My pole is 24 feet long.

The new Hustler 6BTV (6-band trap vertical) arrived, and I got it assembled and raised this past weekend.

I did something that will get me yelled at in forums. I mounted it to a fence post, using the fence as my grounding system.

No tuned radials. No untuned radials. Just the fence. But trust me, I had found several examples online of others who tried this and had it work. My space is limited and I can’t do radials on the ground, and I can’t climb roofs anymore to put tuned radials up high.

Guess what? It works. SWR curve is almost perfect (I need to tweak the 40 meter section a bit because it is tuned a bit low), and first day, I made contact with a grid square hunter from Calgary who could not hear me at all the week before.

Putting it together was not terribly difficult, though the instructions refer to two washers I didn’t get. But I stole washers from the screws that would have held the radials. Hahahahahahahahah!

My biggest issue was that I made a miscalculation in that I measured the width of the fencepost and noted the size of the U-bolts for mounting the base. They were the same. But that was for the OUTSIDE of the U-bolts. They were too narrow to encircle the post. So I ran to Ace Hardware and got some hoseclamps, and used them instead, like this:

It works. It works well. That thing isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Here she is in all her low-key glory:

Is it perfect? I’m sure not, but so far it is so much of an improvement, I don’t care. I have some coax-run adjustments I want to do, and, as I said, I want to shorten the 40-meter section a bit. The 80 meter whip on top is a bit of a joke, but I already knew that when I bought it. Gonna shorten that too, though, because its best match is well below my privileges.

I am posting this here, but I doubt I would post it on a forum anywhere. Any time discussion goes to verticals, the preaching begins about how many radials you need, etc. Experience has shown me that sometimes, ANYTHING will provide the ground/counterpoising you need (and yes I know that can include some of my coax). You just need to try and see if it works. And I already found people who it worked for, so I went for it.

Moral: Let others try the big stupid stuff, and if they say it works, try it.

Station Upgrades That Might or Might Not Work!

While I enjoyed making contacts in the contest, my station needs improvement, especially if I want to hear or be heard on SSB. The biggest part of this is antenna. But while I’m at it, I also have other projects. I am currently in the LIMBO time between ordering things and waiting for them to arrive. Here are THE PLANS:

1) Coax Run. Stop using THIS, as cool at it is, so we can open the door wall. Instead, route the coax through a window, with this guy’s highly complex and technical idea for passing coax through a window:

2) Resonance, resonance, resonance. While I was going to do dipoles for this, space is being a huge issue if I want more than a couple bands, even with fan dipoles. So, I decided I will be putting up a Hustler Six Band Trap Vertical, if it ever ships. Currently backordered, might ship on the 9th of April.

3) Panadapter. This will get a post of its own. I was originally going to tap into my IC-718’s IF to get a signal to pass to a cheap SDR dongle for this. Until I opened the radio and realized how far I’d have to take it apart. I trust my soldering skills. But when I take things apart, I lose pieces. This is a long-known issue. Instead, I’ve ordered an SDRPlay, which can receive HF natively, and an MFJ-1708SDR, on backorder at least 3 weeks, which will let me share one antenna with the radio and the SDRPlay for receive, cutting off the SDRPlay on transmit so it doesn’t blow up. I finally got one SDR program on the Mac, CubicSDR, to play mostly nicely with rig control, so I can truly use the SDR waterfall display on the computer to change frequencies on the radio to the signal I click on. I WILL make a video if I get this to work.

So that’s the plan. Of course the SDRPay will arrive first, then maybe the antenna a couple weeks later, then the switcher. This is all in the wrong order. Unless they bump the antenna date again. But if they do, I end up getting the switcher before the antenna, and at least I can play with the panadapter project on the current wire antenna. The coax run may happen this weekend if I get rid of this plague I have today. And if there is no precipitation, which is currently looking unlikely.

Moral: Patience, virtue or not, is required.