Operating Notes

Here are a couple of items too short for an entry of their own:

RF in the Shack
I’ve been operating the random wire antenna at only 30W because I was afraid of RF in the shack. After all, the tuner is only about four fee from the radio, and the antenna starts at the back end of the tuner.

Up till now, I hadn’t really seen any evidence of RF in the shack. Yesterday, though, I was calling CQ using the radio’s memory keyer, and while the radio was calling CQ, I was trying to do something on the computer. As I tried to mouse around using the touch pad, the mouse just jumped all over the place. So, there is some RF in the shack after all.

QRP Net on EchoLink
On Sunday evenings, at 9 pm Eastern Time, the EchoLink QRP net convenes. I’ve checked in the last couple of sessions. They chat about all manner of ham radio topics, not just QRP. Check it out, especially if you’re a QRP op.


  1. Computers are very susceptible to RFI. A random wire could make things worse because everything from the tip of the antenna to the bottom of the ground possibly be acting as the antenna. This would put a lot of RF on the power wires. It might help if you were to put ferrite beads on the power line feeding your transmitter, receiver, keyer, and any thing else that is attached to power and your transmitter. Run a ground wire all the equipment to the antenna tuner and from the antenna tuner to a good solid ground (not a cold water pipe) and you may reduce your problem.

    Also put ferrite beads on the computer power wire. This can sometimes be required even if a dipole or other balanced antenna is used. I have seen this with commercial communication radios even running less then 30 watts.



  2. Fortunately, the weirdness with the mouse pad seems to be the only effects that RF in shack is having so far, so I don’t think I need to break out the ferrites just yet. I think the ultimate solution is to move the tuner out of the shack.

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