Helping Puerto Rico with amateur radio

How my uncle Jim Breakall WA3FET used amateur radio to help Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria:

“Breakall listened and took notes as Vazquez reported the damage to Arecibo, so he could report out to the many scientists the status of the telescope. But he and other ham radio users worked relentlessly to contact family and friends of those at the observatory and in the neighboring communities to report back that their loved ones were okay.

Jim Breakall

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Tuning my 20m / 40m fan dipole

This spring I constructed a 20/40m fan dipole and hung it up in the my backyard. I cut the lengths of each element according to the standard formula (234 / design frequency = each dipole side length in feet), and left some extra on each side for tuning. SWR was under 2:1 for both 20m and 40m, but there was definitely room to improve. Today I was able to spend some time taking measurements and tuning the antenna.

I used the excellent SWR Plotter program by K9DUR that automatically transmits across a selected band and records the SWR measured by my Flex 5000a radio.

After the initial measurements showed that the 40m element of the fan dipole was tuned too low, I folded back about 6” on either side.

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