[TenTec] Open Wire Line - A CASE FOR OCFD

Steve Berg wa9jml at frontier.com
Tue Oct 20 13:53:28 EDT 2015

I have been following this discussion with a great deal of interest.  I 
have a small lot near the top of a river valley, and the front yard is 
heavily wooded.  This wasn't much of a problem when I just worked VHF, 
because following the advice of K0MQS, I put up a Rohn 25 tower with 6 
and 2 meter beams on top.  I had a great time the last sunspot cycle on 
6 and enjoyed 2 meters when I could keep the feedline operational.

HF, however is a lot more problematic.  I don't have enough room for any 
sort of decent wire antenna. And, my tower cannot be guyed and is too 
close to the lot line to get away with even a small tribander.   
Fortunately, one of my old high school buddies donated a Hy-Gain trap 
vertical antenna to me while I was a starving graduate student.  So, I 
am in a similar situation to a European, and also am stuck with a less 
than optimal antenna.  I put the vertical up in my back yard, and it is 
obscured for about 200 degrees by my house, the hill, and my neighbors' 
houses.  I eventually bought a DX engineering radial plate, and put down 
about 1500 feet of short radial wires, either 18 feet long or 24 feet 
long.  The feedline is about a hundred feet of RG-213, mostly buried.  I 
have lots of electrical noise thanks to the sardine like house spacing 
in my subdivision and the power lines running through an easement at the 
east side of my back yard.

What is amazing to me is how well this thing works out.  I have worked 
DX with my Argonaut II, the Argonaut 515, and the Argonaut VI.  My main 
rig alternates between a Corsair II and  an Omni VII. I managed to work 
many of the W1AW/* stations with the 10 watts of the Argonaut VI, even 
on SSB with the Ten Tec RF speech clipper. The only territorial stations 
I missed were the ones in the Mariana Islands, but Hawaii on 75 meter 
SSB required the Corsair II and the speech clipper.  The Mariana Islands 
were right in my noise level, and there was my house and the hill in the 
way.  I am still wondering how I worked T32C with the Corsair II.  I 
cannot see any sort of an unobstructed path in that direction. They came 
back to me once when I was using my Argonaut II on CW.  But, that was 
not a valid contact.  I hope to move up to my acreage in north central 
Wisconsin, where I can put up any antenna I might like, and can even put 
up HF beams!  But, now I am staying here for family reasons, and making 
the best of it.  So, with some ingenuity, one can have lots of fun with 
less than optimal antennas like the lowly trap vertical, even at QRP 
power levels.

As my Viking ancestor Hagar the Horrible once said, "Bad breath is 
better than no breath at all."  The same thing goes for antennas.


Steve WA9JML

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