And here I thought it was me!

To say it is a beautiful day in New Jersey today is in understatement.  The sun is shining, and the temperatures are in the upper 60s (20C).  The breeze (if there is any) is so gentle that you don’t even notice it.  So I decided that after grocery shopping, but before other chores, that I would sneak off to the park and try out the EARCHI antenna.  I built the 9:1 UNUN late last Autumn and didn’t get a chance to try it out.

The antenna line launcher worked perfectly, once again.  First shot, I cleared a 50 foot tree with ease. The end fed EARCHI was up in record time.  I used a 33 foot piece of wire attached to the UNUN, and ran a 20 foot piece of coax from the UNUN to the KX3.  My results with tuning it via the KX3’s autotuner were so-so.  The KX3 loved the antenna on 30, 20, 18 and 12 Meters. On 40, 15 and 10 Meters, I got a decent match, but the KX3’s tuner clacked around noticeably longer finding a match on these bands.  I think I am going to have to experiment with different radiator lengths to see what ends up working best as an “all around” antenna length.
But even with decent matches, the bands seemed dead!  I did end up working W1AW/KP4 on 20 Meters, but other than them, I did not hear much.  I hear much more activity during the workweek from the Jeep than I heard today. Naturally, the first thing the Ham suspects is that it’s the antenna – especially when it’s a new one. Actually, my first reaction was that I screwed up something when I built the UNUN. I came home after only a short time out, a bit dejected.
Then when I got home, I got on the computer to order some wire and rope from The Wireman.  For the heck of it, I also decided to check out Facebook.  A lot of my Ham friends had posted about how lousy the band conditions are today. In fact, one commented that he went outside to make sure his antennas were still in the air!

Courtesy of Facebook

So it ends up that today was not the day to base a critical performance review on,  I will have to wait for another weekend with decent weather and better band conditions for another test. In the meantime, I will also browse the Internet to see if I can garner more information on optimal radiator lengths for use with a 9:1 UNUN.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP – When you care to send the very least!

Larry Makoski, W2LJ, is a regular contributor to and writes from New Jersey, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

6 Responses to “And here I thought it was me!”

  • Harry K7ZOV:

    Dead here is North East AZ. Been working on getting my workroom setup functional. Rig here is Flex 1500 and Hardrock 50. Was beginning to believe I has antenna problems. Went inside and fired up the K3 with a beam. What was out there was in the noise and very few and very week. So from NJ where you be to NE AZ and 6,700 feet the radio Gods have no smiled today…

    73 Harry K7ZOV

  • Chuck KC9VO:

    Sometimes the only difference between a ‘dead band’ and making interesting contacts is putting out that initial ‘CQ’. It’s tremendously satisfying to make a contact in the early morning hours when you hear a signal that doesn’t even move the needle on the S-meter. It’s great that you made an effort.

  • Karl N7DMA:


    I think a radiator 33 feet in length may be problematic (quarter wave on 40 meters).

    I made a 9:1 unun for my attic antenna. I followed the wire chart from Balun Designs


    to help me decide on a proper length wire.

    I settled on a length of 24.5 feet ( the longest I could run in my attic, and it operates on 80 – 40 meters, with the highest swr being on 15 meters (~3:1) with no tuner. It just works on 80, but from 40 meters to 6 meters, it works pretty well for me.

    Just a thought. And yes, all quiet on the western front, too!

  • Jeff K9JP:

    Hello Larry, Try adding about three more feet to your 33 foot wire. I have used 53 to 54 foot long wire on my homemade 9:1 UNUN and my KX3 loves it. I use a 15 foot length of RG-58A/U as the coax feed line.

    Also, Thanks for your very kind words the other day about our QSO. I appreciate your kindness and time.

    73 and Good Health, Jeff K9JP

  • Kyle N4NSS:


    I have been using 43 feet and it works wonders. (9:1 Unun and 43 ft.)

  • Harry K7ZOV:

    I have been using this design over 10 yrs now. I have found that when the length is in the 30ish range 20-6 works ok with a good ATU. If I go to 45-55 ft (51 ft typical) I can pick up 40 and with the KX3 even 80/75 meters. I use a home made slingshot with 1 oz of lead to launch and thin nylon rope. Then I pull the wire as high as I can get it. Photo of my matchbox and at my in-laws place are on the Yahoo KX3 users group site. Will be glad to send them directly with other antenna info.

    As far as call CQ, yes it works when someone is listening. I am lucky to have a K3 with the P3/svga panadaptor and 22 inch monitor and a IC-758proII with a bandscope and a Flex 1500. Needless to say if there is hidden activity I can catch it. The other day nada, zip, zero. Today so-so. Noise is bad here in the mountains of Arizona.

    2 cents over. Back to my cave. I just moved my long wire with a SB-230 and need to finish it up. Goes to the Flex 1500 and Hardrock-50. Fighting shack RFI. Whom ever built the 20×20 building I am in, outside the house, got the hot and neutral backwards…about 8 yrs ago. Way before I got into this place. Once I got that fixed the problem almost went away. Now only 15 meters is hosing the computer.

    73 and happy dxing
    Harry K7ZOV

Leave a Comment

Subscribe FREE to's
Amateur Radio Newsletter
News, Opinion, Giveaways & More!

Join over 7,000 subscribers!
We never share your e-mail address.

Also available via RSS feed, Twitter, and Facebook.

Subscribe FREE to's
Amateur Radio Newsletter

We never share your e-mail address.

Do you like to write?
Interesting project to share?
Helpful tips and ideas for other hams?

Submit an article and we will review it for publication on!

Have a ham radio product or service?
Consider advertising on our site.

Are you a reporter covering ham radio?
Find ham radio experts for your story.

How to Set Up a Ham Radio Blog
Get started in less than 15 minutes!

  • Matt W1MST, Managing Editor

Sign up for our free
Amateur Radio Newsletter

Enter your e-mail address: