Murphy Showed Up
Murphy stopped by with his entire family and settle in at my ham radio shack. The problem started a few weeks ago when I was on 20 meters and found that I was absolutely unable to reach a DX station that normally would not have been a problem. I dismissed the issue then, figuring it was mean or the solar cycle or something. Last weekend, I embarked on a comprehensive study of the problem. Sure enough, the antenna seemed dead. Looked like some kind of feed line issue…and like most hams, that means uncovering years of rushed engineering projects. Like many of you, I have feed lines all over the place that support the 10 or so antennas I have or have had around the property. Many served different masters and so aren’t often the best coax for the antenna they are working today. I had always promised to one day address that with all new coax…well, that day is fast approaching. Turns out the issue was a connector near the bottom of the tower that had been totally ruined by water damage. And it had a huge bulge of coax seal around it…so much for water protection. The path to finding this problem was not simple, because I was in denial, rather than being thorough…you know, “oh, it can’t be that connection, I just checked it last week!!” Well, guess what? It was the connection I checked last week! So I replaced the entire length of cable from the tower to the attic and zippo…problem solved. Of course, I had ripped every single connector apart along the way, so I had several PL259’s to solder. The only lesson I learned from my father was work from one end and don’t put anything away until you have checked the entire run. I didn’t listen to my old man’s advice. I replaced one half of the connectors on the roof…seemed fine…took all of the ladders down and went inside only to find I still had a problem. Back up to the roof etc, etc, etc, Boy that gets tedious fast. Well, the system is working fine now and I am thrilled to be back on HF. I still do need to rethink my grounding and coax runs for the entire operation, but I will save that for another day…for now, I am back on the air, which may have been how I got into this pickle in the first place. Another “just in time” story…only do what you need to do. Tomorrow is tomorrow.