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Adding the SGC 237 Auto tuner...
I swallowed hard and ordered the device from the manufacturer
It seemed to good to be true, in fact, it sounded like magic.
On the other hand the price is not trivial in this Ham's budget.
The delivered price was close to $400.
In spite of the weatherproof packaging I installed it in the shed with a couple of #10 wires through the wall to the antenna and ground. I provided the 13.6 VDC power with a very old modified telephone company power supply. It is switched on/off with an X10 appliance module.
The results exceeded my hopes and expectations. It worked as advertised!
It was especially impressive on the 80 and 160 bands.
Of course, a little success is a powerful motivator!
The next thought was "if it is this good now, what would a bigger antenna do?"
I have a pretty big stash of aluminum that I have squirreled away over the years. A couple of 24 foot pieces of 3 inch angle and a couple of pieces of 1-1/2 inch angle at 20 feet have been languishing in wait of this project. All I would need to do is work out some way to keep them vertical and add my 18 foot top section.
"The devil is in the details"
And the devil did enter...
Individually, the parts are pretty light. In a connected stick they are a serious overload for an old man!
The insulator for the bottom: Forget the soda crate or wine bottle, this will need to be heavy duty!
The wall bracket: bolting this much weight to my shed could easily damage/destroy the shed...
What about lightning protection? ..... (duhh. mumble, mumble)...
Which lead to the conclusion that I would need to rethink some things. Conversing with a friend I commented that what I really needed was a utility pole in the back yard for my antenna. "Be careful what you wish for..." A week or so later he called me and calmly said "where do you want your pole?" I had been thinking maybe 18 feet. Well, I had failed to be specific and he figured bigger would be better. Have you ever had an opportunity to look at a forty foot pole on the ground? Did you know that the fat end is over 12 inches in diameter?
So, where am I now?
I am thinking the 28 foot antenna needs to be put away for field day. The real "deal breaker" is the matter of lightning protection. If I had no other choices, I would pursue the utility pole. However my crank up tower provides relatively easy access to string a wire to the top from one of the ground stakes on the house lightning rod system. I expect the auto tuner will make the narrow bandwidth nearly transparent to the system. The radials I install for the new antenna will be considered permanent or at least as permanent as things get with an old Ham...
I guess I will but the pole up on blocks until I find it a project....