Monday, February 16, 2009

The Original Plan

Ok, so now it is time for the new hams to begin taking notes on what not to do (save yourself a lot of time and money).

Being a sailboat owner now for 3 years I should have applied my same lessons learned from boat ownership to radio. What I've learned about boat ownership is that it is either a complete money hole in the water or just a minor money hole. My experiences with upgrades and repairs have been devise a good plan, do what you can do within your own skill level (call a pro when you really need it), and always keep in mind that even the smallest project can quickly erupt into a major effort (both time and money).

So, with radio I violated the first rule....Not having a good plan...After constructing my first make shift dipole I switched gears and went vertical. Worse over I selected a MP1 antenna from Super Antennas. The first night I had the antenna I opened the box quickly assembled the antenna and attached it to my back deck. I did not tighten down the screws on the mount, so once up down came the antenna which then broke the 4' whip in half (errrr....).

Ok, let's push pause, there are two problems here. One, I did not take my time to assemble and erect the antenna correctly and two a completely green operator bought a compromise (screwdriver) antenna! What was I thinking (actually, I wasn't and got caught up in the raving reviews about the portability of the antenna (most likely from very experienced hams w/ Antenna Analyzers).

Now being invested into the MP-1 I purchased a replacement whip (this time 10') and moved out. By now it was October and the holidays were bearing down (we were host 20 family members for Thanksgiving, so getting ready began to take priority). After replacing the whip and the ground radials that came with the MP-1 I was determined to make a contact.

So, now the question was which mode? Voice, data, cw? After googling around I decided that PSK-31 would be the best start (in future posts you'll find that this was the best decision I made). With PSK31 selected and still no luck with getting the MP-1 to resonate, I made a trip down to HRO with a friend and purchased a new MFJ Travel Tuner and RIGBLASTER NOMIC (excellent purchase).

At this point I started attempting to get on the air in September, it was now October, and it would not be January until I made my first contact (mostly due to the holidays).

Next post I'll talk about my first QSO and my way forward...


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