I made it over to the Hamfest yesterday. Had a great time saw a bunch of people I hadn’t seen in quite some time. I almost made it out without buying anything. Seems like vendors were down a bit from previous years but that might have been my imagination. I spent about two hours making the rounds and chatting with everyone before I even thought about buying anything. The first item of interest was a pile of aluminum on the ground in front of a table. Had I not tripped over it I wouldn’t have noticed it. It was a HF vertical. The guy didn’t know what band it was but guessed “20m or maybe cb.” For five bucks I could make it work somewhere or at least use it as scrap.
Walking out I saw KF7CQ with an Isopole 144. He’d already tried to talk me into it once but it didn’t work. As we were walking out another guy asked how much he wanted for it; $10. Funny, thats what I had left in my pocket. I’m already impressed with the Isopole, though I haven’t had much time to test it.
Once home I got to work on the $5 HF vertical. I replaced the SO-239 coax connection which was badly corroded, I usually have an extra one sitting around. Aside from that, I replaced a nut or two and it was ready for a test. The wife and I went for a hike in the foot hills, afterward we found a nice shade tree up around the 6,000 foot mark on Lower Deer point. I had the antenna assembled in 10 minutes and a few more to get it up on three sections of my mobile mast, about 18′.
I’ll have to post pictures later in the week, I forgot my camera but for a quick mental image…. The antenna is somewhere around 20′ (didn’t have my tape measure either). The top hat consists of three radials roughtly a foot each while the three ground radials are around 8 or 9′. I’ll post better specs later too.
I did a couple of quick swr sweeps on the unit as assembled. On 10m the vertical was 1.1:1 across as much of the band as I could ever care about. 12m was pretty low swr on the one freq I checked. 15m and 17m weren’t useable without a tuner. 20m was the band I really cared about. In the higher portion of the band the SWR was about a bit less than 2:1 and in the lower portion it was about 3:1. I’m sure I could have adjusted the radials and whip to get a solid match but given my limited time and it being at 18′, I pegged the tuner at 1:1.
Heard a VP2 From the Brisith Virgin Islands just long enough for him to go QRT. Then heard and worked stations in the Florida QSO party. Having accomplished what I told my wife I wanted to do (make at least one contact on it) I took everything down and we headed home. Not bad for $5 and a dollar or two for the SO-239.
Next time the weather is good I’m going back to the same spot with a picnic and the camera.
Actually, I had the camera this time, I just forgot the memory card.