Friday, September 28, 2007

Melting solder

The ARRL has a new fall lineup of publications. I purchased the new Antenna book at Dayton and have ordered the new Handbook from the web site along with some other items. The first of it arrived today including the new version of Low Power Communications by Rich Arland (W3OSS, formerly K7SZ). [I tried to put a link in for the book but the ARRL site is tangled up at the moment.] The ARRL had a special bundling the book with a 40m QRP-Cub Transceiver Kit from MFJ. Though Sandy would likely insist otherwise, Scott needs a new toy! I will assemble the radio tomorrow. I have been missing the smell of melting solder.
I had lunch with my friend Rich (AB1HD). He had borrowed my FT-817 and some accessories to give them a workout with his digital gear. The last of the pile was returned today including the PAR End-Fedz 20/40m end-fed half-wave (EFHW) QRP antenna. I believe this particular model is discontinued and replaced with a 10/20/40m version. Both are rated at 25 watts continuous duty.
When I came home tonight I used my throw bag to get a line quickly up in a tree to see if the antenna is still in good tune. The 20m band looked great; the 40m band dipped far below 7 MHz. Adjusting the antenna is done by doubling back some of the wire on the end. I eyeballed the amount to change and had it resonant in the middle of the 40m band the first try.
Though this antenna is rated only for QRP or very low power work, it could still have a place on a DXpedition. If you wanted a quick way to hoist an antenna for listening for band openings, this one is a good idea. Also, you can hang this off a balcony from a high floor hotel room. It needs no counterpoise (though a small one does help) so it is ideal for those situations where you must deploy an antenna in a small area. Note that the other PAR Electronics offerings handle 100 watts or more. If the others are as nice as the one I own, I believe you'll be happy with them.

I would like to offer my humble congratulations to the 3B7C team for their efforts on St. Brandon. According to their press release this evening they put in 137,500 QSOs. Wow. They didn't use the "no sunspots" excuse; they just got it done. First class operators and good organization prevail. I have spent many hours watching DXpedition videos, reading DXpedition articles and books, and studying all that I can find from those who do this well. Obviously I'll be scouring anything coming from the Five Star DXers relating to this trip. It is one for the record books.


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