POTA Antenna Test 3

I compared the 20m EFHW with the 12.5m EFRW at Sam Lewis (US-1418). I threw really high and made both antennas nearly vertical into high trees, not inverted-v.

EFHW could hear pretty well, and the SWR sweep showed again that I could shorten it, so I did lower it and take off a few cm.

The EFHW didn’t seem to like its counterpoise. With the counterpoise, it was giving me an SWR of 2-2.5:1 on 40m when I transmitted. If I removed the counterpoise or kept it coiled up, the SWR was lower. I still made most my contacts on 40m.

I think the radio may have again been interfering with the mouse when transmitting. I already had chokes on both ends of the feed line, but adding the counterpoise helped that common mode interference. It was a rough day.

The EFRW would not tune well at all on 40m with or without its single counterpoise. That surprised me greatly, because I had tested that same unun with my existing EFRW antenna out the front window at home.

I wonder if it had something to do with each antenna being mostly vertical. I wonder if they needed more radials instead of a single counterpoise. K4OGO (Walt of Coastal Waves and Wires) always adds so many radials to his verticals.

This had me questioning everything. I thought I was doing something really good by getting the wires high and vertical. When I brought the radio home and connected to the same old EFRW, it was again performing normally.

I also learned that the POTA website cuts off your activation and starts a new one at 00:00UTC, 8pm, so I ended up with 2 QSOs counting toward a second (incomplete) activation at the park.

pota  efrw  antenna  efhw 

EFHW Test 2

I ran out to Susquehanna Riverlands State Park (US-9719) to test the EFHW again. This time I tied it to a bush and a picnic table and raised the center with the fishing pole mast.

I took the time to sweep all the bands with the X6100’s built-in analyzer app. 40m looked like it could stand to have the wire slightly shorter, but when I transmitted, the SWR looked fine. I saw about 1.5:1 SWR on 40, 20, and 15. 10 was a little off, so I guess I’ll add the 100pf capacitor that most people use.

The tuner made 12m and 17m work, so I made FT8 contacts on 40m, 20m, 15m, and 17m.

I was also trying out some of the combo winder/unun I 3d printed and made some notes. I’ll post my remix soon of another person’s OpenSCAD code. I like the all-in-one designs that wrap up into one package, but I wonder how much that will hinder my random experimentation with antennas.

While transmitting, I noticed the Evolve 3 laptop’s mouse would stop responding. I had seen this on other laptops using the 1/4 wave HF vertical. I added the common mode choke to the feed line near the radio, and that cleared up. There was already a choke near the antenna, but I guess it wasn’t enough. I love when I can see a clear cause and effect or problem and solution.


Ben and I took the radio gear for a walk to Hawk Point overlooking the river in Susquehannock State Park (US-1425) for a POTA activation. We threw the 20m EFHW into the trees in an inverted-V. I checked the SWR on 15M, and it came in about 1.5:1 or so.

I could hear really well with it, and I contacted Argentina, Texas, California, and Italy among other closer places on 15M FT8. I spun the dial down to 20M SSB to hear a park in Illinois, but it was busy and the sun was setting quick, so I didn’t wait to try to make contact.

I’ll have to try the other bands next, but my randomly starting up on 15M worked great.

Using the little box as a winder for the wire didn’t work out so well. It became an immediate tangle as I tried to unwind it. I’ll switch to a 3d-printed winder instead.

efhw  pota 

New Wires

The bands were dead with the terrible geomagnetic storm this weekend, so HF is very limited. I was only able to contact Lititz from Mountville.

With the downtime, I built some new EFHW antennas. I tied some wires to trees, stretched them out, and tuned each of the 2 20m EFHW antennas with the NanoVNA: one speaker wire, and the other lightweight silicone wire. I built new ununs and mounted them in plastic gum cases and a 3D-printed winder.

I also cut a lightweight EFRW, 12.5m, from the silicone wire and gave it a gum case as a winder.

I’ll test the new antennas soon when the bands are better.