Here is what I managed to accomplish:
- Build the 3-element 80 meter vertical yagi. The switching system, the final component, is now under construction. Assuming I sustain my energy to work in the cold weather it should be complete in January. Until then it is fixed on Europe.
- After several iterations the prop pitch direction indicator seems to be working well. The next step is to improve the usability of the home brew control unit.
- My planned second tall tower (140') was planted and is now more than halfway up (80'). Depending on weather and ground crew availability I will get to 100' this winter and complete it in 2019. It is not absolutely needed until late summer when I expect my long boom 20 and 15 meter yagis to be ready.
- I gutted all the temporary coax and control cabling and rebuilt it from scratch. That project is nearing completion. When done I will be ready for SO2R and M1 and M2 multi-op low power, optimized transmission line performance and cabling ready to go for complete station automation. That final big step is a 2019 project.
- Physical and electrical design and initial construction of long boom yagis stacks for 20 and 15 meters. These are slated for the new tower. Over the winter I will purchase enough aluminum to determine the optimum physical design for the elements. Two of the booms are built and I have the aluminum on hand to built the booms for the top (rotatable) yagis of the stacks.
- Electrical and physical designs for high performance 40 meters yagis is underway. It is possible that I'll build a prototype element this winter and raise it on the tower to test its weather performance.
- Competitive contest performance in the low power and QRP categories. Three #1 plaques were added to my collection.
- Exceeded my 6 meter DX objectives with FT8 during the summer sporadic E season.
- 160 meter DXCC.
- 300 DXCC entities, starting afresh from my return to the hobby in 2013.
- Experimentation with additional shack automation features for contests.
With respect to the blog I see that the article count in 2018 is comparable to previous years. That's a good sign that my enthusiasm for keeping it going hasn't declined. What does concern me is that there appear been fewer antenna articles than I'd like. From reviewing web site statistics most readers would probably agree. We all want more articles about antennas!
I do have a few antenna articles in the pipeline so that lack will at least be partially addressed early in the new year. Unfortunately for antenna articles my energies have been in part deflected elsewhere this year, so that is what I write about. Despite this I hope that there is enough variety and food for thought to keep you interested in coming back.
My regular audience is not exceptionally large. Although it seems to be slowly increasing it is not my objective to increase readership at all costs. I could do that easily enough by writing about politics! By continuing to focus on topics that interest me -- towers, antennas, DX, contests, etc. -- there is a natural limit to the potential audience. I'm okay with that.
Blogger is not the greatest platform for blogging these day. I find it difficult to make it easy for readers to comment without inviting a deluge of spam. Features are lacking and Google has pretty much abandoned the service with respect to bug fixes and new features. It isn't enough of a problem to incite me to make on the effort to move the blog elsewhere. I work around the problems and suggest that readers contact me by email when leaving comments is too difficult.
With that I will close off the blog for 2018. On the air I closed off the year with two contests: RAC Winter contest and the Stew Perry Top Band Challenge. The latter delivered some spectacular 160 meter DX for my QRP effort. Score details and soapbox can be found on 3830.
See you next year, on the blog if not on the air. I wish everybody a happy new year.