This weekend I just had to get the new rig on the air. I’ve had the 756 Pro for days now but have not been able to do anything but listen as all I had for an antenna was a random length of wire tossed out the window.
All I needed was a simple dipole to see if this radio could transmit. So this Friday right after I got home from work I started to fashion a temporary dipole, or doublet to be exact. I hooked up some balanced ladder line to my MJF tuner and tossed it out the window. Then I headed out with a small roll of bare wire in hand. Now, I didn’t really bother to measure the lengths of the two wires I was connecting very accurately. I cut two pieces, about 16 feet each and put some plastic insulators on the far ends. Maybe, just maybe it will tune up on 20 meters.
Having no antenna launcher of any kind, I had to just tie the ends off as high as I could. I got it up about 12 feet from ground. Pretty pathetic I know. You can see from the photo that my shack is actually higher that the center of the antenna. Into the shack I head.
What luck – there’s a QSO party contest on! The band is full of contesters. I start tuning the antenna with the MFJ-949D. I manage to get the SWR down to 1.2:1. That’ll work. But I’m still going to run low power until I get a bit more confidence.
I answer an Oklahoma station calling CQ. Bingo – first contact, no problem, with a 5/9 report.Another, this time in near San Diego. That’s over 2,000 miles. Impressive for an antenna 12 feet off the ground.
I later made a 5/9 contact with PY5ARP in Brazil. Now we’re talking. And another Brazil contact, and wait, now the Canary Islands? That isn’t ground wave, that’s skip. This was too easy. Why do I say so?
Back in the early 1990’s when I operated, I only had HF privileges on 80 meters. That, my friends is tough. Antennas have to be much longer, much higher, and it was a night time only band. Now, I did manage to work far off places like Australia and Israel back then, but it was rare. Most contacts were in North America only.
This 20 meters is going to make life very, very easy.