Working on Amateur Radio New Year's resolutions

What personal goals I may set myself for my hobby:

- pass Extra exam
- get proficient at CW @ 20 wpm
- build portable NVIS antenna
- expand my portable solar and hand crank power solution
- purchase / install mobile HF/ VHF/ UHF solution
- go hiking/ operate portable at least 1x/ month
- help organize and operate Jamboree on the Air 2013 for the Little Rock, AR Boy Scouts

And you?


  1. Good goals, Marcus. I especially like your CW and JOTA goals. CW at 15-20 WPM is on my list. Perhaps I'll add the hiking to the list, but carrying Jack on my back (in a JackPack!) will probably preclude me from running HF Pack.

    Your HF/VHF/UHF mobile station is a good idea. I think you'll have a lot of fun with it. Installing the VHF/UHF is a breeze; HF takes a little more work to get everything grounded properly.

    One thought: you already have an antenna capable of NVIS: any wire dipole resonant on 80, 60 or 40 meters can be used for NVIS. I think it's important to remember that NVIS is not a mode or a band, it is a technique.

    The two critical considerations are the band (40 is best in the day, 80 at night, 60 is a good "tweener") and the take-off angle of your signal. If your wire dipole antenna feed point is 1/4 wavelength or less above the ground, your signal will take off at a nearly vertical angle. For 80, 60 and 40m, your antenna just needs to be less than 10 meters, or 32 feet, above the ground. Anything between 10 and 20 feet will work fine.

    I pack two wire dipoles: one for 40 meters and another for 80 meters, although I am likely going to switch to a home-brew fan dipole for 80 and 40. I have a working plan in my head and will share it with you when I draw it and test it.

    You might just focus on a way to get the feed point to that level, whether it is chucking a cord in a tree or getting a mast. The 18' Buddipole mast is a perfect solution, although at $99 a bit pricey. It will get your feedpoint up about 5.5 meters and it collapses to about 1 meter, so it can be lashed to the outside of a daypack with no problem.

    If you want to get creative and have some time to devote, research building a homebrew military AS-2259 antenna. There are a number of plans floating around and it's not particularly hard to build, it just takes a little time. I might do one over my vacation time at the end of the year.

    Cheers and all the best.

  2. Hi Teak!
    Just a short note: was planning to build the OE7OPJ antenna, will send you plans via direct email.
    vy 73 de Marcus