Sunday, April 4, 2010

A new antenna for HF

Finally broke down and got the Traffie Hex Beam 5 bander for 20-10 meters. Love it! Put it up on the 32 foot mast on 31 March ( the mast was empty because the 20 meter monobander is suspended between trees at 56 foot height).

Worked the YI9PSE DXpedition through the EU pileup on 17 meters SSB, FIRST CALL with 100 watts and the Flex 3000. NICE! Also worked T32CI on 17 meters, and 5H1S at midnight local on what sounded like a dead band (except for his strong signal!)

73 and good DX!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The value of persistence

OK, on Thursday of this week, 25 March, I raised the 20 meter hex beam 2 element yagi to 64 feet. Did I put in a new tower? No, I simply supported the 10 pound antenna between two trees! It's permanently pointed north, but so what? That's where all my needed DX is located, and the beam-width is wide enough to accommodate NW or NE as well. For anything to the south, I have wires (inverted L for 160) that work fine on 20.

So how does it work? Well, UA0 is a louder (expected). And I easily work into EU through pileups (5B4AII was 10 over S9 and I got through on the second call with a huge US and EU pileup). Also, getting into Pacific is not too hard either. Most interesting is that I worked S79GM, only second time ever and his signal was very strong. Also heard (but did not work) AP2, XV2, 9M6. I have never heard these countries before, so this is looking promising!

Why persistence? Because I am NEVER satisfied with my current antenna setup, and I am always looking for ways to improve it.

If you are ever in doubt about the antenna being the MOST important part of the non-human part of the station, take a look at WG5G. DXCC Honor Roll with 5 watts and a killer antenna. There's a LOT to be learned from WG5G.

FYI, I also updated my static website, but I need some more pics of the antennas. Ordered a 5 band hex beam from Mike Traffie last Monday, so I should REALLY be racking up the countries on 17-10 soon! Why from Mike and not K4KIO or DX Engineering (cheaper)? I trust Mike Traffie, he is as honest as the summer day is long, and he makes a terrific product. I also like him, and I feel like I am buying from a friend. It's like going to your local family-owned hardware store instead of Home Depot or Lowes - I like the feeling I get when I buy from Traffie. Give him a call and see if you are not as happy as I am.

73 and good DX!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Loooong time no post!

Well, work has really really kept me busy. But I am back in the saddle, so to speak, of my hobby.

So let us take a look at 3B9WR, Rodriguez Island. I worked him on the second call. There was a huge pileup of EU and US. I did it with 100 watts and a vertical. What was the difference? SDR and Flex 3000, of course.

Take a look at this image.

The pileup is massive and wide. I saw him working the pileup effectively, and once I saw him responding to stations at the lower end....I looked for a clear frequency. BAM! Got him right away after second call. The Flex mad all the difference because I can SEE where noone else is, and that is where I make my call.

3B9 was not new DX, but it was new on 40 meters. And I LOVE busting pileups!

73 and good DX

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The low bands are on FIRE again

In spite of the class M solar flare last week (that was very weird for so early in the sunspot cycle, I wonder what other surprises are in store!), the low bands have never sounded better!

Using my 160 meter inverted L on 160, 80, and 40 meters with 100 watts, I worked the following in just an hour or two of casual operating:

160: SP, SM, HA, PA, YL, OK, G - all on first call
80: 5N, first call
40: 7P8, 3rd call with big pileup

I also heard EY8MM on 80 calling CQ, and nobody was answering him. Unfortunately he did not hear me. This is the second time I have heard Asia on 80 meters on the inverted L (here is some good analysis from N0HR). Before this antenna, I never heard anything rare like that. Seems that I never had a real antenna for 80 or 160. Amazing what a 133 feet of wire, a 64 foot oak, and a remote antenna coupler with a few radials will do!

This is my first inverted L antenna. It's not quiet like a Beverage antenna for receive, but it does work.

I was scouting out the land behind my house today, and saw that I have plenty of room for Beverage-type receiving antennas. This will be my next project after the weather begins to warm up (it has been very cold this winter). DX Engineering makes the parts (I don't have time to) for the antenna, all I need to do is figure out how to run the coax in stealth mode.

Always planning for bigger and better things. Life is too short to chase DX with the status quo!

73 and good DX!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Getting the fever for 160

I put up an inverted L, 64 feet vertical and 64 feet horizontal. With 100 watts and a couple of radials, it is no pileup buster but it DOES work and it WILL get me to DXCC on 160. What a blast that band is.

Work has kept me busy since the start of the New Year, and it has been too cold outside (unusual) for me to do any antenna work. Here's hoping for more ham time and less work, and a spring thaw!

73 and good DX!