Monday, February 12, 2007

The Antenna Project Has Started

I've been talking about a project to buy or build and install an antenna for amateur radio HF (shortwave) frequencies for a good year now. Finally, I have officially started work on it. I've bought a vertical antenna that should be acceptable to the HOA, although I haven't discussed it with them. It arrived last week. Saturday I picked up some parts and tools from Lowes that I need to get the antenna installed.

I started the actual installation last night in the cold and dark, using an engineers hammer (4 lb short sledge hammer) to pound a 1 1/4 inch plumbers pipe about two feet into the ground. This sure would have been easier a couple of weeks ago before the ground had frozen solid. I still have to pound an 8 foot ground rod all the way into the ground, that isn't going to be fun. After that, I can actually install the antenna, although it won't work very well until I put down some radials (pieces of wire extending out from the base of the antenna). My radials will have to be buried so the kids won't get into them, and so the ones that will extend out into the common area won't be discovered. Finally, I'll have to drill a hole in the house to bring the transmission line in, I'm really not looking forward to that.

I hope to have all of this done by March 1, so I can operate the ARRL International DX contest that weekend. Oh yeah, and there are more important things that I want to do this week, like study a lot this week to pass the Extra exam, I need to work getting Zoe's room ready for her to move into, have a fine meal with Amy on Valentine's day, play with Alex & Aidan, and of course, work, but I don't really want to do that.

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