The Miracle Whip, that is.
I only acquired my fantastic Yaesu FT-817 to give me 5W of SSB on V/UHF from windswept Welsh hilltops. I couldn’t resist a second-hand bargain of a Miracle Whip to see what I could achieve with QRP on the HF bands.
It’s a classic Fred-and-Ginger combination that has been blogged, reviewed and You-Tubed extensively along with other rig/telescopic antenna double-acts. Yes, it’s only 57” of radiating metal with a rather good tuner at the base, but thanks to the current propagation conditions it at least enables you to experience the miraculous. Its advantage lies also in its simplicity. It means you’ll use it because it connects, extends and tunes in seconds. I like that! Connect. Extend. Tune.
I’ve been having fun with the ‘817 on my lap, indoors, running off its own batteries (=2.5W max) and chatting to stations on the higher bands in places such as St. Petersburg and the Ukraine with 5/9 reports. You simply can’t get this thrill with a big station. It’s reconnecting to the magic of radio – which is a real miracle every time a contact comes out of the ether. I’m even moved to ‘Tweet’ a new QSO with excitement! (@MW0DNK).
I’ve started at 10m, sliding my way down the bands as the challenge rises. Using 5W (external battery) I managed a QSO with Algeria yesterday on 15m, 4/3. I finally cracked 20m with a shorter, brief contact to Spain. I had a 5m counterpoise wire connected this time.
On 40m I’m simply not heard, at least not yet. This is where I need to start learning some CW skills. This will open up the lower bands for me. Until then, living on the Isle of Anglesey, I might head to a beach and try getting some salt water under my portable station to see if I can crack the ‘40m SSB phono challenge.’ Listen out for me.
On 2m the antenna is a ¾ wave. I’ve no idea what the radiation pattern is for this length, but it seems to work very well. Unfortunately the antenna is just short of a ¼ wavelength at 6m, so perhaps a wire clip-on extension is the answer.