Jamie Clifton KE8JLG
It's not Supposed to Work Like That,
This past April 27 was the Ohio ARES NVIS ' Near Vertical Incidence Skywave' test your HF
antenna day. Whats the purpose? HF communications from 40 to 400ish for somewhat
local to very close regional using usually a dipole very close to the ground so your signal
goes straight up and bounces right back down inside your immediate region.
I joined in using my DIY speaker wire 40M set up NVIS at 10' max height with the ends at 18"
The weather was fantastic but setting up my wires proved to be frustrating as every step
resisted me and tested my patience. My willpower made those pesky wires submit. I will
admit there may have been a few curse words. Well, maybe more than a few.
The listening was great but nothing from Ohio other than some intermittent voice in the
I started calling CQ about 11;30 after searching the band for a open slot. My 1st QSO rag
chew was from Endicott, New York ( 390 mi ). This would seem to set up the rest of the day.
Every now and then I would get a strong signal and it was gone quicker than it was heard.
Then there were the signals that were so weak and in the noise they were very hard to make
out. That didn't keep me from trying but they were very few.
In the middle of my session a fella pulled up in his pickup and asked if that was a ham radio
antenna. He asked if I had time to talk and I said, SURE. We chatted, he said he wanted to
get his license and I encouraged him to do so. I did tell him, " You know, after you get your
license you will never have a car without antennas again, right."
After operating a bit more I realized I was hearing no calls from Ohio at all. I kept running up
and down the band with no results and at the same time still making QSO from lands far far
away. The furthest was exotic Florida as they were having their QSO Party. I even got the
W2MRC, Marconi Radio Club, special event station from New Jersey.
In all I made 15 contacts outside of Ohio with an antenna very close to the ground. As you
can see from the map, there seems to be a circle forming for this set up.
After I finished I new 2 of the Delaware SP rangers were close by so I paid them a visit. You
know, the Rangers who actually have defensive devices powered by hand held explosive
projectile contraptions. I always like to make sure what I'm doing is acceptable and in no
way cause a bad name and make it harder for anyone else who would like to visit the park
and play ham radio. They always wave when they go by. They actually said,' As far as we are
concerned, that's your spot.' I think they like seeing the park used for something different.
Thats a good thing.
I didn't manage any contacts in Ohio. May have been my set up, may have been the band,
may have been the Suns fault, but it was a wonderful spring day for sure.
Until next time, hear you later.