Sunday, April 23, 2017

Indoor Antenna

Hey folks! Yep, been a LONG time since I've posted here. Just been spending my time on other things...

Woke up this morning early and Vanessa is still resting, so I thought I'd pop on here and post. Hopefully will feel good to get some words down, me being the communicator that I am.

I was doing a BBS mail run just now and was typing a fairly long post about an indoor antenna test I did last night and thought I'd make a blog post out of it too...

To go back in time, so to speak, before Vanessa and I bought our mobile rigs, we were using her HT's that she uses for Fire Department use. Unable to broadcast very far at all, I bought a 'magnetic' base antenna online to pop on the roof and use the HT (handheld transceiver) in the truck. I was able to hit the main 'local repeater' from Dyersburg regularly. I think I remember hitting the Ripley repeater too...

So, that one had a wire break, so it got set aside. $30 for an antenna and it not last? No thank you!

We went to the Huntsville Hamfest and Diamond Antenna had a booth. I mentioned it to them and they said "Lifetime Warranty" and send it back. Meanwhile, we bought matching mobile rigs - Diamond 770 antennas - Diamond antenna mounts, so it wasn't really needed. I did send it back for a replacement, but it just sat here for a long time.

Fast forward a bit... Vanessa and I have been to Skywarn classes and are interested in weather spotting / storm chasing. This is great when we're in the truck - 50 watts - can hear and hit MILES away - but not so great in the house. Not having hundreds of dollars to spend on an indoor rig, antenna, tower or mast, etc. I started looking at alternatives.

A local HAM in the local club gave me some suggestions to try and an offer to help. Another user shared his plans for an indoor antenna I can build for less than $20 using copper tubing. Haven't done more than read through the plans.

So a few days ago I remembered this little mag mount that did so good on the truck. Last night I connected it to the HT and activated the repeater at Spring Hill. I've activated it before, but so far so good. I called out for a quick check and BOOM - got an immediate reply! Was reported as great signal strength & clarity!

Popped over to a further repeater that I've never been able to activate at all from the handheld - got the response tone right away but didn't call CQ since it was late. Bottom line - success!

The Spring Hill repeater is the local one for weather. There's one in Union City that I want to try - the next two are Jackson then two in Jonesboro. Not sure if they will connect, but from home the Spring Hill one is the primary one.

By the way - the antenna is a Diamond MR73.