Sunday, September 16, 2012

Low Noise End Fed Half Wave Antenna

This afternoon I grabbed my ATS-4 to hop on 20 meters and do some operating. My ATS-4 had 5-6 bars lit on the S meter display, which translates to NOISY, but not sure what the corresponding S reading is. I wish I had my FT-817 so I could have looked at a regular S meter. I tuned around and heard some signals, some were copyable, but it was just too noisy to really operate. This is obviously not the first time the noise was just too high to operate. I was, by the way, in the backyard with one of my end fed wires in a tree. I pulled the wire out of the tree and strung it across the ground and the S indication dropped from 5-6 bars down to 1-2 bars!!! So, I decided to FINALLY change one of my tuners to allow switching between two different wires. 
Most of my tuners are very small and compact to throw it in a pack and go into the woods. I have one large tuner with a real capacitor and added a switch and a second terminal for the “low noise” wire which lays across the ground. I guess the only downside to this arrangement is having to flip the switch going between transmit and receive. But, if I can knock down the noise by two thirds, it is more than worth the hassle. Since I mostly operate on 20 meters, I only have to cut a single wire.

Bob, AD7BP

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Summer Tomatoes

It is about time I made another food post, seems that ham radio is taking more of the bandwidth than food.
I love summer, my favorite part is the crop of produce which is available. My two favorites are fresh figs, which are past and gone. They were delicious though! And tomatoes. I was at the local Costco and there was a 25 pound case of California Roma tomatoes calling my name.
We like a simple pasta sauce of olive oil, garlic, basil and tomatoes. Being a fan of putanesca, I toss in capers and Greek olives with my serving. With sauce in mind, it took me nearly 3 ½ hours to cut up the tomatoes. The cut tomatoes were put into a 2 cup measure and poured into a food storage bag for freezing.
25 pounds of tomatoes yielded about 25 bags of tomatoes for the freezer. At $11.65 for the case, the tomatoes for each meal is roughly 47 cents. Considering one pasta meal a week, this one purchase gives 6 months of nice tomatoes for pasta night. I did have a thought. We normally grow basil to make pesto to freeze. Since we are stocked in the pesto department, no basil was planted. Major mistake! Though I like the flavor of dried basil, 4 or 5 leaves roughly torn and tossed into the tomato sauce right before serving gives the sauce a bright, fresh flavor. That mistake will not happen next summer.

Life is way too short not to make a meal which puts a smile on your face. Cooking need not be complex to be satisfying. Make something good this week!