Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A NEW 160-M Antenna for W8TN

After I discovered last Friday that the vertical portion of the 160-M Inverted-L was broken off at the feed point, The Archer, Charlie, N8RR, volunteered to bring his trusty bow and weighted arrow to my QTH and fire a line over one of my trees to erect a NEW Top Band antenna. I then gathered up all the materials last night and this morning Charlie showed up followed by the DX Hunter, Tim, KC8UHE. The three of us managed to make it down the hill without incident and in less than 80 minutes, we were done! Charlie fired his arrow perfectly over the nearest tall tree at such an angle that it not only cleared that tree but one further along and the arrow then fell all the way to the ground. That meant the vertical portion of the Inverted-L would rise almost straight up and then be horizontal at the top - a near textbook installation.

Charlie had fishing line attached to the arrow which he removed and attached to some light line. The fishing line was reeled in and the end of the light line was attached to a piece of Dacron antenna support rope. That was pulled up and over the trees and then it was used to pull up the end of the Inverted-L. Tim and I had cut a 135-foot length of No. 14 stranded copper cable for the antenna. I decided to cut it for 135-feet even though I thought it would end up at 130-feet after trimming the antenna to resonance. I just wanted to make sure I had enough wire in the air before tuning it. Charlie said he thought the antenna should be 130-feet (just what I thought!) and he suggested we go ahead and shorten it by wrapping the last 5-feet back on the end of the antenna. We did that.

I then attached the MFJ-259 antenna analyzer to the feed point and WOOF! - it was resonant at 1.809 MHz. Good enough for government work. Tim then used my chain saw to remove a couple of trees, one of which had fallen on the North set of guy wires. We then gathered up our tools and came topside to check out the antenna with the N8LP Digital Vector RF Wattmeter. You can see the result of that sweep on the Left (click on the photo for a larger image.) The antenna (as measured in the shack) is 1.34:1 at 1.800 MHz, 1.28:1 at 1.820 MHz, 1.57:1 at 1.840 MHz. and 2.0:1 at 1.862 MHz. If I recall correctly, this is even better than the previous Inverted-L.

As we were pulling up the wire, when the insulator on the end of the wire transitioned from vertical to horizontal at the top of the first tree, Tim and I estimated that we only had about 30-feet of wire left. That should mean that close to 100-feet of the antenna is vertical. Boy, oh boy! I can hardly wait for SV5 to show up tonight! He's MINE!

Thanks again to The Archer and the DX Hunter for their fabulous help. I'm really excited about being back on Top Band, if only for the very end of the season.

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