Palstar HF-Auto

Okay this post is actually timely for a change. Today in the mail arrived my plaster HF auto. I have only had it for a few hours but my initial thoughts are as follows…

First its HUGE, i mean the thing is absolutely hellishly big. Its by far the largest piece of equipment in my shack, photo below. (I will rearrange later to make it look better but wanted to showcase just how biog this is). For the photo i had to move another radio and several piece of gear off my desk. Once i have made everything pretty later tonight it will come back and ill see about some new photos.

Okay now that we are past the size the tuner itself seemly workings great, was very easy to setup. The auto tune option gets me very close to an SWR i can live with and I take it the rest of the way on manual.

Even though this guy is huge if I don’t find any issues over the next few months its going to be one heck of a great tuner and a great addition to my shack.

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HexBeam

I am finally out of the 1980’s…. Well I was never really in the 80’s but my main antenna was a dipole in my attic. I have had my tower up for months and due to several issues am just now getting an antenna up.

So far this antenna has worked gang busters and been amazing. The spreader arms are painted sky blue and from other streets than mown you cannot even see the antenna.

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And from across the street

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Grounding

I would like to start off saying that anything you read is what i did in my shack, am not endorsing anything I have done and suggest you consult with experts before doing any of this it may or may not be safe.

My dad came over and we installed 10 ground rods for my glen martin roof mounted tower to build a permitter ground ring.

We ran #2 copper between all ground rods to bond them as well as boned them to the service main ground rods.  All connections were cad welded into place.

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You can see a video of the cad weld process here (again this is very dangerous and you should not attempt this with out consulting experts)

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After all of the rods were in place we installed a cable entry panel and attached it to the ground rod above with flat copper strap

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In my shack I installed a Georgia copper ground bus that all of my radio gear grounds to and conceded it to the panel with flat copper braid.

Before coax or rotator cables enter my shack they all go through lighting arrestors.

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13 colonies special event

I know this post is late but this weekend is the 13 colonies special even…

Full details can be found here : http://www.13colonies.info

I have made my clean sweep of all 13 stations states/stations plus one of the two bonus stations!

If you have not started there is time and you can look at where the stations are at on the spotting website : http://www.cwfun.org/funspots/us13/frames.html

Enjoy the event!

73 – WY9U

Field Day – 2015

Okay its that time again… Field day 2015 just wrapped up and I had a great time, and made a ton of QSO’s, I hope you did to.

I am a member of the K5PRK – Plano Radio Club, here in Plano Texas, and we setup a 5A station. Our station was setup in Russell Creek park in Plano tx – we had 5 transmitters in the pavilion, multiple antenna’s and ran the stations from Generators, batteries and solar power, no commercial power was used.

The club offered training courses during the weekend, a GOTA station to introduce non-ham’s to amateur radio, tons of opportunity to work bands you do not normally get to work and ample learning and networking opportunities.

I think we were very successful and everything worked very well.

Below are a few of my favorite antenna photos from our stations, We also have a very cool 6meeter that I did not get a photo of, unfortunately.

IMG_1934(Above is the hex beam and 40/10m dipole)IMG_1937(Above is another hex beam and in the distance a 160-6 inverted V – which was one of the clearest sounding antennas I have ever had the pleasure to work)

The two hex beams (one used by our CW station and one by our 20m station) were mounted on military surplus AB-952’s and not only did i love the antenna I absolutely loved the AB-952. In fact I am currently on a quest to buy one – if you have an AB-952 you would sell, email me!!!

We made contact with all but two states during the contest, below is our contract map – each dot represents 5 QSO’s so just because a state or area does not have a dot does not mean we did not make a Q , only that we did not make 5 Q’s.

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Anyhow the Plano club did a fantastic job with field day and it really shows how strong the clubs community is, I am proud to be a member.

73 – WY9U

Museum Ships Weekend Event – Part 2

Okay so I am late posting this and the Museum Ship weekend is over; but boy was it ever a blast! If you did not participate, you should have and you should next year too!

As far as my setup I ended up using a buddipole in my front yard on mainly, 20 and 15 meters.  I tried out a ton of configurations on the dipole (inverted V, L, horizontal, vertical, etc.) and have pictures of two of the configurations that worked best for me, below. Of the two pictured, I found the horizontal dipole to work the best for me and I would rotate the mast as needed to help direct the radiation lobes.

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While i did not make as many QSO’s as I would have liked I did make enough to get the certificate, assuming everything was logged correctly on both ends.

I have mailed QSL cards to all contacts and we will see who sends them back.

73’s – WY9U

Museum Ships Weekend Event

I just wanted to make a quick post… The Museum Ships Weekend event is underway! I am having a blast and you should try it out… At the end of the weekend ill post a more compressive writeup of my experience but i will leave you with this… Think of the last time these ships were in service – they could have been in war defending us and you are now come across there speakers…

For more detail check out the official site : http://www.nj2bb.org/museum/

QRP

Okay its been forever since i made a post, its shameful, i know!

As of late I have been traveling for work and I wanted a small radio i could carry in my luggage and not need a lot to operate. A QRP rig was the obvious choice…

I am not a fan of building a kit so i had two choices from the way I saw it, I only wanted to operate SSB not CW… My choices were the Xiegu X1M Pro or the Yaesu FT-817. To be honest the Xiegu X1M was my preference if for nothing else, cost. Unfortunately the X1M was out of stock everywhere and I went with the Yaesu FT-817, and as it turns out I could not be happier.

First lets talk about DX on only 5 watts… Can we say CONTACT! Before I get into the details lets say that as a licensed ham we agree to make contact with the lowest amount of power necessary. Most of us do not do this and set our radio’s to the max output. In my opinion 5 watts is exactly the spirt of what we agree to do with the FCC and it is very possible to make contacts all over the world.

I will say in a pile up its a lot harder to get through, yes, but you can… I find adding /QRP to your call helps a lot, many times people are intrigued and want to talk to you just for that. Take it or leave it but i have made contacts all over the world with only 5 watts of transmit power.

I do find to effectively use a QRP rig you need a good, no strike that, a GREAT antenna. Myself, I use a buddipole. I am not going to debate how good or bad it is, I will just say it works, and it works well for me.  I can pack the buddipole in my suitcase, i need little to set it up and can operate on anything 80 and below.

As far as my 817 I have a mega-817 and OFC from W4RT and its great. With my radio, the buddipole and the mega-817 I can work SSB for hours, anywhere.

The only comment I will make is the OFC only works on 110 voltage, and when traveling that is a pain but an inexpensive inverter with voltage change easily fixes the issue

I have had a blast with my QRP rig and its fast becoming my main mode of operation. I can setup my buddipole and radio in less than 10 minutes from anywhere at anytime, its great.

So if you are up for a challenge try QRP, its a blast!

We have Contact

As you know if you follow my posts, just 3 days ago I installed a new 20 meter dipole antenna I purchased from dr-dipole.com.

As you know I am now on the air, on HF!!! I have made several contacts but would like to share a few of the notable contacts, in my opinion, with you.

My first HF contact was with K2L in South Carolina on 7/3/2014. K2L is/was part of the 13 Original Colonies special event taking place over the July 4th weekend.

Next in the early morning hours of 7/4/2014 was, EA3BOX, my first DX contact over 4000 miles away in Spain. Joan was a great guy who spent a few minutes talking with me and telling me about his radio. He was transmitting at 800 watts! I however was only using 100 watts and was able to communicate with him, just fine.

My most recent DX contact was in the early morning hours of 7/5/2014 and was OE3XMA from Vienna Austria, over 5000 miles away!

I mailed QSL cards to each of my contacts to the address they had on QRZ.com. One asked I send a SASE which I did, one said they don’t return QSL cards (I sent one anyhow) and the other said they did return cards. In the end I don’t know for sure if I will get any cards back but i sure hope I do!

I have an amazing QSL card, for myself, that I worked with Jeff Murray, K1NSS, to create. Now that I can officially start sending mine out, I can’t wait to see what other people have. Once I receive a few QSL cards I will create a QSL’s page on the WY9U site to share what i have received!

On that note I want to end with this… I understand the principals of ham radio but these contacts amaze me! Using an off grid radio I can speak to someone on the other side of the world! Just today I had someone tell me how boring HAM radio sounds, they have a cell phone. Normally I ignore comments like that, but I took the time to reply to the person and explain how very different the two technologies are. First and for most cellphones depend on the cellphone network and can’t exist without that infrastructure. I went into more detail but I won’t bore you with it all! I will leave it at that after we talked the guy seemed to be genuinely interested in HAM radio.

I am super stoked by my HF contacts, and hope if you are not a HAM this at least makes you say, that sounds cool!

73 WY9U