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[#] Tue Jun 17 2014 01:40:09 EDT from vince-q <>

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Or as a "poet" might say...

Day again!!!

[#] Tue Jun 17 2014 01:49:59 EDT from vince-q <>

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So, early evening being clear and rather chilly (believe it or not) I thought to wander across the parking area by the house to the 'ham shack' and fire up the rig.

Hearing actual SSB activity on 6 meters (remember, no real 6 meter antenna here - just that bastardized OCF inverted vee thing) I decided to listen a bit more attentively.

Before long I was actually working a station in Edmonton (Alberta, as in Canada).

No real magic here. "Six" was wide open as it often is this time of year. 40 over S9 reports were exchanged and I switched off the radio dreaming of days to come when I get a *real* antenna array up in the air for 6 meters.

And two meters.

And 432 Mhz.

...and then we'll entertain the notion of getting back into the VHF contests.

And winning!

[#] Wed Jun 25 2014 07:34:38 EDT from Sig

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35 out of 35. Celebrated with gelatto. (And then 60 minutes on the elliptical to counteract said gelatto.)

The Maryland Mobileers run a monthly test at the National Electronics Museum.
They had so many people last night they had to test some of the technicians in waves; they didn't have enough test booklets. Me and one other person testing for general, and one guy testing for extra; everyone else was getting their first license. Maybe 18 people all together; I forgot to count.

It was impressive how many people were just starting, and of all ages. We wandered around the museum chatting about radio things while waiting for the paperwork to be finished. I was actually able to contribute meaningfully to the conversation, having a year's experience with the cheap Baofeng handheld that several people were considering. (In my rental car hooked up to a magmount antenna right now, actually.)

Fun evening. And through the generosity of the Mobileers, the normal $15 testing fee was waived. Very cool all around. Possibly the most pleasant evening I've ever had that revolved around taking a test.

[#] Thu Jun 26 2014 13:34:38 EDT from vince-q

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Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!! CONGRATS!!!


[#] Wed Jul 02 2014 17:32:09 EDT from vince-q <>

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Well, it's on the way and - with some luck - should be here by Monday (July 7).

"It" is the IC-211. An Icom. Vintage. 2-meter all mode transceiver.

The all-important SSB/CW "foundation" for the 2 meter position in the contest station that I'm putting together.

I used to have one of these some years ago, and while they are "old" by today's appearance, they are right there on receiver sensitivity, and that is *all* that matters.

On the transmit side, it is a ten watt radio. That's why they make/build RF amplifiers.

So now.... on to the antenna(s) for 2 meters.

This is starting to become real!

[#] Wed Jul 02 2014 22:30:54 EDT from ax25

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What are you thinking of doing for an antenna for 2m?

[#] Thu Jul 03 2014 01:05:54 EDT from vince-q <>

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Not sure. The sane part of me (quite small) is saying a pair of 7 or 8 element yagis.

The insane part of me is saying 3 element yagis each with a pair of trigonal reflectors. How many? Sixteen.

The slightly less insane part of me is saying eight 5-el yagix (with trigonal reflectors).

And by "2 meters" I mean horizontal polarization for SSB/CW.

Where will this actually go? Let you know when we get there! ;)

[#] Sat Jul 05 2014 19:58:48 EDT from ax25

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Sounds like fun.  Take pictures!

[#] Sun Jul 06 2014 02:45:15 EDT from vince-q <>

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Jul 5 2014 4:58pm from ax25 @uncnsrd (Uncensored)
Sounds like fun.  Take pictures!

Once we've gotten something meaningful up in the air, photos will follow. Of course, the *real* excitement here on the Mountain is not 2 meters, but 6 (50 Mhz).

Six meters up here presents some really unique potential. We have a clear shot to the southwest all the way to the Mexican border at San Diego, a path of approximately 650 miles. The antenna I am designing will be on a fixed heading of 150 degr (south by southeast) and a half-power beamwidth of about 35 degr. The gain of the arrays will be developed by stacking in the vertical direction. When all is done (on paper) I will try to scan some of the sketches to give you a better idea of the final implementation.

Right now the plan is for sixteen Moxon antennas, each backed up with a reflector system to emphasize directivity. Four separate "mounting structures" and a phasing system to implement some (very slight) "beam stearing." Estimated forward gain (off the top of my head here) should be somewhere around 17 dBd. Front to back somewhere around 50 dB. Very low noise system - up here that is not really an issue since RF noise is virtually nonexistent, but a low noise-floor never hurts!

The two meter antenna system will be rather ordinary and relatively "boring."

The six meter system will undoubtedly be in QST - just like most of my other designs over the years.


[#] Sun Jul 06 2014 10:40:36 EDT from Sig

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I'm, um, thinking about putting up a half-wave wire dipole for 20m. Yeah.
That's it.

[#] Sun Jul 06 2014 11:33:01 EDT from vince-q <>

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You will do MUCH better with a quarter wave vertical if you can set up a counterpoise (radial) system.

MUCH lower angle of radiation and MUCH better for working DX on 20m.

Yes - it is omnidirectional, but QRM on 20m is not as bad as it was years ago, and the receivers today are infinitely better at handling it. For example, the receive section in my Yaesu 450D absolutely performs any Collins S-Line receiver that I've ever owned (and I've owned most of them over the years) and runs circles around the KWM-2A. And since those have been considered "industry standards" - because of the Collins mechanical filters - for years, that says a *lot* about modern transceivers!


[#] Wed Jul 23 2014 01:11:12 EDT from ax25

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But do put up something.  It is fun no matter what.  When you find that what you put up does not meet your needs, put something else up.  My boss found out the wind load of his chimney that way.  It was less than he calculated :-)

[#] Wed Sep 10 2014 01:18:18 EDT from vince-q

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Well, after roughly 4 months the wideband discone antenna is out of service. No, it didn't fall victim to some damaging event, it got replaced with something better.

The new antenna is a Cushcraft AR270B Ranger - for 2m and 70cm. Think of it as a two-band "ringo ranger" without the "ringo" part. Instead of the ring at the base of the vertical it has three relatively short "stubby" radials.

I mounted this New Thing about 25 ft off the ground - actually about ten feet off the roof of the house. Remember, I'm at 2,600 ft elevation here in the Cascade Mountain foothills. Clear shots to the horizon in almost every direction (including all the directions in which people actually live!).

It outperforms the discone in every conceivable way, including roughly 4 dBd gain on 2 meters and about 7 dBd gain on 70 cm. Omnidirectional - it's a vertical.

I'm hearing things I wasn't hearing on the other antenna, and working things with 4 watts (Baofeng UV5-R) that formerly required at least 25w with the Kenwood 281A.

Even 70cm FM is fun with this thing!

Now, on to the next project - the 2m SSB antennas. More on that later.

For now,


[#] Wed Sep 10 2014 14:45:29 EDT from vince-q <>

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On the slight chance that someone may be even minutely interested, you can go to the following link if you want the "absolutely latest" on the antenna exploits here on the Mountain.

[#] Wed Sep 10 2014 23:35:36 EDT from ax25

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You should try some D-Star on 70cm as well and add an additional 4800 bps to add to your Internet connection bandwidth :-)

[#] Thu Sep 11 2014 01:05:09 EDT from vince-q <>

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I'll pass on the D-star thing. In fact, I really do not consider contacts that are "assisted" by the internet to be "real." Repeaters have their uses, particularly when you are in the car. But "real QSOs" are made between my radio and the other guy's radio without any "intermediary assistance."

That is why I am in "love" with my Mountain!

[#] Mon Sep 15 2014 00:42:49 EDT from ax25

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Oh, sorry.  I meant DD mode D-Star.  I don't acknowledge that other patent encumbered thing going on with voice.

[#] Mon Sep 15 2014 02:15:28 EDT from vince-q <>

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Ah, D-star. To tell the truth, I have absolutely no idea how D-star works in the least.

Perhaps you could enlighten me/us?

[#] Tue Sep 16 2014 01:23:49 EDT from ax25

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Can do. Here is some light reading:

A bit on what we have learned progressing and pushing the state of the art from packet to other modes.  There is more of course as we had outright failures in the lab, but then again, that is what it is for :-)


[#] Tue Sep 16 2014 02:36:26 EDT from vince-q <>

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Interesting website but light on "what is D-star and how does it work" stuff.
Do I understand this correctly in that D-star is proprietary to Icom equipment?

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