Ari Korhonen ari.korhonen at kolumbus.fi
Fri Dec 10 08:58:31 EST 2004


K1ZM/VY2ZM kävi kylässä VE1ZZ:n luona ja oheisena Jeffin havaintoja.

Ari, OH5DX

>This past summer I needed to take my wife over to Halifax airport and after 
>dropping her off around 11AM I made my way about an hour Southeast over to the 
>Head of Jeddore which is on the  SE coast of Nova Scotia.
>I had made arrangements with Jack - and he was pleased that I was finally 
>going to return the visit he had made to my place in August of 2002.  It wasn't a 
>bad trip out there at all - part of the time I was on a coastal road which 
>meandered in and out of bays, hills and forests.
>When I reached his homesite I honestly must say that I was thinking "Well, 
>how in blazes does Jack poke out such a signal from this place?"  At the time, 
>all I had seen was about 65 feet of road frontage with an old farmhouse right 
>at the roadside - and I could not see much at all in the way of antennas for 
>ANY band!
>Boy, was I mistaken.......!!
>After saying hello to Jack's wife Opal, Jack led me outside for a tour of the 
>antenna field.   This was quite an experience as Jack's antenna farm is about 
>a half MILE deep and it is built into a rising hillside that just keeps going 
>UP UP & UP.  It seemed we walked forever passing his 6m yagi on a small TV 
>tower, then his 80M 4 square array and finally near the top of the hill, his 
>modified 4 square for 160M.
>We used to have a fellow near my home here in NY, W2YV Dave Horbachuk, who 
>used to refer to his station as the "$1.98 contest station".  Dave gave it this 
>name because nearly all of it was made from spare parts and discarded stuff 
>others had parted with.  I was reminded of the W2YV station immediately and I 
>would have to call Jack's place the "$0.50 cent lowband station" because what 
>that man has done with spare parts is nothing short of mind-boggling.
>As we walked around his place on the outside, here are a few things I 
>1) A beverage COMMON tie point with about 17 pieces of hardline coming into a 
>remote relay box - with a large empty SPRITE soda bottle covering the 
>important parts of the thing - that's all the weatherproofing there was...
>2) His 80M 4 square was interesting as well.  It was made out of old Rohn 6 
>TV type tower and polypropylene guys - yet it looked solid enough.  As I recall 
>the radiators were full-sized for 3.5Mhz.
>3) His 160M 4 square was not full sized - and was more like a 4 square that 
>used 70 foot TV towers for MOST of the radiators - with the remaining parts of 
>each radiator being #10 wire - so this antenna was really an inverted L array 
>on a four square footprint - and switched with a hybrid like a classic 4 
>square.  As I recall, Jack had built his own hybrid.  I noted that many of his 
>ground radials were made of 1" HARDLINE - several hundred at least were old junker 
>pieces of the stuff that Jack had  acquired from a JUNKYARD for nothing.
>4) His base insulators were novel indeed.  Under each Rohn 6 TV tower was an 
>old tire wheel lying flat on the ground.  On top of the tire was a flat piece 
>of procelain - and the TV tower just sat atop the procelain!  Not elegant - 
>but it works - as most of us know who have heard Jack's topband signal.
>5) The PIECE DE RESISTANCE was Jack's 137Khz xmit antenna.  This antenna 
>started at his house and went up almost the entire length of his property - which 
>means about a half mile of #10 wire (or better) to some spruce trees at the 
>very top of his hill.  About 1/2 way up there was a little shed - and inside was 
>the BIGGEST loading coil I have ever seen.  It was about 8 feet in diameter 
>and the vertical supports for the wire were made of 4" PVC tubing standing 
>vertically about 5 feet in height.  I'd say there was about 1000 feet of #10 wire 
>wrapped around these PVC supports - which was necessary to make the thing hit 
>Jack explained that he was having trouble forcing current into the antenna - 
>so his solution was to put on rubber gloves and tape up a BIG alligator clip.  
>He then had his XYL key the rig on 137Khz and he kept fishing up and down the 
>coil with the alligator clip and a DC ammeter until he found a tap point that 
>was putting the RF into the antenna.  Neat solution again I thought....
>It is probably not too well known, but Jack was the first NA station to work 
>into Europe on 137Khz - at least I think this is true - he had a certificate 
>for the QSO with some G station I cannot remember. Jack said he had to use 
>computer recognition to copy the incoming CW - he said it was very slow speed CW 
>and he could not hear it but he could SEE it on the computer....impressive I 
>6) I should mention that I saw beverages EVERYWHERE - most of them 1000 feet 
>or better. At least 20 of them I think in all.....
>7) Inside the shack was a very modest layout of home-made stuff - homebrew 
>amps for the HF bands and one also for 6m - and a TS830s for his main radio.  I 
>think I saw a second radio as well - I think it was an little ICOM radio - but 
>Jack said he used the TS830s mainly for 160M work.
>His operating table was quite compact with room only for a paddle situated 
>parallel with the front of the table.  Interestingly enough, Jack is a LEFTIE 
>and while this would have been too tight for me to work with, it seemed to suit 
>him just fine.
>8) After the inside tour, Jack took me through some outbuildings - I'd say 
>there were about 6 rooms I viewed.  Each of these was filled with one principal 
>kind of device.
>EG: One room must have had over a 100 vacuum variables in it of all shapes, 
>working voltages and sizes.  Another room was filled with EIMAC tubes - all the 
>way from 4-400's to 4-1000A's.  Another room had small parts.  Another room 
>had older tube type radios he had used years earlier. And on it went.....
>9) One of the most interesting things I learned while there was during a 
>discussion with Opal, Jack's wife.  I don't know how we got onto this topic, but I 
>asked her how she felt about Jack and his radio hobby (since he LIVES on the 
>radio).  Her reply to me was unique and a pleasure to hear. She said "Jeff, 
>ever since I met Jack I knew this was what he loved to do - I'd be a fool to try 
>to change that!"
>(I've met a few wives of some BIG contest stations over the years who could 
>learn a few things from OPAL!!!!   This is probably one of the BIGGEST factors 
>that has allowed jack to be so successful for so long on Topband.)
>I'll close with this final observation.  When I arrived there, I said "How 
>the HELL can Jack be so loud from this place?"
>After seeing it all, especially the views from the TOP of the hill almost a 
>mile behind his small farmhouse by the road., I knew the answer.  It is a fine 
>QTH overall, with a superb shot to the SOUTH out over the ocean and the head 
>of Jeddore.  Plus jack is as close to Europe as you are gonna get in NA - 
>except perhaps for VO1.
>It was a great visit with one of the arcons of 160M.  I hope to get back 
>there one day for a return visit.
>73 JEFF

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