Sunday, October 12, 2008

HF in the field with New Homebrew G5RV

Yesterday we decided to build a new dipole and take it to the field to test it out. We had built a ZS6BKV multi-band dipole a while back for field day operations a while back but now have it up permanently, well it's not up permanently but we use it primarily, at dad's (KU4ME) house now. With that being the case and the weather being beautiful, we decided to build a new dipole for the field. After some research, some thought, and consideration to the materials we had readily available we decided to go with a homebrew G5RV. We used 14 gauge copper wire, and some 300 ohm twin lead and a small PVC pipe piece for the feed point. The copper wire was cut for 102 feet, actually 104 feet so we could make our end loops for tying it to rope for hoisting. The twin lead was cut to 28 and a half feet to run from the feed point directly to the TenTec 229 tuner.

With our Antenna completed, we loaded up the radio (ICOM IC-756 Pro), tuner (Ten Tec 229), power supply, watt meter, and all the other supplies to set up and maintain our operations for a few hours into the evening. Luckily for us the field we went to is where we went for field day, along with where we go to view the cosmos on clear winter evenings. Since we had been up here to operate before, we were smart enough to leave ropes in the trees so we can easily string up our dipoles anytime we go up there to play. It didn't take very long to get set up and within the hour we were able to tune on 20 meters, 40 meters, and 80 meters.

Once we were ready, we tuned around on the bands just to see what was going on. We found a station out of Italy (I2VRN) calling CQ on 40 meters. Just for shagrins I picked up the mic and tried to make contact. After about 2 or 3 tries, I broke through the pileup and ended up getting a 5-7 which I thought was pretty good considering the noise on the band and it being just a homebrew G5RV.

After that contact, I decided to find a frequency and start hollerin' CQ. While I didn't end up with a pile up, I did end up work 3 stations: Rick in Texas (KC5AKB) 5-5, Charles in New Market, TN (WB4HLW) 5-7, and Kay (AC7LN) Idaho. While I didn't get a report from Kay I did hear him say he was mobile. Unfortunately the band was quite noisy on 40 and didn't hold up for very long. The most surprising contact was with Charles in New Market. The simple fact that I was able to make contact with another Tennessee station on 40 was pretty cool but considering New Market is roughly 18 miles away as the crow flies.

Once 40 pretty much died we switched over to 80 meters and Robin (AJ4IJ) and I (AJ4JD) worked a few Pennsylvania stations that were working the Pennesylvania QSO party. I think we worked a total of 10 contacts between the two of us. It wasn't much longer after that, that hunger took over and with the wind being as it was, we were to afraid to start a fire to roast some wieners. So we decided it was time to break everything down and take it back to the house. Once we got back and unloaded everything that needed unloading, we headed out to get food for the group.

Overall, it was a fun evening and now we have a field deployable antenna that can work on the main bands we like to operate. Additionally, it is one that is not employed permanently at the base so we can take it out where ever we want to operate.

Now it's time for what everyone likes, the pictures. Enjoy.

AJ4JD and KU4ME Measure out the 14 gauge wire for the antenna.

KU4ME Making the Feedpoint

KU4ME Placing the Antenna in the Feedpoint

The G5RV Approximately 30' in the Air

KU4ME Tunes up the Radio

AJ4JD Making Contact

AJ4IJ at the Doorway to Radioland.

73 and God Bless de AJ4JD

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