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NC6K USA flag USA

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This just came in the mail. I don't often win radio contest plaques, so it's a big deal when I get one! A combination of poor long-distance propagation that weekend and my relatively close proximity to W7-Land helped me beat out a lot of stations.

 


Field Day 2016

This year, I ran on emergency power (Class 1E; AGM battery) from the home QTH for the first five or six hours of Field Day, and my daughter, Ashley, made about 10 QSOs. That's why the "cheat sheet" on the unused amplifier. I then headed up to Valley Center, CA for an overnight shift at the Palomar ARC (W6NWG; Class 3A) FD site - I made about 340 QSOs on 20, 40 and 80 Meter CW. Other than almost freezing at 4:30 AM because I only had a light jacket, it was a lot of fun. Next year, I plan to try to run the 1E station for quite a bit longer, and have to think about how to recharge the battery from the home solar system (yes, I have my own solar system, and some say that I also live in my own universe).

The photos show the upgraded SO2R-capable station with Microham u2R interface (very cool once I figured out how to set it up properly), Filter Max 4 bandpass filters (also very cool once I got them working properly), and what seems like a few hundred connecting cables. I am still trying to neaten up the shack, but this is actually as organized as I've had it in a long time. The amount of heat given off by two radios, two amps, several PCs and all the ancillary gear keeps my office around 80 degrees no matter how low I turn the air conditioning in the house. Now that I've gotten the SO2R setup working, my next project is to get the newly-acquired Larcan 1 kW amplifier for 6 Meters on the air. That should also bring the room air temperature up another few degrees!

 

        


I'm very proud of and excited about my first "real" antenna setup - US Tower HDX-555 (55' crankup and tilt-over tower) and SteppIR DB36 with 80M dipole option. I've put up quite a few wire, vertical and directional antennas on push-up masts and roof tripods over the last 39 years, but this is my 1st tower and first time having an antenna more than 35' off the ground. Getting the tower installed (especially getting a two-wheel drive forklift stuck in the dirt a half-dozen times) and then putting this monster of an antenna (200+ lbs with TiltPlate option spread across a 36' boom) on the mast with three trees and a large trellis in the way was a major undertaking. I hope I get a lot of years out of this setup because I don't ever want to do it again! Quite a few of my fellow Poway and San Diego-area ham friends helped, and I absolutely could not have done it without them.


 

 

The DB36 is a VERY big antenna (the driven element loop is 49' across). It's more obvious how big it is when it's near the ground. Even at 25' off the ground, it works very well compared to what I used to use. Doesn't hurt that the ground drops off a few hundred feet over several miles to the north and northeast of my QTH. 

Watching the antenna turn for the first time up on the tower - I felt like a little kid! All that work paid off. One of my twin daughters is in the background, untangling the coax to run 175' to the shack.

Watching the antenna turn for the first time on the tower.

 

SteppIR DB36

DB36 at 60', where it belongs. I've even managed to put my 2M/440 vertical on top, and the coverage is amazing.

The tower was laying down and I hadn't yet put the "trombone" loops on the DB36. Those three trees proved a major impediment when I had to crank up the whole thing. The antenna was so heavy that it bent the 2" steel mast at the thrust bearing by about 5 degrees! If you look carefully at some of the other pictures, you can see the mast isn't quite plumb. I plan to change out the mast for a thicker-walled version soon.

It's a LOT easier to crank up the tower with no antenna on it!

This is the hole that was dug for the tower base. 5 feet square and 7-1/2 feet deep. Luckily, the spot that I chose was fill dirt, and not the decomposed granite that makes up most of the local soil. It took a small excavator about four hours (with a professional driver at the wheel). Only one irrigation pipe was killed in the making of this hole (you can see what's left of it at the bottom left of the hole).

Rebar cage and concrete form - right before the pour. 

Does it work?

Here's an excerpt from my log over a 3-day period - you be the judge. I've also been getting a lot of S9 + 20 dB signal reports on 40 meters.

 

  Click to get your own widget

 

   

    NC6K_WPX_MIXED_PDF_CERTIFICATE  

 

I was first licensed in January 1977 when I was 13 years old. I lived in Huntington Station, NY and had the call WB2KIH. Interestingly, I got my Advanced class license on July 13, 1977 and failed the Extra exam by one question! Exactly 25 years later, on July 13, 2002, I passed the Extra exam and obtained my current call - NC6K.

I am active on HF and VHF, and am trying to gather enough contacts for 5BDXCC and 10BWAS (I need about 15 states on 6 meters - no easy task from DM13). I enjoy operating almost all modes, although CW is still my favorite. Lately, I've been working JT65 on HF and 6M, and it's pretty neat.

ou can find me on the Mt. Woodson repeater (145.180-, PL 107.2) when I'm not on HF or 6M. As of 3/27/16, I finally have a "real" antenna and tower (SteppIR DB36 on US Tower HDX-555) - the installation was something (see the photo gallery for pictures).

My current setup is now SO2R-capable, which was a bit of a challenge to get working properly, especially for high power:

XCVRs: Yaesu FTdx5000mp / FlexRadio 6300 (SO2R), FT-857D (VHF/UHF FM mostly, and emergency power backup)

AMPs: Alpha 9500 & Acom 1000.

             I picked up a repurposed Larcan 6 Meter Amplifier that was retired from TV service, and now have it working. It is a solid state amplifier that puts out a kW with about 6.5 W drive (22 dB gain). 

ANTENNA: SteppIR DB36 at 60' (80 - 6 Meters) & OCF Dipole at 55'. 2 M/440 vertical at 60' for VHF/UHF.

RX ANTENNA: DX Engineering DXE-ARAV3-2P Dual Active Verticals and DXE-NCC-1 Receive Antenna Variable Phasing Controller (oriented SW to NE).

SO2R: Microham u2R 2-Radio Interface with Winkeyer. Filter Max 4 Bandpass Filters, Rigblaster Advantage (for Yaesu voice keying and digital modes), and a lot of cables connecting everything.

EMERGENCY POWER: Champion 7 kW generator that runs on gasoline, propane and natural gas. AGM battery with automatic power switching. We don't often have power outages here, but when we do, it's usually a few days before service is restored, so it's nice to know I now have backup for the house and the shack.



I am happy to QSL Direct, Via the Buro, eQSL and especially using LOTW. I still enjoying receiving and collecting paper QSL cards, so don't be surprised if you get a request from me. I promise 100% response to received cards, but be patient as work and family sometimes delay me a few weeks on the replies. If you haven't gotten a card back (for direct requests) in about a month, feel free to email me to remind me. I am a firm believer in the courtesy of returning all cards.

73 and hope to CU on the bands!

Eric NC6K


 

NC6K and Ashley (one of my twins) at Field Day 2013


Operating 20M CW for the Palomar ARC at Field Day 2013
(I've lost 50 lbs since then)

 

7589876 Last modified: 2016-09-25 02:08:44, 17272 bytes

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