K9AY Update

It’s been a busy few weeks of growing antennas before the onset of winter, which actually is officially antenna season. No one works on antennas when it’s warm and dry. Antenna work is supposed to be done when it’s cold, wet, and hopefully snowing. I admit to being non-compliant to this long standing tradition.

All of the mechanical and electrical work is complete for the antenna. In order to enable folding I elected to forego the multi-conductor connector for the antenna legs and borrowed an idea from Andrew, VK1AD and his linked dipole design and chose to use bullet connectors. a carabiner, and a slightly modified plastic electric fence egg insulator for each leg of the antenna. The carabiners and egg insulators aren’t as nice as Andrew’s sister clips but they’ll do for now.

Mechanical and electrical leg connections

Mechanical and electrical leg connections

Next was the task of getting the cables back to the house. It’s a run of about 250 feet which is way more than I was going to dig with a shovel. I rented a self-propelled bed edger that has an attachment for trenching dog fencing wire and ran a trench from the antenna location back to the house.  The trencher worked great and made a nice 5-6″ deep trench.

Trench

Trench

I laid the control cable and the feedline next to the trench and worked out all of the coils so that they both lay nice and flat in order to drop them cleanly into the trench. With the cables in the trench I completed the electrical connections at the antenna.

The cables for the antennas enter through a port on a workshop portion of our garage. From there they will make their way to my shack in the house. It was late in the day when all of this work was complete and I wasn’t going to have time to get the cables to the radio but I could get the radio to the cables. I hauled by TS-590SG up to the workshop, connected the K9AY control box to the control line and feedline from the antenna, and then connected the output to the radio, and lo and behold IT WORKS! I sat out in the workshop as the sun was setting and tested with stations on 40m, 80m, and 160m in addition to DX-ing AM broadcast stations from all across the country. The switching works fantastic! It’s really cool to be able to electrically rotate the antenna to hone in on a signal.

Thus far I am very pleased with the results but there’s still more work to do. I need to properly terminate the cables from the antenna in the workshop and make the runs to the shack. Once this is complete the K9AY will be a very useful tool as winter closes in and the low bands open up.

As I was DX-ing the AM broadcast stations I was reminded of Jean Shepherd and a few of the shows (for example, 1971 02 xx DX Ham Radio CW)  in which he talked about his dad and his old receiver. Imagine if he would have had a K9AY!

 

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