Friday, December 16, 2016

Log Book Update

The highlight of the past month is 80m DX.   I built the 80m vertical to get to Europe and be able to work DX during the solar minimum.   I have been very pleased with how this antenna performs and would like to increase my transmit power 6-9db.   The signal reports have been very favorable  however this band has allot of noise even when its quiet.    This week working evenings I have been operating when I get home between 00:30 and 03:00 est.  Good propagation exists towards Europe and most of the Eastern North America operators have gone to bed ... less competition.     And of course this is a time when Europe is waking up and the " Grey Line " opportunity sweeps across the continent .

Log book update ....

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... .   

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 ...

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


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.


(note: if your wires will be rubbing on tree branches, use Flexweave or other insulated stranded wires; if you use copperweld

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.)


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)


(note: this coax phasing line should theoretically be 90 degrees; but i find 120-130 degrees gives me max. gain)

(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.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Log book update

Its been awhile since I did much with the radio but thats the was Summer goes.    Working on getting 3 Antennas built before the snow flys my Fan Dipole and an 80m and 160m vert.     The sw box is all installed up the hill.   I recently dropped a bunch of trees to make way for the dipole ... verts are allot easier!   The fan dipole is more or less ready to be strung up as soon as I clear away a bit of the trees that I dropped.    

Worked a few on 40 a couple of weeks!   This is my log book update....

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Just how did I do that ....

Ok ,  good old sol is up to no good with ZERO Sunspots over the past few days and then this happens .....

So please explain because I am baffled!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Log Book Update

No time for the good old radio but there will be soon.  Really looking forward to getting back on track with my antenna projects.

Last contact was Easter Island on 17m how cool is that!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

20 Meter 5/8 works??????

OK ,  put one heck of and effort into the 20m 5/8 last summer only to determine that it really wasnt working all that well.    Just for the heck of it I heard a guy calling in Bulgaria ,  on RX 5/8 was S7 on the 1/4 S6 so I gave him a call and got a 599 back....well it was a 599 that probably was a stretch!    Best thing is this antenna at 14.0 Mhz has a VSWR of 1.1:1.  

20m 1/4 gp tuning

Checked using the vswr meter on the radio ....

Initial ....

14.0    1.6:1
14.1    1.5:1
14.2    1.4:1
14.3    1.4:1
14.4    1.4:1
14.5    1.6:1

Going to #1 add to the vertical element 18" to drop the VSWR aiming for 14.0 @ 1.4:1 then #2 I am going to add another 8 radials and see if I can get the VSWR down further.  

With the added 18"

13.9    1.8
14.0    1.6
14.1    1.6
14.2    1.6
14.3    1.7
14.4    2:1  

So no doubt the optimum is lower but the overall VSWR is suffering.  So now its about the radials .....

Friday, May 20, 2016

Antenna season is here ... I have a plan!

 I have been gathering stuff for some upcoming antenna projects and have been doing lots of reading and have a plan!  

Phase A ... top of hill

   Over the past couple of days I have installed another RCS4 Antenna Switcher at the top of my hill.   Currently there is a 14avq feed by 500 ft of mostly heliax.....very low loss!    The 14 avq continues to perform very well on 40, 20 and 15 meters often outperforming my 40 and 20 m 1/4 GPs.    So I now have 3 antennas to build at the top of the hill....

1 ) Fan Dipole 40, 30, 17, 10 and 6 meters.    Should be up high enough for a low throw on 40m...other bands are no problem height wise.    6 mertes is a first and the 10 meter is a 14avq replacement for some reason 10 on the avq sucks.

2)   80m 1/4 GP with 8 radials to start.   I currently have a skywarmer in the form of a 80m dipole too too low to the ground!   Once the 80m vert is up the dipole will be trashed.

3)   30m 1/4 GP the same as what I have next to the house.   This will be my height advantage test ....nearly 100ft more in elevation.  

4)  Wouldn't mind trying some "tuned radials on the 14 avq ... I know I can do better with the ground plane.  

Phase B... just behind house

 1)  Last summer I built a 20m 5/8 that didn't cut it so its going to be scrapped.   In its place a 160m 1/4 GP with 8 radials.

2)  Going to re-purpose the 8 radials from the 20m 5/8 and add them to the 20m 1/4 gp for a total of 16 radials.  

Phase C ....  at the house

1 ) Don't have anything for 2m so I have a spare 5/8 I am going to mount in place of  the KA Sat Dish.  Primarily to monitor a couple of local FM Repeaters and 52 when in the shack.  

 I am sure I will come up with a few other plans however the above will probably take me into the fall.  What I will end up with is a new capability on the 1.8 and 3.5 MHz!  

 Antennas I will end up with ......

2 Meters-  5/8 Vert
6 Meters -   High Dipole
10 Meters -  14avq very ( so so ) and Dipole
15 Meters - 14avq very good results with this antenna on this band
17 Meters - 1/4 GP Vert very good reults with this antenna dead flat 1:1 VSWR and Dipole
20 Meters - 14avq Vertical,  1/4 GP Vert  jurys out on theses two ... both performers!
30 Meters - Dipole and 1/4 GP Vert very good reults with this antenna dead flat 1:1 VSWR
40 Meters - 14avq ,  1/4 GP Vert and Dipole
80 Meters - 1/4 GP Vert
160 Meters - 1/4 GP Vert

Beverage notes ...

Greta blog post on building the matching transformer for a beverage antenna ...

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Some fan dipole thoughts ...

They found that the wires at the center feed point had to be separated by at least 5 1/2 inches vertically and the ends separated by 38 inches in the 2 to 18 MHz range. As in any fan dipole construction, all of the dipoles are connected in parallel but in the SRI method, the separation between them at the feed point must be maintained.
By this simple change they found that you could accurately cut the antenna element
lengths for given frequencies and eliminate the need for pruning.

In the drawing above, the lowest frequency antenna is on top and is cut 4% short of the standard 1/2 wave length. (Length in feet= 0.96 times 468 divided by the operating frequency in MHz).

The middle frequency antenna (lower in frequency), is cut for an exact 1/2 wave length. (length in feet= 468 divided by the frequency in MHz)

The highest frequency antenna is at the bottom and cut for 1% longer than the 1/2 wavelength (length in feet= 1.01 times 468 divided by the frequency in MHz)

Compared to the construction effort of a standard multi-band dipole the only difference is the fabrication of a feed block or center insulator that is about 12 inches vertically by 3 inches wide, so make sure this is made of a good insulating material such as Lucite, Bakelite, fiberglass, or PVC. 
The end 38 inches of separation can be maintained by separate halyards on each element or a spreader bar with a common halyard.
The bandwidth will be at least plus or minus 2% for a 1.5 to 1 SWR according to Stanford Research Institute.

(Each leg is shown in length so you will need two legs.)

10 METERS = 8'4"
12 METERS = 9'5"
15 METERS = 11'1"
17 METERS = 12'10"
20 METERS = 16'8"
30 METERS = 23'2"
40 METERS = 32'9"
60 METERS = 43'7"
75 METERS = 60'9"
80 METERS = 65'6"
160 METERS = 123'5"

137 KHZ = 1708'1"

Monday, May 9, 2016

Log Book Update

Didn't thinks I was too busy over the past month and a bit but I still worked a bunch of DX.    There hasn't been quite as much time for the radio with the warmer weather and lots of things on the go.  

Sunday, April 24, 2016

More 160m thoughts ...

After looking at what a dipole will do on 160m I quickly came to the conclusion that the Vertical is what I need to put together.   First article I Googled ....

Which is the Best 160m Antenna ?

Topband antenna survey by ON4UNIn a nutshell: vertically-polarized antenna for transmitting, using separate antennas for receiving.

Per W8JI on

"Nearly all especially successful stations on 160 use a vertically polarized antenna of some type for transmitting. That's just a fact."
"The fact is....... an Inverted L with 20 or more radials at least 50 feet and hopefully 100 feet long will absolutely smoke any normal height loop antenna or dipole antenna at nearly any distance on 160 meters. The possible exception is between 20 and 200 miles."

"I have a full size 160 dipole at 300 feet, and it is never really much better than a 1/4 wave vertical at any distance in any direction. As a matter of fact, the dipole is 10-20 dB weaker than the vertical off the dipole ends. The dipole only beats the vertical broadside to the dipole, and then only rarely!! And this is with the dipole 300 feet above ground."

"As a matter of fact a low full wave loop has no gain, any horizontal wire has increased earth induced loss as it is made longer when close to earth."

Full article here .... and a good link to the Beverage Antenna for RX

The Antenna I am going to build is an Inverted L like the one below but the horizontal part will be more vertical then horizontal!   Different 160m Antennas here ....

This is interesting I had no idea at all and hope this statement is true ....

 The “L” works good because a quarter wave antenna only radiates from the bottom 20%, the rest is only there for “loading” purposes, so as long as it's there, somewhere, it'll work fine. So, that means the “L” should begin to function as a Marconi with a height as little as 25 feet, with some skewing to the pattern. But, like I said, the higher the better.

6 Meter Dimensions

Ok ,  6m is a must do however I am not 100% on doing it with a simple vertical or even dipole.   Aurora and Tropo demand directional antennas with lots of gain.   I am just curious to see what I here and then maybe it would spark a greater desire to improve the antenna.  

Here are the 6m dimensions ....

Six Meter Wire Antennas

Six Meter CW/SSB

Center Frequency:  50.100 Mhz 147.86 Mhz 3rd Harmonic
Halfwave in space is:   9.82 feet  6.68 coax| 8.05 twinlead
Quarterwave in space is:  4.91 feet  3.34 coax| 4.03 twinlead

Quarterwave Vertical is:  4.67 feet  5.50 foot ground radials
Five Eights wave Vertical is: 12.04 feet  4.67 foot ground plane
Three Quarter wave Vertical: 14.49 feet  2.34 foot eighthwave

Halfwave Dipole/Vertical is:  9.34 feet  4.67 one side.
Halfwave Reflector is:   9.81 feet  8.92 for Director
Low Mount Halfwave is:   9.14 feet  4.57 one side.
Halfwave Folded Dipole is:  9.22 feet  4.61 one side.
Halfwave Inverted V is:   9.68 feet  4.84 one side.
Colinear Array is:  19.16 feet  9.58 one side.
Extended Double Zepp is: 24.07 feet 12.04 one side.

Fullwave Quad Loop is:  20.36 feet  5.09 one side.
Reflector|Director:  21.38|19.44  5.34| 4.86 one side.
Fullwave Delta Loop is:  20.36 feet  6.79 one side.
Reflector|Director:  21.38|19.44  7.13| 6.48 one side.

Waves 1:  19.16 |1.5:  28.98 |2:  38.80 |2.5:  48.62 |3:  58.44 |4 :  78.08
Waves 5:  97.72 |6.0: 117.37 |7: 137.01 |8.0: 156.65 |9: 176.29 |10: 195.93

Six Meter FM

Center Frequency:  52.525 Mhz 155.01 Mhz 3rd Harmonic
Halfwave in space is:   9.37 feet  6.37 coax| 7.68 twinlead
Quarterwave in space is:  4.68 feet  3.18 coax| 3.84 twinlead

Quarterwave Vertical is:  4.46 feet  5.25 foot ground radials
Five Eights wave Vertical is: 11.48 feet  4.46 foot ground plane
Three Quarter wave Vertical: 13.82 feet  2.23 foot eighthwave

Halfwave Dipole/Vertical is:  8.91 feet  4.46 one side.
Halfwave Reflector is:   9.36 feet  8.51 for Director
Low Mount Halfwave is:   8.72 feet  4.36 one side.
Halfwave Folded Dipole is:  8.80 feet  4.40 one side.
Halfwave Inverted V is:   9.23 feet  4.62 one side.
Colinear Array is:  18.28 feet  9.14 one side.
Extended Double Zepp is: 22.96 feet 11.48 one side.

Fullwave Quad Loop is:  19.42 feet  4.85 one side.
Reflector|Director:  20.39|18.55  5.10| 4.64 one side.
Fullwave Delta Loop is:  19.42 feet  6.47 one side.
Reflector|Director:  20.39|18.55  6.80| 6.18 one side.

Waves 1:  18.28 |1.5:  27.64 |2:  37.01 |2.5:  46.38 |3:  55.74 |4 :  74.48
Waves 5:  93.21 |6.0: 111.95 |7: 130.68 |8.0: 149.41 |9: 168.15 |10: 186.88
Note: At Six meters the diameter of elements in terms of wavelength starts to become large, even with heavy wire like 10 gauge. With tubing elements, an additional shortening factor starts to become important. As elements get fat, the resonant frequency goes down for a given length. This is not a problem on the lower frequencies where even one inch tubing is still small diameter relative to wavelength, but at six meters and above it starts to become more and more significant.

30 Meter Vert / Dipole at the top of the hill

OK ,  yet another grand antenna plan this time repeating my 30 meter antenna lower on the hill.  Heading into the solar null I expect that 30 meters will continue to yield some DX from time to time so an investment in this antenna will pay off.

I want to compare two more or less 30 meter antennas ,  my existing one above and another to be built at the top of the hill.    I want to see if there are any "height advantages ".  I also would love to A/B a dipole vs vertical at the top of the hill

and the numbers ....

30 Meter Wire Antennas

This Band CW Only

Center Frequency:  10.120 Mhz  29.87 Mhz 3rd Harmonic
Halfwave in space is:  48.62 feet 33.06 coax|39.87 twinlead
Quarterwave in space is: 24.31 feet 16.53 coax|19.93 twinlead

Quarterwave Vertical is: 23.12 feet 27.23 foot ground radials
Five Eights wave Vertical is: 59.58 feet 23.12 foot ground plane
Three Quarter wave Vertical: 71.74 feet 11.56 foot eighthwave

Halfwave Dipole/Vertical is: 46.25 feet 23.12 one side.
Halfwave Reflector is:  48.56 feet 44.16 for Director
Low Mount Halfwave is:  45.26 feet 22.63 one side.
Halfwave Folded Dipole is: 45.65 feet 22.83 one side.
Halfwave Inverted V is:  47.92 feet 23.96 one side.
Colinear Array is:  94.86 feet 47.43 one side.
Extended Double Zepp is: 119.17 feet 59.58 one side.

Fullwave Quad Loop is:  100.79 feet 25.20 one side.
Reflector|Director:  105.83|96.25 26.46|24.06 one side.
Fullwave Delta Loop is:  100.79 feet 33.60 one side.
Reflector|Director:  105.83|96.25 35.28|32.08 one side.

Waves 1:  94.86 |1.5: 143.48 |2: 192.09 |2.5: 240.71 |3: 289.33 |4 : 386.56
Waves 5: 483.79 |6.0: 581.03 |7: 678.26 |8.0: 775.49 |9: 872.73 |10: 969.96

160 Meter Vertical + Antenna Dimensions

160 Meter Wire Antennas

Center Frequency:   1.840 Mhz   5.43 Mhz 3rd Harmonic
Halfwave in space is:  267.39 feet 181.83 coax|219.26 twinlead
Quarterwave in space is: 133.70 feet  90.91 coax|109.63 twinlead

Quarterwave Vertical is: 127.17 feet 149.74 foot ground radials
Five Eights wave Vertical is: 327.72 feet 127.17 foot ground plane
Three Quarter wave Vertical: 394.57 feet 63.59 foot eighthwave

Halfwave Dipole/Vertical is: 254.35 feet 127.17 one side.
Halfwave Reflector is:  267.07 feet 242.90 for Director
Low Mount Halfwave is:  248.91 feet 124.46 one side.
Halfwave Folded Dipole is: 251.09 feet 125.54 one side.
Halfwave Inverted V is:  263.59 feet 131.79 one side.
Colinear Array is:  521.74 feet 260.87 one side.
Extended Double Zepp is: 655.43 feet 327.72 one side.

Fullwave Quad Loop is:  554.35 feet 138.59 one side.
Reflector|Director:  582.07|529.40 145.52|132.35 one side.
Fullwave Delta Loop is:  554.35 feet 184.78 one side.
Reflector|Director:  582.07|529.40 194.02|176.47 one side.

Waves 1: 521.74 |1.5: 789.13 |2:1056.52 |2.5:1323.91 |3:1591.30 |4 :2126.09
Waves 5:2660.87 |6.0:3195.65 |7:3730.43 |8.0:4265.22 |9:4800.00 |10:5334.78

                   Note: 10 waves is well over a mile long.

No doubt a 160 meter dipole is not in the cards.  Getting this antenna up 0.5 Wavelength would
mean that it would have to be 245' off the ground.   Any attempt at a 160 Meter dipole would be
"Skywarmer " in other words radiation goes straight up!!!!   

Plane B ....

The Vertical

The numbers .....

Quarterwave Vertical is: 127.17 feet 149.74 foot ground radials

127' is a bit of a stretch when it comes to trees but I do have one advantage and that I some 
big ass trees on the side of a very steep hill.   I have read to that it doesn't have to be 100% V
Vertical and so its doable.    Planning on 8X radials each 150' .... its going to be fence wire.

So I need 1,200'of wire for the radials and I already have the 127' vertical wire ... lets get 

80m Dipole/Inverted V + Dimensions

OK now that I have bought all of the hardware its time to plan in detail the 80m  Inverted V or Dipole.   The antenna is going at the top of the hill because .....

1 )   Height advantage 100+ ft above the house.
2)    The Hill is steep and consist of Gravel so its a great insulator.  I expect the ground affect to be minimal and I should have no problem getting things elevated 60' or so.
3) Orientation will be more or less East / West so it will favor Europe and USA / South America with the null off the ends towards Australia and Africa.  It should give a 3db gain over the Vertical as long as I can get it up at least 1/2 Wavelength .  
4) I am going to try to possibly make this a 160/80/40 m antenna with the emphasis on 160m and 80m.  

Design considerations ....

#1 Priority is to make the antenna as efficient as possible with as low a take off angle as possible.   I am hoping the Balun will assist on achieving this goal.

Below is a VSWR chart Dipole vs Inverted V.    There is now doubt its going to be an inverted V so that should help drop the feed point impedance.

Just a little note on the Balun ....

One feature which should not be overlooked is the use of a current balun or RF choke at the feed point. This device encourages RF current to stay off of the outside of the transmission line. This unbalanced current causes the feed line to radiate, in addition to the antenna. This can create all sorts of problems. First, your antenna is now a combination of an inverted vee and a vertical running down the center of the vee. Since the transmission line is now part of the antenna, changes to its length will change the antenna length, which will change the antenna impedance, which will change the SWR on the feed line. Ideally, the SWR on a transmission line will be exclusively determined by the impedance of the antenna and the transmission line. The SWR should stay constant for different length transmisson lines. Actually, real transmission lines, due to loss, will lower the SWR (towards 1.0) with increasing length. If you have an antenna where changing the transmission line by a few feet causes a noticeable change in SWR, odds are that the feed line is part of the antenna, and that is rarely desired. Finally, the RF current on the outside of the transmission line may travel all of the way back to the radio shack, where it can cause additional trouble. 

And a cool way to do "strain relief " ...

and now the numbers ....

80 Meter CW

Center Frequency:   3.600 Mhz 10.648 Mhz 3rd Harmonic
Halfwave in space is:  136.67 feet 91.57 coax|120.27 twinlead
Quarter wave in space is: 68.33 feet 45.78 coax|60.13 twinlead

Quarter wave Vertical is: 65.00 feet 76.53 foot ground radials
Five eights wave Vertical is: 169.47 feet 65.00 foot ground plane
Three Quarter wave Vertical: 201.67 feet 32.50 foot eighthwave

Halfwave wire dipole is: 130.00 feet 65.00 one side.
Halfwave Reflector is:  136.50 feet 124.15 for Director
Low Mount Halfwave is:  127.22 feet 63.61 one side.
Halfwave folded dipole is: 128.33 feet 64.17 one side.
Halfwave inverted V is:  134.72 feet 67.36 one side.

Extended double Zepp is: 349.87 feet 174.93 one side.

Fullwave quad loop is:  283.33 feet 70.83 one side.
Reflector|Director:  297.50|270.58 74.38|67.65 one side.
Fullwave delta loop is:  283.33 feet 94.44 one side.
Reflector|Director:  297.50|270.58 99.17|90.19 one side.

Waves 1: 266.67 |1.5: 403.33 |2: 540.00 |2.5: 676.67 |3: 813.33 |4 :1086.67
Waves 5:1360.00 |6.0:1633.33 |7:1906.67 |8.0:2180.00 |9:2453.33 |10:2726.67

 I am going to design this as an inverted V so the antenna  will be .... 

Halfwave inverted V is:  134.72 feet 67.36 one side.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Antenna Considerations

Spring is here so its time to get going on some antenna projects!

 The 1/4 GP Verts with 8 tuned radials more or less worked like a charm this past winter.   I am particualry happy with the 17m and 30m verts but bit not 100% with the 40m and 20m ones.    I am going to try tweaking both in the spring and not do a darn thing with the other two.   The 5/8 Vert for 20m was a bomb do its coming down.  

 I am going to buys another 4:1 IFL switch and put it at the top of the hill at the end of my 500' run of heliax.   I am going to buy a ton more rope ,  a slingshot and a fishing real to get those wires  up there!!!!

 Now for the antenna wanna be....

1/4 Vert for 80m   .... one vert el of 20 meters  along with 8 radials.   For the elevation I have some very tall trees that should do the trick.   For the radial I am going to get some electric fence wire.   500' needed just for the radials!!!!    This should be a power house antenna for 80m DX.   I would love to put thsi one at the top of the hill but I am not sure how that would fit ... location TBD.

80m dipole .... top of hill for sure.   Get it up a minimum of 1/2 wave length or 120 ft is a bit of a challenge but this is where the top of the hill comes into play.  For a dipole to work as a decent DX antenna it needs to be up that high .  It should give around a 30 deg takeoff broadside with a 15 db null off the ends ... seems like allot.  Basically all the energy goes broadside.   Goo article here ...

160m dipole ... top of hill.  OK there is no way to get this guy up 80 meters if I do do it probably will be a fan dipole off the 80 meter setup.  A more realistic setup would be the 160 vert.  

1/4 160m  vert ....ok I have the real-estate and I can almost achieve a 40 meter vertical element.   Radials ... no problem  8X40 = 360 meter or 1,200 feet ... once again fence wire!  

With the upcoming solar minimum theses would be some interesting antenna to play with.  

 What else ...

1/4 60m vert maybe in place of the 20m 5/8 that I am going to turf.  

1/4 30m vert at the top of the hill ,  I would really like to see if there is a "height advantage ".

6m vert dipole or 6m vert of 6m dipole at the top of the hill.... mainly to get away from vegetation that comes into play at these freqs.   This will be my first foray into the 6m world.  Ideally a high gain antenna with a rotor someday to play with Aurora or Tropo Scatter.  

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Juan da who or should I say why!!!!!

After not too great an effort to work VK0EK on 30m CW I decided to try for the other biggy Juan de Nova Island FT4JA .   Today I spent close to 3 hours calling these guys on 15m SSB.  They were calling on 21.300 and listening between 21.305 and 21.320.  You can fit a shit load of signals in the 15 Khz worth of spectrum.  Between 11am est and noon the signal was pretty weak fading out at times.   Between noon and 2pm est they were booming in and moving the S meter 2-3 units .... 100% loud copy.   Normally if I hear em I can work em on the 14avg with 100 watts.   That wasn't the case today ... just too too many folks calling and lots of big guns.   I sure wished they had have been CW...please , please please I am sure I would have worked them.

 As entertaining as it was I though to myself WHY ... WHY am I wasting my time.  Its not nearly as exotic a destination as Heard Island and it wasn't some  bazillion Ks away.   I am not chasing QSL cards couldn't give a rats ass about certificates or any kind of recognition.    I just get a kick out of making an antenna then using it to talk to folks around the globe ... thats all!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Heard Island

Just worked Heard Island first try on 30m CW.   100 Watts into my 1/4 Vert got me 17901 km away!

Just a few Heard Island pictures ...

A little RF Humour

I find this particularly funny ...

Monday, March 28, 2016

First the South Pacific now Africa on 40m

Not as far as the South Pacific but grey lined Africa working the Western Sahara for the first time.   Yet another surprise 40 m cw QSO working S01WS.

On a roll....

OK ,  this is real cool just worked FW5JJ Jean in Wallis and Futuna Islands yet another South Pacific Island on 40 m CW.  Yet another new country ...YIKES.   40m isn't know for that sort of thing but the Sun was just going down there so grey line had allot to do with it as 40m was just opening up!  

Quite the morning .... New Caledonia

Just worked Sam FK8DD in New Caledonia an Island in the South Pacific 13,500 km on 30m CW running 100W into the 1/4 Vertical Antenna.

First VK in forever

Just worked Niel VK2IZI SSB in the Blue Mountains near Sydney.   Used 100 w to my 1/4 Vert and got and received a 57 ...YIKES.  Neil commented that it was quite rare to work a VE3...very cool!  

CQ SSB Contest + Log Book Update

I am not big on SSB but the CQ SSB contest combined with some pretty good conditions made for allot of fun.    Fri eve before it started at 00:00 gmt work a bunch of stations " getting ready".  There is quite the excitement and energy leading up to the start of the event.    Saturday mornign into the afternoon I worked mostly 15m.  Signal were really good and most of the time the "59" was really a "59"...for the most part if I could hear it I could work it.   Sunday the  conditions were not as good but still worked a little on 15m and even some on 20m.    Condtiosn were not great and I really could have used another 6-9 db on the TX side of things.    I have 3 antennas to choose from on 20m ,  the 14avq,  1/4 GP and 5/8 GP.    Forget about the 5/8 its coming down in the spring and and I think I will replace it with a fan dipole.  The 14avq is OK but loads not so good.  The TS520s antenna tuner doesn't work so well on 20m so I need a decent antenna.   The 1/4 GP on 20m works OK and loads with a 1.5 - 1.6 VSWR avoiding the antenna tuner.    I was going to fire up the old FT101 for 20 meters not nearly as finicky to load up and a db or 2 more in power bit I decided to head out for a run instead!  

Log book update...its a biggy!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Log Book Update and Spring Propagation

 Propagation has been changing.  Its been sometime  since I work through the regular seasonal changes so I am not sure if thats what I am observing or its the waning sunspot cycles.   DX has shifted down to 20m and 30m vs the 17m and 15m DX that I had been working through the Winter.   I didn't think anyone hung out on 20m any more but it sure has come to life recently.

So here is the log to date .....

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Log Book Update

 Made some great contacts since my last log book update.   Worked 3B9FR Rodriguez Island 15734.7 km bearing 61.9 deg ENE.   100 Watts into my 14AVQ at the top of the hill and a little patience working a pile up was all it took.

 Speaking of pile up I am getting very proficient working a split lining up my TX with the last station contacted  ( when I can hear that station  ).

 Another couple of notables and pileup splits  were KH2X Guam on 17m and LU1ZI an Argentina Antarctica station on 17m.

 Been having great success on 15m and 17m  as we roll towards the spring solstice.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

ARRL DX CW Contest Weekend +

Looked forward to working a bunch of DX over the ARRL DX Weekend.   I wasn't competing just picking up some DX contacts and helping those participating out.  Did not fire up the rig until the second day f the contest but had a blast.   Started off on 15m then went to 10m then back to 15m again.  

After the contest I worked 3XY1T first on 20m SSB working a big pile up.   Used the 14AVQ vs the 1/4 GP Vert.  It took at least 30 minutes to get through.   Also worked 3XY1T on 30m CW ... only took  2 calls before I got through a huge difference from the 20m SSB pile up ....sure like CW.  

Today I worked 9Q6AL Congp CW ... there was a  pile up and a 5Khz split but I got though ... again thanks CW.  

Last but not least worked CO8LY for the 9th time.   He was calling CQ S9+ on 15m CW so I cranked it down to under 10 watts and got a 599.

Before the ARRL CW Contest Log Update

Fired up the rig Friday Eve hours before the start of teh North America ARRL DX CW contest.   Lots of activity guys setting up before the contest.   Contact of note was Cape Verde CW @ 21:50 Z on 10m 28.016 Mhz.    He was about the only thing I was hearing on 10m...way cool!

Log Book Update

Been busy ... will make 2 log book updates.

The Japanese 17 meter contacts were noteworthy.   Feb 8th I made my 3rd contact with JF1IRW previously worked on 17m cw Oct 5, 2015 and Jan 25, 2016.   Ironically enough  the 3 contacts were the only contacts I have made in with Japan since I started back at the radio this past Summer.   When you think of how many ha,s there are in Japan and Canada and the fact that I made three consecutive contacts with the same operator on the same band around the same time of day is pretty amazing.  Obviously Takhikeo JF1IRW have the same operating habitats.

 Another noteworthy contact was JR7TKG Feb 10.   It was interesting becuse it was SSB and I worked a pretty big pile up getting a and giving a solid 55.  The OP Sasaki said that I was " a rare contact" ... very cool.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Up Before The Sun

 Had a blast over the weekend getting up before the Sun having my first Coffee in the Shack.   The 6th was the best ... 40m was open and 17m was nothing.   Worked from 40 meters up to 20 meters as the bands opened.    17m was particularity interesting it seems to open up the moment the Sun was above the horizon.  

Log book update ...

Saturday, January 30, 2016

"The Shack"

Took a "shack" picture with the GoPro wide angle and 13mb in size it turned out kind of cool.    I posted it to my QRZ page and have been getting lots of feedback which is very cool!