Re: Frustrated HF User, Advice Wanted Please

Bernd - KB7AK

If I may add, I don’t hear a lot of activities on the band either, and I would call myself lucky to have less than S3 noise levels. Others recommended to listen to 20m or 40, or 80m in the evening. You should be able to pick up FT8 signals, because you find them all over the place geographically. The frequencies are 14.074, 7.074, and 3.573 respectively. They comes in pulses of about 13 seconds long and start at 00, 15, 30, and 45 seconds of the minute.


I was in a very similar situation almost 3 years ago, my first antenna was an MFJ window antenna, a thing they build for apartment. Complete piece of crap. Art one I ended up with a simple Dipole (as already suggested, hung it on a hook outside a window underneath the eaves and made it into an inverted Vee. And my faith in Ham Radio got reinstated. I skipped the “complicated stuff with baluns, ununs, grounding, ladder lines etc., because once you start using those components, you get 5 different answers if you ask different people. Start with something simple that hopefully works, and then you can establish your own baseline, and then you can improve.


Today, I have a G5RV, on a mast, not super high (HOA restricted) and I have reached 144 DXCC entities and got to 50 states on 6 bands in digital, CW and RTTY. SSB is the most frustrating and difficult one during sunspot minimum, so that will come later.


Good luck and don’t give up.



Bernd – KB7AK


From: ARRL-New-Hams@... <ARRL-New-Hams@...> On Behalf Of Richard AG5M via Groups.Arrl.Org
Sent: Thursday, January 30, 2020 8:16 PM
To: ARRL-New-Hams@...
Subject: Re: [New-Hams] Frustrated HF User, Advice Wanted Please


I'll add my 2-cents worth. First, you need to be sure you can hear anything. Is the receiver working?

Bypass the balun and plug that antenna wire (or some other random length of wire) directly into the TS-120S. Nothing else needed. No grounds, nothing. DON'T TRANSMIT! Just listen for awhile, 80m to 20m, different times of the day. Do you hear signals, Yes? No? And it is not uncommon to have noise levels of S3 or higher depending on where you live. If you hear signals at least you know the receiver is working.

Next, you DO need to know (1) if your transmitter is putting out any power at all (BTW, that is NOT a 200 watt rig, 100 watts tops). And (2) you do need a dummy load and an SWR meter to actually know what, or if, the radio is putting out any power into a dummy load. As was stated by another Ham, every shack needs to have one. You should see around 70 to 90 watts output into a dummy load depending on the band.

Then, assuming you have been hearing signals with just the wire, and have confirmed the radio is putting out power into the dummy load, connect that antenna system you have back up.

Can you still receive signals as you did when the wire was connected directly to the back of the radio? If so, that's good.

Then, with SWR meter in line, put some power to it (low power, 20 watts or so) and check SWR. It should be 2:1 or less. Is it? After all that report back your findings. Others might have some other suggestions. We're all here to help.

73, Richard AG5M

On Thursday, January 30, 2020, 7:23:59 PM PST, Paul <lovenhim@...> wrote:



There are no markings on the balun. I remember the ham telling me that the balun and antenna were made by a long ago defunct company out of Lynchburg, VA. Some long gone electronics company. I forget what the antenna was called. The coating on the wire is blue and the wire is 43 feet long. This is not a store bought antenna and it is decades old. I will try and contact the ham to get more info on it. I do not have any sort of swr/watt meter. Just the meter built into the ts120s. The radio nor my autotuner have the ability to connect a bare wire antenna to it....only the 50 ohm coax 239.

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