I had a busy day today. The buddleia had been going berserk, and the recent high winds had made the branches of it whip about so much that it had snapped my HF antenna wire.
A quick fix was made during the week, but a more permanent one was needed. So, I set to and trimmed the buddleia fairly severely, taking it down in height mainly to keep it clear of the antenna wire. This was quite a long job as I had to chop the pruned sections into small pieces to be able to get them all into the garden rubbish bin. By the time I had finished this, I was tired and aching, but that was only the first phase of the job in hand!
I then set to with a roll of wire to replace the old antenna with a new, longer one. I now have a random wire almost double the length of the old one. It still is a sloping wire, but now has a dog leg in it to get extra length. I have also re-used the old wire as an extra counterpoise, so have doubled the effective "ground".
In theory, it still shouldn't work that well, but should be better than what I had before. It can now tune up on 80m, which the old one couldn't, but 160m is still a no-no, which is hardly surprising.
To make sure it was working I had a quick tune around on 20m and worked a station in Sweden, which was quite nice as that direction was not great on it before. My 10 watts of ssb did the job with no real problem.
I then set it working on WSPR on 30m to see how it compared to the old wire. The initial results were pretty much what I expected, with France and Germany easy. Scandinavia seemed to be better than before with norway cropping up quite a lot. After a few hours I retuned to 20m and most of the rest of europe came through and also heard my 2watts.
As we got to the early evening I put it on the 17m band and was stunned with the results. The USA and canada boomed in and I even heard a station in brazil, better still, he heard me too!! Nearly 10,000km with 2 watts to a rubbish antenna! Nice one.
I also put a 2m/70cm vertical antenna up in the loft this afternoon. It was "fun" getting coax into the shack, and I would never have thought it would have been such a hassle to get the hole in the right place, but I got there in the end.
The antenna seems to work ok with the local repeaters on both bands coming through nicely, and opening up with just 5 watts being used here.
The vhf airband also was coming through loud and clear, so that was a bonus.
Finally, I got the wire antennas I tacked around the loft a few weeks ago down to the receiver. I have not yet tried them properly, but they can only be better that the short wire draped across the window.
The day was finished off with a spot of ironing (sally had already done most of it), and watching the first episode of the new series of Downton Abbey. Glad to report that it seems as good as the last series so far.
So, all in all a busy day, but one that has been fruitful. I shall try to remember that when I wake up aching in the morning!!!