ari.korhonen at kolumbus.fi
Fri Dec 10 08:58:31 EST 2004
K1ZM/VY2ZM kävi kylässä VE1ZZ:n luona ja oheisena Jeffin havaintoja.
>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
>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.
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