40M Phased Vertical Array ~ 40M Half Wave Dipole

The N6BT DXU-32 …

I have had two occasions where I was able to test my fantastic 40M phased vertical array against other antennas. I say fantastic only because when you compare the height requirements and maintenance requirements, the phased array has tremendous bang for the buck.

The DXE DV-40-P …

First I compared it to the N6BT DXU-32, and the DXU-32 won by it’s 4 dBi advantage. A shorty 40 two element yagi is a formidable antenna even if only up 50′ as mine was.

But the tower and safety requirements for a 28 foot boom with two 42 foot element and three 36ish elements is a major undertaking compared to a phased vertical array.

I have also had two test periods comparing a 40M doublet with the phased array, and both times they were neck and neck. I could hear and work the same stations on the short path to ZS, but on the long path, the doublet did seem a bit better. I’ve tested all paths along the broadside of the doublet, whose orientation was dictated by what trees it’s in.

I tested the doublet against the end fire direction of the array, so that’s putting the arrays best foot forward so to speak.

Enter the Cushcraft D40. It is almost exactly the same as the N6BT DXU-32 driven element. I will add 30M to it, and it will be max 13 pounds.

This means I can actually use two of my superb Spiderbeam aluminum push-up masts and get the antenna up as high or higher than my N6BT DXU-32. That antenna was up only 50′, it would be simple to go 60′ with the D40.

Think about the value proposition here: you get the best part of the fixed phased array, but rotatable so that you don’t suffer the broadside dip you get gain wise in two directions with the phased array.

I’ve only ever had one 40M antenna up 60′ before. It was a 40M doublet that I used to work my last Honor Roll ATNO, SV2ASP/A for Mount Athos. That was New Year’s Eve, 2013, or yikes! 5 years ago.

Hmmmm the interesting thing is I made Honor Roll in 11 years and will be within one if Top of Honor Roll 5 years later, and again, I’m talking 40M doublet up 60′

Now I totally understand why both Tom, N6BT and Tom W8JI says that a dipole up 1/2 well in the clear is a great antenna.

Funny how I’m loving the rotatable 40 / 30M dipole right now.

3Y0Z will be hitting the airwaves with what I expect to be a truly historic DXpedition. The cost alone begs us to ask the question if this can ever be done this same way again. I tend to think in the future it will have to be done with the Norwegian Polar Institute team that goes there or some other science mission.

But for now, my only worry is working them and evolving the antenna farm past that DXpedition.


The Path to 9BDXCC …

I need 7 more to make DXCC on Top Band and also get my 160M 5BDXCC endorsement. Where are the likely QSOs going to come from?

Announced DXpeditions:

  1. Bouvet
  2. Baker
  3. Ducie
  4. Palau
  5. St. Kitts
  6. St. Paul

DX Contests (actually the before and after weeks):

  1. I can’t list anything as the ADXO is about as skimpy as I’ve ever seen it regarding announced contest stations – and 160M is a no show. The list will fill in soon though

Caribbean, Central American and OC surprises. Some north easterners will travel to places (to avoid “cabin fever”) that would be easy for me like FY, 9Y, OA, HP, HH, etc.

Africa – I’ve had about 4 African Q’s on 160.

Europe is least likely, but if it ever does open for me, I could clinch this fast.

I’m very confident I will make it by the time Ducie hits the air, perhaps sooner. That means by October of this year, I’m done with 9BDXCC and all I will need is Glorioso.

I’m very much long overdue for a “run” of luck on 160M. The past year seems like nothing but false starts and that working a new one on Top Band has been like walking with cement shoes. That bad luck streak will soon break me thinks and me hopes.

That will be very sweet.

An Easy Cushcraft D40 Mod Adding 30M

The Cushcraft D40 rotatable dipole is a great antenna – and its the same element they use on their 40M yagi. Because it uses coils and cap hats  instead of traps, it fairly efficient for a shortened antenna.

One way to really make this antenna sing is to add 30M. It can be done very easily by simply adding a wire below using standoff insulators of some sort – like these electric fence standoffs:

If the feed gets tricky as a “fan dipole”, then use 2 feeds. No big deal.

I can already see the bottom of the cycle starting at the end of 2018, and I fully anticipate that after 3Y0Z, my use of any high band antennas will be a waste of time. All of what I will be doing will be on 160 – 30M. Glorioso won’t be activated until at least a year after it is announced, and there is nothing in the rumor mill regarding that – so even if it were announced today, we would be very much at the bottom of the cycle. I fully expect that I would need to use a remote or someone elses super contest station.

Furthermore, there is a very good chance that I will be very seriously planning my retirement move before the peak of solar cycle 25, so, after 3Y0Z and 7 more QSOs on 160M I enter what I consider “very casual DXing” and the last throes of DXing from Orinda.

I love 40M, and when 30M is open and behaves like 40M, the same applies. I don’t even know if I will bother chasing anything on 160 or 80 after I make DXCC on 160 – my interest is starting to wane on it – this QTH is just a tough bugger and if I don’t get a surprise – like working EU on Top Band soon – my interest will fade for sure.

But I could be very happy just goofing around on 40 and 30M until I retire and move, and in my retirement I will probably also just goof around.

My definition of goofing around is use the radio like people watch TV, and build stuff and read “living history” books.

How Will This End?

It’s an amazing political circus, watching Trump and Bannon go after each other.

Billionaire vs. Billionaire!

Media Mogul vs. Media Mogul!

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!

It’s amazing, but the more I read about the details of historic events, the more we seem to be headed back to earlier, rough and tumble times.

Will we see the duel come back?

Telegraphers and Robber Barons

It’s very interesting how control of information and exploitation of both the government and workers by robber barons (speculators) has a direct parallel in the mid to late 1800’s to now.

Western Union was born out of a regional telegraph line, and at first was headquartered in Rochester, NY. Morse’s patent ended in 1861 and telegraphy really took off during the Civil War. The private telegraph companies were able to buy government lines on the cheap. There was government and private traffic being handled and telegraphers were in short demand. There was unchecked conflict of interest, but this was the brave New information world, and life during wartime.

Telegraphers started trade unions to improve their working conditions, but pretty much lost every fight. They were the conduit for information that made many men rich due to having first knowledge of happenings in mines especially. Copper, Gold and other lucrative ores would send news via telegraph, and this made those in the know rich. 

The robber barons were very similar to what you see in today’s stock market. People speculate and gamble based on information. Some get filthy rich. Some lose it all. It’s hard to draw the line between risk, opportunity and luck I guess.

The workers who kept the network open are paid a straight wage, far below the spoils of the speculators. But like software engineers, they had a pretty decent life. There were many others not nearly as well off.

I guess taking risk and playing paper games has been what has benefitted the few in the US. Lots of shenanigans.

I think in those times people at least weren’t as cavalier as our current ruling regime is. Robber barons in the late 1800’s were much better liars and cheaters than our current administration. Talk of “transparency” has always been nothing more than polite lying.

On The Path to 3Y0Z: RI50ANO

This is one of my favorite paths, and its on the way to 3Y0Z. In fact, its only 2000 miles farther to 3Y0Z – and this is South Shetland Islands. The path is so good, I easily worked South Shetlands on 160M. All other bands were a cake walk.

Come to think of it, all of the VP8’s were easy.

I’m hearing them about the same on both the phased vertical array and the 40M doublet / 17M EDZ. And both are a solid S7.

This clearly in the range of the 3Y0Z prediction. I will check it again in an hour when 3Y0Z is predicted to be about S8 at my QTH, but its all adds up even one hour earlier.

2018: The Year of Karma

I’ve brought up the topic of Karma often. “What goes around, comes around” and other expressions express the main idea of Karma.

Today we have Steve Bannon claiming that Trump Jr. and son in law Kushner committed treason. Forget about politics. Here is a situation where you have had many people breaking the law one way or another – with a seemingly endless flow of tweets and infighting between the very parties suspected of breaking the law. Talk about “loose lips”. The phrase that first came to mind was “Crime does not pay”.

Because the main perpetrators are New Yorkers, I had a flashback image of “Dog Day Afternoon”. The hostages are the American Middle Class. But in this case, the bank is not empty. It is a media and social media side show of epic proportions. It just feels like the main characters of this plot are going to completely and totally implode, perhaps with little help from outside of their own self imposed little silver spoon world.