Author Topic: How a 17 foot wire changed my life  (Read 3722 times)

Offline Smurf Hunter

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How a 17 foot wire changed my life
« on: April 25, 2015, 09:32:40 PM »
That may be a slight over statement, but let me explain what happened.

Several days ago I noticed that on 20 meters while wearing head phones, if I transmitted I would hear my voice in my head phone speakers.  I've not been diagnosed as schizophrenic, but that doesn't mean I'm sane - but I digress...

I tried every other band, and it ONLY happend on 14.xxx Mhz.  I tried switching modes, SSB(Upper/lower), AM, FM - all did the same.  I could NOT reproduce this without headpones.  Even an external speaker wouldn't.

I had ample length of feedline, so I made an RF choke sort of like this:


No change.

So I'm frustrated, assuming the worst and thinking I just wasted a few hundred dollars on a used radio that has something horribly wrong.  Then I get the outrageous idea to ask someone else for help.  I call up Carl on EchoLink and talk him through the symptoms.  He suggests created a counter-poise wire cut to 1/4 wavelength of 20 meters.  I have wire, and not much to lose, so I agree.

Using the wire length forumla:



14mhz shakes out to around 17 feet.

So per Carl's verbal advice I cut it to 17.5 feet.  (I guess he has to make everything bigger on account of living spitting distance from Texas).
I crimp on a ring connector and attach it to the ground lug on my transceiver (reference photos in case anyone is confused).


When I powered up my radio 3 good things happened:

1) no more sound in my head phones when TX
2) my wife's flourescent light make-up mirror no longer powers on when I TX
3) my SWR is lower (not that it really mattered with an antenna tuner, but this is evidence that adding the wire helped)

Also, so far all the other HF bands tune up fine.  Carl was slightly worried that adding 1/4 wavelength for 20m might have tweaked something in a different band, but I haven't found any issues.

Thankfully the only mistake Carl has made was doubting himself.   ;)

Offline Carl

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Re: How a 17 foot wire changed my life
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2015, 07:00:13 AM »
I actually read this tidbit in a 1922 QST (on line) and I believe it was labeled "WIRELESS GROUND"
a statement that today has a totally different meaning than it did in Ham radio's infancy...
When real radios (and real Hams) glowed in the dark.

Today too many try to over engineer or over-complicate things...there is real beauty and utility in SIMPLE...
I always try to do simple , it gives me a lot more pleasure time at the radio ,rather than fighting GREMLINS
that are often part of some modern cures for simple problems.

Note that this "CURE" will fix many problems that occur when our station has insufficient grounding for RF
as often occurs due to soil conditions of station location and distance from true earth ground.   8)

Offline Alan Georges

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Re: How a 17 foot wire changed my life
« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2015, 08:10:14 AM »
I actually read this tidbit in a 1922 QST (on line) and I believe it was labeled "WIRELESS GROUND"
a statement that today has a totally different meaning than it did in Ham radio's infancy...
When real radios (and real Hams) glowed in the dark.
I continue to be amazed by *ahem* techniques such as this.  And then we get to the whole realm of artificial grounds, with catalogue items that read like something straight out of a Roadrunner cartoon:
http://www.mfjenterprises.com/Product.php?productid=MFJ-931

Deep down, I suspect that MFJ Enterprises is actually a subsidiary of ACME Products.

Offline Carl

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Re: How a 17 foot wire changed my life
« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2015, 08:27:58 AM »
I continue to be amazed by *ahem* techniques such as this.  And then we get to the whole realm of artificial grounds, with catalogue items that read like something straight out of a Roadrunner cartoon:
http://www.mfjenterprises.com/Product.php?productid=MFJ-931

Deep down, I suspect that MFJ Enterprises is actually a subsidiary of ACME Products.

While this device works and is effective ,it does tend to cost a tad more than a scrap of wire.
I feel the same about many of the aluminum yard art projects,called antennas and costing hundreds of $,that can be bested by proper application of wire.

Offline Greekman

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Re: How a 17 foot wire changed my life
« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2015, 06:28:52 AM »
wow! this is the Columbus egg kind of genious!

Offline TiredOldGrunt

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Re: How a 17 foot wire changed my life
« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2015, 04:49:16 PM »
Allah Akbar!  Your shack was as hot as your antenna!

TOG