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QSL: LOTW

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myQRZ Site Map: myQTH - myShack - myDX Hunt - myLast Contacts - myQRZ Status - myRadios - myTowers - myOther Antennas - myMicrophones - myTuners - myMeters/Analyzers - myAmps - myFlexRadios - Hamvention 2017 - CESSB - FlexRadio Tutorials - FlexRadio 3rd Party Software - myHF - my6m - my2m - my1.25m - my70cm - myTransverters - mySWL - mySatellite - myMobile - myDigital - myLogbook - myContesting - myAudio Chain - myMesh - myWeather - myProjects - myHam Beginnings

 

VE3CKO - Mike KovacichWelcome, this page contains some information on my station that perhaps may be helpful to some and totally useless to others, either way here it is. I use to have other hobbies. I gigged around bars for years playing classic rock mostly Beatles, Eagles genre but now just play for fun whenever. Don't play hockey anymore either but coached for 20+ years and when I retired from coaching I got my ham ticket. Family and work take up most of the time but I find time to play radio.

For QSO confirmation LOTW is preferred it may seem complicated to get setup but well worth it, effortless confirmaton going forward.

Thanks for stopping by and taking a look

LIVE USTREAM:
http://www.ustream.tv/channel/ve3cko Live streaming video by Ustream
 

myQTH: After living in Port Colborne for most of my live and this large 7-bedroom house for 28 years, we decided to downsize the house and expand property and made the move to a nice three bedroom with 3+ acre country property in Ridgeway, Ontario. Our new QTH is 611' above mean sea level on the north coast of Lake Erie, about 14km (9mi) from Niagara Falls and about 6 miles from Buffalo NY. My lot size is 3.23 acres about 468' x 300' where the cleared area meets the exposed natural rock of the ridge that is elevated from 11 to 16'. Lots of mature healthy trees around the cleared part of the lot and on the ridge will be fun to play around with wire. The ridge was used in the Battle of Ridgeway in 1866. This is one war the Americans did not win, sorry guys.

I was expecting a lower noise floor but didn't expect it this quiet. My wishlist of antennas will become reality with the extra space and have already planted some antennas. Can check 4 off the list, 160m fullwave loop up in the trees horizontally about 40 to 50' and very happy with it's performance on 160 thru 20m. Also got up the Butternut HF9V, an M2 2m HO loop and a bi-directional 550' beverage about 10' above the ground point North East to Europe. Will have to wait til spring get get a couple towers up for the beams but plan to find a spot for a four square for 80m. Will get my K9AY loop system up soon and will experiment bi-directional beverages and possibly an 8 circle. Got the 240v line to the shack so have some power now. For further developments, stay tuned . . .

myShack: My shack at our new home is now in the basement where the room is wider but no windows but no big deal as when I need a view I can just go up the stairs is the all season sun room with full view of the whole back property The picture shows the shack in the old house and will be a similar setup at the new place with a walk space behind the desk for easy access to everything for trouble free equipment hookup and swapping. Stay tuned . . .

The lift bridge shown above is one of three bridges in Port Colborne crossing the Welland Canal (St. Lawrence Seaway). Since not living in Port Colborne anymore I'll have to update this sometime.

Part of VE3CKO station

VE3CKO DX Code if ConductmyDX Hunt: Almost got my ticket as a teenager, but finally did get it 40 years later in my mid 50s, so did I miss anything?  Did do a lot of SWLing and ham band monitoring on/off throughout the years. Loved getting those colorful QSL cards from distant stations now long gone. Especially those tropical islands. I guess that DX fever never went away and now it's about making up for lost time and DX everything I can on every band. Worked 128 countries in my first 10 months of operation using a Butternut HF9V vertical and some wire. Then after some antenna upgrades detailed below, got 6-band DXCC confirmed LOTW in just over 2 years of operation. Currently: 292 DX entites worked, 1493 country/band slots. Got several more on paper QSL yet to be sent in for LOTW count. When I get to 7 or 8-band DXCC I'll submit to get some wall paper. So were getting close to the goal of achieving honor roll. Not that I'm looking for any excuses but with band conditions detriorating as they have, the limitations of my QTH lot size and it's excessive noise floor, that may not be realistic. Nonetheless, the hunt will continue.

I rarely sit on a frequency and call CQ as nearly all have been using the hunting technique or in contesting S & P (search and pounch). Enjoy working DXpeditions, especially on multiple bands. Always carefully listen, determine if the operator has a pattern before making my call. Whether it's techniques, the station or just plain luck, its been a working combination for me. Tecniques I developed are really just common sense but the VK0EK DXpedition website put together a very detailed methodology on how to work a DXpedition. Nice to see I'm doing the right things they suggest.  check out ClubLog www.clublog.org as it's pretty cool with some useful DX tools: for example you can search the DX Cluster for spots related to DXCCs that you have not yet worked. Most DXpeditions upload their logs daily or when they can to Clublog so you can veryify your QSO. For example the when Lethso went on-air I worked them on 6 bands, the next day went to http://www.clublog.org/charts/?c=7P8C and entering my callsign and confirmed all my QSOs were there, this is a big tool as I no longer had to waste my time and theirs by duplicating QSOs. I'm finding some are confirming LOTW within minutes, others take a month or few.

LOTW DXCC
updated: Dec.26 2017

myLAST Contacts: If you want to add a similar frame of your latest 10 QSO's uploaded to your Club Log account, put this URL as the source of an iframe: https://secure.clublog.org/last10_iframe.php?call=ve3cko

replace the callsign of course or click here for instructions

alternately hrdlog.net has an iframe script that can be used on QRZ

myQRZ Status: QRZ.com awards came online Jan. 2015 and are actually pretty cool (click here for details). The awards are based on logs uploaded to QRZ, and QRZ Accepts LoTW Confirmations in QRZ Logbook. After you submit awards that you qualify for, and once they have been approved, the award tags will appear in the top frame of your QRZ and there is a new awards tab (biography, details, etc), by clicking either the awards graphics or the tab will bring up all the details of the awards of what bands and modes you have qualified for and have been awarded. Awards are free and automatic and certificates are available for a reasonable cost. NOTE: Log programs like HRD now automatically upload each QSO to QRZ, Clublog and HRDlog, you still manually upload LOTW at this time.

 

myRadios:

 
FlexRadio 6700
HF + 6m + VHF
(primary HF rig)
FlexRadio Maestro
Remote Head for Flex 6700
FlexRadio 5000A
RX2-ATU-VU5K

HF + 6m + VHF/UHF

 

 
Icom 7600
HF + 6m
Icom IC-7000
HF + 6m + VHF/UHF
Kenwood V-71A
VHF/UHF FM
(mobile)

myTOWERs: alternate view of hinged VE3CKO towerPLEASE NOTE - BELOW IS THE CONFIGURATION OF MY OLD QTH. THE NEW ANTENNA FARM IS UNDER CONSTRUCTION . . . AND IN PROGRESS . . . STAY TUNDED.

The Delhi 48' DMX-HD self-supporting tower was picked up used so got a new bolt kit and repainted the entire tower with silver metalic paint and managed to get some of the paint on the tower and everywhere else too. TIP, don't spray, next time I paint a tower I will use one of those hand wraps. Modified the base section with a custom hinge three feet from the bottom so the tower can tilt over. A Yaesu G-1000DXA rotator is mounted 6' from the base on a customer rotor plate which makes for easy maintenance. A 2" OD mast in sections goes all the way up the tower extending about 10' from the top. There are three thrust bearings, one at the top, one at the standard rotator plate location, and one in the middle of the tower. This heavy duty pipe no doubt adds to the stability of the tower and maybe a little bit more wind load.

Hinged tower showing Yaesu G-1000DXA rotator mounted six feet from the baseVE3CKO tower on the ground

The SteppIR 3 element sits about one foot above the top of tower @49', the M2 2M18XXX is about 8' higher up the mast. I mounted a 7' length of channel aluminum on the top rotor plate that sticks out about 3' on each side that serves as a cross boom. An M2 2m HO LOOP is on one side and Double Bazzoka 80m homebrew is on a pulley just below that and the top of the 160m inverted "L" is on the other side. The Diamond X50 was to be mounted on this cross boom but I decided to move it a few more feet below as it was getting too close to the SteppIR.

Needing more aluminum in the air and being on the small lot I don't think another tower would be wise. So I looked into a roof tower and I constructed a homebrew 9' 6" roof tower, similar to Glenn Martin 8' but instead using 2" angled aluminum for the four legs as in the design of W8IO. The roof tower sits on top of a 26' roof peak where two footings are hinged that allows the tower to be brought down. This was very handy when mounting the mast, rotator and the top two beams. The M2 9WL (28 element UHF) is on top, the M2 6M7 (6m 7 element) in the middle and the Cushcraft XM-240 (40m 2 element) closest to the thrust bearing. Wind loads have been reviewed and the roof structure in the attic has been substantially enhanced so to handle the tower and the load.

 

myAntennas ::VE3CKO - 48' tower with 3 el SteppIR :: M2 2M18XXX ::M2 HO LOOP Current antennas operational at new QTH:

  • 160m Full Wave Loop - 540' up the tress 40 - 70' horizontalli RG213 to shack
  • Butternut HF9V - up about 10' : RG213 to shack
  • BevFlex Bi-directional Beverage - 550' of RG6 about 9' above ground : RG6 to shack
  • M2 2M HO LOOP - horizontal omni @20' LMR400 to shack

The towers/antennas below are what I had prior to moving Jan/18.

myTower ::VE3CKO - 48' tower with 3 el SteppIR :: M2 2M18XXX ::M2 HO LOOP Delhi DMXHD 48' self-supporting, custom hinge: (Yaesu G-1000DXA rotator)

  • SteppIR 3-elements with 30/40m addon & 6m passive element 16' boom @50' LMR400 to shack
  • M2 2M18XXX 18-element 2m, 36' boom @60' 5/8" hardline to SSB SP-2000 preamp in the shack
  • 80m Double Bazooka homebrew @44'  RG213 to shack
  • 160m vetical (inverted L) 65' up the tower ~65' horizontal to north/east RG213 to shack
  • 160m inverted L 44' up the tower / 90' horizontal to north RG213 to shack
  • M2 2M HO LOOP horizontal omni @44' LMR400 to shack
  • Diamond X50 VHF/UHF : @44' LMR400 to shack
myRoof Tower :: VE3CKO - 9 foot home brew roof tower with XM-240, M2 6M7 & M2 9WL for UHF10' homebrew roof tower: (Yaesu G-1000DXA rotator)
  • M2 432-9WL 28-element UHF @51'  : SSB SP-7000 preamp at tower base: LMR400 to shack
  • M2 6M7 7-element 6m @41'  : SSB SP-600 pre-amp at tower base : LMR400 to shack
  • Cushcraft XM-240 : 40m 2-element 22' boom @36' : RG213 to shack

mySatellite Tripod :: 5' tripod on garage roof: (Yaesu 5400B el/az rotator)

  • HyGain VB-216SAT VHF 16 elements : pending installation 5/8" hardline to shack
  • HyGain UB-7030SAT UHF 30-elements : pending installation heliax to shack

myOther antennas:

  • Butternut HF9V - up about 10' : RG213 to shack
  • K9AY 4-way Loop System 160/80m receiving : RG58/U to shack
  • G5RV junior ~ 30' inverted Vee: RG58/U to shack
  • Little Tarheel II mobile

Antennas not in use:

  • 60m Double Bazooka homebrew
  • AlphDelta 80/40 receive only
  • TH6-DXX - 20m, 15m, 10m - on the ground  for sale
myMicrophones:
- Heil PR-40
- Heil Pro Set Elite headset

- Rode NT-1
- BM-800
myTuners:
- PALSTAR HF-AUTO
- PALSTAR AT4K
- LDG IT-100 (mobile)

myMeters/Analyzers:
- Telepost LP-700
- Rig Expert AA-600
- Diawa CN-801HP3 (HF-6m)
- Diawa CN-801HP (VHF)
- Diawa CN-801V (UHF)
- Bird 43

myAmps:
- Yaesu Quadra VL-1000 (160-6m)
- Alpha 87A (160-10m)
- M2 2M-1K2 (2m)
- Mirage B-215G (2m)

myFlexRadios:  FlexRadio 6700 with Maestro, 4o3a 8x2 Antenna Genius Plus and 5000A RX2-ATU-VU5K The 6700 is now the main HF rig and the 5000A used mostly for VHF/UHF work. Had a 6500 before upgrading and now the 6700, Maestro and Antenna Genius combo really has added flexibility to the station. Pun intended. Also added the DEMI 2MLDPA 75w amp specially designed for the 6700 so been using the 6700 for 2m SSB. Keeping the 5000A for satellite work which I haven't done much of at all. I rarely sit on a frequency and call DX, as I prefer to hunt and band jump. Hence why the FlexRadios features like the panadapter stand out for me. Once you can see the "weeds in the grass" and how it enhances operating, it is hard to get away from that. Flexradios have really helped me increase my county/band count in a dramatically fashion and is especially useful working split DXpeditions. I've had Yaesu 1000MP, Kenwood 2000 and recently sold the Icome 746pro but still have Icom 7600 and I must say from my personal experience, Flexradios easily edge out any radio I've used. As good as the 7600 is, it just doesn't hold up beside either Flexradio and it's sad to say I turn it on every once in a while and though it's still under warranty just keep it as a backup knob radio.

Back to the Flex's, the quality of audio is another standout feature for me, just incredible, again, when comparing with my other rigs. How my station sounds to others is important to me, and when stations in and off continent tell me without asking during a contact how great my audio sounds, it's a good feeling. Made sure my audio chain could live up to my expectations and the multi-band EQ on the Flexradio certainly helps with that. Did I mention the filtering is just incredible and the numerous features savable on a per band basis. Also I love the various VFO tuning methods that allows jumping around the band simple. I use an i5 HP desktop system with Windows 10 with one 32" and two 23" monitors with SmartSDR and PowerSDR running simultaneously without a hitch even with multiple programs running simultaneosly like HRD 6 and dozens of browser tabs.

When I want to play with a knob radio I could turn on the ICOM 7600 but that is rare, I go right to the Maestro. Haven't heard of the Maestro?  It  basically it is a remote head on mega steroids. The Maestro (14" x 6.5") which from it's knobs and 8" touch screen display, allows you to orchestrate any 6000 series radio via wirelessly by WiFi or directly on ethernet, (bluetooth coming). No computer is necessary at all so all you MAC people who have been crying all these years, this is your answer. With only the needed knobs and buttons and unique touchscreen, it's a welcome change to a mouse/flexcontrol operation of the radio, I love it. The Flexradio 6000 series radios are essentially a radio server, just like an internet server dishing out websites. The built-in networking in the Maestro allows me right now to connect through my LAN and sit in my living room or out on the deck by the pool and DX with ease, just like I'm in my shack. You don't need a Maestro for that, you can also do that with any computer/laptop with SmartSDR installed but the Maestro has so many features the laptop just can't provide. Once WAN support becomes available in SmartSDR v2.0, remote from anywhere via the internet into your 6000 series radio server will be a simly username/password entry. Anticipating SmartSDR v2.0 perhaps around Dayton 2017. Recomended battery for the Maestro is the Mogix 10400mAh External Battery. I certainly am enjoying conducting my DX hunt with the Maestro, so cool, click here to see the Maestro in action. See 39 minute video Flex Maestro: The Whole Story.

What's coming from Flex Radio Systems:  Afer the introduction of the series 6000 radios FRS concentrated on improving SmartSDR but has also expanded into other products.  They consulted with Ranko (4o3a) among other top contesters to find out what they would like to see that would improve operations during contests. Flexradio's theory is what is good for series contesters would be good for the average ham. The concept of the Maestro was born, developed, prototyped and is now in full production. The Antenna Genius Plus 8 x 2 and 8 x 1 antenna switch is also now available, automatically switches various antennas to what frequency your on. Easy to setup and lovely to use. I authored an article now published on Flexradio HelpDesk site titled Antenna Genius Band Changing Tutorial. Control via SmartSDR/Maestro coming soon. The Flex SO2R box was planned that will allow 6300 and 6500 to operate a Full Duplex SO2R station. 

Power Genius XL amplifier to be available late 2017, uses the very latest in LDMOS transistor technology, 1.8-54 MHz, the chatter is it will do 2200W easily. Fully SO2R capable – 70dB nominal isolation and has something new. MEffA™ system (Maximum Efficiency Algorithm) control efficiency as function of output power. With remote operation through the internet with it LAN connection and control of the amp via SmartSDR and Maestro. Shipping expected July/Aug 2017. Tuner Genius is an external legal limit tuner that will be provided free with every Power Genius ordered in 2017. No control or power cables needed, it's all done through one coax so can easily be located at the antenna. It will ship later in 2017.

DownEast Microwave has several new products for the Flexradio. 2MLDPA is a 2m 75w ampflier (I have this), a 2m 25W ampflier made specifically for the Flexradio 6700, and a 4MLDPA 4m 25w amplifier for both the 6500 and 6700, and all designed to go on the transverter output with remote options and advanced feature to control within SmartSDR. FRS open sourced the API and 3rd-Party software products have been developed and released (see below) and this is just the beginning.

Flexradio announced that SmartLink is included in the the SmartSDR v2.0 release and demonstrated it at Hamvention 2017.  It was finally released September 2017.

 

6400 $1999 - 1 SCU, similar specs to 6300 but with 4 slices, 3 TX relays, 1/4" TRS balanced audio input, ATU optional

6400M $2999 - same as 6400 but includes, Maestro front panel, HDMI output, ATU optional

6600 $3999 -  2 SCUs, 2 transverter ports, basically everything the 6700 has like diversity, ATU, sample rate etc, but less 2m, 4m and Ultra High Stability OCXO. Unique to the 6600 is Contest Grade Preselectors: 7th Order on contest bands; 3rd order on remaining bands.

6600M $4999 - 2 SCUs, 2 transverter ports, Maestro front panel, HDMI output, basically everything the 6700 has like diversity, ATU, sample rate etc, but less 2m, 4m and Ultra High Stability OCXO. Unique to the 6600 is Contest Grade Preselectors: 7th Order on contest bands; 3rd order on remaining bands.

HAMVENTION 2017 What's New? A huge surprise announcement at the Flex meeting at the 2017 Hamvention, 4 new radios. The 6400, 6400M, 6600 and 6600M, that will replace the 6300 and 6500. The "M" versions have a Maestro as the front panel. Flex has lowered the pricing! $1500 off the 6700 and $1200 off the 6500. Flex website no longer has 6300 for sale but they still are selling the 6500 discounted to $3999.  Quick summary below with links to Flex specs. Note, Flex did say the current brochures do not reflect the actual 6400 & 6600 as they were put together for the announcement and to put on their website, so there will be some updates on the pictures I would assume.

Here are a couple of videos from the Flexradio booth @ 10:00am on 5/20/2017 courtesty of N4CCB

          https://youtu.be/dwj6ChxsK8g

          https://youtu.be/Dqzh9L7MiJw

So at this time the new Flex 6400 is just $600 more than Icom 7300 and it's a true SDR and lot more radio with 4 receivers (slices). I think it's safe to say Flex has taken a big step to recapture the SDR market. One can see a brilliant future for us Flexers.

Something Mike VA3MX has pointed out in the Flex Community, SmartSDR is the only software that actually has CESSB built in.  What that means is that you get about the equivalent of an extra 2.51db output on SSB.  That is almost like getting 200 PEP out of your 100 watt radio. Flexradio was the first to adopt this technology. CESSB is some amazing math that can be read about in this QEX articlehttp://www.arrl.org/files/file/QEX_Next_Issue/2014/Nov-Dec_2014/Hershberger_QEX_11_14.pdf

Some useful tutorials for Flex users:

Some useful 3rd Party software I use:

 

WoodboxRadio has created free S-meters for SmartSDR with two styles, I've setup a meter for each slice. See Smart S-meter PLUS available or go to woodboxradio.com

I've been using their BobMeter for PowerSDR (on the right) for a long time. It's a 70's vintage looking S-meter and it is also free. You can run two instances of the program to display an S meter for RX1 and another for RX2. They do have a paid version that is more advanced features like SWR and Power.

VE3CKO custom panadapter display with my callsign integratedBeing a software kinda guy, I was curious if I could tweak anything like the panadapter display. Found the skin directory and started off loaded some files  and edited some of the .png files with success. Of course I should have known that the like minded had already figured that out long time ago. W1AEC actually has a tutorial on how to create skins and has skins to download. I've customized some panadapter displays of my own with my callsign integrated.

Configured DDUtil by K5FR with the Flexradio 5000A, SteppIR SDA-100 and 2 BobSmeters.

There is life after PowerSDR v2.7.2 and it's great. Remember when we use to get updates of PowerSDR and how exciting it was to see what new features have been added. Each update was like a new radio.  KE9NS is "Bringing back that loving feeling" and is actively developing PowerSDR for the 1500, 3000 and 5000 radios. He really knows his stuff and with support from FlexRadio Darrin is making PowerSDR even better. I've been following Darrin from the start and contributed some feature ideas such as DX spotting. A few days later and bingo, there it was in the next release and even more features being added on top of that. Excitement once again for the Flexradio legacy radio and to the detractors who always complained about feeling abandoned regarding PowerSDR, this should shut them up for a while. Here is a short list of some features that have been added to PowerSDR:

  1. DX Cluster and SWL spotting directly to the Panadapter
  2. Grey Line and Sun tracking in Panadapter background
  3. Panafall mode 80% Panadapter 20% Waterfall
  4. Waterfall in PanaFall mode scrolls with frequency change to follow signals
  5. Transmit TEXT and IMAGE directly into the Waterfall
  6. SWL Bands with BandStacking and ability to add Bandstacking from each Band button
  7. MON function in AM/FM modes using Pre processed Audio
  8. Toggle MON button to MONpre or MONpost processed Audio for SSB
  9. Automatic Waterfall level adjust from the main console screen (RX1 and RX2)
  10. KHZ direct Frequency Entry (as well as the original MHZ entry)
  11. Additional Analog Meters: Analog, TR7, EDGE (selectable by clicking on Meter)
  12. PanaFall in both RX1 and RX2 together
  13. RX Signal with Peak hold function added (RX1 and RX2)
  14. AvgP  allows for average just in the panadapter and not in the waterfall during PanaFall mode
  15. Hyperlink drag/drop of Files and URL's to a PowerSDR "Memory"
  16. Continuum Display mode for RX1
  17. QuickPlay Audio Folder allows for Multiple files

KE9NS - www.ke9ns.com/flexpage.html

myHF:  With the new QTH there was high anticipation of a quieter noise floor and more room to put some significant low band antennas. In a couple weeks I've managed to get up a full-wave 160m loop up horizontally into trees 40 to 70' in height. Very impressed with the reception on 160 thru 17m and it tunes up easily with being reasonant at about 1.9 mHz. Early reports is that it's putting out a big signal and have made contacts into Europe that I just could not on the inverted-L at the old QTH. The noise floor is much lower than back in the city so I can hear a lot better. Having installed and tried the K9AY Loop system with poor results in the city I still wanted to see if I can benefit with a beverage so I installed a JK-Antenna BevPro-2 bi-direction beverage using RG6 about 550' in length 9 to 10' above the ground. Wow, it is performing better than I hoped. Reversing directions is impressive as so far with some stations I see 2 to 3 S-units difference and it's doing it's job on 160, 80 and 40. Yet to try it on 30m. I will be installing the K9AY Loop as well as I'm sure this will perform well. Was planning a phases array on 160m but I'm getting results now and the band count is increasing finally, so no rush on dual verticals. To al. the naysayers of beverages, read the following carefully. I have seen very poor results at my previous QTH because of two reasons, high noise floor and too much metal from eaves, cable/phone/hydro lines and everything else to close to the array. A beverage definately lowers the noise floor but if you have too much man-made noise close by as in a city, you can never overcome that and each location will give you varying results. Now that I'm out in the country with far less man-made noise, the results I am getting is just plain remarkable. Most every signal in North America is cleaner to listen to on the beverage and can actually here Europe now.

The Butternut HF9V vertical is mounted on a fence post of the corral about 4.5' above the ground. The corral is constructed of wood and fence wire so I've grounded to that which allowed tuning on all bands except 160m so I cut a 1/8 wave radial from RG6 coax and that was enough to tune on 160m. The antenna is performing as it should but could use more radials of course. 

The SteppIR will go up in the spring when I plan to install a new Trylon tower at least 72' in height.

The greyed portion below represents my setup at old QTH prior to Jan. 31 2018. The SteppIR (2013) 3-elements on 20m thru 6m and everywhere in between. I also installed the 6m addon that's 4 elements on 6m, and the 40m/30m addon. Installed about 50' (17m) on a tower. Truely very happy with the actual performance from the moment I connected it to a radio as I started hearing more that just not there on the vertical and dipoles. My country count startted increasing immediately. Nice to have that sweet spot anywhere on 40m - 6m on one cable. Playing radio is actually more fun, if I hear them well and conditions are right, I usually get through first or second call and to me, that is impressive. Sure, everyone likes their new antenna and I am no exception but the proof in the band/country count escalation, my own ears and reports I'm getting. I'm at no extreme height, just about 50', this antenna simply just works! For example worked 9K2GS Kuwait 6,439 miles with under 5 watts the actual report from Abdallah was S9 and for fun went to 25 watts and he reported +20db over. Condition were good and of course he was doing most of the lifting, but I'd like to think the SteppIR contributed just a little to the QSO.

I frequently band jump and the 180 degree and bi-direction features on the SteppIR saves significant time locking in a station, so I'm making a call and getting DX in my logbook instead of waiting for the rotator. The 3 element SteppIR is like having 5 mono-banders (20m thru 10m) and a 4 element mono-bander on 6m. I know the 40m addon is just a dipole with no front to back ratio but from what I gather there is 10 db difference on the side to front and I can confirm this. I've since got an XM-240 and in hindsight it may have been a better move to go with a 4 element SteppIR without the 40m addon but it would be pushing the windload specs on my current tower. Since getting the SteppIR 3 element, the TH6-DXX tri-bander is FOR SALE and is awaiting a new home, the antenna is on the ground, element pairs are tied together for easy transportation and re-assembly.

The Butternut HF9V vertical is up about 10' and is handy to quickly see band activity without having to move the SteppIR all over. For 80m, I installed an 80m vertical using folded counterpoise (K2AV) about 8'. The vertical consists of a 2" OD 20' aluminum mast with a 40' spiderbeam pole and 3 14 gauge wire running to the top. Also a double bazooka was constructed using RG-59/U and with the help of a Rig Expert AA600 analyzer I trimmed  the antenna to be resonant at 3755 mHz with an SWR of 1.02 with no tuner. As compared to an AlphaDelta 80/40 at a similar height but not exact location, the double bazooka was much quieter, so I constructed one for 60m as well. For 160m I have a noise floor of 7 to 9 s-units and because of the limited space and. I put up an inverted "L" with 135' of wire going up the tower about 43' and then out, resonant at 1.870 mHz with a 1.11 SWR again, no tuner. With that noise floor just can't hear much with it and looking for alternatives. Played with a K9AY 4 direction receiving antenna (Array Solutions link) with mixed results. I do get directional ability but just kinda useless with the noise floor I have in the city.  Spring/summer not an ideal time but I put it up on a side yard hanging from a tree branch and confirmed less noise on 160/80, can't leave it there so it will have to go up just for the winter months. Going to try a shunt-fed tower method for 160m but have to track down a couple variable vacuum capacitors first.

As for amplifiators when needed, I like using about 600 watts or so, Had an Ameritron 811H for a time but with all the band jumping I do it became aparent that I needed a solid-state amp. Got an Ameritron ALS-600 and it worked fine but wasn't auto-band switching which was a little inconvenient but also there was a 6m void so I continued to trade upwards. Both Ameritrons were sold enabling upgrades to an Alpha 87A and later, a Yaesu Quadra VL-1000. Pretty much use the Quadra during the spring/summer months so to have 6m handy for openings. The Alpha gets more use during the colder months as the shack can use the additional heat :)  Considering selling both the Alpha and Quadra for the new Flexradio Power Genius.

As for tuners, for the most part all my antennas, homebrew or not are resonant and don't need any tuners, with the Butternut vertical being the exception, but it's mostly a receiving antenna and I have a Palstar HF-Auto and an AT4K when playing with wire. To select all these HF antennas I picked up an Array Solutions EightPak that allows me select from 8 antennas between two radios, so I've configured it to go to the two amplifiers, the Alpha or Quadra amp then to the desired radios. Upgraded the Antenna Genius 8x2 ethernet switch so the EightPak is up for sale.

my6m: 50 mHz -  M2 6M7 yagi- SSB 6m pre-amp - Yaesu Quadra amplifier
This 6m season has been off to a good start for me with 11 new countries and dozens of new grids so far. All with less than 100w. Into Europe several times verified Germany. I may get DXCC on 6m before 160m. Using an M2 6M7 monobander (30' 8 1/2" boom, 7 element, 13dBi gain) at about 40' on my roof tower. See an improvement of a good 1.5 S-units on weak signals when compared to the 3 el SteppIR @ 50' with the 6m passive reflector. It does have a tighter beam and that certainly assisted when the band is noisy. The SSB 6m pre-amp is at the base of the roof tower and I do see more amplified signal rather than noise when it was back in the shack. The Flexradio 6700 is primarily used but do switch in the IC7600 the odd time to be sure it still can hear. The Quadra gives me some power when needed.

my2m: 144 mHz - M2 2M18XXX yagi - SSB 2m pre-amp - M2 2M-1K2 amplifier - DEMI 2MLDPA - Mirage B215G
Getting on 2m SSB has proved to be a lot of fun with a local ragchew on 144.190 and when there is an opening, a little DX. Nothing across the pond yet, mostly down south into Texas and Florida way and occasionally out west. For that I'm primarily using the FlexRadio 6700 now that I've added the DownEast Microwave (DEMI) 75W amp (with remote option). Also use the FlexRadio 5000A (factory installed VU5K) works very nice for me and is significantly better than TS-2000. Now that I've got the Flex 6700 I'll be doing more comparisons with the 5000A but I can tell you the WNB on the SmartSDR work very well on 2m static without distorting the audio, but the NB set right on the 5000A does a good job as well.

The panadapter makes for easy pickings during VHF contesting. For 2m antennas I have an M2 2M18XXX (36.5' boom, 18 element), up 58' on a tower with 5/8 hardline feeding an SSB SP-2000 pre-amp in the shack. I occassionaly us an M2 HO LOOP (horizontal omni) up at 45' with LMR-400 cable to the shack and does a great job working local SSB rag chew. Finally a Diamond X50 up about 40' that hits the VHF/UHF repeaters nicely. For amplifiers an M2 2M1K2 amplifier helps out when needed. I'm looking for a short run 50 to 60' of better hardline to reduce the noise floor to go from the base of the tower to the shack. Also have an IC-7000 for backup, local SSB rag chew and local repeaters. I recently sold both an ICOM 746pro and IC-275H (2m all-mode). See myTRANSVERTERS below.

my1.25m: 222 MHz - no antenna yet
Have the 222 mHz transverter board from transverters-store.com mounted and ready to go, just awaiting an antenna. See myTRANSVERTERS below.

my70cm: 432 MHz - M2 432-9WL yagi - SSB SP-7000 pre-amp
An M2 9WL (21' 1" boom, 28 element, 19.44 dBi) is on the top of the roof tower at 51' with an SSB pre-amp at the base and LMR-400 to the shack. Switching to 5/8" hardline from the roof tower base to shack when I can get some proper connectors. Using the FlexRadio 5000 factory installed VUK and though I don't have it anymore, it outperformed the TS-2000. Have the 432 mHz transverter board from transverters-store.com mounted and ready to go, will be testing it next week. See myTRANSVERTERS below.

myTRANSVERTERS:  I saw the video from K4DSP, fine job Doug, so I decided to try those UT5JCW transverters (transverters-store.com) and ordered the 144, 222 and 432 boards. I must say I am very impressed. Just playing with the 144mHz board and have it connected to the Flexradio 6500. I used my Flexradio 5000A to calibrate the LO Error frequency, for me this setting was 500 Hz. This transverter with the Max Power set to 1.0 dBm outputs a clean 5 to 6 watts and appears to be comparable to the factory installed VHF on my Flexradio 5000A. Info from Flexradio that can be useful, "When transmitting on the XVTR port below 80MHz, the RF Power slider is set to put out -11.5 to +15 dBm (-11.5 at setting 1, +15 at setting 100). Above 80MHz, this range is -11.5 to +8dBm." Using a dBm to milliwatt converter, that translates between 0.07 mW to 31.62 mW output. This is well below what UT5JCW warns, anything above 100mW will instantly pop the board.

After some 2m rag chewing for just over several hours and days there was no noticable drifting, got phenomenal reports, even to another Flexradio 5000A with VUK, he reports very clean signal in his panadapter, when compared to ICOM 746Pro, the 6500 with this transverter sounded better by a wide margin. The transverter is stable, doesn't drift so far and I can also report works fine with 5 to 6 watt output to my M2 2M-1K2 amplifier.

For receiving, I have to give this setup as good if not better than the 5000A VUK. The SmartSDR WNB feature (set to 95) is the deal breaker on 2m. It drops static band noise an easy 2 S-units or more without distorting audio as the NB can do. The ability to see the whole band is nice. Switching back and forth to some weak 2m SSB there is more signal, about an S unit which really means nothing but more importantly I can hear through the noise better and I attribute that to the 6500. 

I got 3 identical boxes for each transverter and mounted boards inside using some old pre-pentium heatsinks I've been saving. Front panel has power switch and LED and a transmit LED. Back panel are BNC connectors for 28mHz input and antenna out as well as connectors for PTT and power.

Having upgraded from the FlexRadio 6500 to the 6700 with 2m so the 144 transverter became redundant and was sold, keeping the 222 and 432 transverters.

myShortwave Listening: For short wave listening to describe using a SteppIR just one word, "wow". Maybe two words, "over kill". Using PowerSDR v2.8 from K9NS makes SWLing interesting as the SW spots can be shown in the panadapter and audio quality on either the 6700 or 5000 is of course very good. Would have loved to have the SteppIR in the 70's when short wave was much more exciting. With many countries ceasing shortwave broadcasts and destryong their antenna arrays I'm afraid it may be gone for good. Sorry but streaming audio on the internet just isn't DXing.

mySATELLITE:  Installed the HyGain 144/440 Oscar kit called the DB-218SAT that consists of the VB-216SAT, UB-7030SAT, fibreglass crossboom assembly and necessary phasing lines, relays, and left and right circuitry switching to reduce fading. This is being installed on a Yaesu 5400B elevation/azimuth rotator. I have yet to interface with an Easy Rotor Control (ERC-M) interface. Ham Radio Deluxe Satellite Tracking is excellent that is making satellite communicationmuch easier as it communicates directly to the Flexradio 5000A VU5K (VHF/UHF installed). Got the cables run into the shack and starting to play around. The Flexradio with the FLEX-VU5K module installed supports standardized satellite operation modes in full duplex:

• A Mode: VHF up-link / 10m HF down-link
• B Mode: UHF up-link / VHF down-link
• K Mode: 15m HF up-link / 10m HF down-link
• J Mode: VHF up-link / UHF down-link
• T Mode: 15m HF up-link / VHF down-link

myMOBILE: Had an ICOM IC-7000 as the mobile rig, with a Little Tarheel II covering 80m - 6m, an M2 2M HO LOOP for 2m SSB and a Diamond vertical mag-mount for VHF/UHF FM. I've since change vehicles and have the 7000 set aside for now. Use a Kenwood TM-V71A 144/432 FM dual bander. From time to time I use the FlexRadio Maestro and remote directly to my FlexRadio 6700 via cellphone internet. Far superior operating conditions as compared to the conventional mobil setup like I use to use.

myDIGITAL:  The FlexRadio with DM-780 in Ham Radio Deluxe was very easy to setup and get going with digital contacts. Been playing a bit here and there occasionally with the digital modes, PSK and RTTY mostly, worked 101 countries with little effort. With the Flex 6700 you can open up 8 slices so I've had several digital modes going at once on mulitiple bands. JT-65 is cool in that it does enable contacts to weak signals but it is painfull to operate as can take 4 minutes per Q and you have to be on top of it every 60 seconds. I was an early user of FT-8 and I must say with it being 4 times faster than JT-65 and it's auto sequencing feature is a gift to us that are easily distracted in the shack, it's a breeze and much more fun to use. It's helping adding to band/country count on 30m but other than that not tremendously exciting to use as compared to a phone contact. Problem is frequency allocation and QRM as it has become so popular. Please, if you are going to use FT-8 don't send out CQs constantly. If they don't get a resonse the first 30 CQs what make them think they'll be heard the next 30. Send CQs in bursts of 4 or 5 then stop. Wait a bit then do it again.   I'm hoping they will add a call sign block feature where you add the lids who don't know what ediquite means.

myLOGBOOK: I use Ham Radio Deluxe, not the free old and buggy version, not that old is bad but in the software world old is never better, just free. So it was a no brainer to upgrade for the new version 6 when it was released. This small investment has really paid off in so many ways but essentially greatly simplified my DX hunt. I can easily view work and verified DXCC on a per band basis thus making it less complicated to find out what countries I need to target. Uploading/Downloading for LOTW is still done manually but each QSO now can be automatically uploaded to QRZ, Clublog, eQSL and HRDlog. Highly recommend this software. This is a hobby and why should we spend money for software? Well to keep it simple, less time worrying about logging gives me more play time. Quit whining about it and just do it.

VE3CKO CQWW  2014 CertificatemyCONTESTING: The first contest I worked  where I decided to send in a report log was for CQWW SSB 2014. My results were just under a million points (946,164) however official results deducted 157,000 points mostly because I changed bands without waiting 10 minutes. Still, was good enough for first place Worldwide, North America and in Canada for a Rookie. (see certificate). I have worked SSB and VHF contests a bit, really just handed out points as I was looking for some needed countries, bands or grids, testing station improvements and never taking it serious because didn't think I'd like it and it seems like a lot of work. My interest is honestly DXing but when CQWW SSB was closing in, so the night before the contest I played around with N1MM contesting software, recorded some macros when I got it to run along side the Flex 5000, that's when I decided to give the contest a go. I decided to hunt rather than go with a run station, I took full advantage of the panadapter and went from one end of the band to the other and back and forth, and then switched bands doing the same thing trying to work the bands when they were hot at that time of day. Well the points started coming like a freakin video game, and then got some mojo going, grabbing what I could, checking needed zones and countries, changing bands often and well, having fun.

Took a 5 hour break Saturday evening and went back at it about 11pm for a few hours and realized geez I got a lot of points. So before I started up Sunday I checked the CQWW website for last years results and realized I was doing pretty good for my rookie category, so long story short, worked it hard Sunday afternoon which utilmately secured me top spot after official results. Will I contest again? I think so as long as there's no major family or work thing going on. It was rewarding to see immediate results, I surely would not have done it without the running points total after each QSO. Never thought I would participate to this degree but it was kind of addicting.

Summer of 2017 attended the anual get together of Contest Club Ontario and joined. Do plan to be more active and participate in future contests. With a 6700 and SO2R operation should make it interesting.

myAudio Chain: 1Yes I know this is just a hobby and phone is just voice communications but if you have the know how, why not use it to make your station better? Part of the fun of this hobby is to experiment and try things to improve your station like building an antenna to hear and be heard better on a certain bands. If we build antennas with a good match so no tuner is needed, and we can make our audio sound better, why not? Let's be honest here, I can't stand listening to those tin can sounding stations and I certainly did not want to sound like a voice eminating from a toilet bowl. From what I hear on the bands more stations should put more effort into how their station sounds at the other end. It certainly has been getting much better of late where emphasis on a bigger signal takes priority but in my opinion, it all starts from the microphone and ends up at the antenna. I could be wrong.

So when planning my station, it was clear to me that I wanted my station to sound good to others, better than average, and since I have a bit of a hearing issue it was also important to have pleasant listening audio. Ergonomically speaking I didn't want to have a bunch of microphones cluttering up valuable desk space either so the plan was simple, use one good microphone on a boom, that would feed high quality audio to any radio and for monitoring use an amplified shelf speaker. From my internet radio years I've already had a boom some gear to play with, tried a Rode NT-1 going through a Mackie mixer (phantom power) I had RF issues galore. Went with a Heil PR-40 and put it through a tube Behringer pre-amp (12AX7) and let tubes do what they do best, that nice smoothness in the voice. I used Bose Companion II powered speakers for a while but upgraded to JBL Control 2P 35W powered speakers and like the addition head room and cleaner sound. 

The PR-40 is a great microphone and some say it's an ovekill for ham radio but it looks pretty and I can use it for other purposes. I picked up a used Dorrough 40-A loundness monitor and it's large LEDs makes it easy to view my audio levels so to be sure whatever radio I'm using has the level it needs to perform. Got a BM-800 microphone and not only does it look cool it performs amazingly well for now under $50. This version I got needs phantom power so it went into the 2nd channel of the tube pre-amp. If your on a budget, google BM-800, get this microphone! They are now under $25.

From the Behringer tube pre-amp. (set to 0db peaks), then to a Ashly 31-band EQ (currently bypassed), to a Behiringer mixer (set to 0db peaks on inputs and outputs). The mixer can feed up to six radios, but now feeds the FLEXRADIO 6700, FLEXRADIO 5000, ICOM 7600 and ICOM 746Pro and line-in to my shack computer. I know the picture shows the Ashly 31-band EQ but it is not in the audio chain, I use the built-in 8 channel EQ in SmartSDR to tweak my voice for the sound I want for my station. When both local and distant DX compliment my audio and I continue to get through pileups, I know I'm on the right track.

The key thing to remember when setting up audio is that one stage shoud not output anything over 0db to the next stage, set it and leave it alone. Take the time to find an audio line input for your radio so to bypass the radios pre-amp and processor. If you can't do that then don't waste your time with any external pre-amps or processing. Would be like putting brick on the gas pedal and then use your brakes to adjust your speed. Ok bad example but the point is if you are trying to optimize your audio by smoothing your voice with an external tube pre-amp and/or tailor it with external processing, you don't want to destroy all that effort by using the radios' mic input. You'll be overdriving the input stage and be forced to turn the mic gain on the radio down so much it will be functioning as an attenuator and depending on the manufacturers' circuit design, you could degrade the audio quality you were trying to improve upon in the first place. I hope that made sense.

One last area to cover is transmission bandwidth. There is great debates on-air and online about this and surely not going to get into it here. I will say, I'm all for getting the best audio you can in the appropriated bandwidth allowed. On HF I keep it 3k or below depending upon band conditions. During contests when the band is crowded, I go 2.4 to 2.7k. On 2m SSB rag chew where the band is typically under utilized I go wider as there isn't anyone to be interferring with. Since I have the panadapter on the Flexradio, I see everyone's transmisions and boy there are some fantastic looking signals that sound pretty decent at 3k and then there are the 6k wide guys that tend to be another SDR brand. Going to leave it at that. Should go without saying but I'll say it anyways, always be courteous so if your running above 3k and when someone complains your splattering up or down band, do the right thing and bring it down. I've never had that complaint but I've heard others complain.

 

Audio Chain to Rigs:

1.  HEIL PR-40 microphone:
2.  Behringer MIC2200 tube pre-amp 
3.  ASHLY GQX3102 31-band equalizer (not used)
4.  Behringer MX880 6 ch. mixer
NOTE: All cables were made to desired length using
quality shielded audio cable with torrids on each cable

I
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T

O
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MX880 Mixer Output 1 > to FlexRadio 6700 balanced input 
MX880 Mixer Output 2 > to FlexRadio 5000A balanced input
MX880 Mixer Output 3 > to ICOM 7600 mod input
MX880 Mixer Output 4 > to ICOM 7000 mod input
MX880 Mixer Output 5 > spare
MX880 Mixer Output 6 > to Dorrough 40-A Loudness Monitor

  Audio out from Rigs to Vestax PMC-15 mixer:  
M
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R

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1.  FlexRadio 6700 audio output via ground loop isolator
2.  FlexRadio 5000A audio output via ground loop isolator
3.  Computer  audio output via ground loop isolator
4.  Satellite receiver

M
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E
R

O
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 audio output  >  JBL Control 2P powered speakers

myMesh: VA3KGS, VE3XNC and myself had played with mesh on both 440mhz and 2.4ghz. Established a 10 mile link between VA3KGS and my QTH using 440mHz WiFi mesh. I do believe this is the first Canadian contact in this band and mode. Also made contact with VE3XNC in his mobile on 440 mesh. We established VoIP communications using Speak Freely software. VA3KGS is documenting our progress on his website. Been inactive with mesh for a while, awaiting more nearby nodes to go live.

Don't know what Broadband Hamnet is? It is being developed as an amatuer radio broadband communications system using several bands. Primarilythe 2.4 GHz ISM band , channels 1 to 6 of using old Linksys WRT54/G/GL/GSwireless routers. The code that gets flashed has been written for Ubiquiti products which are in current production and output more power. Mentioned earlier we have successfully used a 440mHz WiFi PC card, utilizing 5 mhz bandwidth on 70cm. Simply connected a UHF antenna to the card but plan to use a Cushcraft 11 element as a fixed antenna pointing to our hub. Plan is to use the 440 mesh as the backbone where there is line of sight issues with 2.4 GHz mesh system and then use the 2.4G mesh for local nodes. For my mesh network I've got a WRT54G v4 for one of my nodes and a Ubiquiti Bullet M2 HP on a 24 dBi parbolic dish. To find out more info on mesh, check out www.broadband-hamnet.org/

Weather Underground PWS IONTARIO914

my: My weather station is an Ambient Weather WS-1001,  sending data live from my rooftop via wifi directly to the Weather Underground servers, hence the widget below. This station has a lot of bang for the buck and the only one I could find with features I needed for under $300 and the 7" TFT LCD color display console is the best I've seen. Sits beside my Yaesu G1000 controller so I can keep an close eye and adjust rotator during heavy winds conditions.

myProjects:

  1. Taking down all antennas, towers and cabling, moving home of 28 years to new QTH
  2. After move get K9AY Loop System and 160m fullwave loop installed immediately
  3. Make plans to install current 48' tower and new 72' tower, get SteppIR back up in time to work Bouvet DXpedition
  4. If that doesn't improve 160m try shunt-fed Tower, with aid of a couple vacuum variable capacitors
  5. Eventual 4 square on 80
  6. finish connecting an EA4TX ARS-USB controller to a Yaesu G-1000DXA
  7. interface Easy Rotor Control board to Yaesu G-5400B ez/el for satellite tracking

myHAM Beginnings: You can skip this section as it's a more detailed station history, for those inquiring minds. As stated most got my ticket in the early 70's as a teenager but high school, hockey, football etc got in the way and I've regretted it since. Famililiar story shared with many. Family, carreer, and other hobbies like music took all spare time and as the years and decades passed and excuses piling up. Though I didn't have my ticket, I've waivered in and out of the hobby and had decades of related technical experience. Then a few years ago I took a serious look at this hobby. Was impressed with the computer control of rigs and even more intrigued with SDR and got the bug. Started planning a station that would accomplish three main goals. Pull in DX, those far away little known islands I listened to as a teenager, have a good sounding station and to do it myself. Was so committed that I started assembling a station before I got a license, this way I couldn't back out again, right.

I've learned a long time ago that having a good station you need more than just a good radio, it's all about antenna and location. Since I can't do anything about my location, my station would have reflect what I could control within a 110 x 100 lot, 2-storey home with some trees. Part of the fun would be trying different antennas, homebrew or not. Decided to seek out a decent used radio that can be CAT controlled, a microphone and all the due diligence like proper shack grounding. From the get go I wanted to eliminate as many possible points of failure within financial reason. Having experienced what happens to cheap coax over the years, I wasn't going to fart around with someone's old used coax just to save a few dollars. A radio, well that's a different story, so it was time to get some used gear and made a call to a friend who over the years kept knudging me to get my license. I really lucked out as he was downsizing the hobby and invited me over to see what he's was selling. Got my real first station that afternoon, a mint Yaesu FT-1000MP, SP-8 speaker, hand mic, MD100 desk mic, a Butternut HF9V and about 300' roll of new of RG-213 coax, the good stuff. Got the station put together in my office, and installed the Butternut vertical on a 5' tripod on top of my 2nd story roof. Bingo, the bands lit up and played around listening, learned every feature, button, and menu on that radio. Did I say I'm a quick learner, got HRD working and started logging stations I listened to for practice. I was in heaven. Aquired a few boxes of old gear from a friend who's father retired from ham radio and was happy to pass it on as it was just in storage taking up room, I felt bad so I gave him more than what he was asking. This included an IC-275H so now I was on 2m with a whip. Purposely boxed myself in a corner so now had no choice but to get my license, so I after brushing up for two weeks I took the test, geez that was easy. That was some mental block I imposed on myself for 40 years, finally, a huge item taken off my bucket list. The quest was on and the fun began. Started working stations and even some DX that quickly adding to my country count. Upgraded to the new v6 HRD which made it easy to see your DXCC count what is worked and confirmed. A while later pulled the trigger and got a FlexRadio 5000A, oh boy! Used the Butternut vertical and a G5RV junior for over a year, getting just over 80 countries. Added more to the station with M2 yagis for 6m, VHF and UHF.

However, the noise floor being in the city was and continues to be a problem and vertical and dipoles would only take me so far. Can't work what you can't hear so I knew to get those far away countries and little known islands I'd have to eventually get a beam of some kind up on some tower. Acquired a used 48' self-supporting tower and a TH6-DXX and staged the beam on top of my garage roof to play around. Decided to modify the tower so it can tilt over (see picture above). Also went with mounting the rotator near the bottom of the tower with a 2" pipe mast going up and about 8' on top of the tower. Installed the M2 18XXX at the top while on the ground and feed the cabling inside the tower. After finally getting the tower up I realized the amount of work involved so it was a decision time, get the TH6 up on 3 bands or think bigger. So decided a 3 element SteppIR was better for my situation. With a little help from my friends, (yes I'm a Beatle's fan), the SteppIR was installed just after returning from 2014 Dayton Hamfest. Talk about a game changer, DXCC on 6-bands was achieved pretty quickly.

Like most stations the shack has grown and shrunk, going from Yaesu 1000MP, Icom 275-H, Kenwood TS2000, Flexradio 5000 and Flexradio 6500. Now the station has settled down to a Flexradio 6700, Flexradio 5000A RX2-ATU-VUK an Icom 7600 and 7000. Oh and a Kenwood V71A FM rig. I regret selling some equipment but had to in order to upgrade. When I sold radios I've manage to pretty much get what I paid for so worked out well upgrading to the best of the best Flexradio 6700. Same with amplifiers started with an AL-811H then ALS-600 solid-state then upgraded to a Yaesu Quadra and Alpha 87A. Amplifiers kept their value until recently now that newer solid state devices are out and have dropped in resell value but that's all part of the game.

One last thing, the 3-element SteppIR is really not mounted on the canal bridge, I photoshoped it, but that should be obvious. Again, thanks for visiting and good DX.

73, Mike
VE3CKO

 

I am fan of and/or use these things . . .

 

 

Tony Hancock " The Radio Ham " The Full BBC Show Funny Amateur Film

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pg03Dm4y1ao

 

 

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United States Counties Award#1022
Granted: 2016-07-19 17:48:46   (VE3CKO)

Endorsements:
  • 100 Counties Mixed
  • 250 Counties Mixed
  • 100 Counties Phone
  • 250 Counties Phone
United States Award#726
Granted: 2015-02-22 23:30:02   (VE3CKO)

Endorsements:
  • Mixed Phone
DX World Award#328
Granted: 2015-01-23 03:41:05   (VE3CKO)

Endorsements:
  • 5 Band Mixed
  • 10 Meters Mixed
    12 Meters Mixed
    15 Meters Mixed
    17 Meters Mixed
    20 Meters Mixed
    40 Meters Mixed
  • 5 Band Phone
  • 10 Meters Phone
    12 Meters Phone
    15 Meters Phone
    17 Meters Phone
    20 Meters Phone
    40 Meters Phone
  • Mixed Digital
World Continents Award#347
Granted: 2015-01-15 17:49:53   (VE3CKO)

Endorsements:
  • 5 Band Mixed
  • 10 Meters Mixed
    12 Meters Mixed
    15 Meters Mixed
    17 Meters Mixed
    20 Meters Mixed
    30 Meters Mixed
    40 Meters Mixed
  • 5 Band Phone
  • 10 Meters Phone
    12 Meters Phone
    15 Meters Phone
    17 Meters Phone
    20 Meters Phone
    40 Meters Phone
  • 12 Meters Digital
  • 15 Meters Digital
  • 17 Meters Digital
  • 20 Meters Digital
Grid Squared Award#337
Granted: 2015-01-15 17:49:50   (VE3CKO)

Endorsements:
  • 5 Band Mixed
  • 10 Meters Mixed
    12 Meters Mixed
    15 Meters Mixed
    17 Meters Mixed
    20 Meters Mixed
    40 Meters Mixed
    6 Meters Mixed
    80 Meters Mixed
  • 5 Band Phone
  • 10 Meters Phone
    12 Meters Phone
    15 Meters Phone
    17 Meters Phone
    20 Meters Phone
    40 Meters Phone
    6 Meters Phone
    80 Meters Phone
    Mixed Phone
  • Mixed Digital
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