December is a great time to do some antenna experimenting. The neighbors think I'm putting up Christmas lights. Ho Ho Ho.
December 18, 2014 - Happy Holidays. I tried laying the PAR-20 right on the shingles and it seems to work better. I located it as far away from the stucco as possible, right in the center of the roof and 90 degrees crosswise from the attic dipole. Encouraged by the result I next replaced the PAR-20 with a dipole and put a SG-230 remote tuner at the center. What I have now is an inverted vee oriented to transmit towards Navassa Island. I was lucky enough to work some Caribbean DX during the CW contest last weekend. My fingers are crossed big time for next month.
November 25, 2014 - Almost a month since last update. Thank you for working me this month. I've been trying to figure out which is the best antenna for the new location. So far the dipole in the attic is winning. In an effort to figure out the PAR/LNR EF-20 poor performance, I wanted to eliminate the horizontal piece lying on the peak of the roof. I purchased a EF-10 and replaced the EF-20. Same problem. Poor performance. I am now concluding it's not the horizontal portion lying on the roof since the EF-10 is short enough that it does not have a horizontal portion. My thinking now is the stucco is screening the rf or is acting as a capacitor plate to the antenna. At any rate it's back to the attic dipole for the time being. But I have plans. The dipole is oriented to the northeast and has a null toward the southeast. I need the southeast for the Navassa expedition in January. Next plan is a K5RP loop in the side yard (ARRL Antenna Compendium No. 2, p 39) -or-- a "Bruce array" for 10 meters. I suspected the Bruce array will have more gain than the K5RP loop. Birdfeeder verticals are still a possiblility, too.
October 31, 2014 - Happy Halloween! New antenna went up today to compete with the attic dipole. It is an end fed half wave made by LNR/PAR, model EF-20. The antenna is 32 feet long and the house is only 24 feet tall so the top 12 feet lobs over onto the roof. Some might call this an inverted L. It is not outperforming the attic dipole so far. DX is what the antenna was put up to attain but it's just reaching domestic contacts. It might take a few days to figure it out. I expected more DX from the supposed low angle radiator of the vertical. Maybe that horizontal top 12 feet is a killer.
From the day we moved in we have only run 5 watts for every contact. It might be time to try 25 watts and see if we get some DX. The mode is always JT65 for consistency and besides it's fun.
October 28, 2014 - New antenna. Yesterday I put a dipole in the attic and a remote tuner at the feedpoint. Much improvement over the Isoloop. Later I plan to move the Isoloop outdoors so it has a fighting chance. The attic dipole is 42 feet long, 24 feet above ground, and has capacity hats at each end in the form of stucco on the gable of the house. I've made successful North American contacts on 40m, 20m, 10m, and 12m so far. Still working toward dx outside of North America. RFI is minimal. On 20m my keyboard is erratic. On 12m my stereo hums. A handful of toroids might fix this. Still no problems with the AFCI circuit breakers. I am only running 5 watts. See you on the bands with my new antenna!
October 16, 2014 - We have moved! First qso from new qth (5293 Espana St., Denver, CO 80249). Working conditions are isoloop inside the ham shack. Will get up some wire antennas outside as soon as I get enough boxes unpacked.
August 10, 2014 - Frustrated that I wasn't working any DX with the mag loop I put up a dipole to compare. Voila! On the first day I worked European Russia and France --- the first DX since moving to the condo in May. I think the loop had too darn much metal and concrete surrounding it. The dipole is a keeper.
I'm noticing a characteristic regarding antenna pattern. With the mag loop I was getting almost the same signal from the west as the east. This was always a mystery to me because I am facing east on a balcony on the east side of a concrete and steel high rise apartment building. With the dipole I am getting about 99 per cent of my spots from the east, almost nothing from the west. This is consistent with what I would expect from an electric antenna like the dipole. It's radiation is not going through this building like the magnetic radiation did. Something to consider when I want to work stations west of here.
July 31, 2014 - My IC-756PRO died and I was off the air for a few days until I was lucky enough to get a shiny new IC-7600 to replace it. I'm nining and 65-ing again. See you on the bands. I donated the 756PRO to the local radio club and they sold it for $100. Somebody got a steal.
Log updates aren't getting posted right now because JTAlert and my antivirus software have an issue. Avast thinks the latest version of JTAlert is malware and deletes it. Avast is fixed now and the automatic logging is working again.
July 2, 2014 - Back to JT9. I whispered all day yesterday but I got bored not being able to log a qso. JT9 is not quite as efficient as WSPR but it's still just pretty darn good. If there was any enthusiasm for JT9-2 the efficiency would be very similar to WSPR which is also a 2 minute protocol. When we say JT9 we really mean JT9-1 because we are running the one minute version. Running just 5 watts on JT9 I was spotted by a station in Switzerland. The down side of JT9 is there's not as much activity as there is on JT65.
July 1, 2014 - Whisper. I am sticking my toe in the water of WSPR and it's interesting. It's a beacon-only mode so no qso's will show up in qrz or ClubLog. But WSPR seems to get out better. For instance, 6 meters looks dead on JT65 but on WSPR I was spotted by W8AC in Ohio. I'm running 5 watts to a quarter wave vertical made out of zip cord wire shown below. I'll keep whispering for a while.
June 20, 2014 - Thank you for the 6 meter qso. Here's a look at the wire vertical I am using. It's not pretty but it works (especially if the antenna on your end is better). I've contacted 16 states so far since June 1. That white thing is a line isolator.
June 16, 2014 - Up went the AEA Isoloop again this weekend and out went the MP-1. Not because I didn't like the MP-1 but because I want to take it out into the field.
Obviously RF radiation makes geraniums thrive. DX Dog in the corner must like the radiation, too.
The problem of the loop being touchy to adjust is solved by using the new YouKits FG-01A Antenna Analyzer. It has a little graphic display that makes antenna tuning a cinch and saves the day for the small mag loops.
I can see the loop drifting with temperature change during the day and re-tune accordingly using the swr meter on the IC-756Pro. Having the loop exactly at resonance improves it's performance from my experience. I wonder how others combat this mag loop drift. Do we just live with it?
JT65 is my favorite mode these days. I love JT9 more and get on whenever I see activity but there just isn't as much as JT65. Thank you for working me.
June 11, 2014 - Did I work you from this balcony? It was probably because of the good antennas on your end not mine. Here we have a snapshot of the MP-1 operating on 20 meters. It performs very well but I can't leave it here. I want to take it out in the field.
You can see the challenge of getting a signal out. There is plenty of aluminum, steel, and concrete to absorb a lot of RF. Fortunately the screens are made of fiberglass.
I'm very lucky to have worked what I have so far. My goal is WAS by the end of the summer. Thank you for having a good station on your end. : )
June 5, 2014 - My new romance with 6 meters ( frequency I use is 50.276 MHz and mode is JT65) continues but like all new infatuations I have discovered a wart or two. Mainly, the band is just not open that much. I'm doing a lot of sitting around waiting for my new love to open up. I'm back on HF in the meantime to fill in the gaps.
June 1, 2014 - My very first ever 6 meter contact. I am no longer a 6 meter virgin, after over 50 years of hamming. My friend Neil, KE0XL, said he had just worked some 6m FM QSO's and I should try it. MP-1 antennas have 6m coverage. I listened for hours and did not hear a peep on FM. I scanned the CW and SSB calling freqs. Nothing. Then I tried my current fav, JT65. Wow. I heard 4 signals immediately. I did some fiddling and sent out a call. Pow! A QSO with a station in Kentucky, just like that. I am now hooked on the "Magic" band. It happened instantly. I'm trying different antennas, working 3 states so far. I noticed last night at 10:30 there were stations from California still coming in. I thought 6m was a sporadic daytime only band, but NO. I hope to work you on JT65 on 6 meters. See you there.
May 24, 2014 - Changed antenna to AEA Isoloop. Performance seems about the same as the MP-1 but is very, very touchy to adjust for resonance. Comes closer to complying with condo regs because it's not attached to the railing, just sitting on the balcony floor instead. I'll try this for a few days then I would like to try a wire antenna.
May 22, 2014 - Updates (busy month): Moved to condo for the summer til our new small home is built, closed on old house, went to Dayton, got IC-756Pro back from Icom. It was the power supply, not the radio.
Now using Super Antenna MP-1 bought at Dayton, mounted to balcony railing. It seems to work as indicated by the log above. First time trying this little outperformer and I am very pleased.
April 28, 2014 - Operating mode is JT65 or JT9 on an end fed wire in an aspen tree. It's a pretty stealth antenna. The matching unit shows and the thin wire antenna running up into the branches of the tree. It gets out on 40 through 10 as you can see from the log above. All contacts since March 10 have been on this antenna described here: http://www.earchi.org/92011endfedfiles/Endfed6_40.pdf. See you on the JT modes.
(The question marks or check boxes are not mine. They appeared magically by mistake)
April 21, 2014 - Just getting back on the air after a two week hiatus for selling the house and packing. Operating conditions now are Kenwood TS-480SAT and endfed dipole vertical in an aspen tree. Glad to be back on. : }
March 20, 2014 - The IC-756PRO is having problems so I switched over to the FT-817 for JT. I'm running 2 watts with the 817.
March 13, 2014 - EF-20 has been replaced with a similar end fed antenna but this one is for multiple bands. It is the antenna designed and explained in this website: http://www.earchi.org/92011endfedfiles/Endfed6_40.pdf If you worked me since March 13 it was on this antenna. I have no other antennas in the air at the present time. My operating will all be low power with minimal antennas from now on. I am looking forward to the sport involved with this kind of working conditions.
A large part of my ham life left me last week on a UHaul trailer --- my tower. It is now near Lincoln, NE and bringing expectation of joy to another ham. This is the last I image I have of my tower:
June 18, 2014 - I was just missing what we left behind feeling sorry for myself. I needed to see a picture to remind me and cheer me up.
March 8, 2014 - The big tower has been taken down in anticipation of moving and I am now using small antennas like the EF-20 end fed half wave in an Aspen tree. I'll run as little power as possible to make contacts, hopefully no more than 5 watts. See you on the JT digital modes.
February 26, 2014 I began running 1 watt exclusively, with a Yeasu FT-817. Each qso in the log above since that date was made using 1 watt and JT9. For antennas I'm using the big yagi on 20 and above, and the PAR EF-40 on 40 meters. Thank you for working me.
I'VE BEEN NINING.
February 1, 2014 I discovered JT9, loved it and switched over completely ever since. Still using the antennas below. See you on JT9!
January 18, 2014: Thinking the big antenna was overkill today I am switching to the end fed dipoles (PAR EF-20 daytime, PAR EF-40 or K5RP loop for 80, night time). Power level will still be QRP at 5 watts. Staying with 1 watt is too frustrating.
January 17, 2014 - Using 1 watt beginning today to try something different and see how far I can work with 1 watt. Need the big antennas for this. Antenna is Force12 C-3 on main tower at 92'.
January 12, 2014 - Set up Clublog and got JTAlert to automatically upload each JT65 QSO. Very slick. I love it.
January 5, 2014: currently using PAR EF20 for 20 meters and EF-40 for 40 meters. The EF-20 is in an aspen tree. The EF-40 is running vertically out from my main tower. Using 25 watts.
Previous antenna experiments, now disassembled:
If you worked my station since December 16, 2013 it was probably on this antenna. It's a real birdfeeder, fed at the bottom by a SGC SG-230 tuner. Can you spot the welded wire fencing laid on the ground for a radial screen? It actually gets out, as you know if you worked me. Using 25 watts. 73
Flag Pole antenna in use for December, 2013. If you worked me on JT65 in December, 2013 between the 7th and the 16th chances are this is the antenna on my end. This antenna is my current attempt at stealth. Can you see the wire mesh in the grass, also known as the radials. Can you spot the SGC SG-230 on the post near the ground? On the 16th I moved the tuner to a birdfeeder, which has been in use since Dec. 16th.
If you worked me on JT65 in March, 2013 chances are it was with the birdfeeder stealth antenna below. My wife said it had to be a real birdfeeder, not one made out of electrical conduit so this has been replaced, as of December 16, 2013. Using 25 watts.
BIRDFEEDER ANTENNA FOR JT65.
If you worked me on JT65 in March, 2013 chances are this is the antenna you worked me on, my latest attempt at a stealth antenna. I built the shepards pole out of 3/4 inch EMT conduit ($4 for 10 feet at Home Depot). My wife had a few extra feeders I am borrowing to use as props. The shepards pole extensions make a great top hat. The antenna is 7 feet tall and with that top hat it resonates at 17 MHz. I am feeding it with a SGC 230 tuner at the base. What is hidden by the grass is a massive field of 64 radials. I have made contacts on 30M, 20M, and 15M so far. Reports are typically -10db. No one has said my signal is chirpy.
I enjoy chasing DX, QRP, CW, and trying out different antennas and rigs. Hold a love in my heart for the musicality of Morse Code.
Recently discovered JT65, running 25 watts and small stealth antennas.
QTH Working conditions: Transceiver- ElecraftK3, Logikey K-5 keyer, Scheunemann paddle, Signallink USB digital mode interface. Antennas- Force12 C3 tri band yagi at 92', 80m N5RP loop. Amplifier- Alpha 76CA.
JT65 working conditons: ICOM IC-756PRO into birdfeeder antenna above and SGC230 tuner, or some other temporary experimental antenna. Other antennas for JT65- Ground mounted mobile verticals from Hustler and Hamstick, Hustler 6BTV, Vertical dipole center fed with SGC211 tuner, PAR EF20 supported by Spiderbeam 12m pole. Lately, Colorado QRP Club end fed dipole. PAR20 erected as an inverted vee. Since 12/1/2013, PAR EF-20 in an aspen tree. Made the flagpole mounted on the deck into an antenna on December 2, 2013 and match it with an SGC-230 tuner.
QTH CW receiving conditions: SDR-IQ receiver and CWSkimmer software displayed in portrait mode. SDR-IQ connects to main antennas through a splitter on the RX-OUT jack of the K3. Other output of splitter connects to RX-IN jack on K3. Logging software: DX4WIN
Mobile working conditions: Kenwood TS-480SAT, Hustler antennas.
Field working condtions: Electraft KX-1 transceiver or Yeasu FT817, LiPoly battery, antennas- PAR EF-20,30,or 40, Buddy Pole, PAC12, CQC endfed.
Careers include broadcasting and telecommunications. Better half is Marge; son is Blake and two lovely granddaughters, Angel and Kyra.
Web page: http://www.w0ql.com (back on line as of Oct. 31, 2014)
Thanks for making it this far. Hope to see you on the bands. 73, Mark
1536486 Last modified: 2014-12-20 19:35:27, 18765 bytes
You must be logged in to file a report on this page
Currently updating logbook display.