Last Sunday brought us some warm weather and a good opportunity to inspect our coax runs out to the antenna. We currently have two runs out into the trees to the south our station. In February we set off the fire alarm twice and it got us to wondering about the condition of the coax. Evidently the alarm system likes 40m as well as we do! This was curious because we hadn’t had that problem in quite awhile. We took advantage of the warm weather and did some troubleshooting. Our suspicions were confirmed–at least one of the runs is waterlogged. We were able to switch to another run that fared better, but only a little. The winter has been rough on the antenna, too. We spied a rubbed spot on one end of the antenna where it’s been across a tree. Spring time is definitely a good time to plan some maintenance. Tom’s antenna analyzer greatly helped with the troubleshooting process.
As we’ve been building the station, we’ve taken advantage of whatever was available. The coax runs are made up of several pieces spliced together. We’re looking forward to receiving a 500′ spool of LMR- 400 equivalent coax soon. Now we’ll be able to improve our signals quite a bit. Our other plans include tweaking our current multiband fan dipole to be more up and in the clear. We also plan to do some trimming so the resonance points are in better locations on each band. Our Spring 2014 plans include not only this, but also adding more antennas to the Camp Belzer antenna farm.
All work and no play is no good. Even with our marginal antenna situation we were able to make some contacts. Two DX contacts to South America and several stateside contacts were made on 10m. Jacob was able to operate the club station using his personal callsign. He’s the first Boy Scout to earned his license by testing with our VE team. He’s well on the way to DXCC and WAS with his Tech privileges and hopes to upgrade to General Class soon. We also assembled part of an am/fm radio project kit and performed a few electronics experiments, too. We’re looking forward to a lot of fun Scout Radio activities this year.