The Mini-W3EDP in the Vagaries of the Southern Sun

One week without HF radio was a bit too much to endure…  Hence, I used the same small “Tacuara” cane (i.e., a local kind of bamboo) I had found on the beach years ago, to hoist the mid-point of the wire in front of the apartment. It took some effort but the little antenna already spans the entire front of the apartment configured as an “inverted Vee”. Its vertex forms an angle slightly larger than 90º at about eight feet from the apartment floor (the apartment faces NW and is in the fourth (top) floor of the building. The twin-lead section reaches midway inside the balcony. The feed-point is held hanging behind the back of a small patio chair connected to the 4:1 Unun followed by a toroidal choke and the Elecraft T1 tuner (operated remote). A short RG-174 coaxial connects the T1 to the Elecraft KX3 used with its own ATU bypassed.

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With a Coronal hole facing the Earth, the K index at 4, an SFI at 69 with the SN = 0, and all the HF bands conditions labelled as “poor”, I was not expecting any miracle. Just hearing a small signal would have been considered a success.

The Elecraft T1 readily tuned the mini in all HF bands 40m to 10m. First I scanned 20m and heard a handful of LU, CE and PY stations chatting in SSB. I then switched to 15m and saw PU2WSQ and PY5EW calling CQ in RTTY.

Then in the CW portion of the 15m band, at 16:56z, I was able to complete a QSO with ZP6CW 1,076 Km away: the first contact of the year as CX7RT.

One thousand kilometers spanned using 5 Watts and a 7-meter wire may not appear as too impressive. Yet, given current conditions, it was a result above expectations and a very promising start for the mini-W3EDP in this new deployment from the balcony that it was originally designed for (https://thewakesileave.wordpress.com/2016/09/27/the-mini-14th-w3edp-a-special-design-for-a-balcony-down-south/).

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