Yesterday I managed to get out to a home renovation store to purchase a three foot length of 4″ diameter ABS sewer pipe for my mobile installation. I cut a 6″ section from the pipe, drilled some tie-down holes and then made 23 windings of RG-8/U (solid dielectric).
This morning, I took a drive to warm up the FJ (it is -20°C outside) and to find a nice quiet spot to test the installation out. After installing the ATAS-120A on the end of the coax, I fired up the FT-857D and hit “tune”. The radio was tuned to 14.070 and even before matching the antenna, I could hear signals booming in.
Success! After the initial 30s tuning procedure, the antenna lengthened until it was resonant with an SWR of nearly 1:1.1on 20m. I was quite pleased. I then tried 30m and had no luck. Tuning down to 40m also gave me no joy – perhaps a few more turns (therefore feet) in my current choke might help me out!
In any event, all bands from 20m to 10m tuned up very nicely. With an excellent SWR on 20m I will be more or less set for the road-trip. To finish up my frigid testing session, I managed to make a PSK31 contact to Scotland (while parked) and had a quick QSO with Rick (MM3UOR) at 16:53UTC who was approx 4900km away.
More to follow …