Just before I passed my Foundation (June 2019) I bought a S/H FT-818 cos it was compact. I studied antenna specs, retail and homemade, watched every video and tried desperately to,achieve resonance using an analyser, not one HF contact. VSWR was a nightmare.
There are so many videos extolling different antennas and how important resonance is, there were verticals with a hundred radials, horizontals with anuns and baluns. Hams would go out, magically tune their antenna and be on the air, that never happened for me, I just became more frustrated and seriously disheartened, while everyone else was making contact.
Yesterday afternoon I received a S/H (£180 inc postage Radioworld) MFJ 934 with virtual ground. I had 30m of house 6mm copper earthing cable and placed it around the top of my fence about 6 feet off the ground, over my shed roof,into my bungalow bedroom window and straight into the MFJ 934. No anun, yeah I know........
I have no RF earth (yet) so I connected 5m of the same cable to the counterpoise socket and ran it around the bedroom floor. On 14.250 I tuned the long wire, then tuned the virtual earth counterpoise, as I did this the noise floor went down and more stations became audible, I then went back and re-tuned the long wire.
I have heard IZ1GCW (Torino Italy) many times but never was able to make contact, he was on 20m (14.256MHz) at 16:40 yesterday and I made the call, he immediately answered, I nearly dropped through the floor. After the QSO I was like an excited little puppy. He gave me a 4 4 from 6 Watts on internal battery.
The lesson to learn here is, if you are new to this and don't want to mess about and waste loads of money and time, all you need is an hf rig (new FT-891 coming Friday), a decent tuner and a long wire.
The magic of radio communication.... the MFJ 934
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