I earned my Technician Class license in December 2013 and my General and Extra Class licenses in January 2014, so I'm still a relatively new ham. My first HF radio was purchased at the end of February 2014, and it's an old-timer- a Swan 500CX. I love everything about it, and from what I can tell, it works great. However, I've recently upgraded to a more modern rig that provides a lot more flexibility: a Yaesu FTDX1200. It allows me to work digital modes more easily and has a lot of great features for carving out those elusive DX contacts.
My antenna is modest, but it seems to work well on 10m, 20m, and 40m. I have an MFJ-2012 40m Windom (OCF Dipole) in a slight inverted-V configuration at about 28'. I use LMR240 transmission line and haven't had any problems with it at all. I have also recently added a new (well, new to me!) vertical antenna- a Hustler 5BTV, but I've chosen to use 75 ohm RG11 feedline (since I got it for free), and it works excellently. SWR is low, power transmission is high, and life is good. I use an Icom IC-V8000 for a 2m base station radio.
I've done a few upgrades to my station, including the addition of a Yamaha MG10XU mixer (awesome clean sound!), two NHTPro studio monitors, and a Shure SM58 microphone. Things are slowly getting to be how I want them:
A closeup of the Swan rig:
Here is a picture of my mast. It is made out of pressure-treated lumber and bolted to my sun porch on the rear of my house. The main portion at the bottom is a 16' 4x4 supported on a piece of concrete designed for supporting decks. The top piece is a 12' 2x4, bolted onto the 4x4 with galvanized 3/8" bolts. 1" was cut off of each side on the top 7' section (leaving the bottom 5' intact), and those scrap pieces were then nailed cross-wise near the bottom to stiffen the now-thinner top portion. Only the top 4' is actual 2x2, so it is not flexible and supports the balun quite well. The total height is roughly 28'. The mast has been through some wind already and hasn't budged. The total cost, including hardware and lumber, was about $65.
And here's my older Hustler 5BTV. I use 75-ohm RG11 cable as feedline for this antenna, and despite all of the hype, it works great. I've made many long-distance DX contacts with this setup. The antenna is mounted to a 5' long galvanized chain-link fence post that I've driven directly into the ground with a sledge hammer so that only 18" is left exposed. I have 12 radials, ranging in length from 20' to 24', spread evenly around the base.
Thanks for stopping by, and happy DXing!
6177948 Last modified: 2015-07-16 00:21:38, 3538 bytes
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