What is coming? What is IT? The main contests of the year are upon us! Better band conditions! Halloween! Old man Winter isn't far away! Need to have the furnace checked. Have the automobile checked and maybe even replace your tires. Think about putting the lawnmower into storage for the winter. Making sure that you know where the snow shovel is and or service the snow blower so that it will work when needed. Think we got all of the fall chores done so we can now enjoy operating in all of the fall-winter contests. Nope. Now the work just begins! Time to check out everything that you have outside of your shack. I remember my Elmer in 1960 telling me that the most important portion of a ham station is the ANTENNA system. Nothing has changed in the last 50 years. You can buy the newest radio with all the bells and whistles. Buy a large amplifier. And still not be able to work anyone outside of the Whitewater region. If your coax, support system, or antennas have a problem you just will not enjoy operating. So, now is the time to double check everything from the side of the house to the tip of your antenna. Start with the most obvious. Your coax! Take time to inspect it from one end to the other. Look for any cuts in the coax (rabbits like to chew on the rubber and they can chew all the way through coax very quickly), kinks, supports not protecting the coax from rubbing during the winter winds and ice, replace all old electrical tape (so moisture will not get into the coax), and the coax connectors as needed. Replace anything that looks suspect so that you can operate through the winter without having to fight the winter elements to fix problems. Next inspect any support systems that you have. Trying to find the end of a dipole because the support rope (or whatever you have used) failed and the end of your dipole is now in a snow drift somewhere in your yard. I have found that heavy duty weed eater line holds up very well outside. Although it is hard to tie off. If you have a tower with guys, don't forget to inspect the guy wire (rope) that you have used to make sure it is not frayed, cut, rubbing, or coming loose. Then check any rotor that you might be using. Check all antenna element connections to make sure they are tight. Again, check the whole system. Make sure that when you are pointing your  antenna to the south, that the antenna is actually pointing to the south. Check that all coax connections are waterproofed. Also check all mechanical connections to make sure that everything is nice and tight and hasn't worked lose with all of the wind that the spring brought. Last, but anything but least, is to check out your ground system. Make sure that all connections are tight and do not show any corrosion. Once you have checked everything outside and you are sure you are prepared for old man winter, go to Click on 'On the Air' and then look at what contests, awards, and special events will be coming up during the coming months and mark you calendar so you will not forget them. Looking forward to making contacts once we all get our fall chores out of the way!
Dave N0EOP