Gremlins Lurk in the Junk Heap

Three weeks ago my EchoLink station went deaf. Thanks to the West Central MN Amateur Radio Club’s antenna analyzer, I figured out right away that the problem was in the feedline/antenna system. Ever since then I have been either too busy or too nervous to go on the roof, so it has remained a mystery . . . until this afternoon.

Antonio Mitchell checking SWR on the Edison Fong J-Pole

Antonio, my son, went up on the roof with the antenna analyzer while I watched from the ground. He did a great job taking all the tape and coax seal off the PL-259, disconnecting the coax from the antenna, and hooking up the antenna analyzer to the antenna with a patch cord. “One point two!” he called down to me. There you have it — it was the coax! I realized what I’d done. Here I had some brand-new coax in my field-kit, but I ended up grabbing a different coil of junk coax and got bitten by a Gremlin. I found the new, already-terminated coil of coax and Antonio swapped it for the bad length, carefully wrapping the PL-259 with coax seal and rescue-tape. In short order we had the station back on the air.

All that, and Antonio doesn’t even get to use it yet. Hopefully soon! Antonio has been studying hard for his Technician exam this week. He is eager to take the test.

Thanks, Antonio, for getting the EchoLink back up and running for all of us.

Todd Mitchell, NØIP, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Minnesota, USA. He can be contacted at [email protected].

2 Responses to “Gremlins Lurk in the Junk Heap”

  • Cliff KU4GW:

    Hi Todd! Tell Antonio to hang in there and I hope to talk with him soon via amateur radio. Now don’t you let him stop studying after he passes the tech. I had 2 Extra Class ops tell me in 1996 quote; “While your already in the studying habit keep going and you’ll make it to Extra in no time!” ;onquote. I took their advice and 6 months later I earned my Extra Class license so encourage Antonio to keep studying while he’s already in the studying habit and he’ll go to Amateur Extra in no time, especially since he doesn’t have to pass the 3 code tests that I did! Glad you have everything back up and running!

    Very 73 de Cliff KU4GW

  • Mike VE3WDM:

    Good to hear that it was only the coax that was the problem. I too have done the same thing in the past. I have had some bad coax….or the PL-259 was bad to be exact. I tossed it to the side to fix it later. Well later never came and I used it again to only have troubles that took me a little while to track down to the same problem the coax was taken out the first time for. Well it was great that Antonio was able to get up on the roof and help out the problem for sure. It would be great if he did get his ticket, my son who is not 23is showing interest as well.
    Have a great week Tom.
    Mike
    VE3WDM

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