The best thing about last nights 3Y0Z antenna test is to re-visit just how well the DX Engineering DV-40-P works to ZS. It has been 10 dB better than a dipole every time I have done on the air tests with Bill, ZS6CCY, so my DV-40-P is not going anywhere. I have already tested it extensively, and the ZS path is my favorite. This means that it very much could be the antenna that could work Glorioso on the LP should they activate at the bottom of Cycle 24.
Now, the 40M doublet to South Shetland was better than the DV-40-P at sunset – so the Cushcraft D40 will have merit on shorter paths and also will fill in the broadband directions that the DV-40-P might not handle a that well. I hereby claim that I am a 40M Junky!
I was very surprised at how well the Inverted L did on 30M, but it does have a couple dB gain because it is a bastardized 2 element phased array (a hacked end fire half square of sorts). But even here, there is no doubt that the 40M doublet also worked very well on 30M. I really like the idea of having double coverage on 40 and 30M, and think sacrificing 20M will be just fine because in a year from now we will start seeing 20M not even being open much.
For RX – I am going to settle on two Wellbrook ALA1530LNP loops. One is already in place and I’ve ordered another. I almost went for 2 MFJ 1886 loops because they look like a great deal for the price, but I already have a replacement Wellbrook remote amplifier, so I have parts should anything go wrong with either Wellbrook. I will phase these through the DXE NCC-2 that is on its way. I will no longer have to use the DV-40-P and “hot switch” to use it for RX on 160M. Here’s another excellent thing – my Inverted L lowband antenna is 70′ away from my RX loops, and my 40 and 30M antennas will no longer be causing adverse coupling as I had with the Mod Bob and other antennas I tested. The Cushcraft D40 with 30M will be WAY above the DV-40-P and also 35′ away from the Inverted L – but having a vertical and a horizontal antenna is a much better combination than say all verticals.
17 and 20M close fairly early after sunset since we are still in deep Winter, but it could change surprisingly by February, since sunset will be a little later by the time they are on the air. And since there were no ZS stations on the air at that time, I will have to trust the predictions for now. I am hoping to catch a ZS station at our sunset on these higher bands, but I already know that 40 and 30M are going to for sure be bands that I can work 3Y0Z on. Since its summer at 3Y0Z, maybe that will make a difference and show that we can work 3Y0Z at our sunset. If not – maybe our morning will have an opening after our sunrise:
Since 20, 17 and 15M close early during the Northern Hemisphere Winter, these bands would be better to work during the West Coast morning. There would be less competition from EU . . .
VOACAP Online confirms that this might be the best strategy:
Its a very interesting thought – look how 20M looks good at our sunset, but 15 and 17 look better at our sunrise. I have a gut feeling 20M might also be better at our sunrise, but that band seems to be a sort of “demarcation line” propagation wise.
I’m starting to believe that the DV-40-P is not nearly as lower signal as my old N6BT DXU-32 that was up only 50′. It is for sure better than a dipole for long haul DX, and it HAS to be the takeoff angle. It really does seem like a 2 element (“shorty”) yagi turned on its side. This really blows me away because the maintenance and safety requirements of putting up a 24′ boom that is very heavy is a MAJOR undertaking and the phased vertical array is so simple and easy and safe to maintain.
I’m really becoming a phased vertical lover for sure. Great bang for the buck, and really plays for someone who is getting older and doesn’t want to climb stuff any more. And now I even believe Glorioso could be worked here at the bottom of the cycle – so I’ll keep testing every day until 3Y0Z comes on the air – collecting data over a couple of weeks in the path directions I love the most is a very valuable exercise – well beyond this one ultra rare and exciting DXpedition!