Jan 18, 2019
The loop antenna has been up for a while now and I have to say, I'm really impressed. I can load up on just about every band. For some reason it doesn't like 80m, but the tuner can get it under 3:1 so that's okay-ish I guess.
Back on December 9, I had my first-ever 160m QSO with Norm, KB8KMH, in West Virginia. I believe that may have been during an SKCC sprint.
On the topic of the SKCC sprints, man I have not had that much fun in radio for quite some time. It's the speed and efficiency of a contest without the mechanized boringness of pushing out a pre-programmed response from the keyer.
Lloyd, K3ESE gifted me a plain-jane straight key and that has really rekindled my CW operation. Back when I was a teenager on the air working four to five people daily, all I used was a straight key. Using one here lately has kindled a sense of nostalgia for how neat and new radio was to me back then.
But back to the loop - I switched to a 4:1 balun as referenced in a prior post. That made all the difference. If I can hear someone, odds are I can work them. Which is a HUGE improvement in itself. My noise levels have dropped from S9 to S4 just by switching antennas. I don't know what made the G5RV so noisy compared to the loop, but I'm glad it's gone.
Time has stretched it out some and it's drooping in some places. When the snow is gone (currently 14" on the ground and another 10" coming this weekend) I'll tighten the guys up a bit and re-work the turnbuckles holding it to the tower.
I haven't yet got around to making those standoffs for the wires coming down the tower. An unfortunate case of "it's good enough, why bother" rearing its head. I definitely need to get that done though.