Antennas, antennas, and more antennas. The 2nd part of the week was spent working on, repairing, reinstalling and finally, yes finally using antennas…
This weekend the winner was VHF/UHF antennas as I was able to replace then repair my dual band groundplane antenna for FM work. This antenna is hooked up to my FT7800 dual bander and normally is found either on VE3TWO (147.300 - CTCSS 100.0) or VE3TST (444.125 + CTCSS 136.5). In addition my old 2m horizontal loop antenna which has faithfully served the amateur radio community on the Bate Island DXPedition and the 2006 VE3RAM Ontario QSO Party event has now been changed to a vertical loop and is now part of my APRS/Packet home station. The loop has been replaced by the Cushcraft beam mentioned in a previous post. Graham at Bytown Marine was good to his word and when I arrived at his store on Saturday around 11am (with a large “Timmies” coffee) the beam was waiting for me behind the counter. I hope to get it built this week and this coming weekend with some great forcasted weather for our balloon event I hope to get the beam in the air and tested out.
As previously mentioned, the repeater I planned to use with the beam from Ottawa is now un obtainable due to a closer repeater on the same frequency but….It will be a nice addition to both my portable station and my trailer.
The next thing to arrive hopefully will be a Cushcraft 3 element 6M beam….
The specs on the beam are as follows:
|Forward Gain, dBi:||8|
|Front to Back Radio, dB:||20|
|SWR 1.2:1 Typical
2:1 Bandwidth, MHz
|Power Rating, Watts PEP:||1000|
|3 dB Beamwidth, Degees
|Boom Length, ft (m):||6 (1.8)|
|Longest Element, in (cm):||117 (300)|
|Turning Radius, ft (m):||6 (1.8)|
|Mast Size Range, in (cm):||1.5 – 2 (3.8 – 5.1)|
|Wind Load, ft sq (m sq)||1.80 (0.17)|
|Weight, lb (kg)||7 (3.2)|
Three Elements on 6m, then with the dual band beam 5 elements on 2m and 7 elements on 70cm should make a bit of a difference during the VHF Contests. Looks like I am going to have to start checking the garage sales etc and try and find a light duty rotator and control box to use when at the trailer as well as on the rare VHF DXPeditions. Last year (June 2007) Mark VA3UMP and myself spent a day up at the old radar installation at Foymount Ontario. From that altitude the groundwave on VHF was around 200kms and my furthest contact was about 800 km or so from the top of the mountain. I operated VHF with my 857 and Mark operated 6M with his 897 and we had a blast….
In addition to the antenna work I did find time to check into the Ontario Phone Net (Friday and Saturday) the OVMRC Pothole Net (Saturday and Sunday) Band conditions were tres NOISY on Sunday and so I was unable to check in to the Ontario ARES Net or the Emergency Management Ontario Amateur Net on Sunday afternoon but I tried to listen but could not hear any stations whatso ever. As there is not much HF activity east of Kingston (Kingston, Pembroke Area and myself in Ottawa) not being able to hear a signal that was stronger than my S9 Noise level is not unexpected…
The balloon team COMMS Test went well. I was able to track the payload and the two chase teams with no noticable problems. I have been checking the jet stream map which is available on line from:
and although the latest map is for Friday and we are launching on Saturday you can see the chance of the balloon heading South East. As the launch takes place in Perth Ontario and if the Jet stream is running close to what we see for Friday I believe the Chase teams will be needing their passports. On the brighter side when we launched in November it headed to Maine which was already starting to get cold. This time it would seem that New England would not be out of the question. If the Bruins-Canadians hockey series goes the limit then perhaps the Chase Team can take in a game in “Beantown”.
As the week progresses we can take a better look and the jet stream and see where the payload might end up this time…
On a closing note I am working on a vertical 20m loop for use with my FT817 with the idea in mind that sooner or later the parks might dry out… Right now several of the parks along the Rideau River that I enjoy operating out of are actually under water. The Rideau River is under a flood watch right now… The loop is a version of one I have used in the past… The first one worked great on 20 and 40m with 10,15,and 17 testing out my LDG Qrp Auto tuner but it did work. The signal reports were quite respectable for a QRP Rig. The latest version has more PVC and wonderpoles for supports to eliminate my dependancy on trees to keep things up in the air. Hopefully I will get to test it out before May and it will have decent band conditions for the test.
Till next time
Tags: amateur radio