Monday, January 18, 2021

SDRuno IARU Region 1 S-Meter Standard

I'm not really clear on the "SDRuno" app's "IARU Region 1 S-Meter Standard" Wikipedia.

When  "SDRuno" app's "IARU Region 1 S-Meter Standard" is checked - It definitely does not match up with my R2 Yaesu FTDX-5000's S-Meter on 6 meters (50 Mhz) - it's WAY to high in SDRuno when this is checked (compared to my FTDX-5000).

The setting is here:

In the "Main" window > "Sett." > "

And as a reminder to myself I have to use the following setting to match reports between my FTDX-5000 radio and SDRuno.

Using these settings the two rigs match up very closely in my usage.

Sunday, January 17, 2021

244 meter en-echelon (end-fire) staggered array

I've been building my 244 meter (800 foot long)
en-echelon (end-fire) staggered array little by little, I already had installed the single wire last month, and today I installed the second wire. all I can say.  It's cold, muddy-snow-wet overcast and I'm sore and super tired now.  BUT!  It's working!  I have some testing to do yet, and some final cleanup left to do.  

I also added a common mode choke at the junction point where the RG6 runs back to the shack (and that really seemed to clean things up too).

In my opinion there's really not much to see in photo's for this project.  But I can think of maybe one or to more besides these few.

I found a '0 degree" 0.25 Mhz to 300 Mhz splitter/combiner brand new made by Mini-Circuits on Ebay for $15.00 (I got that one, and the seller gave me a second one for free!) - these normally sell for about $55 new from Mini Circuits so that beats building one.  These are known to be some of the best available from what I've read. 

I found it a bit confusing to get solid details on building the en-echelon (end-fire) staggered array.   Even with decent instructions from several respectable sources.  They conflicted with each other.  So I went with what seemed the most logical.

My lines are nowhere near parallel!  but I think based on what I've read that shouldn't matter all that much.  I did the best I could tho, and the wire-lengths, and staggering are VERY close to spot on I think.  

When I use my 1/4 wave vertical elevated ground plane I see USA (a fair amount of them), and when I switch to the array ... they almost all drop off or are drastically reduced.  So I think that the lobes are at least close to right :-)

this is the second wire, (look top left you'll see the insulator, look about mid-right for the light-green bucket and that's where the ground rod is close to, as well as the feed-box.

The feed box is under this old bleach bottle-bottom

This is the 0-degree splitter/combiner in place without it's cover, the black box is the feed for the 1st wire

Basic connection for the antenna lead that runs to the 2nd wire's feed-box

I bought these adapters (it was just easier than trying to put BNC's on RG6.  Is that even a thing?  I searched for them and I couldn't find any so when with adapters for now.

Close up of the combiner/splitter here's a link to the spec sheet



Friday, January 15, 2021

EU 6m Opening in January - 2021-01-15

Today's opening was the largest of them from this month to EU from FN54.  Covering Italy, Spain, Germany, France, UK, Belgium and others...

The opening lasted from 17:32z until well after 21:30z.  

I didn't take a lot of screen shots this time, I just spent the time mostly working as many as I could.

I did find one beacon at 50.461.86 or so.  It alternated between CW and PI4, but I couldn't get on it's CW carrier fast enough, long enough to copy it.

I worked G7RAU and heard IS0ZOD on CW.  That was nice!

As I write this it is 21:30z and I'm still seeing EI4IWB and EI3KD.

Monday, December 28, 2020

Beverage vs 1/4 wave ground plane with elevated radials on 30m

This month 12/2020 I've been spending time working DX on 30 meters (10.136 Mhz) FT8 mode.  I started the month with 48 DXCC confirmed via LotW.  And now I have 140 DXCC confirmed via LotW and about 4-5 unconfirmed still.  SO I worked almost or right around 100 new countries.  Places like VK6 (South Western Australia) which is the furthest away from me that I've ever worked.  That's nearly 19000 km.  Close to being on the opposite side of the world from here.  

So I was under the impression that my little 1/4 wave ground plane with 4 elevated radials was hearing and being heard really well.  And I would say that for what it is.  Considering I'm running about 170 watts on 30 meters.

Yesterday I installed my first ever "Beverage" antenna.  This is about 800 feet of galvanized steel fence wire at an average height of about 12 feet.  Some places it's more like 8-10 and some it's around 15 or so.  It's higher than most beverages because in places I have to drive my tractor under it.

I've just discovered that my beverage is hearing about 13db better than my 1/4 wave GP antenna.  So the GP has a noise floor around -135db and the Beverage has a noise floor around -148 to -150db so 13 to 15 db better on the Beverage antenna.

Here's a sample of what I'm talking about.

Sunday, December 27, 2020

800 foot Beverage - first impression

 I've been working on a new RX only antenna called a "Beverage" antenna.  My first one is about 800 ft long and ranges in height from 10ft to 15ft (which I think is high).  I put mine up higher than normal because I drive my tractor through some of the areas it runs through.  I wanted to make sure it would clear ok.

I will post the actual details on how I built it later this week.  But for now I'll share this video...

This is 80m, 160m was a real eye opener for me.  I was decoding A45XR at -7 LOL.  I've maybe heard 6 dx stations outside North America on 160m in my life.  I just never had a decent RX antenna for the band.

Now I really have to get working on TX antennas for 160-40m.  Now that I can actually hear what I've been missing.