Back on the air?

It has been since January [HF Broken!] that I was last on HF calling “CQ CQ CQ” on PSK31. This due to a 72″ long, 1 1/4″ diameter aluminum tube that snapped in some very heavy windows. Then again, I did have a 18′ piece of PVC flying the flag that no doubt added in the tube snapping in half.

I ordered the replacement tubing (4078-1) from DX Engineering, which arrives on Thursday. It should be no longer then a 5 minute fix tapping and screwing 2 screws into the tubing to hold it in place.

After speaking to DX Engineering last week and using their advice about ground radials, contrary to manufacturer’s recommendations I have decided to place new ground radials. Originally I cut then to length depending on the band. This time I am using random lengths based on how much space I have in each direction.

Using this scenario, I have cut eight radials for 7′, four radials for 22′ and four radials for 38′. Not sure what sort of results I will achieve based on current propagation conditions, but I suspect DX will be as good if not better based on the 16 radials I will have in place. If indeed this works, I might double the number radials and attach them to a stainless steel radial plate (DXE-RADP-1P) from DX Engineering.

Since band conditions are supposed to be improving I might even have a chance to make a few SSB contacts, something I have yet to do and be able to log. Since November, 2007 I have logged 18 contacts on 20m using PSK31. Of those 18 only 11 have sent a QSL.

In other ham related news, I am debating sending a petition to the HOA Board of Directors to allow me to erect my 24′ vertical antenna (Hustler 6-BTV). Now it might be a exercise in futility, but the way I see it, many homeowners in our neighborhood do not abide by the CC&Rs. I will present a strong case as to why I should be exempt from the rule. Many in our general area cannot take care of the basics, such as a presentable yard, cars parked on the grass, weeds growing out of their rain gutters. fences broken, just to name a few. These issues are a far larger eye sore then a 1 1/4″ diameter antenna standing 24′ tall.