Storms, a Hex and DX

The UK has been pretty well battered these last few weeks by strong winds. I’ve listened to my mini beam swaying around on the thin walled aluminium pole each night expecting to see it bent over like a straw by morning, but surprisingly it held fast. Last week though saw the strongest gusts and although I still didn’t have a total failure of the pole it did end up bent like a banana.

On Saturday I roped in my friend John and we took the beam, pole and rotator down. Now the latest twist in the Hex vs A3s… I had the Hex on order with Ant, MW0JZE with a long lead time, but in the meantime I spotted a used Hex on one of the online used gear sites and was about to buy it when I got an email from Ant to say a customer had let him down and he had a Hex there for me, so I’m now the proud owner of a brand new Hexbeam! Ironically the day after I bought the Hex I found an A3s going cheap! Oh well, see how the Hex works out.

In keeping with the “nothing is ever straightforward” spin on the world, I have been having nightmares about fixing the Tennamast to the wall. The ground which the Tennamast rests on is very soft soil for about 12″ so the weight will be pulling down on the brackets as the mast settles. Also to add more complication, the soil pipe from the bathroom runs almost exactly where the mast will rest, and chances are it wouldn’t much like that kind of weight sat on top. Now my hopefully brilliant solution (depending on the location of the pipe) is to dig down, find the pipe, go right a bit to miss it then concrete in a metal fence post socket (it’s 75×75 and the mast is 70×70…perfect!). This will act as a load point for the mast, and the brackets the anchor points. I’ll let you know in the next blog post if this plan actually works or even if I’ve had time this week to do anything about it!

This weekend there has been an ARRL contest on 10m.

1. Object: For Amateurs worldwide to exchange QSO information with as many stations as possible on the 10 meter band.

2. Date and Contest Period: Second full weekend of December. Starts 0000 UTC Saturday; ends 2359 UTC Sunday (December 10 – 11, 2011)
2.1. All stations operate no more than 36 hours out of the 48-hour period.
2.2. Listening time counts as operating time.

I only have my old imax 2000 vertical to use so I didn’t make a proper effort, I just thought I’d pick up a few new countries and try and work as many different USA states as possible. I only made 43 contacts but worked Antigua and Barbuda, Paraguay, Mexico, Colombia, Aland Islands and Ecuador, And American States totalled about 30. Quite good fun too.

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