The First YACHT HF Net Report
There's good days and there's bad days on HF... and today was one of those bad days.
by Dylan Goodson N5APP
I thought I was in trouble when my dad called me on 2 meters a few days ago. There was a weird tone in his voice when he said my call sign over the repeater. I answered him, and the conversation became as weird as his tone.
"Bubba, I kinda did something," was how he started the conversation.
He let the repeater drop, and I waited for several awkward moments before answering him. "Should I ask what you did?"
"Well, I might be in trouble... but yes, you should ask what I did," he replied quite cryptically.
I waited a few more awkward moments before I answered, again. "What did you do?"
"Well, I volunteered you to start up the YACHT HF net on 20 meters as the first net controller."
I had never been a net controller, but I was glad that was it, and that I wasn't in trouble. I had to kick into high gear when he told me the first net would be in just three days. Our HF rig was still packed from the last time we used it, and we had nothing set up for HF operation. Another challenge we faced was not having a 20 meter antenna. We had a 40 and 80 meter dipole that we COULD tune to 20 meters, but we prefer a resonant antenna, not making a non-resonant antenna tune.
We built a 20 meter dipole and put it up in the rain just yesterday. We used a 20 foot top rail section of a chain link fence to hold the feed point, and used electric fence wire we had laying around, and voila! We had a 20 meter dipole. We ran the coax into our bedroom and set up our ICOM IC-7200, along with the Panasonic Toughbook for logging. We made a contact on 14.325, so we knew we were good for the net.
About 30 minutes before net time, my dad was testing out the set up just to make sure the station was good to go. There was a TenTec net in operation on 14.325MHz, but it was awful noisy. The antenna wasn't tuning, either. We started to panic when dad told us to check the antenna. He figured out the coax jumper going from the radio to the tuner was bad. After he swapped it out, he had a nice QSO with the net controller. We knew we were good, but 20 meters was still sounding very noisy.
My brother, Cody N5GNR and I checked into the TenTec net before they closed the net and gave the frequency to us for our net.
I read the new preamble on this website under the "NETS" section, and started taking check-ins. Sadly, all of the were very weak. Such is the nature of HF, my dad always says. I know he's gotten frustrated when the bands weren't in very good shape. In spite of the bad band conditions, I was happy to get some good check-ins.
K8KDZ's Net Summary Report for: Net
Date: 2017/01/22 Frequency: 14.325
Created by N3FJP's Amateur Contact Log
Total Number Stations = 8
KS8O Jim MI
W5BFF JERRY TX
N5GNR Cody TX
KA5AHS Atlanta Rabbits ARC TX
N5KWG Kyle Wayne TX
NO2CW Ivan FL
N1SPY Tommy FL
KM4SII Mason via FL
N5APP - Net Control
It was cool being the first net controller for the new YACHT HF Net. I can't wait to check in to the net next week!