Home Made Off Center Fed Dipole

Here is my first attempt at an article.  I wanted to make a all band antenna without the long tail of a G5RV.  I did some research and remembered that awhile back I had received an antenna from a fellow ham that had been struck by lightning.  It was a 40 meter Carolina windom.

Started by taking the 2 baluns apart to see what they were made of.  Found the upper one was a 4:1 to 1 balun.  It had 15 turns around a 3/8 ferrite rod.

Mine was burnt and broken from the lightning hit.

Searched on the internet how to make one (new they are approx. $20-$30).   I wound 10  turns of the 14 gauge wire on a small piece of 1 inch O.D. PVC pipe. This was then enclosed in a small piece of 1 1/2 inch O.D. PVC pipe and end caps for weatherproofing. Two stainless steel eye-bolts are used to attach the antenna wires and another to support the balun.





(photos were taken from the internet)

Buying one probably would have been easier but there is no experience in that.

Next was to take apart the other balun and see what made it tick.  There was no damage to this one just a rattle (curiosity killed the cat).  This one was a 1:1 Choke balun to dissipate RF.  Took it apart and found the ferrite rod hand broken.  Guess I need to make another.  Back to the internet.

Here is what I found

I needed a choke balun to keep RF from getting back into my radio and finding new ways to make sure I stayed awake late at night. I found instructions online for a simple and cheap coax 1:1 choke balun. It is supposed to handle 160 meters to 10 meters which is perfect for my application. I made some modifications to the construction but I kept the critical parts intact. Mainly I added HF connectors at each end so that it can go inline in with my coax to the antenna. I figure I can also use it later for other antennas because I can simply make an adapter that screws onto one end to allow me to hookup wires directly to it for either ladder line or antenna wires. It’s a bit heavy so it’d have to be supported by some rope instead of just the wire if I needed to have it up in the air, but that isn’t a big deal really.
Here are the beginning parts of the 1:1 coax choke balun. I have about 21 feet of RG-58u wrapped around a 3″ PVC pipe form that I drilled two holes in to feed the coax into the inside of the pipe. At the bottom you can see the end caps with the SO-239’s installed already. I bolted them in with 6-32 screws with a nice large fender washer to provide a strong backing and to spread the stress out across the cap so that if it has anything hanging on either end it will not break the cap and pull out. Everything is sealed up with some really nice 35 year, silicone impregnated, permanently flexible clear caulking to provide a weather proof seal that should last a long time. I also tacked down the winding in place using a few beads of the same caulking to keep everything nice and tight.
Here is a close-up shot of the two end caps where you can more clearly see the method I used for mounting the SO-239 connectors. With the fender washer as a backer it would take quite a bit of force to pull the connector out. Odds are the coax will pull apart first, but let’s be honest, it’d be a lot easier to fix a piece of coax than it would to rebuild this thing!
Here is a shot of the coax and how it is hooked up to the connector. The center conductor is soldered in and the braid is attached to a ring terminal which is then bolted onto one of the bolts using another nut. It’s a pretty solid construction and should last a long time, I hope.
Here is the fully assembled choke balun. I drilled a small hole in the pip to allow air to escape when I pushed the two ends on, otherwise it would have acted like an air spring and forced one end back off. It will be sealed up with caulking once the PVC cement dries. Overall length from tip to tip is about 13″.
(Some wording and pictures were taken from internet)
Being that I was building a 10 thru 80 antenna ( if you remember it was a 40) I had to change the length of wire also.

Holding true to the original Windom formulas, I used a ratio of 37.8% for one side and 62.2% for the longest side after determining the half wave length at the lowest operating frequency…. This is the 200Ω point, hence the 4:1 balun. (50Ω to 200Ω) The antenna is very simple.  As already mentioned it is fed at the 1/3 point.  So for 80m and up, you have one leg that is 45 feet long, and another leg that is 90 feet long.   Some tweaking may be needed, but mine was built within an inch or two of those measurements.

The 10 feet vertical radiator really does radiate, and offers vertical radiation to the existing horizontal radiation, and therefore adds to the low angle omnidirectional radiation. The line isolator stops the vertical radiator radiating all the way back to the shack.  Ideal height for the feed point is around 30-35 feet.

This is the same design as the ‘Carolina Windom 80 Special’

Hopefully Every one enjoyed this



Activating Crag Mountain, Northfield, Mass.

Around midnight on Friday (Aug. 31) night Jim/KK1W emailed me that he, Nick/K1MAZ and John/Kx1x would be activating Prospect Hill the next day. I had already activated Prospect Hill this year, so I decided to do Crag Hill in Northfield and snag a sure S2S (Summit to Summit). Jim was going to use NE1SJ so I used my own call. Nick and John used primarily NE1C, the Venture Crew’s call. (You can see their posting on this Group site from a few days ago.)

I set up a segmented 20/40 meter dipole, supported in the center by my new Jackite Pole at about the 20 foot level. On 40 cw, I got on and called cq and worked Boston & Maryland. Then I spotted an alert and put 8 more in the log, including NE1SJ and K1MAZ (on cw!). Then I switched to 20 meter cw (being lazy, I discovered that the KX3 tuned the 40 meter dipole fine on 20 meters). Sent an alert on SOTA, and 10 quick QSOs. Got briefly unlazy, and removed the jumpers to make the antenna a 20 meter dipole. 2 more contacts. Switched to 15 meter cw, reverted to being lazy and the KX3 tuned 15 meters fine on the 20 meter dipole. 14 Qs on 15. Then back to 20 cw for a few more. Recap: 41 QSOs, 2 S2S.

Conditions were good, weather ideal. The view of Northfield Mountain was great. The KX3 performed well. A 2.6 Ah LiPo battery weighing 8 ounces powered the KX3 for the entire operation, with room to spare. The segmented dipole is a pain to change singlehandedly, thinking of making a trap dipole and/or experiment more with an end-fed wire.

Frandy, N1FJ

KX3 vs FT-817 Receive Comparison

Now that I have your attention let me tell you what this post does NOT say!

This isn’t a technical comparison between the two radios. Nor is it meant to infer one radio is better or worse than the other. You have to look at all the features/benefits and figure out what works best for you. And, unfortunately, it points out my amateur video capabilities 🙁


Here’s a little background to help fill in the blanks. Both radios are (or more accurately were) owned by me. The FT-817 was purchased new around 2003, the KX3 was received in August 2012. The RX comparison came about from a 75m conversation with Ken/KF7IYQ. I mentioned I would like to do an A/B comparison between the two radios and he asked if I could shoot a video of the test.

Test conditions

The video was shot in my shack on a typical Monday evening. The antenna used is a 3 element SteppIR at 50′, aimed west for the test. Both radios were powered from the same source, a 6.6 Ah LiFe battery and the antenna switched between the two with a Daiwa two position switch. I attempted to find a very weak station with one radio, then switch to the other to see what it sounded like on that rig.

The KX3 has far more features than the FT-817. The only option in the Yaesu is a 400 Hz Collins IF filter for CW. The CW filter was selected for the tests. On the KX3 noise reduction (NR) was off and the CW bandwidth was set at 400 Hz to match up with the Yaesu. 20 meters was quiet and both radios had their preamps on (IPO off on the Yaesu).


There aren’t any! The videos show what the typical operator would hear when they come home from work on a Monday evening and get on 20 meter CW. It’s up to you to decide which rig, if either, has a leg up on the other.

Full disclosure. Just hours after this test the Yaesu was packed up and sent to its new owner. As much as I like both radios the KX3 offers many features beyond the FT-817’s. I simply didn’t envision the Yaesu getting much air time in the future. That being said I’ll still miss the little 817, it really offers a lot in a small package.

Here’s the videos. Try not to doze off while they’re playing 🙂

Thanks for watching and reading – 73!

September Zero Beat is live, on the web and in your email box

Don’t forget! Our first meeting of the new season is this Friday, September 7th. Read all about the meeting, upcoming raffles and more in the September issue of Zero Beat.

Frandy once again has put together eight pages of HCRA and local interest for September. Enjoy!

NE1C SOTA Activation Review – September 1, 2012 – Prospect Hill

Nick (K1MAZ) and I, along with Jim (NE1SJ/KK1W) made the trek to Prospect Hill, MA (near Athol) for a SOTA (Summits on the Air) activation.  Great weather and great propagation made for a perfect day!!!

We hung a mini-G5RV from the fire tower (up about 80′ sloping to a tree branch).  We used KK1W’s FT100 to make contacts using 55w and mini-G on 20m, 15m, and 10m SSB.  We used the FT817 and the mini-G to make PSK31 contacts (yeah, 5w) on 20m.

We also used a home-made “tape-measure” 2m beam to work a few local contacts on 146.52.  If you’ve taken 146.52 out of your scanning sequence, you might consider putting it back in, especially on weekends when local hams may be looking to make a contact with you.

Stay tuned for more NE1C activations, coming soon!  Thanks for all of you that we contacted today, and all we’ll contact in the future!

’73 de Kx1x, John J. Pise, Jr.

Hover over a thumbnail to see the description, click any thumbnail to start the slideshow.

NE1C Activation Logs



2012 Field Day Summary

Last June Hampden County Radio Association once again participated in the annual ARRL Field Day event. This year we added an additional transmitter, which put us in the 8A category. As usual, the event was an overall success with our members and visitors having a great time while operating and enjoying each other’s company.

And like every field day, the successes were accompanied by a few problems that no doubt affected our overall score and morale for a short time during the event.  However, solving those problems was an excellent test of our ability to troubleshoot problems under pressure.  Although there were problems with the antenna for the 15 meter and 20 meter SSB station, the 40 meter SSB station led by band captain Jeff – NT1K set an all time record for points for that station at Field Day and helped pick up the slack while others worked to get the other stations back online.  Jeff even brought in operators from New Hampshire and New York.

Nick – N1MAZ picked up the responsibility for the wireless network this year and a combination of Nick’s excellent support and operators getting more comfortable with the N1MM logging software gave us our most successful year using that combo to network all of the stations together.  During Jose – N4BAA’s late night visit, it was quite fun to see operator’s names in the log change to “CW GOD”, “North Korea” & “CW is lame”.  Nothing like a little humor at 1am to help wake you up and keep working stations!

Back again this year was Jim – NN1Y with new assistant Mike – KB1VHS keeping everyone well fed and happy.  The pavilion provided a great place for everyone to take a break from the dits, dahs and static and catch up with each other over some great food and drinks.

Dianne – KB1KST graciously volunteered to coach the WB1Z GOTA station and was able to get a few new operators on the air as well as some folks who aren’t so new!

And it wouldn’t be a Field Day in New England with out some summer boomers moving through.  Friday afternoon brought some lightening as storms to the south of us moved through.  And again on Saturday, big storms blew in and stations were shut down until it was again safe to operate.

The big change at Field Day this year was the use of HF triplexers and a reduction in the number necessary towers.  What did we learn?  That the triplexers work great, but that if one antenna has problems, it affects more than one station!  What did we really learn?  Don’t have antenna problems!

No field day summary is complete without some ideas for next year.  The big one is probably better distributed management, specifically with the towers.  Some have suggested tower teams consisting of several workers and a tower manager for each tower.  Managers would be experienced with installing AB-577 tower and the antenna going on top of it and would then direct the rest of their team on how to put the tower and antenna together in the proper and safest manner. Others have suggested fewer stations.  It has also suggested that we focus less on bonus points and put more focus everyone operating as well as making sure that volunteers with non-radio related jobs get plenty of time to operate.  All of these boil down to management and we’ll make sure to take them all into consideration for next year.

A huge thank you to everyone who helped make field day a fun, educational and radio filled event.  It’s the biggest event in our club each year and without everyone’s help we wouldn’t be able to pull off such a large operation that brings new hams into the hobby each year.

See you in June 2013!

Matt – W1MSW

Here is our score summary:

Score Summary:
CW  Digital  Phone  Total
Total QSOs   1253     36    1615
Total Points   2506     72    1615   4193

Claimed Score = 8,386
Bonus Points = 1850
Total Points = 10236

Help Wanted

Our club is looking for a few volunteers for the upcoming 2012/2013 season. Here’s a chance for you to give something back to your fellow club members. The pay is little (well actually none!) but the rewards are great.

KX3 Raffle Coordinator
As coordinator you would actively promote the raffle at HCRA meetings, local hamfests and flea markets. Money is turned in at the end of each meeting so there is no worry about cash accountability. Imagine the enjoyment you’ll get when the friend you sold a ticket to is the winner!

Meeting Hall Supervisor (or some other name – couldn’t think of a good one)
We need someone to arrive about 15 minutes before the meeting. Make sure it is unlocked, grab a few early arrivals and get the chairs setup. During the meeting make sure any trash is placed in the proper receptacles. After the meeting return the room to its original condition.

Holiday Party Coordinator
We have the restaurant reserved and the menu pretty much under control. We’re looking for someone to promote the tickets, get the word out and make sure we have a proper guest list for the party. If you have some ideas to ‘liven up’ the event let’s hear them too. This is a one time a year, fun job – who wants it this year?

Apply in person or via the web. Education or past work history not important, only a strong desire to make HCRA the best amateur radio club on the planet!

Thanks for making HCRA the great club it is!


New KX3 Raffle – starts at the September 7th meeting!


We were one of the first clubs in the world to give away an Elecraft KX3 – and we’re doing it again! Tickets will be available starting September 7th during our kick-off meeting at the Holyoke Medical Center. A $10 donation puts you in the running. Only 250 tickets will be available and the drawing will be held March 1st, 2013.

Mark your calendars now for September 7th. You don’t want to miss our very first meeting at the new location. We’ve other surprises scheduled for the meeting too – stay tuned!

Treasurer’s Report – August 26, 2012


Park Refund: $746.00
FD Raffle: $380.00
FD Food: $260.00
Membership: $15.00
Silent Auction: $87.00

Total Income: $1483.00


Hall Rent: $90.00
FD Parts: $21.23
Trailer setup food: $50.00
Crew Charter: $20.00
KX3 (long term raffle prize): $1026.80
Web Hosting: $88.00
Triplexer/bpf filters (Field Day): $670.85
Field Day Food: $500.00

Total Expenses: $2378.88

Starting Balance: $6613.69

Ending Balance: $6017.81

Notes: (added by KK1W)

Field Day Expense Breakdown

Field Day Food: $110 (after FD raffle profit of $130 and donations of $260)
Field Day Equipment: $692.00 (Triplexers, BPF filters, misc. parts)
Field Day Equipment Trailer: $700 (expected 10 year life)
Dufresne Park Rental (3 days): $746 (the ‘Park Refund’ is the return of our 100% security deposit. Actual park cost for the three days including the kitchen was $746)