HF or NOT? Part 1

For almost a “lifetime” (say 40 years) I have had the urge to get on HF. I have half heartedly gone on the air a few times, but due to antenna limitations and all kinds of excuses never really jumped into HF whole heartedly. 

This time I will get a station on the air for the winter! Winters up here can get long. We live at the end of a 1+ mile long private road and a 250′ driveway which requires AWD in the summer. Winters can become long and inside activities are a must. This is the year for HF!

Part 1:

I removed a Comet CHA250 40-6m from the in-town house to our country house. It needs to be mounted about 35′ up and away from the ground since it does not have radials. Thus I put together a pushup tower from 4 10′ pieces of conduit and mounted the antenna on top. Wow! It was hastily done without guy-wires on a calm day. A little leaning and with a slow sway from side to side. The boss (yes, my wife) announced “NO – looks ridiculous!” and i have to agree. Telescope down. The antenna is still mounted and may remain in the down position for now. However, to use it, guys need to be available at 20 and 30′.

I rolled out a 200′ piece of RG8X and connected the antenna to my Icom IC7000 and turned it on. Seemed like most of the bands below 14mhz had activity of some kind.

Living almost on a ridge, the breeze commonly moves the tree-tops. Occasionally, we see the westerly winds pick up to where the un-guyed tower would not stand chance. My other “towers” sporting VHF and UHF antennas are 20′ or less and have not had any problems. 

Frustration:

There seemed to be some scheduled rag-chew groups and QSO parties. Also one station from Barcelona Spain creating a pileup. Then the disappointment; the ham-fight with name-calling and profanity. Is this what I have been striving to join all these years? Let’s hope not. The fascination of communicating wireless over large distances is still there. I will not have a super station, but a modest 100W simple setup in the basement. A station I can turn on when winter comes around and hopefully have a QSO or two based on a common interest.

Next:

Since the pushup pole got a little “interesting”, next I will need to make disconnect-able guy-wires for the push up mast.

Maybe it is time to take the old (yes, i have had it for 10 years!) G5RV out of the package, assemble it and find trees to mount it?

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