Despite the snowy conditions today, I finally got the 20m ground plane antenna up and adjusted. As suggested in the Handbook, it’s hanging from a tree branch. I think I adjusted it a little too short, though, as the low-SWR point seems to be about 14.150. Even so, the SWR is only about 1.3 at 14.050.
The antenna’s bandwidth seems to be quite wide. It’s less than 1.5:1 across the entire band. Who knows? I may even try to work a little SSB with it.
The jury’s still out on how well the thing is actually working. (We all know that low SWR does not equal good performance, don’t we?) The first contact was with a K0 in Missouri. I gave him a 589, while he only gave me a 559. After we said our 73s, though, a KB4 in NC called and we were both 599. I didn’t hear any DX on the band this afternoon. Its position so close to the tree has got to be having some effect on the radiation pattern, too, I’d guess.
I did the coax balun thing by looping the coax three times just below the feedpoint. I don’t know if that’s helping reduce the RFI or not. I didn’t have any problems with RFI on 20m before–just 40 and 10.
For my next trick, I’m thinking of building a 17m/10m dual-band dipole out of some 450-ohm coax I have laying around. It would be nice to be able to have the ability to get on at least two different HF bands. Also, I’ve never worked 17m, so that would be something cool to do.