Wednesday, 29 October 2014

QRP "mini-expedition" in EA8 Tenerife

I will be QRV from EA8 Tenerife - IOTA AF-004 from 1-7 Nov as EA8/M0HDF/P

The plan is to activate SOTA EA8/TF-002 Guajara on 4-Nov. - alerts in place in the sotaweb page.
and fit some /P operating at dawn and in the evening around familiy activities.

From 4th in the evening -7th morning - I am planning to operate from the beach near to El Medano - IL18rb

Question mark whether I will be able to operate from 1-3 Nov as we will based at Puerto de la Cruz - IL18rj  in the North and got some plans with local friends.

Equipment is HB1B - 40/30/20m. 3-4Watts
Multiband EFHW and Mountain Tuner
1/4w GP for 20m (in bits in my bag)
Elecraft T1
5m travel pole

Following Dom's M1KTA advice, among other things I have packed some wire, choc block, a bit of coax and a BNC to build an emergency 1/4w GP for 20m with the 5m travel pole. Thanks to all the folks on the G-QRP who got back to me with some tips. - Colin G8TMV, Brian GM4XQJ and  Pete M3KXZ as well as the SOTA crew who provided some advice about travelling with radio equipment.

eQSL only.

Where possible I will put some updates here (blog)


More stuff

72 Angel EA8/M0HDF/P

Saturday, 25 October 2014

QTH updates: LDG RT-100 & G7FEK nested Marconi antenna

I have replaced my doublet in my back garden with a G7FEK nested Marconi antenna and a LDG RT-100 / RC-100 remote antenna tuner at my QTH.

G11 SDR QRP - EMU 0204 - RC-100 -MyDel  MP-30SW IV

Details of the G7FEK antenna can be found here

Courtesy of G7FEK

My implementation is as follows. The far end is supported by a Tecadi mast at 7.2m. The shack end is at 5.5m held by a pulley at bathroom window. The wire is oriented NE/E - SW/W.
The bottom of the vertical section is located at the base of the mast.
Tecadi mast at the west side of the garden
 I have so far only used two elevated radials of approx. 20m and 10m. They run along the garden fence at 40cm and 140cm above the ground. The antenna wire and radials are connected to a 1:1 choke balun which is connected to the LDG RT-100 via a short RG-214 jumper.
I also implemented the optional 20m radiating element which climbs along the mast.
23m of RG213 reach the shack.
The vertical elements are made with Sotabeams antenna wire and their open wire line spacers.
The horizontal wire is the mid duty antenna wire from Westlake Electronics.

I used the recently finished VK5JST aerial analyser to tune the wires for resonance on 80 & 40m before connecting it to the tuner. It took some pacience and attempts but after a couple of iterations I got in the box.

LDG RT-100 & Better QRP - balun - waterproof with liquid tape

Side view - the white wires are the elevated radials

I have earthed the RT-100 using 2x 4ft - 3/8'' earthing rods. Photo below.

3/8'' earthing rods & jubilee clamps - screwfix
 I am pleased with the new aerial system - 80,40,30,20,17,15m tune without a problem. The others I have not tried yet. I worked some DX this week P40MW, EX2F, UN3M with 10Watts of CW - which I could not hear before with the doublet.

 I left running WSPR whislt typing the post - 20-21 UTC
WSPR - 30 & 40m

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

VK5JST Aerial analyser completed

I assembled the VK5JST aerial analyser in September over a few spells of free time.
The build although not difficult requires time to figure out how to do certain jobs in the best way.

I used a drill, small metal saw and steel files to prep the box. I only had a minor issue during the calibrating phase, one of the detector diodes legs was not contacting - cold joint. Witht the help of Jim, VK5JST, the troubleshouting data and a DVM a found the issue and corrected easily. The calibration procedure is very straight forward.

I built an adapator with a BNC connector and a short lenght of RG174.

I am very pleased with the outcome. I used it to trim my new G7FEK nested Marconi antenna in the garden and check my baluns sucessfully.

I left space to extend the performance to 50MHz once I get the right choke inductor and I am also planning to fit a socket to allow to charge the batteries without openinng the box.

Here are a few pics.

Initial material invetory and cutting the box.


Open assembly.

Side view of top cover and PCB with display

A few more close shots

PCB assembled into top cover

Batteries arrangement

Finished product

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

UK Hamfest and more VK contacts

KWe went to the UK National Hamfest on Sat 27-Nov, where we met with our friend Mike M0MTJ.

The first stop was to meet Juergen DH5AB @ Tecadi, who clarified some of the guying line requirements to push my tecadi mast in the back garden up to 8.40m. I got from him a few stainless steel carabiners, line lockers (see photo below) and good quality PL259s.

Apart from a bunch of stuff to play with wire antennas (coax, antenna wire, connectors,..), I got a new Power Supply for my shack - I am very pleased with it. This is one of the upgrades to my G11 SDR station which will support a new Linear 50Watts PA kit coming at Christmas time.

I also ordered a Remote Tuner LDG RT-100 & RC-100 controller, for my home station - no more trips to the garden to change bands!! should be here in about 10 days.

It was also good to meet Richard G3CWI from Sotabeams , Mike 2E0YYY and Graham G3ZOD @ FISTS. We had a long chat about SOTA, the recent VK land QSOs and CW.

Arriving to the Hamfest


On Sunday, after not much sleep I went back to Walton Hill to try to work VK again.
I had a tough start, the band was absolutely dead at 6.40z , but around 07:00z the prop openned.
TU to Ron VK3AFW, Tony VK3CAT and Rhett VK3WE .
Tony was recorded whilst getting back to me by Ignacio EA2BD with his mobile phone.

 The 3x espresso in the flask kept me going ... before I left I worked Mikel EA2CW and Marcial EABDS at EA2/BI-063 S2S on 30m.

I operated with the MTR 5W and a vertical antenna:
5.65m radiator, 2x5m elevated radials on a 10m pole
4:1 balun
4m RG213 to elecraft T1

Back at home, I used the Saisie SOTA software from Alain F6ENO to log the data for the first time - which worked very well.

Operating position

Line locker