First licensed in 1977 as a Novice at age 14, I have enjoyed many aspects of ham radio. Currently my focus is on chasing DX & awards and I hold: 8BDXCC, TPA and VUCC-6m (325 grids). Under my old callsign I was awarded: VUCC-Sat (#86), 5BWAC and more. On 11-11-11, I was first listed in DXCC Challenge standings for confirming 1000 band countries. (Next submission I'll be over 1500!)
I got back on the air in the summer of 2010 with a new call after a 5 year hiatus. I am QRV on 160m-6m with a Yaesu FT-847 "Earth Station", using an MH-31 hand mic, Kent SP-1 paddle, HK5A Ham Keyer, a J-38 straight key, an MFJ-929 tuner and a Signalink USB for digital. Also pictured is an Astron SS-25 power supply, an Ameritron RCS-4 remote antenna switch and the rotor controllers for the HF & 6m beams.
My antenna farm includes a T.G.M. MQ-36 Hybrid Quad on a tripod mounted mast that doubles as a 40m vertical, a reworked Butternut vertical for 80/160m, a modified Hy-Gain AV-18VS vertical for 30m and a homebrew 4 element six meter quad antenna.
The T.G.M. MQ-36 Hybrid Quad is a three element yagi with a diamond shaped quad reflector. It has a reduced physical size thanks to wire coils and capacitive spokes, but therefore has reduced bandwidth. It covers six bands: 20, 17, 15, 12, 10 & 6 meters. The basic elements are the approximate length of those for a 6m yagi and then have a coil and capacitive hat located on both ends of each element for each of the HF bands. The 2:1 bandwidth on 20m is about 100 kHz, while the 2:1 bandwidth on 10m is over 1 MHz. The bandwidth on 17 & 12m is wide enough to cover the whole band and over half of the band on 15m. The beam is mounted at twenty-five feet on top of a 28 foot telescoping mast, which is not fully extended. The Rohn H-30 mast is mounted in a 9'4" Rohn tripod and secured with quarter inch Dacron rope to four 2-3/8" fence posts.
The tripod is bolted to wooden railroad ties. As a result, the tripod and mast are electrically insulated from the ground. Considering the height of the antenna, coupled with the top loading capacitance of the beam, I estimated the whole thing should be resonant somewhere near 40 meters. After creating a direct feed point (connection to a tripod leg and an 8' copper ground rod joined to a common radial field) the result was a very wide resonance at 6 Mhz. The SWR of the antenna is less than 2:1 across the 40m band. (SWR is 1.6:1 across the five 60m channels; however I don't have a 60m capable radio.) Unexpectedly, it also appears to be resonant around 14 Mhz and shows an SWR of less than 1.05:1 across the 20m band. - The picture on the right shows the feedlines from the shack and HF antennas connecting to a remote switch. All lines have toroid chokes to help cut down on common mode RFI.
This is a refurbished/reworked Butternut vertical modified for 160m & 80m. On the left you see rope guys and top loading wires while on the right you can see an added coil and larger capacitors. I have laid out a common radial field for all three antennas that averages 32 radials for each. (So far I have about 90 percent of the 3000' of 20 ga. solid copper wire in place.) The thick bermuda grass I have in my yard has made it slow going. I've had to cut through the grass with a trimmer so the wire can be laid next to the ground and then kept in place with wire staples. Note the toroid choke, radial connections and matching coil in the inset. The wire coil is a 'Q' coil and helps match the feedline impedence closer to 50 ohms. (Verticals are normally 36 ohms at the feedpoint.)
This is a Hy-Gain AV-18VS that I modified for use on 30m only. I removed the coil that came with it, then added a short section of mast at the base to extend the length as well as aluminum wire loops at the top for capacitive loading. I kept the feedpoint at the same location using a crimp style blade termination and a hose clamp. The SWR is 1.2:1 and it works better than the shortened vertical dipole I used previously. It is connected to the common radial field which is well beyond 1/4 wavelength for this band.
I saw plans on the internet for a 6m quad using some items I happened to have left over from other projects; PVC pipe and some fiberglass fence posts from my previous winter's 80/160m above ground radials. Once I had some time, I studied the plans, made a few minor changes to the design, spent about $20 at Home Depot and started working on a 6m quad of my own. I glued the PVC pipe together then drilled holes for the spreaders with the help of a neighbor's drill press. Next I made up a feedpoint on the end of one of the spreaders and wrapped an RF coaxial choke. Then I measured out the wire and cut the proper lengths for the elements. I spent a couple hours the next afternoon assembling it and getting it up in the air. The boom is about 9 feet in length, mounted up about 15 feet off the ground and the antenna weighs around 13-14 pounds. The elements are made from 17 gauge aluminum wire left over from the above ground radial project. I am anxious to see how well it performs during the spring E-skip season this year.
My wife N4ICY has spent many hours out in the sun helping with everything from tweaking elements, to pruning wires, untangling ropes, hoisting antennas and general fetching & handing of tools. Yes, my wife helps with antenna work. She also enjoys going to hamfests and chatting with other XYLs. Be jealous, guys, be VERY jealous!
And just in case you were wondering, there are two "UFOs" in Statesville, NC: W4UFO
Hope to work you soon. 73!
Last modified: 2014-01-29 11:25:02, 7243 bytes
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