I reside in an antenna restricted area and for the first 18 years I was forced to use my raingutter/downspout as a mf-hf-6-meter antenna, when I operate from home. It amounts to a sideways "L" about 20 feet vertical and 30 feet horizontal with very large conductors. I have sometimes been surprised by its performance, but mostly have been frustrated because at one time I had a pretty good station.
Update on the antenna situation (12/01/2012): I have a six foot vinyl privacy fence around the back yard that totals about 166 feet in length. I stretched a wire around most of it and have been using it for receiving. It works better than the rain gutter most of the time, mainly because of reduced noise. Apparently the house and its contents are pretty good at generating QRM/QRN. This was particularly true of a track light in the kitchen that used a switching power supply with little or no suppression of its crud. I finally reinstalled a regular fixture and am looking for someting else to replace it that doesn't generate QRN.
Further update on the antenna situation: I put up a Butternut HF6 vertical in December of 2012. There are 16 buried radials all about 19 feet long each. When there is no mowing going on, I sometimes add four wide copper strips on top of the ground. I added the 17 and 12 meter kit sometime after that. It resonates on 12 very well, not so much on 17. The SWR on 17 is about 2.3/1 and is broad, but nothing I do lowers the swr. It radiates on 17, I have made a lot of contacts there, but the SWR is just high enough that the radio doesn't like it much, so it becomes necessary to use a tuner. I also added a home brew version of the six meter wire so it now works on 80 thru six, so I guess it is sort of an HF9
I also have homebrew yagis for six (2 elements) and two (5 elements) mounted on the deck mentioned below. They are only about 15-18 feet off the ground but offer some operation on those bands.
I have also experimented with mobile whips mounted on the wooden railing of the pool deck. I have a set of modified Hustler mobile antennas that were not being used. Most had been stretched out to use a full four (or in a couple of cases, more) foot whip with a minimum of loading coil. I ran a copper strap from the ground side to the frame of the above ground pool and found the mobile whips worked reasonably well on cw. However, on constant carrier modes like JT65 or RTTY, the coils heat up and the resonance changes, even running less than 100 watts. This is especially true of the 80 and 40 meter resonators, which started out as the low power versions of the Hustlers. I rewound the 40 meter resonator with #12 wire and found it was only marginally better. Also, if the number of turns hadn't been reduced to accomodate a longer whip, it would not have been possible to get enough wire on the coil form to hit 40 meters. I was able to borrow a 75 meter high power resonator and found it was worse! Since it is much bigger in diameter, I suspect there is a larger change as it gets warm.
My current rig is a Yaesu FT2000, which I acquired after a very bad experiece with two Ten Tec Omni VIIs. Prior to the Omnis I had an FT-950, which I liked, except for having to access a menu for almost every little adjustment. The 2000 is very similar in performance and ergonomics but actually has knobs for almost everything.
I work almost no phone. Lately I have been doing about a 50/50 mix of cw and digital, mostly JT65-HF. That would seem to be an ideal mode for a pipsqueak station, but it does not allow for much actual information exchange and is painfully slow.
I retired from almost 40 years of radio technicianing with the Illinois State Police December 31, 2010. The last twelve years of that I was a field technician, which meant I traveled to remote sites and districts to do whatever needed to be done, from sweeping the floor to keeping the 6 GHz microwave links up. The resultant 400,000 miles of windshield time, almost all of it in the southern third of the state, meant I had some time for mobile operating. I used several radios, from two IC-706s to a TS-2000 to an IC-746 to the FT-950, with modified Hustler whips. I had full size service vans mostly, so had room for mostly full sized radios. The big vans also provided a better than average capacitance to ground for the hf antenna. I worked about 200 countries mobile, most of it during the very lowest points of the Cycle 23/24 transition. This, too, was almost all cw and the majority while in motion. The last couple of months, I did a little mobile digital work, definately not while in motion.
Previous call signs were: WN9HHH (1963-64), WA9HHH (1964-74), and for the three years I was with ARRL, WA1NFS (1968-71).
QSLs: I prefer LOTW; after several requests, I started uploading to eQSL again, although I consider it to be fairly useless. I do not use any of the other online QSL services, including the one on QRZ.com. All the contacts I can find have been uploaded to LOTW and eQSL. This includes almost every contact in fifty plus years that went into a regular log under various calls. Unfortunately, most of the contest logs from my heavy contesting days are gone. It would have been interesting to see 100,000 plus contacts in the databases, but I don't regret not having to make the effort to put them in!
I really don't need any more paper QSLs, having collected around 4000 of them in 50 plus years. I have received some paper cards over the past few years but am very slow to get to them. The very last ones met with an accident that left them water soaked, stuck together and mostly unusable. If you sent a paper card in the past and have not received a reply, your card likely met this fate. Unless you are really desparate please don't resend.
6159651 Last modified: 2015-07-16 00:20:03, 7253 bytes
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