Home brewing a Vertical for DXing

Recently, I’ve been bitten by the 80M DXing bug.  Its not so much that 80M has taken hold, as it is that I have managed 140+ confirmed on both 40M & 20M now so all the ‘easy pickings’ are gone.

My main antenna is a 102ft ladder line fed dipole aka G5RV up ~45 feet at the Apex.  Whilst this antenna takes QRO in its stride, and puts out one heck of a signal, it also features a whole lot of ‘high angle’ radiation on 80M & 40M.

Whilst I’ve managed 30 countries on 80M running some power (which was needed), I always found received signals to have poor SNR.  As such, I decided to once again revisit the Vertical – primarily as an RX Antenna for now – to see if it could help.

Here is the pattern difference, in theory.  Note the huge amount of high angle radiation the G5RV (broadside) picks up compared to the Vertical.  Although the low angle figures look close, remember the G5RV has a ‘peanut’ shape even at 45ft, so when the G5RV is facing ‘narrow side’ the Vertical has over an 8dB advantage below 15 degrees.

Screenshot 2017-05-21 19.46.50

Continue reading for more pictures and information about the project 🙂

Continue reading

The DXer’s ethos, and why you shouldn’t fear the ‘big guns’

Its nice to have personal goals like getting to HR one day, or whatever, but its certainly not something I’d be comfortable talking about unless its in the context of encouraging others in their own pursuit.

Eg, I think it can be encouraging to others to talk about how you managed to work DXCC in a year with 100 watts and a vertical, but its certainly not encouraging to talk about how you worked a given DXPedition on all bands and all modes.

And if you’re the type of person who talks about working every DXPedition on every band and mode, and then whine when you miss one… well.. the rest of us start wondering what else you’re missing in your life.

Encourage others; re-assure them that DXing is possible no matter what their budget is, and pursue the challenges you enjoy for your own satisfaction.  That’s how I personally enjoy DX.

One thing I will say though is I find this whole notion that ‘big guns’ are stealing from ‘little guns’ is really toxic.  Anyone who has been around the block long enough should realize by now that the order of importance is this:

1) Perseverance
2) Condx
3) Station

Ham radio is such a wonderful hobby in that you can get a lot of individual satisfaction without it detracting from someone else’s enjoyment.  Lets not feed the trolls by spreading the notion that ‘big guns’ somehow prevent ‘little pistols’ from working new ones.  That attitude is likely to do more damage to the hobby and especially the individual – after all, it is little more than an excuse, and one that might easily lead a newbie to think that DXing requires no effort on their behalf.

Yes, there are idiots who dupe endlessly on the same band, with seemingly huge signals.  Experienced that as XU7AGA, but at the end of the day, they are few and far between, and I can promise you there are plenty of DXPedition ops who have trouble hearing certain calls, especially if they’re already in the log.

If you want to blame something for not being in the log, blame condx.  That way, you’re still likely to enjoy the company of your fellow hams, and they yours.

Bhutan (A5A), ‘big guns’ and why missing a DXPedition is just fine by me.

I’m pretty sure I’ve got next to no chance of getting Bhutan (A5A) in the log this time round.  Now hopefully for the sake of irony I will be proven wrong, but the facts are as follows:

1) I work full time, and its the start of spring here.  The bands are often closed by the time I get home, leaving only the weekends.  That rules out the ‘bum in seat’ approach aka persistence which is so often all that it takes.

2) ConDX doesn’t seem to be there.  Today (saturday) I had the chance to indulge in my favorite hobby.  WAE SSB was on, and I could hear and work quite a few stations easily.  However, none of those stations were in the region surrounding Bhutan.  Jumping over to JT65, I found I could hear and work quite a few stations on 17M (which A5A has used a lot), but my station wasn’t getting heard around that region once more.  Lastly, I haven’t so much as heard a single beep out of A5A.

3) There is still work to be done on my station.  I have an Icom IC-7300 with a great scope, and an Ameritron AL-572 amplifier capable of well over our legal limit in VK, so it just loafs.  However, because of my current living arrangements I haven’t been able to invest in a tower until recently.  As such, using only basic antennas my reception is often noisy (no nulls), and I can’t push the power in the direction I’d like.

So it seems really likely I’ll miss Bhutan this time.  However, if you stop and think about it, its not the end of the world.

Imagine for a second we could all work DX whenever it showed up.  Here’s what would happen:

A) DXing would be about as exciting as a skype phone call.
B) We wouldn’t be motivated to improve our skills and stations; most importantly we wouldn’t learn and grow.
C) There would be less DXPeditions.

Now point C might seem a bit strange, but think about it in economic terms – supply and demand.  If everyone had every DXPedition in their log, there wouldn’t be any demand for further DXPeditions.  Of course, as new people enter the hobby places will need to be activated sporadically, but not anywhere nearly as frequently.

Just think about how many DXPeditions have aims these days – eg, ‘we’re concentrating on low bands’, ‘we’re CW only’, or even ‘we want to give ATNOs to NA’.  If propagation wasn’t a factor, everyone from every continent would work every band and mode on every DXPedition.

And that’s where the real rub comes in.  Imagine DXing where everyone reaches HR in ~10 years, and there are nowhere near as many DXPeditions – doesn’t sound like a very long lived hobby does it; sounds like a FAD to me.

On the other hand, we currently enjoy a hobby where one can always look to the future and say ‘I need Mongolia on CW’, or at worst ‘I’ve yet to work P5 on digital’.  There is always a bright future to hope for; always something to look forward to and dream of.

And that’s why I’m not going to get too upset when I miss Bhutan this time round… But hey, in the mean time, I’m going to improve my station in any way I can, so that condx willing, I’m one of the deserving when I get the next shot.

The golden days of DXing are ahead of us!  Always be a believer!  And don’t let ANYONE convince you that a ‘big gun’ stole your ATNO! For they are just men, not the gods of condx!

[HOAX] Turkey Revokes Ham Radio Licences

THIS STORY HAS BEEN EXPOSED AS A HOAX

Source: http://yaesuft817.com/wp/turkey-gouvernement-revokes-19201-ham-radio-licenses/

 

Turkey gouvernement revokes 3213 ham radio licenses
TRAC_logo
It has been confirmed by  Supreme Council of radio and television of Turkey (RTUK) the news that Mr. Erdogan – the president of Turkey has revoked 3213 national ham radio licenses. The HF radio in Turkey is now silent. No transmissions are allowed.

turkcagr

Following the coup d’etat – of July 5th – many things are changing in Turkey.  TV , Radio licenses have been cancelled and this involved also our colleagues : ham radio amateurs. The number of amateur radio operators in Turkey is not too much, but according to the site TRAC.org it looks like that around 3000 licenses have been revoked. Who’s transmitting outside turkey without licence should be considered a pirate – said Mr Erdogan.

The Supreme Council of radio and television of Turkey (RTUK) has cancelled the licenses of over 20 radio and television broadcasters as well ham radio operators.

The Telsiz ve Radyo Amatörleri Cemiyeti (TRAC)  is the national non-profit organization for amateur radio enthusiasts in turkey.  The TRAC was founded in 1962 as the Türkiye Radyo Amatörleri Cemiyeti, adopting its current name in 1980. It’s located in Istanbul, with branches in 44 locations across Turkey. TRAC is the national member society representing Turkey in the IARU. Now, it has been closed down.

We look forward to have news from Turkey ham radio league.

Turkey’s coup in numbers

21,000 private teachers have licences removed
15,000 suspended from education ministry
8,000 police officers detained or suspended
6,000 soldiers detained
1,500 staff at Ministry of Finance dismissed
3213 ham radio operators with license revoked.
2745 judges dismissed
1,577 deans – Education board demands resignation
492 sacked from Religious Affairs Directorate
399 from Ministry of Family and Social Policies stripped of responsibilities
257 fired from the prime minister’s office
100 intelligence officials sacked
47 district governors dismissed
30 provincial governors dismissed
20 news websites blocked

Plans for next XU7AGA Activation

Since returning to VK3, I have been really busy with family stuff and finding some decent employment.  However, I’m glad to announce that I’ve got most of it sorted now, and it looks like I will be returning to Cambodia in October or November 2016!

I don’t want to let the cat out of the bag, but it looks like it could be quite an exciting year for DX in Cambodia!

My plans for XU7AGA is to focus mainly on digital modes and ssb phone when I return, and help get as many people ATNOs as possible!

I’ll be sure to keep everyone updated as plans progress,

73,

Jarrad

LoTW & Confirmed Totals :)

The ARRL has approved my LoTW application for VK3HXT (They’re still processing XU7AGA), and on first login I was greeted by 77 confirmed countries!  After including my paper confirmations, I’m at 81 confirmed countries!

For those of you who haven’t signed up to LoTW it is well worth it; it took a lot of effort to get 40 Paper QSL cards, but only one outgoing letter to get on LoTW!

Thanks to everyone who has participated in LoTW and made my 77 confirmations possible!  I have 16 to go for WAS on Digital, so I am also hunting that one 🙂

Good Luck with the DX!