The big news, we finally completed some antenna maintenance. A few years back I hung a dipole up in the trees on the north side of the house. The weather took its toll. The line holding the center point had disintegrated, dropping the middle about ten feet. The east leg also lost its anchor and was resting on some branches. A sad situation.
This time I used heavy support line on all three support points. I also used my CSV19 Pneumatic Antenna Launcher, which worked great as always. I need to some finishing work, but I hope the antenna is good for at least the next six months.
What I will try to do, if I get the time and the weather cooperates, is place pulleys up in the trees I normally use to secure the ends of the dipole. I am also going to try to put up a 260 feet dipole and see if I can mess around with 160M… of which I really have had little experience with.
Progress is being made with the Morse code. I have written before about my winding path in learning the code. I had a good time this past summer on our camping trip making Morse contacts from the mobile (while parked) and using a J-45 leg key.
In the shack I have been making my way through the different levels of the SKCC (Straight Key Century Club). I had joined the organization way back in 2007, not to long after SKCC was established, but had not done too much with it. When I finally embraced the idea of using a straight key, I used my SKCC membership number to gain experience by taking part in QSOs with other SKCC folks (you almost always hear the CQ SKCC on the CW subbands). I would exchange numbers but never tried to work through the membership levels (Centurion, Tribune, and Senator). I did not want to spend a lot of time messing with extra logs or any type of additional paperwork. Then I discovered the SKCC Logger, a custom designed piece of software that will take your existing logfile and process the log for the appropriate data needed to submit for climbing through the ranks.
Although I am not able to get on the air everyday, I try to get on five days out of the week and log three or four Morse contacts. Before I get on air, I put in about ten to fifteen minutes practicing receiving and sending. My end goal is to reach a proficiency level of 20 words per minute. And I define “proficient” as being able to hand copy text without error for one minute. I need to take a look at ARRL’s Qualifying Runs and see when I can see where I am at.
To take the new dipole for a spin, I spent part of the last two weekends participating in OMISS nets. OMISS is a worked all states net. Last weekend was the 40M net, this weekend I tried 80M. I had not participated in a net since early 2020. The net controllers and participants are always great. Last night on 80M I ended up having a ton of contacts with some great reports, convincing me that the new dipole is doing the job.
As Fall is here, it is time to put together a To Do list of everything I have been putting off all Summer and the beginning of the school year.
I have four of these rigs and they need some TLC. I need to make sure they have the updated firmware on the main unit, TNC, and operating panel.
The latest versions:
TNC: 1.02 – May 2011
Operating Panel: 2.12 – Janurary 2015
Main unit: 2.10 – May 2011
For the benifit of emergency operations, I have been performing the modificiation to the TM-D710As to open the frequency range.
Standard frequency plan. I developed a spreadsheet of the repeaters in the greater Kansas City area, frequecies for FRS/GMRS, the Kansas City Airport (MCI), Sherman Army Airfield, and various national park frequency plans. This is the first step in standardizing the configuration across all four of the TM-D710As. I can additionally take the spreadsheet and use it for programming my HTs. This should allow for a memory channel standardization that will make my life easier.
The current Davis Vantage Pro2 I have installed on the roof needs maintenance. Wouldn’t it be nice to get the top of the line version?
For some time I have been talking about finding a weather station setup that will work with a linux-based computer. That quest continues. I have read about a piece of software called Meteo that is suppose to work with Xastir.
And if I can’t get Xastir to work with the Vantage Pro2… is there another comparable weather station that WILL work with Xastir? Life would be a lot easier without Windows.
HF Antenna for home
I need to string up the Carolina Windom I have had sitting on the shelf for the last few years. The G5RV that is up now is showing its age (not to mention one of the legs is drooping badly). Now that the leaves have fallen, I should be able to get the Windom up there without too many problems (… famous last words).
HF setup in the mobile
Time to get going. I have all the materials I need. What I don’t have is an installation plan… mainly for the Tarheel antenna. I can’t do a hitch mount because I need the hitch for pulling my travel trailer. Two possible options: (a) get a swinging gate for the back bumper where you could mount a spare tire and a water can or (b) find some way to afix a mount coming out behind the left rear tire.
I was initially licensed in 2001. Finally upgraded to General in 2005. Up to this point, my ham radio career has been under less than optimal propagation. From the oldtimers, I’d heard tales of 10 meters… when the sunspots where there, 10 meters could be worked around the world with only a wet clothesline (not even wet, just a bit damp). Frankly, it was hard to believe. My one prior 10 meter contact had been an opening QSO during the 2006 Field Day… Virginia to New York, some serious DX? [I thought so at the time.]
We’ve all heard the news… 10 meters is open. But from an HF standpoint, I was limited to my Buddipole, where I was nugging out CW contacts on the 40M Novice Band.
This weekend I threw up some wire and everything changed…..
Europe, the Caribbean, Alaska, 10 meter magic! (… I thought 6 meters was The Magic Band?) 10 meters was like a local 80 meter ragchew without the S5 noise floor, everybody has a 2KW amp, and the vast majority of the inbreds were nowhere to be found.
Thanks be to Apollo – may the sunspots continue!
Time to look about getting a 10-10 membership…. and, with a little luck, I might even have the cards for DXCC.(!)
Finally got around to hanging some wire today. At times it seemed like the trees possessed some type of magnetic properties, the wire clinging to every branch (… reminded me of Charlie Brown and his kite experiences). The good news is that the CSV19 Pneumatic Antenna Launcher is still fully operational. I used the small air compressor from my wife’s emergency car kit to fill it up. Admittedly, the first couple of shots from the CSV19 were a bit off. But once I had the CSV19 zeroed in, I was pretty accurate. Thankfully the XYL arrived home and was able to help me with some of the finesse work of pulling the wire up into the trees. The G5RV is up and operational. Now it is time to start filling up the log.
Radio Works – I love your antennas but your website needs a serious update.
More good news… I should have my 2m/70cm antenna up on the chimney on Monday.
Out here in Kansas, on the eastern edge of the prarie, the leaves are turning and the first frost is upon us. The time is NOW to get the hamshack in order.
(1) My VHF/UHF antenna and Davis weather station NEEDS to get mounted up on the chimney. I have the mounting brackets – thin aluminium straps that circumnavigate the chiminey. However, the roof at the new QTH is basically three stories high and the roof itself is pretty steep. Too steep for me. The solution? I am trying to get a local roofing company to give me an estimate for the job.
(2) The HF antenna. In the course of sorting through all the hamshack flotsam, I’ve started to identify “stuff” I can part with. Already I’ve said goodbye to some old MFJ TNCs, the Kenwood TS-930S, and my old TinyTrak (thank you Craigslist!). There’s more to part with and I’m still in the process of identfying them (… like an ICOM PCR-1000, TenTec RX-320, and a D-STAR DV Dongle for starters). More importantly (and back on topic), I unearthed two in-the-package wire antennas. The first is an 80M OCF dipole from RadioWavz and the second is a G5RV+ from RadioWorks. Now I need to dust off the CSV19 Pneumatic Antenna Launcher and let the tennis balls fly.
(3) Once I have my antenna situation under control, I can take the hamshack innards to the next level.
Questions to ponder:
Do I retain the hardcopy collection of QST magazines I’ve been carting around since 2005ish? Starting for the late 40’s, it is a solid collection up to 2000. It takes up a great deal of space and I have the same issues on CD. I’d like to find the collection a new (local) home, if possible.
My new job has me on the road – it would be great to take some gear on the road with me. What to take? Needs to have a small footprint. Sounds like a job for the KX1. What to use for an antenna?
Here is a a re-cap of my amateur radio activities during my past twelve months in Korea:
(1) DX – I enjoyed working a good bit of DX, enjoying most QSOs with stateside contacts as well as Pacific exotics. The greatest limitation I had was my operation location and resulting inability to ideally situate an HF antenna. Living in the barracks (the ultimate in CC&R) restricted any type of permanent antenna installation, further limiting my options. I solely used a Buddipole (which after many additional accessory purchases, became two Buddipoles). Despite the antennas being positioned next to a three story building, I was able to make contacts to North America, South America, Europe, and even Africa. I credit this to improved band conditions over the past months and also the Buddipole… it’s a keeper.
(2) EchoIRLP node – I brought my embedded EchoIRLP node to Korea and interfaced it with a Kenwood VHF/UHF rig. Again, with my poor location and inability, I could not have an antenna installed outdoors. Instead, I kept the Kenwood rig at its minimum wattage setting and used a roll-up J-Pole made from ladder line. With my HT also set on minimum power, I was able to make effective use of the EchoIRLP node. My primary contacts via the node were with the XYL back in Kansas. She has a mobile VHF rig, to include APRS. I could check to see when she was on the road for her morning or afternoon commutes, connect through my EchoIRLP node here in Korea to our EchoIRLP node back in Kansas. With the XYL’s rig set to the frequency of the Kansas node, I could frequently ride along with the XYL and harmonics as they moved about. Additionally, the Echolink capability of the embedded node allowed me to regularly talk to my dad, KD6EUG, while he connected to my node via an app on his cell phone. Another great enjoyment was the ability to monitor the different IRLP reflectors and sometimes participate in ongoing nets. I am sold on the flexability of the embedded EchoIRLP node and will take it with me again when I get deployed for a long duration.
(3) D-STAR – starting with a D-STAR Dongle, I moved to a DV Access Point and got an ICOM D-STAR HT. I enjoyed playing with D-STAR and the ease of having the Access Point as well as the IC-92AD (http://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/ht/5092.html) made using D-STAR pretty straight forward. There is no aruging that the audio quality for D-STARS is poor. The complicated nature of setting up a rig at home for the XYL would also make D-STAR a poor choice to replace the EchoIRLP node. However, I enjoyed having the flexibility of having the ability of getting on D-STAR.
(4) Linux – all my radio operations here were supported by using the Ubuntu distrobution of Linux. After toying with CQRlog, I have settled on fldigi as my primary interface to my HF rig.
(5) APRS – although my APRS operations here were limited to the internet (Korea has virtually no APRS traffic), I used xastir (www.xastir.org) to show where my operating location was and also advertised my EchoIRLP node.
(6) WX station – never happen. I could not find a good location to place the collector, so it is still in the box. More importantly, wgoohat I didn’t get the opportunity to learn was how to interface a weather station to the APRS application xastir.
(7) Stars & Stripes article – I was able to discuss my amateur radio experiences with a reporter from Stars & Stripes.
Last week was busy – I spent the whole time down in Seoul attending meeting after meeting with my evenings spent on a bunk bed in a communal room (trying to save a little cash for Uncle Sam). The week was productive, but tiring. The main US military garrison in Seoul, Yongsan, has a lot of amenities that you will not find up at my camp. I got to enjoy many of the various restaurants located there as well as venturing off into Seoul itself, located just outside the gates. Two key finds in Seoul: a restaurant that serves American Chinese food and an Irish pub that serves Guinness from the tap. I enjoy Korean food quite a bit, but also like a variety. Most people know that Chinese food in the US does not come close to resembling the actual cuisine of China… and I have no problem with that. Serve me up some Orange Chicken or General Tsao and I am a happy man. Top it off with a fresh pint of Guinness… now you’re talking.
However, by Saturday morning I was still tired and unmotivated to put up my Buddipole… despite the lure of the 10M contest. I did have a QSO with my dad via EchoLink. He used an app on his Android cell phone and connected through my EchoIRLP node (EchoLink Node #496698 and IRLP Node #3370). My friend brought by some freshly made Hotteok. These pancakes are delicious and I enjoyed them while they were still hot with some coffee. Still wasn’t motivated to put up the Buddipole.
Sunday – the Buddipole went up. A 10M dipole with the Buddipole consists of only the 9.5ft whips on either side of the VersaTee. 10M was not really cooperating. In all I had only nine contacts: Australia, Malaysia, The Philippines, and Guam. Surprisingly, I only heard one JA and he couldn’t hear me. No stations from Asiatic Russia either.
After sunset, I switched the antenna from a 10M dipole to a 40M vertical. I thought I might look for some JA stations to practice my CW. I have yet to understand how the JA’s use 40M. The JAs can use phone down to 7.030 MHz. This compacts the CW to between 7.000 and 7.030 MHz. PSK-31 is suppose to be around 7.038, but I have never seen any PSK-31 traffic on 40M over here. I must be looking in the wrong place. Shortwave stations still come in at 7.100 MHz and above. So after sunset, all the 40M action is wedged between 7.000 and 7.100 MHz. So far I have not found any one band location where the QRS folks hang out (like the old Novice band in the US). Maybe with a bit more listening I can crack the code on how the JAs manage 40M.
As for the HLs… I’ve only heard two on the air. Where are all the HLs?
Here’s the good news… cue Bing Crosby… I am heading back to Kansas for leave this coming Friday! Christmas at home with the XYL and harmonics!!
Spinning & Grinning has been quiet for too long. Life here in Korea has been really quite busy. But I can’t complain about the commute, with my quarters only a short three minute hike to the bunker where I work. I don’t go off the camp here nearly as much as I should. By the time I get to my room after work, I am usually just too tired to make the effort. Summers in Korea are HOT. Not Iraq hot, but more of a Georgia heat… with all the humidity. I don’t have a car here, so all my movement is on foot and using public transit. The summer made it fairly uncomfortable to go out and explore. Now the summer is gone and the weather is just right, in my opinion.
My quarters here in Korea are not conducive for amateur radio operations. There are low-lying power lines everywhere and not many trees. It is also impossible to establish a permanent feedline exiting my room as there is no existing access and I can’t drill a hole through the wall without incurring the wrath of the garrison commander.
The answer: the Buddipole. I’ve read NE1RD’s blog on his 100lbs DXpedition and am well acquainted with the virtues of the Buddipole. With a Buddipole, I would be able to quickly set up and take down an antenna that would let me get on the HF bands. For a feedline, I would be able to support a short run out of my window and out to the Buddipole that would have to be located nearby.
Coinciding with the CQ WW DX Contest, I decided to set up the Buddipole and give it a try. I’ve used Hamstick dipoles before without much success. I didn’t have high hopes for the Buddipole, simply for the fact that it is a compromise antenna and I had it set up right next to a three story building. I should have had much more confidence. When I fired up the rig, 20M was alive with activity and I had a 1:1.0 SWR. It was a great feeling to be behind the mike again and I enjoyed logging the contacts.
Now I need to go get some QSL cards printed up for HL2/AD7MI.
My Field Day adventure started on Tuesday, 23 June. I finished the final touched to the eARSIB and then through every possible item I thought I might need (minus a 25 pin to 9 pin cable for a Kantronics KPC-3+ which I will talk about later) in a total of 3 footlockers. I packed up the truck, loaded up the dog and was on the road by 10:30am. There was good APRS coverage on my route along I-80 up until western Nebraska where I encountered an almost 200 mile gap. Once I hit Cheyenne, I was back in APRS coverage. My stop for the first night was Laramie, Wyoming, which I made before sunset.
The next day I pushed on west. While in western Wyoming I was able to check into the 40M Sparkle Net (7262 kHz) and talk with Dave, KE0DL, back in Leavenworth, Kansas. I also noticed on my GPS that one of the APRS stations was moving along I-80 the same direction that I was going. I gave a short call on the 2M National Simplex frequency and got a reply. We had both started the drive in Wyoming but parted ways in Salt Lake; he headed south on I-15 to Vegas, I kept west on I-80. I enjoyed the drive through eastern Utah. Park City, Utah is a place I had spent a lot of time skiing about twenty years ago. I’d been there often in the winter, but this was the first time seeing it during the summer.
Traffic was heavy through Salt Lake City and I did my best to make my way around the city as quickly as possible. West of the Great Salt Lake, I had an interesting HF QSO with a gentleman in Southern California who was using an Elecraft K3 with an the diminutive MT-1 antenna. My initial plan was to spend the night in Winnemucca, Nevada but upon arriving discovered they had me on the second floor in a non-pet room. Instead of hauling my footlockers up a flight of stairs I decided to push on to Fernley, Nevada (just east of Reno) where I found a great hotel with a first floor room I could practically back my truck up into. The dog liked it too.
Thursday morning I worked my way up the eastern side of the Sierra Nevadas, listening to a few 40M nets. I reached the Sonora Pass around noon and enjoyed the view. The dog a I hiked up to a nearby plateau and took in the view.
After traveling down the western side of the mountains I was able to raise my dad, KD6EUG, on a repeater near his cabin in Mi-Wuk Village. California Hwy 108 wound its way down from Sonora Pass. The drive was spectacular along the scenic route and traffic was sparse. I rolled down the windows and opened the sun roof to take in gorgeous day. Reaching the cabin in Mi-Wuk, both the dog and I got to strech our legs and rest up. Thursday night we assembled the gear that would become a permanent station at the cabin: an IC-706MKIIG, LDG Z-11 Pro, RIGblaster PnP, IC-208H, all powered by an Icom PS-125. In addition to the radio gear, the station would also integrate a Davis Vantage Pro2 weather station, beaconing the weather data view APRS.
To simplify the APRS setup in the cabin, I decided to use a special add-on piece of equipment from Davis specifically designed to be used for APRS – the WeatherLink APRS streaming data logger. The data logger, once configured, streams weather data directly to a TNC, eliminating the need for a computer (or UI-View32). With this setup, it was not necessary to leave a computer running to keep the weather station pushing data to the TNC and VHF radio. The weather data is formated by the data logger to be ready for transmission into APRS. The station also has a laptop which I installed the WeatherLink software that would allow me to configure the APRS data logger. Configuring the data logger was pretty straight forward. Setting the parameters in the TNC to grab the data loggers APRS weather info proved a bit more challenging. The challenge was further compounded by my forgetting to pack the 25 pin to 9 pin cable that connects the laptop to the Kantronics KPC-3+ TNC.
The real work started Friday. The first task was completing the installation of a Davis Vantage Pro2 weather station on the cabin roof. That was done without much trouble.
The next step would be to get the weather data out via APRS using the IC-208H paired with the Kantronics KPC-3+ TNC and the Davis APRS streaming data logger. With the lack of a good cable to use between the laptop and TNC as well as not knowing exactly what parameters were need in the TNC we decided that task would have to wait until after Field Day.
Now it was time to string some antennas. The first was a 132′ dipole which ran N/S. I’d packed my CVS19 Pneumatic Antenna Launcher (aka tennis ball launcher) which helped us position the antenna up about 40′.
Next we strung a G5RV going E/W. This is the same G5RV I bought from a fellow ham when I lived back in Virginia. He had never used it and I had used the antenna only once while running a special event station at Fort Monroe.
It quickly became apparent that we could not both operate using both antennas due to their proximity to each other and surrounding powerlines prevented us from placing the antennas end to end in order to minimize interference. The solution: my dad’s Force 12 Sigma 5. The problem: the antenna was back in San Jose. So Friday night consisted of my dad traveling back to the Bay Area to retrieve the vertical antenna while I continued to configure the laptop (N3FJP Field Day networked logging software, Digipan for PSK-31, and the Davis Weatherlink program) in addition to setting up my operating position on the back deck of the cabin.
My operating position setup consisted of a 10’x10′ pop-up shelter (with mosquito net) and a large table with comfortable folding chair. Inside the shelter I placed a large table with the eARSIB and my station’s laptop.
I verified that the laptops at either operating position (the one inside the cabin and mine outside on the deck) could communicate via WiFi using the N3FJP software: it worked like a charm. The software allows two (or more) operating positions to share one log. Each operator gets to see the combined log and is notified of potential dupes.
Saturday morning my dad arrived back from the Bay Area and we setup the Sigma 5.
My operating position on the deck had the antenna connections for both the G5RV and the Sigma 5, my dad’s position had the 132′ ladderline-fed dipole. Interference between the two positions was sometimes a problem. I could use the Sigma 5 vertical on 20M, 15M, and 10M as long as my dad stayed on 80M or 40M (as long as I wasn’t on 15M). While this slowed down operations a bit, it gave us time to take plenty of breaks. My dad started Field Day by working PSK-31 on 20M. I worked phone contacts on 15M and 10M. Later my dad switched to phone, which he really started to enjoy.
10M and 15M were really incredible. I was able to work all the way to the East Coast and up and down the West Coast. For dinner, I BBQ’d some brauts. By midnight we were both exhausted and decided to get some rest.
I enjoyed using my eARSIB. This is the first time I used a foot pedal for my PTT – paired with a Heil headset. That worked great, allowing me to use both hands on the keyboard. I had been unable to configure the West Mountain RIGtalk to work on my laptop – not sure why. But it wasn’t too hard to just flip the band in the logging software. I had not used my Logikey CMOS4 Keyer in some time. I paired it with my Vibroplex paddle and the two worked well together. I enjoyed a few QRS CW QSOs – thank you for those who took the time to slow down for me. I had picked up a marine battery to use with my PWRgate and that worked well.
Sunday I got up after four hours of sleep and started working 80M using the G5RV.
The G5RV worked nicely and I contacted stations from Western Canada down to Southern California and Arizona. I moved up to 40M and expierenced similar results – but was also able to work a station in Japan. My dad was up soon and started to work on 80M and 40M with the 132′ dipole while I switched to the vertical and worked stations on 20M. By about 11:30am we were both pretty much spent. Overall we made about 250 contacts, mostly phone but also a few PSK-31 and CW…. and we had a great time!
KD6EUG Brags About The Number of QSOs He Made
We slept well Sunday night and Monday morning had me back working on the Kantronics KPC-3+/Davis weather station. The biggest problem I was having was figuring out what value to use for the GPSHEAD parameter. Without the correct value, the KPC-3+ was not grabbing the weather data. GPSHEAD would pull in the data a place it in LT (a buffer). LPT setup the APRS path. BLT setup the amount of time in between the TNC initiating a beacon transmission containing weather data.
After a few calls to the Davis headquarters, I was able to figure out that “@” was the magic value for GPSHEAD. Now the weather station is up and operational.
It was then back on the road, up and over the Sonora Pass. I was able to talk to my dad, operating from the Mi-Wuk cabin station, on 80M from the top of the pass. I spent the night in Carson City, Nevada and the next day headed east on I-80. I had made the decision to take I-70 back to Kansas in order to try something different as well as seeing a part of Colorado I had never seen before. It was a long haul to Grand Junction, Colorado – I arrived around midnight. After a few hours of sleep, I was on the road again heading east through some of the most beautiful scenery of the trip. Aspen and Veil were beautiful cities – I hope I get a chance to go back there someday. But while the drive was scenic, the going was slowed and progress was not nearly as quick as I had experienced before while moving through Wyoming and Nebraska.
I finally emerged from the Rockies and headed into Denver, stopping at the Ham Radio Outlet located there. Terry, KC0VFO, and I talked about our Field Day experiences – he operated mobile. His call sign looked familiar and sure enough, I had worked Terry on 15M during Field Day.
Moving east through Denver I was back on the open road, moving rapidly along I-70. I heard a call coming over the 2M National Simplex frequency. It was a gentleman operating from the Mt. Evans Observatory – we had an enjoyable QSO and he went on to work others. The Canada Day contest was also underway and I started to hand out contacts from the mobile. I had planned to make it all the way back to Leavenworth, Kansas but realized I was too tired and needed to spend the night somewhere. I crossed the Colorado/Kansas border and arrived in Goodland, Kansas were I found a hotel room and promptly fell fast asleep.
My final day on the road was pretty easy driving. When you think about Kansas, it is usually what you see in western Kansas along I-70. Flat terrain, lots of farms, not much else. For some reason, the speed limit max in Kansas drops to 70mph (Nebraska, Wyoming, Nevada, Utah, and Colorado all have a max of 75mph). I listened to some of the morning HF nets on 80M and 40M, then made contact with K2L, a special events station in Charleston, South Carolina. I was also able to check into the Sparkle Net on 40M and then later worked two stations on 17M, both located in and around the western border area between North and South Carolina. Soon I was back home, arriving before 3pm.
Back in early October I finally strung an HF antenna here at the Kansas QTH. The antenna was a RadioWavz End Fed Zep. The performance was mixed and I never did get it to load on 75M. I am a believer in the magic of a dipole (132′ fed with ladderline). But the geography of the Kansas QTH would really only support a dipole running east/west and radiating north/south… not what I wanted. The End Fed Zep was a compromise allowing me to make the antenna run north/south and radiating east/west. As I said, the performance was lacking. In comes the Loop Skywire. A past QST article talks about setting up a horizontal loop: The Skywire Loop, November 1985.
The author, Dave Fischer (W7FB) avoids theory and talks about just the specifics of construction and antenna performance. The basic principles of setting up the horizontal loop include its horizontal position over ground and maximizing the enclosed area within the loop. Ideally, the loop is installed as a circle – but reality tends to make it look more like a square… a compromise between number of skyhooks/antenna wire supports and maximum enclosed area. Ideal height above ground is 40 feet, but the higher the better. Like most wire antennas that you try to use beyond their fundamental harmonic, it is recommended you feed the loop with ladderline to minimize feedline loss. To determine the length of wire required for the loop divide 1005 by your fundamental frequency in MHz. If you set up a loop for 80M, it should also provide good performance from 80M up to 10M. The loop should radiate omnidirectionally and greatly minimize local RF noise. It’s low take off angle also supports good DX performance.
At the recent hamfest I went to in Kansas City, I purchased two 150′ rolls of #14 flex-weave copper antenna wire as well as a few 100′ rolls 3/32″ black Dacron rope. From MFJ I had a 6-pack of ceramic insulators. I had about 75′ of 300-omh ladderline as well as a ladderline feedpoint insulator. Along with my CVS19 Pneumatic Antenna Launcher – I was ready to fly this skywire.
Installation took all afternoon, but the weather was great and I took my time. I ended up with 6 antenna supports, trying my best to make it as circular as possible. My CVS19 Launcher continues to perform well. My bicycle pump broke so I switched to the 12v roadside tire pump in the XYL’s emergency auto kit. This made for a quick turn around for prepping the CSV19 for successive antenna wie support lines. Setting up most of the ceramic insulators as “floating” allowed me to apportion the copper wire as needed around the loop. In the end, my loop was a bit less than 300′ and had the shape of a long oval rather than a square (or circle).
After connecting a 4:1 voltage balun to the ladderline and running coax to my LDG AT-200 Pro tuner I was on the air. My first observation was that the antenna was very quiet. Were previously I had S3 to S5 background noise, the noise floor dropped to S1 or in some cases was completely gone. The loop tunes easily from 80M to 10M.
Another indicator of success – a 20M QSO with my dad, KD6EUG, in California. A goal that has been on my list for almost a year. I was also able to work stations in British Columbia, Maine, Michigan, and Oklahoma. There are still a few more adjustments I want to make on the loop, but so far I am pretty happy with it and look forward to seeing what more it can do.
I guess now I need to make a QSL card for the Leavenworth, KS QTH so I can send one to KD6EUG.