Late last summer I changed my antenna configuration from an R-7 vertical to a dipole to better allow my CW practice sessions with my friend and mentor in Boston. We both wanted to improve our CW skills and so resolved to practice frequently. This turned into a once per day session which has gone on daily for over 6 months.
I am pleased to report that the dipole I erected, with Chucks design help, has never missed a schedule due to propagation in over 6 months. This is quite a feat in that the sun spot cycle is at minimum and on some days I can barely hear my friend in Boston who is running a full legal limit amplifier if we are on 20M. Should that situation occur we simply move to 30M and continue. Some might say this is not so exciting but I beg to differ. I erected this antenna with the express goal of facilitating point to point communications reliably over a long period of time with multiple bands used and it has functioned perfectly.
MY dipole was also erected to minimize RFI to my homes appliances and entertainment centers. Mission accomplished! No TVI or RFI in any home system including rather large stereo and HDTV installs and my local problem child, the DSL/Network Hub or Routers. No problems from or to any devices. This did however, require the copious use of ferrite material within my network. This mostly to eliminate RFI from my router to my radio on 20 meters.
If you are interested in seeing my dipole and transmission line you can read about it on this blog in a .pdf file posted in November 2007 below. Its title is Reinventing the Dipole. I am very pleased with the results and although this is a little like reinventing a simple device it was a great learning experience for me and enabled me to find some new tools that I became familiar with along the way.
I do not have a scanner here or I would scan my logs for the last 6 months. As long as I choose my times carefully I can pretty much work anything I can hear. I do, however, limit myself to CW mode. Since I only run about 150 watts I get some power bandwidth by restricting my transmission mode to Morse. This gives me about 6-8 DB advantage over SSB.
Some notable places I have worked in the last 6 months are:
JT1/VP6/HB0/J7/FJ/TO5/7X4/3X5/HC8…well you get the idea. For those of us with antenna restrictions I see no issues working good and frequent DX. Choosing my times I am able to work my fill of foreign countries and keep my schedules. My little antenna project has fulfilled my expectations.