Since I couldn't find anything similar in Zofingen, finally I've ordered two QRP Antennas from Wonder Wand in the UK:

  • a tunable compact loop for the 40 - 10 meters,
  • and a wide-bander vertical for the 160 m - 70 cm.

Until I don't have a portable radio, I use them only indoors to be able to randomly listen into the bands in a convenient way, without the need to open the window and mount my MFJ-1622 apartment antenna (grrr... it's getting cold...). 

 

I've purchased an MFJ-1622 vertical apartment antenna for the 40 m - 2 m bands. It has arrived in 10 days from the US. The box was squashed from the outside, I was afraid of potential damages, but luckily nothing was broken inside. The content of the box looked like follows:

MFJ-1622 unpacking

I needed something compact that can be easily placed outside the window, and soon can be used for TX as well, once I obtain my license and call sign. This is how it looks like after a very quick and easy installation:

MFJ-1622 in the window


The antenna consists of an adjustable air wound loading coil, a telescoping 1.5 m radiator, and a universal mounting frame. The radiator collapses to 60 cm for easy storage or carrying. Feeding is via RG-58 coax line. The operating frequency is adjusted by moving the wander lead on the coil and adjusting the counterpoise wire for the best SWR. 

In the first trial on 40 m, I could not achieve an SWR better than 2.0 in my circumstances, which is also okay to live with, and I expect even better results at higher frequencies.

MFJ-1622 on 40 m with 2.0 SWR

I could clearly hear a lot of CW traffic on the 40 m band, plenty of SSB talks with acceptable quality. and several AM/FM stations with absolute clear sound. Having basically no operating experience so far, I can't provide a more detailed review yet, as I don't really have any basis of comparison. I used only a home-brew 'dipole' so far, which was only a pair of random wires laid down on the floor of the apartment, trying to receive some stronger signals from the air. Obviously this new antenna is nothing to compare to that, it is much better in all aspects and I have very good feelings about.

I quickly got in touch with HA7GN and checked whether he is on the air on this Sunday evening. Luckily he was! He told me his actual operating frequency, I tuned there immediately, and voila! I could perfectly hear his QSOs. His signal was always strong, the replying station's usually appeared weaker to me, but still audible. 

I have no licence, therefore can't operate yet, but I was eager to figure out somehow if I could transmit with this antenna to HA7GN. We've set up a skype call, and he provided me some instructions how to set the antenna to TX, tune, and transmit a few CW signals on 50W. It was awesome! He could perfectly copy my signals from 800+ km distance. It was like magic: my first 'on-the-air' experience! Everybody starts somewhere, right? :) 

 

The frequency of the first 'on-the-air' experience. To be saved forever. :)
Propagation on the 23 October 2016

 

Within the scope of the HB9 course of FACB, we had the opportunity to build our first antenna together with the course participants and lecturers.

This is a multi-band wire dipole "holidays" DX antenna for the 15 m - 20 m - 40 m bands, which can be loaded up to 150 W. No tuner is required, it's possible to switch between the different bands by simply adjusting the total length of the antenna with the help of small built-in jumper plugs. 

All components are ready for the assembly in the "JETZ Werkstatt" of the FHNW - Muttenz

After the antenna was assembled for the first bandwidth inside the station, it required to be hanged, measured, and adjusted in the yard outside. The wires for the subsequent bands could be attached only afterwards, in iterative cycles. It was fun, but I wish we had a bit better luck with the weather that day... :)

 Fellow course participants analyse and adjust their antennas on the campus of the FHNW - Muttenz

It was a great opportunity to try my new RigExpert AA-54 Antenna Analyser as well. The total length of the antenna had to be adjusted for each bands to reach the lowest possible SWR. For the 15 m band, an SWR of 1.1 was quickly achieved exactly in the middle of the band @ 21.225 MHz.

 15 m band - couldn't be better

The first trial on the 20m band wasn't too bad either, but further reduction of the total length of the antenna shall improve its characteristics on this second band further.

 20 m band - promising

The final antenna consists of 13.9 m coax-cable, 2 x ~3.4 m wire for the 15 m band (red), 2 x ~1.7 m wire for the 20 m band (black), and 2 x ~5.1 m wire for the 40 m band. 

The final antenna rolled-up