Thursday, June 11, 2009

Two new countries

The other night, using my new G5RV, I worked H44MY (Solomon Islands) and a DK2 (Niue). Some nights you listen, and there's nothing new, and some nights, there are DXpeditions!

That same night I worked a DL - it brought back some memories of working Europe from our QTH in northern Ohio where I grew up.

In contrast, I would have been really excited to work the South Pacific from Ohio. From here in California, it's not that hard...

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Am I hearing things?

Tonight was the first time since we moved into the new house that I spent some serious time tuning around the HF bands and listening. I was kind of amazed at how much I was hearing - for example, right now on 40M I am hearing 13 CW, 2 Olivia, and 2 SSB contacts between 7000 and 7100 kHz, and that's only with a piece of coax running under our house (none of my antennas are up yet).

Unless we've had a resurgence of ham activity lately, my only conclusion is that the noise level at my new QTH is way, way, WAY better than the old one. There, on a typical weeknight, I could only hear a couple of CW and maybe 1 digital QSOs above the S7-S9 noise.

By comparison, I'm hearing AC2K in Redmond, WA, and he's S8 on this underground antenna, while the background noise level is S0 or S1. I'm getting excited!

Pulleys Up

Last weekend I went monkey and climbed the redwood tree. I got as high as I could, and screwed three eye-bolts into the trunk with marine-grade pulleys on them, then ran some dacron cord through the pulleys and heaved heavy objects attached to the lines away from the tree at right angles. The idea is to be able to use one of the lines as a transit line to haul up an inverted-V feedpoint, and for the other two to be the supports for 80 and 160 inverted L antennas.

As it turns out, I climbed up 58 feet before I chickened out. That's not quite the 1/2 wavelenength on 40 meters I was hoping for, but it's close enough. And I think whatever is up there will work a lot better than the G5RVjr at 22 ft.