This weekend I attended the WAE CW contest as LC1R, partially because I wanted the CW practice, and a little for testing a new antenna I designed and built a couple of days ago.

The contest was a poor choice for antenna testing, and this is clearly reflected in the participation. Contest QSOs could only be made outside Europe, and my experimental antenna setup wasn’t exactly carved out to be an extreme DX antenna. Despite the challenges I managed to log a whopping 30 – yes, thirty – QSOs, having logged Japan, AS Russia, USA, and Canada.

Keep in mind I’m a CW rookie. I spent most of the time listening to workable stations, making sure I got the call right and sort of could predict the next serial number. I pushed myself to 18WPM, but since most stations had an insane WPM so I had to use software to assist me, or I wouldn’t stand a chance.

Let’s slowly transition into the the antenna topic, which is somehow interesting. I call this antenna the “I don’t care just get me on the air”: it’s not optimal, by no means claimed to be good, no math or any science to back it up. To be honest it was made for a laugh, but it works and it’s simple in terms of use, and setting up.

The antenna is about 5 meters of wire soldered to a SO-239 connector, with the shield connected to a battery clamp. No balun or impedance matching at all. This can be hooked to whatever you have as a counterpoise/radial; be it the car, a park fence, auto barrier, rain gutters — anything might work. In my case, I used the frame of my kid’s trampoline and the SWR is barely registered on the FT-950. A couple of tests running FT8 (60W) and pskreporter.info shows acceptable results.

Colour me surprised. I might keep this one for later “slash portable” activity.

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