Monday, December 24, 2012

Been Working More HF

Since getting my Icom IC-7200 setup and my last post I've been working more HF, mostly on 20M and 40M PSK31. Aside from more contacts here in the US I've managed to bag QSOs with Greece, France, and Venezuela.

I think my antenna will perform better, though it I elevate it so it's not in contact with my roof. Wood rafters and asphalt shingles are largely transparent to RF, but they have different dielectric properties than air. So, yesterday I went to Lowe's and bought some supplied to support the end of the antenna. I'll post a pic when it's done, but essentially it's a cross-shaped based made from a pressure treated 2x4, with an upright made from a piece of 1/2" (7/8" OD) black iron pipe. I cut the 2x4 into three pieces. One is four feet long and the others two feet long. I fastened the shorter pieces to the long piece with flat mending braces and Titebond 3 glue. I then took a 10" long piece of scrap 2x4 and laid it across the joints, gluing and screwing it in place.

Before beginning  construction of the antenna support, I measured the pitch of my roof using Theodolite on my iPhone. It came to 15 degrees. Before attaching the 10" long piece of wood to the base, I put it in my vise at the same angle. This allowed me to hold my drill approximately vertical when I made the angled hole for the pipe. This way the pipe will be more or less vertical when the base sits on the roof.

I've covered the entire thing with a coat of black Plasti Dip rubber coating. I'd bought a can a while ago to use on some tool handles but never got around to doing anything with it. I figured that coating the antenna support black will make it less visible, and the coat will help to preserve it from the weather. It'll be interesting to see how well it holds up.

Tomorrow after the Plasti Dip is fully dry I plan to epoxy the pipe into the base. We got some light snow so I doubt I'll be able to get it on the roof. I don't like heights, doubly so when they are slippery.

I'll post a follow up once I have the antenna support in place.

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