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 to 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 the ground. Pretty pathetic I know. You can see from the photo that my shack is actually higher than 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 skip. This was too easy. Why do I say so?
Back in the early 1990s 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 nighttime-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.