DX Engineering NCC-1 vs. NCC-2 Test

I’ll try two shortened verticals against the NCC-2 with the two KY6R Big Mag Loops

I have a friend who needs a phased receive array of some sort.  He has very little space – so even two Wellbrook ALA1530LNP loops might be too big for his space. His TX antenna is a SteppIR Vertical. His lot is 35 by 100′, so separation is really tight.

I think two phased verticals is an electrical antenna – so I could turn them into loops by attaching wires to the verticals so it looks like a sailboat sail:

Sailboat Loop

It will be interesting to compare the two. The NCC-1 does not have preamps – but it does have 20 and 40M filters – so it will be an “Apples to Oranges” test.

I learned with the “KY6R Optimized 40M Delta Flag” antenna that what models well in EZNec is not necessarily the best antenna – especially when you are comparing antennas that work in the electric vs. magnetic fields. As you know – the KY6R Big Mag Loops didn’t model in EZNec as well as the Delta Flag, but it “ran rings around it” (terrible pun intended).

“Right Hand Rule” – the Key to Magnetic vs. Electrical waves . . . 

Its a lot of fun to have had a big success and now try something slightly different for a friend – given his limited space. His rig is the Collins Gold Dust Twins, and he has two 75A4 receivers, so I am going to figure out of we need two preamps or not. Since I had the Twins – I do know how the TR switching works, and I do know that we can have two receive antennas – either two going to one receiver and the SteppIR going to the other, one RX antennas to each receiver – or even have both RX antennas and the SteppIR antenna used  for RX. Of course, only the SteppIR is used for TX.

I am quite sure that the front end of each 75A4 is more “bullet proof” than any of the new solid state receivers, but what I don’t have figured out is whether preamps will be needed. I do know that the preamps I used on the KY6R Big Mag Loops is not what we will need for this project – but perhaps another Wellbrook preamp will be used instead.

We shall see.


“Spooky” KLIB Roseville, CA

KLIB in Roseville, CA transmits 5000 watts during the day . . .

and 500 watts at night

I am on the outer fringes of KLIB’s night time pattern. I mentioned several posts back that I had a personal connection to Roseville – both my parents are buried there – I took care of all of the arrangements, so its a real “curious coincidence”. They retired and lived their last years – not far from where this stations phased antenna farm is – maybe 5 miles away.

That is their 4 PM (PST) signal – it has to be 5000 watts. Here is what it sounds like at 4:28 PM (PST):

There is a lot of fading – it almost fades out and then comes back. The season is surely changing – and we are out of the Winter propagation pattern. When I hear KBND from Bend coming in – that’s when I know we are switching from local to farther away – and the D Layer is lifting. Tonight, that happened at 4:40 PM (PST(:

The “battle” between stations happens now a bit later than it did when I first started monitoring this – but between KLIB dropping power at what I’m guessing is 4 PM and then the D Layer lifting, by 5 PM, its all Bend, and little or no Roseville.

Anyway – guess its time to check 20M and VP8PJ – they do come up in signal at our sunset . . .

Update: KLIB hung in there longer than I expected. VP8PJ was loud on 30M, but DXers must be bored. There have been MANY South Shetland activations, but the DXers seem to love their pileups. Forget about QRP – at least for now.

Why I Haven’t Heard VP8PJ (much)

Very Interesting – the MUF has been lower than 7 mhz all day today

Its quite amazing that the ARRL DX Contest had such great 20M conditions – but I feel that we are right at the very bottom of the sunspot cycle – and that as the year goes on, we will climb out of it in noticeable form.

My KY6R Big Loops in the AM BCB band has offered conditions that I am now wondering if these are “special” conditions that I won’t see until the bottom of Cycle 25?

Time will tell – but as they say – “Make Hay While The Sun Shines” (even if there are no sunspots!).

[UPDATE] – right before our sunset – at 0100Z – ish – they were strong on 20M. Too many calling for my 5 watts to get through, but maybe I can snag a QRP QSO while they are there. 20M does seem to be the “surprise band” – as it was during the ARRL DX CW Contest a few weeks back. Then, 20M closed and 30M was pretty good for another 1/2 hour.

These openings are short – reminds me of the first time I worked a VU7 for an ATNO . . . .

VK0EK Back Stories

My alter to tech these days – its an analog thing, man . . . dig?

I’ve been sharing some great stories about VK0EK that I’ve never shared on my blog with friends lately. Mike, KJ4Z was involved in quite a few of these – so he can fact check some (so you’ll know that I am not spreading “fake news”). He was there – a witness!

Anyway, we both agree that the first quarter of 2016 might have been a real historic event in the DX timeline – 5 of the top 10 DXCC entities were activated.

That alone is really amazing. If you were a part of that – on either side of the DXpedition – good on you!

My SteppIR UrbanBeam Two Year Anniversary

A 40M Moxon – my “previous dream”

During the recent ARRL CW DX contest, my old thinking that 40M is the best band during the bottom of a cycle was thwarted.

20M was the star of that show. 40M was “OK”, but it went against my usual thinking

I’ve had the UrbanBeam for 2 years now, and because I was able to get 65′ of AB-577 mast this past year, my enthusiasm for the UrbanBeam continues like no other antenna that I have had, even my past fave, the N6BT DXU-32.

The UrbanBeam offers Top of Honor Roll performance in a format that is easy to install on a small suburban lot.

After two years, I actually appreciate my UrbanBeam even more than when I put it up. I feel it’s not just a “convenient” antenna, I feel it’s the best DXing antenna I’ve had

My N6BT DXU-32 was better on 40 and 20, but when you are working towards Honor Roll, it is very useful to have something decent on 40 – 6M.

OK, so maybe what I’m really trying to say is that the UrbanBeam is the best no compromise all band antenna from 40 – 6M.

Yeah, that’s the ticket!

Spring Has Sprung

Buds to Blossums for the last couple of weeks

New life in wintering trees is now in full swing. There are cotton candy white and pink blossums everywhere.

In other news, it looks like Credit Karma will be snapped up by Intuit. Intuit is valued at 77 billion, and Credit Karma at 4 billion. It will be interesting to see how that goes.

The UrbanBeam, 3Y0I and Me

The Truly Awesome SteppIR UrbanBeam

“If you can get a dipole up a half wavelength on 40M, and a 2 element yagi up more than a half wavelength on 20M, you will be able to earn Top of Honor Roll”.

That would have been my advice to me back in 2001, when I started DXing.

Of course, there was no UrbanBeam or SteppIR, so I used wires, then yagis and even phased vertical arrays.

I haven’t heard 3Y0I yet, well, maybe ESP on 30M, but I keep missing the time when that path is best – in or around our sunset, maybe before.

I think when 3Y0I goes to Bouvet, conditions will be on the upswing and better than they are now.

I also feel with my antenna and AL-80B that a friend loaned me that I will work them.

If not, I’ll run to W6NV’s for a “Mulligan QSO”. But I’m thinking with better conditions, that won’t be necessary.

DXCC was a “must do” for me, and working my last two – Bouvet and Glorioso is a “once in a lifetime” last chance. It’s more of a “must try” than a “must do” because Honor Roll was the real prize catch. The rest is icing on the cake.

What the hell, let’s go for icing too!

OK, now we need an announcement for Glorioso!