New ham and new member VK3LRJ

It’s always wonderful to welcome a new ham to the hobby. Richard has been preparing for the exam for 40 years (from when he first purchased an ARRL Handbook). Having recently scored 100% in the test you’d have to say he over-prepared.

Located at Drummond, Richard has plenty of space for an HF antenna so to get him started I suggested an Off Centre Fed Dipole (OCFD) cut for 80m as this also gives him 40 and 20m on a single antenna.

OCFD high in the trees

He used a home made bow and arrow and I used a small drone to get lines up in to the trees. The coax is run up in the air to the shack. Richard joined the MRARC net on 80m last week and got good reports from all stations despite being limited to 10W. Very encouraging.

The next challenge was 2m and for this he built a J-Pole antenna from 15mm copper pipe.

Richard at work on the coax connection

The construction is of a high quality although some protection from the weather will be needed for the attached coax.

Simple connection with hose clamps

The antenna was cut exactly to the calculated size but as Murphy demands it needed to be lengthened to tune up around the top of the band.

Pretty good SWR!

The J Pole 2m antenna is now mounted high above the shed and can work the VK3RMM repeater on just 5W.

Excellent construction from Richard

Richard’s remaining challenge is a high level of noise across HF from his off-grid solar battery system. There are plans afoot including renewing the capacitors in the inverter. A noise canceller was tried and gave promising results. More to be done though.

Please welcome Richard VK3LRJ when you hear him on air and I hope his story will encourage other new hams.