Well, it’s almost done! The antenna is in place, optimized, and operational. Last night my son helped me finalize the connections at the ground rod and string the coax and ground wire into the house. There are only a couple of details to take care of before winter sets in, but they shouldn’t take much time — I hope to be done with them by next Monday’s end if not sooner. I hope to find time soon to write up some of the lessons I learned.
I couldn’t have done it without the help of my son Antonio and my friend Dale (“half squirrel, half monkey”), not to mention the encouragement my wife kept giving me. My son was my constant companion, “go-fer,” and an indispensible helper on many tasks. And Dale might have saved my life since I’ve no business being on the roof with a bum leg. He did the lion’s share of the work up there the day we put up the masts and the antenna. He’s so good on a roof I think he could have run laps around the perimeter, while I clung for dear life to a safety line when getting on and off the ladder.
SWR is below 2:1 across all of 40m, 20m, 17m and 10m (except for the first 100 KHz of 10m, but even there it’s still below 3:1). It’s high on 30m, 15m, and 12m, but I’ve read that this can be improved by running radials from the bottom of the RF choke. I’ll let you know how that works.
Last night I made one contact after tidying up the connections in the shack: TX7M, a DXpedition in the Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia. That was a first for me, working a DXpedition. It was decidedly unsatisfying — the ultimate antithesis of a ragchew with a worthless signal report (just a recorded “599” that goes to everybody, regardless of their true readability, strength, and tone). But it was still encouraging, especially since it was on 17m, a band I’ve never even touched before I built this antenna.