Thursday, December 29, 2016
I'd had wanted the 20m but I felt it was going to be too big even in the new paddock so I settled on the 17.
Details of the build can be seen on my Moxon page, but below is a taste of the completed build on the twenty foot fibre glass mast, I've just got to mount it on the 35ft aluminium mast with a rotator at some stage. But all the testing is pretty well complete.
Monday, December 12, 2016
In the end I used 42 stranded speaker cable for the wire, the 4:1 balun is a temporary one I purchased off eBay for the princely sum of £19. I put it on the MFJ 259 to test and it was OK and it's recommended maximum power is 200w coverage. (I come back to that later in the post).
Measuring off 71.4 ft (for 14.060 the cw portion) of wire, the raised triangle was smaller than I had originally thought. The 4:1 balun was fed at the bottom left corner as recommended for DX. The only tricky bit was actually the raising of the antenna, but that was quickly sorted.
Testing and reports so far has been good. Measuring the SWR I get a good 1:1 through to 14.200 where it rises to 1:2 up to 14.300. Only a few contacts so far but they have been good with 5/7 and 5/9 reports and the background noise is so quiet compared to my cobweb.
Coming back to the 4:1 Balun, I'm not too happy with buying one. I'd rather learn about them and build my own, simply because it's a big part of the hobby if your building antennas, obviously it's cheaper to build your own and you have peace of mind that it has been tested and built by you!
Having never built one before I've been looking at the Web to see what designs are about and I have ordered the parts to have a go at building a high powered Guanella Balun. These are x2 FT 240-31 toroids and some 15 A automotive /speaker wire and a small box to house. I have all other bits in my junk box so that shouldn't be a problem. This should be enough for a reasonable power and should cover more than the UK legal limit.
The interesting thing when you start learning about Baluns is that you are opening up a wealth of different information which can be quite tricky to understand. To this end I'm actually feeling good about learning a new part of the hobby!
As an update I completed the 4:1 balun. The Toroid's were bigger than I had expected but the actual winding was fairly easy and my impatience got the better of me as my box for containing the balun hadn't arrived due, no doubt to Xmas post, so I used an old butter dish as a container instead which worked reasonable well but was slightly too big!
Anyhow, I did some testing and the SWR was slightly low peaking at 1:2 at 13.600 Mhz. This after research was because my toroid leads were too long (the size of the butter dish). So waiting for the proper container to arrive I trimmed the wires and all seemed much better.
Morale of the story don't be so impatient!!
Finally the container arrived and I fitted the balun. Did some more testing and the SWR looked good , 1:2 spot on the QRP at 14.060. Later that day I did a test transmission on 14.060 and I got a Spanish station who gave me a 589 at 5 watts.
Wednesday, December 7, 2016
The one advantage I have here is that my take off points around the house are pretty good especially towards Australia and opposite towards the Americas. I'm fairly high up at about 700 feet above sea level with no major obstacles apart from the odd tree dotted around the garden and they say from the Cotswolds east towards Russia the next high ground you hit are the Urals which are well over a thousand miles away, so you can see my take off points are pretty exceptional.
Reading the reports about the Delta Loop, they are a quiet on receive and with vertically polarized loops good on low angle radiation so I reckon they would work well around here for some serious dxing. I thought about which band I would set it up for and came to the decision of 20 meters simple because there would be a high amount of activity both in the Americas and Australia so I should have no problem with contacts especially in the part of the low activity cycle.
I'd like to use Plan D with the apex at the corner, to maximise a good low angle of take off. I have a spare 30 foot telescopic mast which I can lengthen a further 10 feet should I require it and tying off the bottom corners should not be a problem
Calculations for the antenna are fairly simple, to determine the length of wire needed for the desired band you simply divide the resonant frequency in Mhz into 1005 and because the impedance is normally 90 to 120 Ohms you can either use a quarter wave length of 75 ohm coax to match or a 4:1 balun (which I will be using). You need to have a triangular shape (or near as) for it to work properly and of course an ATU will be required. Better to cut slightly longer and use a good SWR analyser to tune the wire to your desired frequency.
I've had to order some more wire , but so far that's been the only expense. So hopefully this will work out as a fairly cheap project. More updates to follow!
Friday, December 2, 2016
He now uses it daily and has become very proficient at CW once again. He wrote to me to advertise CW.com and to say even if you are not licenced you can still chat in CW via the internet and of course it's an excellent way to learn Morse Code without the pressure of being on air so to speak!
You can send and receive at your pace and have fun in the process. For my particular CW it's excellent because I can go at my speed and I can practise receiving without any pressure I always feel when transmitting on air (this is entirely down to my head and the stroke I had back in 2015!)
If you need to practise why not give it a try and see what you think .
Tuesday, November 8, 2016
I know through experience that it is the owners who have the knowledge about these rigs so I'm trying to bring some together so we can discus the pros and cons of owning this transceiver.
Or even if you don't own one but would like to be involved please join us!
Come to the FTDX9000 forum
73s - M0AUW
Thursday, November 3, 2016
A while back when feeling more adventurous, I had built one and tested it, but I couldn't keep it hoisted up together with the W3DZZ as members of the "family" were not amused!
But now having the extra land has opened up my selection and somewhere within our new paddock will be an area devoted to my antenna testing with I might add full approval!
Digging out the old antenna from my shed I realised and remembered I had literally only tested it for a few days and then put it away. So really it needed retesting again to make sure everything was working OK.
Consisting of 24.99 metres of wire with two traps, I seem to remember this was a reasonable antenna that was pretty well matching the W3DZZ, but for either sentimental reasons or something else I left the W3DZZ up rather than this antenna. I can't for the life of me remember where I got the original idea from, but it must have been from the web somewhere. So I will continue to search and maybe get lucky to show the original plans.
Friday, October 21, 2016
All I have left now is my trusty K2, a Tokyo ATU and my OHR-100A QRP 5 watt transceiver together with 3 RockMites and the FTDX9000MP. All other bits and pieces are now going towards financing the Yaesu. Actually I need a good clear-out, so this is just the excuse I need.
I'm continuing to learn more about the FT9000, I've just ordered a 64Mb memory card for the recording of voice and CW. I'm also at the stage of working out what exactly I can get on the Monitor. Looking in more detail you can actually set up an internal log book with maps of contacts. You can set up times around the world and if you have one, set up a rotator with all directions of the compass! But as things progress I will no doubt begin to understand more that's available to me.
Contact wise has been interesting, I tried my first SSB QSO the other day with a chat to a ham in Texas, who gave me a 59 at 300 watts which wasn't bad considering the conditions and with CW I had another QRP contact from a German station who was only using 0.5 watts from Leipzig. The receive capability is just amazing, you can pick out these QRP stations quite easily and no one else seems to be able to hear them!
Tuesday, October 18, 2016
I also have a bencher and a Kent paddle key that I try to use fairly often, but my paddle skills are still not the best and I seem to have good days and bad.
Another key I have is a Begali Spark straight key which is very nice (so it should be for the price)! Very smooth to operate and a nice light feel to it, although its quite heavy so there is no need to lock it down when in use, unlike the Czech keys.
I've been using this with the FTDX9000, the light touch with the ability to easily alter the spring or the gap is very useful when replying to different operators. I don't know if I'm the only one doing this, but I adjust my keys, quite often depending on what mood I'm in, if I'm tired and want to key a slow QSO I open the gap and tighten the spring so I have to work a bit, or I go the other way if I'm with it and wide awake to speed things up. Does anybody else do this or is it just me?
My speed is still quite slow, around 14/15 words per minute, the other thing I find which maybe because I'm get older and hopefully wiser, is you don't have to speed along. A lot of CW operators tend to send faster than they can be understood, their spacing is wrong or each letter becomes one great long word. Simply because they are sending faster than they actually capable of.
That's quite a statement I know, but I think its true. Just because you can understand 18/20 wpm doesn't mean you can send correctly at 18/20 wpm and boy can you hear it sometimes. But other skilled operators, it is true music to your ears, precise timing, the right spacing, makes all the difference.
Of course you get used to different types of code being sent, but you know when you can hear good CW. It can be fast, but you can understand it and it makes all the difference.
It's interesting that I used to be around 18, but I've slowed since my stroke, I've lost the capability to memorize the conversation so I have to write most of it down. BNC, Brain Not Correlated any more! Still the old adage is practise practise and I certainly intend to do as much as I can so the speed should eventually pick back up!
Sunday, October 16, 2016
Fitting it all in the attic proved a little more difficult having to resize the height and obviously fit the wiring from the attic floor to below in to the shack, but eventually I got there and completed it without bringing the roof down!
Thursday, October 13, 2016
Then by chance my Brother in law bought a used one for just under £4000. Naturally I was over at his place to see this extraordinary rig in action and I wasn't disappointed! What a rig, it's massive, dwarfing my FT2000d . With all its bell and whistles I wondered what it would be like to use in anger. I had a small play, but to be honest I couldn't really sit there and do the things I wanted to do simply because I'm more a CW man and he is more an SSB so it was completely different set ups.
Then my brother in law who is a finicky sort of bloke , who likes his equipment to be spotless and clean, free of marks of any kind and this used machine had a few marks here and there, nothing terrible but the previous owner had been a smoker and the radio stank of tobacco. The owner had realised it was in need of a bit of a clean up and had ordered a new PSU cover from Yaesu but that was about it. My brother in law had obviously given it a think and rang a certain dealer looking for bits to replace his beloved FTDX9000MP, things like covers and cable ETC.
The dealer was sympathetic but started chatting to him about the possibility of buying a new rig altogether on a special deal rather than trying to build up the older rig. Somehow as he does, my brother in law came out smiling with a new rig, he now owned two FTDX9000MP's.
The brother in Law was over the moon having done a decent deal and suggested we go up to London together to pick up his brand new and spotless FTDX9000MP.
Well you know what's coming next?
So there we were in the car travelling up to London and he casually mentions on the way , "how would you fancy owning an FTDX9000MP"?
I was flabbergasted, my ultimate rig had arrived it was just there for me to say....... yes!
It took me all of a couple of seconds, I'd sell the FT2000d give my brother law a deposit and pay him on a monthly basis with no interest what could be better? He was happy, he had his new rig for a special deal plus he had sold the older rig to me and I was delighted.
By the weekend we had brought the FTDX9000MP over to my house set it up. But because of all the old kit in the way we just had to let it sit in my shack till I could clear some space.
Monday morning comes and I 've cleared enough space for the beast to sit comfortably with its monitor and PSU. It wasn't till the evening I managed to actually connect up, give it clean and a polish, (it really didn't need much work), switch it on and have a play, I was like a kid in a candy shop.
Twenty meters I hear a QRP station RA7RA, he calls CQ a few times, I'm on ten watts, what the hell lets try!
First time he comes straight back, name is Pavel, RST 599, QTH Savastapol that's 2500 km or 1500 miles he putting out 150 milliwatt of power, no else can hear him yet I can , that's a Cobweb antenna and an FTDX9000MP for you!
I kid you not, once you've tried the rig there's no going back and I thought the FT2000D was a good rig.
The receive capability is just something else, I could go on and on, it's just an amazing rig, it's rather like you've been driving a reasonable car then you jump in to a Rolls Royce or a Ferrari.
It's early days yet but I've had more QSO's since getting the rig than I have in the past 3 months!
Friday, October 7, 2016
Wednesday, October 5, 2016
The only problem I came across with the Ham IV rotators were there size and weight they were just too big for my simple scaffold pole with my VHF set up. What I needed was a smaller style TV antenna that would be light enough for the scaffold pole or up in the attic.
The same chap who I had originally bought the rotators off also had a lighter CDR Ham Rotor rotator. He wanted £40 for it and would also supply a spare AR-40 and the control box, the problem was they were not in pristine condition and needed a good service, I'd never attempted servicing a rotator before, but I had the manual and Utube so I thought what the hell , let's give it a go.
Looking at the two rotators I had previously bought, one was just filthy and full of grease and opened up ( by the previous owner) but the bits were all there in a box. The other was together but the cable connections and terminal strip were shot and stuck with rust from being in the outdoors, they needed a good soak in penetration fluid to free them up. The idea being to then test it to see if anything major was needed to be done.
In the meantime I would start on the dismantled AR- 40 rotator and start cleaning it, degreasing and see if I could put it together. Cleaning took me a day of just removing the old grease and polishing it up. The two ball bearing holders were cleaned but it was obvious I would need 50 new ball bearings as the old were pitted and badly rusted.
Tuesday, September 27, 2016
The first items I required was three aluminium 18mm tubes, two at one metre length and the other at 1500mm and one boom 15mm by 15mm square also at 1 metre in length. I would also require three pieces of wooden curved dowel (12") to support the aluminium tubes when mounted, a small but thick piece of copper wire for the hairgrip 12.5mm in length and 10 plastic tie grips.
The aluminium tubes will be rear element 1020mm, drive element 920mm and front 890mm. The rear and front will remain at their lengths but the drive will need to be cut accurately in half and then two small hole drilled about 2 mm from one end to take a small screw for the coax and hairpin wire.
The hairpin wire should be 5 cm in length bent at right angles 2.2cm width, and bent again at right angles for another 5cm. the width between ground and live should be the 2.2 cm.
But the first thing I really needed was a decent antenna, a Yagi or similar and a bit of power as 10 watts from the Trio might not get me too far. My old homebrew Yagi had long gone so I needed to build another and in the meantime my Brother in Law had given me an old 6 element job that needed a bit of a clean up but would certainly do for the moment. I managed to find a small amplifier off the web which gave me 50 watts of power and I began setting things up and experimenting.
It sure is quiet out there, maybe it was conditions but not a lot was happening, but through a bit of perseverance I knew I was receiving and transmitting on the local club net. But that 6 element Yagi was proving very direction and I was getting sick of the arm strong method running downstairs from my shack to where the antenna was placed, a rotator was required.
Have you seen the price of rotators lately?
It was a bit of a shock, I wanted something small and light like a TV rotator, but you try and find a new one in the UK, it seems they are out of favour. plenty of second hand ones on eBay, but going for more than the new ones used to be and they looked pretty worn out anyway!
Still at a loss I kept searching hoping that something would turn up and then out of the blue my brother in law who happened to be doing a deal with mate regarding a radio, was also selling a Ham IV rotator for £60 and rang to let me know, so I bought it on his word!
I was lucky, it was in reasonable condition, even better it came with a spare that had a cracked collar and two control units, it just need the 8 core cable and it was complete. The only downsize was I realised it might be a bit heavy for what I wanted, which was to mount on a scaffold pole up 25ft but I could work round that and if necessary place it in the attic with my new home brew smaller Yagi.
Testing the motor on a block of wood it was pretty sturdy and was not going to move all over the place and I decided after a bit of thought I would try it in my attic, height of the antenna might be a problem but I was living in a house at 800 ft above sea level and a 20 foot scaffolding pole might not make a lot of difference.
So I decided to carry on regardless and see what the outcome would be, after all I could always change if needed. I measured the 6 element beam and although at 3 meters it would just fit in the attic at a low position I decided to go ahead and re build a 3 element Yagi and store the 6 ele for another time.
The new 3 element homebrew Yagi has been built copying earlier specifications from my blog and I will do a separate note on how to build it. In the meantime I've yet to place all the equipment up in the attic, but I intend to do this over the weekend, so updates will follow.
Friday, September 9, 2016
The length of antenna issue had been sorted by having the good fortune to purchase a bit more land off the farmer, as it had come up for sale just at the right time, not just for an antenna farm I hasten to add, but for increasing the size of our plot with a mini paddock to do with what we liked and it just happened that a Carolina Windom 80 special happened to fit snugly in the paddock!
The forty being 66 feet in length (41ft and 25ft split), needed to revert back to the original size of 133 feet, 83 feet on one side and 50 feet the other. All I did was increase the length of each side by soldering new pieces of 42 stranded cable wire, nothing else was touched. Now I had to hope that the balun and transformer (1:1 balun) would still be working even though I had been messing about with them and 22 foot coax was now totally new!
Friday, July 1, 2016
At a later stage once I've got the idea of how the band works with its various different segments I'll build a small Yagi.
In the meantime, this is very simple , two approximate 5ft aluminium poles (to start before trimming) about 10 mm circumference screwed together on a piece of curved wood for support and strength. Then connected with some heavy duty electrical wire to an SO 239 female connector. The whole lot has then been attached via screw through the wood to some old plastic bread board I cut to size and then mounted on a fibre glass 20ft pole.
Wednesday, June 15, 2016
So I managed to successfully install OmniRig with the drivers from the mini CD.
Looking within HDSR at the OmniRig partition, I've got to work out what settings will be required to operate the Ft2000 with the PC. Unfortunately there's no set up instructions so I've been busy on the web trying to find some sort of help with regard to setup. The nearest thing I can find is set ups for other rigs but it gives me a general idea of what to do.
Sunday, June 12, 2016
So I started reading up about SDR via the internet about how you can adapt various radios to SDR. Well this got me thinking can I set up SDR for my FT 2000d? It turns out you can and once more its fairly cheap to get going. Since I work in the IT trade with knowledge of computers and software I thought this was too good an opportunity to miss so promptly started searching for what is about and what I can set up for my particular rig.
I came across a webite called HDSR (High Definition Software Defined Radio) with a package that can be downloaded and begin your adventures with SDR. It explains about SDR and various packages you can download and use, but obviously they are promoting the HDSR package.
Turning to hardware I wasn't sure where to start, but I figured the web must hold some information regarding hardware and what to use.
Eventually after much searching I came across an American site off eBay titled RTL SDR Panadapter/Spectrum Scope for Yaesu FT-2000, consisting of: A Newsky USB RTL SDR Digital Tuner/Receiver.A RG-174 cable to connect the radio's IF to the Tuner/Receiver An adapter to simplify the cable install.3 foot long USB Extension Cable to get the Tuner/Receiver away from the computer (Computers make a lot of noise).With the complete instructions and links to the correct software and drivers. I thought this is just what I need but it's in the US so postage costs would be high. Surely someone in the UK is doing something similar?
Sure enough I found a page off the UK portion of eBay that had the hardware I needed, The site consisted of similar items like the American site, a dongle, some length of RG 174 and a USB extension cable, the tools to get you up and running. You have to download the software on to the PC and basically add the drivers. The Hardware then has to be installed which is the dongle connected up to the RG174 which in turn is connected to the scope socket within the rig, which incorporates removing top and bottom lids of the rig (easy to do). Then the other end of the dongle connects to the PC via the USB extension cable. Using a nice large monitor on your PC and bingo your away!
I've still got loads to learn and I haven't got the CAT yet for controlling the RIG but I've ordered one and it's coming next week. I have to say it's great fun and if you can do take a look at whats about for your radio, it's the future and it's fun, so it's definitly worth getting in to !
Monday, June 6, 2016
The weather was brilliant for the weekend. Warm temperatures and dry conditions has made it exceptionally good this year and there was a large number of club members who have been out and about. It was nice to catch up with fellow members all addicted to the same hobby as me, sometimes a good chat and a drink boosts the radio morale.
The six meter DX competition was a bit disappointing with only 62 contacts throughout the two days and you have to admire the perseverance and patience of those guys.
But across the way from them the HF field day competition (24hours non stop)made some excellent contacts with some 800 stations.
The Contest competitions are not what I remember from the old days. Computers seem to rule the roost and are used on a regular basis for logging and for tuning up and down the bands. I've never been in to contesting much but from what I saw they can be quite exciting, 24hrs of split shifts with lots of go getting without much of a break, even so, I still have to say not for me! However, one interesting thing came up especially for me was that the HF boys were using a K3 transceiver for their contest and it was nice to see it there for the first time and put through its paces. Comments about the radio were good but not good enough for me to decide to move from the FT2000d to a K3!
I t was nice to see some old military radios in serious action and I must admit I'm tempted by a small purchase in the near future of something like a Clansman radio. I saw two old versions, one for the mobile (Land Rover ops) and one for the standard infantryman, both nice radios, but if I had to choose I'd probably go with the mobile version.
Tuesday, May 17, 2016
He rang the advertised number with caution as sometime scams can happen, it was OK the guy was genuine. It turns out he was moving home and had no room for the 9000 so it had to go, he’d now set his sights on something new, a Flex radio.
A week later the Brother in Law is still working out what everything does and keeps ringing me to go on air so he can practise various filters positions and other settings, he's even thinking of taking up CW again!!
Friday, April 29, 2016
The actual antenna is made up of 2mm wire, the 2 coils are made up of 18 turns of 2mm wire and the distance of turns is also 2mm.
The diameter of the coils is 7/8 cm and the coax feed is comprised of 75 ohms, an old TV cable should do. But for a good feed from coax to the dipole a 1:1 Balun would help.
I'll let you know how it goes!