It Works! 
A few days ago I helped my dad set up a 20 meter dipole antenna at my house. He did most of the work like the actual construction, soldering, and drilling through the wall. I chipped in with tying the ends down one on the chimney and one on a tree. Getting on the roof was easy, I do it about a dozen times a year to clean leaves from the gutters (oh, joy!) but I had to climb the tree for the other end and I was probably about 35 feet up. The best part is that I'll have to redo it because the ends are connected by regular nylon rope. The antenna itself is about 33' in length so we needed to use rope to support it on the ends to the chimney and tree. The rope doesn't affect the antenna's performance directly but it will give way over time so I will have to find something less susceptible to the elements and a little stronger to hold it up.

Once everything was in place outside, we connected the ground wire to the house ground and then the antenna feedline to the Icom 746. Last night I made my first contact. I spoke with a guy in Virginia Beach and he gave me a "5-6 over the noise" report which is good. Receiving seems a little noisy yet but it appears transmitting is good. As play with the radio's settings and make more contacts and get signal reports, I'll get a better idea of what radio settings are optimal and how well the antenna performs.

Update: Worked a guy from the Orkney Islands (Scotland); he told me I was 5-5.

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