Higher and Higher

feedpoint

ladder line

This weekend offered very nice weather and I spent a couple of hours taking advantage of the sunshine while doing antenna work.

Using the Apache bow and arrow my 2 x 13m doublet was moved closer to the clouds. Now the Northwestern end is up about 15-16 meters and the Southeastern end is at 8 meters height. The feed point is also higher, now at around 11 meters above ground and clearly above my house.

I have no idea if the ham radio station will perform any better after this change, but now I am using the maximum height available given by the trees I use at this time.

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Packing for the weekend

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Antennas, cables, string, and some more wire for improvised antennas in the left box and IC-706mkIIg, AT-180, S-match, meters, power supply and other station accessories in the right box.

On Friday afternoon SM7PXS, SM7XWM, and SM7RRF take the boat to Garpen Island to once again activate 8S7GL during the Lighthouse and Lightship weekend.

Given our experience from a number of years the setup will be two or three stations using a 80m dipole and a 40m loop both suspended from the lighthouse. A Rybakov vertical is also being packed. If the inspiration, time, and weather permit we will build something more to try once we are on the island.

If the activity and condx are on the low side we are considering taking part in the RDA contest.  We hear this contest very well every year and instead of fighting for a free 20m QRG we might take part with one of the stations this year, given that the lighthouse activity feels slow.

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KX1 on Eu-037

KX1 in the sunset

KX1 in the sunset

Yesterday evening I had an errand to Öland, IOTA EU-037. It included some evening waiting time that I spent playing with my KX1.

I drove to Äleklinta, JO86jx. It is an Alvar area Close to the Baltic Sea, overlooking Kalmar Straight. I found a spot about 10 meters above the sea-line, where the remains of an old lime stone quarry steeps down towards the water.

Coast Line QTH with remains of stone quarry

QTH Coast Line at old stone quarry

As I forgot to bring a fishing pole to use as a mast. Instead I had to look for something to fasten the antenna in, which is not an easy solved task on the Alvar. After some Walking around I spotted a small tree and a bush with an almost exact distance to use the full length of the doublet and the radio connected to the middle – “no feeder”.

From a small treee

From a small tree

To a bush

To a bush

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This meant that the antenna was on average less than a meter above ground, but being just on the shore line I hoped that it still would work.

After setting up the station I listened for stations Calling CQ on 40 meters. With 1 Watt and the antenna almost on the ground, that would be the best tactics. DK7FK/p operating from DLFF002 was the first station I heard calling. After repeating my call a couple of times the first QSO was in the log.

Operating position

Operating position

I heard and called quite a few stations in Russia and the Ukraine, but of course the did not hear my signals. With only one Watt and the entire island blocking the signal path the only workable stations were in the directions that began with open water, towards the South and South-West.

After almost two hours and five QSOs it was getting dark and I had to take down the station while I could still see where I was stepping.

Worked stations: DL7FK/p, OZ8SW, OZ/DL1DU,HA8DD/p, DL2UQ

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doublet

Doublet – Straight and simple

Even though I partly disassembled my horizontal loop antenna before I left for Germany in January, the wind and the trees had ripped it into three parts. One of the three parts fit exactly between two trees and was used for a 2 x 13m doublet. Fed with a ladder line and tuned to resonance at 50 Ohm with the S-match it should keep me radio-active until I have thought out new and hopefully more efficient antennas.

I tested my new antenna during a few hours of operation during Saturday and Sunday in the IARU HF Championship. In total I made 328 contacts with low power and mixed mode. It turned out that the doublet could not be tuned good on 80 meters. I need a larger coil on the S-match, or a longer antenna. But there were also problems on 15 meters with HF in the shack. I have some ideas but need to think and make some research to figure out if it is the right solution.

 

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Slack loop

Something has happened with my horizontal loop antenna.  Instead of being straight at 8 meters over ground at its lowest point it is slacking 3 meters over ground.

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A close look at the above image reveals the slacking loop wire reflecting the evening sun.

During my inspection walk along the loop I noticed a slacking wire all the way around, but the suspension ropes were all looking good.

As I tried pulling the suspension rope going up the birch tree to the highest point about 20 meters above ground it was was solid stuck. Pulling hard resulted in a little more than 3 meters of rope loosening and after thst the rope was again completely stuck, not going up, not going down. Pulling the suspension rope did not result in any movement at all in the antenna wire.

The foliage makes it difficult to see what has happened.  My guess is that the wind moved the birch so that somehow the suspension rope has left its original position and got tangled up a few meters lower in the tree top.

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Somewhere up there hidden in the green is the answer. The antenna is still very functional, but with an aesthetic challenge. I need to fix this eye sore, let’s hope that I don’t have to wait for the winter and the leafs to fall before I can see how to solve  it.

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8S7GL Garpen 2013

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The weekend of great radio fun is over, back to everyday-life and reality. A big thank you to SM7PXS and SM7XWM for good company and making the weekend so fun and relaxing.

Also a big thank you to SM7PIK and the other members of ‘Garpens vänner‘, the non-profit association keeping the old lighthouse and the buildings on Garpen Island open to the public. Without their dedication and positive attitude towards us radio amateurs this operation would not have been possible.

The radio operations went well, conditions on Saturday could have been better. Friday night and Sunday offered fair to normal propagation. An estimated QSO count of around 900 and all continents from ILLW SE0004 and IOTA EU-037. Within about a week there will be a summary on the 8S7GL blog.

From the QSO’s I worked during the weekend I would like to mention three: ZL3XDJ on 80m CW, 8S0GL on 80m SSB, and LA9IAA on 80m CW.

ZL3XDJ was the best DX for me. I could barely copy Brian as his signal was doing the QSB dance on the noise floor. But to my joy and surprise I was able to reach him through the pile-up and we were able to have a QSO. Brian proved good sport not giving up on the first partially received GL from our call when other stations with and without G in the suffix also were responding to his ‘GL?’-call. After exchanging report and names I thanked him and ended the QSO, the signal level on my side was not good enough to continue. Five minutes later I could no longer hear Brian’s signals. I hope to hear Brian again from home and have a longer QSO on my loop antenna.

8S0GL, another ILLW expedition, was fun to work since I almost talked with myself. 8S7GL op Ronny (SM7RRF) in QSO with 8S0GL op Ronny (SM0XMX). Ronny is not a very common name in Sweden and we were both amused and confused trying to keep the call signs straight.

It is always a pleasure to work QRP stations. LA9IAA Björn was operating with 1/2 Watt and under slight QSB we were able to perform a QSO. This QSO reminded me that I use my SW30+ 1 Watt kit far too seldom. QRP brings the best of operating skills and stubbornness.

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8S7GL

Garpen

Garpen

 

 

 

 

 

 

The coming weekend 16th to 18th of August I am looking forward to a large mass of amateur radio fun. Together with SM7PXS and SM7XWM I will operate 8S7GL from lighthouse Garpen during the International Lighthouse Lightship Weekend. This operation is of course a part of the activities of our local club, Kalmar Radio Amateur Society, SK7CA.

SM7PXS started a blog for the event, where there also are links to pictures from previous activites.

http://8s7gl.blogspot.se/

Last time we operated from Garpen was during ILLW 2007. The little island is a truly great QTH surrounded by salt water. Hopefully completely free from man-made noise.

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