22nd. June – Further Antenna Tests at Mt. Elliot

Test twice – use once.

Following the work on the end-fed wires in the back garden, the time had come to try them out on a summit. So with Jim VK2LC, Col VK2ZCO, Rod VK2LAX and Graham VK2GRA, it was off to Mount Elliot again. As I have said before, this is a very easy summit to get to but will probably be the only SOTA classified summit within 2 hours driving time for those living in the southern part of the NSW Central Coast. It has the advantage of many options to support an antenna – trees and bushes abound as do wide open areas where squid pole based antennas such as my 40m horizontal loop antenna can be erected as I did on my last visit here. This time however I was looking for the most simple of set-ups for the end-fed and found it in a small area of grass and bushes where I simply laid the antenna out, touching the plants between 1 and 1.5m off the ground. Jim had brought a tripod based vertical antenna along and local reports gave it about a 1 S-point advantage  which given its extra height is not surprising. That antenna wont fit in a trouser pocket as my full set of HF band end-feds will though.

The highlight of the day was hearing and then working Andrew on 40m SSB who was operating as VI100ACT from VK1/AC-018. He was a good strong 5-9 signal and came straight back to my call of just 5W into the end-fed antenna from the FT-817.

The “lowlight” if we can call it that, was that the the rig started cutting out. At first I suspected the use of the rig on the 20m version of the end-fed had caused this perhaps because of a bad VSWR but it turned out simply to be that the battery had discharged. I had forgotten to charge it up since its last outing and to add insult to injury, the rechargeable AA cell battery pack that I had brought along as backup was no better. It later turned out that 4 of the new 8 NiMH cells were faulty and not holding charge.

I can hardly believe myself how well the end-fed laid simply on bushes works – for the ultra-light QRP portable station, this is definitely my recommendation when teamed-up with a very small and light antenna coupling unit – I use the one that is part of the Chinese version of the Miracle Whip that I bought.

Here are a few pictures illustrating the set-up at Mt Elliot.

A short video is up on YouTube at – http://youtu.be/crvdx5xn98U

 

Operating position - FT-817 antenna tuner and wire antenna on a fold-up chair.

Operating position – FT-817 antenna tuner and wire antenna on a fold-up chair.

Wire antenna leaving operating position over chair arm.

Wire antenna leaving operating position over chair arm.

Wire antenna simply drapes over fence and into bushes.

Wire antenna simply drapes over fence and into bushes.

Antenna laying simply across the top of the grass.

Antenna laying simply across the top of the grass.

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