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W2HRO first licensed WN2HRO in 1972 at 12 years old.    Here is my first radio setup.

I'm an RF engineer (BSEE) by training but work in the software industry.  Since my kids are now college age, I'm ready to get back into amateur radio.  

I returned to ham radio with a modest station with 2M & 70cm M2 egg beater antennas in January 2015.   My only rig is an FT-847. Added Landwehr 2m and 70cm preamps.   Upgraded feed lines to LMR400 & LMR600.   Duplexer for J-Mode satellite.

Lake side satellite operations with Arrow dual band antenna and 2 x Baofeng HTs.

And then add a new Rohn 25 tower section - chimney mount.

I added a FunDongle Pro SDR and upgraded the FT-847 with a Panoramic Adaptor (IF) Tap Board.  See G4HUP.com/PAT.htm Now I can see my receive frequency +/- 25 KHz - This is nice (essential) for satellite work.  Since March, I've made more than 150 satellite contacts on AO-73, AO-7, FO-29 and SO-50.   Longest satellite contact was OM4MX at 4344.5 miles via SSB on AO-7 in March 2015, I added an Az/El Rotor from SPID AX400/2.    See http://www.rfhamdesign.com     Upgraded to SPID RAS in July 2015.

In March 2015, I added small M2 2M3-SS and 440-6SS.   Small but very functional.  

In April 2015,  I purchased a pair of M2 2MXP20 - 20 elements each.  2 x 10 Vert / 10 Horz.   Power Splitter and phase matched feed lines.  I think I have the makings of a small EME station.   Took down the 2M3-SS and 440-6SS - I'm 2M EME only now.

Made my 1st Moon Bounce EME QSO with I2FAK (SuperStation) on May 15, 2015.   Five more EME contact came the next day - not bad.   JT65B mode makes this possible.   My best EME contact was 7Q7EME's expedition to Malawi.  Moonset ground gain (GG) is your friend.   I did this with just 200 watts and a 1db NF preamp.

In June 2015, I acquired an M2 2M-1K2 solid state amp - rated 800 watts for JT65B.   QRO in August 2015

In July 2015, added 2 x WA2ODO - 0.3 dB NF preamp, T/R switching, and semi-home brew sequencer.  Now I have lots of flashing lights, clicking relays and blinking voltage and power meters.   Added Khune XTAL heater to FT-847 to improve frequency stability.  Considering AGC "Off" modifications but - not sure yet.

Picture of operating position.

I use WSJT v10 now and MAP65 -  RFLink IQ+ has arrived and operational for adaptive receive for EME.

Added Bird 43 power meter with 1000W slug.  The 2M-1K2 pins that 1000w meter regularly.  hi

August 23 thru August 27, 2015 - I was OP for K2P 2M EME Special Event Station celebrating Pope Francis's visit to the USA.  During 30 hours of operation, K2P EME worked 88 stations (WAC)   QSL cards info is available at QRZ.com / K2P

I'm getting ready to be QRV 1296 MHz in Summer 2016.   I found a 3m mesh dish F/D .375 in very good shape.   Now for the hard work of building a station around the dish.

Added Dual 2m - 2MHz bandpass filter between antenna feed point and preamps.   This cost 0.2 dB of additional insertion loss but keeps preamps happy and out of saturation due to near by FM broadcast transmitters.   I regain the 0.2 dB by replacing LMR400 with Andrew FSJ-50B between combiners and preamps.   Significant weak signal performance gain - post-BP filter installation.  

Due to popular request, I will begin LiveCQ spotting in April 2016.

***Special Note:  April 10 thru 12 crazy increase in Sun Noise.  Normal Sun Noise for my station is 3 db.  Due to solar flares, Sun Noise has increased by +10 dB over normal reading.  More to follow.

W9IP Mike had an antenna disaster when 8 x M2 XP28s fell in a storm.

I acquired 6 of the 8 in hopes of rebuilding just 2 x XP28.  2 x XP28 would be a 2.5 db upgrade over my existing 2 x XP20.  The 1st reborn XP28 was completed 26JUN and was promptly named  Frankenstein #1.   Frankenstein #2 will take more time to put together and "electrify",

XP28 Frankenstein #1 - resting comfortably after reassembly from many different XP28s

XP28 Frankenstein #1 & #2 - Repaired, mounted and operational.

Frankenstein #1 & #2 are alive!     2 x XP28s - Chimney mounted.   The first reports are good.  Now begins the process of small adjustments and tweaks to make them sing.   2 x XP28s are performing well on a 12 ft cross-boom.  Understacked by almost 3 ft reduces forward gain but also significantly reduces sidelobes and increases F/B ratio.

Sept 2016 - I picked up a Toki TA550 portable dish antenna.  I hope to use this dish for my first 1296 MHz EME QSO prior to setting up the bigger 3m dish.   In this picture, the portable Toki TA550 is fully open and ready for a 1296 feed.

In this picture below, the button hook feed support is removed and the dish is collapsed into a transportable size.  Look closely and you'll see two (2) handles behind the fiberglass ribs.  These leverage clamp handles attach the ribs support plate and pull the support plate back until the ribs spread and making the metalized fabric stretch into a parabola.   I'm looking forward to testing performance on different bands.

In October 2016 with the help of the Stamford Amateur Radio Association (SARA), I activated W2HRO/1 at Cummings Beach in Stamford, CT.   The primary goal was to activate the State of Connecticut, USA on 2M EME for my radio friend Conrad PA5Y.

Using a 500w amp and 16 element LFA yagi design and built by KK6FAH, I completed a JT65B QSOs with PA5Y and several other stations in a very short DXpedition.   W2HRO/1 was only active for 90 minutes before the Cummings Beach Park closed for the night.  My thanks to SARA for providing logistics support and generator power for DXpedition.   I hope to go back to Stamford, CT and operate for a full moon pass in 2017.   See pictures below.

Single 16 element 5WL LFA by KK6FAH.   Stamford, CT - W2HRO/1 DXpedition

The business end of the 16 element LFA sending JT65 signals moon bound.   Stamford, CT - W2HRO/1 DXpedition

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In December 2016, I upgraded my 2M amp to a Larcan Hi-Lo modified by Warren - VO1KS.   Here is the Larcan on my bench being checked out.   Next picture is Larcan installed in a modified computer chassis.   The Larcan outputs an easy 1KW at 36 amp input and 25 watts of drive.   The Larcan gives me peace of mind - what is that worth.  :)

Larcan 1kW Hi-Lo mounting in a 3RU computer chassis - for safe keeping.  Cooling is provided with a simple 8" low speed high volume fan - continuously running.  A 2nd Larcan may be joining the family for phase combining.

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I sold my excellent LinkRF IQ+ 2 channel adaptive receiver for 144 MHz EME and now I'm using 2 x Funcube Dongle Pro+ SRDs dedicated to both V-pol and H-pol feed 2 x MAP65.   I lose the adaptive receive capability but I do see the MAP65 action on both V-pol and H-pol simultaneously.   It's very interesting to see the polarization of RF environmental noise as it enters the antenna system in waves  The IQ+ always added V-pol and H-pol noise and separating the polarizations was not possible.  There is always something new interesting to explore in this hobby.

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On March 4, 2017 - I opened a new chapter in my radio hobby by completing my first 1296 MHz EME JT65 QSO.  This first QSO was basically a test of the Toki 1.8m dish antenna and prime focus loop dipole feed system.  I would have been thrilled to see any signal but I saw HB9Q booming.    At 18:38z HB9Q confirmed the QSO with my seeing HB9Q at -14 and HB9Q seeing W2HRO at -28.   My setup for this 1st QSO was just 10 watts at the feed and no external preamp.  My feed is linear and HB9Q was circular polarized.   2nd 23cm QSO was PI9CAM.

Later in the day on I added a 150-watt SSPA to the system and HB9Q saw W2HRO with a much stronger signal.  It's always a thrill to see your signal up on the LiveCQ page.

 

Getting ready for 1296 MHz (23cm).   I need to build a sequencer and T/R switching system.  Integrate the SSPA and Preamp and get everything packaged so that this system can travel when necessary.   My QTH is ok for 1296 MHz but I have a few trees that will make a look to the west difficult.  I also need AZ/EL system - more work.

The bad news for the day was discovering that the TS-2000X has a bug in the UT-20 / 1296 MHz module.  The bug causes TX distortion.  In addition, I have a problem with low output power so this will need to be repaired.   Many EME'ers currently use TS-2000X radios and the community knows all the mods and work-a-rounds.  I'll be up and running on 23cm soon.

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DXpedition to Greenwich, CT (FN31) - 27MAY17

W2HRO/1 in Connecticut was QRV from 27MAY17 - 1222z to 2207z.

The operating QTH is in beautiful Greenwich, CT (FN31) on a lovely peninsula near the Long Island Sound.  The location and commercial power for radio equipment was provided by the Stamford Area Radio Association (SARA).   The KK6FAH 2 x 16 LFA and Larcan 1000w worked well.  Manual antenna pointing with cloud cover made staying on the moon difficult.  When we did find the moon signals were very big.  We used WSJT-X for OSX exclusively.  No Call.txt file was used.  We completed 40 QSOs during 1/2 moon pass.

Please request QSL Cards from W2HRO.  My contact info is good in QRZ.com.

The follow QSOs were confirmed:

1222z - K2TW -11  (tropo) 
1251z - OK1DIX -22 
1257z - IK1UWL -22
1311z - RX1AS -19
1315z - HB9Q -15
1322z - PA3CMC -19
1330z - S52LM -19
1357z - OK1RD -16
1403z - DK4RC-18 
1410z - DK1CO -18 
1427z - OH6UW -23 
1429z - K1SCE -20 
1438z - DK4RC -17
1445z - ZS6JON -15 
1454z - OK1DIG -18  
1458z - ZS6JON -11 
1513z - DK3WG -16 
1519z - NT0V -11 
1522z - K9MRI -15
1530z - LZ2FO -18 
1533z - LA8KV -14 
1542z - G4SWX -21
1553z - EA4CYQ -18
1600z - OH7PI -20 
1603z - LZ1DP -13 
1608z - F6HVK -18 
1611z - PA0JMV -16
1617z - ES3RF -20 
1622z - S53K -15 
1645z - SM2BYC -12
1705z - ON4KHG -17
1733z - S51ZO -18 
1735z - OK2PMS -19 
1813z - I3MEK -17 
1911z - EA5SR -17
1926z - YL2GC -15
1932z - OH3AWW -23 
2026z - OH4LA-14 
2043z - DL4KUG -18
2107z - KK6FAH -14

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Nice to be part of a winning team!   I operated on the 2M band from W2HRO QTH only 10 miles from K2UYH.

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June 2017 - New equipment in the shack.

TS-590S and Khune TR 144 H +40 transverter.   This will be the basis of the 2M EME system.

TS-2000X will be dedicated to 23cm EME.     1.8M umbrella dish AZ / EL motor system complete.

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As of May 2017 2M EME stats:

- 20M Digital (JT65 / JT9 / FT8) WAS (completed in 30 days) - ARRL pending

- 2M Digital EME QSOs 2000 +

- 2M Digital EME Initials 550 +

- 2M Digital WAC

- 2M Digital VUCC 300 - #759 

- 2M Digital WAS - #199 

- 2M Digital DXCC - 93 Entities

- 23cm Digital - 2 QSO - 2 DXCC - 2 Grid - 2 Zone - 1 Continent

 

 

Still having fun and getting less sleep.

73s - Paul - W2HRO

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8274931 Last modified: 2017-08-15 20:40:28, 16440 bytes

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