The most simple antenna I ever used
Crete is an excellent location for spending your holiday in combination with some radio activity. In September 2004, just at the end of the tourist season of the island, I booked an apartment and decided at the last moment to bring also my radio equipment with me with the idea to do a little on amateur radio, if possible. It actually turned out to be very enjoyable and a interesting operation.
Not too much to prepare
Just the decision to take the radio with me was enough preparation as under the CEPT license I could operate from Greece without a further application. I packed the FT-897, MFJ tuner, laptop, coax and G5RV (40-10m) as usual in a small trolley. In fact I expected to find sufficient supporting objects for the G5RV but nevertheless decided to bring also a 10 meter long fiber telescopic fishing rod of DK9SQ. This could be used in the event no support structure would be available. At the last moment, I also grabbed 12 meter insulated wire, a few clips and plugs for possible experiments.
And off we went on the plane to Crete. When we arrived at the apartment complex, I realized we had a nice location but for a radio operation it was not the most favorable one but would possibly do. If I would place the fiber rod on the balcony, I could hang the G5RV from the top, over the apartment to some big date trees in front of our apartment. For courtesy, I went to the reception and asked the lady for permission to install my wire antenna. “It is just a small wire from my apartment to the trees”. She was OK but had to ask her boss, but was sure it would be no problem. However, some hours later, the lady of the reception informed me that “the boss” would not allow installing anything outside the apartment.
Although this was in the first place supposed to be a week for holiday and not a radio operation, I was a bit disappointed not being able to play a little bit with the radio. I got all my equipment easily on the plane, license was ready and now the owner of the apartment complex would be the problem.
So, the next evening I decided to put up the 10 meter long fiber rod (DK9SQ) during darkness. Little chance anyone would see it. I fixed a very thin wire at the top of the rod, attached the base of the fiber rod to the balcony and started to push up element by element. The end of the wire was lead through the door directly to the tuner on the operating desk around the corner.
I started to tune for 30 meters and succeeded to get a reasonable match. There were no radials or any other counter poise! To avoid possible problems with RFI, I reduced the power to only 50 watts. After calling CQ, I got directly reply and continued to work 100 stations during 1.5 hours. It was amazing to work all these stations, even including some stations from Japan and the US. Around midnight, I switched off the radio and dismantled the vertical antenna, as during daylight, the owner should not spot my activities.
So the next day I erected the antenna again and this time I started to work on 20 meters. Again I worked some Japanese stations. Later I switched to 30 meters and ended with a few contacts on 40 meters. I recognized that I could not get the low SWR as the day before. I don’t know the reason but it forced me to keep the output power around 50-60 watts. Putting the power to 100 watts worked for a while but made all metal parts “too hot”.
I worked again on 20 and 30 meters. On 30 I had a real pileup! Although I could hear some stations, I was unable to tune the wire on 17 meters.
In the morning I worked a few stations on 20 meters after which I took the antenna again inside the house. In the afternoon I cut off about 4 meters of the wire in order to try tuning on the other bands. I was able to work more than 30 stations on 15 meters. Later that evening I worked only a few stations after which I closed the station. I looked as if the conditions were not very good.
As I had the impression that not really anyone was paying attention to the antenna, I decided to leave it outside on the balcony. This allowed me to work also in the morning and afternoon. The last two days produced a couple of hundred contacts. Sometimes the noise level was S9 and made it difficult to copy stations. On the other hand, I had several occasions that the band was reasonable quiet and made it possible to copy very weak signals, which I enjoyed very much.
At the evening of September 15, I dismantled the antenna and packed all equipment again in the small trolley (except the fiber rod), being ready for returning home.
Over a period of six days I spend a couple of hours each day on the radio. It was enjoyable and at the same time I was impressed to see what I could work with the very simple wire vertical without any radials and with just 50 watts output power. I managed to tune the antenna on 40-10 meters but unfortunately was unable to make any contact on 10 meters. Even a sked on 10 meters was not successful. The operation was CW only and resulted in 1314 contacts.