NA Beverage repaired

Well it took all week and seven trips to the jungle after work, but I finally figured out the problem with the NA Beverage.

It was not the switch box after all – it was working just fine even though it was flooded with water. Since then, I left the cover off, placed it on an old wire spool to get it off the ground, covered with a plastic bin and set a rock on top of it to try to keep it in place. This way, its out of the weather but open to breathe so water can’t gather.

It turns out that the problem was the ground wire coming off the transformer secondary. Once again, the pigs chewed it. I didn’t see it at first because the bare copper wire is brown and mostly invisible against the dirt. This simple problem cost me many hours of troubleshooting and about 24dB of signal. Yesterday I repaired the ground properly, and added a few ground radials to try to improve performance and reliability.

I also discovered why the feedline was kinked. No one tripped over the cable. I found a bite mark about 50ft from the feed point. A pig had bit the cable and tried pulling on it. The covering did not appear to be damaged, but I wrapped it in tape just in case.

I’m very happy now that this antenna is repaired. I should only have to walk three of the four Beverages once again before CQWW DX SSB. The fourth, my SA antenna, is completely overgrown but still seems to work OK. I don’t like walking that one because of all the wasps I found when installing it last year. I was stung a bunch of times, and I’m trying to avoid a repeat experience!