BUDDIPOLE POWERmini USB connected to a 5 Watt solar panel, 3AH Bioenno battery, with the IC-705.

The BUDDIPOLE POWERmini (BPM) is basically a solar controller. Like many solar controllers, it is able to have loads like powering your radio and has the ability to power a USB device. However, the BPM has Anderson Powerpoles; these connections have become the de facto standard for the amateur Ham community. This coupled with the compact format, the data information provided, and flexibility of charging different battery chemistries makes the BPM a powerful tool for field operations.

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IC-705 turned on with a Bioenno battery.
IC-705 turned on with a Bioenno battery.

This was my first January VHF contest from ARRL. I was very excited to do the contest for it gave me an opportunity to see how the IC-705 performed as a VHF/UHF radio. I also wanted to use the bud dipole Powermini controller with the PowerFilm solar panel to have a portable power source. During the contest I learned very quickly that I was over my head and needed to do more research.

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7MHz Shorten EFHW Antenna Prototype 1 (update)

About three months ago, I created my first 7MHz Shorten End Fed Half Wave Antenna (SEFHWA) prototype. The main feature of a SEFHWA is its coil. This allows the length of the antenna to be shorter and thus more compact. Allowing me to use it in the field when space is limited. For about three months, the antenna was doing great. It went through a few rain storms, several Santa Ana winds. Unfortunately, the antenna failed at its weakest point – the ends of the coil.

Loading Coil failed at the bottom of the spool.
Loading Coil failed at the bottom of the spool.
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Is Trimming an Antenna Proportional to it Frequency?

table with ham radio equipment
Ham Radio equipment on a table.

Based on what I’ve read so far on antenna theory, the shorter the wire the bigger the band. Although, is cutting the wire proportionately linear? To test this idea, I’m going to adjust a 40 meter End Fed Half Wave Antenna (EFHW). The wire size to resonates 40 meters (7.2 MHz) is 65 feet; the height of a 5 story building! To calculate the wire size, I used the following formula.

L = 468/ƒ

Where L is the length of the wire in feet, ƒ is the frequency you want the antenna to resonate the best, and 468 is a constant with velocity and conversion factors. This is the same formula to calculate the length of a dipole. By placing 7.2 for the frequency, I calculate the size of the antenna wire to be 65 feet long.

For the wire, I used the sotabeams.com antenna wire (DEF 61-12 Pt 6). I approximately measured 65 feet and added approximately 1 foot more. Adding one more foot, gives me assurances that the antenna will resonate at a lower band so I may cut the wire shorter and adjust as needed.

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Shorten 10 & 20 meter EFHW Antenna

Coil with two wires

The Shorten 20

The End Fed Half Wave (EFHW) antenna for 10 and 20 meters is about 32 feet long. I want to create a shorten version of this antenna which will allow me to deploy the antenna easier as well as have a smaller footprint when I’m in the field. First I will have to find the specifications for a shorten 20 EFHW antenna. I hope to find it with some Ham Radio Facebook groups. Second, I will have to build a prototype. Fortunately, I have built a 10-20-40 Shorten EFHW, which works adequately for my needs, but I don’t know how efficient it is. Lastly, I will need to use the antenna in the field instead at home. Testing in the field will give me less interference with home appliances.

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10m ARRL Contest (2020)

I was very excited today to use the IC-705 for the 10 meter contest hosted by the ARRL. The IC-705 is a QRP radio, and has a maximum transmit capacity for SSB of 10 watts. I knew I was going to be challenged using the radio at home. Thus, I decided to go outside to a park to have a better chance of making contacts.

I went to Yorba Linda Regional Park. A beautiful quit park where I can set up my radio and my End Fed Half Wave EFHW antenna.

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ICOM IC-705 First Look

ic705 box

The IC-705 was the radio that everyone was talking about in 2020. It has the potential to engage the ham operator in using HF while still having the comfort of VHF/UHF; without the compromise of a big rig. Although, the radio is not perfect and has been criticized there are many technologies that ultimately will be present in most rigs.

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My First Year in Ham Radio

Hi everyone. My name is Frank KN6BST. I’ve created this site to share my first year in Amateur Ham Radio. At first glance, I thought Ham Radio was about technical specifications and of basic conceptual understanding of radio theory. It turns out, the hobby has more to offer than a basic understanding of radio concepts — Ham Radio is about creating new relationships via electronic communications. The hobby has challenged me to grow as a better thinker. I’ve discovered many avenues which this hobby offers, and I want to share these ideas and more.