Yesterday, Chris KQ2RP tweeted K2TK’s line ‘A poor antenna has infinite gain over no antenna’ and it made me smile. It encapsulates so much about my whole approach to radio (and actually more than that).
Some people like everything to be perfect before they embark on a project. Every little last thing needs to be just right. That’s not me. In radio terms, I’d far rather try and lash something together to get it going and try it out than wait for something to be perfect (in my case, it would never happen!).
As a VHF enthusiast, I very often hear, I don’t have an antenna for 50MHz, or whatever. If you’re a 160m enthusiast, you probably hear the same thing! There’s usually some sort of antenna that you can bodge into service, even if it’s a grotty wire dipole twisted together. It’s rare that you can’t get it to radiate SOME sort of signal, and I’m sure I’ve made hundreds of QSOs on antennas where bits of wire were just twisted together.
I often hear people say of the data modes, such as PSK31 – ‘I don’t have a data modes interface’. To get started – just hold the microphone over the speaker of the computer as it transmits the PSK31 tones – and use the microphone on the computer to decode the tones from the radio. It works fine – even if there’s a little juggling to do. You can even use apps on your mobile phone to decode the PSK31!
Having proven that you can make something work simply, you may be enthused to get a more elegant solution going. Or you may not – sometimes, just the simple matter of having made something work is enough and you don’t need to come back to it.
Give it a go (what ever it is!) I bet it will be fun…