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Sigh

High frequency on this HAM set is turning out to be more problematic and frustrating than I counted on. I have had this rig for a week, and still haven’t made my first HF contact. I tried to use a G5RV antenna, but all of the bands seemed dead. Then I figured the problem was that the antenna wasn’t optimal, so I looked for another solution.

I ran a coax to a 1:1 balun, and ran a piece of wire from that to the aluminum downspout outside of my window, and connected it with a sheet metal screw. The spout runs some 35 feet from the ground to the roof, where it connects to about 60 linear feet of horizontal gutter. Now, I receive some stations, but most of the bands are dead most of the time. Last night, I was receiving some traffic on the 18 meter band, but no one could apparently hear me.

So here I sit, trying to figure out what to do next.

I’m moving from this apartment in three weeks, and back into my house. I will have a bit of flexibility there. Maybe I will try to erect my Cushcraft R7 vertical there.

3 replies on “Sigh”

Don't give up. You said you live in an apartment, so it may be that your antenna isn't mounted optimally. I've been running a G5RV for years, sometimes with the ends just high enough off the ground you could reach up and touch them. Sometimes, it's not antenna but propagation working against you. HF is fickle some days. Try 80 meters at night, there's usually a lot of activity going on, especially nets around the evening hours.

As Jim says, there's nothing inherently wrong with a G5RV. I've used my off-center fed dipole with the ends about 7' off the ground for years. That's simply so I can walk around the yard without hitting my head!

I've had a similar antenna with its peak at about 15' and ends tied to sticks in the ground, inverted Vee style, but from the top, it looked more like a right angle corner. It just doesn't matter much. Your radiation pattern will be whatever it ends up being, but you'll get something.

HF can be fickle, not so much as operators can be. If you're not sounding like where they want to work or the exact mode, it's easy to move on.

If you're wondering if the antenna is broken, here's a simple test: unscrew your PL-259 (I'm assuming) from the radio, pull the shield back 1/16" or so, but leave the center conductor in. You should hear the noise decrease. Next, pull the center conductor and it should get really quiet.

At night, try 40 meters rather than 17. Being the weekend, there will be more activity. The WA7BNM Contest Calendar website doesn't show any major contests all weekend, but maybe some activity.

Having a rough time making that first contact seems to be something we all go through.

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