Primary Station

My present operating position is simple yet effective and serves both my QRO and QRP needs.  The transceiver is a Kenwood TS-590SG powered by a quiet Samlex 1235M supply.  The laptop computer is useful for QRZ lookups, prop checking and LoTW.  I don't do digital and I sure as heck don't use the mic that came with the rig.  The subordinate wireless keyboard on the desk is only for my comfort so I don't have to reach up to query QRZ.  I am a 100% CW operator and my copy is by ear and my sending is by bug, cootie or paddle.  Most of my operating is QRP and when I do increase power I rarely find it necessary to exceed 20 or 30 watts.  CW is a very effective and efficient mode.  It's what has appealed to me most in my 55 years as a licensed ham so I don't expect there's much chance I'll be abandoning CW in this lifetime.   The bug is a Vibroplex Presentation circa early '70s and I've extended the pendulum arm to allow it to slow down to about 15 wpm.  The paddle is a GHD 407A.  Both instruments are a pleasure to use but I prefer the bug.  In addition to the TS-590SG, I have QCX transceivers for 40 and 20 meters which I use both in the field and here at home when I want to operate below five watts.  Below is a picture of them set up for some fun on 8 "AA" batteries.


Although I live within certain antenna restrictions in our retirement townhome community, I am fortunate to have the HOA's permission to have an outside antenna.  I only have one antenna and it's a good one!.  My antenna is a MyAntenna's EFHW4010 End Fed erected as an Half Square.  I've mounted a 15' telescoping fiberglass pole on my upper rear deck which provides a vertical distance of 27' from ground level to pole tip.  Then I mounted the matchbox 18" above the lower deck in a weatherproof enclosure I built for it.  I replaced the original #18 radiator wire with Wireman 534 #26 wire for lower visibility.   I spliced the smaller diameter wire onto the original wire 12" beyond the coil.  Then I ran the radiator wire up to the tip of the pole, out to a 25' pine tree and dropped the remaing wire straight down to within 10' of the ground.  Thus, I had an end fed half square geometry.  Several days of testing, using Reverse Beacon Network, produced consistently good SNR reports using 10 watts.  Modeling shows this configuration produces very low takeoff angles for 20 meters and above and a nice omnidirectional pattern for 40 meters.  The last picture in the series below shows a 2.5" Mix 31 toroid with eight turns of RG8x through it right at the coax switch.  This effectively kills the common mode current inherent in any end fed wire.  This antenna is resonant on 40, 20, 15 and 10 meters and tunes 30, 17 and 12 with an ATU.