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Old May 20th, 2020, 09:13 AM #2791
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In radio communications, the importance of components is ranked as 1) propagation 2) antenna 3) radio. Propagation is the most important and impossible to control. Some of us have limitations on antennas because of the hoa and/or county regs. Fortunately, wires do very well if you install them well. DXing is possible with 100w and a wire. Patients and Persistence are important


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Old May 20th, 2020, 09:29 AM #2792
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrazySanMan View Post
I'm trying to make HF contacts for the first time, I'm on 20m. My radio is a 5w Yaesu FT-817. I've been calling cq every couple of minutes for three beers now and I haven't had anyone respond. Is that normal? I've never made a contact with this radio so I'm not sure if it is even transmitting. I've heard other hams in conversations but can't get a qsl. Is it normal to keep calling cq without a response back?

When running 5w on an antenna like that, you're gonna have to get used to that. Running QRP is fun, but only when you get a good signal path.

Here's a tip, try calling out "CQ QRP" and try to seek out contesting stations. I've had contesting stations actually stop everyone to pull me out of the mud when I was running 5w QRP in a national park.
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Old May 20th, 2020, 11:25 AM #2793
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We are near the solar minimum. Without a Yagi antenna with some gain, it will be very hard to be heard with 5 watts. If you can't bump up the power or gain, try the digital modes, like FT8 and PSK31. They do amazing things with weak signals.


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I'm trying to make HF contacts for the first time, I'm on 20m. My radio is a 5w Yaesu FT-817. I've been calling cq every couple of minutes for three beers now and I haven't had anyone respond. Is that normal? I've never made a contact with this radio so I'm not sure if it is even transmitting. I've heard other hams in conversations but can't get a qsl. Is it normal to keep calling cq without a response back?

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Old May 21st, 2020, 10:46 PM #2794
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When I first got my license I borrowed a 40 meter wire antenna and hung it up in my backyard about 8 feet off the ground. If I remember correctly each leg was just over 32 feet. Granted, I was not working QRP, but 85 watts isn't a powerhouse. I made lots of contacts with good signal reports, but mostly up and down the east coast and some middle America states. After that I purchased a 7 band OCF antenna from NI4L and installed it about 50 feet up in the trees. I used that to make contacts with stations in Hawaii and Australia to the west, Argentina to the south, Europe and even had a few contacts in South Africa, all with 85 watts.

What I'm saying is don't count out a simple wire antenna. Even at this low point in the solar cycle, it can still work pretty good.
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Old May 22nd, 2020, 09:54 AM #2795
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My primary antennas are an Inverted L, and a doublet. Both wire antennas, and fed with 600 ohm ladder line. My doublet cut for 80 meters has quite a bit of gain, in four directions, on 20 meters. That could work on 5 watts, but not much else.

You need gain, or watts right now in the solar cycle.
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Old May 22nd, 2020, 12:09 PM #2796
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Winged Pig View Post
When I first got my license I borrowed a 40 meter wire antenna and hung it up in my backyard about 8 feet off the ground. If I remember correctly each leg was just over 32 feet. Granted, I was not working QRP, but 85 watts isn't a powerhouse. I made lots of contacts with good signal reports, but mostly up and down the east coast and some middle America states. After that I purchased a 7 band OCF antenna from NI4L and installed it about 50 feet up in the trees. I used that to make contacts with stations in Hawaii and Australia to the west, Argentina to the south, Europe and even had a few contacts in South Africa, all with 85 watts.

What I'm saying is don't count out a simple wire antenna. Even at this low point in the solar cycle, it can still work pretty good.

I agree. I just made another contact into New Zealand Wednesday night with 100w and an end fed wire.


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Old May 22nd, 2020, 04:24 PM #2797
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I agree. I just made another contact into New Zealand Wednesday night with 100w and an end fed wire.
I too have 100 watts and an EFHW but having trouble reaching much beyond western Europe.

Do you mind sharing how your antenna is located and configured?
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Old May 22nd, 2020, 04:50 PM #2798
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I need to build a PVC tennis ball launcher to get my EFHW up in the trees.
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Old May 22nd, 2020, 06:24 PM #2799
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Originally Posted by gamer_jim View Post
I too have 100 watts and an EFHW but having trouble reaching much beyond western Europe.

Do you mind sharing how your antenna is located and configured?

My antenna is a non-resonant antenna on any band. There is a 9:1 UnUn at the feed point and a counterpoise is required. If you donít add a counterpoise, the shield of the coax becomes the counterpoise. That is not recommended; but that is what happens.
My antenna is feed about 5 ft up the trunk of the tree. The wire runs up to the top which I estimate to be about 40 ft. From there, it zigzags a bit in the same tree before it runs horizontal over to a second tree. The final 10 ft runs down about 45% in tree before it ends
At the feed point, I have 4 sets of counterpoise wires tracked to the counterpoise connector. There are three wires of each set running out the 4 lowest branches. The wires range from 6 to 12 feet. All lengths are approx as I did everything from the ground. In addition, I have a 12gauge wire running down the trunk of the tree to a 3 ft steel rod in the ground at the base. The coax also runs down the trunk and runs an inch under the grass to the house. Total length of the coax is about 40 ft including the inside of house.
I have the Yaesu FTDX3000 which will tune all bands from 160 to 6 except for 80. For that reason, I have a mfj929 external tuner, which I use instead of the internal tuner.
I never expected the performance I got when I built this thing. I still want more
I am retired an have a lot of time to play. Working DX with 100w requires a lot of patience and persistence. My first ZL contact was with a shorter version of the wire and my first radio (FT450D). It took me over half an hour around 11pm to finally get thru the pile up. May have been closer to an hour. You just need the time and desire/determination to make it thru.

The last thing is the most important: good propagation. When you hear all the signals coming in, jump on it and donít give up. HF is not like 2m on a repeater. When you get a chance, stick your foot in the door and donít let anyone push you out. Of course, maintain proper radio etiquette.


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Old May 23rd, 2020, 05:04 AM #2800
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I need to build a PVC tennis ball launcher to get my EFHW up in the trees.

I have a pvc fishing weight launcher if you want to borrow it. I havenít tried using it yet.
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