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KB4DX USA flag USA

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Update: Ex-KL7EU. As of 7/26/2014 my call is now KB4DX

I was born and raised in Alaska, a native Alaskan with some Eskimo lineage. First licensed as WL7GAO in 1967, then after several years I received the call KL7EU. After a career as an electronics tech with the State of Alaska I retired in 2011 and moved to Florida in the fall of 2013. The warm climate here makes it enjoyable to pursue one of my favorite hobbies: antenna building! Scarely a month goes by that I don't have some new type of "homebrew" antenna to try out. It is nice to be able to tinker with antennas instead of plowing snow every other day! My radio "shack" in pic below, with tower and antennas in background. Most bands I can run about 800w except on 10m the amp only puts out about 500w. I currently do not have an antenna for 160m, or for anything above 2m.

My current 2m, 6m, and 20m antenna setup: all three are homebrew. 3el yagi for 20m @ 60' made from old HyGain 204BA...boom was so long it touched the branches of the pine trees, so I shortened it to 21' and removed one director, adjusted the remaining three according to my findings using EZNEC software...according to this software the gain is only down .1 db from the original 4-element design, and is lighter to boot. (a desireable quality for hams pushing 70 yrs of age) The little 2-meter quad @ 75' is vertically polarized to work the repeaters in my area. The 6m quad @ 50' was made from materials I found at Home Depot, less than $50 invested, and it works well...about 5.5dbd gain. With the declining propagation in the last few years on 10m and 15m I desided to take the multi-band HF quad down and replace it with the monoband 20m yagi...it does perform slightly better than the quad did.

My thoughts on the cubical quad:

An excellent dx antenna, good gain and F/B, a 2el quad will easily beat a 2el yagi, and the 3el quad will beat a 3el yagi. A 4el quad, with proper element spacing, will match a 4el yagi. Beyond 4el the yagis will be better. For those who may want to construct or install a cubical quad I can heartily recommend a book written by highly respected antenna guru L.B. Cebik, W4RNL, titled "Cubical Quads Volume 2". I believe his data to be much more accurate than the old "tried and true" formulas for a quad of 1005/f for the driven element, and 1030/f for the reflector. I have found those to be "tried" but not necessarily very true. Get Cebik's book! (Google it) Also, if you are planning to install a quad, IMO it is best to have either a crank-up, tilt-over, or a free-standing tower, because otherwise the guy lines will be a problem when raising the antenna into place...especially with any antenna larger than for 10m. If you have good solid guy lines you CAN install a temporary steel cable zip-line from ground level up to the top of the mast (at a roughly 30-degree angle), with the quad secured to a pulley that rides on the zipline. A simple pull rope handled by the person on the tower pulls the antenna up to the tower. That is how I got my quad installed.

Update RE: quad antennas, April 2015. I have just built and installed a "Quad-Quad", a 4-band multi-bander at 60'. It uses the "boomless" design, that enables a fairly uniform change of spacing from band-to-band. I am still going through the preliminary testing but it all looks good so far...performance has been good to excellent, depending on the band and conditions. For element lengths and spacing I used Bill Orrs data in his book "All About Cubical Quad Antennas". Here is a look at it while it was still at ground level. Estimated weight is about 44 lbs, but would have been more had I used copper wire instead of the 14ga aluminum "electric fence" wire. Copper is great at first, for maybe a year or two, but eventually it acquires a green patina of copper-oxide, which is a very poor conductor of RF. I didn't want to have to take this antenna down every year, so decided to go with aluminum wire. Another plus is that using aluminum cuts about 3 lbs off the antenna weight. All of the hardware is stainless-steel...there is no component that will rust or corrode.

Update 7/14/2015: I will take this antenna down in a few months to change reflector lengths for 10/15/20m to agree with W4RNL published specs. I found that while the antenna "works" with Bill Orrs dimensions the F/B is not the best, except on 6m. The little 6m antenna nested on the inside of the others works outstandingly, with great F/B and gain for a 2el antenna...I will not be changing anything of the 6m, just 10/15/20 only.

Update: 12/08/2015  I modified the 10/15/20m reflector lengths to agree with W4RNL data. I noticed an immediated improvement in F/B on all three bands, especially 10m and 20m!

 

And here is a shot of it as it appeared before replacing with a 3el yagi (yes, it was big, awkward, bulky, took weeks to build, and was quite a handful to install!) That's the top section of my 160m "inverted-L" you see behind the quad. The little loops you can see in the feedline are RF chokes, just wound the coax a few turns through ferrite cores. I used a steel-cable "zipline" and small trolley, from the top of the mast angling down to the ground at about 30 degrees, to haul this monster to the top of the tower. There is just no other way to get a big bulky antenna like this through and around all the guy wires on my guyed Rohn tower.

I made a 3-element 2-meter quad and end-mounted it to the mast over the top of the quad, about 75' above the ground. Works great!

 

 

Equipment:

Yaesu FTDX-1200

Amplifier: Ameritron AL80B

20m: home-made 3el yagi @ 60'

20m, 40m: dual-band homebrew wire 1/4 wave ground plane, with elevated radials

80m: inverted vee dipole @ 50' apex

160m: inverted-L @ 60'

2m: Homemade 3el quad @ 75'

6m: home-made 2el quad @ 50'

 

Details of 6m quad: this antenna is super easy to build. The boom is a 2X4 cut to 32" long, then waterproofed with a couple coats of paint. Go to Home Depot and purchase 8ea fiberglass driveway markers. These are 48" long and are used as-is, no need to cut them. Go to your local sheet metal shop, or purchase online, 2ea 12" X 12" X 1/8" aluminum plates. You will also need 16ea wire-rope clamps for 1/4" steel cable. Take the saddles off of these and discard them. These will be the "U-Bolts" that hold the fiberglass spreaders to the aluminum sheet. You will need 8ea hose clamps, to hold the wires to the spreaders, and 1/8" plastic tubing for the wires to pass through at these locations. The reflector is 21 feet, not including 6" overlap at each end to account for a twisted connection at the ends. The driven element is 19' 10", also not included 6" overlap at each end to form loop at the ends for connection to the coax. (center of one loop is 19' 7" to center of other loop. The "missing 3" takes into account the length of the short pigtails coming out of the RG-11, which are effectively a part of the driven element) This quad uses a 1/4-wave matching section of RG-11 coax, right at the feedpoint of the quad. It also uses an extra 1/2-wave of RG-11 to make the matching section long enough to reach down the mast a ways. (theory says a half-wave of ANY coax will simply repeat the impedance found at either end, so simply cutting the RG-11 to 3/4-wavelength does the job, and is electrically equivalent to a 1/4-wave section) None of the dimensions are especially critical, a 2el quad is very forgiving in this regard. The SWR has been measured at 1.3 to 1 at the desired frequency: 50.125 Mhz. I used #14 ga copper wire, but almost any wire #16 to #12 ga can be used, whatever you have on hand. (even aluminum electric fence wire works fine) Total cost was less than $50.

 

QSL info: eQSL, QSL Bureau, or direct to my QRZ.com address. (please enclose addressed envelope, tnx)

 

My lovely YL "Sunshine" and I, from about 2004. She's as beautiful as ever, but I've lost half of my hair. (a consequence of being married? hi-hi)

A view of my "shack", and the homemade 10m quad, from about 2013. That quad has since been removed and the tower has been raised to 60', with the new "Quad-Quad" on top of it.

The radio shack at dusk, & homebrew 2el Quad for 10m\

An experimental 10m quad made from lumber and fiberglass driveway markers. Circa spring 2014. It worked surprisingly well, in spite of the crude construction.

Working on my homebuilt 3el 20m yagi, circa 1980, Anchorage, Ak. I recall that steel mast had 3/8" thick walls and weighed about 60 lbs!!! I used a Tail-Twister rotor back then...wish I still had it...

Working on my 20m beam, circa 1980

My stacked 15 and 20m homemade monobanders, circa 1981, Anchorage, AK

My 15m and 20m monoband yagis, circa 1980

One of the local critters I spied about 30km from my home. I thought about making him a pet

but changed my mind, because for "some reason" my wife did not approve...LOL! Roughly 4.5m long.

I waited a long time to work Navassa!

A turkey vulture decided to try parking on the hf quad antenna

A close-up

 

My little frequency meter collection: an LM-13, BC-221AE, TS-174/U, and a BC-221AK. I have since added a TS-173/U and a LM-20 to this collection.

Some of my "wallpaper" from the last 47 yrs. Does anyone see their card up there?

And just in case a burglar tries to take my ham gear...

 

 

 

8216410 Last modified: 2017-07-14 14:32:58, 11681 bytes

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QRZ Logbook Summary for - KB4DX
Latest Contacts for KB4DX at QRZ.com
dedateband mode grid Country op
V53DX 2017-10-22 15m LSB JG87mj Namibia Club Station
IK4GRO 2017-10-22 15m LSB Italy LAURO ZANOLI
WA3CP 2017-10-21 80m LSB United States
3C0L 2017-10-21 20m USB JI28to Annobon Island Yuris YL2GM and Kaspars YL3AIW nbsp
KR8ZE 2017-10-20 20m LSB EM04UT34 United States FAMILY AMATEUR RADIO TEAM
PJ2DD 2017-10-20 20m LSB FK52nb Curacao Tom Braam
TZ4PR 2017-10-12 20m LSB Mali Fredo -
IK4GRO 2017-10-09 40m LSB Italy LAURO ZANOLI
9H5BZ 2017-10-09 20m LSB JM76cb Malta Dione Caruana
RC7KY 2017-10-07 40m LSB KN74bx Russia Victor Joseph Presman
EL2DT 2017-10-02 20m LSB Liberia DICKSON TARNUE
Z61DX 2017-10-02 20m LSB KN02lt Republic of Kosovo Driton Sadiku
SQ6DX 2017-10-01 20m LSB JO71sg Poland Piotr Cetler
K7CAR 2017-10-01 20m LSB CN97aw United States KENT B O SELL
EB1DJ 2017-09-30 20m LSB IN52mo Spain Alex Saez Llorente JANO

Book Totals: 1458 qso's   257 confirmed Get a free logbook at QRZ.COM


c
Grid Squared Award#12182
Granted: 2016-05-20 02:15:02   (KB4DX)

World Continents Award#5220
Granted: 2015-02-22 19:46:14   (KB4DX)

Endorsements:
  • 10 Meters Mixed
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