Monday, 20 December 2010

The Worked All Neighbours Award

The other weekend Don, VE3MNE, and I built an 80m OCF dipole to replace my current 80m-40m-20m fan dipole. We had built several of the OCF dipoles over the past 12 months, and had used two of them, an 80m and a 160m, at Don’s cottage for field day and the IARU World Championships last summer….all with no problem. In fact this year we had the best field day score we have had in years. The plans came from the Bux Comm website.

So, on a cold Sunday (why do it in the warm weather…right?) we hauled down the fan dipole, which had given me sterling service for nearly five years, and put up the new 80m OCF dipole. It took us a while to tune it, this antenna works on 80m-40m-20m-10m and 6m, and when tuned properly can give you a 1.5:1 SWR across the bands. We could not quite get 1.5:1, but we did get close to that.

From the Bux Comm website
I fired up the rig and found that the ATU wasn’t required, and proceeded to call CQ. Well, it wasn’t too long before the XYL was in the shack complaining that I was playing hell with the TV. So, looking around to see what I had missed I found the low pass filter which I had neglected to reinstall. On went the low pass filter and off I went again calling CQ.

Within minutes I had a neighbour knocking at the front door and the XYL back in the shack, both complaining of interference with their respective TV’s. Off went the rig for the night and I sat and contemplated what the hell could be wrong.

The rig sat idle for about a week, and during that time I replaced every bit of coax in the shack with brand new pieces. On went the rig, called CQ, more complaints came from the neighbours, and off went the rig.

What to do and more to the point, what the hell is going on. We know these antennas work, and all my neighbours are on cable. Could it be the 4:1 Balun? Nope, checked that out and it works fine, and it was back to contemplating this issue for a few more days.

I had to do something fast as the RAC Winter Contest was coming up, and I needed a working antenna that wasn’t going to get me strung up by my neighbours. So, I did what any good ham would do…the damn thing came down, the old one went back up, and we’re back on the air with no complaints!

And that’s how I earned the “Worked All Neighbours Award”.