No more antenna in the tree

Back in June when I had just received the X6100, as soon as I had charged the internal battery I improvised a quick random wire antenna off the deck: a small round rock carried some mason’s line over a convenient limb of the northernmost pine tree, which served to hoist up a lightweight insulator and 29 feet of 26 gauge silicone-covered wire. A bit of rummaging on the bench produced a 20 foot length of 26 gauge solid hookup wire for a counterpoise. Add the ubiquitous BNC-to-binding-post adapter and I am ready to go!

The X6100’s ATU easily tuned up this combination on 20 meters and signals started pouring in! A special-event station, N1S (National Historic Ship USS Nautilus), came in loud and clear, so after following a couple of exchanges to get the timing right I answered the CQ and got a reply! This was a Big Deal to me, my first HF QSO in, well, let’s say a fairly long time, as well as proof-of-function for the new rig!

Thanks for staying with me through that digression; that first QSO really did mean a lot to me, and it’s probably at least partly responsible for my resurgent interest in getting out and operating.

Here in the Driftless it was a gloomy overcast day, but above freezing, so I was clearing snow from the deck when I noticed that my antenna wires were hanging down rather than up; not good! I had noticed that the heavy, wet snowfall before Christmas had brought down a big limb, but I hadn’t realized that it was the one that supported my antenna. Some careful pulling on the wire and the line recovered both of them with no apparent damage, and a few moments with a utility knife and an old cardboard box produced a winder suitable for the occasion.

I’m going to save it and re-deploy it in the spring; it has a certain cachet as a Lucky Antenna now. It made a few other QSO’s with the X6100 during the summer and fall; I also used it with the FT-817 one time. It might be worth noting in passing that I never left the BNC adapter outside in the weather.

A few more digressions:

A short cutoff of 1/2″ PEX tubing with 1/8″ drilled holes has become my standard end insulator for wire antennas. Tiny size, negligible weight, made from waste materials; what’s not to love?

The 26 gauge solid wire was salvaged from old Bell System inside wiring. It’s great stuff for all sorts of electronic circuit building! I will always pause to hook a length of that old 25-pair cable out of a dumpster as the old POTS network is slowly replaced by VOIP. CAT5 cable is not as useful; the pairs are usually tightly twisted and hard to straighten, and sometimes the conductors are copper coated aluminum.

One of the features of the X6100 is the built-in microphone and the dedicated PTT button placed where the finger naturally falls! The combination makes this radio an actual HF HT, and I really, really like that!

Thank you for visiting today! I’m trying to post new stuff every few days, so bookmark this site and come back soon!





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