To maximise my procrastination on the morse code front, I've spent the weekend improving the antenna situation here. There are two HF antennas, a 40/80m trap dipole, and a recently improved (by lifting it high into a tree with a squid pole) long wire.
The long wire was used with an excellent Emtron matcher but with just a wire counterpoise in place of a real earth. I had a lot of RF in the room so I've now run that wire down to an attachment on a copper water pipe in the yard pretty close to the house. See picture above.
The dipole was in a sharp V shape from the middle of the house to two trees in the back yard, but with the help of the squid pole and a daughter, I've swung one arm right around, over the house and hung it from a tree in front of the house. So now the dipole is nicely in line and up pretty high.
The feed point is on a TV gutter mount on the second floor, the arm that goes over the roof just grazes the peak of the roof and the ends are both about 3m up. Pretty much as good as I can manage without a tower.
Disappointingly, a comparison with the long wire shows that the long wire antenna performs much better. The coax feed line to the dipole is RG58 but it's crummy stuff with aluminium foil mixed with only a few strands of copper in the shield. Next step is to upgrade that coax.
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