I almost skipped this one. It was VERY hot (32°C or more) over the last days and everything was taken down for last week’s thunderstorms. Furthermore there were new warnings for T-storms so I hesitated to put things up. By Friday night the forecast gave calm WX from early Saturday morning so I decided to go for it and raise the antennas after breakfast.
Problem: with the expansion of the garden and the big tree cut and the old fence removed, there were no branches or poles to get the elevated radials for 80/160 in the air. I dug out ye olde dual band dipole for 80/160 but I decided to stick to what I know and put up the radials anyway. They were only one meter or even half a meter above the ground but that’s not a problem. The new lot is still inaccessible so no one can trip over it or get RF burns. Strange enough the resonance points and SWR curves didn’t change much, except on 160 the dip was sharper and less pronounced. Which points to a better efficiency and less losses.
The contest went smooth and it was fun. Propagation wasn’t great yet the rate remained well above hundred. Even ten meters showed life for a while. But as always there comes a point where it inevitably slows down. The low bands were a real problem. A lot of summer noise and QRN. I had a hard time copying signals on 80m and sometimes felt like a lid. The situation was MUCH worse on 160. Add to that there was hardly anyone there…
I really like the new 3830 site. It let’s you come up with things like this:
I had a poor score in 2008 and gave up half way the contest in 2009. It’s a good thing I keep this blog because I wondered where the 2009 score was.