Thursday, June 13, 2024

A rarity

Yesterday I did something I rarely do. As I was travelling home, I heard the NJ2SP repeater identify while I was in a location still pretty far away from South Plainfield. I picked up the microphone and announced that I was listening. Marv K2VHW came back to me and we had a nice conversation while I drove the rest of the way home.

What was so satisfying about it was when Marv told me my audio was rock solid and that I was making it into the repeater quite well. What a difference between this Hustler Hy-Gain antenna I'm using now and the cheap piece of ______ that I had been using before!

Our repeater is low profile by intent. It's mainly used for CERT activity , as well as for club activity throughout South Plainfield and the immediate surrounding area. For me to hit the repeater so well from Greenbrook, which is three towns away meant that my signal was travelling through North Plainfield, Plainfield and into South Plainfield. I was pleased to say the least.

As a Ham for 45 years, I know (in my head) that you should never skimp on the antenna and that it's the most important link in the whole radio station chain. But sometimes you just get frugal (read that as "cheap"), hoping that something less expensive will work just as well. This is especially true for mobile VHF/UHF antennas ----- most times it doesn't work that way, and you only end up spending more money to fix your mistake. Don't be like W2LJ, don't be tempted to go the cheap route!

Homebrew HF antennas, on the other hand, are a whole other story that I won't get into right now. Suffice it to say that many times you can roll your own skyhook that will will perform just as well as a commercial antenna for a lot less money.

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

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