I was able to get out for a vacation last week and the location I went to had a large acre lot and a bunch of trees which I thought was a perfect opportunity to get take my radio portable and get some wire up in those trees and make my first contact.
So how did i do?
Well long story short, not as great as I was hoping. I only made a partial contact until the signal faded out before we could exchange signal reports.
For my radio I was using my Icom IC-7000, my MyAntennas 8010 EFHW and a battery as well as AC power.
You can see from the below image gallery that I connected the transformer to the upper post of a balcony and the other end out into the trees. The antenna was in a straight configuration about 20 ft off the ground.
Once all setup and secured I connected 50 ft of coax and attached my antenna analyzer and right out of the gate was getting 1.13 SWR on 7.200 Mhz so I thought wow great lets get the radio connected.
I connected the radio powered by battery, tuned around, heard many QSO’s taking place although it was a bit noisy, it was not horrible. I messed around a bit outside until the mosquitos got the best of me and I packed everything up and went in for the evening.
Evening number two came around and I put a feedline choke and noise filter in line and that really cleaned things up. I tried to call CQ for a while without success and again packuped up at around 12:30 am and went to bed. I tried the next night without success as there was so much noise so I took the opportunity to open my manual and read through things and double check some settings.
The next day it was so windy so I lowered the wire down to prevent damage and the following evening when I hoised it back into place I noticed my SWR was somewhere between 2 – 3:1 So I connected my autotuner and worked with that.
On my second last night I was on 20 meter calling CQ with out any response and was going to pack it in but figured I would drop to 40 meter before turning in. I heard a nice strong signal from Washington and waited until the QSO ended and the person called CQ again. I replied with my callsign but was not heard and someone else got in there ahead of me so I patiently waited for that QSO to end and the operator called for one last CQ, I replied with my call and BINGO they heard me and came back with their name.
Their signal was starting to fade and was gone before we exchanged a signal report.
So what did I learn?
Well it was super exciting to make that contact even if not completed. I can’t wait to try again…….and I HAD A BLAST!
I think during that windy day the antenna wire shifted and was making contact with the tree and this was part of the issue with the shift in SWR. I also think that I needed to work a little harder to get that end of the wire higher up.
All in all I love this hobby.
Here are some pics of my setup