Radio in May?

It’s been since CQP, last October that I actually turned my radio on and participated in a contest. Back in January I commented about an April/May return to radio (read All Out of Ham). I won’t say I am ahead of the game as we roll into the middle of February, but I have made some progress in order to get on the air. The “shack” is finally put together. Not, unfortunately it is not a free standing structure with it’s own power. Much like our last house the shack is a corner of the garage. While I have the radio and computer set up, along with the amplifier, it will take some time to work on making all the necessary connections, both inside the shack and the lines that will feed my antennas.

There are still some logistics that need to be worked out. Antennas. Where do I place them? With CC&Rs no longer a concern I have considered my options. At one point I wrote about K6EQR, who knew a ham selling a 55′ crank up tower. the further away we get from this piece, the less inclined I am to foresee this option in my future. Still a heck of a deal at $300! My original plan was to mount my hex beam on the chimney, using a specialized mount. After climbing onto the Spanish tiled roof, I am not too keen on attempting to get to the chimney as the roof was just too slippery and not a real good idea. I have been looking at mounting the hex beam back on the Rohn H-50 and trying to raise it,bracing it to the wood flashing, just below the roof. Not sure if that would be enough to support the hex of not. The other problem, trying to raise the mast extended to 35′-40′ with the hex beam already installed.

My other antenna is the 32′ SteppIR BigIR and I have found a place in the middle of the backyard, surrounded by 30′ high palm trees that will “hide” it from neighbors while allowing me to run radials in a north-east-south direction up to 90′! This antenna shouldn’t be difficult to install, as I just need to dig a hold and set the mounting post. I do have some concern, as I had to walk this antenna to our new house. Unfortunately I failed to retract the metal tape in the housing. Hopefully I haven’t suffered internal problems with the tape coming off the spool.

I am targeting the 2013 CQWW WPX CQ Contest as my return to the air. Looking at the most recent issue of CQ, I posted my best score ever (since 2009) of 510,867 points in low power, all band, assisted in W6 while operating just under 32 hours (36 max). A score and effort like this won’t happen unless I can get the hex beam up in the air. The vertical will allow for the low bands, which are the big points in WPX. Still I have to look at what other options I have and see if I can find a work around in order to get back on the air.

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