Antenna Improvements

Over the past couple weeks I made some antenna improvements.

For 160m, I added a remote vacuum relay to switch a hairpin matching coil in-and-out. I use the coil to match the antenna on 160, and switch it out on 80 where I don’t need it (it actually worsens the match on 80).

160/80m feed point

I also put up a new vertical, for 40/20/15m. Again, I used parallel radiators to share a single radial field. The antenna sits over 40 radials, and works well for the 2nd radio on these bands (SO2R).

New temporary vertical for 40/20/15m



It was my plan all along to use my 80/160m vertical with a tuner for the 2nd “multiplier” radio in my SO2R setup. Once I got my SB1000 amplifier fixed, I fired it up and tried it out with the tuner. It made good power on 40, 20, and 15m, but I realized afterward that I had a high SWR on 80 and 160m.

What happened?

I investigated, and found this:

What is all this melted stuff on the tree?

I melted about 20ft of ladder line in the vertical section of the antenna. Apparently, a high voltage point was created along some point of the vertical on one of these higher bands, causing an arc and melting the ladder line. Back to the drawing board – I will have to come up with some other antenna to use for the 2nd radio before CQWW SSB.


This guy somehow got into the house and had taken up homestead behind the trash can in the shack. I could never catch him until today and I suspect he tired of indoor living. He was safely returned outdoors.

hanging out

For a while he tried standing on the VFO, which kept spinning. He did a pretty good job hanging on for a few seconds, like a hamster on a wheel

As a little bit of trivia, Anoles are not native to Guam, and were probably introduced some years after WWII as escaped or let-go pets.