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Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Remember DENCO / Q-MAX coils

Remember DENCO / Q-MAX coils from the 50s/60s ? Using 3D printer to make them. Finished coil + data. STL files soon.


Saturday, 7 October 2017

23cm and 70cm yagi antennas in workshop are toast...:-)

In the workshop looked for the antenna bits for the 23cm transverter to find the 23cm antenna (and a 70cm one) had basically been crushed under some items that I had 'stored' in there... oops! So rather than try to fix as the booms were well mangled I am going to try to make from scratch.

Following http://www.pa3hcm.nl/?p=650 I am going to basically try and create a short 23cm antenna on a Ali boom using welding rods and a length of 6mm copper tubing (was from an A/C unit I think).

I will use a copy of the DL6WU spreadsheet I have from previous as that site's link doesn't work now.

Copied from that site... I'll basically use materials I will either have to hand or will get. YEs understand 1mm out on the length is MHz so test of my skills.... Semi rigid hardline I have a few options for the matching section.

"Design criteria
There are lots of designs available for yagi antennas. Guenter Hoch DL6WU has researched this subject for decades, nowadays his design formulae are accepted throughout the world in both commercial and home made antennas. Many other designs are actually just small modifications of the DL6WU formulae. In the past I built a couple of 2m beams using DL6WU’s design, so I decided to use this again, now for my 23cm yagi. I started with my design criteria:
  • Center frequency: 1260 MHz
  • Bandwidth (3 dB): 1240-1280 MHz
  • Gain: 10 dBd or more
  • Polarization: horizontal
  • Mount: in front of mast
  • Lightweight

Construction

Because of low weight and easy handling I mostly use aluminium to construct VHF/UHF antennas. This material is also easy to drill, saw and grind. You can buy it in most DIY shops. For this antenna I bought an square bar (15x15mm), made of aluminium, length 1 meter. At one end I mounted a standard available mast mount, leaving about 90cm for the actual antenna. Using the DL6WU formulae, this results in a 14 element yagi, with a gain of over 13 dBd. I used the DL6WU spreadsheet calculator of DF2CK to calculate all measurements. I used AlMg3 welding rods for the radials. These rods have a diameter of 4 mm. The dipole is made of 6 mm2 copper wire, matched with a matching loop (1/2 wavelength coax or semi-rigid) and mounted to a female N connector.
These are my inputs for the spreadsheet:
  • Frequency MHz: 1260
  • Boom diameter cm.: 1.5
  • Element diameter mm.: 4
  • Element Thru Boom (“Y/N”): Y
  • Boom Length (Metres): 0.89
This spreadsheet returned these specifications, the real specifications will differ a bit, but it will give you an idea what to expect:
  • Gain: 13.6 dBd
  • Usable bandwidth: 1234.8 to 1285.2 MHz
And it returned these element sizes:

FT8 & 160m qrp?

Just for fun (isn't all amateur radio?) as the nights start to draw in I am going to see if can build a pseudo auto 160m qrp station for FT8 based on (WSJT-X Version 1.8.0-rc2) https://physics.princeton.edu/pulsar/k1jt/wsjtx.html and, have it running through the winter on 160m (when I am in the shack anyway) so that it kinda makes automatic qso, calling CQ of course not S&P... I wonder how long it would take to work a few DXCC qrp? Yes I know it doesn't do this automatically I will have to augment the source to do this.

Might even use a Wellgood loop for the 160m RX. Inverted L for the TX antenna.

This has already been looked at by a few and I think there are Windows 'capture' versions out there already. So I'm going to see what can be done using the Linux version. wsjtx-1.8.0-rc2.tgz

Looks like will need a homebrew SSB TX (maybe the qrp2004, but just 160m) https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/qrp2004/fileshttp://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/qrp2004/  and https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/qrp2004/files and a dedicated laptop.

Friday, 6 October 2017

xtal TX for PA testing

Odd request in local club but was asked could I build a couple of 1W TX using xtals (NOT DDS etc) for 14.040 and 14.050 as a couple wanted to test IMD performance of their PA. You input both at same time and watch the output for harmonics etc... they had used large TRX to generate the signals.

Anyway seems easy enough  and will allow me to add to the test kit. So after checking the workshop components I will use the GQRP designs and the VU TX version and building a pair on tiny 4cm x 6cm prototyping boards I had been sent a while back.



The 2N3866 I'll use a GQRP club transistor (from 2006 (ish) Jan/G0BBL).

All transistors will be heat sinked as I expect this will be running 100% duty cycle for a bit.

Will probably not bother with the LPF as this will be used in testing not on air.

Photos and oscilloscope outputs to follow.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

SDR and Heatmap

Not new but if you are either suffering EMC/RFI etc or just want to see how you or something else is doing you might like to note this software and comments.

https://www.rtl-sdr.com/creating-signal-strength-heatmap-rtl-sdr/

https://www.reddit.com/r/RTLSDR/comments/2hbjyt/gsm_heatmap_using_rtlsdr/

I am sure many know it (dangerous assumption?). It will give you the option of scanning between a start and stop frequency and recording the location. Obviously, location depends on a good GPS RX and satellite visibility and if trying to scan the whole of the HF/VHF bands it is going to take a while but for a small 500KHz section of say 70cm it works fine so you can drive at more than a crawl. 

I used this along with a cheap GPS puck (ebay) and an RTL USB dongle (£10 from some rally), plugged into a laptop, mag mount (ebay for a 2m/70cm elcheapo one) on the roof, puck stuck to the windscreen and drove about and created a map of 70cm signals locally for an amateur
(who had an idea is was a pair of SRD TX 100m up on a pair of cranes already). The signals were blocking the output of a local repeater (20 or so miles away). After a few locals had used contest level beams from a distance to sort out the location to a few 10's of metres, I drove about the location and created a heatmap.

Anyway... it can help ID a noise source location, and/or where the signals are RX so might help some sort out interference. I have not tried but I suspect a suitable antenna on a car and a scan of one of the VDSL 'steps' from the recent VDSL survey and a drive about a village etc might be interesting.

I might write it up a bit more with images etc if anyone shows interest.
 
BTW yes you can use it at HF just the frequencies you start/stop on the scan HAVE to complete before you move. So be realistic if you are mobile driving.
 
 

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

4SQ why homebrew you can buy all the bits :-)

One email was interesting.... I'll not reveal the sender.

In essence they asked... 4SQ why suggest anyone homebrew you can buy all the bits :-) I guess you can for a price. So lets just take this as an example... probably one of the more 'popular' hybrid controllers, this one even has a send the signal to all 4 a the same time option (expensive to add that bit I am sure!)

https://www.thedxshop.com/as-4sq-40-four-square-hybrid-controller-for-40m.html

£598.99   Inc VAT

The 75 ohm matching cables £ 420 Inc VAT

You then have the actual 4 GP verticals, coax feeder to the control box, a 12-14V power supply that will switch the relays.  Very very conservatively add another £600 Inc VAT

That gives you a system that will cost about c£1500

Amusing to say the least.

Ok it is capable of KW+ and no construction or figuring out required. Well not much anyway, use a tape measure to layout the antennas and then screw a few PL259/SO239 together.

I'm going to see what a homebrew system for 40 might actually cost for qrp fans. Decent enclosures, so IP56 or better outside, powder coated Ali for the shack, masts and all cables and connectors included and pre-measured as an option as well. I will probably do the same for one using KW capable parts for those DX trips, and another for UK home and club use 100W/400W. I wonder if anyone would be interested? Contact me if you are as would be interesting to see what the interest is.

Might even see about using a 5th element as per the NCJ article a while back.

Questions following GQRP talk

Telford Rally / GQRP talk have had a few emails all basically asking the same info.

Ground screw:

The screw was bought (with a load of others I keep using/reusing) from a garden centre years ago.
Yes I HAVE posted whole boxes full to DX before hand so I do not have to carry and to make sure they get there and antennas fit but never had a problem with flying. I'd put in hold luggage though, security are bound to confiscate a 2 foot spike from hand luggage! A trip is not going to fail if the bag goes missing with this in it (maybe if the radio was in it too but I have never lost a bag yet), you can usually find something else to use when there. Think beach parasole base or car show room mount.

All info I have on them I posted a long time ago in 2012:

http://m1kta-qrp.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/plastic-ground-screw.html
There are all sort of clones out there, YOUR local garden centre will probably do them if not then google for it... one choice was
http://www.longacres.co.uk/homeware-gifts/home-diy-tools/bosmere-duo-fix-screw-socket-g409/
If don't need to fly in a plane or not too worried about weight consider getting a galvanized steel one as the plastic ones do break if ground too stony.

The alternative if operating from the car might be a drive on mount and I noted Sotabeams/Richard had some at Telford and I really liked them.


Dipole:

The original was made back in 2013. Seriously nothing rocket science about it.

http://m1kta-qrp.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/homebrew-lostropo-portable-dipole.html I needed a set of dipoles for multiple bands, one a time that was very very light weight so it WILL have all sorts of issues about line losses etc.
If not too concerned with trap losses, which are minor to be honest, I would make it up using SOTAbeams TRAPS as will be MUCH easier and no playing with having to pull it down and reconnect etc when changing bands.

https://www.sotabeams.co.uk/pico-traps-kit-pair/
or for more power

https://www.sotabeams.co.uk/hf-antenna-traps-kit-pair/
I like the idea of 100% homebrew but honestly by the time you have mucked about with making a PCB getting the tracks right sourcing the components you might as well use the ones from SOTABEAMS.

DO NOT use shrink wrap, in fact NEVER use shrink wrap on antenna parts that will be exposed to the weathger, especially near the sea as you will have created a lovely place for moist salty air to corrode stuff you will not see until too late. Use liquid tape to water proof the parts/joints.

4 SQ bits:
see

http://m1kta-qrp.blogspot.co.uk/2017/03/asked-have-i-built-30m-4sq.html
http://m1kta-qrp.blogspot.co.uk/2017/02/what-is-all-this-about-another-4sq.html follow the links on the pages especially ZL2iFB you'll find a spreadsheet in there.

4 SQ is is NOT my work but a classic and I rely on the publications ofthat of ON4UN, TK5EP, G4IFB (now ZL2IFB). I am pretty sure there is something more recent but NCJ covered options a while back including add a central 5th element (4el were enough for me) which can add ANOTHER 20dB. The gain is on RX signals not TX. You 100% CAN BUILD for other bands just scale it.

For those that want to eek that bit more out see:
http://ncjweb.com/features/mayjun08feat.pdf 
 

  
Phased verticals:
http://www.g4ata.co.uk/hamradio/40m/index.html

Monday, 4 September 2017

What is the F/B RX ratio of the 4SQ you use?

Interesting question asked at GQRP rally talk.

What is the F/B RX ratio of the 4SQ you use?

Thanks for the question at talk. Never been asked that one before.

It is all a bit theoretical but F/B ratio > 20-25dB should be dead easy to obtain and 30dB is not impossible. Some have claimed > 45dB if you get the phasing and separation right but unless lucky I think that is pushing it a bit and when DX you don't quite have that long to tinker and have to make do with something close.

When as i mentioned in the talk when DX I can tell you you absolutely CAN null out one direction or another and it is possible to have a qso with a station in one direction (qrp) whilst in another there is another station at 59+

I am pretty sure there is something more recent but NCJ covered options a while back including add a central 5th element (I never got it to work and 4el were enough for me)

http://ncjweb.com/features/mayjun08feat.pdf

A 4 sq should get you SOME gain in one or more direction on TX but it is the RX F/B gain you want.

An extra note:

There is SOME TX gain but I never advise on any existing (think of it like a 1/4 wave vertical). I don't know if I even said that in the talk.. The RX gain F/B is what blew me away first time I heard it (6W/M1KTA station on 40m I could qso with JA clear as a bell (when EU played nice!) and null out NA/VK and visa versa... of course if some LID is on same beam heading and it is kinda wide you are a tad out of luck).

I found one man 'could' take a 4 sq, put it up, use it, take it down and it is all possible. sub 10kg for the lot, and not a £1500 price tag too 


BTW you do NOT need an estate ... first one I made at home was a 17m version (everything scales!) using T50-6 so it will fit in a domestic garden. qrp you can just point to point the whole controller too, don't need a PCB, I think my first was in an altoid tin. The box I waved in the talk (just like the ones you will see on this blog) was a 1KW capable thing. The 'HEAVY BIT' is the 1/4 wave matching lines from controller/switch box to the separate antennas as they HAVE to be made right and all 4 antennas HAVE to be identical and resonant where you want to operate. BTW I don't believe in tuners, why waste 50% of the RF
in the tuner?
 
AND...
 
Use RG179 (not RG174)  for the matching sections if build this qrp but watch out for cable being trod on. Why I started using WHITE SAT/TV coax as more visible (albeit heavier).

Monday, 21 August 2017

qrp-labs.com/qcx



New 5W mono-band high-performance 5W CW transceiver kit, see http://qrp-labs.com/qcx  with WSPR beacon, built-in align/test equipment.

Ordered one (30m) and once it arrives I'll build it and blog it here for those interested.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

23cm transverter part I

Poor pictures but EME166 sequencer built (no photo)



Butler oscillator and 60'C heater. 576 MHz.


It will go in a Hammond 1590 dicast box padded with white polystyrene foam.
I'll align using an RTL SDR in the first instance, I also have a 100MHz to 1GHz noise source to box up will do at same time.


E51KTA QSL arrived so will start to go out this w/e



Big box arrived so will start to go out this w/e. Those who sent donations first, then directs then those I have OQRS BURO for. The twitter ones for camb-hams I'll take to next pye and pint.

Note I will NOT 100% QSL regardless and will only send a card when asked for it. Best way through BURO is send me a card. OQRS for directs or send me a direct request (with your card too please!). Otherwise you'll find electronic confirmation is it clublog or LoTW, I don't do eQSL don't even ask will not bother.


Monday, 10 April 2017

The dBM ladder

Lots of talk about output power levels and interference and filtering... so graphically what does this all look like.

The reason is investigating filtering and stubs for use in DX location when two stations are operating.


Sunday, 2 April 2017

FT817ND TXCO-9

FT817 2nd time...

Old unit is duff but saved for parts etc... PA module still fine as are the rest of the bits.

After a PSU went high a few years back finally found a decent (cheap) 2nd hand FT817 unit.
Transfered the 500Hz cw filter and TXCO-9 module easily...


I bought the TXCO-9 for a fraction of the cost of the 'official' unit from AliExpress I just looked prices are even lower now... $16 not $21 which was what I paid originally. Works fine.


I'll use this for satellite working and as a uWave transverter.



Thursday, 30 March 2017

E51KTA QSL Cards

The bit of any trip I like least... the QSL cards.

Still two options for printing ...

FDS


or 

UX5UO


I went with FDS. The rear has the QSO info
I had considered a QSL manager but will do these myself.
So far quite a few OQRS and direct requests.

For all you nice ops out there that managed a QSO especially on 160m or 80m DONATIONS via OQRS are accepted I paid for the trip myself there was no sponsorship.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Home again from E51KTA

Tnx all for comments about the E51KTA trip which was complete departure from normal QRP operation for once as I used a locals shack with his PA and antennas. Propagation conditions were very difficult and I noted that sending a CQ QRP CQ on most bands did not result in any QSO and never appeared on the reverse beacon network. A 200mW 30m WSPR beacon was left running for a several days and the signals just abouit reached about the pacific with one or two spots on the US west coast which just showed how bad things were.

The antenna feeders at QTH needed some care and I was glad to spend some time analysing and fixing the feeders. For this use the MiniVNA was an excellent bit of kit to take. Some feeders that were Belbin 9913 (better than RG213) the velocity factor had dropped from 82% when new to c70% due to moisture ingress and the outer shielding was often corroded over the lengths. The cook Islands is definitely not a kind place for permanent RF installations. I left some red liquid rubber to perhaps help protect some of the connections.

QRT three evenings (local) early mornings EU/UK time in the end due to WX (all feeders were disconnected due to local lightening) and another visiting amateur using the shack.

In these days of instant internet communication you have to be prepared for the bad comments as well as the good these days I guess so you have to give the arm chair DXers their opportunity to rant a bit about it having been a 'holiday' operation, it wasn't! Perhaps they should go themselves? Last I'll say on it.

2734 is my QSO count including the BERU contest. Thanks especially for all the ATNO notes, I tried to get as many of you in the logs as I could in what were definitely trying propagation conditions. I never concentrated any effort on 20m SSB as that has been done so many times by so many ops, 20m CW likewise. Had I done the QSO counts would have been much higher. 160m was a lot busier than expected at first, so was 40m CW. 17m SSB ended up being 3 short evenings of 3hr pile ups whilst the path to EU was open. Only a few 30m QSO (was only running 15W on that band in the end) but certainly shows promise.

I left a 2 el 40m vertical directed at EU with E51AND so I hope that will find some use with others. It is not steerable right now but the choice of direction for me was obvious, it will be the RX signal improvement that is important. A 30m GP was left as well. I will work on and send a control box to make the 40m 2 el partly steerable.

Was surprised the QRN was no where as bad as expected on LF, yes was there but nothing like what I was prepared for and most days no issues to speak of. You could definitely hear the atmospheric QRN on 40m and the new antenna showed it's ability well as it managed to null out that noise efficiently.

I am sure I will return to E5 and I have lined up the major logistics for a E5/N target now too (with a PA again) but will not say more. There is another going to a rare E5/N group in a few weeks will be interesting to see how he does.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

E51KTA antennas

Well the 30m GP (was 4sq) is working fine as WSPR beacon antenna (will try some SSTV/CW tomorrow.
 
 
Think the VSWR is OK
 
 
Whilst work on 40m stuff seems 30m GP works.
 

I love this one. The feed point is about 2.5m up.... as this was where the element got to when secured from the top of the pole. Helically wound again. The radials were all added to fit the freq, lowered from the 4sq versions which were 100kHz higher than the overall.

The 40m 2el is performing better than expected. It is a vertical and I am near the see and surrounded by water so it is great for LONG skip stuff, so the UK hits that spot on 40m just right.... Sadly issue with being QRO is as everyone hears me well I get all the stations calling so the noise levels rise.

 
I think the VSWR is OK. About 4th attempt. Elements were 42 and 48cm too long (front/back).
 
Design got tweaked a bit as wanted more front gain but didn't want elements as close as 1/8th wavelength apart. Not switching this is all or nothing in one direction. Andy E51AND made up the little box after a shopping trip and rummage for bits.
 
 Just laying it out. It is directed towards UK.
 
 M1KTA Office gets everywhere. Wearing socks with the sandles as there are these red ants in the grass, ouch when they bit.
 
 Measuring up... so hot sweat buckets so change of T shirt to Stewart Island one. Knew the tape measures would come in handy.
 
 One of the feed points. Belbin 9913 coax and those ARE M5 brass nuts, washers and wing nuts from 30m 4SQ. 10m travelling poles just bit too short so helically wound the element on it. Lots of ground based radials.
 
 
Sadly when it works it really works so this is RBN showing all the guff I have to get through to hear UK signals still about 10dB lower! RBN but call for G only and I hear ROW too :-)

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

E51KTA antenna fun and games...

VOCAP SAYS...
 
 
 
20m is great, the 30m 4SQ had zero results (ok handful of qso bit not enough to keep it.)
 
40m antenna here has almost no directivity so when hear UK/EU hear all JA, NA/VK etc as well :-(
 
So going to try an put up a 2 el 40m vert array, I don't want to switch and will just direct to UK then it is down to what I have to hand.
Got a 30m 4 sq I'll canibalise it for this as not worth carrying on with 30m right now as done what I wanted to do
with it. Means got the two 40m GP's and radials (got extra wire)... but it is the phasing lines...
Details:
The antennas are 2mm diameter insulated wire supported on a 10m pole (extra section added so they are long enough)
and the radials are 1.5mm insulated wire, all a quarter wavelength long.
The feedpoints will be on the ground maybe 0.25m above ground as are the radials.
As independnt 40m GP they are fine.
The antennas are spaced at 13.5 metres, ideally feed lines should be electrical 1/4 wavelength coax and the
phasing line will also be an electrical 1/4 wave so you end up with 1/4 on one side and 1/2 on the other.
The main feed from the shack is decent 50ohm.
 
I need to be sure know what length of 75ohm 0.83 vel factor (KNOWN) I need to create the two sides for 40m verts before I cut it?
I have calculated them but now going to wait before proceeding.
Not sure I have enough, I got four new 6m lengths each with one PL259
on one end so got one go at this.
All element and radial connectors are brass M5 bolts and wing nuts (got spares) and the T junction etc...

Monday, 6 March 2017

RTTY & PSK

A few suggestions to those that might not know...

Please DO NOT use macros that send endless RYRYRY before any transmission seriously not needed.

Please DO NOT use macros that send yout cats name, inside leg measurement etc... I will not be interested.

I will KNOW MY call sign I do not want to see it multiple times .... make sure I hear yours but don't send it endlessly either.

Thou shalt not transmit when I send KN, unless YOUR call sign is seen.

If I am running split please don't TX on my TX frequency unless you want the local cricket club (baseball team if not from UK) to use your head for the next nets practice.

SHORT qso only please, I do not care to know your locator either, call sign only please.

30m 4 sq videos

Some random videos of the bits.

Internals.... Its a hybrid coupler, made for just a single band, you have two resonant circuits back to back and you get  different phase signals out. You calculate the value of L and C you need to build based on the XC and XL values. (See previous posts for the links on those or buy the ON4UN book and wade through the maths). Note the C between the windings in the coils is important as well.

video

Built for way more power than I'd ever use but this will be usable up to KW power levels. A 100% QRP unit can and is much much smaller.

The signals:
I have a good image "somewhere" that shows the phase differences between the signal in and the 4 antenna ports so you can see how the outputs change so you get constructive and destructive interference and thence gain in one direction or another. You can then select different antennas positions to act as 'primary' and so you 'move' the pattern of constructive/destructive interference around.

video


video

Anyway it works and does what I want it to.

I'll add the GP masts and wires bits here...

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Asked... have I built a 30m 4SQ?

Interesting question... have I actually built a 30m 4SQ and will I have it on E5..ho hum... disbelieving toe rags perhaps... Honestly use depending on location but I't is travelling with me.

Anyway as was about to pack up the bits I thought I'd show the guts of the kit. The 4 GP and feeders are already in the bag packed. I am sure people don't need to see those :-) The PCB I was given came from SJ2W contest station. I had bodged a point to point version before following ZL2IFB's designs. It all sits in an IP56 (or was until I drilled holes) box with a clear cover, off for photos. I liberally cover all connectors with liquid rubber once it is in place to reduce the effect of salt corrosion etc.

Anyway couple of photos etc.. as was just confirming with the longer control cable and the actual voltage needed (12V not enough) needs to be about 14V at the control box to switch the relays.


Boxes left to right... Ex ATX PSU (12V) into KX3, short feed into 4 SQ hybrid coupler, short feed into silver box which is dummy load, grey box is 4 SQ controller and dummy load RF sense. White cable is the actual control cable. 2x100ohm resistors in parellel as load on all 4 ports. I kept adding AA batteries until the relays actually switched and held in place... 14V so now I know... so I'll use a 12V powered 15V airplane laptop adapter I have. I also tried the RF sense with 100m of RG174 but no difference, I'll have 100m of decent coax with me just for this but I can double up as feeder for something else.


Scope probes attached and you can see the different signals at different phases. I'll tweak the setup on E5 for directivity I need.


Videos..




Thursday, 2 March 2017

Yup 30m gp working.

DX10: M1KTA - 10 MHz - 200mW

Distance (km) Call Spots count Last seen
14730 VK6XT 7 2017-03-01 07:38 to 09:28
6997 W3HH 1 2017-03-01 09:12
6820 K4COD 1 2017-03-01 09:08
6501 K9AN 12 2017-03-01 12:04 to 16:44
5906 K3RWR 13 2017-03-01 08:02 to 12:36
5861 K1BZ 2 2017-03-01 09:48 to 11:40
5575 N2NOM 1 2017-03-01 13:36
5403 KK1D 1 2017-03-01 08:24
5285 WA9WTK 4 2017-03-01 15:48 to 18:48
5255 VE2DPF 1 2017-03-01 11:58

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

30m SSTV (NARROW MODE) MP73N

E51KTA should be QRV Narrow Mode MP73N SSTV on 30m 10.132MHz or 10.144MHz (ish so please LISTEN) AFTER the BERU contest for those interested in the mode.

If no takers to a CQ then will not run for long and will use 30m 4SQ for RTTY and CW.

Before a CQ I will send CW (QRL?) or some other data mode.... 10.132MHz + 2000Hz (or 10.144MHz)

30m GPs working fine before pack up

I think the 30m 4SQ verticals (as one GP not as the 4SQ) are working.



I'll rework them into the 4SQ configuration later, complete with liquid rubber all over the connections from the 75 ohm feeds so they survive a week by the beach hopefully, maybe up on Friday and then pack, next time out will be in E5/S.

Monday, 27 February 2017

E51KTA only 11 days away now...

Yippee no new jabs needed, car booked & 34KG of kit (31KG of antennas, 1KG KX3, 2KG clothes!) to airport :-

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

An Ode to BERU

Given I'm about to be one of those sending some weak RF from an island in the pacific I saw this and thought nicely put...

Thoughts Occasioned by the Sunday Morning Long-Path Opening to Australia and New Zealand, 9th March 2008
by Gerry Lynch GI0RTN

I will go to forty metres
On this sunny BERU morn
Where the strong Antipodeans
Make me glad that I was born.

Signal bearing polar flutter
From the town of Christchurch fair,
Lands upon this Irish meadow
Answering my silent prayer.

Signals coming on the long path
From a far Australian shore,
Crossing ice and sea and jungle,
Coming to increase my score.

Sigs from Asia's teeming cities;
Sigs from Afric's dusty plains;
Sigs from small Pacific islands;
To this land of gentle rains.

Some ops work me with a yagi,
Some ops work me with a wire,
Some ops work me with a groundplane,
Late on eighty, when I tire.

Fickle paths on ten and fifteen
Barely open ere they're gone.
Booming DX strong on 20.
Strong at sunset, strong at dawn.

I will go to forty metres
On this sunny BERU morn,
Sinful would it be to let those
CQ Contests rest forlorn.

(With acknowledgement to Seamus Heaney or is it WB Yeats?). I think a few of the black stuff needed before hand.

BTW this place is brilliant.
http://www.leprechaunmuseum.ie/

You know they say a qrp rig, using a rainbow as an end fed antenna and sitting in the pot of gold at one end with one eye shut whilst balanced on one leg with a 4 leaf clover in one hand and the mic in another you can work DX better... I dunno myself how true that is I think you have to talk to the king of the leprechauns about it. 

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

JUMA amp inside (not QRP)

Was interested to see how this was being done...... definitely not QRP although I note if you put more than qrp levels in you will kill the amp!

External photos.


 

Internal photos.







Monday, 20 February 2017

Cut numbers

Just been sent (as I get contest exchanges wrong sometimes) a note on cut numbers

1 ·-   A
2 ··-  U
3 ·--  W
4 ···- V
5 ···  S
6 -··· B
7 --·  G
8 -··  D
9 -·   N
0 -    T

So now I know but sure I will be even more confused as some send the serial mixed :-)

yes 5nn and TT1etc I have heard but also heard T sent when should have been 1 or A sent as well.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

What is all this about another 4SQ?

Yes going to try another 4SQ this time in E5. Unlike EU-011 will have good signal cable this time.

The idea is (nuts yes) use the same supports for BOTH 30m and 40m, will move the supports after BERU so the 4SQ is up on 30m.

As will use a QRO shack for BERU designing with that in mind although expect will be qrp after.

Anyway the 30m details are: (from a spreadsheet from ZL2iFB page here http://www.g4ifb.com/html/antennas.html#4sq …)




All this is NOT my work but that of ON4UN, TK5EP, G4IFB (now ZL2IFB)

Thursday, 16 February 2017

E51KTA Propagation and notes

After speaking to a few, looking at my own logs, recent ZL activations and reading up from DXtrip websites etc.... I think this is how it might go..

The most interesting propagation will occur about local sunrise and sunset, 30m and 40m will suddenly come alive as it gets dark and might die again just after dawn, 12m,15m and 17m will show some odd openings at this time. So I expect I will park the SDR RX on then and watch for activity. During the day there might be very little to work, a few USA or Japan on 15. I expect that will be the time for sleep and tourist bits.
On 40/30/20 the pattern I had seen is that a few weak 4Z/RA/S5/SVs would appear through the UA/US/JA stations, never getting that loud so might have to request JA to stand by and as the opening slowly worked westwards OK/DL/I/F/EA would be heard. Hopefully then some EI/G
The openings never seemed to spread very far north from KH8. Advised that the antipodal point (direct other side of the world) for E5 is about 15E 20N. Towards the end of the openings from KH8 (relatively close) the EAs were quite strong. When heard JA stations I heard a lot of JA. NA West Coast but not much east of Chicago.
Conditions varied quite a bit from day to day so I hope I might maintain contact with some in EU otherwise.

I'll have SotaBeams wspr setup with me to watch the spots. I should have the Ultimate from qrplabs doing the QRSS thing too.

I don't expect the internet but if it appears I might twitter where I am operating.

Operations on 80 will use a vertical and 160 might take place IF I can be sure antenna is OK.

My location for BERU will be on the WEST COAST of the island 


which should mean most paths (see great circle) are OK except to SA which doesn't mater anyway as the centre volcanic hills might block that direction.


Please remember those with beams in UK the short path to E5 is the same bearing as VE7(330) rather then ZL(14) or VK(60). So don't point in the wrong direction please.


CW Prep for BERU

Deep joy my CW is not that good, not so much sending as RX... so time to do some practice.... For BERU contest how do you practice for this one?

First issue was what to practice on (yes got some previous years audio but that was from an odd area) so scraped a set of the calls of all the entrants from 2016 and 2015 off HFCC site for BERU (so just BERU calls) and fed that as a text file.

2015 & 2016

VE7UF VE7JH VE3KI VE7CC G4FNL M0DHO G3SJJ VA3DX VA3DF G3XTT G0ORH VE3CX VE2FK G3VPW G3XRJ M6O G3WGN VE5MX VK2PN G3SWH ZM4M ZL4PW VE5ZX ZL3PAH VE5UF MM0AMW G0IBN VE7IO G3ZGC VE4EA VE3MM VA7NF G3XYF ZL3GA G3KNU G4ERW VE6ZZZ G0SYP G3KLH G3LDI G4RKO GM0WED MM0ZBH VU3KPL VE1DT G4LPD G4MKR VA7XB GI5I GI4DOH ZL2AL VA7DZ VE3HG MW0IDX VA7KO G7RAU G0LHZ VE3EJ XL3A VE3AT VE3JM VY2GQ G3LET V5/G3TXF VE3OI ZF2CA G4CWH VY2ZM C4Z 5B4AIZ VO2AAA VO1AU G3BJ VK6LW G4IRN VE3DZ G4FAL GM3WOJ VE3KZ 5Z4LS G4PIQ VK6VZ G4BUO VE3ZI G3YBY VK3JA G3WPH ZB2CW VE3VHB G3KZR VK4SN VA3EC ZS1EL 9J2BO 7Q7BP G3SWC G3UFY GM4ZUK VE4YU G3GLL G3SXW G3XYC G4BJM M0TDK G3R G0DCK G3OAY M0BUI VE3HX G3KKP VE5SF G3SJX M0BTZ G4HZV VK2IG VE1RSM G3SVK 9M6XRO ZS1C VE3FJ VE4VT VE4EAR GM3WUX G4DRS G4IUF G3MPB VK6AJ VE3OM VE5VA 9V1YC G3PDH MI0BPB VU2MUD VU2CVS VA3GUY VK3TZ G4AYU ZL2AYZ VA2ES VE2AXO G4CZB G3XLG VE7BGP VE3RCN G4SGX GW4J GW0ETF G3PHO GW0GEI 5X1XA GW0IRW G6M G4BYG G1N G3MZV G0VDZ G8MIA VE1OP G7TWC G0HSA G4ENZ GM3YEH VE9BWK GW3VVC MM0RKT G3ROG J34G G3PJT VP9/G3VYI VE9OA VE3BR G4DBW VK3MI G4WGE/P G3RLE G3KMQ G3RFH G3OTK G4GBP G4ARI G3LIK VE3MGY VE3TG ZL3TE VE3KAO M0NQN VE3IAE VK6HG G3VMY G3WRR VE3OSZ GM3WIJ G4RCD G4DDX G4KNO G3XSD G3VIP VE3FH VK4XY VA1MM G3TJE G4WQI VY2SS VA7MM C5/M1KTA G4OTU VK6RZ G0GDU VE6LB G3YMC ZL2IV MU0FAL G0UKB GW4XXF VE3DQN M0SEV VE3PYG G6GLP VK6GX VK2GR VA3RKM VK2EL VE2IR VK7GN/2 VK7GN VE3ZY G3HRH G3ZNR G0HVQ GW0BBO G4YUP G3VQO VK4TT G0OOR M0JWB GM3TAL G3WYW J35X VA7BWG VE7GM G3GMM M6MPC G2HDR G6MCX G0LRD VE2QV VA3NGE G4CXQ VE3IGJ G4HHJ G4LWB M3JAC VE1LS G4FDC ZL3DMC GI4BQI VE3VCF VK2AYD VE6XH M5ALG G4IKR G0VQR MW0RZC G4XPE MW0CVT VE9ML GB5CC VA3RAC VE3FU VE7RAC VE7JKZ VU2PTT G3OGP  G3RTU  G3SQU  G3VGR  G3WGV  G3XMM  G4OGB  GM4KGK  M0GXM  M0MPM  MM0GPZ  VE3DXK  VO1QU ZS5XT

VO1HP G6M G4BYG G3PHO C6ANM G4WGE/P G4EBK G3YBY G1N G3MZV A25MC G4RCD G0HSA G3OFA G3SZU M0HDF G4BVY M1K M1KTA G3XLG M0SEV GM4OSS G4MKR G4AYU VU2AE VE3XAT VY2ZM CJ3T VE3AT VE9CB VE3JM ZF2CA G4CWH VK6LW VE3/M0PCB J79XF G3TXF C4Z 5B4AIZ VE3FU VK2BJ G3BJ VE3ZI VA2WA GM0NAI M3W G4FAL VK7BO VK2GR VK6VZ VE3DZ GM4Z GM4ZUK VE3VHB VE3KZ GW4J GW0ETF VK3JA G3VPW VE3CX VE2AEJ G3WGN MM0T GM3WUX GM4AFF G4AMT 9M6XRO VE4VT VE4EAR ZS1EL VK2IG G4PIQ G3XYF VA7ST G3SWC G3LHJ G3SXW 9V1YC G4DBW G0HVQ V51YJ VE1ANU G4WQI G4HZV GM3YOR M0TDK VE3OM VA3GUY GM0AXY G4IUF G3GLL G0VQR G0HDB G3VGZ VE5SF G4ERW 9J2BO G4CZB G3PDH G3JRM G4RLS VE3CES G4OTU VA3FOC VE3USP VE1JBC G3SJX 2E1AYS VE7BGP G4SGI VK7GM MW0CVT VE1NSS VY2LI G0LRD MW0RZC G6MCX G4AFJ VE3EJ VE3UTT VE7CC ZM2B ZL2BR VK4CT M0DHO GM3WOJ ZL3PAH GM0GAV VK4SN VK2PN G3XRJ G3SJJ ZL4PW M2X G3VMW ZL/G4SGX G4IIY VE2FK G7TWC M2G G4RCG VA3DX ZL3GA G3TKK G3LDI VE1DT G0ORH VE1OP VE5UF G4FJK ZM4G ZL2IFB ZM4T ZL3IO GW9J GW0GEI M0INN ZL3AB M7T G3YYD GI4SJQ G3ORY G3WPH G3UHU G3ZGC G0IBN G3SVL ZL3NB G3RVM GM4UBJ G4LPD GW8Z GW0IRW VE6LB VU3KPL VE5MX GI5I GI4DOH MW0IDX GS8VL MM0ZBH G0W G0VDZ VE7IO ZL4YL M0GXM J34G G3PJT VP9/G3VYI VO1LET G3LET VK3MI 5X1XA G3RLE VK4XY 9H1CG ZB2EO G3OTK G4KNO VE3IAE ZL1BBW VE9OA G4ARI VE3MGY M0NQN G3RFH VA3KAI VE3TG VA3EC G3PSM VE5SDH G3RSD G3WRR G0GDU G3LIK VK4TT M0RYB VK6HG VE3FH G4DDX VK2EL ZL1BHQ G3VIP G4GBP/P VA1MM VK6AJ G3NKS GM3YEH GW0BBO G3VMY G3KKP VE2QV G0UKB MM0JOM VE3ZY VA7MM VA3IK G3HEJ G3XSD G4CXQ M0PNN VK7GN GW4XXF T32WW AC8W G6GLP G8GHD GW4HBK G4BUO G3HRH ZL1TM G3ROG ZB2CW VU2JOS GW3PRL GI4BQI G0FYX G4LWB G3TJE VU2CVS M0JWB VE3IGJ G4PGD G2DBH VK3GK VU3DMP GB5CC G4FNL VA3RAC VE3KI VE7RAC VE7JKZ VE1RAC VE1RSM AT1HQ VU2PTT VO1RAC VE9AA G3YMC G3ZNR VE3XT M0SEL G7PVZ G4IKR M0UNN VE7BQO/VY1 VE7BQO G3K  G3KNU  G3RTU  G3SQU  G3VDB  G6OKU  G8MIA  GM0HUU  GM3WIJ  M0BUI  MM3N ZS5XT

In addition to make it a bit more realistic also looked at all the call areas actually active (but didn't enter) and all the possible call areas I expect might be active (2016 Entries were from 5X ,9H,9J2, 9M6, 9V1, A2, C4, C6, G, GI GM GW ,J3, J7, T32, V5, VE1-7,9, VK2,3,4,6,7,VO1, 2  ,VP9, VY2, VU, ZL1,2,3,4,5,6, ZB2, ZF, ZS1,ZS5. The following call areas were active but did not enter logs; 3B8, 3B9,3DA0, 4S7, 5B4, 5Z0,6Y, 8P6, 8Q7, 9H1, 9M2,  9V1 , A3, C6, V3, V44,V85 , VP8.) so fabricate a few calls.... fed the lot into a program to scramble them up, add a weighting based on where I'll be and what call areas I might hear most and then add some typical BERU exchanges, GL, TU, ++5nn 001 --, NR?, CQ BERU etc, create a text file of the result, feed it into G4FON CW tutor, add in all the noise, chirp, qrm, qsb etc and time to practice. Now to create some MP3 files to listen to...

E51KTA what frequency and modes will you use.

Simple answer is any that I can.



The bands/modes needed...



So I expect I will hang out on most bands when open on CW, 30m RTTY at some point, 17m SSB and 12m SSB.

For an analysis for any QSO with England, should be fine for EU too.... go to clublog https://secure.clublog.org/propagation.php and find out yourself if not in one of these...

Where have QSO actually taken place and what is the prediction (real in green)






Please listen I will say on air where I am if you are chasing IOTA or DXCC.

BERU op first w/e after that EU/UK DXCC chasing.

Saturday, 4 February 2017

E51KTA LoTW certificate arrived

Logged into email from airport lounge and wouldn't you know it the LoTW for E51KTA has been created :-)

So just uploaded it too... so I'll upload qso to club log and LoTW as soon as I can either during or after operation.

Listen HARD to see which island it is, might be Rarotonga OC-013 but might be another I'll not advertise which one in advance.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

OC-203 where did you stay/operate?

That bit easy (as asked)...

http://www.anchorstone.co.nz/

It is up on the rise above Horseshoe Bay.

Kath Kain is the owner and could not have been more helpful.

Watch out for the local kaka birds, think big muscle bound parrot and not far wrong, they are very intelligent and can be a tad destructive so watch your antennas!


Monday, 30 January 2017

OC-203 operating

Random images...

Initially put up the buddipole behind one of the cottages to protect it from the winds.
 




One of these showed up (called a 'kaka') and showed great interest in the antenna setup.
 

It's very windy out there... just rescued the antenna