While I wish I could say the HOA allowed me to erect a 200′ tower with a SteppIR Dream Beam, I am happy with what I accomplished the past few days in preparation for the BigIR arrival. The shipping date is still unknown, but I am coming up on 3 weeks, so I would figure next week seems like a good window (fingers crossed). Probably better, if it came this week I would not be able to erect it in time for the CQWW WPX.
I spent the better part of Tuesday and Wednesday running new radials and soldering all lug connectors to the copper wire. What a tedious task! Originally I did not solder the connections and I paid for it the past few days. I removed all the old lugs and soldered them and will be covering them with a weatherproof coating, be it silicone or a product from 3M called Scotchkote. Right now, I am leaning towards the silicone
The radial system now consists of 52 total radials, with a minimum length of 21′ and a maximum length of about 45′. I had planned on running some radials off the north side of the radial plate, under my fence, but after looking it over I decided against this. Instead I ran 8 new radials north approximately 7′ and then turned them to the east for the remaining run of 40′. My thought process was any long radials were better than none.
I was finally able to fill in the west side of the radial plate as well, which runs approximately 22′, under my wooden shed to the property line. This was a long and slow process, as I had to pull out all the radials, straighten them and then solder the new connectors. That took most of Tuesday, but now it is done and I think I have one more radial to add in that direction if I so well desire.
There are 6 open areas on the north side of the radial plate. In time I am sure I will fill this in, but had already spent a good deal of time improving my modest radials system. Not sure what I will do with those remaining spots, maybe what I did on the other side, running them north and then turning them to the west.
Hopefully this upgrade will improve the 6-BTV, in what will most likely be the last contest I use it for. That reminds me, I need to check the 6-BTV with the antenna analyzer today or tomorrow. I did hear a ‘CU’ running a pileup yesterday on 20M, so hopefully that is s good sign. As a backup I put up the Alpha Delta DX-EE as a second option.