First off, thanks to everyone who checked out my blog recently. A big thanks to Thomas Witherspoon K4SWL for the timely retweet. I get a lot out of his videos and watching his setup in action has given me many ideas about my own equipment and operating practices. And that doesn’t include reminding me I need to practice my Morse, and use it more as well. Thanks also to Julian OH8STN, who has a very different approach to operating but I have learned much by watching and reading his work.
Coming up soon, like when it stops raining for more than 12 hours, I’ll be tackling Callum M0MCX’s DX Commander Expedition Model. It isn’t terribly light like a PAR Trail Friendly, or as quick to set up as a Chameleon MPAS Lite, but it is a real live “big boy” antenna that sets a bar for less performance compromises, and solid DX performance. I’m not going to even try to be objective. It’s a great antenna, and a great design, and I’ll go into why I think that’s the case.
I’m still operating “home portable”. When I want to operate HF or VHF I set up an antenna. If the weather is brutal I do something else. It means I don’t operate as much as I would like, but my work and family life have already conditioned me to that. Today (July 11, 2021) I put up my PAR SM-50 Stressed Moxon and operated on 6 Meters. I ran FT8 and made some nice contacts. I started in mid-day with a good opening out to about 2000km. That faded out around 1900z and I took a break to watch the Italy/England UEFA 2020 European Championship*.
When I came back from that bonkers match which saw Italia raise the trophy I caught another opening, this time with at least one QSO out to 3500km. All of this was on my IC705 running 10W into 65′ of RG-8X and a few butt connectors. Not exactly a big signal. I won’t cover that same path again today except to say FT8 is where the action currently is. Love it or hate it, that’s where the ops are. If I was turning down a busy SSB sub-band for FT8 there would be a point. I’m not. It was a graveyard. I made valiant attempts to work someone on either CW or SSB. No dice. I did copy a beacon in Oklahoma. Sweet!
In other news I see that the “FT8 is the END OF HAMM RADIORRRRRRRR” crew is still trying to get traction with that junk, so expect another FT8 post soon.