Advice on First HF Antenna

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Advice on First HF Antenna

CRAIG SCHROEDER-2
I am pretty new ham and a brand new KX3/PX3 owner excited to try my hand at DX'ing!  If you were buying your first HF base antenna, primarily looking for performance on 20 and 40 meters, what would you recommend?  Also, what do you suggest as a high performance field antenna for QRP?

Thank you,

Craig
KD0TXL
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Re: Advice on First HF Antenna

KC6CNN
Craig
Do you have the real estate to have dipoles up or are you limited in space?
Tnx
Gerald KC6CNN

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KC6CNN - Gerald
K3 # 6294
KX3 # 757
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Re: Advice on First HF Antenna

Dr. William J. Schmidt, II
In reply to this post by CRAIG SCHROEDER-2
How much money do you want to spend?


Dr. William J. Schmidt - K9HZ J68HZ 8P6HK ZF2HZ PJ4/K9HZ VP5/K9HZ PJ2/K9HZ
 
Owner - Operator
Big Signal Ranch – K9ZC
Staunton, Illinois
 
Owner – Operator
Villa Grand Piton - J68HZ
Soufriere, St. Lucia W.I.
Rent it: www.VillaGrandPiton.com

email:  [hidden email]
 

> On Dec 7, 2015, at 4:13 PM, CRAIG SCHROEDER <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> I am pretty new ham and a brand new KX3/PX3 owner excited to try my hand at DX'ing!  If you were buying your first HF base antenna, primarily looking for performance on 20 and 40 meters, what would you recommend?  Also, what do you suggest as a high performance field antenna for QRP?
>
> Thank you,
>
> Craig
> KD0TXL
> ______________________________________________________________
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Re: Advice on First HF Antenna

Barry K3NDM
In reply to this post by CRAIG SCHROEDER-2
Craig,
     Let me start with there is such thing as the perfect antenna. Each
is a compromise. Now having said that, there are several antennas that
come to mind. First, there is a simple dipole, fan dipole, or off center
fed dipole. This assumes that you have supports, trees or equal, that
can allow you to get the antenna up at least 35' and are at least 70'
apart. I prefer a 40 meter off center fed dipole, OCFD, as it covers all
the bands, and being off center fed, allow it to be tuned fairly easily.
A simple 40 meter dipole fed in the center will work on 20, but it will
require a 4:1 current balun in the system. Fan dipoles can be made to
operate on both bands, but tuning is interactive.

     If you want to spend ~$600, a Gap Titan is a good antenna. It is a
bit cumbersome to stand up, but they work. Just make sure the bottom of
the antenna is about 10' above ground. This height prevents clothes
lining friends and relatives, and no radials are required.

     There are other antennas. Each has something good or bad, price,
performance, difficulty, etc. My belief is simple is best. And, the same
should be true field work.

73,
Barry
K3NDM

------ Original Message ------
From: "CRAIG SCHROEDER" <[hidden email]>
To: "[hidden email]" <[hidden email]>
Sent: 12/7/2015 5:13:22 PM
Subject: [Elecraft] Advice on First HF Antenna

>I am pretty new ham and a brand new KX3/PX3 owner excited to try my
>hand at DX'ing!  If you were buying your first HF base antenna,
>primarily looking for performance on 20 and 40 meters, what would you
>recommend?  Also, what do you suggest as a high performance field
>antenna for QRP?
>
>Thank you,
>
>Craig
>KD0TXL
>______________________________________________________________
>Elecraft mailing list
>Home: http://mailman.qth.net/mailman/listinfo/elecraft
>Help: http://mailman.qth.net/mmfaq.htm
>Post: mailto:[hidden email]
>
>This list hosted by: http://www.qsl.net
>Please help support this email list: http://www.qsl.net/donate.html
>Message delivered to [hidden email]

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Re: Advice on First HF Antenna

Elecraft mailing list
In reply to this post by CRAIG SCHROEDER-2
Craig, my best advise, ARRL Antenna Book.
There are way too many variables , and when it comes to Antenna, the only
high performance Antenna there is, is measured in dbi.
Go back through the archives here on the forum and you'll find many of educating
discussion of different antenna subject.

Best of luck, and WELCOME to Ham Radio and Elecraft.
((((73)))) Milverton / W9MMS.

      From: CRAIG SCHROEDER <[hidden email]>
 To: "[hidden email]" <[hidden email]>
 Sent: Monday, December 7, 2015 4:13 PM
 Subject: [Elecraft] Advice on First HF Antenna
   
I am pretty new ham and a brand new KX3/PX3 owner excited to try my hand at DX'ing!  If you were buying your first HF base antenna, primarily looking for performance on 20 and 40 meters, what would you recommend?  Also, what do you suggest as a high performance field antenna for QRP?

Thank you,

Craig
KD0TXL
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Re: Advice on First HF Antenna

Lynn W. Taylor, WB6UUT
In reply to this post by CRAIG SCHROEDER-2
Wire antennas are flexible, work well and are incredibly inexpensive.

Put up as many as you can as big as you can.  If they stay up, they were
too small.

73 -- Lynn

On 12/7/2015 2:13 PM, CRAIG SCHROEDER wrote:

> I am pretty new ham and a brand new KX3/PX3 owner excited to try my hand at DX'ing!  If you were buying your first HF base antenna, primarily looking for performance on 20 and 40 meters, what would you recommend?  Also, what do you suggest as a high performance field antenna for QRP?
>
> Thank you,
>
> Craig
> KD0TXL
> ______________________________________________________________
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> Home: http://mailman.qth.net/mailman/listinfo/elecraft
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> Please help support this email list: http://www.qsl.net/donate.html
> Message delivered to [hidden email]
>

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Re: Advice on First HF Antenna

CRAIG SCHROEDER-2
In reply to this post by KC6CNN
Hi Gerald,

I own a large lot with 2 tall trees that could accommodate an 80 meter dipole, and with the cooperation of a friendly neighbor, I could fit 160 meters using his large tree across the back of his property.  My trees run east to west and using the neighbors tree I can run north to south. I'm located almost right in the center of the United States.

Performance is the driving factor, but I world like to stay under $500 for the antenna itself.

BTW, I ordered my KX3 with the internal antenna tuner and roofing filters.

Thank you,

Craig

> On Dec 7, 2015, at 4:24 PM, Gerald Manthey <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> Craig
> Do you have the real estate to have dipoles up or are you limited in space?
> Tnx
> Gerald KC6CNN
>
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Re: Advice on First HF Antenna

John Kramer
In reply to this post by CRAIG SCHROEDER-2
I can suggest an antenna by www.myantennas.com  Look for their antenna
called an  EFHW 80-10. It will take 1 KW, and has a low SWR on all bands
80/40/30/20/17/15/12/10 bands. It is a half wave design, that I have had
tremendous success with as a second antenna to my SteppIR beams.
It is easy and quick to get up, and will serve you well until such time that you
decide whether to put up a tower and beam. It will also serve well as a portable
antenna. I have done comparisons to numerous OCFD, Gap Titan vertical,
G5RV, ZS6BKW, loops and other wire antennas, and in most cases it
outperformed all of them.

73
John ZS5J




On 08 Dec 2015, at 12:13 AM, CRAIG SCHROEDER <[hidden email]> wrote:

I am pretty new ham and a brand new KX3/PX3 owner excited to try my hand at DX'ing!  If you were buying your first HF base antenna, primarily looking for performance on 20 and 40 meters, what would you recommend?  Also, what do you suggest as a high performance field antenna for QRP?

Thank you,

Craig
KD0TXL
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Re: Advice on First HF Antenna

Elecraft mailing list
In reply to this post by CRAIG SCHROEDER-2
My first HF antenna was an inverted V up aboutt 30 ft at feed point. It was cut for 20 meters, but worked on 15 and 4o also. 73 de Dave KJ6CBS
      From: CRAIG SCHROEDER <[hidden email]>
 To: "[hidden email]" <[hidden email]>
 Sent: Monday, December 7, 2015 4:13 PM
 Subject: [Elecraft] Advice on First HF Antenna
   
I am pretty new ham and a brand new KX3/PX3 owner excited to try my hand at DX'ing!  If you were buying your first HF base antenna, primarily looking for performance on 20 and 40 meters, what would you recommend?  Also, what do you suggest as a high performance field antenna for QRP?

Thank you,

Craig
KD0TXL
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Re: Advice on First HF Antenna

Don Wilhelm-4
In reply to this post by CRAIG SCHROEDER-2
Craig,

For the home station, your first consideration is build or buy.  It is
quite easy to build a pair of dipoles, one for 40 and one for 20 if
those are your most desirable bands.  Get some wire, and some good coax
and a good common mode choke for each antenna and use the ARRL handbook
section on dipoles to build your own - it is not difficult.
Look at what you have for antenna supports - the higher the better, but
for 40 meters, 50 feet is a suggested minimum for good performance.
If you have only one support that high, an inverted Vee works nicely.
Use resonant dipoles center fed and feed with 50 ohm coax.  Low loss
RG8X is almost as low loss as RG8 but not as heavy.  If you are going to
run power, use the RG-8 or RG-213 right from the start.

With a single tall support, for an inverted Vee configuration, position
a 40 meter radiator at right angles with a 20 meter radiator and feed
both with a single feedline.  Being placed at right angles to each
other, there is little if any interaction.  Get the  ends of the
inverted Vee radiators up as high as possible - if you can get the ends
up to the same height as the center, that is great - you will have a
pair of dipoles, so much the better.
Put the dipoles up, cut a bit long from what the "formula" tells you,
and then trim it a bit at a time for the lowest SWR or for a reactance
of zero should you have access to an antenna analyzer at the midpoint of
your operating frequency.

If you have room for another dipole, consider adding a multiband antenna
such as a G5RV so you can explore bands other than 40 and 20.

Use a good common mode choke at the antenna feedpoint (for the G5RV at
the junction of the parallel feedline and the coax).  You will need a
tuner for a G5RV or most any other multiband antennas.

If your horizontal space is limited, try a vertical.  I can recommend
the GAP Titan, being a halfwave vertical, it needs no radials.  Mount
the base 10 feet off the ground so the loop for 40 meters is above head
level and use a good common mode choke at the feedpoint.

This is just for starters on your antenna quest.  That quest is an
ongoing exercise for most hams.
Do not strive for the "best" antenna for starters, just get something up
in the air and start operating - with time you will be able to determine
how you want to improve your antenna farm.

For portable QRP operation, take a look at the End Fed Halfwave antennas
offered by LNR Precision - They work and they have a good "trail
friendly" lightweight version.  An EFHW can be easily deployed with one
end in a tree and the other end near the transmitter.
If your field operations are more of the picnic table variety than the
backpacking type, then consider a 32 foot heavy duty telescoping pole to
hold up the center of an inverted VEE antenna.  Tie the center of a
dipole antenna to the top of the pole and push it up - anchor the pole
to whatever vertical support is available with bungy cords.  Extend the
radiator ends out to whatever bushes or other supports are available.

So my suggestion is to start simple with homebuilt dipoles or other wire
antennas, then grow your antenna farm after you get on the air and
determine what you really want, and that may be a 150 foot tower with
stacked rotating beams sometime in the future.  If you have space and
want "beam" antennas using wire, consider 4 130 foot wires spaced 45
degrees apart (total of 180 degrees spread) and you will have V-beams
that can be steered - a very effective beam on 20 meters, but does
require some feedline switching to select the pair of radiators to
properly direct the radiation (it is bi-directional).

73,
Don W3FPR


On 12/7/2015 5:13 PM, CRAIG SCHROEDER wrote:
> I am pretty new ham and a brand new KX3/PX3 owner excited to try my hand at DX'ing!  If you were buying your first HF base antenna, primarily looking for performance on 20 and 40 meters, what would you recommend?  Also, what do you suggest as a high performance field antenna for QRP?
>

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Re: Advice on First HF Antenna

Augie "Gus" Hansen
In reply to this post by Lynn W. Taylor, WB6UUT


On 12/7/2015 3:41 PM, Lynn W. Taylor, WB6UUT wrote:
> Wire antennas are flexible, work well and are incredibly inexpensive.

Agreed - you can afford to experiment and learn a lot about antennas by
building simple wire dipoles and loops before investing big money in
towers and aluminum. And getting a copy of the ARRL Antenna Book, even
an old edition at a swap meet or from a ham friend is highly recommended.

> Put up as many as you can as big as you can.  If they stay up, they
> were too small.

Nah, let's get Craig started in the right direction. When I got into ham
radio in the 1970s I often heard the expression "if your antenna didn't
fall down last winter it wasn't big enough." But that's kind of like
saying "If you're driving on the highway and you don't crash you're not
driving fast enough."

I prefer to suggest that we should try to design and construct antennas
well so that they stay up and work right. Putting a pulley and weight on
the support of one end of a dipole suspended between two trees to
accommodate tension changes from wind is an example of good technique.

Happy antenna building Craig.

Gus Hansen
KB0YH




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Re: Advice on First HF Antenna

Elecraft mailing list
In reply to this post by Don Wilhelm-4

 Another advantage of the 40 & 20 dipoles is that the 40 dipole should load up well on 15 (while it is still hanging in there prop wise). Will have some gain and the main lobes will be closer to the wire than broadside, so watch the orientation for DX coverage. I put up a G5RV at my vacation home and it loads with a tuner on 80 to 10. Has some gain on the higher bands ,keep in mind that nulls go along with the gain main lobes.

W3OU Steve

 

 

-----Original Message-----
From: Don Wilhelm <[hidden email]>
To: CRAIG SCHROEDER <[hidden email]>; elecraft <[hidden email]>
Sent: Mon, Dec 7, 2015 6:41 pm
Subject: Re: [Elecraft] Advice on First HF Antenna

Craig,

For the home station, your first consideration is build or buy.  It is
quite easy to build a pair of dipoles, one for 40 and one for 20 if
those are your most desirable bands.  Get some wire, and some good coax
and a good common mode choke for each antenna and use the ARRL handbook
section on dipoles to build your own - it is not difficult.
Look at what you have for antenna supports - the higher the better, but
for 40 meters, 50 feet is a suggested minimum for good performance.
If you have only one support that high, an inverted Vee works nicely.
Use resonant dipoles center fed and feed with 50 ohm coax.  Low loss
RG8X is almost as low loss as RG8 but not as heavy.  If you are going to
run power, use the RG-8 or RG-213 right from the start.

With a single tall support, for an inverted Vee configuration, position
a 40 meter radiator at right angles with a 20 meter radiator and feed
both with a single feedline.  Being placed at right angles to each
other, there is little if any interaction.  Get the  ends of the
inverted Vee radiators up as high as possible - if you can get the ends
up to the same height as the center, that is great - you will have a
pair of dipoles, so much the better.
Put the dipoles up, cut a bit long from what the "formula" tells you,
and then trim it a bit at a time for the lowest SWR or for a reactance
of zero should you have access to an antenna analyzer at the midpoint of
your operating frequency.

If you have room for another dipole, consider adding a multiband antenna
such as a G5RV so you can explore bands other than 40 and 20.

Use a good common mode choke at the antenna feedpoint (for the G5RV at
the junction of the parallel feedline and the coax).  You will need a
tuner for a G5RV or most any other multiband antennas.

If your horizontal space is limited, try a vertical.  I can recommend
the GAP Titan, being a halfwave vertical, it needs no radials.  Mount
the base 10 feet off the ground so the loop for 40 meters is above head
level and use a good common mode choke at the feedpoint.

This is just for starters on your antenna quest.  That quest is an
ongoing exercise for most hams.
Do not strive for the "best" antenna for starters, just get something up
in the air and start operating - with time you will be able to determine
how you want to improve your antenna farm.

For portable QRP operation, take a look at the End Fed Halfwave antennas
offered by LNR Precision - They work and they have a good "trail
friendly" lightweight version.  An EFHW can be easily deployed with one
end in a tree and the other end near the transmitter.
If your field operations are more of the picnic table variety than the
backpacking type, then consider a 32 foot heavy duty telescoping pole to
hold up the center of an inverted VEE antenna.  Tie the center of a
dipole antenna to the top of the pole and push it up - anchor the pole
to whatever vertical support is available with bungy cords.  Extend the
radiator ends out to whatever bushes or other supports are available.

So my suggestion is to start simple with homebuilt dipoles or other wire
antennas, then grow your antenna farm after you get on the air and
determine what you really want, and that may be a 150 foot tower with
stacked rotating beams sometime in the future.  If you have space and
want "beam" antennas using wire, consider 4 130 foot wires spaced 45
degrees apart (total of 180 degrees spread) and you will have V-beams
that can be steered - a very effective beam on 20 meters, but does
require some feedline switching to select the pair of radiators to
properly direct the radiation (it is bi-directional).

73,
Don W3FPR


On 12/7/2015 5:13 PM, CRAIG SCHROEDER wrote:
> I am pretty new ham and a brand new KX3/PX3 owner excited to try my hand at DX'ing!  If you were buying your first HF base antenna, primarily looking for performance on 20 and 40 meters, what would you recommend?  Also, what do you suggest as a high performance field antenna for QRP?
>

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Re: Advice on First HF Antenna

Jim Brown-10
In reply to this post by CRAIG SCHROEDER-2
On Mon,12/7/2015 2:13 PM, CRAIG SCHROEDER wrote:
> I am pretty new ham and a brand new KX3/PX3 owner excited to try my hand at DX'ing!  If you were buying your first HF base antenna, primarily looking for performance on 20 and 40 meters, what would you recommend?

Real hams don't BUY antennas, we BUILD them. Antennas are the most
important part of any station, and until you get into a tri-band beam,
it is easy to build better than you can buy, and for a tiny fraction of
the cost.

First, BUY a copy of the ARRL Handbook and the ARRL Antenna Book. STUDY
(not quick read, but STUDY) these books so that you understand how
antennas work. Next, STUDY the resources at your real estate -- what's
available to support one or more wires up in the air?  If the answer is
nothing, then consider buying a multi-band vertical. Suggestions about
that later.

If you can support only one point, use it to support one or two "fan"
dipoles. Build one fan for 80 and 40M, and hang the center from the very
top of your single support. If you have two supports widely spaced
enough, hang it between them. Build a second fan dipole for 20, 15 and
10M. On these bands, 30-40 ft is a good height. Feed these antennas with
50 ohm coax. If the feedline will be much longer than about 100 ft, use
RG8 to minimize feedline losses.

If you're limited to a vertical, go with the biggest Cushcraft R-series
you can afford, and try to mount it on your roof. HF verticals work
better up in the air than on the ground. Again, feed it with 50 ohm
coax, use the bigger RG8 if the feedline is very long.

There are lots of practical tutorials about how to build antennas on my
website. k9yc.com/publish.htm  Start with the slide show and the short
written piece about Antennas For Limited Space.

For portable QRP use -- start with plain ordinary insulated wire. #18 -
#22 is a good size. Unroll a length close to a quarter wave, toss it
into a tree, using string or rope to hold it up. Unroll a second length
close to a quarter wave and connect it to the chassis of the KX3. Much
cheaper and works far better than so-called QRP antennas that you buy.
If there are no trees around where you plan to operate, buy one of the
telescoping fiberglass poles designed to hold wire antennas and tape the
wire to it that you would have tossed into a tree. Connect the second
wire to the chassis. There's a photo of me on my qrz.com page doing
exactly this about 12 years ago at a county park near Chicago. The rig
is a K2.

73, Jim K9YC


> Also, what do you suggest as a high performance field antenna for QRP?

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Re: Advice on First HF Antenna

Victor Rosenthal 4X6GP
In reply to this post by CRAIG SCHROEDER-2
This is a very broad question! If I had no limitations, financial or
regulatory, I would probably get a large Steppir beam on a tower at
least 70' tall. But that is probably not what you are thinking of.

A simple, cheap antenna is a dipole up as high as possible -- no less
than 30 feet in the air at the center, preferably higher. You could
simply make a 'fan dipole' for 40 and 20 meters, fed with coax and a 1:1
balun at the feedpoint.

An even better antenna is a 40 or 80 meter dipole fed with open wire
line (see <http://trueladderline.com/>). You can buy this assembled
quite reasonably. It will work with the KX3 internal tuner plus a 1:1 or
4:1 balun at the transceiver. If the feedline is at least 33 feet long,
a 66-foot dipole will work on all bands from 80 through 10 meters
(probably 6 meters too). Again, the higher the better.

You can buy all kinds of expensive verticals and clever compact
antennas, but the above will outperform all of them for both DX and
local work. Some of the expensive ones will be far worse. The only
better antenna is a directional antenna like a rotary beam.

I'll let someone else answer your question about field antennas.

73,
Vic, 4X6GP/K2VCO
Rehovot, Israel
http://www.qsl.net/k2vco/

On 8 Dec 2015 00:13, CRAIG SCHROEDER wrote:
> I am pretty new ham and a brand new KX3/PX3 owner excited to try my
> hand at DX'ing!  If you were buying your first HF base antenna,
> primarily looking for performance on 20 and 40 meters, what would you
> recommend?  Also, what do you suggest as a high performance field
> antenna for QRP?
>
> Thank you,
>
> Craig KD0TXL
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Re: Advice on First HF Antenna

Gary Hawkins
In reply to this post by CRAIG SCHROEDER-2
Hi Craig,

DX'ing with the KX3 (or any QRP radio) for that matter can be very
challenging as you don't have the power to break pile-ups.  Thus, you're
either going to need to get a high gain antenna, e.g. tower and beam, or
I would suggest digital modes.  I've had a lot of success with WAS using
JT65, JT9, PSK and RTTY using 10W or below with modest wire antennas.

As many have suggested either wire dipoles, OCFD or G5RV all have there
advantages and disadvantages.  I'm currently using a RadioWavz FD40-3
fan dipole resonant on 40, 20 and 10m - for $56 this is a very cost
effective and nicely built purchase and will get you on the air quickly
while you consider other options.  I've built many wire and yagi HF
antennas, and whether you build or buy you're going to need an antenna
analyzer to tune the antenna.  I personally use a RigExperts AA-54,
which I like a lot.

Thus my suggestion to get going would be RadioWavz FD40-3 and a
RigExperts AA-54 or similar.

Have fun with your KX3.

73's Gary K6YOA

On 12/7/2015 6:12 PM, [hidden email] wrote:

> Message: 4
> Date: Mon, 07 Dec 2015 16:13:22 -0600
> From: CRAIG SCHROEDER<[hidden email]>
> To:"[hidden email]"  <[hidden email]>
> Subject: [Elecraft] Advice on First HF Antenna
> Message-ID:<[hidden email]>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
>
> I am pretty new ham and a brand new KX3/PX3 owner excited to try my hand at DX'ing!  If you were buying your first HF base antenna, primarily looking for performance on 20 and 40 meters, what would you recommend?  Also, what do you suggest as a high performance field antenna for QRP?
>
> Thank you,
>
> Craig
> KD0TXL

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Re: Advice on First HF Antenna

Eric Swartz - WA6HHQ, Elecraft
Administrator
Lot's of good info, but let's end this thread now in the interest of reducing
email overload for others, as it has certainly exceeded the near term posting
volume limit for a single topic.

73,
Eric
Moderate Moderator
/elecraft.com/


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