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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Hentenna and MS

I write this post during the Perseids, using the Hentenna to work meteor scatter Just now trying to work DL2IAN on JT6M. So far this evening I have had two MS QSO’s, both random, with LY2CP and F1GTU. I cannot say more about the performance of the hentenna for MS than it works. In the current test position, only about 3 meters above ground, making QSO’s is good enough.

Image

My thoughts over the Hentenna is whether I to build a more permanent installation in copper tubing and somehow place it higher up, or go for testing another antenna for next year’s 6 meter season. Maybe HB9CV? I will give it some thought. On one hand I would like to have a directive antenna, and on the other hand, I am so far satisfied with my wire Hentenna and would like to try it higher up and possibly rotable to see if there is any usable directivity in practice,

Image

Any suggestion or thought about 6 meters antenna choice is welcome. At the moment I do not have any possibility for the large Yagi array we all dream about.

The attempted QSO with DL2IAN did not go through, Now I will call CQ on 227 JT6M.

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Waves

Have you seen the video link “Waves, an instructive film” in my link list on the right hand side of this page?

If not, you should look at the film. Understanding wave behavior is very relevant to the radio amateur. Especially if you connect your radio to an antenna.

Are you sure you understand standing waves and the standing wave ratio (SWR) ?

Click to wwatch Similarities of wave behavior

Click to watch Similarities of wave behavior

In my high school we had the same equipment and did the very same experiments. Now I would want a wave machine at home to play and learn with.

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Hentenna experiences

I have been using the 6m hentenna (see The hentenna proved to work) for a couple of months. So far I am happy with how easy it was to build and trim to resonance, and with the contacts I have made using it. But was it worthwhile to spend the extra meters of antenna wire compared to my old 6m dipole?

I decided to make a quick comparison, but as there was no opening and no traffic to hear I found a somewhat stable but weak man-made noice signal to listen to. Compared with my vertical half wave dipole the hentenna is perceived as slightly better for receiving, but there is not a huge difference. I should ask one of the local hams to help me out with a more stable signal source and to listen for differences in my transmitted signals.

Here are the far field plots for the hentenna:

hentenna2 hentenna1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A friend helped me simulate the radiation plots for the hentenna. The simulation was made with measurements from this description, shorted with 3% for wire dimension and insulation. This was same as I used for building the hentenna, except that the feed point in practice was found by trial and error.

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PSK31 on the loop

Loop and ladder line

Loop and ladder line

I have been working some hours with my new 110m long horizontal loop. So far mostly on 30m and a few QSO’s on 10m. The antenna is easy to tune with my S-match, band switching takes less than a minute and would be even quicker if I marked the inductor on the S-match with the different band positions.

Unfortunately there has not yet been any DX-openings to speak of when I have been operating, so I cannot say anything yet about how the loop behaves for long distance contacts on the different bands. My experience with larger horizontal loop antennas is limited, but the 160m long loop we have at the club station is very operable both for DX and EU-contacts.

Almost all contacts so far has been on PSK31, as I am trying out and learning about UR5EQF log with both digi modes support and contest module.

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Club Fieldday

The past weekend the annual field day of the local club was held as usual on the island Öland. This field day is both a radio event and a family event for club members and other hams with or without accompanying family members. It is very informal, no program or schedule to follow. The club photo gallery illustrates.

This year we were at a new site, Sandvik Camping. A really good QTH right on the waterside with high pines perfect for both hanging antennas and protecting from sea breeze. I hope we will be able to use this facility for a number of years.

The op throwing a dipole leg over a guy wire

The op throwing a dipole leg over a guy wire

We help each other to put up and try antennas, some simple, some more daring designs. Especially hams living in apartments or with restricted antenna possibilities enjoy this. A lot of talking and discussions about radio related matters, operating, antennas, tech, and anecdotes. In other words very few QSO’s in relation to the number of attendees.

SM7UCZ had made a kit consisting of a simple receiver and a simple transmitter for 40m. I have built a beta-version of the receiver, will also build the transmitter so that I will have the full line 🙂

The OP and his R600

The OP and his R600

My setup during the field day was my IC-706mkIIg, AT-180 and a coax-fed doublet 2 x 21m. I worked a handful of stations on PSK31. I had just downloaded UR5EQF log and was testing and figuring out how to use the software. There will be a future post about it when I have tried it out more. I also brought with me my Kenwood R600 receiver and my DIY active antenna.

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110 meters long horizontal loop

Wednesday this week Magnus SM7TVC came by to visit and help me put up a new multiband antenna. I had decided on a horizontal loop, circumventing half of the garden.

feedpoint

ladder line feed to horizontal loop

I already had four fastening points ready, so “all we had to do” was to pull up the antenna wire into and over the trees. A task that took almost five hours including cutting some branches, pruning a couple of trees and using the Apache bow to shoot a pulling line through a tree to get the antenna wire through the tree itself.

After connecting the ladder feed line we could quickly test to match the antenna to 50 Ohm. Quite easily the SWR value was tuned to less than 1:1.2 on all bands between 1,6 and 28MHz. Later in the evening when Magnus had left I worked the first QSO, R1963VT on 28MHz.

Summing up the construction: The horizontal loop is somewhat rectangualar in shape, a little more than 110 meters long. The height is between 8 and 18 meters above ground, with most of the loop more than 11 meters up. The loop is fed with ladder line and S-match  is used for transformation to 50 Ohm.

S-Match

S-Match

During the weekend the house has been full with visiting family, giving me no chance to test the antenna any further. But today as everybody left us to go back home for a new work week I had a few hours on and off in front of the radio. Band conditions were not at its greatest, I could hear some stations outside Europe in North America, Africa, and Asia on 14MHz. But signals were weak and intermittent. A handful of Europeans were worked – great fun to be back on air again!

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DIY Active antenna

A year ago in May 2012 SM7UCZ showed me an active antenna he had built after a design from PA0RDT. I was really intrigued to hear how well this small device performed at reception.

A few days ago I came to think of it, and that it would be nice with an active antenna for monitoring using my Kenwood R600. Using a Dremel-type machine I cut solder pads in a piece of PCB material. As it is only a few components it was quite easy to figure out the layout of both the antenna board with amplifier and the DC supply and filtering board.

actant1

Above the DC supply board is to the left, the white cable is a thin 50 ohm coax connection to the receiver. To the right the antenna, with amplifier half and antenna half without components.

actant2

Here is the antenna hanging in the window. It worked really good, I listened around the ham bands and heard DX from USA, Canada, Singapore and Australia on 12 and 17 meters.

Before closing this little project, I need to find something to weather proof the antenna and mount it on the roof, as well as finding a suitable box for the DC supply board.

Just a note of caution if you decide that you would like to build this or any other active antenna: The amplifier is fed with DC via the coaxial cable, make sure you check that you have blocked DC from reaching the receiver before connecting and testing it the first time. If not, you may have to experience repairing your RX!

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The Hentenna proved to work

This evening I worked some stations on 6m.

I put up the Hentenna as before in test position in one of the pine trees, with the bottom about 3 meters above ground.

The propagation was changing quite much. On a day with more stable signals I will turn the antenna in different directions to hear how much directivity and/or side suppression there is.

I heard and called the following stations without success: IS7FLS, YU1KN, IK7FPU, SV7GBR.

The log of worked stations tonight (in reverse order):

——————————————————————————————-
DATE TIME CALLSIGN LOCATOR TX RX BAND MODE PRO.REMARKS QRB
——————————————————————————————-
15/05/2013 18:44 YO4FKO KN35XG 599 599 6 m. CW 1538
15/05/2013 18:24 SV2JAO KN1ØDN 599 599 6 m. CW 1871
15/05/2013 18:15 YO4FKO KN35XG 599 599 6 m. PSK3 1538
15/05/2013 17:56 UT5JAJ KN64SM 599 599 6 m. PSK3 1844
15/05/2013 17:46 LZ1FMQ KN12PR 599 599 6 m. CW 1657
15/05/2013 17:40 SM5CEU JO78QF 599 579 6 m. CW 155
15/05/2013 17:36 UX1BZ KN29VA 579 599 6 m. CW 1096
15/05/2013 17:31 UR5ZD KN58JA 579 599 6 m. CW 1408
15/05/2013 17:29 ER1LW KN46KW 599 599 6 m. CW 1417
15/05/2013 17:24 UW2ZM KN57JX 599 599 6 m. CW 1411
15/05/2013 17:22 UR5FAV KN45JI 569 599 6 m. CW 1562
——————————————————————————————-
Number of QSOs listed: 11

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My first tube TX is functional

Yet a milestone in my life as a radio amateur has been passed: A few days ago I fine tuned my first ever built tube TX for 80m. Great fun! I already have plans for more tube projects 🙂

knl_3

The design it is a copy of the Finnish “kyynel” WWII transmitter using one ECC91/6J6 instead of two DDD11. Without surprise it can be noted that it is our local ham electronics-whiz SM7UCZ that has shown this very simple and historically interesting gem.

knl_1

Of course my version does not at all come close to the original construction, For fun and for learning I have made a desk top transmitter for indoor use, possibly to be used in the field on a very sunny and nice day.

knl_2

With 106V on the anode the transmitter is capable of just a little less than 0,5W output. Now I just need to get a first QSO to actually confirm that it works 🙂

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