Autumnal Equinox Watch . .

While I enjoy the Vernal Equinox and the Summer and Winter Solstices, the Autumnal Equinox is my favorite. This Friday will be the Equinox for 2017. This the highest rated (Beer Advocate) Imperial Pumpkin Ale – and I always have one bomber of pumpkin ale a year. I have never seen this in bay area stores, so will have to try another – maybe…

The Best Two Antennas I Have Ever Had

For all low bands, 160-30M, my own designed “Modified Bobtail” is a very clear winner. I’ve blogged extensively about this antenna, and the best antenna tuner for this antenna – and my favorite antenna tuner of all time is the Palstar BT1500A. Every feature, knob and button is useful and perfect for the Mod Bob. The best yagi antenna I have ever had was…

U.RAT Version 2.0 and Experiments

The u.RAT that I will set up tomorrow will replace the Palstar BT1500A, but only as a test – to see if two Palstar C600 variable capacitors plus one inductor will work on 160M. I expect it will work on 160 and 30M, but not sure about 80M. I split the control box and the drivers so that the Raspberry Pi Zero is in…

The S and Z Match for the URAT

I was going to disassemble the u.RAT and re-use the components, but I have just come into a second variable capacitor – which is the Palstar C600, a true work of art. I am trying to get rid of having a roller inductor in the circuit, but would much rather have a switched inductor. Yesterday I posted this circuit: And the Palstar BT1500A has…

Calling All Ghosts!

Its pretty funny, a couple mornings ago it was so cool I had to wear a jacket in the shack. We almost hit 49 degrees F. I had blogged how August has been a cooler than normal month – albeit just because of a thick and persistent fog along the coast that is more normal for June than August. Yesterday it hit 107 degrees…

Where Have All The Top Banders Gone?

There were three announced 160M activations this summer that never happened. There have been at least 4 mega DXpeditions whose 160M activation was pitiful in the last several years. I do understand that its a hard band to put antennas up (and keep them up) and that it also doesn’t have the “ROI” that other bands offer. I had expected as we slide down…

Lucky 13?

I only need 13 more to get to DXCC on 160M. If there were enough DX stations on Top Band, that would be do-able between now and next summer, but alas, it almost seems like each year there are fewer opportunities from the West Coast to achieve this. I am not hopeful though – but I’d love this Winter to be my last push…

ARRL Guide to Antenna Tuners

This is a decent book which covers all of the different kinds of commercial – and a few home brewed antenna tuners (couplers). It is a high level book and offers ┬ápractical explanation of why you might choose one model over another and also whether or not you would use an internal or external or tuner in the shack or out at the antenna….

Superb W6 – ZL Path on Top Band

I’m hearing several ZL stations very well on Top Band this morning, and they are on SSB no less. I hear some lightning strikes that seem to be mostly in Kansas and Nebraska, but not enough to quell the ZL’s. Its really starting to feel like the “Lowband Season” is near – we lose a full hour of daylight this month, and the first…

Presenting at Pacificon 2017

I’ll be presenting at the Pacificon 2017 Antenna Forum on Friday and then again on Saturday. Friday’s presentation will be “Low Band DX Antennas” and will feature the Mod Bob and touch on the BT1500A with uRAT, and then on Saturday it will be all about the U.RAT from more of a ham – maker perspective. I’m quite excited about Pacificon this year, especially…