Predictions for 2020

Soothsayer

  1. Trump will continue to be his own worst enemy. There is no bigger Trump Foe than the Trump Ego. He brought on his Impeachment, and this sort of “Karmic Justice” will continue. This is also a great “Be careful what you wish for story” – his want to become President has exposed him as a Money Changer, Charlatan, Liar, Phony and con artist and will be set in stone in the history books forever. He has forged his own legacy and will continue to add more to it – albeit the “big deal” is that he is now part of the “Impeachment Club”. Nothing will be as enduring . . . in fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if people and the news media actually get so bored of his yammering that they simply start to ignore him. If he wins a second term, he will preside under a big recession that will wipe away any perceived successes that he has had to date

    He was MUCH better off as just another New York Shyster Businessman – and he can never go back to that. The story is a classic tragicomedy – Giuliani as his lawyer is so “Dog Day Afternoon” its not even funny . . . complete with New York Accents! This will be his legacy

  2. CCPA – the first quarter will be a full on cluster f*ck with most data driven companies trying to figure this out. By March, there will be an absolute panic as companies realize they can’t just ask their lawyers write some legalese text – drop it on their web site and say “done”. When companies realize the Data Engineering involved – they will be sweating huge bullets. I wouldn’t be surprised if Facebook and Zuckerberg (and perhaps Google, Equifax and other companies who rely heavily on using YOUR personal data to make money) try to change the law or somehow have it super ceded by some watered down Federal do nothing Data Protection law. They have gotten away with murder and 2020 will be a reckoning for sure. We will witness “CCPA – Denial” big time
  3. Sunspots – we will start seeing better conditions on 20M – maybe 17M, especially by the end of 2020. This will sadden those who have loved the recent lowband DXing conditions
  4. 40M Noise – I will (barely) nix the noise that has me turning off my radio every night. I’ll continue to enjoy the FREQ 300, but my Ham Radio activity will further be on the wane
  5. I will continue to be on the leader board at the gym because of my consistency. Slow and Steady will continue to win that race
  6. There might be some surprises in my life as far as where we will end up living and retiring to and when. Some “seeds” of this seem to have emerged after our Oakland tenant of 9 years moved out

 

KAZ Antenna for 40M

The KAZ looks pretty good as a 40M antenna – to be used with the NCC-1

With the NCC-1, I will feed the KAZ at both ends – and let the phasing unit take care of the termination (attenuation controls) and the phasing between each end – the Phase knob.

The Takeoff angle can be varied to cover a pretty wide range

I’ve used a modified K6SE Loop in this way, and it worked surprisingly well.

Cardioid Pattern

The cardioid pattern is acceptable – so this antenna scales well for 40M – it surely looks “good enough”.

It will be fun to do A – B tests with the W6LVP loop, that’s for sure.

Hoppin’ John

Hoppin’ John – a Southern New Year’s Tradition

2020 is almost here, and I am feeling great. I stopped making New Year’s Resolutions (verbally) years ago, and instead, silently just made a few commitments to myself.

The biggest one was to get more serious about fitness, specifically weight lifting and going to the gym. This month finds me at the top of the “Leaderboard” for the 6th month in a row. That far exceeds my expectations. I also avoided what I might have done in the past and that is set a weight loss goal and after many months on a plateau just give up completely.

I decided this year the goal is fitness, regardless of weight loss. I’ve burned almost 1000 calories more than I’ve taken in on a daily average, and I’m going on 3 years riding my bike to BART to go to work. It’s worked and it’s a new way for me to look at things.

The fitness “practice” is the cornerstone which led to perhaps the most moderate year I can remember. I crossed the moderation line only once – when I got into the KWS-1 project, but I easily counter balanced that by going QRP. It’s a funny dichotomy, but it did remind me to try to stay balanced.

I did very, very well working on household projects cleaning and fixing things up.

I also did very very well sticking to playing music.

Work was excellent, and measured and successful, but I am taken aback over what I feel is the IT Industry being in serious “CCPA Denial”. I’ve been preparing for it since July, but have felt like I’ve been 8 months ahead of the pack, so that has felt a little off kilter. A lot of hurry up and wait.

I’m still going to bet 2020 starts with a bang and CCPA panic. I expect the first quarter to be crazy busy – so it’s been nice having some time to chill before the coming storm.

Beyond the first quarter of 2020, I haven’t thought much about it.

NCC-1 Receiving Test “Platform”

The NCC-2 is now solidly in place – now my thoughts turn to the NCC-1

Looks like I’ll need 2 more 100′ cables so I can run an independent receive only platform to test receive antennas. One of the low noise remote preamps I am looking into is this Wellbrook:

The Wellbrook FLG100LN

What I have learned is that one small aperture mag loop over another only makes a big difference on 160M, less so on 80M and not much at all on 40M. So – this tells me that experimenting with a Single KAZ, Single K6SE Flag, Double KAZ or Double Half Delta Loop is a good pursuit. There is not a whole lot about this out there – so maybe I can uncover some new interesting findings?

so far, what I’ve learned is that what has been optimized for 160M “should work” on 40M.

What I want is a receiving antenna optimized for 40M.

I think the answer might come from EZNec? I’ll see.

NCC-2 and 40M (UrbanBeam and W6LVP Loop)

I’m very pleased with the NCC-2 on 40M – it is doing what I was hoping it would

Like the SteppIR UrbanBeam, I paid a “dear” price – one that arguably was a bit beyond what I usually would consider a bargain of any sort. HOWEVER, these two products are so unique and special in what they do – I am quite pleased that I did go for them. If 2 years ago (when I was full on OCD bout 160M DXCC chasing) I could have anticipated that “old faithful” 40M would be wiped out by neighborhood noise – I would have never sold the NCC-2 and two Wellbrook Loops that I used to have. Up until recently, 40M here was downright quiet. Oh well, c’est la vie – at least I knew what to do about it, and my knowledge on the subject has not failed me.

First Observations:

  1. The phasing does work, but is not nearly as pronounced as what I remember on 160M. If you want the same “feel” on 40M that you had on 160M – you won’t be as pleased. I fully understood this going in that this unit would be most effective on 160M, less on 80M and less on higher bands – it does work enough and it is doing exactly what I hoped it would do
  2. The Balance is working very well – in fact – I can mix just the right amount of UrbanBeam with the W6LVP where the signal to noise ratio is pretty darned good
  3. The directionality of the W6LVP so far is noticeable – but there is enough QSB right now that the judge is still out. It does seem like the W6LVP – being fed with the Bias Tee from the NCC-2 is really good. I don’t have a Wellbrook on hand – but for this application, I am not sure any loop would be all that much better than another. I fully expect that on 160M – the Wellbrook would be the best, but I would really like to do a shootout some day – Wellbrook vs. W6LVP

OK – onward to next weeks test – which will be the NCC-1 and 40M using interesting wire antennas (perhaps K6SE, KAZ or DHDL). When I use the NCC-1 – it will be dedicated to the 75A4, which is still a pretty great receiver after all these years.

40M Noise Elimination Experiment: NCC-2 Setup

The configuration that I will be using with the NCC-2

Neither 7300 or KX-3 have RX in ports, so the RTR-2 built into the NCC-2 handles that. Setting the Bias Tee on in CH B will send the correct voltage to the W6LVP loop. The phasing controls will then let me phase the TX and RX antennas for best S/N.

So the NCC-2 was designed for exactly my “use case”.

In the future I will cover the NCC-1 use case – which is to phase two receive antennas and where there is no transmitter involved – just the 75A4. That will be my receive antenna “testing platform”. I might try the Double Half Delta Loop even before the K6SE variation that I have used in the past. Here is why:

On 40M, the pattern of the DHDL just happens to be distorted enough from its usual cardioid pattern on 160M – but in a good way. In fact, just pointing one South opens up all of the most “lucrative” DX areas of the world – the areas that are easiest for a QRP-er. Its pretty cool how the FREQ 300 will force me to have my technical ability up to snuff – but not rediculously so. I remember the days of trying to engineer something that could work any rare DX in any direction – and even though I more or less did that – there were plenty of times where I still had to put up something “temporarily” for a DXpedition. In the process of doing that – I had so much wire and aluminum up, I shudder to think how distorted the patterns of all of my antennas were! Small suburban lots just don’t offer enough separation for a big serious antenna farm.

Its good to have this “sneak preview” – of the NCC-1 use case, because the W6LVP loop phased with the UrbanBeam will most likely take care of my noise problem on 40M. After that – I can set up the NCC-1 with the 75A4 and just use that for the fun of it. In fact, I could even use one of the ports of my Rat Pack to feed the NCC-1 since I will not need Bias T and in fact, If I wanted to have two DHDL’s – one pointed South and one pointed North – I could even do that.

I’m getting ahead of myself- so back to Step One- which is to get rid of the 40M noise!

 

 

Double Half Delta Loop – AA7JV and TX3A

The TX3A / AA7JV DHDL Receive Antenna on 40M

I received a very nice answer email from George, AA7JV regarding using the Double Half Delta Loop on 40M – even though it was designed mainly for 160 – and perhaps 80M. George aid is scales very well on 40M – so lucky me – I have just the perfect place to set up two of these in the two directions that matter as a QRP DXer – SE and SW.

Not as great as on 160M – but still very effective on 40M

In fact, because my UrbanBeam is now up 65′, and because I got rid of several antennas in the back yard – I have freed up space where I can play with RX antennas. I do have ways to exploit N – S, NE -SW, and SW – SE. My latest thought is to have two DHDL’s side by side and pointing in opposite directions. Sort of like a EWE or K9AY kind of thing.

Anyway, George offers these recommendations:

“I have used DHDL-s designed for 160 on 40 with good results. For the best RDF keep the length to about 10 m and the height to 5.
The load probably should be around 1000 Ohms. One important point: make the antenna precisely symmetrical across its center”

There you have it – from The Master!

I have the right supports to set something cool up – and will think about this a while.