|KX2 and tripod-mounted 20m Hamstick|
Despite the surplus of organic antenna supports exceeding 100-feet in height, my antenna was simply a 20m Hamstick vise-gripped to a camera tripod. To this, I attached two quarter-wave radials. About 10 feet of RG58 attached the antenna to the KX2 and a CQ on 20m CW led to effortless contacts from Cali to Nueva Jersey and many points in between, most with good signal levels.
Then I decided to try 20m SSB - and the mystery began...
The rig's autotuner made for a perfect match but when I called CQ I noticed strange behavior from the KX2's little RF Out meter. It wasn't moving in step with my speech. At times, it lingered at the max side of the scale even when I wasn't speaking. No one answered my CQ's. Then I unhooked the mic and tried using the KX2's internal microphone. All was well and I was able to contact several stations. Switching back to the external mic resulted in the same problems as before despite various settings of the audio input level control.
The KX2 has a "monitor" function which allowed me to hear my own audio as I spoke it. Sounded like crap. A lot of hash but not the squeal of audio feedback that I'd anticipated. Using the internal mic may be handy in some situations but not something I wanted to do in a NPOTA activation, so back to CW.
When I returned home, I hooked the KX2 up to my Yagi and tested it on 20m SSB with the external mic. Perfect. I can only guess that RF was getting into the mic line due to the close proximity of the antenna. I wish now I'd taken the time to deploy the PAR en-fed and see if the results repeated themselves. My point in using the "Hamstick on a tripod" was to see if such a combo is feasible given our current conditions. CW results suggest that it is but how to resolve that SSB-with-external-mic issue? Perhaps try different ground radial configs or use a longer length of RG58 to get the antenna further from the radio.
The best NPOTA-related QSO occurred after I returned home. As I was testing the KX2 on 20m phone, I was called by David N5KWD. I'd never heard of him but it turns out he lives about a mile from me. David has only been licensed a year and is already into ham radio in a big way.- he has activated 16 of the 17 NPOTA locations here in Texas by driving to them all in a loop. And I mean a BIG loop, circumnavigating the state to the tune of 3500-ish miles. Check out details of his NPOTA activations here.
He reported great audio from the KX2.