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.

TS-590-sLatest news on the ordered Kenwood TS-590S: it will arrive next week!

Ohw mama! πŸ™‚ I traded in my TS-850S and got a good deal from the Kenwood dealer. Already completely rebuild the shack. The 590 has 2 antenna connections I’m able to connect both my Cobwebb for 10, 12, 15, 17 and 20 meter and my horizontal loop for 40, 80 and 160 meter! So I don’t have to switch between antenna’s no more. In the future I could also use a extra (active) receiving antenna on the receive input of the 590.
Also great: no more need for the SignaLink USB. If I’m understand the manual correctly I can attach the 590 via USB to my computer and both CAT and sound are connected! That is awesome!
So the shackcomputer is already installed with both driver and Kenwood software.
I guess I’m all ready the welcome my new rig πŸ™‚

Last week I did get the opportunity to listen to the new rig over at Robs, PA3EKE. Great guy (he did not hesitate inviting me over when he heard I wanted to listen to the new radio before buy one), took the time to show me around, absolutely lovely! He is known for his extremely critical opinion on radio’s. Even he was quite excited about the performance of the 590.
And I’m even more impressed by the real life performance of the 590! It’s really a great radio.

But for now I hope the new one will arrive next week before thursday. Then I’ll leave for another week in the France Alpes. Of course it would be great if I could run it a few hours over there πŸ™‚ More news and pictures will follow!

CobbwebA while ago I did a first try to build a Cobwebb antenna. I noticed that even on a very low operating height (about 2 meters above the ground) the Cobwebb received very well. Last weekend I did my second attempt to build a Cobwebb antenna for 10, 12, 15, 17 and 20 meter. Gave the construction a little more thought and this time I tuned the wires individually before putting the Cobwebb on the roof. I’ve made sure every element was resonant within the amateur band. No problems. When I put the Cobwebb on my dormer, this thing works like a charm!

On the receiving part I notice very strong signals. The signal strength seems the same as on the 3 elements beam over at the club. Weird thing though is sometimes at 20m suddenly there is an enormous noise level. Up to S8! But a little later the noise level drops to S1 or 2 and I hear a great deal of signals from all over the world. Can it be the opening and closing of the band?