Thursday, June 9, 2011

Hendricks Deluxe Tenna Dipper

So, what is the Deluxe Tenna Dipper ?
It is a 'Poor Mans' Antenna Analyzer. It gives you an indication, in this case a LED dimming, when the load (aerial) attached reaches 50 ohm. The Tenna Dipper covers ~3 MHz to 30 MHz in two bands selected by a slide switch. Thus making it really easy to tune an antenna to the frequency you want to operate on without causing interference.
It is a update to the Four Staes QRP Group kit designed by Steve Weber, KD1JV.

From K1YMI

The same basic design has been kept only now with a frequency counter in leu of the CW generator to read you the frequency. The kit has everything you need to build, including the case.

The LED is very bright! In full sunlight you will have no trouble seeing the display or LED.

Building the kit is straight forward, no real issues were found with following the directions in the manual. The only problem I had was the winding of the transformer.
Be very careful about clearing all the varnish off the wire ends and try not to scratch the varnish as you wind it onto the torroid.
When I completed my kit the LED did not light very brightly or change intensity when a 50ohm load was put across the input. The issue was tracked down to the windings in the transformer. After removing and fixing the windings it worked flawlessly. I then hot glued the transformer in position onto the PCB. This hopefully will stop anything moving while in transit.

From K1YMI

Weighing in at 300g including batteries and at a price of $75 this kit is a must for any Ham that likes to operate from the field.

The Hendricks Deluxe Tenna Dipper can be found at

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Pigeon Mountain for SOTA (W2/GA-244)

For Summits On The Air I activated Fulton Counties highest point, Pigeon Mountain (2780+ ft).


Access to Pigeon Mountain is for the most part an easy walk. Although there is not an actual trail to the summit. There is a trail to the col in-between Pigeon and Panther Mountains.
The Trail Head is at the end of Pinnacle Road.

View Trail Head for Pigeon, Pinnacle and Panther mountains in a larger map

View pigeon_mtn in a larger map

Take the trail to the left.
You will pass a few small ponds with Beaver activity, and some old foundations of buildings next to the creek.
When you come to 'Y's in the trail always opt for the left.
You will eventually come to a newly cleared and marked section of trail. This is the first place you will see a Blue NYS trail marker.


These markers are for the start of the trail to County Line Lake. It skirts the edge of Pigeon Mountain. You can, at this point, opt to start bushwacking up hill or follow the trail to County Line Pond and then climb.
I opted to walk to the Pond and was greeted with beautifully tranquil pond that has a fantastic beaver dam.


If you do follow the trail to County Line Lake, pay attention to the trail markers. I found it very hard to follow at points. This trail is infrequently traveled so there are no 'herd paths' to follow.

To ascend Pigeon Mountain from County Line Lake head back down the trail about fifty foot and find a clearing in the brush to head towards the top.
The summit is marked with a large boulder in a very small clearing. There are no views to be found at the top, only heavy vegetation.

Pigeon Mountain Summit

I had trouble setting up the Buddipole VersaTee vertical in the small clearing due to all the branches overhead.


Once on 20M I qualified the summit in around 10 minutes ! I had planned on using psk31 as well but I was having so much fun on ssb that I never got around to changing to psk.
After around 1 hour the horse flies were really beginning to get the better of me and I'd had enough. I packed up and headed back down the hill a different way.

I took a bearing on where I'd seen the first NYS ENCON trail marker and headed towards that.
Once back on the trail I headed back to the truck. At one of the ponds I noticed a number of butterflies.
I'm not sure if they were sunning themselves or what.

By now, I managed to outrun most of the horse flies and was happily greeted by swarms of mosquitos. You have to love the Adirondacks this time of year.