies goes, that was enough for me. I'll let the newer stations or those who have never gotten a clean sweep have a go at it.
72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!