Saturday, 30 July 2016

Average

I got a few e-mails about the coppertape vertical and see now that I forgot to make more important photos from the building process. Anyway, I tried to make some close ups from the connection of the coppertape to the tuner. You clearly see the wire that is connecting the radiator I hope...It's so simple and you think everyone would know this but it seems not to be clear. It is electricity wire we use in the Netherlands, a insulated solid insulated copperwire. I took 7,5 meters of it and stripped 7,1 meters. I left 40 cm with insulation and that is the part you see. The rest is on the coppertape which is sticked on the antenna in one piece covered finally with insulation tape.


I'm busy testing my rebuilt vertical with 1W WSPR TX and RX with the Yaesu FT-817. I started on 20m and was there for 48 hours this week. Challenging as the sunspot number was zero. A good time to test a antenna RX and compare results with your fellow radioamateurs. You can compare your results on PE1ITR's experimental WSPR challenge site. I was on 20m 27-28th but strange enough my call didn't appear in the table from the 28th. On the 27th I got a average result of 146 unique calls received which left me on place 23 from 50. However only fellow dutch receiver PI4THT did receive more unique calls.


Distance is a difficult thing from the Netherlands. Distant signals seem to be
covered by strong european signals which are nearby. However my total was 251567km. Only one fellow dutch receiver did have more luck, it was PA0MLC with 263290km. PI4THT was, strange enough, not in this list. It puzzles me as PI4THT received much more unique stations but I guess the DX was covered with too many signals from nearby for this station.

Now let's look at the TX side. This is a plot of 48h on 20m at the 27-28th.


No Australia, no South America, no Africa. But at least some spots from Japan with best DX 9121km. Even one spot from the west coast USA. Unfortenately I can't find a 1W station from the Netherlands in the same time period. Comparisation is difficult. Since propagation is not too good and without any sunspots I think the results are reasonable. Not really good and not really bad. Average is the good word for it.

At the moment I'm testing on 30m. I've not decided what the next band will be. A final antenna shot:


It is always nice to experiment with only a few things at hand. This time of the year I haven't got much time to play with radio. But WSPR is doing the job and keeps you on-air.

Friday, 29 July 2016

PH0NO Lars activates Canadian WWFF

Lars PH0NO wrote last week:

Tomorrow l will be heading to VE3 with my family. It will be a first time visit for me to VE. I will be visiting my brother who lives in Toronto and travel around Ontario with my family.
Addicted as I am to activating WWFF reserves, I will be taking my mobile radio on this trip and with the great help of VA3RJ I have a list of VEFF locations within reach of the places I will be stopping.

Depending on our program - that will evolve as we are travelling around - I will try to find time slots to go out and activate a few reserves.
As most of the VE3 reserves have not been activated before I will be trying to get as many chasers in the log as possible. I am packing wire antennas for all phone bands from 40m up to 6m.
Looking at reaching the areas where most chasers live - EU and VK - using VOACAP I found that it will be quite a challenge. The best openings are forecast around VE dinner time. However I don't think I will be very popular if I skip dinner a number of times. Perhaps I can attract some (new) NA chasers as well.
Looking forward to this trip and to speaking to familiar chasers and new ones from VE3.

I got a message today that he will activate the first World Wide Flora & Fauna location this weekend:

Arrived in VE3 with my radio (it was thoroughly checked by customs). After meeting up with family in Toronto we are now on our way up to Manitoulin Island. From there I will go out to activate one or two VEFF reserves. Probably Saturday or Sunday evening.
Then we are travelling to Algonquin park that I plan to activate Wednesday or Thursday next week (perhaps in combination with another reserve nearby).
In two weeks from now I will be near the national park 1000 Islands that I also plan to activate.

Propagation seem to be not the best. Check the frequenties to work Lars. He will probabely be spotted on a DX cluster.



Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Shocking

A thunderstorm was approaching last week en when I saw a lightning strike nearby I decided to disconnect the verticals. I still have to find out why I got a electrical shock from the outer of the PL connector as soon as the connector came loose from the grounding strip. It was not a heavy shock but just enough to feel, like touching static. Immidiatly I thought of a video I've seen on youtube which was originally made by my most loyal blog reader PE1BVQ Hans. I'd e-mail him to hear his thoughts about it but only could tell me there must be a potential voltage difference somewhere. However, I'm puzzling. It is probabely build up static that got in via the longwire to my tuner although that wire is not connected to earth. The video shows that with this kind of connector panel (have the same thing here) you need to connect the inner side to earth as wel to prevent damage if you use a antenna that has no short circuit like most antennas.




I think a thunderstorm is something a radio amateur fears most besides a heavy wind or tornado.
A good site to determine if lightning is heading your way:

http://www.lightningmaps.org/

And to see if a heavy wind is approaching.

https://earth.nullschool.net/#current/wind/surface/level/orthographic=-0.93,53.76,1056/loc=11.502,63.284