Zilched in San Francisco

My second attempt at dragging a QRP rig with me on a business trip was better than the first but still yeilded zero contacts. I blew my first attempt in Portland by not testing my keyer with the radio, ending up with no way to key the rig. This week I took my MMR-40 QRP rig, a wire antenna, key, keyer, etc. to San Francisco while on business. I stayed at a downtown hotel where the windows actually open, which can be rare in an urban area. For a portable antenna kit, I carry Charlie Lofgren’s, Field-Friendly Doublet, including a 17 foot long wire to create an end fed Zepp as Charlie described.

End fed Zepp
The feedline/flattop, ABC, is 84 feet long. The match, DE, is 17 feet long.

For my portable station in San Francisco, I used the Zepp version by creating a 17 foot long matching section stretched horizontally across the wall of my room with the ‘top’ hanging strait down the side of the building from the window Zepplin-style. The desk in my room was about 15 feet or more away from the window so the antenna did not present a trip hazard. I felt quite smug with my installation, frankly. The antenna loaded up fine using my BLT but I could only hear a few faint signals. After a couple of hours of calling CQ, I gave up and watched the World Series instead. But it was still fun even though no communication actually took place. Every time I try something new I learn just a little more. This week, I learned what I can leave at home next time and to ask for a room on a higher floor. The business end of the antenna reached all the way down to the sidewalk.

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