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

Monday, November 18, 2013

Antenna Books for Amateur Radio

I enjoy antennas and want to understand them better. One tool for understanding antennas are antenna books. For some one or two is enough but I have many. The same story may be rewritten many times but one account may lead to that aha moment. I find some at good prices used at Amazon or EBay. I was not used to buying used books but they are fine. Be careful buying and check around. A retail seller might be reasonable. Universal Radio has a good listing. I setup a Google+ community for Antenna Books at
I will post ones I have in my collection. Add yours! N4KGL

BTW  I find Successful Wire Antennas Edited by Ian Poole G3YWX. to be well done, complete and up to date. I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

One Mile RaDAR Packup

During October, I experimented with end fed antennas supported by 31 ft poles. I even acquired a cart to carry the poles and spikes. I was betting on the performance of larger signature antennas to make up for their weight and bulk. In RaDAR the focus on setup, make five contacts and move at least 1 kilometer will lead you to think hard about just how large a pack-up and antenna setup to use. In the November 2nd RaDAR contest I did use the 31 foot poles but I paid a price pulling my cart through the loose sand at St Andrews State park. With a four hour time constraint of the contest, you want to minimize the time between locations.

My first outing since the RaDAR contest was by foot to a walking park one mile from my home QTH. So I reverted to my smaller pack-up based on the Alexloop that fits in my backpack and the tripod also attaches to the backpack. I included some luxuries including a light table and hunter's chair. I also could not resist taking a fiberglass pole just in case. (did not need it) There could be lighter packups but this is light enough for a one mile trip.

I deployed the Alexloop at the park location EM70DF90RB. My 1st QSO was 45 min long with Al W0ERE in MO on 18.125. Then I worked KD2JC in NJ on 21.050 and 14.052. This was followed by XE3ARV on 10.108. Now the real test of the Alexloop is 40 meters. I got a 599 from KC4HCH near Mobile AL on 7.050. To top it off I met up with a RaDAR op Pat N5VMO in TX also on 7.050.

The performance of the Alexloop would be hard to beat on four bands including 40 meters for such a small setup. The time to make the contacts seems to be more a function of opportunity than the antenna itself. It may be that when the solar cycle declines that it will be a different game. It seems that most of the creatures in the animal kingdom depend on speed and simply carry themselves.. This is not a bad lesson for RaDAR ops. So consider this carefully for your pack-up and antennas. Less is often better despite the lure to take more.

Melissa KK4SYL and Marv KK4DKT came by for a visit.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

N4KGL RaDAR Contest Outing November 2 2013

The RaDAR Contest is currently twice a year, the first Saturday of April and November. We are lucky in Northwest Florida that those two days are possibly the best weather days of the year. Just because it is good weather here does not apply to Canada and England. But they participated as well.

I took advantage of the St Andrews State Park for the November 2nd Contest as I did last April. St Andrews State Park is one of the most popular State Parks in Florida. You just can't beat white sand beaches to operate from.

St Andrews State Park with 1 kilometer markers

I decided to start from what I labeled The Dock. It is not exactly a beach but has shoreline with tall grass. The unique aspect of RaDAR Pedestrian Mobile is deploying making five contacts and then redeploying to another location at least one kilometer away. This year I used a cart that doubles as a table.

A beach cart that doubles as a table.

It is a great cart but frankly nothing pulls that easy in loose sand. It slowed my one kilometer transit time by 7 minutes. I had all my gear on it. So next time I think I will spread the gear between the backpack and the cart.

I had spent the prior month experimenting with using a LNR 40/20/10 End Fed matchbox with a custom length of wire. The matchbox will work any band if you cut the wire for a half wave. So at Location 1 I wanted to focus on 40 meters. I deployed a 66 foot wire with two 31 foot Jakite poles. The top section should help with NVIS contacts.

Location 1 with 40 meter half wave

gear on the cart table

I had three 40 meter CW contacts; Tom WD0HBR in Dothan AL, Bob WB4BLX and Don KK4QAM in Sweetwater, AL. I then took advantage of 2 meter Simplex. I had a SlimJim on a crappie pole. I worked Junior KG4ITD in Bristol FL and Frank W4IMH in Fountain Florida. That is pretty good DX for simplex.

Next was the one kilometer transit to Sandy Point in the park.  It has saltwater view over most of the azimuth. So if saltwater is an advantage I would have it there. I deployed a 33 foot wire almost vertical to a 31 foot Jackite pole. I flipped the cart to use as a table.

Location 2: Sandy Point with a 20 meter half wave vertical

I was very pleased to work immediately Steve KF5RYI in Texas. Steve is a new ham that is embracing CW and RaDAR. This was followed by three more CW contacts and one PSK contact. The extra box that I have is the Ham Central Terminal, lets me do keyboard PSK without a laptop.

Time is a factor in RaDAR. I had just used up three hours of the four. So I packed up and traveled one kilometer back toward the dock. I setup the Alexloop but no luck in the final minutes.

Location 3: no luck with a few minutes left

Ten contacts and one of them PSK is a good outing. Of course last April I got 15 and was more mobile with the Alexloop and the backpack. The tradeoffs are what you ponder and learn from in RaDAR.

RaDAR is Rapid Deployment Amateur Radio originated by ZS6BNE. The Monthly RaDAR Challenge is on-going.  If you are interested in RaDAR visit the RaDAR Google Plus Community.

Lucy On the RaDAR

I was pleased hear about several international hams joining in on the RaDAR Contest. These include VA3KOT John in Ontario and Tom G0SBW in England. Another ham from England Lucy Lu M6ECG has shared her RaDAR setup and RaDAR experience.via YouTube. Please enjoy Lucy's videos below.