Saturday, April 29, 2023

Building another YU7EF duoband antenna (1)

 As mentioned in the last post I'm building another duoband 6m/4m antenna for PB7Z Bernard. I have no scrap parts for this build and have to design everything from start. I learned from my own similair antenna build and want to make the antenna as good as possible.

Just to get the idea...

First challenge today was the aluminium tubing which did not fit the way I want it to be. Since I have to transport the whole antenna by car I need to cut the tubes for the 6m elements in half. To connect them together again I thought of sliding a tube of 10mm inside. This also gives the tube more strength in the center. However, instead of the expected inside diameter of 10mm it was 9,5mm. Drilling this to 10mm proved to be difficult since the drilling gives a lot of turning force on the tube. I didn't want to fix it in a vise, have tried it with a scrap tube but it gives a lot of damage even if I protect the tube, The risk of pressing the tube to an oval shape is also high. Holding the tube with my bare hands didn't work at first. But I found the solution after some experiments with ducktape which gave a lot of mess on the tube. The trick is to wear special high grip gloves. I used "Showa 380" gloves which are specially designed to hold small smooth or oily objects. They proved to be very good and drilling the tubes was no problem at all this way.

The gloves used
The 6m dipole so far. Insulated with a piece of teflon staff

Thursday, April 27, 2023

Blogging in April and how about the radio hobby

 Only my third post in April. Yes, I lost my inspiration I think. And also traditionally we have a very busy month at the job causing chaos in my mind. However, I worked some very nice DX this month, something I don't want to mention every time. You can see some nice ATNO DXCC on the right site of the blog if you're viewing it with a desktop or tablet. I'm still active on the HF bands and still DXing. I also have lots of projects waiting. Too many actually. Besides that we also started to rebuild another part of the house. So, you see I'm quite busy.

Well, a sneak preview at one of the first projects. I want to finish this as soon as possible. It is the duoband 4m/6m beam build for PB7Z Bernard. I have most of the parts but unfortunately encounter some problems with the measurements. I really don't know if others have this problem as well. This is what the problem actually is:

Not my picture, but it worried me. I have some stanley tape measures and did compare them as well, and indeed you see differences. If you take the wrong tape measure you will have an antenna that is out of specs. You can imagine the troubles you will get.

I already cut the elements for the length they need to be, but is it right? Besides that I need to drill out the tubes inside from 9,6mm -> 10mm in the center to connect them back together in the center and that counts for the 6m dipole center as well. I have no lathe. So there is no option to reduce the 10mm connecting rods. Have you ever tried to drill alluminium? Just a hole is not a problem, but to drill a inside of a tube is hard without damaging something.

But anyway, I see this as a challenge. In the end I will manage to finish the project for shure.

Friday, April 14, 2023

Why I will not participate in the PACCdigi contest

  The PACCdigi contest is tomorrow. It is organized by the VERON which is also organizing the famous yearly dutch PACC contest. Of course it is nice to have another digital mode contest and the mixed mode FT4/FT8/RTTY section has some interesting challenges to setup. I've participated the first time this was organized in 2021. I faced the challenges to get WSJT-X and MMTTY working together with the N1MM+ contest software. It worked, I did make contacts. But it was not really my thing and I didn't even bother to make a report of it on my blog.

I considered to take part this year. I was especially interested in the FT4 part of the contest since the QSO rate with FT4 could be twice as high compared to FT8. But then I read in the rules that for FT4 the standard frequencies will be used, while for FT8 there are special frequencies.

I get the impression that the organisation did not really do any research. The FT4 frequencies are full of activity lately and much too crowded to have contest stations doing their thing. 

Above a map from a few hours FT4 last week. Including a contact with T30UN (Western Kiribati) who is very active on FT4 all bands since last week. Certainly I see FT4 is gaining popularity at the moment.

I hope the PACCdigi rules will be changed next year so they use FT4 on separate contest frequencies. If so I will consider to participate again. For those that will participate, good luck!

Saturday, April 1, 2023

Happy fool's day 2023


Of course the new digimode CW8 was a joke. But certainly well done, an article in a national hamradio magazine including a well looking website. I'm shure some people did take it seriously.

What about the new Icom IC-7300 update with WSJT-X running. Funny picture  and easy to make.

Others did some jokes as well...

And the new DX-commander Callum

I hope you all had a very good fool's day!