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Well, I have an interesting story to tell you...

We haven't had an HF antenna up at the house for quite some time now. Andrew was pushing me to get another one up, we were both having HF withdrawals.

I started asking around for ideas for the perfect antenna for my small back yard. I ended up taking the advice of K5QE and N5YA on building a 41 feet on-a-leg dipole. The reason for 41 feet is that it is close enough to 40 meters that I should be able to use it fairly easily, and it wouldn't be a bad harmonic on any of the higher frequencies. My plan was to tune with with a Johnson or Nye Viking (William Nye bought out Johnson) Matchbox tuner.

So, I constructed this Dipole out of #12 stranded THNN electric wire, some fantabulous twinlead, and a dipole support (the twinlead and the dipole support came from thewireman.com). I must say that I'm getting better at building dipoles. I should have taken pictures before I put it up....

Andrew and I got permission from the neighbors to use their trees and shoot strings into 2 oaks on either side of our back yard. I'm guessing we have the dipole up about 70 feet on the South end and probably 55 feet on the North end. The center is at about 70 feet as well.

I attach the twinlead to the Matchbox, then the Matchbox to the Icom 706 mkIIg and start listening. By this time you have to know how excited we are, we hear stations from all over. We start tuning all the bands and find that we can tune 80m -10m with not much difficulty. We make our first contact to a 9A in Croatia!

Well, I'm so excited, but you know how it goes, "I want more". I start asking questions to the local hams about long wire antennas for 160 meters. (I've got the Matchbox, might as well use it, right?) I looked and listened. I Googled and read. Finally, N5YA says, "Andy, you're feeding it with twinlead right? Just drop a leg and you have a longwire." Well duh! Why didn't I think of that! So that's what I do. I drop a leg off the back of the Matchbox and start tuning. I think I've got it tuned, so I try to answer a CQ. My right hand index finger is on the top of the little metal hanger on the mic for the 706. All the sudden I feel this pain like I've never felt before!

I immediately drop the mic, hit the power button on the 706, hit the power switch on the power supply, and look at my poor finger. I don't see anything yet but I still feel it. I checked the little piece of metal on the mic and find that it is as cool as it should have been. Hmm, what happened? I looked at my finger again and noticed a little white mark.

Well I call up my trusty friend, AE5P, who would never steer me wrong. I describe what happened. Ten minutes later after he stopped laughing he starts talking about RF Grounding.

I learned my lesson. I'll tell you what I did to resolve it just as soon as I finish. This time I will take pictures.

The finger? It finally stopped hurting the next night!

©2017 Andy Delgado, KE5EXX
Nacogdoches, Texas USA
All rights reserved.