Saturday, May 4, 2013

First HF setup and contacts

I've finally pieced together my  first HF rig, and make my first contacts with it! I've been able to hear people from as far away as Japan, but I haven't had a whole lot of success transmitting yet. Still, I'm getting better with things, and I hope that a bit more practice will leave me to doing great! Without further ado, my setup, as well as my first DX contacts!

Radio: IC-735
Antenna: Home-made OCF antenna, following instructions from ARRL's Wire Antenna book. The antenna is tuned (Or at least, should be tuned) for 40, 20, 15, 12, 10, and 6m. It was cut from copper wire, one dipole 23', the other 46', and fed with a 55' 450 ohm ladder line. The ladder line connects to a switchable 4:1 1:1 balun (1:1 for 15m, 4:1 for the others).
Antenna Tuner- In order to work 80, I used an antenna tuner, LDG Z100 Plus.

Diagram of my antenna layout
The antenna is located in my attic. It seems to be working alright for now, but I am going to do some adjusting on it, in particular trying to bring the two dipoles further apart (Right now it is roughly an U shape, with the feed line connected to one point in the U. The short end runs almost straight, the long end makes an L to fit properly. My main goal is going to be to make the short dipole point further downward, and make sure the feed line isn't clumped up anywhere, but I'll probably do a bit of other maintenance as well.

First DX contacts
  • KC8QXD 40m (Ohio)
  • K2CYR 40m (New York)
  • EA5HPV 15m (Spain)

In addition, I was able to check in to a few nets, including one local one, and another few across the United States. I'm going to have to try and do some more improving of my antenna setup, but at least for now, I'm doing alright, and I'm pleased in general with my set up. Hopefully I can get a few of the kinks ironed out, and be good to go!

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