I’ve been looking for a 6-meter solution for a while, and I finally decided to get the lightweight “stressed Moxon” antenna by Par Electronics out of North Carolina.
The antenna arrived this week and I set out to construct a mast for it. I looked at getting a push-up aluminum mast or a similar solution, but didn’t want to pay the premium price for it. I finally decided to make my own mast from PVC pipe, based on a design by N1RIK for the Moxon at his QTH.
I started with two 10-foot sections of PVC, one 2-inches and the other 1-1/2 inches. I inserted the smaller diameter pipe a bit more than a foot into the other and used some hefty bolts to join the pieces together at the overlap. If I want to lower the mast or take it apart, I just need to pull the bolts out.
I mounted the antenna itself on a smaller piece of PVC, and secured it to the top of the mast with some wood screws. The whole mast was then lashed up to the back deck of my house. Obviously, I’ll be rotating it by hand. It’s not pretty, and it may not be well-constructed, but it seems to work fine for the moment. Once the 6m season dries up, I intend to take it down anyway.
Total cost of the mast? Less than $20.
As for the Moxon itself, the verdict is still out. We had what looked to be a nice opening last night and all I could hear were some fading CW signals around 50.100. Saturday afternoon I received a DXmaps.com alert regarding an opening to the southwest. I aimed the beam and listened but only heard faint voices slightly above the SSB calling frequency.
I should note that I don’t have enough coax on-hand to run the antenna into my FT-847 yet. All my experimentation has involved me standing on the back deck with the FT-817.
When I first put the Moxon up I wanted to check my SWR, so I connected my wattmeter and keyed up some AM carriers across the band. SWR seemed to be flat. I started calling CQ at 5 watts on 50.125 and someone came back to me immediately with an AL7 prefix, easily S9. Wow! I had to have heard that call wrong.
Nope, it was an Alaska prefix alright, but the guy was literally right down the road, 1.5 miles from my QTH. Apparently he monitors 50.125 because he mentioned I broke his squelch. Not exactly a DX contact, but nice to meet another ham in the vicinity.
I did another test this afternoon and spoke with my pal Todd, KN4QD, about 20 miles away. We both reported S1 signal reports.
The HVAC antenna?
I was a little surprised when during a QSO with W0OHU, he reported “2W HVAC” … what the heck kind of antenna is that? So I checked his QRZ page and it turns out he’s literally using the HVAC ducts of his home as an antenna, at QRP levels no less.
I was amazed at his description of the arrangement (from QRZ.com):
My current HF antenna is the HVAC (furnace/AC) ducts in the ceiling of our home. I use a MFJ-969 tuner with a short piece of RG-6, with the center connected to the ceiling register cover screw (the shield is not connected to anything). The register is in the center of a 30 foot run of the HVAC (furnace/AC) duct. (It works GREAT on 30m thru 6m running 1-9 watts)
If it works it works.