First Attempt With 20-Meter Phased Verticals
July 15, 2006 Genesee Mountain
*see details below photo*
 Genesee Mountain west of Denver, Colorado. 8,100 feet altitude

Yesterday, I completed a new antenna project. It is a phased, two-element, halfwave vertical for 20 meters. Since I began operating QRP four years ago, I have wanted to try some gain antennas. The 34-foot, 22-ga. wires are held aloft by a pair of MFJ fiberglass poles and are separated by 35 feet (one-half wavelength). They are kept vertical by PVC bases. The phasing  lines are half-wave RG-8X coax and measure 28 feet, four-and-a-half inches (allowing for velocity factor). They attach to the back of the radio by a coax "tee", and to homebrew matching units at each antenna's base. How well does it work?

This evening I drove 20 minutes from home and set up in a mountain park at 8,100 feet. It has a good, low horizon in all directions. The antenna is supposed to have a 60-degree beamwidth in two directions, and 4dB of gain compared to a single antenna. I wanted to aim the pair toward the South Pacific and Europe, so I settled for a heading of  235/055 degrees.  My first contact was CU7X, a DXpedition to Faial Island in the Azores. The very next QSO was with F5PFP, in France.  In order to change directions, I lift the antennas one at a time and move them. A thin 35-foot rope is tied between them to keep the spacing accurate. I verified the new setting with a handheld GPS. I should note: The antenna was maximized for 14.060, but it seems to work fine for the phone portion where I operated. Credit for the antenna design goes to Paul Stroud, AA4XX from his Adventure Radio Society article.  

All contacts were made with 5 watts SSB using an FT-817  and a $20 computer headset.
For future reference, the A index was 6, the Kp was 1 and the Solar Flux was 70. Nice and quiet.
Here is a log of tonight's QSOs and the compass headings of the antenna. (I operated from 0100-0500Z, July 16.)

Heading: 235/055 degrees true
CU7X  Azores
F5PFP  France
KU6T  California
VA3DZ  Ontario
AC0CX  Western Nebraska

Heading: 313/133 degrees
PY5/SP7VC  Brazil
K4PPK  Florida
K4RAR  Florida
KH6KW  Hawaii
VE6AO  Alberta

Heading: 245/65 degrees
ZL1LU  North Island, New Zealand  [He was a bearing of 230 degrees I discovered later.] (He had rough copy on me, but we made it.)
K6SAD  California

I heard quite a few DX stations, but never broke the big pileups: F0/F6CTL; LA/SV2KBS; F4FAZ; EA1TU; VK2AEV; etc. I could have stayed out later, because the band was still open, but the park closes at 11:00 p.m. (0500Z).

My next project? Three half-wave verticals phased with ladderline and end-fed at the center antenna.