The faint lines on the first video are from the support ropes on my hex beam taken from the deck on my house. The second video is from Illinois. It was an amazing sight to behold. The photo below was taken by my son Paul.
NY4G Weblog
Monday, August 21, 2017
Total Solar Eclipse 2017
The faint lines on the first video are from the support ropes on my hex beam taken from the deck on my house. The second video is from Illinois. It was an amazing sight to behold. The photo below was taken by my son Paul.
Sunday, August 20, 2017
The Rage About The New Mode FT8 by Joe Taylor
There has been a lot of talk and activity around the JT mode FT8 by Joe Taylor. This mode improves throughput in the JT modes by 4X over the various permutations of JT65 (JT9, JT65A). The QSO;s go fast. Transmit times are only 15 seconds where only 12 seconds or so are in key down  similarly for receive times.
Some tips however:
Remember to download the latest version of TQSL version 2.3.1
This is not enough: update this latest version with the latest Configuration file version 11 which just got released by the ARRL on August 14. This allows an ADIF file written by the logging program as FT8 to be recognized by LOTW. ACLog does not have a Pull Down for FT8 and you must enter it manually in the field for mode.
Unfortunately,although there is a lot of activity, I still have a hard time getting any new DXCC entities since all my QSOs seem to be with entities I have digital QSOs before. I guess patience until more of the rarer entities adopt it.
Some tips however:
Remember to download the latest version of TQSL version 2.3.1
This is not enough: update this latest version with the latest Configuration file version 11 which just got released by the ARRL on August 14. This allows an ADIF file written by the logging program as FT8 to be recognized by LOTW. ACLog does not have a Pull Down for FT8 and you must enter it manually in the field for mode.
Unfortunately,although there is a lot of activity, I still have a hard time getting any new DXCC entities since all my QSOs seem to be with entities I have digital QSOs before. I guess patience until more of the rarer entities adopt it.
Sunday, July 2, 2017
2017 Amateur Radio Field Day
For this year  I am the Field Day chairperson and so had the job of organizing and mobilizing the many club members of the Greer Amateur Radio Club. Just to recap last year's result  we were in the 2A class (2 transmitter club stations). Rusty Kirkpatrick WU2T was the chairperson last year. We ended up 16th nationally in 2A class and 2nd in the Roanoke Division of the ARRL. We took first place in SC. Our points total was 7670 last year and this is the score we had to beat this year.
For 2017  what we did that is the same as last year.
We used the same K3s we used last year  thanks to Dave K4SV
We used the same tribander on the trailer mounted tower  thanks to Dave K4SV
We used the same home brewed hex beam I constructed
We had two transmitters  one dedicated to CW and one dedicated to SSB
We had a Get On The Air or GOTA station.
We had round the clock coverage
What we did differently for 2017
We had dedicated antennas for both transmitters. The SSB station had 40m and 80m dipoles I constructed in addition to the tower mounted tribander 3 element yagi. The CW station had the hex beam for 201510 and the CrankIR for 40m and 80m. Originally I had planned to have Bob ND7Js 80m vertical but unfortunately this did not happen. This meant reeling the crank on the CrankIR in the middle of the night to convert it to 80m operation and then back to 40m in the morning.
We had a VHF station for 6 meters.
Here is a video put together by Dave Anderson K4SV
Results for 2017
QSOs overall 2300 plus (since it has not been submitted  subject to adjustment
1073 QSOs on SSB, 1185 QSOS on CW
Band CW Phone Dig Total %
     
80 143 159 0 302 13
40 483 51 0 534 24
20 428 650 0 1,078 48
15 121 128 0 249 11
6 10 84 0 94 4
2 0 1 0 1 0
    
Main Stations Total 1,185 1,073 0 2,258 100
GOTA CW 47 PHONE 85
Grand Total = 1232 CW and 1158 Phone
QSO Points = 2464 CQ and 1158 Phone = 3622 Points x 2 Power Multiplier =7244 Points
Total Contacts by Operator:
Operator Total
  
K4SV 433 WG4MC 255 AG3R 214 W4RCW 179 WN4AFP 209 NY4G 156 W4FC 155 KE4EA 131 K1IT 101 WU2T 101 KD4S 98 W4EEY 86 ND7J 69 WB4OQL 78 KZ4M 38 K4VOI 7 W4VX 6 KN4EUM 11 KJ4TID 2 K1SBI 37 KM4VJC 24
Total = 21
Total Contacts by Antenna
CrankIR 626 28%
Hexbeam 549 24%
80m Dipole 159 7%
40m Dipole 51 2.2%
Force12 778 34.4%
6m beam 94 4.1%
BONUS POINTS 1030
Emergency Power 200 POINTS
Media Publicity 100 POINTS
Set Up in Public Place 100 POINTS
Information Booth 100 Points
Message to SM 100 POINTS
Educational Activity 100 POINTS
W1AW Field Day Message 100 POINTS
GOTA Bonus 80 POINTS
Electronic Submittal 50 POINTS
Social Media 100 POINTS
OVERALL POINTS  8274 points
Here are some photos from the operation.
The GOTA screenhouse  I believe that is Ron WB4OQL
A view of Lake Robinson
Inside the GOTA tent  A TS480 set up for digital modes and an ICOM 706 fgor 6 meters
Operation now in full swing  Pete AG3R under the watchful eye of Dave K4SV
Last year's captain Rusty WU2T
Carl W4RCW on SSB
Dave K4SV taking a video
Howard K1SBI making QSO's
That is a CrankIR in the foreground near the lake which served as the antenna for the CW ops on 40m and 80m
Matt Case KG4MC standing in front of y home brew hexbeam
There is Dave K4SV/s Force 12 Tribander on a trailer mounted tower
Husband and wife team Vicki KS4VJ and Dave KE4EA
Howard and family. That is his son Sammy
For 2017  what we did that is the same as last year.
We used the same K3s we used last year  thanks to Dave K4SV
We used the same tribander on the trailer mounted tower  thanks to Dave K4SV
We used the same home brewed hex beam I constructed
We had two transmitters  one dedicated to CW and one dedicated to SSB
We had a Get On The Air or GOTA station.
We had round the clock coverage
What we did differently for 2017
We had dedicated antennas for both transmitters. The SSB station had 40m and 80m dipoles I constructed in addition to the tower mounted tribander 3 element yagi. The CW station had the hex beam for 201510 and the CrankIR for 40m and 80m. Originally I had planned to have Bob ND7Js 80m vertical but unfortunately this did not happen. This meant reeling the crank on the CrankIR in the middle of the night to convert it to 80m operation and then back to 40m in the morning.
We had a VHF station for 6 meters.
Here is a video put together by Dave Anderson K4SV
Results for 2017
QSOs overall 2300 plus (since it has not been submitted  subject to adjustment
1073 QSOs on SSB, 1185 QSOS on CW
Band CW Phone Dig Total %
     
80 143 159 0 302 13
40 483 51 0 534 24
20 428 650 0 1,078 48
15 121 128 0 249 11
6 10 84 0 94 4
2 0 1 0 1 0
    
Main Stations Total 1,185 1,073 0 2,258 100
GOTA CW 47 PHONE 85
Grand Total = 1232 CW and 1158 Phone
QSO Points = 2464 CQ and 1158 Phone = 3622 Points x 2 Power Multiplier =7244 Points
Total Contacts by Operator:
Operator Total
  
K4SV 433 WG4MC 255 AG3R 214 W4RCW 179 WN4AFP 209 NY4G 156 W4FC 155 KE4EA 131 K1IT 101 WU2T 101 KD4S 98 W4EEY 86 ND7J 69 WB4OQL 78 KZ4M 38 K4VOI 7 W4VX 6 KN4EUM 11 KJ4TID 2 K1SBI 37 KM4VJC 24
Total = 21
Total Contacts by Antenna
CrankIR 626 28%
Hexbeam 549 24%
80m Dipole 159 7%
40m Dipole 51 2.2%
Force12 778 34.4%
6m beam 94 4.1%
BONUS POINTS 1030
Emergency Power 200 POINTS
Media Publicity 100 POINTS
Set Up in Public Place 100 POINTS
Information Booth 100 Points
Message to SM 100 POINTS
Educational Activity 100 POINTS
W1AW Field Day Message 100 POINTS
GOTA Bonus 80 POINTS
Electronic Submittal 50 POINTS
Social Media 100 POINTS
OVERALL POINTS  8274 points
Here are some photos from the operation.
The GOTA screenhouse  I believe that is Ron WB4OQL
A view of Lake Robinson
Inside the GOTA tent  A TS480 set up for digital modes and an ICOM 706 fgor 6 meters
Operation now in full swing  Pete AG3R under the watchful eye of Dave K4SV
Last year's captain Rusty WU2T
Carl W4RCW on SSB
Dave K4SV taking a video
Howard K1SBI making QSO's
That is a CrankIR in the foreground near the lake which served as the antenna for the CW ops on 40m and 80m
Matt Case KG4MC standing in front of y home brew hexbeam
There is Dave K4SV/s Force 12 Tribander on a trailer mounted tower
Husband and wife team Vicki KS4VJ and Dave KE4EA
Howard and family. That is his son Sammy
Saturday, June 3, 2017
Getting Things Ready for Field Day
Plans for Field Day
3 antennas for CW station
3 antennas for the SSB station
The CW station will have this hexbeam  with 3 bands on it. I obtained the weight on a digital luggage scale at 16.5 pounds.
Thursday, June 1, 2017
DX Marathon 2016 Scores  Made Top 10
Formula Class  5 Watt
 
Callsign

Countries

Zones

Score

WG5G

225

38

263

IV3AOL

206

34

240

W8QZA

183

36

219

K4AR

179

34

213

ON6QRP

163

36

199

NY4G

165

33

198

DF5WW

154

34

188

IN3UFW

109

24

133

IK4UXA

93

22

115

EB3EPR

90

24

114

KI0G

85

23

108

K8ZT

79

27

106

GU4YBW

82

20

102

YB2ERL

71

27

98

W4ER

65

23

88

G8JQW

44

9

53

PY1CMT

36

14

50

W6OGC

34

11

45

K5ATG

17

11

28

PY4WJ

5

5

10

PU5YSV

2

2

4

Sunday, May 28, 2017
Making a Hexbeam Air Dielectric Coaxial Centerpost Feedline from Scratch
Most everybody I know has an NA4RR or K4KIO centerpost  myself included. I have used a K4KIO centerpost in the past and had been happy with it. I then decided to build centerpost out of PVC pipe with the coax connections inside to prevent water from making contact with the foam core insulation and ruining the dielectric insulation between center conductor and shield. I used it for about 6 months and decided to make a change to NA4RR's version and this has been on my home station for the better part of 2 years. I did some research and captured the following equations to construct the equivalent of a 50 ohm (or as close to it) coaxial feedline.
For round coax, make the inside diameter of the outside conductor 2.302 times larger than the diameter of the inside conductor.
If the shield is square, and the inner conductor is still round, make the inside length of one side of the shield 2.134 times larger than the diameter of the inside conductor.
The derivation is as follows:
Z0=R+jÏ‰LG+jÏ‰C−−−−−−−−√ $${Z}_{0}=\sqrt{\frac{R+j\mathrm{\xcf\u2030}L}{G+j\mathrm{\xcf\u2030}C}}$$
Z0≈LC−−√ $${Z}_{0}\approx \sqrt{\frac{L}{C}}$$
C=2Ï€Ïµ0Ïµrln(D/d)
L=Î¼0Î¼r2Ï€ln(D/d) $$L=\frac{{\mathrm{\xce\xbc}}_{0}{\mathrm{\xce\xbc}}_{r}}{2\mathrm{\xcf\u20ac}}\mathrm{ln}(D/d)$$
Z0≈59.96ln(D/d) $${Z}_{0}\approx 59.96\mathrm{ln}(D/d)$$
56.40ln(D/d)ln(D/d)D/dD/dD/d≈Z0≈Z059.96≈eZ0/59.96≈e50/59.96≈2.302
For round coax, make the inside diameter of the outside conductor 2.302 times larger than the diameter of the inside conductor.
If the shield is square, and the inner conductor is still round, make the inside length of one side of the shield 2.134 times larger than the diameter of the inside conductor.
The derivation is as follows:
A coaxial transmission line has some inductance per unit length L $L$, and some capacitance per unit length C $C$. The conductors also have some (very low) resistance R $R$, and the dielectric has some (very low) conductance G $G$. Though it's important to note that these properties are distributed throughout the entire length of the transmission line, lumping them all together we can model a transmission line as:
The characteristic impedance is then:
The characteristic impedance is then:
where:
R $R$ is the resistance per unit length, considering the two conductors to be in series,L $L$ is the inductance per unit length,G $G$ is the conductance of the dielectric per unit length,C $C$ is the capacitance per unit length,j $j$ is the imaginary unit, andÏ‰ $\mathrm{\xcf\u2030}$ is the angular frequency.
If we assume a good conductor and dielectric, then R $R$ and G $G$ are negligible^{1}. The equation then simplifies to:
For round coaxial transmission lines, we can calculate C $C$ and L $L$ as:
where:
d $d$ is the diameter of the inner conductor,D $D$ is the inside diameter of the outer conductor,Ïµ0 ${\mathrm{\xcf\mu}}_{0}$ is the permittivity of free space, approximately8.854⋅10−12F⋅m−1 $8.854\cdot {10}^{12}F\cdot {m}^{1}$Î¼0 ${\mathrm{\xce\xbc}}_{0}$ is the permeability of free space, approximately1.256⋅10−6H⋅m−1 $1.256\cdot {10}^{6}H\cdot {m}^{1}$Ïµr ${\mathrm{\xcf\mu}}_{r}$ is the relative permittivity of the dielectric, andÎ¼r ${\mathrm{\xce\xbc}}_{r}$ is the relative permeability of the dielectric.
Putting these together and simplifying we get:
For an air dielectric, Ïµr ${\mathrm{\xcf\mu}}_{r}$ and Î¼r ${\mathrm{\xce\xbc}}_{r}$ are so close to 1 than you can further simplify:
You can also see that only the ratio of the diameters of the conductors are relevant, so it doesn't matter what units of length are used, as long as they are the same.
We can solve for D/d $D/d$, and set Z0=50Î© ${Z}_{0}=50\mathrm{\xce\copyright}$:
So in my case  0.625" diameter and 1.5" diameter aluminum tubing are available from DX Engineering. If I use average wall diameter for the outside tube and the OD of the inside tube, the ratio of D/d in this case is 2.3 which is really close.
My plan is to put fiberglass sleeves around the bolts to insulate it from the outer shield along with nylon washers on the inside and outside. Here is a scaled picture below
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