Monday, May 27, 2024

Hootowl Sprint

I got on the air last night for the Hootowl Sprint. Activity was not the busiest, but that was probably because the CQ WW PX contest was dominating the bands, especially 20 Meters, I called "CQ QRP" there for a while with no joy. I did hear Mark WB9HFK calling CQ with a FB 599 signal and worked him.

40 Meters afforded me an unoccupied frequency on which to call CQ and I worked another four stations. Not the greatest total, but at least I was on the air. After the fact, I looked up my call sign on the Reverse Beacon Network and this was where I was being heard:

20 Meters was taking me into Europe and 40 Meters was getting me down into the Cayman Islands.

The antenna for the night was my W3EDP. I don't think I've really talked much about how it's set up. My backyard measures only about 50 X 50 feet. Not a lot of real estate back there so I had to get creative. This is how it's laid out:

It's anchored on the side of the house near a second floor window:

The coax runs from the balun down to the window that's on the shack side of the shack side of the basement. From the anchor point, the wire runs out to a mast that I have hose clamped to the chain link fence on the edge of our property.

The wire used to go out to "Ol' Mapely", but the tree which straddled our properties got infested with carpenter ants and became a real cause for concern that given a powerful Nor'Easter or Sandy type hurricane, it could fall on either ours or our neighbor's house, so we had to take it down. We came to that decision after having an arborist come by, who only confirmed our fears. Darn! Trees are an Amateur Radio Op's best friends!

From the "center mast", the wire pivots as per the aerial view and goes to another mast at the far right hand corner of the backyard where it terminates. The masts are military surplus fiberglass.

This photo doesn't show much which indicates that except for that middle mast, which is hose clamped to the fence, the antenna itself is pretty darn stealthy. That really isn't necessary, as at QRP levels, i never get any complaints from the neighbors and I'm not in an HOA situation. 

I would guesstimate that my W3EDP is my weapon of choice probably 75 - 80 percent of the time. It's longer than a classic W3EDP which is about 84 feet long. I had one of those and took it down and replaced it as the wire terminated about half way between the middle mast and the far mast. I constructed this one with about another 25 feet of wire so that it ends just a few inches from the end mast. Even with the additional wire, the KX3's autotuner matches to it quite easily and without any fits. It loads on all bands from 160 Meters to 6 Meters without any difficulty. If you don't have a lot of back yard space, maybe my layout (or something similar) can work for you. Is my solution an ideal solution? Not a chance in a million - but it works and I make contacts with it. So as they say, any antenna is better than no antenna.

On another note, I read where beginning with New Jersey's 2025 fiscal year, which starts on July 1st, that it will cost to get into certain NJ State Parks. This may be a concern for NJ POTA activators. There are several guys who check into the nightly Middlesex County Chat Group Net who often relate their experiences of repeatedly activating Cheesequake State Park and the Spruce Run Resevoir. Starting July1st, it's going to run $5 each time they want to enter those two parks or several other very popular NJ State Parks. The state will offer an opportunity to purchase a 1 year pass for $50. Luckily, the two parks I like to activate - Washington Rock State Park and the Edison Memorial Tower will remain admission free.

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

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous10:02 AM

    Hi Larry, was told that that NJ parks have a $5 entrance fee for weekdays and $10 for weekends per car. If over 62 best to apply for a lifetime free access pass. GL

    72 Kevin N2TO