Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Good Old W3DZZ and the Tokyo ATU

The weather this week has been horrid, mostly gales and rain, consequently the cobweb has been lowered right down and the moxon placed to one side via the tilt mast.

The only antenna in operation at the moment is the W3DZZ which is doing a sterling job as it’s taking a real hammering from these storms and gales we've been recently suffering from. 

It's one of the first antennas I ever built and was taken from a brilliant article I read by GM0OMX Len Paget which is so easy to follow that it made me realise that I could become an antenna builder. Strangley enough by shear chance our paths crossed via email and I told him how his article had inspired me to take up antenna building. He wrote me a wonderful reply and told me that the article was a "rush job" sent in to Practical Wireless at the very last minute. How disastrous would that have been for me if he had missed the deadline!!

The W3DZZ has always proved to be invaluable and more importantly in bad weather such as the stuff we are having this week utterly reliable. Although not designed as an all bander (the traps are set for 40 and 80 meters), I have it connected up through the Tokyo ATU and I  can happily tune up 30 and 20 meters and have this week successfully had a couple of qso’s on each band.

Tokyo Hy-Power HC-400 ATU

The Tokyo Hy-Power HC-400 ATU was picked up via Ebay many moons ago and is one of the most useful bits of kit I own. That ATU will tune up a piece of wet string and if you ever see one for sale my advice is go buy it!
Sometimes I'll turn off the auto ATU in the FT1000 MP V and just use the Tokyo, it's that simple to set up.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Moxon Update

Building the moxon has certainly given me an appetite for beam antennas. Having managed to get hold of an antenna rotator the moxon has definitely proved itself and I have been having great fun especially with early morning contacts to VK, ZL and J stations, I even had a BA over the weekend.

 Looking good but before I'd got the rotator!

The rotator was bought from Conrad Electronics for £49.00 and is a standard TV rotator, but ideal for something light like the moxon. The only problems I faced were that the instructions were in German (my German is not good), and so in my haste I did not realise that the separately supplied 3 pin plug just allowed the European 2 pin plug to just slot in to it. I thought I had to rewire and so I cut the 2 pin plug off..........oops! A quick bit of reconnecting and soldering fixed the problem and I soon had it all attached to my mast and was rotating away to my hearts delight.

So I've decided the next step for me is to plan a 10 meter yagi something with 3 elements and then have a go at building one in the New Year. I’ve had a look at some designs on the web and they don’t look too difficult to construct although the gamma match is something new to investigate but again doesn’t look too complicated.

The weather forecast this week is for gale force winds so for the first time I have dropped the cobweb and mast right down to its lowest level. Last week we had some quite high winds and the mast was weaving about all over the place and I decided there is no point in taking any risks so everything has been lowered and I only have the W3DZZ active at the moment.

Whilst building all my antennas I borrowed an MFJ antenna analyzer from my brother in law, he now wants it back as his Hygain came down in last weeks storms and he needs it to reset the vertical. Without an analyzer I feel slightly lost and so I took the plunge and bought a Feature Tech AW06A which is a basic analyzer covering just the SW frequencies. The few reviews I’ve managed to read give it a good write up and compared to the MFJ is fairly basic, but it should do the job. Fingers crossed I will receive it before Christmas and I will give it a proper write up in a later post.