Sunday, September 28, 2014

Exercising the N6BT Bravo 7K Vertical Dipole

I have been very eager to exercise the new N6BT Bravo 7K.  I had a couple of outings this week:

Thursday PM: With the prospect of a stormy weekend I left work early and headed to St Andrews State Park. There is a spot facing Grand Lagoon that has a picnic table. I picked that spot to locate the Bravo 7K. I had a good run of contacts on 17 SSB. I was running 100 watts with the Icom 7100. I had DX including France Italy and Columbia and NM, TX and AZ state side. This was followed by a run on three Maryland stations and West Virginia. These four were on a line directly across the Lagoon. Was that the salt water effect? I had many good reports. 

St Andrews State Park next to Grand Lagoon The Bravo 7K is set for 17 meters.
Saturday PM: I initially set up the Bravo 7K on 10 meters to try to contact Eddie ZS6BNE. He was getting RBN spots in the USA. We gave it a good try but no joy. Well as long as the Bravo 7K was setup in the front yard I took advantage of the opening on 10 meters. I also chose to use the KX3 at 8 watts. Here are my contacts.

PP8ZAC 28.012 Brazil

W1AW/7 28.038 Idaho

KP3DX 28.410 PR 

NP3RE 28.450 PR 

LW9DHR 28.020 Argentina

CX2DA 28.495 Uruguay 

PU5DUD 28.505 Renato Brazil 

LU7DH 28.510 

CX8DS 27.533 Oscar my rpt 56/57 

LU5AQU 28.346 

That was fun! I was getting S5 up to S9 reports and really no struggle to get through. I think the low angle of 20 degrees was in my favor for DX.

My front yard. The Bravo 7K is set for 10 meters.

A few things I like about the Bravo 7K:
  • It breaks down to fit in a bag about 3 feet long.
  • There is no tuner required as the SWR is under 2 to 1 for 40 through 10. It is broadband.
  • I can use it for QRP or QRO. 
  • It is self supporting as the tripod is included. I got the leg extensions for the tripod. I don't need any poles.
  • The tripod legs adjust for uneven ground.
  • You set it for the desired band but you do not have to do any tweaking or tuning after that.
  • It is kind of visually appealing
  • I am having good luck with contacts including DX

Of course, I do have to acknowledge that it weighs about 12 lbs. It does take about 10 minutes to setup. It takes about 3 minutes to change bands. By its design it is not a NVIS antenna.

I am very pleased with this antenna. You may know I am pleased with many antennas. I also like the AlexLoop, various end fed wires and yes the dipole. The fun is picking the one for your portable situation and operating goals. I definitely want to do more testing of the Bravo 7K on the beach and bay side. There are a number of articles on the salt water effect for vertical antennas. The salt water can bring the take off angle from twenty degrees to almost zero degrees. See Perhaps I can take advantage of the salt water effect to work Eddie ZS6BNE and other DX RaDAR operators.