Friday, September 16, 2011

The Cobweb is Back Up

Last evening I managed to pop up a ladder and re raise the mast so that the Cobweb is back up to 35 feet. I’ve decided to keep the Mystery antenna up in the silver birch and have raised the 30 meter inverted V on the mast via a flag pulley system. I did a quick check with the antenna analyzer and everything was spot on with a good 1.2:1 swr at 10.120 MHz.

Interestingly though when using the auto tuner on the FT1000 Mk V it tunes as normal until you get to10.107, for some reason between 10.100 to 10.107 it struggles, but eventually after 10 seconds or so tunes up. It’s the same on 40 meters down around 7.000 - 7.007 the ATU struggles. I thought this was just the limit of the bandwidth for each antenna, but when doing a check with the analyzer the readings are still good, I think the trouble is I was so used to my old FT 990 that used to tune anything that I expect all auto tuners to be instantaneous which of course is not the case.
Anyway it’s no big deal as the system all works well and I can happily transmit and receive with no issues.

Very tempted now to start thinking about some sort of Top Band antenna, although what sort/type, I just don't know yet. I have the usual constraints, limited room and limited height, but that's half the fun, trying to work out what will fit and to get the optimum performance!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Cosmic Morse Code

Here's a bit of fun for all you funky people out there! Cosmic Morse

And then there was the serious stuff, this is unbelievable! Super Morse

Finally this is just plain weird Beethoven's Morse

Monday, September 12, 2011

Mystery Antenna and Strange CW Moments

Readers will remember in my previous post I had lowered the cobweb antenna and mast in anticipation of the predicted severe weather.  At a loss without my beloved cobweb and with the current mast height set at a mere 20 feet there was a noticeable drop in signals. So having a brainwave I decided to drop the 30 meter antenna hanging up in my silver birch tree and replace it with the mystery antenna just so I have some reasonable coverage while this stormy weather continues, to be honest I doubt if I will have time this week to raise the cobweb back up, so it will be a while before things are back to normal.

Because it’s been some time since it was last used I’d forgotten how good the Mystery antenna is especially on 20 meters and with a bit of tuning on the ATU I can work most of the bands from 40 up, except 15 which for some reason the old antenna really dislikes, not sure why this is but I shall trawl the net and see what comes up, unless someone else has an explanation?

Had one of my weird CW moments yesterday, just sat in front of the radio and no matter how I tried I couldn’t get my brain in to the receive mode, either everything was too fast or my writing skills were up the shoot, and when something did sink in I froze on reply, very strange!

In the end I gave up and in desperation had a listen to the local sideband chat on 80. The main topic seemed to be the bad weather that was heading our way, but unfortunately the chaps talking had very dull monotonous tones and soon I was so bored I fell asleep and was only later awoken by some chap trying to tune up his amp, it does make a great alarm clock!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Windy Weather on the Way

I knew there was a good reason why I changed my scaffold pole for a proper mast. The Met office has issued a weather warning for possible gales but certainly heavy winds, so I have dropped the cobweb down 15 feet so that it's nice and secure and hopefully no chance of blowing away.
After I'd dropped it down I did a quick tune up and it's suprising how much it effects the receive/transmit capability, the signals were very much down but I had no problem contacting Europe and happily did a quick qso with a French station to make sure everything was as it should be.

Living up in the Cotswolds at 800 ASL I've learn't to realise that that it can get quite windy up here and if the forecast is for gust of 45 mph you can bet your bottom dollar that where we are they will easily reach 55mph and possibly higher. If you hear no more after this post you'll know we been blown away!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Q Code

Whilst happily tapping away the other day my mind started wondering about the Q code. Who started it and what as it really used for? Interestingly when looking it up in Wikipidia  it was created around 1909 by the British Government for the use by British ships and coastal stations.
When you see the full list it’s quite large and the code pretty well covers everything for maritime use, well that’s what it was set up to do!

Some of the more obscure ones include, QUQ which is “ Shall I train my searchlight nearly vertical on a cloud, and if your aircraft is seen, deflect the beam upwind and on the water?" QRC "By what enterprise are the accounts for charges for your station settled?" And a personal favourite, QUB "Can you give me in the following order information concerning: the direction in degrees and the speed of the surface wind, visibility, present weather and amount, type and height of base cloud above surface elevation at ........?" All excellent stuff!

Of course intermingled within the original code is our own amateur radio Q code, three of which I find interesting mainly because I don't remember them from my CW course many moons ago. QRA - Name, QRB - Distance and QSD - Defective keying (I could have certainly used that one on a few occasions. - Happy Tapping!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Search Continues

The story continues for the ultimate 30 meter DX antenna but so far with little luck. However I should point out that my little inverted vee performed remarkably well this week by having two contacts with US stations, one from Connecticut and the other from Texas the latter I am particularly proud of.
Got some good contacts with the home brew cobweb especially a couple of stations from Japan, so all things considered I’m pleased as punch since all my antennas are home made. 

Searching around the shack I have realized I have a number of antennas sitting there doing absolutely nothing, a Carolina Windom, a standard Windom, a Mystery Antenna and a 30 meter Delta Loop and my 30 meter Vertical, seeing some of the stuff that’s being sold on EBay I thought I might give a go at selling them off, or if that doesn’t work giving them away to a worthy cause, well see what happens and I’ll let you know!