Hello and thanks for visiting my QRZ.com page. I'm located in the Northeast of the US about 35 miles west of Boston, Massachusetts, near the city of Worcester.
My main interest is in HF Contesting and I also enjoy both DX'ing and ragchew contacts. I operate Low Power only, and I use only trees for antenna supports and lightweight 2-element antennas.
I have been able to place in the Top-10 in many CQWW-SSB and ARRL-DX-SSB contests, reaching the Top-5 from time to time and 3 times finishing #2 US in ARRL-SSB SOAB-Low Power, and once finishing #3 in US in CQWW-SSB SOAB-Low Power category.
My station currently consists of the following: (January 2013)
Radio #1: Yaesu FT-1000MP MkV Field (full of filters)
Radio #2: Yaesu FT-1000MP MkV (not full of filters)
DXDoubler SO2R 2 radio controller from TopTen Devices
(Qty-2) MFJ Voice Keyers
Array Solutions SixPak - 2x6 antenna switching for SO2R
LogiKit CMOS keyer, Bencher paddle
COMTEK 2-ele array switch
I'm setup fairly well for SO2R, but I'm still very early on the learning curve to get max value from it. Most of my contesting has been primarily S&P style, and also mostly just single VFO. I have a lot of room to improve my skills, but I'm working on it!
My favorite antenna is my homebrew 20m 2 element quad shown in the profile picture above suspended at 45' between two tall trees, pointing to Europe. The antenna is located along the edge of a ridge and just past the antenna the terrain slopes down towards EU (click on the thumbnail picture above for a larger view).
Suspending the quads antennas (and my 1 yagi) by rope & pulley allows them to move around a bit in the wind and allows them to shed the stresses of windload. The more the wind blows, the more the antennas move, just as a child's swing moves in the wind.
Even with their lightweight construction, they have required almost ZERO maintenance over the years. I'm fairly sure that these same quads would not have survived as well if they were clamped to a fixed mast and tower. This rope & pulley method also allows me to lower the antennas to ground level while standing on the ground, very quickly and easily, to inspect and make any adjustments.
20m - Below is the 20m quad lowered down to ground level. It is a typical DE/Refl configuration anduses 1/8wl spacing. It's mounted on a 24' boom to help manage the mechanical aspects of being suspended w/rope & pulley from the boom ends. Many might think that quads are not a good choice to survive rugged weather, but this antenna has required almost zero repairs in almost 12-years of New England snow, ice and wind.
Since these pictures were taken, I have added a second support line at each end of the boom which run off to separate trees. This improved support line arrangement makes the quad even more stable in the wind, as it's now supported by 4 points. It also allows me to now aim the antenna between approximately 45-deg to 70-deg simply by changing the tension on the alternate pairs of ropes. But with only 2 elements, the antenna's pattern is broad enough that have found that I rarely change the aim and I get great results leaving it pointed at about 50-degs+/- to Europe.
15m - I use a 2-ele quad for 15m @ 35' also suspended between 2 trees and fixed on Europe. It's just out of sight on the left in the picture of the 20m quad, and even harder to photograph than the others.
10m - Below is my lightweight 10m quad that I only put up for contests. It's also suspended using rope & pulley from a single tree branch @ about 30' and it is pointed to EU. It takes only 10-15 minutes to assemble the antenna, connect the coax feedline and to raise it up into position. During the rest of the year the same rope and pulley is used to hold a bird feeder and that makes my XYL (and the birds) happier.
40m - Below is my 2-ele array for 40m that was completed just in time for 2009 ARRL- SSB and it helped me finish #2 US SOAB-LP. It uses a Comtek controller and has 85-radials under each element. The radials are insulated 22ga wire laid on top of the ground. One element is camoflage painted to help blend into the woods, and the one further away is not (yet). The array controller and the switch were damaged by a close in lighting strike during 2011 ARRL-CW. The helpful folks at DXEngineering / Comtek rushed the repair and returned it back to me just 1 day before 2011 ARRL-SSB, where it helped me again finish #2 US SOAB-LP. Thanks guys!
South 10-15-20m - Below you can see my Force-12 C3s triband yagi suspended @ 45' with a single rope & pulley. It points South where the terrain slopes down for almost a mile. (To help you see the antenna in the picture below on the left, just follow the coax feedline in the center as it goes straight up!). Below on the right I have lowered the yagi down to about 20' so the elements will foul into the saplings on the left and keep the antenna safer during a very windy day.Raising and lowering this antenna takes less than 30-seconds!
80m- Wire vertical with the feedpoint at 7' and uses 8 raised radials at about 8'. The vertical wire does not go straight up, it tilts about 25deg as it goes up to a tree branch. For such a simple antenna I seem to get out very well on this band.
160m - Inverted-L, with about 55' vertical and the remaining 75' +/- slopes down to 20'. It's feedpoint is at 7' and it has 8 raised radials at about 8'. Some nights I seem to do well with it, other nights I need to go out into the woods to see if the antenna fell down.
Listening antenna - 480' terminated Beverage antenna at a height of 7' pointing at about 70-deg+/-. It works very, very well and I can hear far more stations than can hear my Low Power signal. It's very easy to tell who also is using a listening antenna!
And to answer a frequent on-the-air question - yes, I'm a golfer and at one time as a much younger man I had thought about trying to play professionally. This is my original FCC-issued call, not a vanity callsign. In those days the wait for the FCC envelope to arrive in the mail was a very long couple of weeks, but I sure was delighted by the call I was issued! I quickly upgraded to 20-wpm Extra Class, but will not change my call.
It is always fun for me to listen to the far-end contact when they de-code "PGA" and make various comments such as "hey PGA. you must be a golfer!".
Thanks for the contacts.
I hope to work you in the next contest!
John - N1PGA
Last modified: 2013-05-03 19:42:18, 20646 bytes
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