Winter is Nigh …

It’s quite amazing. Last weekend I was sweating wrapping up my last “Winterizing” antenna work at 85 degrees F, and now I’m in the house and shack with the heater on at a Max of 55 degrees F or 30 degrees lower. It could get down to the high 30’s here tonight.

My spring landscaping looks incredible, and I’m so happy that I no longer have to water, the plants love the natural rainfall moisture.

The Sierra’s received some serious snow as did Mount Shasta.

Very nice just before Thanksgiving.

After 3Y0Z: 20M Yagi Becomes a 2 Element 30M Yagi (?)

By just adding coils in each of these elements and extending the boom to 12′, I can have an awesome 30M yagi. I have always really liked 30M – because it offers a “respite” from contests – which I m not at all interested in (unless I can get some 160M counters).

But during the deepest part of winter, 30M does act a little like 20M, but from my experience, 30M is usually at best more like 40M. I am a dyed in the wool CW guy who “tolerates” other modes – so 30M offers a CW bigot a great place to play.

One commercial antenna is the JK – 302:

I already know from having the N6BT DXU-32 that even a coil loaded “shorty” yagi on 40 or 30 would be at least 1 dB better than a 2 element vertical array – so its something to ponder.

Stay tuned – I’ve seen how excellent 30M can be today, so . . . .



LZ307MU on 30M at 3:30 PST (2233z)

I was very surprised to hear Bulgaria on 30M at 2200z, and then after a while I decided, what the heck – why not call him. Sure enough – he had a real hard time hearing me, but I used the DX Engineering DV-40-P – my 40M vertical array on 30M – because its SWR is just fine.

I proved today that this antenna is great on 30M. So now I have very good antennas from 160 – 20M, and after getting the 20M yagi up another 20 feet or so, I should be in great shape to work 3Y0Z.

Image from SolarHam

Conditions were quiet, that’s the main reason why I worked him, and so today was a pretty special day – with ZS5IE workable until he QRT’ed at 9:30 AM PST, and LZ workable in the 3 PM PST hour – both were classic “special” winter time conditions.


Preparing for 3Y0Z

My homebrewed 2 element 20M yagi is not up high enough, and as a result of last weekends antenna work, I now have a spare Spiderbeam 40′ pushup mast. I can put this on my back deck and then get the yagi up ~50′ since the deck is 8′ off the ground. Its only 27′ up now. 

I also took down that center element of the Mod Bob, so now I can move the yagi to a better place.

Modeling seems to indicate that raising it that much higher will make a significant improvement in take off angle and add a little bit of gain too.

This my backup station – and while I also have the Elecraft KXPA-100 100 watt amplifier, I have found that my Expert SPE 1.3K only needs about 10w drive to get 1 KW out. I will order a cable that lets the KX3 drive the SPE amplifier. I also have the KPA-500 and KAT-500 in a closet, so I have all the backup I need. The 40M and 160/80M antennas are set, and on 30M, I can use one vertical in the 40M array.




ZS5IE Worked S9 at 9:30 AM PST (1630z) on 40M

It was quite amazing today to hear ZS5IE this late in the morning on the fabulous 40M Long Path. I actually worked him at 1630z where he was S9 and I was S5. I can’t remember this path being open this late. Iain was running 300 watts to a 2 element inverted vee and I was running 1KW to my DX Engineering DV-40-P phased verticals.

Guess I’m good to go on 40M – hi hi

Two Great Lowband Antennas

If you have a good radial field, it’s hard to beat an Inverted L on a small lot. It’s easy to match it on 160M and 80.

If you don’t have radials, the Mod Bob is a great way to get on all low bands on a small lot

The Mod Bob requires a good balanced tuner like the Palstar BT1500A

The u.rat: switching vs stepping

The one thing I really don’t like about the u.RAT is how slow it is to turn the roller inductor. I also noticed that you start wearing down the wire on the roller.

One answer would be to use a relay board. You could switch in taps of a fixed inductor, and use the switches on the KPOD to control which tap you want. 

In fact, you could do the same thing with doorknob caps, but the variable capacitor that I have tunes nicely with a stepper motor, and with no wear or tear on the component as there is with the roller inductor.