I sold my Wolf River Coils Silver Bullet 1000 TIA about two months ago as I wasn’t using the 80m band and the coil was too big and heavy to use with the 24″ extensions rods to make a center loaded vertical. To be clear, there was nothing wrong with the SBC 1000 TIA; it just didn’t fit my needs. I only sold the coil, and I kept the extension rods, the mega tripod and the radial wires along with the 102″ whip.
Silver Bullet Mini
So, last week I ordered the SB Mini along with the Dual Collar Retro Kit. Both items were in my hands within 3 days of ordering. Shipping is always fast when ordering from WRC.
Today I took the original collar off of the mini, converted it to the new dual collar system and added the second collar. It took me less than 10 minutes to do the conversion. To be honest it took longer to find the tools needed than to do the actual conversion. It was that easy.
WRC has a great video on Youtube showing you how to do the conversion and I am very happy with the results. My goal was to set the top collar up to bypass the coil and use the MFJ-1979 17′ whip for 20 meters and above. The bottom collar will be set for 40 meters. I will tune and set the collars in the next couple of days if the thunderstorms ever go away. They are starting up mid morning each day and lasting most of the day. A typical Florida weather pattern for this time of the year. In fact it is storming outside as I write this at about 1950 UT.
As I have posted previously we are moving to Laurel Park NC. We were supposed to make the transition on 7/14 but unfortunately we have had to postpone that for a few weeks. My wife went into the hospital for kidney failure on 7/1 and got out 15 days later. She has been diagnosed with ANCA Renal-limited vasculitis (RLV) which is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system attacks the kidneys. Her kidneys are making progress with regular dialysis and once her kidneys are functioning on their own she can stop the dialysis and we will move as soon as her doctor clears her.
New Wolf River Coils radial setup
I have been reading and watching people experiment with the length and number of rails that they use for their WRC. So, even though I have had good results with the stock 33′ radials that came with my Silver Bullet 1000 T.I.A. I decided to modify mine so that I can have more options. Sometimes you just don’t have a large area for a radial field so I made the decision to cut my radials in half so that I can deploy with 6 16′ radials for those times when space is limited. But, I also wanted to be able to deploy the stock 33′ version.
I use large battery clips to quickly attach my radials to the WRC tripod legs. After cutting the 33′ radials in half I trimmed about 5″ off the end of each wire and attached the short wires to the clips and attached female bullet connectors to the end.
Next I attached male bullet connectors to one end of the remaining 16′ wires and I added female connectors on the other ends. One of the wires has yellow connectors and the other one uses red bullet connectors. This allows me to easily tell which wire I am using.
This setup allows me to add two 16′ radials to each battery clip (and attach a clip to each leg of the tripod. It also gives me the option of connecting the to wires together and use them as a 32′ radial.
In the future it will allow me to quickly and easily make up radials of any length that I want and attach as many as I want. I am considering making up a small pigtail harness that can handle multiple radials. That setup will allow me to plug the pigtail into the battery clip and add multiple radials wires.
This whole “modular” radial setup will also allow me to easily create tuned radials for each band if I decide to go that route. Remember that radials on the ground will decouple and don’t have to be tuned. But raised radials (or more accurately; counterpoise wires) need to be tuned for each band.
New Wolf River Coil
A few months ago I sold my WRC Silver Bullet 1000 coil as it was just too long for my liking and I rarely use 80 meters. Last week I purchased the SIlver Bullet Mini along with the two collar retro kit. I also purchased an MFJ-1979 17′ telescoping wip. The plan is to set the MIni up with one collar at the top of the coil for 20 meters. With the coil bypassed and just by adjusting the whip length I can work 20-6 meters. I will set the other collar for 40 meters.
Check back for more about the move and how I am redoing my shack setup.
You may have noticed that I have been a little absent from my blog. We took a three week trip to the mountains of western North Carolina leaving on May 1st and returning home on the 23rd.
My planned activations didn’t go according to my dreams or plans. I had planned to do some POTA hunting during our first week from the place we were staying at north of Mars Hill NC. It had an elevation of 4500 feet but the ground was so sloped that there was no place to set up. I tried using my speaker wire antenna from the 2nd story deck but it was 30′ off the ground and I couldn’t get a good SWR so that was a bust.
After we relocated to Black Mountain I had planned to activate at the Folk Art Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway. This is a site that Thomas Witherspoon (K4SWL) has activated numerous times but on the morning f the activation it started raining before we even got out of bed. Another POTA opportunity lost; this time to the rain gods (or Mother Nature). Though, looking back I really didn’t want to get me or my equipment wet so I guess that also contributed to the failure.
After relocating to the Hendersonville NC area for our final week, I tried an activation at the Carl Sandburg National Historic Site. That was ultimately a failure mostly due to band conditions. I tried hunting after no one was responding to my CQs. I could hear an activator in Florida who said he was using 100 watts. He was a strong 59 but not even calling “Park to Park” could get a response to my 10 watts out of the Xiegu X6100. I did make contact with a MA activator but I dropped down into his noise floor so we never completed that Park to Park. This failure was due to bad conditions and QRP power levels.
The next day we planned on hiking to the waterfalls in Dupont State Recreation Area and I was going to try activating there too. But after hiking to two waterfalls and doing a total of 3.5 miles I was just two hot and tired to do an activation. My bad knee was also bitching at me about all the abuse I had put it through.. It kept reminding me that it was used to flat land in Florida and not changes in elevation going up and down the mountain trails I had abused it with. So when we got back to the trailhead we jumped into the car to cool off in the AC and went back to town for lunch. Another failure but this time it was all on me.
We are back home now and I am slowly unpacking the radio gear and bringing the home shack back online. I downed all the antennas before I left and took the shack computer with me. But as of this morning the shack is fully operational.
I was able to spend some time on vacation thinking about my field setup and what I took with me. This resulted in several planned changes and enhancements that I will be making over the next few weeks. I will try to blog about those as I do them. Once I complete them I will activate a park near me (there are only two) and blog that as well.
My QRP Adventures in Ham Radio along with news, reviews and anything QRP related.