Thursday, March 22, 2007

I knew things were going too well.

The SB-201 is supposed to read 2400V. It is only reading 1800V. (OK, closer to 1890V, but still)

Pulled it out of the shack this evening and will take it into work. Craig and I might be able to check it out tomorrow.

Nite nite!

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Made my first QRO contact this afternoon. Milt, K4OSO sounded curious about my tuning up on 20m. (Yes, I actually IDed).

He gave me a true 599 "arm chair copy" in Rockville, VA as the band was on its way out. (I gave him a 579, but it faded all the way out towards the end).

The Heathkit SB-201's relay is very loud. I'm using the MicroKeyer's built in PA (power amplifier) interface (set to RElay contact) to drive the amp's Tx/Rx.

It tuned up pretty well. Seems happy to run 500W or so according to the power meter on the Ten Tec 238B tuner.

The oak tree is still standing. Nicki says that the lights didn't flicker and no other weirdness occurred.

So... I guess I'm good to go on the Heathkit.

Now I REALLY need to get my shack decluttered and reorganized so that I can get things together in a semi-professional manner...

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Antenna adventures...

I've known for a while that my operations had outgrown the G5RV Jr that was up about 25' in the oak tree.

If nothing else it was suboptimal on 40m and had no 80m capability at all.

The long term plan is to get a 80m inverted-v ladder line fed doublet up at the top of the oak tree (nominally 70'). Should play well on 80m and do OK on the other bands.

But... with the North American RTTY Sprint coming up I needed something better in a hurry. I ordered a TrueTalk WA2NAN G5RV from Kerry and it arrived in the nick of time.

Now a G5RV Jr is 52 feet long and about 17 feet high. A normal G5RV is 102' and 31' high.

My lot is only 70' x 100'. Some changes were clearly indicated.

I had hoped to take Friday afternoon off and get the antenna up. No such luck. So Saturday morning found me in the side yard looking up at the tree and muttering.

I'd found another limb... more or less in the clear... more or less 34' up... more or less in the center of my property's 100' side.

I just couldn't get a line over it with my typical waterbottle sling method to save my life. Forty feet is normally the limit. For some reason 30 plus a little feet wasn't doing the trick.

So plan B. The Easy Up slingshot and fishing reel doohickey. First shot, looked like it did the trick, but was too short. Second shot... line broke and lost the weight. Down to town for some more weights. No joy. Use nuts instead. No joy. Lots of broken line.

Finally Greg, N6CK had pity on me and we were able to get the line over in one shot with his fishing pole/slingshot arrangement.

We finally got the antenna more or less in place 27 minutes before the contest started. And Greg had a 25 minute drive back to his station.

What a GUY! (Note to self: Self, add an Elmer's section to your webpage.)

So... The new antenna seems to work much better on 40m and 80m bue also seems deaf on 20m. Perhaps because the main lobe is staring right into the 1800' ridge 300 yards to my east.

Oh well.

Contest results? Four hours and 80 contacts.

Band QSOs Pts Sec

3.5 25 25 0

7 38 38 7

14 17 17 6

Total 80 80 13

Score : 1,040

Enough for now.


Took some time and characterized the G5RV with the Ten Tec 238B tuner.

Got 80-15m to under 1.5:1 SWR. Most everything down to 1.0:1.

Recorded the results in Excel so I don't have to futz too much redoing them.

Really doesn't like 10m for some reason. IIRC the tuner isn't as good there. No worries.

Following their instructions it was occasionally iffy about which LowZ/HiZ side I wound up on. Sometimes it just wouldn't "tune down" on the side that their algorithm said it should be, so I tried the other side and got a better match.

Go figure.

Next step... One of the amps. I'm tempted to start with the SB-201 first because it seems a bit "friendlier." I think it is the blue paint vs black paint. How's that for hard science? Chuckle.

Or it could be that the SB-201 is already on the same level of the house as the shack and the AL-80A requires schlepping?


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Wednesday, March 07, 2007


Tried some CW tonight. Conditions pretty poor. Checked the A index... 17. Ugh.

Heard E51PJT in the Cook Islands. He was working EU only.


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