12/08/2014 Just upgraded my computer to Windows 8.1 from XP. Big difference and going to take some time to get to know how to use it.
Since just after CQWWPHN till a couple/three days ago the bands have been extremely noisey with a 59+15/+20 background noise. Many times I would search 10-20 meters for a signal and only find maybe one. Thank the Lord just 2-3 days ago the bands seemed to come alive and the background noise is now S5-6 at least during the day. Have made several contacts on 10-20 meters including a few DL's which was encouraging. Interesting enough the lower angle on the steppir was more noisey than the higher angle of the 40/80 meter slopers during the bad noise. I know there were signals on the bands but I could not copy them. Sometimes the lower background noise on the slopers would let me know someone was on when the steppir wouldn't.
Oh, I sent my Elecraft K3 in to the factory to get the second xcvr in as will as some upgrades. Had the 2.8Kc 8 pole filter substitued for the 2.7Kc 5 pole. Now I just got to learn how to switch between them. Also had the software brought up to todays standards.
Take a look at W7YRV's site on qrz.com! It really made me think about putting up towers.
DO NOT REQUEST ME TO ACKNOWLEDGE A QSO IN THE QRZ LOGGING SYSTEM, ONE LOG IS MORE THAN ENOUGH! ALL REQUEST WILL BE ELLIMINATED! I WON'T USE THIS NEW SYSTEM. I USE LOGBOOK OF THE WORLD. ALSO, IF SOMEONE SENDS A CARD WITH SASE/GREEN STAMPS ($) I WILL QSL.
NO IRC'S. Green Stamps or LoTW PLEASE. International Reply Coupons are no longer being accepted here!
I've put the steppir back up on the new crankup tower and it sure is nice not to fight SWR issues and to have an antenna that I know works well. I have resolved the winch problems. The new Ramsey RE8000 worm gear winch works well. It did require a custom mount but it is a beast of power and I just got to remember not run it too long. Take short up and down runs about 20 seconds or less and make sure the winch doesn't get too hot (low duty cycle). No hand winch could be used to raise this heavy of tower the way I have it setup. Even with the 40:1 ratio worm gear hand winch it took about 80 or more pounds of force to crank it and that was just an inch or so per revolution. And adding a second pulley in a doubled line setup didn't help. 900 plus pounds of tower and antenna requires a winch like the 8000 pound Ramsey RE8000 worm gear 12 volt winch. A bonus would be to parallel two marine batteries for more current capability but I haven't had to do that yet. Leasons learned the hard way!
The three pictures above are a closeup of the steppir and GP6 (2mtr/440), the Ramsey RE8000 winch with it's custom mount, and a longer distance picture of the tower and antenna along with the house and my toy (el camino). Well, you could almost see the house if it wasn't for my favorite tree.
The two pictures below are of the Steppir at 70' (about 21.5 meters) high. I can still go up another 10' or so and may do that come contest season. There are three guys on the top section that are 1/4 wavelength 80 meter slopers but only the SW sloper seems to work right now. That problem has since been resolved. The 80 meter slopers all work now.
You can also see the second pulley up on the tower to devide the load in half between the two lines. Also the 'X' frame I use to strengthen the tower when I lay it over.
Above is picture of the tower while I was building the two section crankup affair. Note the rotor is below the top of the lower rohn 45 sections. The u-bolts on the rotor plate dragged and would catch on the outside section bolts so I no longer lower the upper section into the lower section where the rotor plate is. That leaves about 10 foot of rohn 25 tower above the top of the lower rohn 45 sections. Note that this picture is prior to my adding a second pulley on the tower deviding the load. But it does give a good look at the customized tower setup.
Below is the 5 band 20-10 meter, 30' boom quad array I used to have. 14-15 square foot that I changed out for the Steppir 3 element 20-6 meter in 2006. If anyone wants the dementions I developed on NECWIRES 2.0 for the big quad array I can send a file over email to them. I worked several months on my old computer developing the quad dementions for each band and it seemed to work out well. My latest quad design of 4 elements on 20/17/15, 7 elements on 12/10, and a 2 element folded yagi for 40 meters proved to have major issues with 12, 15 and 40. I'm sorry to say it but Necwires 2.0 failed me (or I failed it). I'm sure it was due to the combining of all the bands together....maybe LBCebik was right about complications with multiband quads. I have seen such issues with 10 and 12 before and did manage to resolve it on the older 30' boom quad you see below. If I try building another quad array it will start out as a single band (20 mtrs) and after that works I will add a band at a time ...maybe. That is a hard process to do since I have to rotate the spider/spreaders to string on the elements for each band. Also hard process with overhead trussing that has to be disconnected.
I've had a picture up in my shack for years of a 1965 red El Camino that I've always wanted but never thought I would be able to afford it. Well you might say a miracle happened and I got my 'Dream Car', a red 1965 El Camino with 350 cu. in, automatic, black interior bench seat, and loud pipes. It really came like a bolt out of the blue, completely unexpected, but I did have that picture up in my shack for years... Maybe I should put a picture of a big multi-element quad on a 100' tower up in my shack, ya' think?
Lately I've been looking at GTO's from 1964-1967. I'm going to put a picture of one up in my radio shack. Who knows what might happen....Also maybe a 1964 Impala. Hummmmmm? Well, I went another direction here. Looking at impala's I got to looking at the newer ones and ended up buying a 2006 Impala SS. Figured since I'm not the greatest mechanic and don't really enjoy working on cars a whole lot I'd be better off getting a late model one. Do enjoy watching the shows like overhauling, wheeler dealers, etc. but that's there bag, not mine. I'll just watch and fiddle with my El Camino every once in a while.
Below are some pictures from my messy shack.
51J-4 Collins RCVR above the R-390.
Lineup on antennas as of 4/07/2014
1. 3 element 20-6 meter Steppir at 77.5' now (23.846 meters) with a 16' boom. After having a major issue with water in the coax I brought down the tower, replaced the bad coax. The highest beam antenna I ever had of my own.
2. Hygain hytower with 80 meter 'stinger' removed and my 40 meter DX Engineering DXE-40VE-1 mounted as a ground plane(GP) on top of the tower. Gets out very well for DX, low angle of radiation but very noisey on receive. Four 34' radials on the ground plane. SWR is ideal and very broadbanded across the whole 40 meter band.
3. Four 40 3/4 wavelength and 1/4 wavelength 80 meter slopers off the tower at 72 feet or so. The slopers are NNE,ESE,SSW and WNW. The 80 meter slopers all dip in now somewhere between 3.725-3.800 and have a bandwidth of 130 Khz or more. The 40 meter slopers want to sit at 7.150-7.185 and also have about 130 Khz bandwidth. Maxwell's recomendations are to use a tuner. But I just don't trust tuners when running high power during contest. Too easy to have something go wrong and not notice until you fry your expensive amp or 3CX800A7's! I can try transmitting on the 40 meter GP and listing on the 40 slopers by switching the coax switch too since the GP is noisey on receive.
5. 135' of wire in an inverted L' arrangement for 160 meters. Goes up at about a 70 degree angle to 65' high, then bends over towards the front of my property. Fed against the hytower radial system. Just rebuilt the tuning coil with solid 1/8" or 3/16" copper wire. 9 1/2 turns about 4" diameter with a jumper to bypass coils and tunes between 1830-1930Khz. Has about 60Khz of bandwidth, +-30Khz each side. It dip's in near 1:1 SWR. From what I have learned about 160 meter antennas that is about the best they get. I am looking to try a ballon and pull up a Ground Plane on 160 for the CQWWDX 160 MTR Phone contest this next Febuary (maybe anyway). Scare the neighbors and myself with power lines at the front and back of the property. But it's contest season, right?
6. K9AY antenna system for receive on 160 and 80 meters. I've got the new switch box in and it seems to work somewhat. Time will tell how well the receive antennas work out but so far I'm not real impressed (12/2014).
7. GP6 for 2 mtrs/440 on top of the mast reaching 85'. One of these days I need to dig out my 2 meter rig and hook that up.
8. Have just put together a 160/80 meter dual receive loop setup from KC2TX like you see on the web. Hoping it will help overcome some of the noisey band conditions. Especially hoping it will do the job on 160 meters for hearing some of the week one. I've got comments via email during or after 160mtr CQWWPH like 'we heard you loud and clear but you could not hear us' so this may help.
PROBLEM: Changed out the driven element EHU because of intermittent connection problems. Suspect the SO-239 'prongs' becoming loose. I have lost the chip driving the driven element in the controller once (on the Friday of CQWWPH). Now I have a second controller just in case. Also fixed a high SWR on 10 meters apparently caused by my not soldering the sheild onto the SO-259 connectors on the LMR-400 50 ohm coax. Only showed up on 10 meters.
People are flexable, computers are ridged and inflexable. 30 hours of CQWW160MSSB contest and it takes about 6-8 more hours to get the log file uploaded to the server! ARRRGGGGHHHH! (2/22/2014, hooray, I submitted it first time this year!)
Equipment: Elecraft K3 with P3,Yaesu FT-1000MP with SP-8, FT-1000D with SP-5; Icom R-7000 VHF/UHF/SHF receiver; Command Technology HF-2500 160-10 mtr amp; Dentron DTL-2000L 160-10 mtr amp (my basket case amp); Henry Radio 2K-Classic 80-10 mtr amp; Drake MN-2700 antenna tuner. Various boatanchor receivers like Hallicrafters SX-28, National HRO-60, Collins 51J-3 and 51J-4, R-390 and R-390A. Johnson Ranger AM/CW transmitter.
9/20/2013 Mail cost have skyrocketed. Sometime back I sent several large envelopes and a box of qsl cards to overseas bureaus. Even the 420 JA cards were less than $8-10. Now calculation of 1.7 ounces for the UK showed lowest price about $20! I just checked for 1.4 oz to Germany and it was unbelieveable. (5/5/14) I have about 7" of cards to send to many bureaus but I will get around to sending them through the ARRL overseas bureau service while my subscription last. 7/22/2014 Just sent off to ARRL Overseas QSL Service 500+ qsl card. Paid $12.35 to send the USPS priority mail box plus $40.00 to the ARRL. QSL'ing isn't cheap these day but I do still try to respond to those who sent me cards.
United States Army Security Agency 4/69 to 4/72. Stationed at Ft.Ord (basic), Ft.Devens, MA; 7th RRFS Udorn Thailand; Vint Hill Farms, VA. 05D20/30. Now days no one even knows about the old ASA it seems. Getting old, huh!
19 years at Tektronix and 7 years at Xerox, first as an Electronic Technician, then in telecommunications.
Umpqua Valley Amateur Radio Club founding member along with WB7OTR,AE7Q,W7LNE,WB7OTM,KA7DCL,KA7ADI and others back about 1975 or 76.
Elmer: AE7Q, Dave Lee (SK) 'best technician I ever knew'. I miss him ever day for his technical advice and his humor.
CQ Zone 03 and ITU Zone 06
51J-3 Collins RCVR with my dream 64' GTO and WWII jeep 1:18 scale models. I consider the 51J-3 a better receiver than the 51J-4 due to apparent AVC/AGC issues. Backing off the RF gain helps. Below is my 75A-4 I picked up recently and recapped the 'black beauty' caps in it. It works very well. It's in the back room right now because of lack of space in the ham shack (imagine that).
Above is an older picture of my messy shack (a messy shack is a happy shack). FT-1000mp, FT-1000D, etc. You might also note the 1965 El Camino picture on the monitor that's been up for several years.
An older picture of the old man playing radio from a couple of years back. Below I added a picture of the failed quad project from last summer. Several reasons for that...don't use 3 inch irragation pipe for a long boom, it's too light. While more work could have resolved the 12/10 meter conflict by putting 12 behind the 10 meter antenna using 10 as directors for 12 and 12 as reflector(s) for 10. Taking on a project like a big quad array can wear you out and that is kind of what happened. Especially when I was also combining it with the 'new' tower project. Going back to the steppir solved alot of issues but of course I still think about having another big quad (Doctor, Doctor, it hurts when I do this!...Don't do that!) if you know what I mean. I should be happy with the 3 element steppir.
Having just one big tower I've always tried to add secondary antennas to get the most 'bang for the buck'. It always seemed like a waist to only have the beam or quad on the tower and little else. Only thing is it's always a problem raising and lowering the tower to adjust the SWR on the slopers or whatever secondary antenna I have. And I'm a guy if there is a nail, branch or anything to catch a wire within a couple hundred feet, I'll find it! Funny how it always works out that way.
That's the old man with Patrick 'fat cat' who weighs about 25 pounds and has claws (oh, did I do something wrong?). Poor Patrick is like Rodney Dangerfield, get's no respect around here. Even Shaddow(used too anyway) and Hanna my wife's dog gang up on him. Pecking order I guess. Sometimes I take pity on him but then he drools too!
Below is my dream car come true...1965 El Camino. I added a couple more pictures of the El Camino. It's the time of the year when I keep it covered up and set a heater in it to make sure it does not get too cold. 'She's real fine my 350'... Just had some more work done on the El Camino and she is running very good, got a new speedometer and mileage gauge that works, a new gas cap that doesn't take a key (that might get lost) to open, and one or two other things. I could say alot of things but basically a classic car can cost a bit.
I really like this picture below showing the tower and steppir with the dramatic sky in the background. At this time (summer/fall 2013) the steppir was at 70 ft. with a 40 meter inverted V' on the pulley system.
Really looks good up there! And having a pulley setup with dacron line gives me the ability to raise and lower 40 meter inv V' or some other antennas easily. I run a long RG-8X feedline down from the remote switch box at the top of the tower to that antenna.
Winter time in Oregon, Febuary 7, 2014 saw 2-3 inches of snow (as of 21:28Zulu) today. And I was telling people how it looked like we would not get any snow this year! Wrong! The following morning I went out and measured 9" and still falling. Three days of snow in Oregon isn't usual!
Below is latest picture of the tower with the steppir at 77 feet (23.5 meters). Also can make out the 40/80 meter slopers with their pvc spacers.
A couple of pictures showing my 'new' Elecraft K3 and Panadapter P3 that I put in place of my FT-1000mp. It was really stressful deciding to pull the Yaesu FT-1000mp out of line and put the K3/P3 in it's place. The Yaesu has given me nothing but solid, reliable service since 1996. But the K3 is suppose to have better capabilities for handling QRM and a generation or two newer receiver technology. I have been feeling the FT-1000mp has been having some problem dealing with the QRM in SSB contest so I made the move. As you can see the Yaesu FT-1000D is still in it's place. The -1000D is still my favorite radio to operate just because of it's fine audio, 200 watts output and ease of use. For working split frequency I don't think it can be beat, definately better than the FT-1000mp. The K3 doesn't have the capability to listen on two frequencies at the same time. At least not without the second receiver according to what I have been told. It can work on two frequencies by using the RIT/XIT or A/B receivers capabilities. The FT-1000D is realitively easy to adjust between the main receiver and the second receiver's audio levels. How many times have I heard former owners of 1000D's say 'I wish I had it back'?
Below is another picture of the steppir at 75 or 76 feet. That's the moon behind it. You can also get a shot of the 40/80 meter quarter wave slopers.
Hoping for great things out of the Elecraft K3 in coming up contests and DX chassing. I just have to learn how to use it better as far as the noise blanking and DSP noise reduction settings. I have not tried to adjust the audio pass band (equilizer) yet but am getting good reports with everything set flat with my Heil HM-10 (H-5 and H-4 cartriges). The switching between the 2.7Khz, 2.1Khz, 1.8Khz and 200 Hz filters is easy and straight forward. I just got a 6Khz filter to add for AM/General Coverage operation as well. Next thing will probably be the second receiver but learning to use the K3 it may prove not to be necessary when using the split option. So far the split operation is the only thing I did not like due to unlike using the RIT/XIT function that causes the transmit frequency to display when you hit PTT, split does not change the display frequency. You have to watch the B receiver frequency and the TX LED. Seems like it would be easy to transmit out of band thinking you were using XIT but being on split. I just wish the main display frequency would follow the TX to keep me aware of where I am on the band(s). How may times on 40 meters have you worked people down below the American phone band on split? Getting confused with the Split vs. RIT/XIT could prove embarrasing.
I have just gone through the CQWWPH 160 meter contest and the K3 did very well. That ability to adjust the roofing filter from 6Khz, 2.7Khz, 2.1Khz, 1.8Khz all the way down to 200Hz is really sweet and cuts down the qrm. I noted one group who started a qso on top of me on the low side. I was able to move 1914.5 to 1915.0 and reduce the passband down to 2200Hz and remove the interfering signals. It really helps cut the qrm out.
I can't seem to get these pictures to work so I put the smilely face instead. The folder keeps saying it's empty'
Below is a picture from this last summer when I was working on the new crank up tower arrangement. Can you find my wife's dog Hanna in the picture?
This picture is from last year when I was rebuilding the tower and a new quad. The tower worked out but the quad was a failure and I put back up the steppir. There is alot to be said for a proven antenna with great SWR curves! Quads have always facinated me more than yagi's but as time goes by I appreciate the steppir's feature more and more. Except of course when something breaks which has happened. I think it was back in 2010 on the Friday that CQWWPHN was about to start, the IC driving the driven element went out in the controller! Talk about upset, I was upset. I now have a second controller just in case from Steppir.
Knowing how I am I will always go through stages of trying different antennas to improve my setup. Every year I get to figuring out something to try to improve the reception or put out a bigger signal (or just wouldn't that be cool). It's just the way I am.
1524577 Last modified: 2014-12-16 00:43:49, 24460 bytes
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