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Here is the QTH in Bokeelia.  I am so lucky to be here. Have to pinch myself periodically to make sure I am not dreaming. The house was designed by my son.  Cedar shakes.  Not many of these in Florida, but surprisingly, termites do not like cedar so it turns out to be a pretty smart idea? 

Bokeelia is a very "old Florida" type place.  No beach, so not many day tourists.  Mostly fishermen and boaters and folks (like me) enjoying life in the slow lane.

My S9 (43 foot) vertical mounted on a mooring post out on my dock.  Works great over salt water.

The S9 is a pretty flexible antenna.  It is essentially a fiberglass tube with a single wire up the center.  Very simple.  I used to have a Hustler vertical but the salt air kept eating the traps so the S9 was a good solution.  Here is a shot of the S9 in the wind.

Sunsets in Bokeelia are amazing.  Always different.  It really lights up the sky over Gasparilla Island.  I usually walk up to the pier on the very Northern tip of the island to catch the setting sun.  Great way to finish off the day.

Even the bad weather is dramatic here.  It comes off the Gulf and collides with warm air over the mainland and the cloud formations are spectacular.

You just can't have too many rigs.  Part of the ham radio addiction.  This is the latest addition to the arsenal.  It is called a Mountain Topper designed by Steve Weber, KD1JV, and marketed by LNR Precision...the same folks that make the famous end fed antennas. It is a pretty amazing transciever.  Covers 40, 30 and 20 and is optimized for 9 volts.  Puts out 2+ watts. Now, some folks would think that 2 watts is a joke?  Let me tell you, this rig is no joke.  It has a great little receiver, and on 20 meters the other night I worked all over the US with it. Transmit current is low so you can use the rig with a 9 volt battery.  Better carry along several.  


One of the main reasons I bought this rig was for portable use.  This takes no room in the back pack.  This rig is going to Iceland and England this year so listen for me around 14.060 Mhz for a QSO.  Here is the proposed station.  I picked up the little amplified speaker at CVS for about ten bucks, but headphones (ear buds) work great too.  The tuner is an Elecraft T-1 and handles an end fed nicely. 

I have been trying to figure out the best antenna for the Mountain Topper and have come up with a 20m dipole that has a jumper across the center.  That way, I can use it as a dipole then connect up the jumper and have a 32 foot end fed. This keeps the accessories to a minimum.  I will let you know how this idea pans out.  I have a 9 to 1 balun to use this antenna as an end fed.

Here is a magnetic bug created by Tom Withers, G3HGE.  I love this bug.  You adjust it once, and forget it.  Unfortunately, Tom is no longer producing any keys or paddles.  Listen for me using this bug.

If you are looking for an inexpensive paddle, particularly for portable use, this UNI-HAM 730 is a good choice.  It is around $50 or so off EBAY and comes from China (surprise, surprise!).  You will need to put a non-skid pad under it of some sort, but it does a really good job.  I use mine with my QRP gear when I am on the road.  Small, as you can see by the quarter next to it, and solid enough construction to survive life in a back pack.


I am always searching for the best antenna.  What I am finding is that there are a lot of variables involved in this pursuit.  Height above ground.  Surrounding objects.  Soil conditions.  I mean you could go nuts second guessing yourself on which antenna is the optimum one?  This "New Carolina Windom" seems to be a pretty safe bet if you are looking for a wire that covers several bands (40 thru 6 no problem....little "iffy" on 80 and forget 160)...and is easy to assemble, try the NCW.  I have used this antenna in Colorado and NH with good success and am now using one here in Florida. My compliments to Len Carlson, K4IWL, for developing an excellent solution if you want just one antenna and several bands.  I even borrowed his graphic.

For contacts in NH or CO, QSL to P.O. Box 133, Goshen, NH 03752...FL QSO's can get a card to me here at the Bokeelia address above.

Please note: Bokeelia is on Pine Island which is IOTA NA-069.

Pine Island is in Lee Country in Florida.

Goshen is in Sullivan County in NH.

The Cayo Costa (a.k.a. Lacosta) Island QTH and the East Part Island QTH are also IOTA NA-069.

Member of A-1 Operator Club.

A few numbers for those interested: 10-10: 8274, QRP ARCI: 3788, FISTS: 6198, NE QRP: 41, FPQRP: 1042, NA-QRP: 481, SKCC: 1234, CW Ops: 182, FOC: 1734.

Rev: W4MQC - Saturday, May 17, 2010


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