My bit of wet string in the loft, or rather, my fan dipole has been doing quite well of late, albeit only on FT8 and FT4.

By fan dipole you are no doubt thinking of a dipole made up of several, i.e. more than two, dipoles cut to various bands and all terminated on one coax. Well, yes, but I only ever got round to making it for 20m and 6m. But even there it has been doing well these past few weeks with all of Europe in easy reach and forays into USA as far as the west coast, Canada, South America, the top of Africa and the Middle East, plus occasional contacts in Turkey, Russia, Oman and Kazakhstan. Not too bad at all given the 20m wires are far from straight, being bent at the ends to fit and not straight horizontally either. I mean it’s sort of an inverted vee with a level bit in the middle and does seem fairly omnidirectional, probably by accident but hey.

It will tune on all bands from 40m to 6m thanks to the YT-1200. Since I passed the Intermediate I’ve set the FT450D to 30W, the maximum for the tuner, but even before that as an M6 I had PSK QSOs as far as Chile and the Falkland Islands at the maximum permitted 10W, and goodness knows how little of that actually got out of the loft. And tonight a -16 FT8 report to central Brazil at over 5,500 miles.

I keep meaning to put up a random wire and a suitable un-un to see how much better an external antenna will be. No chance of a beam or anything excessive here as we stick out a bit and there would be complaints. But wires should be ok. Of course, the shack is in the spare bedroom, so upstairs and the other side of the house from where the wire would attach, so quite a run of coax…