Thinks being what they are, it took some time, but I managed to get my new HyGain AV-18S finally installed and working. My station is still in a very raw state. I still must bury the coax and the SWR on the AV-18S is still in a state of flux. I tuned the antenna for working PSK-31 at 14.070 Mhz, but couldn't get the SWR below 2.1.
I bought the Wolf River coil just to avoid this sort of thing and guess I'm in for a real experience at getting the antenna tuned to where I need it to be. I thank the stars that I bought an antenna analyzer so I could get the antenna tuned in a bit better, but I think I'll need to be making a contact with the owner of Wolf River and send him some photos and describe my issues and see what he thinks.
In the meantime, I've achieved six contacts, all U.S. based, and as far east as Tennessee! So, I'm finally on the air, imperfect as it all is.
The antenna has a little more work to undergo. Braided copper to connect the grounds and the antenna ground together. Need to pound the rods down a little further and the SWR problem needs addressing. I've got 16 copper line radials going out 30 feet each and I need to add more pins to get them to stick into the ground at the mid points of the radial lines to keep them flush to the ground. And I need to cut down the length of the ground mast by about 2 feet, I made it too tall.
Overall, I'm pleased so far. I think the vertical was a good first choice and the challenges it offers are good for teaching and showing me all kinds of interesting mistakes I can make.
I'm going to read up more on multi-band antennas and find out how best to proceed. What has been maddening with the current installation is that while I'm getting at least tolerable SWR on 20 meters, I'm getting horrible readings at 40 meters. I'm not sure what to do about it. How can you tune a multi band antenna to find a happy medium for all bands to at least have some reasonable performance? At some point, I might change course with the antenna and dedicate it as a 20 meter only and remove the coil if it proves to be less helpful than I'd like. So, I've got work to do there.
In the meantime, I still have room for more antenna projects. I just ordered a 40 meter dipole I'm going to mount as an inverted V to get 40 meters reliably running. Additionally, I have a 10 meter dipole to put up and I suppose I'll have to work out how best to get them all connected towards the house. And, I want to put up a J-Pole for 2-meter work. I've got that kit sitting there waiting too. So it'll be a busy year for antennas.
Anyway, it's good to be in business and I'll share more as I go forward!