My new contest secret weapon worked very well… for exactly 1 QSO.
For the moment I have only these (permanent) antennas for contesting: a Fritzel FB33 3-element tribander at 16m and homemade inverted V dipoles for 40 and 80m at 15m.
So for SO2R I have always used an extra Fritzel GPA404 vertical for 10-15-20-40m. But to avoid the hassle of installing this antenna before the contest and taking it down after the contest I recently decided to purchase an Inrad HF Triplexer so I could use the FB33 on 2 bands simultaneously.
Last week I had the specs of the Triplexer tested by Luc ON7KZ and all seemed to match the specs as in the Inrad web page.
I installed the triplexer between my Sixpak and the FB33 the day before the contest but I didn’t have enough time to thoroughly test it. (I did check all connections twice though!)
Once the SCC Rtty championship started I made a S&P QSO on 20m and during the QSO I saw the SWR on 20m going up to alarming levels :-(.
After the necessary profanities I started to analyse the situation and guessed there could be only one thing wrong… and yes, when I arrived in the basement (where all my cables enter the house and where I do the switching) I immediately got the dreaded smell of burnt electronics.
So the only thing I could do was to remove the triplexer and get back to my normal system. Big handicap of course, 20m and 15m are mostly useable at the same time so I had to tune my 40m inverted V dipole for 15m. Have you ever looked at the radiation pattern for such a solution? 😯
How did I blow up the triplexer? I wish I knew… I double checked all connections and I didn’t use to much power. The triplexer is rated for 200W per band and I used only 100W as I entered this contest as SOABLP. Moreover I don’t even own an amp so the maximum power I can use is 200W.
What will happen now? Depends on what the dealer and Inrad have to say about this problem. Warranty or not? Can I fix it myself or have it fixed by one of my friends?
I’ll keep you posted as soon as I get more news.