Mod-Bob vs. DXE DV-40-P: Final Test and Results


While I probably could get away with taking down the DXE DV-40-P, I won’t. As you can see, the 40M phased array – elements 7 and 8 are too close to the Mod-Bob, and result is this pattern distortion to the 40M array:

This is with the 7 element leading and 8 lagging – the pattern is slightly skewed, but not terrible.

The other element is also not terrible, but it is skewed.

The most interesting thing is that the Mod – Bob is not affected at all – in fact, it might even benefit the antenna, but I do not have sophisticated enough test equipment to test it out. Since I have already had these two antennas up almost a year, and since the Mod Bob did not clobber the DXE DV-40-P remote switch and phasing box, I will leave them both up. I don’t like how close they are – but I need both, and this is the best I can do. I have no other space on my weird lot at the bottom of a gulch with steep ridges all around. C’est la vie – I’ve done very well in spite of my QTH.

On the air I get several options with both up, and the best guide to go on moving forward is to transmit on whatever antenna is the “reciprocal” of what I receive best on. The only unexpected “anomaly” in a very good night time Short Path test was ZS6CCY who said the Mod Bob was better than the 40M array. The US stations always said the 40M array was best on SP (Florida and Texas). On the LP, completely as expected, the DXE 40M array cleans house – there simply is no contest, and I do not want to give that path up – even though its not usable for 3Y0Z, its my favorite path to work just casually and just to experience my favorite path in all of DX-ing (except the very rare 160M path openings that go 11k miles – but which are literally once or twice in a lifetime.

I’ll just perform some winter maintenance and check everything before the rain starts, but as always, its good to analyze your antenna farm to really understand what’s going on. I will also “park” the Mod-Bob on 160M, so I am always ready for 160M, 40 and 20M – all being resonant antennas, and can switch and tune on 80 and 30M when need be – which is ultra rare here.


40M KY6R Antenna “Shoot Out” – Initial Test Results

Just two American “Presidential Hopefuls” dueling. Some things never change . . . 

I just got home from a week in Montana, Idaho and Washington (Spokane) and “magically” my DX Engineering DV-40-P worked. I am sure its an intermittent connection of some sort, and luckily, Bill, ZS6CCY was able to do some serious on the air testing with me. I also did several tests with hams in Texas and Florida – all within the path to Bouvet. I also heard V51B and even ZS8Z, so it was  great test. An LU would have been great, but this was a “good enough” first test for sure.

The Mod Bob is consistently 1 dB better on receive than the DV-40-P, but the noise level is higher. HOWEVER, on transmit, I have been told that I am 1 S unit better on transmit (consistently) in South Africa, but the DV-40-P is consistently several S units better in all USA stations along that same path (above on the map).

There is no real risk in any of this – I hope to test ZS on the long path tomorrow morning, but as I have mentioned, when I work 3Y0Z, it will most likely be SP on 40, 30 and 20M.

The Wellbrook ALA1530LNP received ZS6CCY very well and with low noise. 

I will go check the connections tomorrow on the DV-40-P and will leave it up for a while (since it hasn’t hurt anything and as they say “you can’t have enough antennas).

I think 40M will be THE band for 3Y0Z, so maybe having options is the best way to go.

But I also need to gather more “data points”. I’d love the Mod Bob to simply win hands down, but before I take anything down, I better make sure its a good move.

Your Replacement … Cy7

Meet your replacement.

His name is Cy, aka Cy7, short for Cyborg7. He can generate code automatically based on sensors that give him more data points than the human mind can possibly keep up with. His cameras are always watching you. He is constantly learning and storing data patterns that he can process faster than the human brain.

He has no heart or feelings. He has a Twitter account and is quite active and “popular” there. He tells people he’s from Devon, in the U.K – a little town called “Bickleball Tip” near Newton Abbott. His British accent and confident strut makes (ridiculously thick and over sized black horn rimmed glasses wearing) high fashion designers swoon – they love his dead sexy asexual nature and believe he was sent from heaven to wear and show off their new lines. He tells stories about Hay Tor, knowing that that will capture their imaginations of a well traveled and adventurous man – thing.

He can switch between the Object Oriented and Functional paradigms, and get this – he can code based on lower level MPP paradigms where one chip can be a massively parallel processor the size of half a credit card. In fact, OO and Functional programming will be replaced by Mitosis Programming – all the rage amongst Cyborgs and the latest in EMPP (Exponentially Massive Parallel Processor) chips.

In the year 2025, humans will no longer be needed at all for traditional tasks and jobs and will be relegated to leisure. Artists, farmers and poets will be the one area where Bots really suck at, and these areas will be where there is a huge opportunity for growth.

Joint replacement surgery will be replaced by regenerative tissue cells grown in Petrie dishes and simply injected into joints with long needles.

DXCC will have merged with DX Marathon and CQ DX Field and the successor to FT8 will be all the rage.

Humans will at least still be in charge of the Cyborgs, because they will have encrypted access to the power source of their machine friends and will have improved on their security after the 2017 Equifax watershed moment in security history.

FT8, ASUS Tinker Board and KX3

My friend Mike, KJ4Z has been using a more powerful SBC (single board computer) than the Raspberry Pi, the ASUS Tinker Board. You MUST check out his blog – he’s got this all dialed in – and I am following his lead and learning from him:

Mike has confirmed that FT8 runs fine on it, so I will take the KX3 out of the closet, run it maybe at 20 watts, and try FT8 on the Tinker Board.

I don’t even care about DXCC this time around, I’m doing this just because the idea of a tiny computer and a tiny rig – both which pack an amazing amount of power for their diminutive size is just plain cool.

I have a really nice big screen monitor in the shack hooked up to the P3, but never use it since the P3 is right in front of me and offers enough resolution as it is.

So, I will move the monitor over to this Tinker Board and run FT8 on it.

I also ordered the very cool Black Ice case for it, and so now I know what my next “Ham-Maker” project will be.
I will also run a geochron like clock on this device, so this will add big excitement to the shack.

KY6R 40M Antenna Shootout

On Sunday, Sunday SUNDAY, I will get my two 40M antennas ready for a 40M antenna shootout.

Only one set of “antlers” can win. Here is the criteria:

  1. This test is for Bouvet on 40M. The Mod Bob vs. the DX Engineering DV-40-P
  2. ZS, LU, CE and VP8 stations are preferred, because LU is the exact SP to Bouvet, and there is almost no chance that 3Y0Z will be workable on the 40M long path
  3. A secondary goal is ZS on the short and long path because I never get tired of working ZS on 40M since it also informs me of my last one, Glorioso

My DV-40-P gave up the ghost so I have to fix it first. I’m pretty sure I know what it is and that it will be an easy fix. It’s either a chewed wire or a feedpoint connection.

Worst case, my Mod Bob fried the remote phasing box of the DV-40-P, but I doubt it. The DV-40-P box is a toroid, a hand full of capacitors and a couple relays. All rated at high voltage.

I have done some preliminary comparisons, and believe the two antennas are (at best) equal on the SP to Bouvet, with the Mod Bob having and almost undetectable 1 dB advantage.

I’m hoping that the Mod Bob obviates the need for the DV-40-P, but I will stick to the “scientific method” and be honest about the outcome.

Quiet Contemplation

Autumn is a great time to sit back and, like the harvest, reflect on the growing season and contemplate what harvest time means in my life.

Where have I been? Where am I headed?

You can’t change where you’ve been, but I like to ask “What if” questions about the future.

Some are very short term, and some long term. They all involve cost benefit analysis, and I don’t mean cost money wise, but time wise.

I have found that “Less is More” is almost always the best approach.

Short Term Goal Example

In ham radio, since I want to work 3Y0Z and conditions most likely won’t be great on the high bands, I need to make sure I have the best antennas up for the Low Bands. I need to decide if the DV-40-P stays up or if the Mod Bob is better with it’s better EZNec broadsided pattern. But what about on air, and while listening to a CE or LU station or best yet, VP8 or ZS? 

Maybe I need to try FT8 soon too as it could be a life saver Bouvet wise.

Testing this weekend will answer all ham questions.

Six Months Ahead

I just completed a fantastic 6 months at work, and in all aspects of my life. What about the next 6 months? At work I will start delivering web apps written in React.js, Redux and Material UI. I also will be writing Python and doing database design.

The answer there is known, which is to build on the very strong foundation that I started with the Data Dictionary at Credit Karma. 

The only big change is to be very mindful about losing weight and to take time and care to continue what I’ve started this week. I also need to go back to yoga – I have neglected some important things health wise – due to giving 1000% towards the Data Dictionary.

Hobby wise, I’m lucky, I have time and can just “play”. I will start playing more with my oscilloscope and signal generator, but just for fun.

There will be Pacificon, but not much in the way of scheduled stuff.

There, I think I’ve just charted my course for the next 6 months!

Longer Term

This one is open ended. Where and when will I retire. It will be Oregon, but the when is totally open and none too soon.

The Carrington Event and 3Y0Z?

One hundred years and six months before I was born, The Carrington Event occurred, which was an amazing set of solar explosions that set fire to telegraph apparatus and gave operators serious shocks. The author starts out with a series of solar

explosions that occurred in 2003, not long after I started DXing, and one that happened right during the 3C0V DXpedition.

He then segues back in time to what is the beginning of modern day solar weather monitoring.

A few weeks ago, we experienced exactly what the author describes that happened in 2003, and I bet what we experienced is just the first of several more like it.

In fact, we might even look at the 4th quarter of 2003 and see that as a predictor for conditions leading up to 3Y0Z.

Anyway, the book listed above reads like a detective novel, and I can’t put it down.

If you love space weather as I do, you’ll love this book.