Tuesday, September 27, 2016

All Mode 2 meter DX and Rotators

I managed to pick up an old Trio 700s all mode transceiver the other day at a fairly cheap price that was just too good to miss, although I already have an Alinco 2 meter rig, but it's purely for local FM traffic. So here was a chance to see what some SSB work on a VHF rig was like as I hadn't done much in all my years in the hobby!

Trio 700s complete with amp and pwr

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!

The two Rotators and control boxes

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.

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