AC8NS - Howard B. 'Hop' Evans AC8NS

Howard B. 'Hop' Evans
Dayton, OH

QCWA # 36258
Chapter 9

I am a 70 year old former ham (nick-name Hop) from the late 1960s, Novice License call sign KN8UTJ, who is now retired and re-entering amateur radio after a forty-six year hiatus. Leaving the Air Force after a four-year tour of duty in 1967, I allowed my non-renewable, one-year-only, Novice license to expire without upgrading to Technician or General. I think I could have passed either one; my CW was more than adequate for General. I regret missing out on most of the tremendous progress in amateur radio since I was last active. Well, I did have personal computers, and later, the Internet to distract me. I have discovered that both of these technologies are now firmly embedded in the amateur radio community.

In 2012 I decided to study for the Technican, General, and Extra class elements. There was a lot of catching-up to do, but a lot of the knowledge from the 60s was still there in my head, and most of it was still important for answering some of the exam questions. I passed all three elements in one sitting on Wednesday, March 27, 2013 (DARA VE; Laurel MD VEC). My Amateur Extra class license was awarded by the FCC on Monday, April 1, 2013.

To celebrate my re-birth as a ham, I bought an Elecraft KX3 QRP Transceiver Rig. I plan to re-aquaint myself with Morse Code and work the HF bands with CW for awhile.

Living in a small house on a small lot in the city of Dayton, Ohio, my antenna options are limited. I threw up an ad-hoc inverted L between the detached garage and the second floor bedroom of my house just to "get on the air," but this is far from optimum. It is fed at the bottom with 75 ohm cable-TV coax I happened to have on hand, center conductor wire-nutted to the antenna, shield clamped to a purpose-driven ground rod. The coax runs up the side of my aluminum-sided house, into the second-floor bedroom window, down the stairs, and around the corner into my first-floor rear bedroom shack. The coax shield probably radiates as much as the inverted L antenna, but the KX3 loads FB into it! This coax will be replaced with 50 ohm low-loss coax fed through the basement wall and up through the floor of my shack. I just need to drill two holes, hi hi.

I am constructing an octagon magnetic loop antenna for 80m. It uses eight 3/4" copper plumbing pipe sections with eight 45 degree elbows. The pipe sections are five feet long, so the complete antenna stands about twelve feet tall. Instead of a vacuum variable capacitor for tuning the loop, a pair of series-connected trombone capacitors (two tubes) two feet long are being constructed from 1" and 3/4" copper plumbing pipe, insulated from each other with polycarbonate (Lexan) tubing. Later I hope to remove these trombone capacitors and replace them with a vacuum variable capacitor. This is my first loop, and at this point I am beginning to wonder if I shouldn't have started with a more modest size. As of this update (March 23, 2015) it is about 90% completed, awaiting for some warm weather so I can move it outside the garage.

-73 de AC8NS (Hop)

June 17, 2015