Welcome to new 160m band blog

This blog is the replacement of the my preview Topband blog here http://topband.blog.cz/ because of an aggressive advertising and flash banners inserted by the blog provider. For older posts access You can visit the old blog link which will exist still... but it will not be updated anymore.

Friday, February 26, 2016

W7IUV preamplifier for LB antennas - Revision 5 (built 2003)

Hi all,

as I received several emails with questions about the preamplifier which I am using for my LB external RX antennas like W2PM MiniDiamond loop, EWE loop, K9FD loop etc. I decided to post over here some informations about this unit.

The basic design is inspired with his permission by Larry, W7IUV. The complete article about his preamplifier was published on his web here:


Please read his entire document before starting to build this project. There is data contained within that is necessary to obtain maximum performance from this circuit. Be sure that you downloaded the latest - updated revision.
I started with building this preamplifier in the end of 2002 as Christmas project but I finished it in Jan of 2003. The current version of the W7IUV document was at that time Revision 5 copyright 1998-2009.

It is very important to follow the inctructions for building the preamplifier and use the parts values as described and recommended by Larry in the document.

The size, shape and terminals has been choosen according to my alu-case available...

The most important part of this design in my opinion is the transformer and working state of the transistor 2N5109. You must follow the winding rules as same as core material for transformer and finally you must use prescribed current of the transistor in order to reach expected performances.

If you are interested in the suppliers for Amidon, Fair-Rite cores or even you have problem with finding the 2N5109 there are some links which I used...



The heatsink on the transistor is a must. Do not change the resistors in order to decreasing the collector current of the transistor! These conditions are key parameters for high IMD immunity / OIP3 performance...

Testing the assembled preamplifier is straight forward. Before applying power double check your work. The most common problems are solder shorts and resistors inserted in the wrong place. Once you are satisfied you have correctly assembled the circuit place 50 Ohms terminations on the input and output.
Apply the Vcc terminal and ground. Measure the current drawn with a digital ammeter. It should be 75 mA +/5mA. Remove power and then remove the 50 ohm terminations. Re-apply power and measure current again. It should be the same as it was with the terminations in place. If not the device is oscillating and you need to fix that before proceeding.
Oscillations are usually in the GHz region and are caused by poor layout and/or poor quality capacitors. Bypass caps with very long leads could also be a cause. In fact I used in this version thru hole components but I can recommend to use high quality SMD parts.

With power applied and the specified current being drawn the transistor should be very warm to the touch but you should be able to hold the tip of your finger on it indefinitely. If you cannot either you have insufficient heat sinking or the device is drawing too much current...
If you have proper alu-case then you can use it as the big heatsink.
Final quick measurement in the lab confirmed it's parameters. The gain is slightly lower than expected. Also be careful which power supply you are using. In some cases you can get strange noise from the PSU (mainly switched unit) I am using linear PSU with enough power and proper filtering from AC mains.


Hope it helps.

73 - Petr, OK1RP

Monday, February 1, 2016

CQ 160m DX, CW contest 2016 at OK5T

Hi all,
if you worked OK5T this weekend in CQ160 contest on 160m then there I am sending my operation time schedule from OK5T log...

I was on key as follows:
30Jan16 03:30-06:30UTC
30Jan16 19:15-21:30UTC
31Jan16 04:30-07:30UTC
31Jan16 20:00-21:30UTC
The condx was not as good as we expected. We worked much less US friends and signals were really weak. We used 330m long Bevs to 320/30/90 degs. They wkd very nice even although the VK Bev was so low. (1m up only)

Mr. Murphy visited us when I was on key first morning at 05:00U when I lost NA Bev > stopped work so I was so deaf for last 2hrs of opening to USA. We repaired it during the daylight few hours after. My apologize to all US guys!

We really tried to catch our kangaroos friends in this event too. I am really sorry but no way to work VKs in this CQ160...

I was both evenings on time around 1820-1825kHz. Our VK Beverage sounded also quite well with no usual high noise level.

I really looked for famous Ron, VK3IO and both Steves, VK6VZ and VK6IR. Unfortunately the band was extremely crowded and I am pretty sure that even although we used narrow filters (only IC7600...) our receiver/AGC has been knocked down from so strong nearby signals so I was very deaf even with 330m long Bev to VK.

Well the only single spot I realized on cluster with VK6IR on 1833 on Sat evening but I did not hear Steve unfortunately on this frequency. No VKs readable at our QTH even with Bev to 90deg at all.

As Ron, VK3IO already mentioned on Topband Reflector - http://www.contesting.com/_topband  "This year's contest was almost a total wipe out as far as VK was concerned, due to summer storms on the east coast and the usual topical storms up north and a cyclone off the west coast made it impossible."

Never mind, it is just hobby. I was really happy to work XE2X, YV1KK, HK1X, BA1CW, B1Z. Many thanks for your time and effort and hope to work you soon outside the contest on quiet band.

Many thanks for nice QSO to all members and hope to work you soon again.

73 - Petr, OK1RP

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Stew's 160m BULLETINS by Jeff, VY2ZM

Hi all,

thanks to Jeff, VY2ZM(K1ZM) we are able to go back into the TB history and read the Stew's (W1BB) 160m BULLETINS!

As Jeff posted on the TB reflector...

"Most of STEW's 160m BULLETINS from 1930 to 1965 are on my website in the W1BB section - these chronicle the history of the early TRANSATLANTIC TESTS and were sent to me courtesy of PY1RO. Stew used to send these out to anyone who wanted to be on his distribution list - GRATIS too - just another measure of the man....

They are from his mimeo machine and some of them are a bit hard to read - but well worth a looksee.

The site is K1ZM.com/w1bb



I would like to thank Jeff, VY2ZM for his job and sharing these documents. It is great chance to study the history of the band, operation and other details from 1930 up to now!

best regards,

73 - Petr, OK1RP

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Friday, October 16, 2015

PreStew here tomorrow...!

The PreStew topband distance challenge will take place from 
1500Z 17 Oct
1500Z 18 Oct. 

This is a CW only event that takes place on 160 meters.  The band has been
coming alive with good solid openings during darkness. 

The "distance" aspect of this is a unique rule where you get more QSO
points for working stations that are further away. 

For example - a station
in Oregon would get 2 or 3 points for working California - 8 or 9 points
for working the East Coast - and 15 or 16 points for working Japan.  VK6 is
worth 30 points!!

Furthermore - if you - or the other station - are running either low power
- or QRP power - the QSO is worth more for BOTH stations involved in the

This unique scoring method encourages and rewards working those weaker
signals - and benefits those who have put a lot of effort into hearing

This PreStew is a warmup for the "big" Stew that takes place on December

Full rules and results of previous events can be found at

Hope to hear you on the band tomorrow night. 
Tree N6TR/7

Topband Reflector Archives - http://www.contesting.com/_topband

73 - Petr, OK1RP

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Comments to FCC needed ASAP, regarding Fish Net Beacons in 1900-2000 kHz


as it is very important on 160m band for DXers I am re-posting here the article from Don, K4KYV regarding the proposed new MF and LF allocations in FCC Docket 15-99 even although it is a bit late...

Re Docket 15-99

While most attention so far has focussed on the proposed new MF and LF allocations, there is also the issue of fish net beacons on 160m. The initial comment deadline is past due, but REPLY COMMENTS ARE STILL OPEN THROUGH THE 30th of SEPTEMBER.  We can reply to the ARRL comments; they pretty much have the issue identified and defined spot on, except for a suggestion that fish net beacons on 1900-2000 kHz be moved to the "lightly used" portion of the Radiolocation frequencies between the broadcast band and 160m ham band, specifically 1750-1800 kHz. From what I hear on my receiver at this location, THE ENTIRE SEGMENT OF FREQUENCIES between 1705 kHz and 1800 kHz is lightly used.  I rarely ever hear a signal of any kind in that segment, which was once packed full of now-discontinued radiolocation beacons.  I would strongly urge everyone to submit a reply comment explaining why you support the ARRL position,  with a further suggestion that the entire band of Radiolocation frequencies between 1705 and 1800 kHz be considered for re-accommodating beacons presently on 1900-2000.

I am not familiar with the beacon transmitters except for a few online ads for the products, but I suspect it would be very easy to move the transmit frequency, requiring only re-setting a synthesised master oscillator and tweaking the antenna tuning network. A technician could probably complete the task in less than 10 minutes.

The beacons would suffer far less interference operating in the now-vacant Radiolocation spectrum, than in the heavily used amateur band. Even though they operate at low transmitting power, amateurs, particularly those living in coastal areas, frequently complain of interference. Likewise, signals from high power amateur transmitters are undoubtedly capable of causing harmful interference to the beacons.

When the FCC released the Report & Order upgrading amateur status to primary, it wasn't immediately clear that this included a new docket proposal (15-99) with a subsequent comment deadline.  It is unusual for the FCC to combine a R&O for one proceeding with a new Notice of Proposed Rulemaking all in the same release, so this did not come to the attention of most amateurs until a recent news item appeared on the ARRL website.

73, Don k4kyv

Some useful links:

Here, you see a list of links to recent comments, plus a link to the text of the original FCC Release in the right-hand pane. If you wish to submit a (reply) comment, click on "Submit a Filing in 15-99", which is located at the top of the page just above the main heading.

Here is the entire FCC Docket, which is very lengthy.  The pertinent section addressing the 1900-2000 kHz issue begins with paragraph 30.

Here are the ARRL's submitted comments. The 160m issue is addressed in Section II, beginning on page 4 and running through page 11.

73 - Petr, OK1RP

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

160m band beacons list

there is an improved list of the TOP band beacons. As You can see it is still "trial" and it's not final version and many of the beacons listed over here was reported years ago... maybe an operation has been cancelled or so. I will be appreciated to get any report or info about beacons from 160m band in Your location to put it into the list.

beacon (available) informations
Maraba (Carajas), Brazil, B 06:06.7S 050:00.2W
Goroka, Papua New Guinea, PNG 06:04.3S 145:23.3E
Juiz de For a, Brazil, B 21:46.0S 043:23.0W
Chapeco, Brazil, B 27:07.0S 052:38.9W
Unid Oil Platform? Off coast of Brazil?
gm38na, 1W
KN04RU, Zlatita "v v v", 8 s carrier, no 24/7 op., 100/10/1, inv. L, via YO2LDC
beacon (0011 01 May)
fishnet beacon (0223 01 Aug)
kf15pf, 1W
fish beacon (0450 16 Sep)
ZL beacon (0952 18 May)
beacon ? (1429 02 Oct)
fishnet beacon (0059 01 Aug)
beacon (2118 11 Sep 2008)
beacon (1007 18 Jan)
fish beacon
beacon (2118 11 Sep 2008)
fishnet beacon (0239 08 Aug)
beacon, regular ID (0453 09 Sep)
fish beacon (0209 29 Apr)
beacon mode (2141 14 Apr)
fishnet beacon (0215 20 Aug)
beacon (1103 01 Mar)
fish beacon (0504 02 Apr)
fish beacon (0456 13 Feb)
beacon, three ID's every few mins (0221 27 Oct)
fish net beacon (0615 03 Jan)
driftnet beacon (0157 13 Dec)
fishnet beacon (0107 15 Feb)
fishnet beacon (0303 07 Oct)
Loud fishnet beacon
beacon, fishnet ? (1340 20 Nov)
driftnet beacon (0107 12 Feb)
driftnet beacon
beacon ?
fishnet beacon (0247 24 Jul)
beacon (2118 11 Sep 2008)
beacon (0549 30 Sep)
jn89qg, 4W
JN35UB, Turin, add. QRSS-3 id .2 dipole -> W, via I1RFQ
JN79EV, Olesko u Prahy, on air 0400-1800UTC, vertical, via OK1FMZ
IO70IA, off (Poldhu), 9 pwr steps, -6 db each, id+carr(30s)+PSK at 0,15,30,45 min each hr
Last update : 29-Jul-2015
Do not hesitate to email me if any information is not valid or if You have any new one...
73, Petr OK1RP

Thanks for update to:
Per, SM2LIY (29-Jul-2015)