Getting Better All The Time

I alluded before to a problem with my antenna tuner at home. To not tell the long story yet but get to today’s point, it’s on the way back to the manufacturer to be diagnosed and hopefully replaced. Meanwhile I took the old unun (which is a 4:1 transformer that connects the coax from the transmitter to the two points of the antenna, the radiating element above ground and the ground radials) and mounted it back on the antenna. Kept my homemade RF choke coming off the feedline, and connected the other end of it into the unun – probably overkill but so be it for now. Then managed to crimp two ring terminals onto a piece of 10ga wire I had laying around from an old UPS, and used that to connect the ground lug of the unun to the mounting bracket so it would ground things properly. Finally went to take the positive wire that mounts to the radiating element and put it on the positive lug, only to find the stud is too big for the ring terminal. Well fine, this is temporary anyway – so I literally sandwiched the ring terminal next to the stud and between two washers, then twisted the wing nut down nice and tight. Hey, it’ll work in a pinch right?

Right I was, when I hooked the tuner up in the shack and found I was able to get on the air quite easily. Even turned the power up to 100W with no problems either from the tuner freaking out or from RF coming back into the shack. Did I mention that since this is temporary I didn’t connect a ground line to the tuner either? Today I got a couple 90-degree PL-259 to SO-239 adapters so I can more easily mount the thick coax onto the tuner, and since I had to buy a four pack when I only needed three I used the third on the back of the radio too just to make that a little easier.

So things aren’t how they should be: I should replace that 10ga wire with a better crimped 12ga one (I failed to mention I didn’t have 10ga ring terminals so I spread the 12ga ones out a little), I should replace the other wire with one that has properly sized ring terminals as well, not to mention I should have my actual tuner sitting there instead of this hack, and maybe when that tuner returns I should put a better choke balun at the antenna feed point either in addition to the homemade one or to replace it. But all that aside… I have a working HF station that maybe even works a little better than it did at the previous house. I noticed during lunch today when I hooked everything up and tested quickly that the noise level on 20m was quite low between transmissions, something I don’t remember seeing here previously and may be better than the previous location as well but I can’t recall. So it’s all still not right, but it’s getting better. Just gotta remember that, it’s getting better.

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