Monday 27 May 2013

Alternative location

This weekend whilst visiting the YL I took my Kenwood TS450 along and set up an HF station using the portable "Buddistick" antenna. Operating time was very limited  as it wouldn't be polite to spent my time on the radio when I am supposed to be spending time with the YL, but I did manage an hour or two of radio time over the weekend!
Additionally  the antenna had to be placed in a corner of the small garden, out of the way of inquisitive young children! Sadly HF conditions were not too good  but I did manage a QSO on 40 metres SSB into Northern Ireland as well as a chat to a more local GW station. The Buddistick does work but its quite difficult to tune and changing bands  means going out to the antenna to move a tapping point on the coil.CW is your friend with this antenna , I have always found SSB contacts with it quite difficult. It is an easily portable antenna but its small size has limitations.

Buddistick in position at the alternative location

The "Alternative" shack. (The "Stuff" behind the radio isnt mine by the way!)

As an alternative to the Buddistick for portable work,I have recently purchased a Pro-Whip portable antenna. This is basically a glassfibre fishing pole, 6 metres high with a wire running up inside it, a 9:1 Unun at the base with a wire counterpoise. I have only had time to briefly set up this antnena at the weekend but first impressions are quite good. It is very easy to deploy, tunes from 80-10 metres using just the internal ATU in the TS450 and seems livelier than the Buddistick. I hope to update the blog in the coming weeks with my experience of the Pro-Whip.

Pro-Whip on test in my garden

Saturday 4 May 2013

Out with the old

Well the old, rather poor quality Sirio Boot (trunk) antenna mount on my car finally gave up a few weeks back. I used this mount for my VHF antenna. The Coax connection came adrift inside the mount. I had been meaning to change it for some time anyway so no problem. Actually there was a problem. Not only was the mount rusted on top and looking pretty nasty, the allen screws underneath which grip the bottom of the boot lip had rusted solid! Nothing would shift them! The answer? My trusty hacksaw- I had to carefully cut the mount of. Lukily I managed to avoid damaging the car.
I replaced the mount with an unbranded one obtained from Ebay, model number MB400. It looks a lot sturdier than the Sirio but time well tell. In any event it is unlikely to last as long as the Diamond mount holding my HF mobile whip, that must be around 20 years old. Those mounts are around £60 new though so for now I will try the MB400!!