Tag Archives: High frequency

10 Meter Dipole and learning

I had put up my 10 meter dipole when I set up my ICOM 740, and had it at 16.5′. I had used a way out of the house for the feedline that had me using a lot of coax. I had trouble with SWR, I could tune it out but I was not very efficient. I found another way to get my coax out to my antenna and it knocked off about 45′ of the feedline, yes 45 feet. I was able to raise the top of the dipole to 21.5′ and now now roughly 12′ to bottom of mast of feedline. I still have a little off balance inverted V with the higher side pointing west, but only a few degrees different than east side.

Right off the bat I found 1:1.2 swr on my radio without tuner and this was at about 65% of RF power. Very little done on antenna tuner now to get it at 1:1 and if I go full power I can still tune it down perfectly. Next week I will be building my 50 ohm dummy load, just waiting on some resistors and need to go out and get my paint can and some mineral oil.

I found a good deal on both the General and Extra ARRL books so I have been reading those. I have been reading one section in the General book and then part2 so to speak in the Extra book. I am starting to pass the practice test for general, still marginal but I am passing about 60% of the time. Another week or two and I will raise that average.

I have quite a few projects on deck:

  • Found some really nice surround speakers plus center speaker at Goodwill, Sony’s want to use them as externals for my HF rig.
  • Have a LM386 Audio chip I am thinking of building into a mono amp to feed the Sony speakers, maybe build a small Eq tone stack to use as listening filters.
  • Parts arriving for my homebuilt bench power supply will be here in a few days and time to get that project in a box.
  • Have some 300ohm twin lead and some really old plans for a doublet dipole fed with coax and an air choke.
  • Arduino parts arriving late in week and ready to start on my weather station project among others.

Until next time…



HF Radios

Looking around for a decent High Frequency Multiband transceiver isn’t an easy task if you are new to amatuer radio and a frugal shopper. I watched Craigslist and Ebay for a couple weeks before narrowing my options down.

I learned a few things along the way as well. One of the first radios I found was local on Craigslist and the add said it had 11 meters on it. I looked up the model a Yaesu FT-101E. According to the specs it had ability to listen to 11 meters but needed to be modified in order to transmit on 11meters. Now for those who don’t know 11meter is the CB radio band. Not a HAM band and what I learned in reading about radios that had been modified is that they are not FCC legal. This is an old tube radio and for some reason my romance with old radios of my youth drew me in to look at older radios first. Not the best idea. I emailed the guy and we talked back and forth until I asked if the 11meter mod had been installed to make it transmit, in this email I had happened to change my signature to include my callsign. No reply.

I wondered if my question and callsign made the communication stop. As I type this the radio is still listed on Craigslist for sale.

There are horror stories out there of so called modded radios that look like the work of a 3 year old with a soldering iron. I had to ask myself why I wanted an older radio like this, all tubes, no frequency counter, more likely to need work now or in the future. I am sure there are plenty of “boat anchors” making QSO’s daily but not the best idea for a guy starting out.

It appeared to me the best options for me based on reliability, ease of use(learning curve) and mostly price the 80-90’s solid state stuff was what I should be looking at. I checked out Kenwoods, Icoms etc. I had narrowed down to a couple on Ebay.  Had to look careful and really read descriptions so many “work great except on 40 and 80 meters”  Or ads that say “tested” but as you read on tested means they put power to it and the meter lights lit up.

Well to cut to the chase I found an ICOM IC-740 for a good price and took it.  It has the optional power supply in it, the FM, all the filters for cw and passband. even came with the stock Mic.


I picked up a 10meter Dipole from DR.Dipole as well.

I set it all up, put the center of my dipole 17.5′ in the air as an inverted V. Got inside and my swr was over 3:1 according to the radio. Whoa! this is no good, I am suspicious of my long run of RG58 making things whacky. I rolled the power back and was able to keep it around 2:1 at 45watts. I ran up to Radioshack the next day and grabbed their SWR meter to see how close it was to one on radio. It was fairly close so I called out on 28.400 and listened. Now I know it is a terrible time of year for 10 and 12meters but a guy has to try. I tuned and listened on 40/80 and 160 meters was able to pull in a few to listen to. Heard a lot of cw on 20 and 40 meters. But no QSO’s for me. I can see right off the need to learn morse code again.

I have not had a chance yet get the dipole down and do some trimming or repositioning, I have been looking at antenna tuners and I want my dipole as close as possible without a tuner but I can see life will go a lot more easy with one. I happen to get the MFJ catalog recently and I like a few of their tuners.

I have been reading up on Baluns and the use with tuners, not totally sure if I am going down the right road trying to use a tuner as opposed to directing my attention at the physical antenna. It is 10meter 1/2 wave Dipole and after measuring it seems as if it should work just fine. So I will be trying a different feedline f coax to see if it helps but I still want to get a tuner if not for this situation but for other antennas and the other bands.


Who Is KG7FDJ?

ImageAt 47 Years old I have a small story to tell, I will skip all the I was born stuff and just condense it to I grew up in Catholic family, in a small neighborhood looking at most of my world like it was an episode of The Andy griffin Show. I was always active in scouts from cub to boy scouts and that and my dad led me to the fascinating world of electronics.

In 4th grade I was old enough to graduate from Weblos to Boy Scouts and the troop I was involved in was where I met one of my life long friends who entered the world of electronics with me and still to this day works in the industry and the hobby. The Christmas after I joined the troop I received a Radio Shack 150 in 1 Experimenters kit. I had already worn in the reputation for liking to tear things apart and like most boys I could be entertained for hours with batteries, a flashlight and a dc motor. I fired up that Radio shack experimenters kit and built my first crystal radio. I had a bedroom in the basement that my dad had remodeled years before for my older brothers. He had built a nice desk and wrap around counter that hid the water meter, this was still back when the meter man had to read the meter in the house so it had a little trap door to lift to see the digits. For though it provided a great earth ground connection for my crystal radio. I spent countless evenings listening to skipped am radio stations from all over, constantly tuning as the station faded away. The seed was planted, within months most of the parts were torn of the experimenters board and made into various projects.

My friend in scouts too had started playing with circuits and was showing a greater aptitude than me already. My dad took me one day up to bunch of storage units where a guy was selling boxes of circuit boards and parts. I really wasn’t sure why we were there until my dad pointed to some boxes and told me load them into the car. On the way home he gave me the stern “I don’t want to see this all over my workshop”. He had built me my own workbench when I was 6 complete with tools and I was known for migrating his tools to my bench and leaving a mess about. My dad had just loaded me up with tons of parts to desolder from circuit boards and play with, I was in heaven.

The following summer as we uncovered our small above ground pool my friend and I started envisioning little electric boats. We had seen the guys down at the river with the RC hydroplanes, we had both had our share of COX control line planes and spent plenty of time building models and loitering in the local hobby shop. The whole hobby thing was in full motion. We started with Styrofoam and motors powered with propellers from broken rubber power balsa planes. We progressed to cutting water props out of pop cans and JB welding them onto motors. Running around the pool to turn your boat around was getting old and our medium had progressed to balsa wood carved and painted. I don’t remember which one of us it was but we took a cheap radio control car from Woolworths and tore it apart to control the rudder on one of the boats. Remember the early RC cars that only turned when they went in reverse? This was one of those. We both dreamed of ways we could achieve radio control on a 7th graders wages.

That fall at middle school or junior high as we called it then we both got to take an electronics elective class. Our collective proficiency got us into the job of running the class’s parts room where we got to be exposed to more parts than Radio shack had. We learned more, years went by we stayed near the hobbies of electronics. My friend designed circuit boards and still does research and design stuff as a contractor. I went on to 20 years in the bicycle business, some in the computer and IT trades and 10 years in the hobby RC industry.

Now years later I have 2 sons and a beautiful wife that supports all my hobbies and it is the perfect time to return to the things I enjoy and feed my mind a little bit. For years I have thought off and on about getting back into ham radio after playing with it in my early 20’s. I decided recently I knew most of the information for the Technicians test so I got an ARRL book, found practice tests online and went and took the test this last August. I passed and it began my journey of learning a lot of new things in this last month.

The bench has parts on it, the soldering iron is hot, I am tracking my first HF rig shipment to me, talking on 2meter repeaters with handheld and already starting to study for my General License test. Life is good.


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