SKCC 5123T----- FISTS 14979----- Flying Pigs 2331----- NAQCC 3610-----QRP ARCI 14176-----Polar Bear 257

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Converting 20 Meter Ground Plane to 40 Meters

I have been using a full size 20 meter ground plane. So I added a coil to tune 17 foot vertical wire to 40 meters. I also extended two elevated radials to be 1/4 wave for 40. I was able to work Dennis WD9DWE in North Vernon IL on 40. He was using his downspout antenna. I was testing this antenna in my back yard using the Ten Tec R4020. The ground plane is supported by military mast sections to the 20 foot level plus a 13 foot black widow pole on top. 

I guess you can call this a big brother to the Buddistick. The military mast with the tripod adapter is an easy setup. You can lean the whole affair over to make adjustments to the coil. The one thing you cannot say is that it is light weight.

I continue to enjoy the R4020. I worked KC8ZTJ John in MI and KA2MLH Bill in IL on 20 meters with the ground plane bypassing the coil.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

QRP AField and POTA at George Park Panama City FL

Saturday September 17th was a fun operating day at George Park in Panama City FL. I participated in QRP Afield sponsored by the New England QRP Club. and Marv KK4DKT worked Parks On The Air POTA contacts.

 The day began with erecting antennas. I had the assistance of Marv and Ron KK4DWE. The first mast was for a 20 meter ground plane and the second mast held a 40/20 fan dipole. I had the concept of an antenna shoot-out and was going to include a 20 meter delta loop as a third antenna but backed out to start operating. I was able to switch between the dipole and the ground plane. There was a slight increase of noise on the ground plane over the dipole but I made most of my contacts on the ground plane. The electrical noise on 40 was extreme so we stuck with 20 meters. I am very pleased with the ground plane performance and find the antenna visually appealing.

 I enjoyed working 15 contacts for QRP Afield. There were 11 SPCs: FL, PA, AZ, IL, NH(2), TX(2), NY, MD(2), ME, WI, SC. All contacts were on 20 meters with exception of SC on 40 meters. Since I was portable and operated at 5 watts there is an additional multiplier of 10. So 15 X 11 X 10 = 1650 points. This was my first QRP event with the Ten Tec R4020. It did a great job. I was using an external set of ten Eneloop AAs and started the day at 14 volts and was down to 12.5 volts at the end. So I could have kept going.

A big hello to W3PO Pat who mentioned he is a reader of this blog in our QSO.

Marv KK4DKT did an hour or so of operating and got six contacts on 20 meters. He should be good for activating George Park under POTA.

There was also a visit from John KJ4MAK and Gary AJ4KY during the day. All hams were members of the Panama City ARC. It was suggested to have more portable events for the club.


Monday, September 12, 2011

Tall Pines Beg for an Antenna

My parent's home in Dothan, Alabama is on Pine Tree Drive . This is where I grew up and started doing ham radio in the late 60s. The tall pine trees are impressive and beg for an antenna. However, the first limbs are 50 feet plus high. It was not possible for me to throw anything that high. This was my motivation to get the Big Shot Slingshot. I was able to get lines over limbs at the 50 plus foot level with the Big Shot. As usual the layout in most lots favors an Off Center Fed and this is my first OCF. The shack is my Dad's workshop near the back of the lot. This weekend was my chance to get the OCF up. I am using a Balun Designs 4 to 1 balun fed with 70 feet of RG-8X. The long end is 90 feet and the the short end is 45 feet long. The long section is East West and is over the roof. The short section does a dog leg to the North East. The antenna is 40 feet above the ground. I am leaving ample slack as the pines can really bend in high winds. So how does it tune? Well 80 meters is 5.5 to 1, 40 meters is 2.7 to 1, 20 meters is 1.7 to 1 and 10 meters is 1.8 to 1.  So no tuner on 20 and I am very happy with that. With the exception of 80 I think this is par for the course. We will see if my internal tuner on the IC 703 will handle the SWR on 80. I think it will.  I always have limited time in Dothan so I am calling this a success! I did work  MO and AZ using QRP on 20 meters while I was there.


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Enter The Black Widow

I have been reading about the Black Widow vertical and similar antennas using the BNM Black Widow fiberglass pole. I got over to Walmart and they had a 13 foot model for less than $10. I wanted to see if I could extend the military mast I use with the Widow. Indeed it will feed through a 4 foot mast section and wedge nicely out the male end. I used a little tape to stabilize it. So that means I can have a 13 foot extension that is light weight. Therefore the usual 20 foot mast can now be extended to 33 feet. It also dawned on me that a 20 meter ground plane could take advantage of this by taping the 1/4 wave vertical element to the mast starting at the tip of the Black Widow. The three radials meet the vertical element about 16 feet up.

So at last a portable antenna that is not a cloud warmer and is at a good height. I setup up this antenna for testing in the backyard and had a good run of QSOs with the Ten Tec R4020. I worked PA, ME, OH, IL, and MD. The MD contact was W3PO running 1 watt. I think the 20 meter ground plane is going to be a go-to configuration. You might notice I was using an external 10 pack of Eneloop AAs for these QSOs Velcro-ed to the bottom of the lap shack..

 Greg N4KGL

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Extending the BuddiStick for Parking Lot Portable

I have put the Buddistick at the top of my 20 foot mast before. However, just for fun I added a 15 foot wire running down the mast from the driven element. At the five foot level I convert to coax and attached the counterpoise there. It works out that using the two 11 inch arms and the telescoping whip plus the 15 foot wire is just right for 30 meters. For 20 meters remove all of the Buddistick except one 11 inch arm. On 40 add the coil and set the tap at about 50%. The counterpoise is set for about the same length as the vertical part except 40 which was 31 feet. From one perspective it would be more efficient because it uses no coil or less coil than it would without the wire. From another perspective the height of the antenna is less. In any case I'll have to try it out on the air. Note the overcast weather is due to Tropical Storm Lee which has given us light rain so far in Panama City.