Dipole Notes

Well, I worked 12+ new contacts (still working that FT8 as I write this :)) today on 20m FT8; 9 new states in all. There was a 15 or so minute period around 1900 PST (last QSO [1] at 0244 UTC) where I worked 4 QSOs, which was kind of nice. Interestingly, I had been trying to work one contact in Washington state on my 20m dipole, and finally QSO'd on the 10m dipole.

But that's another story. I switched over to the 10m dipole today to try to make it in for the local 10-10 net, and couldn't raise anything - I heard one person replying to the net, but everything else was quiet.

I decided to run an experiment... what if I tried tuning my antenna to 20m and 40m, using the 10m antenna? Well, the Z-817 gave me a good match but I couldn't get any range on 40m. Not surprising, given both how much shorter the antenna is and how close to the ground it is. I have a feeling raising the antenna is going to help a lot. Anyways, after getting a match on 40m, I decided to try for 20... and it works.

As an interesting point of reference, the signal strength for the WA QSO was +4 to +5 dB on the 10m dipole; on the 20m, I watched their continued CQ calls go from -7 to +0 dB.

That being said, my CQ calls almost always go unanswered and I have to reply to CQs that I see. For some reason tonight, I've had quite a few quickly reply. Most of my contacts during the evening were aligned north / south - Washington, Oregon, Nevada, California.

Oh, and I kept running into issues with the Z817 erroring with "no RF" - going into the quick menu on the FT817 and making sure the split (SPL) option is off. WSJT-X and JS8Call will turn it on because it's useful for those modes, but the tuner doesn't like it at all.

[1]QSO is an amateur radio shorthand term originally used in morse code transmissions that basically means a contact of some kind. A minimal QSO involves two radio operators exchanging their call signs and a signal report.

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