First CW (Morse code) QSO (conversation) today, and more antenna wrestling

So I just finished having my first conversation in Morse code with a gentleman in California. It was a fun experience and I really have alot of respect for guys who can do it without the help of fldigi.

I had originally set out today to test my 40 meter end fed half wave again, but since the band conditions were mostly poor today I wasn’t having much luck. After a while I checked the band conditions again and saw the 20 meter band was opening up so I pulled down my 40 meter antenna and put 30 feet of speaker wire on my end fed Matchbox.

The makers  of the matchbox say 30 feet of wire should be good for at least 6 to 40 meters. So I found a clear frequency and started calling CQ to see if I could be seen on the reverse beacon network. Typically I use 8 watts or less when I’m calling CQ and no one usually responds. But today I got a response immediately after my first attempt, using 5 watts. And not only that, but my signal was also seen in New York and Michigan as well.

Now that might not sound very interesting or all that amazing, but after the morning I had getting my antenna setup I thought it was amazing. You see I originally started out setting up my home brew buddistick antenna, just to make sure all my equipment was working right, and my painter pole stripped out so it wouldn’t stay extended. That’s when I decided to switch over to the 40 meter end fed. After no luck with that I was a bit discouraged, so I threw a fishing weight up in the nearest tree and pulled up the end of a 30-foot wire.

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Save yourself time when putting antennas in trees and go for the easy branches

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I connected the other end to my Matchbox and laid it on the railing of my deck. It didn’t look like any antenna installation I had seen in any books. I suppose you could say it kind of resembles a sloper, although with as much slack as was in it I would call it more of a dipper. I could have hung it using what I could of my painter pole to get it to resemble more of a sloper, but by now I was kind of curious just to see what it would do.

As a side note, if this antenna were a sloper, it would have been oriented in a direction towards California and New York. If I remember correctly slopers are somewhat directional towards the slope, and that seems to be what mine did today, even though no beacons in California picked it up.

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After my morning of discouragement, I just said the hell with it and set the matchbox on the railing

The instructions for the antenna say you need at least 16 feet of coax feeding the antenna to act as a counterpoise as well. I have more like 30, and usually I route it nicer than this, but I wanted to see if this antenna would perform with such a sloppy installation.

I’ve read that the center of the antenna is where the signal is transmitted from. I would say the end of my antenna was up about 15 – 20 feet, and the matchbox was at about 8 feet off the ground, so I would say the center was about 12 – 15 feet from the ground.

So in conclusion , I continue to be impressed by the end fed design, and I think it is a useful tool to have in the toolbox.

For those interested this is a link to the particular one that I have. It’s based off of the EARCHI design,  it seems to work pretty well for a lot of people.

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First CW (Morse code) QSO (conversation) today, and more antenna wrestling

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