Posts Tagged ‘Homebrewed Antenna’

Back from Chillycon 2013

September 15, 2013

As i am writing this most likely the Hearty Campers… Those would be the ones who froze on Friday ovenite and most likely froze on Saturday overnite are now packing up their gear and getting ready to head to the Town of Kemptville for the final group breakfast…

Yours Truly decided not to be so hearty and arrived in the early afternoon and left around 2100 local time but had a great day never the less…  Thanks have to go out to VA3PCJ for providing the ride there and more importantly back…

I did not take notes for this outing so if I did not mention you and you were there please accept my sincere AW SH!T with the excuse that my memory is not as good as it used to be along with the fact that there was beer involved…

So I’ll start with those I can remember along with the gear I saw set up…

VA3QV Bob- Yaesu FT 817 with a  home brewed W3EDP antenna for hf and a Arrow Beam on a Camera Tripod for 2m ssb contacts.

VA3PCJ Jose- Elecraft KX3 with a home brewed magloop, DK9SQ HF Loop and 43 foot vertical

VE3WMB Micheal- Flex 1500 and I believe he was using a MFJ Magnetic loop

VA3CME Chris- Elecraft KX3 with a Buddistick vertical

VA3YH Ying- older Heathkit QRP Station along with a home brewed magnetic loop

VE3NJS Paul- Not sure what he was using for a radio but he did have an old 19 set telescopic vertical antenna up.  In addition his wife France spent the weekend with him so they both froze

VA3AMX  Eric  Elecraft K2 along with what appeared to be a doublet antenna

VE3GTC Graham- Not sure what the rig was but he did have a home brewed 20m vertical there

VA3RKM Bob- Never got to see what Bob had set up so I’m not sure

VE3FCT Bill (aka VE3CLQ) who was there with his Yaesu FT 857 and a home brewed vertical

VE3MNE Don with his Yaesu FT857 and I believe a home brewed vertical as well

VA3ORP Dave who was there with numous Home brewed verticals and radios…

VE3CBK Chris who I saw using a MFJ Cub 20m QRP Radio and making lots of contacts with one of Daves home brewed verticals.

VE3EWR Pat- ICOM IC 703 with a homebrewed Vertical

VE3DQN Don I never got to see what Don was using

In addition to the people mentioned above I know I missed a few… sorry…

Once we arrived at the campgrounds it was easy to figure out where everyone was… Same spot as last year…

chilycon2013_map

We were using all the campsites within the red box

We found a unused campsite and just parked the jeep and started to socialize.  After a quick walk around the area we decided to break out lunch and then after that start to play radio…

After seeing how crowded the area was from my walk I decided to carry my gear down to the beach and operate from there.  I did the same last couple of years and had made some good contacts in the past.  Check out my 2011 report and my 2012 report to refresh your memory…

chiliconmap

The larger circle was our camping area and the smaller circle is where I was set up (again) to operate from

Now back to radio…

I started out by setting up at a picnic table by the beach…  The antenna was my Arrow Satellite antenna (without all the 70cm stuff) on a camera tripod and the tripod was set up at one end of my picnic table.  This was a vhf contest weekend and I was hoping to give out a few FN25 grid squares from the park.  I aimed the beam North East and North West trying to talk to some of the locals (Ottawa Area) who I figured would be on the air.  No Luck….  I then swung the beam straight south and did not hear much…

chilycon2013_2

I then swung the beam South West and heard K2OS calling CQ on 144.195.  It was hard copy but he was there and more importantly he was able to hear my signal and then FN25 was in his log and FN12 was in mine.

chilycon2013_k2os

As you can see by the map this was a contact of 185 miles which for a VHF QRP SSB contact was about my longest ever contact.  I have talked further but not at 5w.

popgun

If you have looked at the QRZ.com webpage for Frank K2OS after looking at his station setup its easy to see he was doing 99% of the work but I was able to get out enough of a “Popgun signal” for the “Big Gun” to hear… (how many times have I said that in the past???

biggun

I also managed (almost) work VE2HAY Vittio in Laval QC…  That would be about 100 miles east of where I was operating from.  I got his callsign and his grid square FN35 and he got my grid square FN25 but I don’t think he got my callsign correctly so in my log its an almost…

With 1.5 contacts in the log after 1 hour of CQing I decided to take the 2m stuff down and switch over to the 6m dipole I always keep in the backpack.  I managed to get it about 20 feet AGL and aimed south…  I first swung the dial from 50.100 up to 50.250 and only heard one beacon.  That was the West Carleton Amateur Radio Club beacon which would of been local (more or less) to me…  I then tried for the next hour calling CQ on 50.125 and up about every 5 but had no luck…

At that point I figured my attempts to give out the rare FN25 square were finished and so I took down the 6m dipole and put the W3EDP antenna up in a sloper configuration with the high end up at about 40 feet (lucky with the weighted line) and the lower end south west of the high point on a picnic table near the water…

NEWW3EDP

I guess it worked as my first contact was on 3.755 lsb  with VE3CEA Chris in Mattawa Ontario.  This daytime QRP SSB Contact on 80m was a distance of about 160 miles and what little gain I had was aimed away from him.  He admitted I was a little weak but when he head my operating conditions (5W and a endfed wire antenna) he did agree that it was a real good signal for what I was using…

My next contact was with WD1W (another)Chris in Manchester Vermont on 7.230 lsb .  This QRP 40m SSB Contact was a distance of approx 200 miles and was in the distance I normally expect to cover during the afternoon hours.  Chris was impressed with what a 5w signal could do…

After that I decided to try my luck on the higher frequencies…  Seeing that most everyone else at Chillycon would be CQing DX for the fireside bragging council later I knew that finding a clear spot on the bands could be a bit rough…

I  started out on 20m and managed to get DJ2QV in the log.  For some reason he had no issues with my VA3QV call and he picked up immediatley on the phonetics … It might of made it easier as I got him on my 2nd call.  He was contesting in the WAE contest and was having fun.  According to his QRZ page it was about 3900 miles from the campsite to his QTH just south of Munich Germany.

HA4XH_QSL_k_p

Next station contacted on 20m was HA4XH from Hungary.  He had a booming signal but got me on the 1st try…  At a distance of approx 4250 miles from the beach this was an excellent (for me) but for what he was using … average for him…

I also tried a few stations on 17m… a couple of almosts but the bands were very strong and the local noise (other Chilycon types) was great as well…  I heard nothing on 15/12/10m but I did try…

political-world-map-big

Its rather interesting that all my HF contact were not in the direction of the slope…  I was slightly directional to the south west and my contacts were North West, South East and East…  Not where I expected them to be…  Thinking about how good I might of done if I had aimed the antenna East instead of South West

All in all the radio part of the day was great for me and it was time to pack stuff up BEFORE it got dark.  (Lesson learned from last year) and join the lads to brag about the contacts we had made… 

I got my gear stowed in the VA3PCJ mobile and found a cold beer in the cooler and the walked around the sites seeing on how everyone else was doing…

It seemed that every big gun in the WAE Contest will have a few contacts in their logs from the Ottawa Valley QRP Society (Chillycon Participants)  As of the time Jose and I left the park and drove back to Ottawa the furthest contact was Saudi Arabia which was a bit shorter than the numerous VKs of year gone by…  But as after the Group Pizza supper (delivered to the park from the local Pizzeria in Kemptville) everyone who was staying would be back on the radios… Not sure if the longest contact of the weekend and the bragging rights that go with it had extended further…

All in all I had a great time…  But then I did not freeze on Friday night to Saturday morning as the campers did…  It seems that every Chillycon there is at least one really cold night… Hence the change of the name from Chillicon to Chillycon I guess…

One year I would like to be there for the weekend…. If there is any truth to the “Global Warming Stuff… perhaps one year I’ll make for the three days…

I had a fantastic time there and will be there (God willing and the creek don’t rise) next year…

73bob

Looking at a Loop

July 10, 2012

Just in case the bands ever cooperate and decide to work with us again ….

Surfing around the WWW (bands were not up for talking) I found this site.   And on the site was some easy to follow plans (and more importantly a parts list for a 15m-40m magnetic loop…

After doing a quick inventory of the ” Junk Box” I find that I have all the necessary parts )with the exception of the 250pF single gang variable capacitor with reduction drive) in stock.  I even have a plastic case that could work depending on the physical size of the capacitor that I find so…   Lets see…  low cost for parts… easy to assemble…  and it will give me coverage on 5 bands (15-17-20-30-40) in a portable environment…

Looks like a no brainer for me…  The hunt for the remaining parts will start shortly and I hope to get it on the air before the snow falls (mid November)…

There will be more on this as the project continues…  First of all I need the capacitor and the enclosure…

73bob

 

Our Guest Blogger is VE3GTC

July 26, 2011

Good Morning,

This posting comes to us courtesy of Graham VE3GTC.  He is a regular reader of the blog and you have seen him commenting on topics here for a long while now.  In addition we both share the fondness for QRP, Portable Operating and Yaesu Radios…

Any comments about this posting should go directly to Graham via email….

73bob

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The 2011 CQ Worldwide VHF Contest took place on July 16 starting at 1800Z and ended July 17 at 2100Z. What better way to enjoy Ham radio than by combining portable operations and contesting?

I am sure you can think of many other ways particularily if neither of the mention activities are of any interest. For myself however, they are a very good match. The more portable operating I do the more I look forward to the next time and any reason be it a contest or just a nice day just adds to the pleasure.

CQ has added a new category to their VHF contest referred to as the “Hilltopper QRP”. The idea being presumably to encourage activity just as it suggest – to operate portable out in the field from one or more hill tops.

There is not much in the way of hills around where I live. There are some relatively high hills to the north called the Gatineau hills which are a popular spot for some of the local hams to operate from. Members of the local Ottawa Valley QRP club and Polar Bear Club members frequently visit the hills to operate in some of the Polar Bear operating events or just to activate a summit in the SOTA program. There is also high ground further west near Almonte Ontario and further still at Foymont.

I choose however to go to my Super Secret Location #5. It’s at the public park located at the St. Lawrence Seaway locks in Iroquois, Ontario. The park overlooks the locks, there are lots of nice shade trees, public washrooms, a snack shack, and the diversion of ships of passing through from time to time. There is a also an osprey nest within easy view. The nest is currently occupied by a mating pair of birds which have two chicks. The birds are quite an attraction and draw quite a number of onlookers.

So there it was, the stage was set. My operating location was chosen and after monitoring sparodic E propagation the week before the contest I choose to operate my limited 6 hours of the Hilltopper category starting Sunday morning through to mid afternoon and to operate 6 meters only.

Now all I needed to do was to get off my behind and put together a suitable antenna. Trouble was what to build? Squalo? Halo? Moxon?

Something I had been toying with was the idea of a simple dipole. A simple dipole is normally about 75 ohm impedance, an inverted V dipole is usually considered to be closer to 50 ohm. But why do we mount dipoles in and inverted fashion? Simplicity I guess as in that configuration it needs only one support in the middle. A while ago I asked the question the propagation pattern of a dipole where the arms were extended upwards into a V rather than inverted. The general consesus was that the angle of radiation of pattern was more upward and more suitable to NVIS like operations.

Fair enough but what then happens if we keep the same 90 degree configuration but instead place the V horizontal? What then? A search of the internet found only a few references without much detail. In general however it was declared that an antenna in this configuration exhibitied gain of about 4 dBi over a simple dipole and some referred to this type of antenna as a single element beam. Seemed like the idea was worth exploring so I did.

After a few evenings work of bashing metal and plastic I had my horizontal Veetenna (for lack of any better name) and a suitable method of mounting.

Mounting is accomplished with a couple of hose clamps on the end of a 16 foot extensionable painters pole. A second pole across the roof of my van provides support for the primary pole as can be seen in the photo.

The antenna mount is simply a short length of two inch aluminum angle with mounts for the two arms. I made all the hardware myself save for the 3/8-24″ bolts from the local hardware store. It is possible to buy the antenna mounting studs off the shelf at any well appointed ham radio supplier. Time was not on my side so I made what I needed and save a few dollars in the process.

The antenna is fed with aproximately 30 feet of RG-8X of which about 7 feet is wound around a 4 inch diameter tube to fashion what is called an “ugly balun” and appears as the white thing in the pictures near the antenna feed.

The dipole arms themselves are made from collapsible fishing pole pieces each approximatley five feet in length with a loosely spiralled 16 gauge wire four feet 8 inches in length for the elements themselves. They have about 1 turn every 16 inches which I don’t belive is critical but 16 inches was just a convienient value and held in place with bits of heat shrink and tape.

Testing showed that the antenna as built was resonant at the lowe end of six meters and has a suitable bandwidth of 200+ khz. I don’t have a suitable SWR meter so this was judged using only the SWR/Power meter display capability of my FT-817. I plan to trim a quarter of inch off each arm next I set it up.

Gain? Directivity? Yes. In practice I can turn the antenna while monitoring a transmission and “peak” the signal. Not anywhere near what a 3 element beam would exhibit but there is a definite peak. How much gain? No idea.

All in all the antenna was a success even if the day’s operating success measured in number of contact was less than stellar. In six hours of operating I managed to scratch a grand total of six contacts. Two on SSB, the remainder CW. Actually, I heard more than four dozen stations but despite repeated calling only managed to make a enough noise to complete the six contacts. Operating QRP when conditions are marginal can be a real challenge but then that is half the fun.

More development work is planned on this antenna. I would like to try modeling it in something like eznec but so far have been unable to get the program to run on a LINUX machine. What is the radiation of the pattern of this antenna? Take off angle? Is it optimum to place the dipole arms parallel to the ground or up (or down) X degrees to optimize take off angle? What happens to the pattern if I where to put another element bisecting the V above the dipole arms at a 45 or 60 degree angle above horizontal (makes it looks like a tripod)? More directive? More Gain? Perhaps someone already knows and can point me to some references or can tell me how to get eznec of similar running on a LINUX box (Ubuntu).

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As previously mentioned the above article was contributed by Graham VE3GTC (writeup and pictures) .  I thank him for sharing this with us and remind you that any comments or questions should go directly to Graham via email.  An email link is given to you above the start of his article.

Hope you enjoyed it…

Thanks again Graham

73bob


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