The many other projects here slowed down a bit last weekend and I got the urge to play radio. Luckily, as part of negotiations, the seller had agreed to leave behind the antennas. To our surprise, he also left behind his radios, tuners, scanners, spare tubes, coax, lightning arrestors, and a number of other goodies. So although my modern equipment remains packed, I had some recourse to operate.
In what was a first for me, I used a radio with tube finals! We hastily moved the TS-830S left behind by the seller into the living room — it just happened to be the room with the easiest window access to the antenna — and hooked it up. The antenna is a GAP Titan, located way (way) too close to the side of the house, and the feedline is, well, pretty crappy 75 ohm stuff. But I got on the air!
I have never felt so deaf on RX and weak on TX. Surrounded here by 100+ foot pines, it’s a wonder the previous owner never put up a high dipole! Even a low dipole would have blown this paltry vertical out of the water. I struggled to hear loud regulars like I2VRN and MI0SAI. I even tried in vain to call a W3 ragchewer on 20 meters, but he couldn’t hear me. I don’t dare try 80 or 160.
Those of us with towers, beams, or even high wires can forget how daunting this hobby is to someone with a compromise vertical. Maybe some of the fault lies with the manufacturers of these “one-antenna-quiver” multi-band verticals that, frankly, suck. I can’t blame GAP in this case, because the antenna is most certainly located close to the house, but it’s not hard to imagine a situation where that placement was someone’s only choice.
Yesterday, Bob K1YO stopped by to drop off an SDR setup. We’ll be conducting a noise study experiment on the new QTH. My plan is to canvass the six contest bands in 24 hour periods, both on weekdays and weekends. I’ll be sure to post our findings here as we go, along with any write ups that the experiment produces.