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January 17th, 2009

Balcony exeriments and shack work

I took my 33 foot long wire and counterpoise out to the balcony last night. Yes, I was standing out there in the 20 degree temperatures playing with wires.

There's a lot less noise on 20 and 40 meters with the wire outside. Today I was listening up and down the bands and I heard a guy in Texas booming through the apartment. I heard another station from France that was also pretty loud. I have a lot of experimenting to do:

-change the arrangement of the wire to see what layout is best (the antenna is doing a kind of 'N' shaped zig-zag right now)
-see how well it tunes on the different bands and record what I can hear
-record noise and signal strength levels on the different bands at different times of the day to see what interference I am facing
-do all this in comparison to the Miracle Whip
-try to work some folks that I hear

In other shack news, I need to:

-find a battery charger for my two new 8AH batteries,
-get PowerPoles on the power chord for my new small Astron RS-4A power supply so I can connect it to the large back-up battery
-monitor the repeater on Inauguration day
-order a portable paddle
-write out my notes about off-center fed dipoles more cleanly for future reference
-catch up on the contest schedule
-practice CW

The Encounter (video)

"What are you supposed to do when you meet a blind person?...this blind guy was standing there on the corner and I didn't have any idea what to do about it!"

Part 1
Part 2

This is a neat animated video produced by the Nebraska Commission for the Blind. It's funny and enlightening, too. Enjoy!

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Wacky wire on the balcony

a sketch of the zig-zag configuration of the balcony wire antenna

Grey lines: my balcony, looking outward
Red line: wire from the Apt 501 window
Orange line: counterpoise from the window antenna
Green: balun from the folded dipole
Blue: a pole that's acting as an anchor point for the wire (rather than using the metal balcony railing)

That's what's out on the balcony at the moment. Wacky, isn't it?

The antenna starts at the balun, which is hanging from the only hook (a flower-pot hook) in the balcony overhang. I discovered a short nail on the opposite side of the balcony overhang, so I looped the wire around that and brought it back over to the other side, taped it to the plastic cap on the pole, and then brought it down over towards to opposite side, where it is fastened with some string and an insulator to keep it from blowing away. The counterpoise/other half of the dipole(?) is held down with a book until I can find something else to keep it from blowing off the balcony floor. Well, it may look bizarre but I heard some nice signals with it.

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