Killing Top Band Noise

Here in the “noisy neighbor suburbs” the name of the Top Band RX game is steering the nulls towards noise sources using the rotators, THEN using the NCC-2 to electrically steer the antennas toward the signal source! I use the P3 to “see” how I can break up the noise. The noise pattern becomes “dispersed” and as it breaks up, I hear more signal and less noise. Even 5 dB less noise means I can hear and work DX that otherwise would have been buried in the noise.

I play a little game when I leave work to see where the two loops ended up direction wise. For OA4TT, one was about 130 degrees, the other 180 degrees. They were “close enough” because their patterns – when phased with the NCC-2 – present a directional cardiod azimuthal beamwidth. Some days I am surprised at the directions, but because I live in a hilly area, it’s hard to know exactly how signals arrive at these antennas.

Listening to OA4TT again today (whom I worked yesterday on 160M for #94), I have been playing around with the rotators.

OA4TT’s signal is best just after his sunrise – at least yesterday and today

The name of the game is to steer the antennas so the nulls point at the noise sources, and at my QTH, the direction of the man made noise is different today than last night! This might mean that there is actually “noise propagation”. Think about it – the noise is pretty low frequency and is for sure ground wave. It can be caused by any neighbor up to some distance – I don’t know exactly what the drop off is, but from walking around with a portable AM radio, I have found that even rain gutters can pick up noise. Pardon the goofy rotator control box positions, but I am just waiting to work 3Y0Z and get that over with so I can tweak my shack (an ongoing process it seems). After 3Y0Z, I will:

  1. Take down the 17M EDZ and 20M two element yagi
  2. Put up the 30/40M Cushcraft D40 at 60′ with the 30M mod
  3. Replace the MFJ-1886 and MW550P with the new Wellbrook ALA1530LNP loop (my second one of these)
  4. Replace the SPE amp with the Elecraft KPA-500 and KAT-500
  5. Sell the AT2K , MFJ-1886 and MW550P

I will be a dyed in the wool 160 – 30M Low Bander. I would much rather have an antenna for 30 and 40M up 60′ than a 20M two element yagi up 40′ for the duration of the bottom of Cycle 24 – which I know we will start this year – probably in the second half of the year. All of the high bands will start becoming “anemic”. 160M has already started “turning” – the solar disturbances had their last hurrah last Fall, and 80M has been great lately, although its my least favorite band. 40M – as always – is the best band year round and solar cycle round.

We are going to eeek out the last drops of 15, 17 and 20M during 3Y0Z.

Im already looking forward to my post 3Y0Z plans, and their ship hasn’t even left yet – hi hi

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