You Just Can’t Get the Help These Days

Posted by in Antennae, Rigs

LOL! My previous posting begins with “Has it really been that long?”, yet here I am again… Has it really been that long?

Its been almost 10 months since I last posted an article – I guess I need someone to remind me that I have a blog…

Anyway, lets get you up-to-date.

I still have some antenna issues. I suppose that is the lament of all amateurs – the antenna is never good enough! Be that as it may, most of the time I sit at the radio asking myself, ‘Is it me or is it the bands?’. I’m hedging my bets and siding with ‘mostly me’. 20 meters hasn’t been totally devoid of signal so there is some hope there.

I do have some positive news though!

I just yesterday erected a Diamond® V2000A Tri-band Base Antenna. Its not high enough yet because I need a longer feed-line, but it appears to be working great. The antenna tuner reports an SWR of 1.25:1 for 6 meters (I wish I could get that sort of SWR out of my End-Fed 40 meter antenna!). I couldn’t tell you the SWR of the 2 meter and 70 centimeter parts of the antenna because 6 meters is the limit on my antenna tuner (I’ll have to address that issue some day in the future).

Allow me to let you in to a little known secret… a 40 meter End-Fed Half Wave antenna does not a good 6 meter antenna make! In the past, I tried to tune into some local 6 meter nets using the 40 meter antenna. I could barely make out the net controller above the noise floor and could only really hear one or two operators who were either nearby or blasting the ozone with radiated power. Last night, I listened in on that very same 6 meter net – with my new Diamond® Antenna, and… yahoo! I could hear everyone quite clearly. I was a happy man indeed. Seems my investment in the new antenna was not, for once, wasted money!

So that is the antenna situation. Now for a bit of more positive news.

I purchased a new HT. I was using a Kenwood TH-F6A but now I am using a Kenwood TH-D74A. Fancy-schmancy, eh?

TH-D74a

Let me tell you. I love the new HT. I read some moans about it in some reviews but so far, I have no complaints. Whats more, its nearly got me hooked on D-Star. Up until I purchased the new HT, I had only read about D-Star and all the wars about it not being ‘true’ ham radio. Now, actually having a radio that supports D-Star makes me wonder why I didn’t try to investigate it earlier (D-Star was my original motive for buying a new HT). I think D-Star is great. I would venture to say that it may be better than using the 6 meter nets! Time will tell.

With all this new found interest in D-Star, 6 meters and repeaters and such I am now considering investing in an Icom IC-7100. I know… the fad is now for the Icom IC-7300 but I don’t really need another HF transceiver. What I would prefer is something non-HT, that can do VHF and UHF while I sit comfortably at my station. The 6 meter part of the IC-7100 would be redundant since my HF transceiver can handle that but I suppose a little redundancy isn’t entirely a bad thing.

We shall see. I haven’t convinced myself of the IC-7100 yet and what I really need to invest in today are longer feed-lines. I am going to get those ordered today!