Monthly Archives: May 2018

W0ZSW users welcome to WA0TDA



Dual position antenna switch

The manual antenna switch at W0ZSW is used to switch in the dummy load during testing.

Summer chores…   All the stuff that can’t be done in the winter gets pushed into the nice weather months here in Minnesota.  The snow is gone, the days are getting long, and it’s time for yard and landscaping work.  This summer that includes tree trimming and removal – and that poses a problem for the W0ZSW antenna system, a 270 foot dipole that runs through no fewer than seven trees at the WA0TDA QTH.  Five of those seven trees are either going to be trimmed and shaped or removed altogether, so of course the antenna had to come down.

That means that for the near future W0ZSW is off the air.  Summer is the lowest usage time anyway, so hopefully that will not be too inconvenient.  Any W0ZSW users who wish to use station WA0TDA, which is at the same location but which uses a maypole inverted vee antenna system that is not affected by the tree work.

Station W0EQO in northern Minnesota is not affected by this work and remains available.

Contect for WA0TDA station access or to report problems with W0EQO and W0ZSW.

Have a GREAT summer, everyone!

Summer antenna work

The hard line coax emerges from the earth at the base of the HF9V vertical antenna, connecting to a 75 ohm matching section.

The hard line coax emerges from the earth at the base of the HF9V vertical antenna, connecting to a 75 ohm matching section.









Alas, I have had to remove a 270′ W0OXB dipole antenna which ran through a half dozen trees on the property.  The reason is that one of the trees is being taken down, and three of the others are being heavily trimmed and shaped.

This leaves a choice of either the Butternut HF9V vertical antenna with lots of radials beneath it, or the inverted vee maypole system.  Both are fed underground with direct burial coax and both cover 80 through 6 meters.

When you log on to the station, the popup message will tell you which antenna is in use that day.

Trading winter snows for summer woes

HF9V vertical antenna in the winter

HF9V vertical antenna in the winter

It wasn’t but a few short weeks ago that the backyard looked like this – snow everywhere.  Then as suddenly as the flip of a switch, the Twin Cities greened up and the snow was gone.  April, usually a rainy month, was a snowy one, and spring tried really hard, but instead of rain we had thundersnow.

Now that spring/summer seems to be here for sure, we can expect more of that lightning and thunder – and that means more shutdowns of stations W0ZSW and WA0TDA, which are both on the same property.  Antennas are disconnected when lightning threatens to minimize damage to the stations and the connected computer network.

Sometimes the thunderstorms pop up unexpectedly as the air warms and rises over southern Minnesota.  This can mean that the stations will be taken offline with little or no notice.  Other times the passage of a frontal boundary will be well predicted and the stations can be shut down in advance of the front’s arrival.

Thunderstorm activity will cause loud static (QRN), especially on the lower frequency HF bands.  When you hear loud cracks and pops on the bands, you may want to finish up your QSO in case the station needs to be shut down.  In the evening or early morning  QRN may skip in from storms in the southern part of the USA, and this is not concern for station damage in Minnesota, though it may interfere with your QSO.

Have fun with the stations and enjoy a GREAT, safe summer!

73 – Pat