Stormy weather here at the moment. Very strong winds (50 – 80 km/h) from west south west. Antenna mast is dancing around, great to film!
On top of the mast is my Diamond X200-N mounted which covers the 2 meter and 70 centimeter band. It is connected to my Kenwood TM-D710.
Directly underneath the Diamond you see my Fritzel 1:6 balun as heart for the FD-3 wire antenna. The mast consists of three pieces of green glass fiber army sticks which are painted white with UV-proof paint and glued together. The whole mast is about 3,6 meters (11,8 feet).
On the left you see my Antron A99 for 10 meter which is connected to my second antenna connection on the Kenwood TS-590S.
Okay, so I moved my antenna to the other chimney of the house. Six meters away from the neighbors monitor (a Philips 190WV7CS/00) and after a thorough test on all HF-bands with 100 watt RTTY there is a little improvement. The striping has faded a little but not enough to satisfy the neighbor. So plan B came in action: temporarily replace the Philips piece of *&^(#@ with my 20′ Apple Cinema Display. As expected that solved the whole problem. No RFI whatsoever. So for now I’ll leave the monitor at his place so he can work. He’ll replace his Philips montor at a later time.
Let get on contesting!
Last contest it became clear I need just another change on the antenna part of my setup. Since last year my neighbor has completely revamped his attic and situated his study room there. That is bad news for me because now he’s only 2 meters underneath my antenna wire. His PC monitor really dislike HF and starts striping with even the slightest signals (even 5 watts). Of course we can replace his monitor with a more HF-proof type. But an antenna wire this close will always produce some RFI.
So the idea is to move the antenna away from his attic. Fortunately our house has two chimneys, one on each side. The house is 6 meters wide (some 19 feet) so using the other chimney, the antenna wire will be further away. Hopefully my other neighbor doesn’t have anything HF-sensitive on her attic!
I’ve had quite a few antenna setups in the past years. Started with a mono-band wire dipole for 20m. Then a multi-band dipole for 40m, 20m and 10m. It was a little too much wire in the air. Then tried a combination of a Cobwebb antenna (10 – 20m) and a horizontal loop for 40, 80 and 160m. The Cobwebb worked great but I got a little tired of answering the question about the “cloth hanger” on my roof. The horizontal loop worked great for Europe, but it was almost impossible to work DX on it. So those went away. Then I put up a Fritzel FD-4. Great antenna but it was a little too long for my garden. I had to wrap the wire around my garden what wasn’t too nice to look at (according to “she who must be obeyed”). I went for the shorter version of the FD-4: the Fritzel FD-3. The original commercial one to be exact. Also works great! Missing 80m capabilities where more serious then I hoped for. Also: my guess was the Off Center Fed (OCF)-design of the antenna maybe produced some of the RFI-problems at my neighbor.
I changed the Fritzel FD-3 for a homemade ZS6BKW as suggested by Wilko PA3BWK and inspired on Fred PA3YH‘s antenna project. That works kind of OK (couldn’t test it properly on 20m and up yet) but it didn’t resolved any of the RFI-problems with the neighbor which I had hoped for.
I kind of like the ZS6BKW-inspired design of 2x 13,75 meter wire fed with 10 meters of open wire feed line. The mismatch can be fixed with an antenna coupler like a Icom AH-4, Kenwood AT-300/KAT-1 or a SGC-product.
Hopefully the weather allows me to move the antenna this weekend so I’ll be ready for the next contest.
Everything is in place for the ARRL RTTY Roundup. The new ZS6BKW works okay, the 10m vertical is still up and running. A little weird schedule during this contest (starts at 18:00 UTC on Saturday) but that’s okay. Wish me luck in my second contest this year!
After earlier issues with my Fritzel FD-3 and the fact it is not able to do 80m (which is a serious handicap with most contests) made me search for yet another antenna solution.
Wilko PA3BWK (from who I did loose the division league) dropped by te other day. He did inspect my setup and advised me to use a ZS6BKW antenna. My problem with not being able to stretch out twice the same length of wire from both sides of my chimney could be solved when I let the feeding point float in the air and put one wire over the mast.
That way I’m able to put 2x 13,75 meter and feed it with 12,2 meters of 450-ohm ladder line.
Fred PA3YH sponsored me with some left over antenna wire from his antenna project and I found some open ladder line from one of my earlier own antenna projects.
I’m still optimizing the new setup. I put down my beautiful white mast for now and put up a slightly longer mast for the ZS6BKW. That means my 2m/70cm Diamond is down for the moment. But I guess not for long.
This time of year isn’t very nice to do antenna experiments. Lots of rain, strong winds and it’s cold. But I can’t wait for spring, that way I loose to many Q’s!
Last weekend I entered the ARRL 10m CW/SSB contest. My 10m vertical (Antron A99) was still up on the roof since the last 10m contest. I did climb up the roof the reinstall the Buddipole. Not so successful this time due to a firm wind which blew it down again and again. Despite the support ropes.
The band starts opening up around 8:00 – 8:30 am. I switched back and forward between CW and USB. Actually the vertical was quite successful this time.
Around 7:00 pm the band was pretty much closed. Sunday I could only work until around 2:00 pm due to family duties.
After all a good contest, interesting to do a combined CW/SSB-contest. I think I need a good strategy for these combined contests next time. There were probably more Q’s to make then I did now.
Considering this the last contest for this years division league, I’ll take a rest now. I’ll rearrange the shack, clean out the place etc. Get everything up and running for the new contest year of 2014!
This weekend there where multiple contests to choose from. To optimize my score I picked out the Melee Tara RTTY contest on Saturday and the ARRL RTTY 10 Meter contest on Sunday.
I started off with a well prepped N1MM. Loaded with call history file and a fresh master.dta and country file. FSK was working (plenty of practice on Saturday). But since 10 meters doesn’t open up until sunrise I did have breakfast with the family first. Then I climb up the roof to put some extra’s on for 10 meter. My Fritzel FD-3 can do 10 meter of course, but it’s not ideal. I put up my Buddipole and trimmed it for 10 meter. I found an old Solarcon Antron 99A vertical in the shed which (if I remember correctly) can be used for 10 meter too. Everything is functioning and a cup of hot coffee I went in the shack.
The Buddipole did a great job in the early morning hours! In the afternoon the vertical seemed to work better then the dipole. Q’s where running low, but that’s only logical for a single 10 meter band contest. I did manage to squeeze out 100 Q’s.
It was already dark when I put down the Buddipole. The vertical I left up for now. Maybe it’s handy for coming contests?