Monday, December 2, 2019

1/4 wave endfed for 60m

1st prototype, coil at wrong position
Just an idea to shorten a half wave length endfed to the size of a 1/4 wave vertical. The advantage is the use for portable operations since you don't need radials. I got the idea from what I read in a dutch publication about endfed antennas. Shorten the original halfwave length is possible but you have to place the inductor for length compensation exactly in the center. Of course shortening an antenna always gives loss and it will probabely not work that good compared to a real halfwave or even a quarterwave with radials. I'll took the PE1BVQ transformer unit from my 3 band end-fed to feed the antenna.





Final tuned 1/4 wave endfed, coil at the centre






So I build my idea, it took me longer as expected to get a good SWR. But in the end it works. Compared to the inverted-V (2x20m @12m fed with open line) it's about 4dB less good. I expected that and actually I find it working the same as the 1/4 wave vertical with elevated radials I build last year. The difference between antenna's can also be loss due to the 60m coax cable between radio/antenna. However since I use aircell7 and loss is not that much on 5MHz. Besides that the vertical is placed between buildings which is not really good for this kind of antenna. I should take it out in the field, preferable near the sea to do a good test. At least I have the ability to take 60m portable.

Sunday, December 1, 2019

#10m opening to Australia


There was a good opening to VK (Australia) on 10m this morning around 10:15-10:30 UTC. I managed to make a QSO on FT8 with VK2NSS and VK3KJ both more as 16000km away. These days propagation on 10m is hardly there so I consider this as highly unusual. It has been years ago I made contact with VK on 10m anyway. Soon the ARRL 10m contest will be there again, if only we have propagation like this at the weekend the contest is on...

Monday, November 25, 2019

#cqww cw 160m QRP

Event: CQWW DX CW 2019
Section: Single Operator 160m QRP unassisted
Logger: N1MM+ / CWskimmer
Station: Icom IC-7300 at 5% (5W)
Antenna: Vertical with CG3000 autotuner

Like last year I thought to try 160m QRP again. This year with a better radio (IC-7300) and the surprisingly unintentionally coupled antennatower/vertical antenna. I only took part for a few hours saturday evening/sunday morning/sunday evening aiming at 100 QSO. It went surprisingly good although it sometimes took me a lot of calling and repeating my call. Sometimes they mixed me up with EA4BAS which is sounding totally different in CW, however I can imagine when you only get 4BAS you're guessing. When I started N1MM+ saturday I thought I already figured out how to use CW/CAT control via one USB cable, however it seems I only configured FSK RTTY. So it took me a while to figure out what settings to use for CW but I managed to get it right in the end. The IC-7300 has adjustable very small filtering and it is very quiet to listen to especially with a very small filter. Listen to, yes, I actually listened and didn't do everything reading CWskimmer. I can't figure out calls send in CW but I can perfectly hear my own call, TU, 5NN and 14. I tried calling CQ once sunday morning but that didn't work out so all contacts are made S&P. The way I did it was tuning up the entire band and at the end tuning down working all the stations I could hear.


I didn't make use of the DX cluster since it has no use with QRP, you can only work reasonable loud stations. I was very surprised I could work VY2ZM (Canada) and S01WS (Western Sahara), VY2ZM was real 599 here. Over all,  DX with QRP even with CW is just very difficult. 160m QRP, I think, is the most difficult section of them all. But with some patience and perserverance you can make a reasonable amount of contest points.


I know this is different from other parts of the world, Europe consists of so many DXCC it is no problem to work this amount of countries QRP. 37 in total. Strangly I miss Italy?? I didn't hear any Italian station on 160m. Can you imagine? It is almost impossible to not hear Italy on any HF band.
Listening is very important on 160m, especially with CW. With the small filter I used I could hear a station almost every KHz and for the first time ever in a contest I could hear stations, even the weak ones, without being disturbed by other signals. Something that isn't possible with the old IC-706 or the FT-817. I enjoyed this a lot and hope to do another effort next year....in the mean time I should really consider to learn some more CW...

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Friese 11 steden contest verslag

This is a dutch language contest, however open for international traffic. But since the content is only interesting for the dutch I'll write it in dutch for archive purposes.


Event: Friese 11 steden contest 2019
Section: Outside region 14
Logger: N1MM+ 
Station: Icom IC-7300 100W
Antenna: Inverted-V apex 12m

Een gezellige contest met als multipliers de 11 steden van de beroemde schaatstocht + klunplaats Bartlehiem. Voor uitwisseling vermeld je het regionummer en plaatsnaam, waarbij de plaats bepalend is voor het regionummer. Nog steeds vind ik dit het leukste Nederlandse contest waarbij je de gekste plaatsnamen tegenkomt. Jammer genoeg is het aantal deelnemers beperkt. Vooral de echte contest stations kijken een beetje op deze contest neer en doen liever mee aan grotere contesten. Dit jaar werkte ik "maar" 71 stations en dat is dan weer beduidend minder als afgelopen jaar. Maar wel werden alle multipliers gewerkt en dat is dan wel weer erg leuk. Vooral de laatste 2 multipliers waren een uitdaging. PI4ADH die in Workum zat was erg zwak en kwam op mijn CQ terug, helaas kon ik hem maar net boven de ruis uithalen, uiteindelijk lukte het gelukkig wel. Als laatste had ik ( en ik niet alleen ) Dokkum nog nodig. Die kwam het laatste half uur toch nog opdagen en dus lukte het om alle 12 multipliers te noteren.

Toch was het af en toe wel erg rustig. Voor mij tijd om eens te kijken naar mijn eigen signaal over langere tijd via de webSDR van universiteit Twente. Interessant om te zien dat mijn signaal langere tijd heel erg hard is om dan voor een aantal minuten volledig te verdwijnen. Dit is ook te horen op mijn opname van de webSDR die ik ongeveer het eerste half uur van de contest heb gemaakt. Op deze opname verdwijn ik volledig en erg snel rond de 15 minuten, daarna ben ik er pas weer 5 minuten later maar erg zwak. Wel een mooie gelegenheid om mijn modulatie te beoordelen op leesbaarheid als het erg zwak is. Daarna verdwijn ik weer om rond de 22 minuten weer op te komen. Erg interessant om dit te zien en horen, ik ben dus niet constant in heel Nederland te horen al had ik die indruk soms wel...




Uiteraard heb ik op een willekeurig moment ook nog even over de band gedraait van 3,6-3,8 MHz om te zien wat er allemaal te beluisteren viel. Dat vond ik nog wel tegenvallen, maar oordeel zelf:


Van mij zou de contest wel wat korter mogen. Na het eerste uur is er weinig meer te beleven. Aan de andere kant is het altijd een verassing en best wel spannend of de 12 multipliers gewerkt gaan worden. En dat lukte nu pas na 2,5 uur. Alle bij elkaar heb ik er weer van genoten. Tot volgend jaar...

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Buying QSL cards from DX stations

I received the confirmation paper QSL cards from my WRTC 2018 contacts via bureau last week. Now I ask myself, was it necessary? Is it a waste of paper? Yes, I did the request for these QSLs myself and I regret. What am I doing with all this paper? I don't really collect paper QSL anymore. Paper QSL is a thing from the past. There are other ways to confirm a contact now. I already have these contacts confirmed by LOTW. Think of eQSL, LOTW and many others. There is no need for a paper QSL anymore except for those who collect them.

Well. collect them or buy them? There is another trend going on in QSL world. Many stations are not a member from any club or society anymore and QSL bureaus are receiving less QSL cards every year. Those who still want that paper QSL in the past were proud to send them, QSL bureau or not, since the receiver would have the same costs to send a QSL in return. But these days it looks like it is big business. Not for those that want QSL exchange only but also for the post providers. Postage is expensive and a excuse for not sending any QSL. I see a trend that DX stations especially, even if they are not really rare, ask several US dollars for postage. I fact you can pay by paypal and that way it is just a matter of buying your confirmation. Personally I don't like that, I might be old fashion. But this is still a hobby and if I would buy all the QSL I need for DXCC confirmation that would a considerable amount of money. There are other ways but I know several (DX) stations that don't confirm at any online QSL service so if you want to have your contact confirmed you have to pay them first. So unfortunate....

The final courtesy of a QSO is the QSL....

These days that would be:

The final courtesy of a QSO is the confirmation...

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Unintentional tower coupling


After reading VK3YE Peter's blog recently about coupling a 28m long lightpole with a loop on 160m and 80m I think something similair happened at my antenna setup. Unintenional of course and it is only working well on 160m. Above the results of my efforts on 160m FT8 last evening. Nice to see the greyline spots, even spotted at daylight in the USA. Calling for Japan resulted in immidiate response, but after some QSOs it gets boring.....Imagine for others it is only a dream to work Japan on 160m. It is a nice side effect of course but I wonder how much the coupling affects the antenna radiation pattern on 20m to 10m.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Testing the 40m super gain antennaproject in the PA-beker national contest

Half of the dipole situated diagonal in
the garden.
Today was the PA-beker dutch national contest. This is a contest on 80m/40m only between Dutch participants. Excellent for testing NVIS (Near Vertical Incidence Skywave) antennas. A project that is one of my favorites has been in my browser favorites for over 10 years now and I always wanted to try this antenna to experience it is really a miracle NVIS antenna. The original antenna was described by W4NVK in 73 Magazine from October 1969. A more modern version can be found here. Basically it is a low dipole on 2,1m above the ground. On the ground there are 3 reflectors about 21m long (dipole+5%) spaced 1,80m from the center. It should have 15dB rejection of unwanted low angle stations and noise. Vertical up forward gain would be 9dB. Well, that's all numbers....we want to hear the difference!

See part of the reflectors to get the idea









So, I built the antenna Saturday afternoon, it is a very simple antenna and it didn't took much time. When testing I immidiatly noticed less noise on the band and signals from nearby (Germany/France) were at least 1 S unit stronger compared to the inverted-V, a good sign!

I started the PA-beker contest on 80m, my inverted-V does well on that band. In the mean time I kept an eye on the MUF (Maximum Usable Frequency) for 40m. Best would be 7,1MHz or higher for 300km range. But unfortunately during the contest the MUF didn't came high enough, it was about 6,5MHz on 300km max. 40m was very, very difficult to make contact on within our small country. However I managed to make a few contacts after all, although I think it is a miracle it was possible with such a low MUF. I tried to record the difference I heard between the inverted-V and the NVIS super gain antenna. After some unsuccessful recordings I finally have one without too much QRM. Listen for yourself...
At the first second you here me switching and notice some difference. At 14-24sec PD0CQ is calling PA3EVY RX with inverted-V, 25-40sec PD0CQ is making the contact with PA3EVY this time RX with the NVIS antenna.




Actually I noticed the difference all the time. All my 40m contacts were made with the NVIS antenna.
So unfortunate I only made 14 QSOs. The last 15 minutes of the contest I spotted all the Dutch stations I heard. I worked everything I could hear (except PD0CQ since I didn't hear him anymore). On 80m there were 74 QSOs including dupes, nice but it didn't have my interest this time...


Wednesday, November 6, 2019

100 years of Dutch (broadcast) radio

It is 100 years ago that dutch radio engineer Hanso Idzerda made his first official "commercial" radio broadcast with his call PCGG. One of the first that didn't transmit only morse code but entertainment programmes like music and even the weatherforecast after a while. Not only for a dutch audience but also for the english.  I can tell the whole story but you better read it yourself on wikipedea. Hanso's station was populair and he received not only reports from all over Europe but also from Iceland. The station was funded with money he earned from selling radiotubes which were made by Philips with colaboration of his own business NRI (Nederlandse Radio Industrie). NRI also made their own radioreceivers. However when 2MT, 2LO and later the BBC came with entertainment transmissions the interest from great britain was greatly reduced. Besides that several issues made him bankrupth and he lost his license. He restarted later on with another company NV Radio Idzerda callsign PF1IDZ. Unfortunately he could only transmit at Saturday night. In 1935 he finished all his radio activities. He bought a lodge and had a new job. Strangly enough he was forgotten for many years. I got an old Radio encyclopedia from 1949 in which you cannot find anything about Hanso at all. However he was still interested in the newest tech info. In the WW2 he was caught by the germans when he carried parts from a V2 rocket, they shot him immidiatly on suspicion of espionage. A tragic end....

Very interesting for dutch readers is a 4 part dutch podcast about the life of Hanso Idzerda. It is made around a find of four 78tpm vinyl LPs (fictional) and includes Hanso's voice. It might not be so interesting for foreign readers except if you understand Dutch. You can find the four podcasts here:

https://www.vpro.nl/programmas/pension-idzerda.html

PCGG transmitter
Update:

I found many items and recordings on youtube about Idzerda as well. Including recordings of his first official transmission. Below a series from the Dutch Institute for Sound and Vision. It has english undertitles and some of it is english spoken:


Monday, November 4, 2019

#cqww PA6AA video

I gathered all the video and photo material from our CQWW SSB 2019 contest participation into one length video. It's quite long....enjoy!


Sunday, November 3, 2019

A good start of the Sunday

Calling on what looked like a death band....


Suddenly 3B8CW Clive from Mauritius came back. Who says FT8 is not magic? I still feel the same compared to this would happen in any other mode...it's radiomagic.

Have been chatting with Clive after the contact (JT-Alert chat) and we discussed the propagation. Clive wrote me he uses a Icom IC-7610, 200W into a hexbeam. His signal only became stronger in the mean time, till about +4dB.




Saturday, November 2, 2019

10m FT8 Sat. 2-Nov-2019

I hope 10m will open today. I hear that many times. Check 10m out and call CQ! I'm happy there is FT8. This is the populair mode now and reveals DX that would otherwise be missed. Today I had a lucky contact on 10m with Z81B (South Sudan). Of course I cannot be at the radio for 12 hours a day at daylight time otherwise more DX could have been possible....


It is impossible for me to monitor every day of the week. But I think a path to Africa opens every day these days. The only problem is that there are not many stations in that continent. 

Friday, November 1, 2019

#cqww SSB 2019 PA6AA contest review

Event: CQWW SSB 2019
Section:  Multi Operator Two Radio High Power
Logger: N1MM+
Station 1: Elecraft K3s 400W
Station 2: Elecraft K3s 400W
Antenna 160m: Inverted-L
Antenna 80m: Inverted-L + dipole
Antenna 40m: 4 square + dipole
Antenna 20m: 2 element SteppIR
Antenna 15m: 4 element yagi
Antenna 10m: 2 element SteppIR

PA6AA team: PB7Z, PA3OES, PD1RP, PA4O, PE4BAS
Support: PA0VAJ, PE1OEU, Feike



This is the long awaited review of the CQWW 2019 as experienced at the PA6AA contestteam. Bernard PB7Z does rent the house for a week now so we have time to build all the antennas. I brought and built the first scaffold already the monday before the contest, this was to support the steppIR. The other antennas were built over the week. We also constructed a 80m 4 square but it never took part in the contest since it was blown away by a storm already at friday evening. We also had large winds at Saturday. Something we know about but still we forget to take it in account...we need only the best hardware to setup everything. So we had a Spiderbeam pole for the 160m inverted-L that performed well, those spiderbeam poles are just way better and can stand large winds. But bad luck continued, we couldn't control the steppIR first day and after some search we tracked it down on a faulty coax and a loose connector. The 15m beam rotor broke as well so we had to turn the beam by hand. But in between we managed to keep 2 stations on air constantly. We started very well with good QSO rate but it didn't go on for the whole contest probabely due to bad propagation. The low bands were also much noisier as last year. But you can't complain much, we had to go on and we did...

Some stats: 2688 QSOs, 125 DXCC, ODX: ZM4T (18000km), 6 continents, 37 CQ zones. So, even with these bad conditions (bottom of the solar cycle) we have worked DX around the world.

PA6AA map of our contacts (click to enlarge)
When I arrived at Sunday morning there was not much going on. André PA3OES complained 20m was almost done. He had the idea to check 10m, it was pretty early actually for that band but he saw some spots I guess. Well after we switched over I took over and slowly the 10m became alive. I could work most of Europe and even some Asia and Africa, real magic. The 2 element SteppIR worked very well on that band and I'm glad we had a good antenna for 10. It didn'last forever of course...Unfortunately the QSO rate didn't hold on the low bands in the evening, it was a struggle to get some QSOs and we had the idea even with the power we used we didn't get our signal out. It certainly was not the best effort ever. But after all we almost managed to have as much QSOs as last year. And we had a lot of fun of course....

We already think about next year. Better antenna setups, better equipment....better ideas? Well we'll see what next time brings....most important is that we have fun!


Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Mongolia on topband

I was wandering over the bands this evening looking for DX. Looking for a contact with D68CCC (Comoros) actually but couldn't hear or see him on any band. So I was checking propagation on 30/40/60/80/160. I just arrived on 160m when I saw JT1CO from Mongolia calling....and some miracle happened, I made the QSO! I don't know why the vertical is doing so well on 160m? It is actually a 30m vertical dipole on top of my tower. May be I should consider abandoning 60m for a while and take 160m as my new DX band?

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Rotor troubles

Unfortunately the rotor for the 15m beam in the CQWW contest broke. So I had to turn with my bare hands. That involved climbing the scaffold and turn the antenna which is very difficult in large winds.

Below a video I made just after I turned the beam...not for those that are afraid of heights ;-)


Friday, October 25, 2019

#cqww reminder & request and working VP6R

Just to remind you all that the CQWW DX SSB contest is this full 48 hours weekend! Please give us a call! Our callsign will be PA6AA. Find all info and latest spots HERE.

If possible I would like to request video and audio recordings from our signal were ever you are. This will be for research and publicity after the contest. All QSOs will be confirmed via QSL bureau. If you got something to share my e-mail adres and/or from PA6AA can be found via QRZ.com.

So far the team has all antennas in place. However they expect large winds tomorrow and this could damage the antennas as we experienced in previous years. Last night we already had some damage but team members have repaired everything. We hope all repairs will hold.




Via the HamAlert app I saw VP6R (Pitcairn Island) spotted again on 60m FT8 this morning. I had to
try on remote but I had problems reaching my desktop. However, I managed to solve the problems and had a chance to try. VP6R was weak at first but far after sunrise the signal suddenly came up. In F/H mode I even saw 5 traces at the same time. Best report I saw was -3dB which is pretty strong for a station from the other side of the world. After a first unsuccessful try the second report was confirmed by a RR73. See the 7 messages in 1 timeslot from VP6R! Several sources on the internet told that you need WSJT-X V2.1 to make contact but you can do it with JTDX as well...
Well, I'm very happy with this ATNO and new one on 60m, you can imagine. The amazing thing is that last signal from VP6R I received was a CQ with -18dB at 9:25 UTC. That is 11:25 local time and 3 hours after local sunrise!




Tuesday, October 22, 2019

#cqww DX SSB the fun has begun

One of the 4-squares
One of the largest radio contests of the world, the CQWW DX SSB contest, will be held this upcoming weekend. We will take part as PA6AA again from Westpolder, Hornhuizen JO33dj. An excellent and quiet contest location near the sea. It is not only the contest but also the fun building the station and improve things. I can't reveal much about the setup we use yet, I'll do that after the contest. However, the fun has begun. The first antenna "tower" made of a scaffold has been build yesterday evening and today 4sq arrays for 40m and 80m have been made. We will setup more towers and antennas next few days. Imagine, it takes 5 days to set everything up and then we have to clean up mondaymorning in a few hours.

I hope to work some of you readers. At least if you hear us this weekend give us a shout. I will be on one of the radios at dutch daytime.

Monday, October 21, 2019

JARTS WW RTTY contest

Event: JARTS WW RTTY 2019
Section:  Single Operator Low Power  All Band 
Logger: N1MM+ newest version
RTTY engine: MMTTY & 2Tone
Station: Icom IC-7300 70W
Antenna (1): Multiband Inverted-V 2x20m ladderline fed, apex @12m agl
Antenna (2): Multiband HF vertical with CG3000 autotuner in feedpoint @17m agl

Affected by the guys from our PA6AA contest group I though I needed some contest practise for next weekend. I also wanted to take another look at N1MM+ spectrum display. Interesting to see that a IC-7300 brings a whole other dimension to RTTY contesting compared to using a IC-706. With the IC-706 I had no FSK keying. It was a everytime struggle how to set parameters in N1MM+ so I could use the bandmap. The IC-7300 needs just one USB cable to connect the computer to the radio to do it all, CAT control, FSK, CW, RTTY, Audio. Besides that N1MM+ has a build in spectrum display that is much larger as the one at the radio. Last month I wrote about the display that it is useless, I still think it is when the band is so crowded that everyone calls at the same frequencies. But....at a quieter band, like 15m was this contest,  it was very useful. I also noticed it is important how to set the span width, noise floor and static sensitivity to see more difference in signals. If you set a wide spectrum there is too much to see, you get confused. It is really worth playing with this spectrum monitor display, not only for RTTY but also for other modes. On 80m the band is always crowded here, with the spectrum display it was easy to find a quiet spot for running CQ, something I do really appreciate. I was surprised by some propagation on 15m and although I listened on 10m several times nothing was heard there...


Saturday, October 19, 2019

10m&12m 19-Okt-2019

Started to monitor 10m with WSPR today, but it wasn't a success. No propagation? Well, I switched to FT8 and suddenly the spectrum was full of signals. ODX was V51MA Namibia today.


But wait, there is more....12m was buzzing as well. And strange thing, my CG3000 suddenly matched my vertical to a reasonable SWR.


ODX was FR5CB Reunion Isl.

Friday, October 18, 2019

4 element LFA versus HB9CV


Yes, here is the long awaited comparisation between the homemade HB9CV and the mighty 4 element LFA beam. Both on same height in the same tower, same coax, same test station with same antenna and same power levels. I tested with neighbourstation PA4O Peter who is living about 15km from my QTH.

We first tested with the HB9CV. I'm a HB9CV fan. I've made various HB9CVs in the past and they were always fine. Long time ago I had a 3 element conventional designed yagi and it was not half as good as the HB9CV. I made lots of DX contacts with the HB9CV and was even spotted in VK with 1W WSPR on longpath in 2015. That's why I'm always sceptic about theoretical numbers. Specialists will say that the HB9CV is of course not that good compared to a bigger LFA.

TX best signal was 6,5-7 at PA4O
RX best signal was 6 from PA4O









Last evening we tested with the LFA. Of course the LFA has 2 more elements and a closed loop as radiator. It is a incredible design and much better as conventional designs from last century. Of course this is not a fair comparisation but I wanted to be shure it the LFA is really that good. Not theoretically but under real conditions.

TX best signal at PA4O 8,5-9
RX best signal from PA4O 7,5-8

Theoretically because of the test results the LFA would be better as the HB9CV on this distance. I don't know what the actual specs are from the LFA. When I look around I see something like 14,2dBi. In dB that would be 14,2-2,15=12dB. The HB9CV would be doing something like 4dB but probabely on another angle. Difference between the antennas would be 8dB. In that case you would expect less as 2 s-unit difference. But of course a s-meter like we use in the IC-7300 and in Peter's case the IC-7410 is not that accurate and just a indication. The big difference actually is the front/side and front/back ratio. Wow, what a difference it is...

Yes.....I believe now, after this test, the LFA definitely is a better antenna. But what would happen if I extend the HB9CV with 2 directional elements?

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

QRPguys digital FSM continued

After waiting for a answer from QRPguys for over 2 weeks I noticed KY6R Rich wrote about a QRPguys "paraset" kit designed by Steve KD1JV. I thought Steve might be able to help me out with the modification on the digital voltmeter module. So I decided to send him a e-mail and within a few hours I had a helping answer. Actually basically it would be a trail and error try to modify the voltmeter, he explained how to measure from the yellow sense wire on which resistor to short out. He also told me instead of a 100V type I should take a 30V type without mod. But this solution would take weeks before I have a new module.



So I took another look at the diagram supplied with the kit. It shows a jumper from the yellow sense wire shorting out a resistor and a potmeter which are connected in series. Thinking that this is always the same whatever the lay out I started to measure several junction to find out were to solder the wire. The picture at the right shows the results. The conclusion is that when I solder a wire between point 3 and point 1 I short out the potmeter and the resistor below the potmeter which are obviously connected in series.

Not shure about everything but I decided to continue with the last part of the kit. Mounting the voltmeter and the sense potmeter on the printboard. Soon it was evident the bushings supplied could not fit, they are too wide (or the screws are too short ;-) ).  I decided filing them, but the material is very tuff. It took a electric powerfile to get anything off.



The result including the short out wire can be seen on the picture. Ready to assemble without any difficulties this time...



Below the finished project finally working:


Testing: I hoped for a more accurate FSM but so far it is just a indicator just like a analog FSM. The potmeter is not sensitive enough to set it to a accurate value. So, if you finally set it, for instance to 10 as a start value, next time you switch the meter on it is on 15. When you only touch the potmeter the value will change. I might look around for a 10 turn potmeter to increase the sensitivity in the future.

The push button, by the way, is a momentary on switch in parallel with the normal on switch. I had to read the manual several times before I discovered why it was there. Just for information ;-)

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Testing the vertical on 17m/160m

I always like to test the propagation on the edge. Looking for contacts on the highest band possible. Yesterday evening that was 15m (21MHz). But although I did see some stations they didn't see me. So, down one band to 17m (18MHz). I was immidiatly successful in making QSOs to the West Indies and Central America, later also North and South America. ODX was with CX7BBR from Uruquay (11529km).


When propagation faded later on I thought I try the lowest band possible, I didn't try 160m yet on my new setup. On 1840KHz I saw a german station calling Japan. So a quick view on the Japanese FT8 frequency 1908KHz revealed I did receive at least one Japanese station. For the fun of it I just tried with 50W not expecting anything. A few moments later I had 4 (!!) Japanese stations in the log.


I can't imagine it is just the vertical I use. There has to be excellent propagation yesterday evening...
But so far I am impressed with the results.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Pre-winter antennawork finished

The weather forecasted was good, but the real weather was bad today. We had rain almost the whole day again. Between the rain at some dry moments I finished the antenna task. It was only a matter of mounting a radial and connecting the antennatuner to 12VDC. What I basically did is to connect the radial via the front of the LFA and back to the tube that holds the antennas. The end was fold back a little so it would fit. You can click at the photo on the left to have a good view.
The 4 element LFA is much larger as my HB9CV, will it be so much better? I have to test it out.

The vertical does work the same as before. I always appreciated this antenna. But is it that good compared to the inverted-V? Well, I've done some tests with mixed feelings. The "one" radial construction gives it some directivity, how much?..Well 1dB or so, no shocking difference. The antenna is 7,5m long and the radial is 7,5m long as well so it is a "balanced" antenna. However the CG3000 is not a balanced tuner. It tunes well on all bands exept for 12m. I might construct a 1:4 balun to insert between the tuner and the antenna to get a easier impedance matching. Have to think about that. Hope someone can give me advice about this??
I tried it on 15m this afternoon and got surprisingly good reports from W4GHW (+4dB) and OX3HI (+12dB), which of course tells me nothing about the antenna but more about the propagation. I mentioned before, propagation is not always reciproke. Today was good for me to TX I guess and less good for RX.

Europe...



The results from the vertical are not disappointing on 40-15m till now. On 40m/30m it is certainly better as my inverted-V, on 20m, 17m and 15m I had high hopes but it is just slightly better, sometimes the inverted-V is better. I tested at daylight and most stations are from europe. I received some from the USA on 20m and they were strong (S9) but they had almost the same signal on the inverted-V. On 60m and 80m the inverted-V wins by many dBs. I didn't hear any signal on 160m so I have to test that later.

The LFA...well it has a excellent SWR over about 2MHz bandwidth, really incredible. But not much propagation on 10m today. However, monitoring for a few ours always gives some results...

And while writing this VP8LP from Falkland Islands was spotted several times.











CQ CQ...
The fun is that I had a german tourist sightseeing my antennas just after I had everything in the air again. DL1BFE Gregor from Borkum actually, we met on lightship the Borkumriff in 2013. Unfortuntately he and his wife had to get on the train to the Eemshaven to get home again with the Ferry. I just discovered Gregor is a autor of some interesting books: http://www.gregor-ulsamer.de/

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Pre-winter antennawork in progress (2)

One last view on the summer
setup...
Well, the weather forecast was not really good for today but it was at least dry in the morning. I decided to dismantle all the antennas in my tower and change them for the HF vertical and the 10m 4 element LFA beam. The summer antennas are in the garage again now. Not shure if I will install the 6m beam next summer? I might try a 4m beam for a change, something I will decide next year when the ES-season is approaching.


First of all I was thinking about my CG3000 autotuner. You all remember what happened in june 2018 with all the water in my tuner, I don't want to have that again. Personally I do think it is condensation after all and the water formed over the years I got the tuner in the mast. So I drilled a small hole in the bottom of the tuner to ventilate the inside, to keep the water outside I mounted a small tube in the hole.


The tuner and the vertical have to be mounted isolated from the tower to perform well. So I needed to extend the antenna mounting tube. It took some effort but I managed to slam a glasfiber tube, I previously used for the 80m horizontal loop, into the top. I mounted the vertical and the tuner without any problems. After that the beam which I already prepared was mounted. It took time to route al the wires...

Now, I need to turn the tower up, rotate the antenna and turn the tower down again in order to mount the radial for the vertical. But unfortunately the weather changed as forecasted. Actually it kept raining...and raining. And when it got dark it was still raining. No further antennawork was possible. Have to wait till tomorrow...



So, now the tower is up and waiting...so far the SWR on the LFA is very good. I hope the vertical will be working as well as soon as it is ready tomorrow...hopefully the weather is better.