I hope the Wimo guys can claim for this from their courier as I need another one!
The guys from Wimo have been really quick on email and kindly sent out a new boom to fix my incorrectly packed antenna. This arrived at the Scout site on Saturday. The problem is that the box had a neat cut round the centre and the new boom is bent like a banana in two axes.
I hope the Wimo guys can claim for this from their courier as I need another one!
I took a closer look at the remaining parts to build the last yagi and found two potential problems. One is easy to solve – an element without a hole through it which I re-drilled in a flash. The second problem is not so good. The Driven Element has a tag on one side which I assume is used to align the elements and ensure they are all driven in phase. The problem I have is that I can’t align this DE with the other three in the stack without turning it round backwards! Three of the antennas have the DE tag on the left when the connector is facing forwards, whilst the final one has it on the right. Do Wimo produce the DEs in different orientations? Or has the tag been placed on the wrong side? How do I find out? I can’t use an ohm meter on a folded dipole…. Answers on an email postcard, please
I have been buiding some wimo yagis to use for JOTA,but have hit some problems with one antenna. Here are the parts laid out for the two new yagis that I bought. All looks well!
But looking a bit more closely there is a problem with the boom sections. The top pair are OK, with the rear boom section at the very top of the picture and the front boom being the next one down. However the two sections supplied for the next antenna are identical. This photo was taken at the point where the DE attaches. Apologies for the quality of the photos!
So, have I been sent 2 x rear booms? I think not. If you compare the top boom section and the bottom two then holes do not line up. This is at the D1 hole.
I could have flipped the booms through 90 degree and redrilled, but as the picture below shows, the boom sections supplied are too short.
So - I now have three antennas complete, and have written to wimo to solve the boom problem with the third. Let's hope the customer service is good...
After watching the cluster on and off at work, I realized that the tropo had extended into a second day, but moving more to the South. After doing my domestic jobs at home I got back on the bands, this time looking at 2m. There were plenty of DLs around at 600Km and I spent a bit of time on the key, yielding two OKs both in a new square (#183). My 2m QSOs are mapped below.
I also spent some time on 70cm, but didn’t hear much. I CQ’d for about 20 minutes but only worked DB6NT in JO50 with his typical rock crunching signal.
There has been some high pressure over the UK for the last few days and I suspected that this evening's 432 UKAC would be blessed with some good conditions. I wasn't wrong and managed to work several OZs and one SM. Pretty good going as my amp isn't working right now so I had 50W and mmy 18 element yagi. GU6EFB and MW6OXO were both active from squares that would be new for me on 70cm, but nothing was heard from either of them - they are my worst directions!
I did work the following stations though
13/03/2012 21:05 SK7MW JO65MJ 59 10 559 140 70 cm. SSB 963Km
13/03/2012 21:01 OZ9KY JO45VX 59 9 57 144 70 cm. SSB 808Km
13/03/2012 20:58 OZ9PZ JO46LC 53 8 53 64 70 cm. SSB 773Km
13/03/2012 20:45 OZ1DLD/P JO45SK 55 1 56 88 70 cm. SSB 764Km
13/03/2012 22:04 F8BRK IN99VF 55 17 57 102 70 cm. SSB 269Km
were my best QSOs... Let's hope there is more to come
Some more tropo last night, so I spent time on 432 again looking for new stuff, but there wasn’t much around that I hadn’t worked before. I did manage a few OZs and DLs, but didn’t want to make too much noise with my little boy in bed. I had been hanging out on the ON4KST message system earlier in the day and during a chat with Martin GM6VXB he kindly agreed that we could try a sked if conditions looked promising.
Around 9.30pm I stuck the antenna to the north and found the GB3ANG beacon at 559 – the first time I have heard it on 432. Back on KST Martin was good to his word and we had a quick QSO on 70cm followed by a more difficult one on 2m.
A GM shouldn’t be a big deal, but Martin is in IO97aq and as the picture below shows, there isn’t much land in IO97 for a station to sit in!
So, Martin, thanks a lot for looking for me – IO97 was new on two bands. More to come in the 432 UKAC contest tonight?
Here's a shot of all the Clifton ARS antennas at dusk, showing the 9 element interlaced 50 and 70MHz yagi in the foreground, 144MHz 9element in the middle and 15 element for 432MHz on the cherry picker at the back.
The 144MHz operating tent and 9 element DK7ZB yagi at 10m AGL.
G3JKY and G4TJE in action on 50MHZ
432MHZ yagi on a cherry picker. That makes life a lot easier. Must get another one for future contests!
Last weekend was VHF Field day (FD) throughout most of Europe. As usual I was out with the Clifton ARS near Detling in Kent (JO01HH). I provided two stations for the contest. The 50 and 70MHz station (restricted section) was based on my heavily modified FT-847 running 100W on 6m and about 70W on 4m to a dual band yagi at 10m AGL – this station was on the air as G3JKY/p. I also provided a TS-2000, solid state amplifier and 9 element DK7ZB yagi for the 144MHz station which operated under the club call of G3GHN/p. The only technical disappointment was that the2m PA would only produce about 220W in the field where it does 325W at home – I put that down to long leads from the generator introducing voltage sag. Otherwise everything was assembled in about three hours and we were on the air no problem, which makes a change!
G0GTO and G3BSN provided a very smart cherry picker and a full station for 432MHz, that they ran as G4FAA/p.
I spent some time on 6 and 4m, and the conditions were fairly spotty with minor SpE openings on both days. We did better on 4m than in previous years, which means that 56 Qs was a reasonable return, but well down on the leaders who seemed to get much better Es than we did in the south east.
The 6m score was down on last year as there was less DX. We weren’t that far off the leaders on that band in Q total, so our position will depend on how well we did on Es compared to our rivals.
2m was a major disappointment. With only 130 QSOs this was a terrible return. Apart from being a little under powered for the open section the gear was fine and on my visits to the station I worked OZ and EA telling me that we didn’t have any electrical faults. I think the problem is rather that the operators on 2m are more DXers than contesters so they spent a lot of time tuning the band looking for people to work rather than calling CQ. I need to work on the 2m station for next year.
In contrast, Terry and Phil did a great job on 70cm working the more stations on that band than the club has for several years. Having the full legal power helps, but calling CQ for long periods of time really helped boost the score, even though the band was flat. They only ran a short yagi, so with a better antenna they could have made many more mid range contacts.
No doubt I will be reflecting on this performance over the coming months and trying to come up with a solution for the next contest!
We are entering the main sporadic E season and until yesterday I was not able to get on one of my favourite bands, 50MHz, as I didn’t have an antenna in the air. The dual band 6/4m yagi plans are still ongoing so I decided that a dipole stapled to the inside of the loft rafters as an inverted V would at least give me some presence on the band. 10 minutes with the soldering iron and I had a dipole ready to go, a further 5 minutes after that it was up and ready for tuning.
I was really surprised at the effect the rafters had on the dipole. My miniVNA made light work of tuning, which was a good job as my original dipole (standard length plus 6 inches to be safe) was resonant on 38MHz! A few snips and careful rearrangement of the legs next to the roof gives an SWR of 1.3:1 on 50.150MHz, so that will do me nicely. Tuning around the band last night gave me QSOs on cw with S53A and T77C. I also heard a few Italians on SSB, but have audio problems which stops me from transmitting at the moment.
Last weekend I finally got to spend a little time on the air during the IARU Region 1 432 and up contest. It would be fair to say that conditions were terrible, and I only managed to work 21 stations over about 3 hours on 70cm - pretty poor indeed. That said, there was some (KST assisted) DX in there but the path was supported by the DX end who were running big stacks of yagis, like DR9A at 689Km and DJ6BS at 632Km.
It doesn’t look like there is any chance of winning anything, but here are the squares worked for the record.
The SpE season has started properly here and yesterday I was on 12m mainly picking up several new band/mode slots. It became apparent from the cluster that the MUF was rising very quickly and G7RAU had a QSO on 2m with an LZ station. I dashed to the VHF station to find LZ1AG calling CQ and he was quickly in the log. I spent another 30 minutes calling and tuning, but no other stations were worked although I did hear another LZ in the noise. What a good start to the SpE year a new DXCC and a square on 2m!
A few notes on recent radio activity by Steve, M0BPQ.