06 January 2008

A New Beam for W7FPX

This afternoon, I helped my friends Jim, W7FPX and Larry, W7LB, set up a new Cushcraft MA5B beam on Jim's roof. It's a nice compact little antenna that can work on 5 bands (10, 12, 15, 17, and 20 meters). Here is a picture taken late in the afternoon, just before I hoisted it into the rotor. It was great to see Jim again, it wasn't too long ago that he was a member of a small group of us that would take telescopes out to dark sites for observing sessions.
I had some other ham radio fun today as well, I worked my first-ever RTTY contact during the ARRL RTTY Roundup. I wasn't making a serious contest effort but I did decide to use the contest to learn how to use my DM780 software to operate RTTY. I was successful in getting it to work, although I must admit that I think PSK31 is a superior (and more efficient) mode. But it's all part of the fun to try out new operating modes. I made 10 contacts in the contest and will send in my log to help for checks against logs of the more serious contesters.
I also made one Kid's Day contact with my two younger sons. They talked to a 13-year old in New York, she is already a General class licensee.
It appears that NASA identified a sunspot a few days ago with reversed magnetic polarity from the previous cycle, indicating the start of the new cycle. This is exciting news for us hams!

1 comment:

Scott said...

I am about to install a MA5B on my custom welded eave mount. I'm using a TV rotator like in your picture, but I added a thrust bearing. Have you had any problems with your rotor (too much wind load, etc.)? Any advice for getting the antenna onto the roof and in the rotor? Thanks and 73, Scott KB2KOL You can reply to my callsign at ARRL.net