20m EFHW Vertical + 49:1 Unun = DX

My 49:1 Unun arrived from UK Antennas today, lost no time getting it into the garden and connected to the 20m EFHW Vertical antenna.

49:1 Unun from UK Antennas

I’m really pleased with the 49:1 Unun, really nicely put together and packaged professionally, great to get such a nice British made product!

Connecting the Unun up to the antenna I found that it added a little extra inductance I hadn’t planned for and so I needed to shorten the vertical wire a little to compensate.

Tuning the 20m EFHW Vertical

It took 3 snips of wire to get the antenna resonant in the 20m band again, with an SWR of 1.3:1 and the sun starting to set I decided that was fine for now and I’ll fine tune it tomorrow in the daylight. (See end of article for update)

Heading into the shack the 20m band was buzzing, lots of big signals and DX. I switched on to the 10m band and checked the SWR there, 1:1 across most of the band, perfect!

I then went on to check the 15m band, now I wasn’t expecting a match as it shouldn’t resonate there but, I found a 2:1 SWR across the band, weird!

So back on 20m, I plugged in the MacBook Pro and started WSJT-X in FT8 mode to see what was around.

20m EFHW Vertical at the end of the garden

First contact was into Canada, VE2FVV with a -10 report both ways and 2962 miles, not bad for 20w.

I then worked a flurry of stations from the USA but, the one I was really pleased with was PP1WW in Brazil. 5610 Miles using just 20w, this EFHW vertical really does has a lovely low angle of radiation.

PP1WW was the last station worked as it was dark by this time and the band closed. It was interesting to watch the PSKReporter site to see where I was being heard.

Stations that heard M0AWs on 20m

As you can see from the PSKReporter screenshot above, I was heard pretty much all over the world. I saw a number of VK stations in Australia pop up on FT8 but, never managed to get an answer back from any of them even though they reported hearing me on the PSKReporter site.

I was also pleased with the number of stations that I heard, once again good global coverage.

Stations heard by M0AWS on 20m

Band conditions are generally poor at the moment and we’re in a bad part of the 11 year sunspot cycle. Hopefully in the coming years propagation will improve and we’ll be able to work the world on just a couple of milliwatts!

I also tuned up onto the 10m band and heard quite a few FT8 stations on there, I was surprised as I wasn’t expecting the band to be open.

So tomorrow, I need to fine tune the antenna for the 20m band and get the SWR down to 1:1, hopefully this won’t affect the 10m band tuning too much.

Once the 12m Spiderpoles are back in stock I’ll get one ordered and build the 40m EFHW Inverted L that I’ve designed, I’m hoping it will open up the 40m/20/15/10m bands for some DXing over the summer months.

UPDATE: I ended up snipping off a total of 34.5cm of wire to get the SWR 1:1 at 14.100Mhz. This makes the entire 20m band useable with the SWR less than 1.5:1 at each end of the band. 2nd contact after trimming the wire was VK2LAW at 10454 Miles using just 25w of power.

Information as to why it’s best to keep the feed point at ground level for this antenna is here.

More soon …

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