Last weekend, the new wire up the maple tree antenna (described in a previous posting) was tested on the air: first in the SKCC Slow Speed Saunter, then in the North America QSO Party CW, and lastly, participating in a local SSB 80m net: the historic “Pot Hole Net”. The rig for the SSS and the NAQP was the ICOM 703+ at 5W, and for the PHN, the ICOM 706MKIIG at 50-70W. For the SSS the Bencher BY-2 was used as a side-sweeper and for the NAQP it was set a Iambic dual paddle at 25 WPM.
In the SSS, contacts were made in 40M (IN, NH, VA & CT) and 20M (GA & WA). The last one, in WA (TU Donna AG6V SKCC Nr. 6933S) was a first in my log and will add to the T/S QSOs required to apply for the T-5 and, eventually, the SKCC Senator level. Reaching the West Coast operating QRP from my QTH, even in 20M, is not a common occurrence in my log, particularly given current propagation conditions at the onset of the 25th solar cycle.
In the NAQP CW contacts were made in 20M (AB, VA, MN, IA, TN, IL, AL & IN). in 15M (IN) and 160M (MA). Yes, towards the end of the contest I was able to tune the antenna to a reasonable SWR in the 160m band and was able to complete a QSO with Rick N1DC in Braintree, MA (TU Rick FOR THE QSO and your QSL in LoTW). It had been seven years since, with another wire up the tree, I had been able to make a contact in the 160m band.
Participation in the 80m Pot Hole Net was also easier than before. All nine participants were heard above the noise level and good reports were given (see picture above) and received from all of them.
In conclusion, the new antenna is a keeper, at least for as long as the tree can hold it, the condominium management can overlook it, and it remains hidden from the eyes of zealous neighbours…