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!





One response to “No more antenna in the tree”

  1. […] posted about my improvised HF antenna coming down out of the tree, and I still have no replacement up. Probably I am overthinking this; studying tables of […]

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