I was back down in the Outer Banks of North Carolina for a few days this week. Since I was there for a family function, there wasn’t much time for ham radio. I did, however, get on the air for a bit one morning with a haphazard antenna.
We were staying with family in a rental house just down the road from the one we were in last month. Like the previous house, it had a beautiful view of Currituck Sound.
One morning, everyone went over to the beach for some surf fishing. Since I’m still dealing with my knee issues, I stayed behind and broke out the radio.
I took my KX3 out to a small, 3rd story deck and broke out two 25-foot pieces of speaker wire for an antenna. I wrapped one around the deck railing for the radiator. For a counterpose, I tossed the other wire off the deck. I used a BNC-to-binding post adapter to connect up to the KX3.
Frankly, I wasn’t expecting much from this antenna with 5 watts. When I turned on the rig, though, I heard some very loud signals on the 40M band. After calling CQ a few times, I saw a dozen spots on the Reverse Beacon Network (RBN).
Over the next forty-five minutes, I had a couple of rag chews with stations in New York and New Jersey. I also logged a Parks of the Air (POTA) station in Connecticut.
Before packing up, I moved up to 20M and heard a French station calling CQ. I threw out my call and heard, “WB3?.” My 5 watts and the thrown-together antenna made it to France. Unfortunately, a loud, low-pitched version of my CW was coming from somewhere down below. As it turns out, the wire hanging off the deck was right next to an outdoor speaker. I didn’t complete the contact for fear of creating too much of a racket.
By this time, I was losing my shade anyway, and it was getting hot out there. So, I took down my makeshift antenna and packed up the radio. This brief—but fun—session was the only opportunity I had on this trip for ham radio.
It never ceases to amaze me what you can do with 5 watts and a couple of pieces of wire.
72, Craig WB3GCK