If you are looking for information on any of my satellite grid expeditions, go here: https://www.qrz.com/db/N4UFO/P
First licensed in 1977 as a Novice at age 14, I have enjoyed many aspects of ham radio. Currently my focus is chasing DX & awards. To date, I have achieved: 9BDXCC, 9BWAC, TPA, VUCC-6m (415 grids), VUCC-Satellite (564 grids) and the AMSAT Century Award. On 11-11-11, I was first listed in the DXCC Challenge standings at 1000. (My most recent DXCC submission has put me up to 1840.)
Here are my confirmed/worked satellite grids as of 16 JAN 2017. Confirmed are in red, worked but not confirmed are in blue.
I got back on the air in the summer of 2010 with a new callsign after a 5 year hiatus. I am QRV on 160m-70cm with a Yaesu FT-847 "Earth Station", using an electret condenser hand mic, Kent SP-1 paddle through a HK5A Ham Keyer, a J-38 straight key, an MFJ-929 antenna 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 controller for the 6m beam as well as the AZ-EL rotor controller and digital interface for my satellite antennas.
My antenna farm includes an MFJ-1835 20-10m Cobweb antenna and an MFJ-1896 6m Moxon on top of a tripod mounted mast that also doubles as a direct fed 40m vertical. Sharing a common radial field with that is a reworked Butternut vertical for 80/160m and a Hy-Gain AV-18VS vertical modified for 30m only. Nearer to the house I have a 5 element, 17 foot boom 'no name' 6m yagi and a set of satellite antennas consisting of a pared down Cushcraft A148-10S and a Cushcraft A430-11S. (Closer view of verticals in back.)
A few have been curious about my location in North Carolina. My home is located on the edge of 'the Piedmont' and the Appalacian foothills. My subdivision is called 'Ridgecrest', but it's not much more than a high spot really. And my house is not at the highest point in the neighborhood. If you walk up onto the crest in the agri field behind my property and look back at the house, you can see that my antennas are almost in a 'bowl'. But turning around reveals a really beautiful view of the foothills just 8-10 miles away.
For the higher HF bands, I have a lightweight MFJ-1835 Cobweb antenna at thirty feet on top of a Rohn H-30 mast that is mounted in a 9'4" Rohn tripod and guyed with quarter inch Dacron rope to four 2-3/8" fence posts. The Cobweb is essentially 5 dipoles bent roughly into a square, which means it is more omni-directional than a regular dipole, having no nulls off the ends. The tradeoff is a somewhat narrower bandwidth. At twenty-five feet I have an MFJ-1896 6 meter Moxon which is mounted in a fixed northeasterly direction since my beam gets tremendous noise from home appliances and electronics when pointed towards the NE US or Europe.
The tripod is bolted to wooden railroad ties. As a result, the tripod and mast are electrically insulated from the ground. Combining the height of the mast, with the top loading capacitance of the antennas, I was able to hook up a direct feed point in order to utilize the tripod/mast/antennas as a vertical on 40 meters. With the addition of a small base coil at the feedpoint (not shown in the photo) the resonance is around 7.050 MHz and the SWR measured in the shack is less than 1.2:1 across the band. - The picture on the right shows all the feedlines going to the shack and antennas through 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. The thick bermuda grass I have in my yard made it slow going. I had to cut through the grass with a trimmer so the wire could be laid next to the ground and then kept in place with wire staples. Note the toroid choke, matching coil and radial connections in the inset. The wire coil, or 'Q' coil, helps with matching the feedline impedence closer to 50 ohms.
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.
This is a 'previously owned' 6m yagi that I acquired. I'm not sure if it's a home brew antenna or some 'yet to be determined' brand. It is gamma fed, lightweight and very well tuned! (SWR is less than 1.1:1 across the bottom 600 kHz of the band.) Despite being a fairly light antenna, the boom is too long for a light duty rotor alone. So I used a longer mast and added a lateral support bearing.
After getting back on satellites in 2013 with first an HT and then some homebrew antennas at a fixed elevation, I decided I wanted to build up a set of AZ-EL yagis. I purchased used equipment and got some good deals, but some of it required refurbishing. I have a Cushcraft A148-10S wth the middle section removed. (some parts were missing and I didn't need all ten elements) Across from it is a matching Cushcraft A430-11S. The cross boom is a roughly 5 foot piece of 1.25" EMT and the two masts are 4 foot long pieces of same. The rotator is stated as a Yaesu G-5400B, but in fact, appears to be upgraded to a 5600B with the beefier azimuth rotor. In the black box below, there are a couple of Advanced Receiver Research preamps as well as a pair of MFJ-916 diplexers to act as filters.
We found this little girl wandering around in the back yard next door a couple summers ago being very friendly. "Starlight" makes a wonderful shack kitty, so I got her a cat tree to watch out the window. She keeps an eye on any birds roosting up in the antennas.
My wife N4ICY has spent many hours out in the sun helping with everything from tweaking elements, to pruning wires, digging dirt, 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!
7836304 Last modified: 2017-01-16 16:02:43, 9196 bytes
You must be logged in to file a report on this page