My ham radio weekend started early. Even though we were scheduled to start operating at the museum at 10 am, I thought I’d turn on the rig and see what condition 40m was in. One reason for doing this is that we intended to operate the Jamboree on the Air. I found that the band was in great shape, and I managed to work three stations—one on CW and two on SSB—all getting ready for JOTA.
I got to the museum just before 10 am. Jim, K8ELR, had brought his laptop and a power supply, and we not only set up the IC-746PRO to operate 40m, but we also had 2m and EchoLink setups. Unfortunately, only one Scout showed up, and he didn’t come until 12:30. Even so, he got to make several contacts, and that was a lot of fun.
It was partly our fault; we really didn’t make an effort to get Scouts to the museum. It was partly their fault, too. They didn’t contact us until a week before the event.
Another Ham on the Air
On Saturday afternoon, I went over to help Ian, N8SPE, set up the 40m/20m dipole that I sold him after Field Day. He had gotten it up into the trees, but wasn’t getting the SWR he expected.
Sure enough, when I got over there and put the antenna analyzer on it, the SWR at 7.000 MHz was about 5:1. Going outside to take a look, we found that one of the legs had come loose from its stake (he set it up in an inverted vee configuration) and was just laying on the ground. We got that straightened out, but the SWR was still rather high.
The readings indicated that it was too long. That seems to nearly always be the case when you cut an antenna using the 468/f(MHz) formula. It’s almost as though someone said way back when, “We’ll just tell everybody that the number is 468, and if they use that to calcuate the antenna length, the wires will be too long, and that’s certainly better than being too short.”
We first took a foot off each end. Still too long. Then, we took another three inches off each end. Closer, but still a little too long. Three more inches and we were pretty much right on the money. The SWR was 1:1 at about 7.200 and 1.5:1 at 7.300. We fired up the radio, called CQ, and got an answer to our first call. We even got a 59 report! As W might say, “Mission accomplished.”
I spent the day Sunday with my in-laws, but did get on a bit Sunday evening. I worked 6W/DL4JS, one of the stations preparing for the upcoming DX contest. That was my DX contact for the evening.
Later on, the band was really dead, but I heard K8KS calling CQ over and over. Kaz, K8KS, lives just a couple of miles away from me, but since it seemed that no one else was hearing him, I called him and we had a nice chat. He’s a good operator and a nice guy.