With HF band conditions up, down, and sideways, though not as “closed” as some might have you believe, and some prompting from my friend and fellow operator Josh, KD9DZP, I put up a new antenna. It’s a Par Electronics OA-144 Omni.
I’ve been very pleased with the other Par Electronics antennas that I have and have thought about putting up a dedicated antenna for 2m SSB\CW\Digital modes for quite sometime. At this time I didn’t want to bite off a big project so a directional antenna was off the list. I have an OA-50 Omni for 6m and have been pleased with it so the obvious choice was to get its little brother, the OA-144. Josh was interested as well so we ordered two 2m Omni’s from Dale. With his typical superb customer service the antennas were delivered within the week.
I elected to place the OA-144 on the same mast and just a bit below my OA-50. Probably sub-optimal but it’s the situation that I have for now so it will have to suffice. (On top of the mast is a Comet GP-3.)
Josh, KD9DZP, was a big help getting the antenna up and tuned. He’s been an immense blessing to my family and I, especially with my on-going health situation. We had the antenna up and tuned in less than an hour.
First contact was Greg, KA9VDU in McFarland, WI. This was my first 2m SSB contact since October 2007. At that time I was using an old Kenwood TR-9000 (10 watts) and an Elk 2M/440L5. This time I was using my FT-857D with 50 watts into my new OA-144. I heard some other stations fading in and out but Greg was the strongest.
It’s nice to have an antenna dedicated to 2m SSB\CW\Digital. With HF mobile on hiatus for the foreseeable future, I will use my FT-857D for 2m SSB\CW\Digital operation when I’m downstairs and my IC-7100 when I’m upstairs.
I look forward to more 2m SSB\CW\Digital operation. It’s another interesting aspect of this multi-faceted hobby. I typically spend all my operating time on HF but it’s nice to have options. Unless we’re going to have another Carrington Event there’s always a band and mode open somewhere for something.