Sunday, 28 June 2020

FT8DMC Worked All Australia Award 30 m

Following a contact with VK8ZJZ Simon on 30 m, had managed to work all VK1 to VK8 call areas and eligible for the FT8DMC WAAA Award for this band.

There is also an equivalent award from the ERC award scheme, ERC-WAACA

Saturday, 20 June 2020

Dipole for 30 m tuned

Ran my new Rigexpert Stick 230 antenna analyzer on my multi-band fan dipole. Seems most are a bit short, which is a problem as they need lengthening :( One band however was too long, 30 m resonant around 9.930 Mhz, so just needs shortening a bit.

Shorted each leg of the dipole by about 10 cm. Another scan showed resonant around 10.140 Mhz, a very good match!

The tuner in the IC-7300 lowered the SWR even further. I mainly use 10.136 Mhz the FT-8 working frequency so good match there.

A good test, worked S53R in Slovenia, so its getting out well.

Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Comet GP-15 tuned for 6 m band

After trying out my new Rigexpert Stick 230 on my Comet GP-15 vertical, found the SWR on 6 m not too good...resonant just above 54 Mhz out of band.

Had a look at the antenna. There is a tuning stub on one of the 3 radials that you can slide a rod in and out. I had it in most of the way, tried sliding out as far as it would go.

The analyzer readout now looked a lot better 😀

Resonant around 50.9 Mhz. Good enough for using on the SSB call frequency 50.110 and the FT8 frequency 50.313.

Plugged in the IC7300. SWR plot around 50.313 Mhz

Under 1.5 to 1 SWR. Turned on the inbuilt tuner, this tuned it up nicely.

So good to use on 6m. As the middle of winter will have to wait to test it out.

Monday, 15 June 2020

Rigexpert Stick 230 Antenna Analyzer

As long as I have been an amateur I have measured and tuned antennas using SWR meters. Decided to get with the times and get an antenna analyzer 😀

I went for the Rigexpert stick 230. It covers HF, 6m and 2m, not that much interested in higher bands. Plus what I liked most is its size and portablity, as I intend to use it out in the field for SOTA and parks, want something can throw in the backpack and not weigh much. Turning it on presented with a main menu, really clear, using epaper like display such as a kindle reader to be able to read outdoors.

The Multe menu is about the most useful, scans all the ham bands and finds the ones that your antenna  will work... Plugged it into my Comet GP15 vertical, which is for 6m, 2m and 70cm. As does not cover 70cm found 6m and 2m. 6m

As you can see its resonant at 54.167 Mhz with SWR of 1.11. Out of the 6m band... Also can see a chart

To be honest I've never used the Comet GP15 on 6m. From comments online its really meant for 6m FM repeaters on the top end of the band, there are none nearby me anyway... I find my 40 m dipole does a better job! 

Next band found 2m. Pretty good here, resonant at 145.53 Mhz at 1.23 SWR

Chart for 2m. Covers the whole 144 to 148 Mhz band nicely. The antenna works well on 2m 😀

Installed Antscope2 software on my shack laptop and plugged in the supplied USB cable. Able to scan the antenna using selected frequencies. 6 m again showing out of band resonance above 54 Mhz

2 m scan, fairly flat across the whole band.

Sunday, 14 June 2020

SOTA Mt Mundoonen VK2/ST-053

On Sunday the weather was supposed to be raining, however looked like a fine day so my partner and I headed out to Yass for a day trip. After lunch in Yass headed to nearby Mt Mundoonen for a SOTA activation. Drove up to the top and set up the squid pole on a small gum tree just off the road. It was quite windy and was seeking to get out of the wind, the trig was too much out in the open.

Closer view of the operating spot. As had the car nearby had taken my table and chairs

Rig on the table. The blue gizmo is a recently purchased RigExpert Stick 230 antenna analyzer. I tested my 40m dipole, resonant on 7.2 Mhz so a bit high up the band. Anyway good enough for use, will have to re-tune it another day.

Got on 40 m. After spotting myself on 7.090 Mhz got ZL1BYZ, John, so a good start working New Zealand. Went on to work:

VK1MA Matt on ground wave from Canberra
VK2IO Gerard. He was very weak and gave me a 32 report, I had him 41. No NVIS to Sydney...

As the wind was strong and quite cold gave it away and headed home.