Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Log Book Update

Still working lots of  DX added a few new countries to the list.   


Friday, November 18, 2016

Been Hamming

 With the weather changing my focus is turning more towards the ham shack.  I was trying to get 3 antennas up before winter.   The 80m Vertical at the top of the hill  is performing as expected.   Works in to Europe when conditions are OK.   Best 80m QSO was ...




















 Whilst on the topic of activity worked a guy in Australia on 40m int he wee morning hours using 100 Watts into the 1/4 Vertical.   I was surprised and suspect this may be my first down under on this band....



















and one more worthy of a mention Antarctica ...




















 Had to rethink my antenna project at the top of the hill.   The 4 to 1 antenna switch does not operate on the 500+ feet of IFL.   The control states are 0V,  +12V, -12V and 12VAC.    Unfortunately the relays are chattering ( I think ) creating noise.  There is probably a work around but I don't  know if the effort is really work it.   The 20m and 30m verts are located just up the hill behind the house.   There may be some blockage towards Europe but its pretty minimal.   The throw off the Verts are around 30 deg!    So I am rethinking the whole " height advantage " thing....still going up but not quite as far as originally planned.

 So plan B... going to use the Switch part way up the hill similar to the one that has the 30m,  17m, 20m 1/4 and 20m 5/8...all work great!  The plan Fan Dipole is going next to the house and will be cut for 6m,  10m,  15m and 12m or something like that.   This one can be done after the snow arrives.  Also going to do a 2m 5/8 just to get on the local FM Repeater...may as well monitor when in the shack!    There is an 80m dipole aka "Sky Warmer" that I may or may not take down.   Local stuff on 80m would benefit from the H Polarization vs the Vertical as well at the vertical bounce.    I am going to stick the new 4 X1 Switch at the end of the IFL feeding the 80m dipole.     Next and final project for now will be the 160m 1/4 Vertical.  

 As far as the shack goes I have my eye on a couple of things ... need an amp want another  6-7 db on HF.   Vertical antenna are great but the radiate 360 deg...need that gain especially on 80m to get out of the noise ...YIKES.   Also looking at some kind or a radio / pc interface to get on modes like JT65.

 Down the road I have a desire to try some ling wire directional RX Antennas like the ZEP.  

So lots on the go ,  lots of thoughts and well there just are not enough hours in a day to get it done but now big deal I will get there when I get there its good to have a plan!

 








Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Memorable QSO

Worked  GM0LVI on 20m this afternoon.   Super low signals both directions but 2 ops that were determined to make it work.   Dave emailed me and I was super happy to get the details as he was running 10 watts into a quad.  Also super happy that I made it when band conditions were not the greatest.  Used the 5/8 Vert to get through ...  this antennas a keeper!  


Email exchange ...


Dave Warburton 

3:39 PM (1 hour ago)
to me
Hi Ron!
Just a short note of thanks for the contact, albeit marginal, this afternoon/evening. Conditions were pretty poor and I was very pleased to make the trip with my 10 Watts, I usually run 5 but went 'QRO' with the KX3 as I reckoned I'd have no chance with 5 Watts. Antenna was a 2 element quad though quite low as mast wasn't elevated.
Your signal was 219 to 319 and when it came up wasn't too difficult copy, but QSB was taking you down much of the time. You did pretty well to make contact as the band sounded almost dead over here!
Hope to catch you again before too long.
73, Dave - GM0LVI

Ron Irwin 

5:10 PM (0 minutes ago)
to Dave
Thanks for the email Dave.  

I super love working signals that are barely detectable.   There was QRM and QSB but I was able to adjust my notch filter and the IF Shift and copied about 80%.    Without QSB it was a solid 519!   

I was running 100 Watts into a 5/8 Vertical.    Antenna details can be found on my radio blog if your interested... http://westgreyham-ve3ldp.blogspot.ca/ .   

Hope to cross paths again sometime. 

73's, Ron - VE3LDP 

Friday, November 4, 2016

80 Meter Marconi - DONE!

 Finished up building and tuning the 80m  1/4 wave vertical ,  aka Marconi antenna,  today.

 Picked up a 1/4 Mile of 14 gauge galvanized fence wire yesterday.   I had the bare minimum 4 X 76' radials in place already and cut another 8 X 76' for install today.     Cut all 8 lengths in the front yard then took 4 runs at a time up the hill for installation.   When all was said and done I had a total of 12 76' radials in place.  

 Next up was the big test.   Cut the vertical element for an SWR null at 3.5 MHZ.   After the tuning with 4X76' radials ,  + ground in place i was getting a very acceptable 1.3 : 1 VSWR.      After adding another 8 radials the VSWR at 3.5 MHz changed to a perfect 1:1 VSWR...YIPPIE.  

 Found that the vertical wire need a bit of strain relief at the base ... was worried that it would eventually break.    Did two things,  lighten the counter weight and allowed a bit more droop in the horizontal ( vertical ) element.     Final task was to silicon the base ... no metal ,  wires or important bits exposed to the weather!     Will take some pictures and post at some point.  

 Final check ... 3.5 MHz VSWR 1:1...still perfect.


 Last night after work 05:00 gmt I worked 2 stations one in France and another in Czechoslovakia both gave me a 569 signal report and that was with 4 radials.   Look forward to giving  the antenna a go tonight after dark.  


 Next up .... 160 Meter Marconi ,  these antennas rock!  






Thursday, November 3, 2016

80 Meter Vertical - New Antenna

 Finally got around to getting this antenna up and running.  

 The Antenna is at the top of the hill.   Its like mounting a 1/4 Vert at the top of a 100ft tower ...can you say height advantage!    Started with a vertical element 65' and 4x Radials 76'.     The Antenna goes up vertically about 40ft the horizontal for the remainder.      The Marconi Antenna only radiates from the bottom 20% of the element and the remainder is simply there for loading.     Initial SWR checks found the null at 2.9 MHz ... super way lower then the optimum 3.5 MHz.   Tuned the Vert Element is 4 stages ,  2', 4', 3', 3' ending up with a "vertical radiator" 53' in length.    Now the SWR null is at 3.55 Mhz and is running about 1.3:1 .   Next up is adding another 8 X 76' radial then if needed I will try to tune the 12 radials for optimum VSWR.  

Now for the fun part.   Today 80 Meters  was more or less 100% dead ... very little if anything heard just a couple of weak signals.   I was playing around at 3.550 MHz and to my surprise someone came back with a Carrier.     I sent my call sign and VE2HOG came back to me with a 579   ... he was around a 539-559.  




















Chad was bearing 15.7 deg NNE and 377.4 km away.   I was thrilled with the signal report!  

D Layer absorption during the day is more or less total.   During the daylight hours, a station in middle or high latitudes using 100 watts and a simple dipole antenna can expect a maximum communication range of 200 miles/300 km.  Obviously the Vertical was working its magic look forward to try it out after dark when the D Layer absorption is more or less gone!   

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Antenna Work - Fan Dipole + 80m Marconi

Have been string up support ropes in the trees to get a couple of new antennas up before Winter sets in.   First is the 40, 30. 17 and 10m fan dipole and second its an 80m vertical.

Came across this interesting tidbit on using 2 80 dipole and phasing them together.  Original article here ... http://www.qrz.com/db/VA2GU/?dxc=1


80M LOW WIRE ANTENNAS FOR DXING
This section will show you can also dx, by merely using 20ft high trees/poles for supports.
Also below, i will show you how to use your 4 vert supports of a 4 square to get greater gain and lower angles than a 4 square; all this:
  • without radials
  • without phasing Comtek box
  • without special lengths coax

80M DX WITH "LOW" WIRE ANTENNAS (LOW MEANING 7M/20FT HIGH)
=============================================================


So what is your excuse for not doing dx on 80m?
If you only have low trees that will be just fine!
A simple dipole will just warm up the clouds, but phasing two of them will get you a lot of dx; i mean over 4000 miles/6500km.

PHASING IS NOT MAGIC AND VERY EASY TO IMPLEMENT. NO FORMULAS TO CALCULATE AND NO PHASING NETWORKS REQUIRED. YOU ONLY REQUIRE A TOTAL OF ABOUT ONE WAVE (260FT/80M) ANTENNA WIRE AND 1 1/4 WAVE (325FT/100M)COAX.

1. SELECT 4 TREES/SUPPORTS (20FT/7M WILL DO NICELY) TO PUT UP TWO HALF WAVE DIPOLES
(note: if your wires will be rubbing on tree branches, use Flexweave or other insulated stranded wires; if you use copperweld
DO NOT USE THE STRANDED TYPE; THE INDIVIDUAL STRANDS WILL RUB ON EACH OTHER IN THE WIND, AND TAKE OFF THE LITTLE COPPER COATING THERE IS; CONDUCTIVITY WILL GO BAD, IT WILL THEN RUST AND BREAK).

2. SEPARATE THE TWO DIPOLES BY MINIMUM 35FT(11M), MAXIMUM 70 FEET(20M). (note: this will affect only the f/b mostly. Max gain is at the higher separation, max f/b at the min.)

3. TRY TO TUNE EACH DIPOLE alone TO RESONATE AT THE QRG YOU WANT.

4. USE A CURRENT CHOKE AT THE ANTENNA, (you can make one by winding 8 to 10 turns of coax 8 inches(20cm) in diameter)

5. FEED EACH DIPOLE TO THE SHACK USING 1/2 WAVE OR MULTIPLES OF 1/2 WAVE COAX: about 90 to 110 ft depending on the VF of your coax (this includes the coax you use to make that current choke)

6. IN THE SHACK, JOIN THOSE TWO COAX ENDS WITH A SIMPLE "T" FITTING; BUT.....

7. NOW THE TRICK IS TO PHASE THOSE TWO DIPOLES; SIMPLE. CUT A LENGTH OF COAX ABOUT 130DEGREES (70FT) AND INSERT THAT COAX PIECE IN SERIES BETWEEN THE "T" AND THE COAX GOING TO THE ANTENNA WHICH IS CLOSER TO THE DX YOU WANT TO WORK.
(note: this coax phasing line should theoretically be 90 degrees; but i find 120-130 degrees gives me max. gain)

8. NOW IF YOU WANT TO REVERSE DIRECTION, SWITCH THAT PHASING LINE TO INSERT IT IN THE OTHER END OF THE "T" GOING TO THE OTHER ANTENNA.
(note: i use a cheap knife switch to change directions fast and check f/b easily)

Here below are the AZIMUTH/ELEVATION graphs showing the differences in the gain and elevation angles between your cloud warmer (simple dipole) and the phased array (phased array may sound like impressive words; but they only mean two pieces of wires (antenna) connected by 2 different lengths of coax...)

You can see a 5 db difference FROM 2.5 DEGREES TO 30 DEGREES (YES I MEAN 2.5 DEGREES!) ; this may not get you a booming sigs in JA/VK, but sure to get you strong rx dx sigs and be heard by those your hear.