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What am I doing wrong, help please!


Presumably you are okay on CW if you are suggesting 30m Mike - just a thought as if you are phone only, then it is not a band for that mode. Personally I would limit a link dipole to 3 bands. If you are not into CW, then 40 / 20 / 17m might be a decent combination. 15m will work with the dipole set to 40m. I am sure others will have different opinions.

73, Gerald G4OIG


In these days, I’d forget about 10m, With a linked dipole for 40m, you’ll be able to do 15m as well, plus 30m and 20m you’re almost perfect. Perhaps 17m can be a good choice too as it might give you long distance contacts when conditions permit and it’s a WARC band, so no contest.

Good luck!



I use a 40/20 link dipole from Sotabeams up 8 m in the middle with 6 metres of tie off cord at the ends mostly held by loose rocks on the summit or pegged if no rocks. I have made qso to JA and ZL on 15m on the 40m dipole and in a pinch have one side of the dipole link closed and the other open as a OCF for 30/17m . Got my first vk to usa S2S on that ocf antenna on 17m. I have used several types of antennas but these days with poor band conditions the dipole seems to give me more contacts. As for any problems with the 817 they are pretty bullet proof. My friend could not make anyone hear him on ssb one time and we were talking s2s on 2m hand helds we later worked out he was in cw mode trying to talk on phone.
good luck
Ian CZ …



Where in the country are you? I thought I saw an APRS hit for you near Reading? If so, you are more than welcome to come and join me for an outing to Walbury Hill to check out your set up and to try out mine…I’m located in Thacham so no far from Walbury Hill.
My details are good on QRZ.com so ping me a message if you want an outing.

Michael (G0POT)


Hi Gerald, thanks for the input.

I can’t do cw to save my life at this point in time but it’s something I’m in the process of learning. I’m also interested in digital modes and have enough bits lying around to rig up some sort of interface to an ipad or an android device, hence my inclusion of 30m.

I’ve already cut the wire and don’t have enough to do a 3 band dipole now so I’ll take everything down to the local playing field tomorrow and get the elements trimmed and see if I can make any contacts.

73, Mike.


Hi Michael,

I’m in Tilehurst, so not far from you.

My first activation was Walbury hill on 2m using the whip that comes with the 817 on a rather cold and windy day. Had some success and made the four contacts over an hour and got off the hill rather sharpish, thankfully it was the Scouting JOTA that weekend.

Very kind of you to offer assistance, I will have to take you up on that as I’d like to activate Walbury on other bands once I’ve got a working antenna and it would be good to have someone experienced with me.

Many thanks,



A worthy proposal Mike. 30m is my favourite HF band, probably on account of it being somewhat quieter than the non-WARC bands. It is also a band of surprises. I always get a kick when I get a call from a Stateside station when operating on the band with the 817 barefoot from a summit. I have even worked VK6 on the band running just 10w from home.

I hope you get the antenna sorted out okay tomorrow without being plagued with too many questions from the locals. :wink:

73, Gerald G4OIG


Hi Mike,

failure on HF happens sometimes despite your best efforts. The more experience you get the fewer failures but I had a complete failure last week on VP8/EF-014. With a few exceptions I have gone back and had a successful activation, but I suspect VP8/EF-014 is not going to be one of them.

Sometimes 5watts from an FT817 doesn’t make it, but they are reliable and I have had over 600 activations from one. Activating later in the day sometimes helps, avoiding an early start, but make sure you are off the hill before it gets too dark, and carry a second torch!

I would not put all my antenna eggs in one basket! A linked dipole is a good idea but I have had breakages from high winds and poor maintenance (I know I should check my kit more often). Having a second dipole in case of a breakage is a good policy, but more hassle changing between them. I only use resonant antennae saves the weight of a tuner.

Good luck