Changes in Life

Changes. A lot has changed in our lives since the last time we wrote here, but a lot has stayed the same as well. Thought we’d let you know what’s been going on for the last three years.

What hasn’t changed? We still live on our homestead, have goats, chickens, cats and our Great Pyrenees. There is still a garden where a lot of our food is grown. The world continues to appear to be in for a great reset, which seems to be holding off for now, even with the shaking and rattling that comes and goes worldwide every day. That is not a reference to earthquakes, by the way.

What has changed? Much. 

At the time of our goodbye, I was in the midst of having hand surgery for trigger finger and ganglion cysts. That turned into one of the ordeals of our lifetime, which ended up with a serious actinomyces infection that necessitated six months of antibiotic treatment. That story will be an article or two all by itself.

Also during that time, it became apparent that my mother was entering some serious stages of dementia. She is now in the final stages and lives in a nursing home. This will also be a continuing story that contains many trials, frustrations and heartaches that will be shared. It will be good for me to write it all out and get input from others, their perspectives, their insights and experiences.

And then about two years ago Frank had a double bypass. The need for it came as a shock since he hadn’t shown any previous symptoms, nor have a heart attack. This has been the biggest life altering event that continues to impact our daily lives, goals and perspectives. There have been many serious, difficult conversations concerning our lives and futures since this event, and some of those topics will be shared with you.

Frank still works with radio and there have been some ups and downs there which he will be sharing along the way. Some things worked out as planned, and some didn’t.

We have increasingly found our life of homesteading and preparing, our chosen path, has been a lonely one. There aren’t many people we meet that choose to live this way. Some still say ‘that sounds like so much work’ or ‘why don’t you just buy it at the store’. We are just too different for most people’s taste, and make them uncomfortable, and yet, would not choose to live any other way. It seems some of the most meaningful ‘conversations’ we have had about this way of life has been here, sitting at a computer, ‘discussing’ life with strangers. Interesting.

There is much to share now that we’re back to writing on the blog. Know that in many ways it was a relief to stop writing. The blog had become a burden, with the feeling and pressure to perform on a regular basis. That aspect was not missed, so our posts may be irregular and only occur when there is something worthwhile to share. For now we would like to share what we can in the hope that it may help someone else along the way. Frank has always been a teacher and continues to search for ways to help others.

Life’s priorities change with time and circumstance, and you will see this has happened with us. We look forward to interacting with our friends out in blog world again, have missed your comments and have wondered how many of you are doing. It’s an interesting thing to ‘know’ some folks that we have never met, never talked to and probably never will. The way all of us are presented online never shows the real person behind the words, and yet, the interaction it makes possible could never happen any other way.

We look forward to our future conversations.Your comments are encouraged and critical, others benefit from what we talk about here, all of you and I sharing our ideas and visions. We’re all in this boat together. Just remember, don’t get on the bus.

Until next time, Fern

End Fed Antenna Review

Hello Everybody, Frank here.

Okay, let’s review. By the title you can tell that this is going to be a review of an end fed antenna. Now, the review part. A wise man once said, write what you know about, and me being an advocate of advanced humor, I’m going to try to combine a little bit of knowledge with a little bit of humor. 

A disclaimer. Anywhere on this site, whether it is radio or chickens or pigs, we make no profit off of anything. There has been no gratuity awarded for any product endorsement. For those that do profit off of what they write, great! It is just not our forte.  

It’s been 3 years since I posted any type of article. A lot happens in three years. I have tried some antennas, some radios, I decided to try out heart surgery. I’ve now got one of those zippers from stem to stern. Not literally of course. And not being a person of nautical persuasion, I do not know the difference between stem and stern. But for those of you that are interested, I will share information about the bypass at a later date.

At a radio meeting one night, I heard a guy talking about his new antenna, and he was raving about it. Now all this guy does is CW, or morse code, he doesn’t even have a microphone attached to his radio. Let me back up here a little. This article is not being written at an entry level knowledge base. I’m sorry. So, if we’re speaking of CW and end fed, then you know I’m talking about HF radio. And yes, I know there is some CW on VHF, but that is not what we’re talking about here.

So, continuing. I listened to this guy, and he is a senior operator. So I listened for a while, and this guy learned CW from the United States military. And this guy talks CW all over the world. I’ll get back to this part of the story later.

Okay. The antenna I’m going to review today is made by  Yes, that is the name of the company. I will start off by saying I am highly impressed with this product. Are they pricey? Yes. Could you build your own? Probably. And if you would like to do that they will sell you the parts to do so. I bought the EFHW-8010

It is 130 feet long, resonant on 80/40/30/20/17/15/12/10M. It is rated at 1kW maximum. These are the specifications. If you’re not familiar with an end fed, which at the time, I was not, it is basically half of a full wave dipole, in this case, for 80 meters. Because if you remember, the number 468, that is your magic number that you use to figure the length of a half wave dipole. A small example, 468 divided by 3.5 equals 134. 3.5 is the lower end of 80M. So, 468 divided by 3.5 is 134 feet. If you were building an 80 meter dipole, it’s full length would be 134 feet, which would be 67 feet on each leg of the dipole.

Now follow me here. Through the miracle of using a balun, using the end fed half wave length antenna, then you can tune all of the afore mentioned frequencies. Or that’s how it works in theory anyway. Now I’m going to tell you how it works for me in reality.

Equipment used. My power supply is solar. The radio is an IC-718. I have approximately 100 feet of RG-8X from the radio to the end fed antenna. The feed end of the antenna is at 30 feet in the air, it runs approximately 50 feet to an apex of 40 feet and then continues whats left to a 30 foot height. This works okay for me. Your mileage may vary. I have a power transformer from the electric company about 50 feet away, and the apex of the antenna passes over a metal roof that is about 16 feet from ground level. These are the parameters that I have.

Now. This antenna will not transmit on 160M, but it will receive. I did not check for SWR on 30, 15,  or 12 meters because I don’t use those. It did work great on 40M, so 15M should also be good. Here’s what I got. 
All the following readings are SWR. 
80M – lower end 1:1.1
80M/75M – right at the higher end 1:2.5
40M – entire band 1:1.1
20M – entire band 1:1.1
10M – lower end 1:1.8
10M – middle and upper part 1:1.4
60M – the 5 channels 1:2.5
11M/CB – 1:2

As you can see, these are all easily tunable without a tuner. But with a tuner, your radio is happier. So, example. If you have a radio with a built in tuner, it would easily tune these numbers. If you have an external tuner like I do, then for most bands I don’t even use a tuner, and if I do, it just makes my radio a little bit happier.

Because this is a review of an antenna, I’m not going to discuss the theory of SWR. It’s one thing if you’re running 100 watts power, and another if you’re running a 1000 watts. But if you’re looking at this antenna, then you already know the difference.

This company,, also provides higher power antennas, just look around. They also sell baluns, RF isolators and other assorted goodies and toys.

Here is a link to I think you will find the reviews impressive.

If you have the space, or the desire, I would highly recommend this antenna. For me, it works. You can also configure it like you would any other dipole. Yes, it is a little pricey and it takes up 130 feet. What do I use it for? I do not contest, nor do I use CW, therefore there is no review of 30 meter. I have made contacts on 80/40/20M, and mostly on 40M. I seldom DX. And I seldom talk, but the reports I receive back are all 5/9, or easily intelligible. 

Again, I have no other end fed experience, I have never used a directional antenna, yes I know these are directional, but you know what I mean. For 10 & 11 meters I primarily use a vertical A99. 


I would appreciate your feedback, how your antennas are configured and what type of results you get. We’re all in this ballgame together, and if we can help out a fellow man, let’s please do so. If you have found mistakes in my writings or calculations, please let me know. This is just my experience. I look forward to hearing from you.

My XYL just reminded me that I need to let you know why I do this. First off, I listen. I want to know what’s coming down the road. As mentioned earlier, I operate from solar, not my whole house, but all of my radios, and that’s what it’s for. The system I use is simple. For me simple works better. The man I mentioned earlier that I learned about this antenna from operates all over the world when conditions permit.

In a future article I will tell you about my IC-7300 experience and why I went back to an IC-718. Thanks for being there.

We’ll talk more later. 73, Frank


Unbelievable. This is a word that is heard around our house frequently now days. Why? There are so many events that happen in our world almost daily that we find unbelievable. Recently? The false representation of a young man’s actions that

lead his Catholic school to temporarily shut down. The reactions of the media and some members of congress to the false allegations, without corroborating the information, was unbelievable. Literally. The immediate, strategic, hate filled rants blew up into a national confrontation in a matter of hours. The problem? It wasn’t true. It was portrayed as something almost totally opposite from reality, but that doesn’t seems to matter much anymore. It doesn’t matter if something is true or not, spreading rampant lies doesn’t matter any more. What matters is if you can portray information in a manner that will support your viewpoint or purpose, be it good, bad or otherwise.

I ran across this statement recently and it stuck with me. “You do not fear investigation unless you suspect it will give the wrong answer.” Remind you of anything happening in our country? Special counsels, collusion, liars, deceit,

undermining the integrity of our government. Why should anyone be afraid of an investigation or questions if they have done nothing wrong? Now days it doesn’t seem to matter if you have done anything worth investigating or not, it may happen anyway. For years. And who knows what the end result may be. It may ruin a life, end a career, cause the loss of home, family and friends. All based on lies.

All of these events have existed for many decades in our country. I didn’t want to believe it and many days, I still don’t want to see the latest layer of unbelievable corruption and decadence that haunts the halls in Washington, D.C., as well as every office of the country that houses any elected official be it national, state, county or local. One gift President Donald Trump has given us is the peeling back of the curtain that helped to maintain the illusion of honesty, integrity and character in our government offices. I once thought of the nation’s capital as a place of hallowed halls where the focus was the well being of the nation’s citizens. I know, naive, right?

How did it become okay to prevent someone else from voicing an opinion if it differs from your own? When did discourse about differing ideas become hate crimes or reasons to doxx or revile someone on social media to the point of oppression? When did it become almost criminal to be white, Christian, male, veteran, etc.? The list goes on and on. When did it become wrong to be okay with being that pale skin color, that the very appearance of it should bring shame, guilt and a wish to be dead? When did being what we consider to be a regular ole’ American become a terrorist, racist, hate monger?


Frank has a new saying. “This is where we are.” This is the new reality in our country. Like it or not, agree with it or not, wishing it away won’t make it so. Tap yourself on the forehead and try to wrap your mind around the new normal, get beyond your normalcy bias like I am trying to do, and wade through the cognitive dissonance that has become the staging area for the changes that have created the new “this is where we are” reality.

I find the reactions of many of our elected officials, from both sides of the aisle, and media personalities to be sickening. Truly sickening. But what I have to come to grips with, is the reality of the condition of our country. There are many people that truly believe what they stand for, just as vehemently as I hold my beliefs. Does that make them wrong? Does that make me wrong? How can it? If I have the right and privilege of choosing what I believe and support, why don’t they? Even if I find their choices to be unbelievable in the extreme. Like Frank says, “this is where we are.”

In some ways, it seems that this is a good time to hunker down, go totally dark, exist in the world as grey men and avoid all unnecessary contact and attention.

On the other hand, it also seems like a good time to stand up and join with others in stating the obvious attacks, retribution, lies and deception that appear to be growing at a phenomenal rate. Keep your eyes open and your wits about you. Always follow Ol’ Remus’s advice to avoid crowds. Don’t take for granted the truth of what you read or hear without doing what you can to verify. It is getting harder and harder to see the truth anymore. I have become very skeptical about anything I read or hear, choosing to wait a few hours or days to see if the information stays the current narrative or is shown to be another illusion meant to draw the attention and emotions of the audience in a particular direction.

Hang in there. The ride continues to be bumpy and full of unbelievable events. Believe it. This is where we are.

Until next time – Fern