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Tuesday, December 31, 2013
so Stew Perry contest is ended...
I spent all the nite from 19Z-04Z on the key and there is my short notice from this event.
In fact for me it was never the contest but more like friends party. I have small antenna at the fixed QTH and low power available only. This year I had not external RX antenna in good shape so my station performance was not high. So I did not expected so much and I wanted to meet friends on the air and send them best wishes HNY in the end of the year.
What I realized this year as an interesting thinks during the SP?
1. I made quite lot of friends from DL. Well I am close to the DL land so it is not so unique maybe but compare to last years I found really lot of them. Very good!
2. In opposite with evenings before the SP where I heard several JAs and AS stations I did not heard or found ANY JA or UA9,0 in the SP. Well I know that they were here and my bd setup did not allowed me to hear them maybe. OK, but at least JA7NI, HL1IVL and some few other good friends I expected :( Very bad!
3. The same situation was in my area with VK/ZL. I really looked for VK6VZ, VK2BJ, ZL3IX and I was really disappointed that I did not catch beeps from Oceania and even I did not hear the pile-up for them around known QRGs (28.5) Very bad!
4. Last interesting think was condx to NA in the second half of the nite. I expected that US sigs will come up after 02Z and will building until my SR. I really noticed first US friends around 02Z. The first readable signal came from Krassy, K1LZ. After I found on the band few another sigs from Charles, K3WW then John, WF2W and Barry, N1EU.
After them around 02:20Z when the condx peaked over here I found also several others but most of them were noticeable but I did not copy. I worked K1LZ, K3WW, WF2W and I tried to catch Barry as his signal built up to S7 here around 02:25Z but no luck. My small pistol barefoot station and low profile loaded half sloper at 11m was not enough to go over sea.
"The best signal" winner this event is John, WF2W who peaked over here around 02:15Z with 599 even on TX antenna! Congrats John!
The most surprising was the very quick drop of the condx after 02:30Z. All signals from overseas went down and after 03Z I did not hear anybody from USA. I expected the second peak during my SR but NIL! No beeps from US stations at all until the daylight. Very bad.
OK I worked total 118Q and 3xUSA. It was fun for me even although I will not win any category or any plaque. Maybe I am candidate for "no RX antenna used" or "worst results EU" plaque this year, hi.
Did You experienced the similar behavior with conditions this year in SP?
73 - Petr, OK1RP
Friday, December 27, 2013
the current conditions on Topband are so beautiful that every nite from the early evenning You can hear lot of DX stations.
Just see over here what is going on the band every nite
Unfortunatelly my antenna setup at fixed QTH in Kostice is really small so there is no space and mainly no high supports available for somethink serious for this band.
I have only base coil loaded half sloper with 11m apex and just single huge Al wire burried radial close to the house till now. The antenna efficiency must be pretty low and big loading coil at the feed point must be power killer for sure. I am still thinking about improvement but I am so lazy guy... uff.
So for most of the time I agreed that I will work just EU stations from Kostice and some time when conditions are a bit better I can work big guns from closest overseas parts. The most DXing time I have to spend into the country side where I have better setup.
Yesterday evenning I was very surprised when I found Kim, HL5IVL on the band and I heard him even on my TX antenna as my ext. RX loop and the second RX antenna low profile Inverted Z dipole were out of order because of my KD9SV saver was removed currently.
For the first time I did not want to call Kim as "it is definitely not possible to work him with my antenna" (I guessed) but when I realized that nobody is calling him then I decided to try!
Yes Kim replied for the first time and asked for OK1? So I repeated my call for few times and finally Kim copied me ok and gave me 449. I repeated my call again to be sure that Kim has my call correctly and I sent him his 579 report quickly. No callers, no QRM, no other issues were on the band at this magic moment - thank You to all for QRX on the frequency at that time! Kim confirmed me all of that and we finished QSO with short Xmas wishes.
Wow it sounds like I worked HL from my post stamp lot area with so bad setup and 100W only... Kim has to have really good ears and my delayed Xmas gift arrived on 26th Dec instead of 24th as usual, hi.
Thank You Kim for Your great evenning on Topband and for Your an excellent operator's skills. Also thank You Santa for nice gift!
My K3 setup:
73 - Petr, OK1RP
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Rick, N6RK posted on Topband reflector very interesting article about his small receiving loops comparison. With his kind permission I am posting it over here as I am sure that it can help to each others and it can be good starting point for own tests in our QTH's.
Here is post from Rick, N6RK:
For the second night of the ARRL contest, I set up
three receiving loops with a switch to compare them in real
time. A Pixel circular loop (10 foot perimeter) using the
30 dB Clifton Labs preamp that comes with it was the first
antenna. The second one was a square 20 foot perimeter
shielded loop as I described in the Sept./Oct. 2009 National
The third antenna was a square 40 foot version of the loop
in the NCJ article. No external preamp was used with the 20
and 40 foot loops. The receiver was a Yaesu FT-1000 with its
internal preamp turned on. All three loops were oriented
to null at 30 degrees azimuth on ground wave, which
minimizes the noise at this QTH.
After comparisons on dozens of stations in the contest,
the clear winner was the 40 foot loop. In general,
the noise levels of the Pixel and the 40 foot loop
were similar. However, the latter had 6 to 10 dB
more signal, resulting in a markedly improved S/N ratio.
There were numerous stations where a signal that was Q5
on the 40 foot loop was inaudible on the Pixel.
I ended up just leaving the switch on the 40 foot loop
for the balance of the contest. If I had to have only
one loop to use, it would be an easy decision to go with
the 40 foot one.
The 20 foot loop had signal levels comparable
to the Pixel, but the noise level was considerably lower.
It came in 2nd place. The signal level of the 20 foot
loop has always been marginal for the FT-1000 without
external preamp. It might help to have some preamplification
on it. I would rather use a larger loop than fool with
a preamp. We have strong BCB signals, including one at
1,700 kHz, so preamps are always problematical.
The 40 foot loop will work (on 160 meters only) with an
unmodified antenna circuit board, however, I ran into
BCB QRM of the tuning diodes. I removed one of the two
tuning diodes, which allowed the tuning voltage to rise.
This helped on the BCB QRM, but there was still some lite
hash heard. Finally, I went to four diodes in a series
parallel configuration as described in the article. This
fixed the BCB QRM. The final configuration tunes from
about 1.25 to 2.5 MHz, covering WWV.
I also compared to the transmit vertical. In most cases,
stations could be copied on the vertical, but maybe not
at 100%, and even when they could be copied, there was
the usual unpleasant impulsive noise, as compared to the
gentle rushing noise of the loops. From a listening
fatigue aspect, it is not good to have to listen on the
vertical. I have no technical theory to explain why
this is, I just observe it consistently.
The Pixel loop covers all the way to 30 MHz. It still
may be a useful receive antenna on the higher bands.
When I purchased it for evaluation, I suspected that
160 meters was not its strong suit. Below 160 meters
on BCB, the signals are much stronger and the Pixel should
have no problem. Thus the take away is only that
the Pixel isn't very useful on 160 meters.
The mechanical construction of the 40 foot version is
much more difficult that the 20 foot version. My initial
attempt was successful enough for these tests, but was
basically a discovery of what NOT to do. It did become
clear that it is much easier to guy the vertical support
rather than making it self supporting. I am interested
in hearing about successful large loop construction
As I have the coaxial loops in two versions > K9FD and N6RK design and finally I arranged also the Mini Diamond wire loop designed by Pete, W2PM I am interesting a lot in the results of comparisons on my really small "post stamp" lot.
So I am going to try to make similar tests and we will see the differences.
73 - Petr, OK1RP