During last JOTA (2019) I tried FT-8 for the first time. Initially making all the beginners mistakes (using an old version of wsjt-x, wrong sound levels etc). I picked it up later at home when I put up the 40m deltaloop for the weekend. Then the FT-8 fun really started. Since then my new radio room became available. I put down a temporary desk so I can attach my radio’s, pc and such. After a week or so it really started to itch Continue reading
For a while now I have changed my ZS6BKW antenna with an Icom AH-4 as coupler into a single wire antenna (still attached to the AH-4). The ZS6BKW is symmetrical antenna so not much need for a counterpoise. But a single wire does need a counterpoise. As a temporary solution I didn’t attache anything, but that is quite noticeable due to a lot of static in receiving signals. But creating a counterpoise on the roof is a bit of a challenge. After a few months Continue reading
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.