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CAT 2 HURRICANE MATTHEW SURVIVOR (I am told that I am now officially a Floridian :-)

I access the airwaves via three methods: #1 is my local home station, #2 is my personal remote base (~7 miles from home), #3 is via RemoteHamRadio. See below for details.

#1 Icom IC-7300 feeding a ~75' wire antenna up in the trees at ~30 feet and tuned via a LDG RT-100 tuner (HOA = Stealth). Also use a "Tarheel LT-II" (80m-6m) antenna. Mic is the HEIL PR-781. A SDRplay RSP-1 is linked to my modified IC-7300 via Omnirig (mod = reversible, non-destructive INRAD RX antenna port). Various software packages for data modes. The Tarheel LT-II antenna is 7' above ground and is supported by 4x 12' radials at the 7' height. Also have a FLEX- 1500 w/homemade 100W amp.

Note: All WSPR operation is now done from my home using the IC-7300 ~5W ERP with the 75' wire antenna or the Tarheel LT-II antenna in TX/RX. PSK31, FT8 and JT65 is also via the IC-7300 but at ~60W.

#2 Remote controlled (RemoteRig) Kenwood TS-480SAT through either a GAP Titan DX vertical antenna or a "Horse Fence" broadband 75/80m dipole as an inverted V with the apex at ~55 feet. Remote is ~7 miles from my home at EL97qx. This "Horse Fence" antenna is a great performer as it covers most of the 75/80m band with VSWR below 3:1. The only down side (if you call it that) is that it is VERY visible LOL (see images below). These two antennas are connected to a remote controlled Ameritron ALS-600S 600W amplifier and ARI-500 combo. I typically run the system at around 500W.

A third antenna is a M2 6M HO LOOP 6m antenna at around 20 feet above ground. It's fed with a 20' run of LMD-400 coaxial cable and connected to Antenna Port #2 of the TS480-SAT. This port feeds up to 100W into the 6m antenna.

The M2, 5-element 17m monobander (no traps) you see is used by Allan, K4SFP. I can use it when he is in the UK (see below for my remote control capabilities)

#3 As I don't have the pleasure of being able to setup and run big antennas and high power, I subscribe to the www.RemoteHamRadio.com system. From there, I can use one of several USA-based sites located on both coasts (No, I did not take the $$$$ premium option as I haven't won any lottery yet LOL). Some sites offer high gain antennas and 1kW power while others are more modest. So if the QSO I had with you was via this method, I will identify myself as /2, /6 etc., and note it on the eQSL (preferred) or QSL. In these cases, I will use the transmitter's location as my QTH (NY, California, etc.) and not my Florida home. This makes it honest as I am not lying about my QTH.

Other items ...

V/UHF, D-STAR & DMR - ICOM ID-5100A & ID-51A. The ID-5100A runs through a Diamond X-200A antenna. These are located at my home QTH. Non D-STAR portable is a Yaesu VX-8R. Mobile is with a 50W dual band ICOM IC-2730A.

On the UHF-DMR side, I have a Hytera MD-782 at home and a Hytera PD-782 as my handheld.The MD-782 runs through a M2 440-6SS 6-element beam pointed towards Orlando and the D-MARC systems.

I also use "DV4home" at my home (DMR/DMRplus, Brandmeister, D-Star, FUSION, NXDN, P25) and a "DV4mini AMBE" for my laptop when I travel. Although relatively new to the game it's fun to play with. I also have an OpenSPOT hotspot which is similar but not as flexible (no D-Star-to-DMR cross mode).

Backup antennas --> I have one Hi-Q 4/80 Piranha and two MFJ loop antennas, the MFJ-1788 40m-15m and 1786 30m-10m. They are swapped when I feel like it for experimentation (stored in the attic for now). I also have my CHA-250bx broadband vertical as a backup also in the attic. Some say the latter is a "radiating dummy load", but it does work and in an emergency, it can be assembled in 30 minutes and covers the entire HF spectrum.

Remote Rotator & Management: In addition to the RemoteRig pair, I am also using an IP based remote AC Power switch (8-outlets) and the RemoteRig 1216L and 1216H to remotely manage a HAM-IV rotator and various relays via the Internet link.  

ALE: It's running on occasion in single channel mode from home. My next plan is to get the TS-480SAT up and running on ALE using PC-ALE software and the BB dipole. The computer would be at my home and it would be running the ALE software through the radio at the remote site.


Over the years, I built and used homemade HF transmitters (15W to 100W), built a Knight Kit T-150 transmitter, an Heathkit HW-12 (used it mobile), HW-32 (used it as alternate mobile), HW-101 (base - which I heavily "enhanced" back then with a RIT, a digital LED display and other features), HW-7 (QRP) and HW-8 (QRP) radios, owned a Yaesu FTDX-400 (great 400W radio for those days), a Kenwood TS-520S, a Yaesu FT-107DM (the white model - had all the line), a Kachina 505DSP, along with many V/UHF voice & data radios.

Non-ham hobbies are Martial Arts (Tai Chi / Kung Fu @ Wah Lum Kung Fu in Melbourne), hacking Android super-phones (Current phone is a 64GB+256GB Samsung Galaxy S8+ on T-Mobile) and building high performance computers. My present system is a liquid-cooled Intel Core i7-3770K (Unlocked) | Cooler Master Seidon N120M liquid cooling, ASUS P8Z77-V-Pro motherboard, 16GB (Kingston KHX1600C10D3B1k2/16G) RAM, ASUS GTX-1070 OC Strix (w/8GB DDR5) video. My boot drive is an OCZ Vertex4 512GB SSD (SATA-III) and my data drive is a Seagate 3TB, 7200 RPM (SATA-III). All running just fine in Microsoft Windows 10 Professional x64 w/current "Anniversary update".


My "Antenna Farm" (more like a small garden ;-) As you can see below, one lives with the antennas one can install (thanks to CC&Rs). The left antenna is the TARHEEL LT-II with the capacitive hat.The second mast holds the Diamond X-200A V/UHF for V/UHF FM & D-Star while the lower antenna is a 6-element UHF beam aimed towards Orlando and the DMR repeaters in that area (~50 miles away). As Florida is "flatland" that beam works just fine at ~10 feet AG. The Orlando repeater's antenna I am aming at is at ~400 feet AG .

Above - Tarheel LT-II w/capacitive hat at my home station and the M2 6M LO LOOP for 6m at the remote base

Current setup: Tarheel LT-II HF, 6-element UHF beam aimed towards Orlando (DMR), X-200A V/UHF for FM & D-Star

HF signal getting ready for take-off. This one will be the "long path" time delay wise  :-)

This is what the antennas see ;-)

Part of our house's front... This is Gisele's garden (W6GVH ;-)


                W4AFK Desktop - My Setup


What follows are pictures of the GAP Titan DX, the beam and the broadband dipole antennas at the remote site.

Really like the performance of this GAP Titan DX ;-)


Remote Base - GAP Titan DX to the left and 5-element 17m beam to the right

You can see part of the "Horse Fence" broadband 80m dipole antenna. It's configured as an inverted V and tied to a tree at ~55 feet.

Performance of this antenna is that of a full size dipole BUT with coverage of most of the 75/80m band with VSWR below 3:1. The secret is that this antenna element is physically "wide". So more surface = more bandwidth. You can find more info on this antenna at http://www.kf4bwg.com. They also offer models for other bands. The only downside (if you call it that) is that it's VERY visible. I am considering spray-painting it DARK GREEN if push comes to shove LOL.

Two hours after finishing the installation we got hit by a typical Florida squall / storm - Very heavy rain with 50 mph wind gusts. The antenna stayed up and performed well afterwards. Nice "trial by fire". The OEM says that it has close to 1000 lbs tensile strength so not too worried about breakage. The support wire might break first.

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8260514 Last modified: 2017-08-08 01:39:41, 12648 bytes

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