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WAB TL70       CQ14      RSARS 4267     JO01GR     IOTA: EU005   

Web: www.g8cyk.uk         Skype: g8cyk.cq          EchoLink G8CYK      Twitter @G8CYK      WhatsApp

NEW.... Youtube: www.g8cyk.uk/yt

GEAR: IC7300 100W G5RV 4m/6m Slimjim - IC7100 CYK Rubbish Antenna - 2/70 colinear - etc

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Thanks for stopping by - I am back since March 2016 after 35 years away "doing life" - girls, wives, kids, mortgages, college fees - now it's my turn. :-)
(And before anyone else asks, That is not a current mugshot!)

 

NEWS: THE  ORIGINAL RADIO CITY        

With the centenary of Marconi's breakthrough broadcasting exploits coming up in 2020 and 2022, I'm looking for ways to build towards the fitting global celebration that these events deserve. 

Twin towns or sister cities are a form of   social agreement between towns, cities, counties, oblasts, prefectures, provinces, regions, states, and even countries in geographically and politically distinct areas to promote cultural and commercial ties. The modern concept of town twinning, conceived after the Second World War in 1947, was intended to foster friendship and understanding between different cultures and between former foes as an act of peace and reconciliation,[2][3] and to encourage trade and tourism.[1] In recent times, town twinning has increasingly been used to form strategic international business links between member cities.

 

 

NEWS: Help tackle the curse of RFI noise      

If you are not suffering from continually increasing background noise, and interference from rogue mains circuitrs, the chances are you are living in a cave or tent in the middle of nowhere. Otherwise the noise of dodgy power supplies on LED lamps and battery chargers will be buzzing in your ears as you tune below 30MHz

If the broadband in your location is delivered by ancient unshielded telephone cables  (the vast majority of the UK) you will have a constant "mush noise" that can make almost any frequency below 10MHz unusable.

So I am compiling as much information as I can lay hands on with links and other resources at...  www.g8cyk.uk  please come along and take a look - and share your experience stories.

 

 

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What is CYQ?                                                                

I am trialling an idea I am developing for "break in" CQ calling on HF. I am proposing that calling. CYQ means "interrupt this CYQ call anytime you like, and I should bre able to hear you". CYQ means full duplex operation on a single frequency. This scheme is best used on 40m and above, with stations more than 100km away. Close stations may not be heard. It's not witchraft, more details in due course.

Everyone says there is no one on the HF bands during weekdays, but  listen on the QRX pileups of the DXpeditions and they can be crawling with serious DX callers at very workable strengths ... who never respond to a UK CQ - or put out a CQ because of pile-up fatigue. 

Brits also have to accept that calling CQ with a vanilla UK prefix is unexciting for the hunter/collector side of the hobby. Everyone out there has already got the John Bull card in their collections. 

A further problem is most hams have nothing to talk about other than the report, the conditions and the weather... but if you do try and get into a conversation with a ham who speaks fluent "five and nine many DXes" you can soon discover that's all they speak. Which restricts the conversation.  Of course, Brits should be ashamed we don't speak their languages, but we did spend a few hundred years bringing the benefit of English to quite a few countries, mostly now in the Commonwealth, and playing cricket. 

Maybe there could be a different CQ call to indicate if you want to talk about something other than the usual wibble.  So when calling CQ, if are willing to do more than exchange reports, or talk about the weather, then how about...

"CYT": who wants to talk technical? 
"CYC": Commonwealth callers please 
"CYS": who wants to talk about sports? 
"CYPi": who wants to discuss Raspberry Pi? 
"CYA": who wants to discuss antennas? 
"CYN ": who wants to talk about electrical noise? 
"CYP": who wants to talk about politics/current affairs? 
"CYW" - "Wonga! I am so desperate for a fix of DX, I will pay your  $3 ransom via paypal for a QSL, if you are more than 6000 km away..." 

Any other suggestions..?

--------------------------------------------------------------

Chelmsford is the spiritual home of broadcasting, where Marconi made early broadcast systems in factories dotted around the town. As the result of some bad decisions by successive town councils, we are struggling to create a proper heritage facility to recognise and celebrate the simple fact that Chelmsford (Essex, UK) is where most of the rules of early wireless were explored and developed from the early 1900s through to the 90s.

(And joined by studio TV cameras along the way in the 40s until Japanese companies took over when Marconi dropped that ball, amongst all the others, in the 80s/90s)

... and this is not my current radio room, but it's interesting to note the basics of shack layout have not changed much over the years...

Chelmsford Amateur Radio Society does its best to keep the memories Marconi alive - from the 1920s through to 90s, Marconi was Chelmsford's largest employer, occupying numerous buildings around the town centre and a research facility at Great Baddow with an antenna platform, that I would like here.

The Great Baddow Tower / Mast is the remains of Britain’s early warning defence network from WW2. A series of masts formed a line along the British coast in what was called the “Chain Home” and these detected enemy air craft as they approached across the North Sea and English Channel. This is the only complete radar tower left. It was moved to Great Baddow in 1954 and used by the Marconi Company to further develop radar. The tower is 110 metres tall (360 feet) and consists of six cantilevered platforms with observation platforms.

After a 35 year gap (see below) I began this phase of my ham life in 2016 rather impatiently when a 20W HF all mode X108G arrived - and I used a garden fence as part of a "quick and dirty" antenna... it loaded very well using a Tokyo Hypower Pi match tuner - and I worked more UK and Europe stations than I really should have done, with such a curious antenna. But things have advanced!

There is now a sloping long-ish wire tied to a branch, AKA the "CYK Rubbish Antenna", which goes to show that a little Royal Signals training and cunning still works ... frequently getting 5/9 back from stations running >500W into beams and quads.  

But I had to get direction to try and null the QRM, so now using a hexbeam with Create rotator for 20-6m, and rather handy it is on 2m, too. Not sure how that works!

Various antennas used and experimented with for JT and FT modes. It's seems to too easy to work the enitre planet with FT8, 10W and tuned wire....

ESQL perferred 


It plainly has little ground wave performance - on any HF band - as stations ~5 miles from here are barely audible. Maybe the earth bank running along on the East acts as some magical skywave reflector? This might also keep the noise levels down?

The main HF antenna was an embarrassingly simple 33m of wire rescued from a skip (hence the "G8CYK Rubbish Antenna") end fed, via a (hamgoodies.co.uk) 16:1 UNUN matching transformer - in turn fed using 16m of RG58 from the MFJ ATU which handles the SWR perfectly although cannot perform magic - and with a galvanised wire (earthed) and wood paling garden fence as some sort of counterpoise. 

This combo can be tuned 1:1 on 160-10 and has got me around Europe and N America with 20W- 60W.  

This is a 24MHz sweep from 2-26MHz.

So basically resonant on 7Mhz, 11MHz, 16MHz (this pic's marker) 18MHz and 23.5MHz. I need to work on taming it...

The home made slim jim for 4m also works OK on 6m as a halfwave something-or-other.

Having cut and tested a reference 20m dipole (at the same height) to compare with the Rubbish Antenna to see if I was missing out, I found the dipole to be around 20dB worse in terms of S/N on receive. It loads and tunes (1:1) as expected, so it is not a short in the coax. BUT I did not use balanced feeder, and/or a balun feed, otherwise I have no explanation why it is so awful when compared to the Rubbish Antenna. I need to get some measurement tools and plot exactly what is going on.

The G5RV  erection - 14DEC16

Well, we got a real one up about 45 feet high, with 300 ohm ladder feeder to the MFJ tuner.

The analyser shows it's rather less well tuned than the random Rubbish end fed antenna, albeit the peaks are on the amateur bands but the first contact was New Brunswich ok 18m, and the next was West Virginia. Saved by the MFJ differential tuner. But there is more work to be done to work out what actually goes on.

Maybe one useful test would be to erect another G8CYK rubbish antenna at 65 feet, and end-feed it?  I have a suspicion this 5RV is also picking up a lot more ADSL noise which makes anything below 6MHz pointless. Hoorah for web SDRs, boo for BT.

AND you really should graze through the qsl.net ultimate wire antenna page - 287 types to look at, but not one of them is a CYK Rubbish special.

 

CYK Antenna Field Project

This is the tale of a fenced field near here that has magical RF properties. I just took the dog for her evening stroll an took along a Tecsun HF portable. to check out 40m at 22:00z. I heard a couple VKs 5/9 as I approached the wire fence and overall more DX and less noise than I have ever heard on 40 from the "real station" antennna and receiver 300m away.

A field well away from interference sources 300m from here has recently been fenced by the farmer using two strands of galvanised wire stapled to wooden posts. The wires are about 0.7m apart with the lower one about 0.7m off the ground. The field is facing NNW with about a 30m decline to the North. The perimeter is 1.34km and a long side is 500m. What sort of an antenna might this make, I pondered.

So I connected a Yupiteru MVT-7100 wideband scanner to the upper wire the other evening around 10pm, to see how it worked with top band, and it was epic, requiring rather more attenuation than the scanner could provide - but by using looser coupling (waving the telescopic antenna near the wire) I could hear big signals with none of the s9+30 noise I suffer in the office..

So I then took the antenna analyser and connected the input to the top and the ground to the lower wire and got the results shown with a near resonance on 3.5MHz. I moved 30 feet down the wire and tested again, and this time it was resonant around 1.6MHz (2MHz X axis grid). So I am guessing that by measuring at various points it will be possible to get quite accurate 160m and 80m matches.

Connecting the analyser the other way round - ie the "signal connection on the bottom, and earth on top produced a surprisingly useless result, considering how random this process has been so far. A flat line along the top with a couple of ripples without a hint of resonance. I should have taken a picture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

G8CYK History

I was first licensed at age of 15 in 1968, and was an active 2m/70cm QRP experimenter when 1W transistors cost >£5 in REAL money in the 60s/70s. I got hooked on designing and making RX/TX things, and generally creating world class TVI :-). And I would love to do all that again - in spite of all the imported gear that seems to have stunted much of the creativity in the hobby. Maybe not so much TVI, though, although digital TV gives precious few clues and simply breaks up when interferred with. Many neighbours of hams with discreet antennas (ie not 60 foot towers) probably have no idea why their TV goes on the blink every now and again. Satellite TV is probably 100% immune.

I have been away from amateur radio since 1985, mostly  thanks to WKM (wife/kids/mortgage), and a career with computers and internet - some of you still seem to remember I was one of the founders of the Ambit mail order business in the 70s, specialising in wireless components at a time when no one else did. You can download PDFs of the famous Ambit catalogues at http://usp.net/ambit

And like many others approaching retirement, I am exhuming old interests and finding the amateur radio scene (especially in Essex) has never been more vibrant, but the use of the excellent 2m, 6m and 70cm repeaters is minimal. 

I suppose the old adage about "content is king" is relevant to amateur radio as much as broadcast radio, and there are only so many discussions to be had about antennas, microphones and begonias. You would think the makers of the gear would have thought this through and come up with more engaging ways to get people to use it, but no evidence thus far. Contests seem to have a negative effect, and seem to deter those "regular" amateurs who are the lifeblood of the hobby and its potential for social very proactive networking.

The absence of CRT display scanning noise is wonderful, although XDSL and dodgy SMPS - especially LED lighting - is a considerable but fixable menace. Reception below 7MHz is generally compromised by noise, probably ADSL and VDSL from overhead BT cables - and power lines - and that is my next challenge. Replacing all first generation LED Mains lamps made a big difference - and leaving just one dodgy LED lamp can be fatal, since the lamp itself is not the issue - the house wiring to the switch and lamp is a very effective antenna. Meantime, the various web SDRs can provide respite and workarounds.

Equipment in use

For HF, I presently use the only rig to have these days - the almost ubiquitous IC7300. Here is my 10p mechanical audio filter mod. Just move a piece of  (well sanded) 4x2x3 inches wood (or thereabouts) around on the speaker louvres.

- and a seperate WinRadio Excelsior SDR receiver/scanner. Which is quite a thing...

Frequency range 9 kHz to 3500 MHz (except cellular bands where required by law) 

 Ultra-fast search speed 1 GHz/s
 Two independent receiver channels
 Real-time spectrum analyzer up to 16 MHz wide
 Unlimited width swept spectrum analyzer
 Audio spectrum analyzer
 Audio and DDC recorder
 High sensitivity
 Excellent dynamic range
 Numerous signal analysis tools
 Numerous types of search and scanning modes
 Numerous precise measuring tools

 

 


ERD-1500 Electromagnetic Radiation Detector

I just got one of these gizmos, and it is a LOT more useful than I was expceting. Like most noise chasers I have used portable radios to sniff out noisy dimmers etc., but this gizmo is a lot more relevant. (It also traces wiring in walls etc.)

The ERD-1500 Electromagnetic Radiation Detector is an exceptionally efficient "RF Sniffer" developed to quickly and reliably locate sources of electromagnetic interference. The detector contains sophisticated circuitry including a miniature wide-band antenna with a high-performance amplifier and detection circuits for maximum sensitivity.

The detector features optical (LED) and acoustic (buzzer) indication. The brightness of the indicator LED and the pitch of the audible tone will increase proportionally with the strength of the detected signal, making it simple and easy to locate the radiation source.  

The ERD-1500 covers a very wide frequency range from approximately 50 Hz to 1500 MHz.

http://www.geosensory.com/erd-1500.htm

 

A word on microphones: The emperor's suit of clothes..?

I hear a lot of operators proudly declaring they are using a brand name mic like Heil - these are generally devices costing >$200!  I don't believe that with 3kHz BW, this can make any sort of sense - and nor does this character (link below), who has documented pretty much what I have done on Youtube, with handy links to eBay to get the bits, starting with a £15 condenser mic kit with suspension clamp. The cheap mic works really well in more exacting applications as well - and appears to be RF proof. (I am using a BTSKY™BM-800 via Amazon, for a whole £17.99)

ICOM IC-7300 Boom mic with hand and foot PTT switches

And always remember - Ham Radio is just another form of fishing...

  • Many different types of fish to go after– Country prefixes
  • Different tackle for different fish - everything from home made lashups to wildly expensive commercial rigs.
  • Different fishing grounds – the different bands.
  • Feeding frenzies - clusters.
  • Conditions are everything, and when they are biting, a monkey can reel them in.
  • Competitions where obsessive maniacs abound, occasionally bending the rules in order to get an unfair advantage.
  • Plus of course, stories of the ones that got away!
  • I prefer to use a bootlace, bent pin and worm - and leave those who have yet to learn the error of their QRO ways to go fishing with dynamite. I suspect I get more satisfaction from the hobby ... listen to G3RJV hold forth on QRP, his arguments are very compelling. 1000W is just 10dB more than 100W - less than 2 Spoints. The antenna always the link to concentrate on..
 
73 de G8CYK+++

G8CYK is a supporter of Essex Ham

What is CYQ?

 

8572912 Last modified: 2018-01-10 22:32:36, 31082 bytes

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