Thursday, November 26, 2020
Monday, November 9, 2020
Initial Prototype: The initial prototype had a turns ratio of 14:2 (14 secondary and 2 primary). It used a single 100 pF capacitor across the center conductor to ground. The tests of this initial prototype after pruning for a best compromise resulted in:
2:1 SWR Bandwidth on 40 meters is 6.730 -> 7.530 MHz with a dip to 1.3:1 SWR at 7.060 MHz
2:1 SWR Bandwidth on 20 meters is 13.910 -> 14.806 MHz with a dip to 1:1 SWR at 14.360 MHz
2:1 SWR Bandwidth on 15 meters is 21.010 -> 22.070 MHz with a dip to 1.6:1 SWR at 21.610 MHz
2:1 SWR Bandwidth on 10 meters is 29.1 -> 30.8 MHz with a dip to 1.8:1 SWR at 29.900 MHz
On 10m it is not very usable unless one has an ATU.
2:1 SWR Bandwidth on 40 meters is 6.820 -> 7.510 MHz with a dip to 1.3:1 SWR at 7.150 MHz
2:1 SWR Bandwidth on 20 meters is 13.990 -> 14.840 MHz with a dip to 1:1 SWR at 14.430 MHz
2:1 SWR Bandwidth on 15 meters is 20.950 -> 22.270 MHz with a dip to 1.1:1 SWR at 21.650 MHz
2:1 SWR Bandwidth on 10 meters is 29.1 -> 30.8 MHz with a dip to 1.3:1 SWR at 29.900 MHz
Being a link dipole for 30m - here are the results for 30m:
2:1 SWR Bandwidth on 30 meters is 9.730 -> 10.880 MHz with a dip to 1.0:1 SWR at 10.280 MHz with a SWR between 1.3 and 1.2:1 from 10.100 to 10.150 MHz
A third prototype had the following results (identical in construction to the second one) with the following results.
2:1 SWR Bandwidth on 40 meters is 6.820 -> 7.500 MHz with a dip to 1.3:1 SWR at 7.150 MHz
2:1 SWR Bandwidth on 20 meters is 13.980 -> 14.850 MHz with a dip to 1:1 SWR at 14.440 MHz
2:1 SWR Bandwidth on 15 meters is 20.780 -> 22.280 MHz with a dip to 1.2:1 SWR at 21.600 MHz
2:1 SWR Bandwidth on 10 meters is 24.5 -> 29.9 MHz (which actually overlaps into 12 meters) with a dip to 1.1:1 SWR which is wide - 28.0 to 28.5 MHz so 10 meters is now perfectly usable without a tuner and so is 12m which is a very narrow band.
This is one heck of an antenna - requiring no tuner on 40m, 20m, 15m, 12m and 10m and power handling ability as follows SSB 60w, CW - 40w and Digital (key down) - 30w.
The final product:
Sunday, October 25, 2020
This DXpedition took place between late February and early March 2020 just before the pandemic hit with full force. Because of the pandemic, the major DXpeditions have been cancelled. The one going to Midway was one I was looking forward to but became victim to the pandemic. The last major one I was able to work was VP8PJ and I was able to make contact on 30m CW. Between the sunspot minimum and the effects of the pandemic - I will likely be stuck on #315 for a long while.
Friday, October 23, 2020
For backpacking where minimalism is important to me, my go to radio is the LNR MTR3B Mountain Topper. The radio itself weighs 174 grams. WG0AT has repackaged his into a clear lid tin that only weighs 120g. With the battery and the key made GM0EUL, the whole set up weighs less than a pound.
Sunday, December 22, 2019
Saturday, October 26, 2019
Sunday, September 1, 2019
I finally got my Mountain Goat designation after my 97th summit activation of Mount Sterling on July 16, 2019.
In the process i was able to establish the following:
Fastest ever to Mountain Goat (1000+ points) in North America. The previous mark was held by NA6MG which was over a period of 9.8 months. The mark I set was 8.9 months.
Thursday, May 16, 2019
Link Dipole is a Home Brew
EFHW is an LNR 40-20-10
Power : 200 mW
Sunday, April 28, 2019
We left Travelers Rest at 7:00 AM and arrived at Clingman’s Dome at about 9:30 AM and the temperature was around 43 degrees F. There was snow in the grassy areas. It was a bright, clear, spring day. The views did not disappoint. Tourists abounded on this beautiful day.
Dean K2JB sent me an email stating that he could not accompany me on the hike to Big Butt as his wife sustained an injury to her knee and would have an MRI on Saturday. As of April 19, I deleted my alert. Doing an alternate summit that is a drive up – such as Sassafras Mtn would have given away summit points that I otherwise could have had. So as it stands, there would be no activations during week 27.
Patrick KI4SVM was going to Mt. Hardy W4C/WM-006 and he kept tabs on our progress – wanting to make an S2S contact with us. I did make contact with Pat from both summits – once with CW and the other on the 2m HT, and so did Scott. We then descended Snaggy Bald and made a right turn as we picked up the ridge towards Doubletop. It was a steep decent on the ridgeline to the gap between the two mountains. We ascended to several false peaks before reaching Doubletop Mountain. About 200m from the summit of Doubletop stood a 7 foot high boulder which covered the entire width of the ridge. We had two options – go around the boulder by descending the ridge or go over it “free solo”. The ridge was very steep and going around it did not seem like a good idea. I was the one that found the boulder and I thought going over the top was the better choice.
Scott and I both safely made it over. We then ascended to the penultimate false peak – we called Doubletop Junior. After Doubletop Junior, the summit of Doubletop was still a distant 200m away. We were still faced with a steep 60m vertical rise over the remaining 200m. After we were sure we were within the AZ, Scott proceeded to the summit. I setup my station just below Scott in the AZ
Scott set up using the observation tower as a support for his vertical. I tried to call Scott but apparently his HT had died. Scott tried to text me to tell me about the wonderful views to be had on the summit observation tower. I was disappointed that I missed the opportunity – only a few meters away.
I set up my station by lashing my mast to a convenient tree. The difficulty came in getting the antenna trap stuck in a tree limb. Scott’s pole came to the rescue as he pulled down the tree limb with it to untangle the wire. With station set up wrapped up and contacts made, now the chore of hiking down was before us.
Soon I was at the Veterans Restoration Quarters where Scott and his wife volunteer to serve meals to veterans rehabilitating from PTSD, depression and other ailments. I had a meal with the church volunteers of stuffed potato and cole slaw.
Soon, Scott and I were up on the Parkway headed for Craggy Dome. Arriving at the overlook where the hike starts, I saw Craggy Dome, a gnarly mess of a mountain full of thick undergrowth and rhododendrons in between the hardwoods. Within it is a faint manway of a trail probably created by rain water all the way up to the summit.
Scott leading the way, we started hiking on the Mountains to Sea Trail and quickly made a beeline to the left toward the spine of the ridge. It was shallow at first. We were only about 600 meters or so to the summit as the crow flies. It was about a 1 km hike. The second half was fairly steep
Setting up a radio station was tight but very doable. Soon I was on the air. Propagation was not good as I was getting a lot of weak signal reports. I could not hear any other summit activators – although folks were calling on K9PM. I made about 20 contacts with chasers on 4 bands. Soon I was packing up to go home. On the way down, I found an alternate approach without bringing the vehicle into the campground. It would involve a 1 km hike with 200m of elevation gain which is very doable. There was a large grassy clearing on the shoulder of the Blue Ridge Parkway past the Lickstone Overlook if one is coming from Soco at coordinates N35 degrees 31.114 minutes and W83 degrees 11.698 minutes which will bring you to within 40m of the dirt road. One would just walk over the 40m from the grassy area to the dirt road and hike the rest of the way.
While planning the logistics for activating Bunches Bald and setting up my alert on the SOTA reflector, I found several alerts for Tom W1PTS. It appeared he was planning activations on April 3 and April 4 which will get him to within 2 points of becoming a Mountain Goat. Stay tuned to see how this played out. The projection was that Tom would just miss setting the North American record for the shortest time to become a Mountain Goat – in the neighborhood of 10.9 months. The NA record is still held by WA7JTM of 10.75 months established in February 2014. There I was at week 25 with 585 points – 27 weeks to go, and 415 points to 1000.
After the falls, the trail started out very rocky then turned into a more even dirt trail. Only two hikers joined us at the summit while we were up there. At the summit there was a fire tower. There were views of Mt. LeConte as we headed up the ridge.
The summit area had a large opening convenient for setting up. Scott used the tower to drop a line for his vertical. I set up on the trail using one of the trees as a mast holder.
The first order was to get Dean K2JB who was on W4C/WM-058 Wesser Bald for a summit to summit contact and both Scott and I quickly got him on 60m (5.332MHz) with CW. Following that was my first trans-Atlantic summit-to-summit contacts with activators Jorge EA2LU and Ignacio EA2BD who were both on EA2/NV-092 in Spain. Scott took care of both 60m and 40m while I took on 20m and 30m to sweep the bands. Soon we were on the long 6 km hike down. We encountered a few more intrepid hikers trying to summit Cove Mountain on the way down. Dean K2JB sent us text messages telling us about short cuts for the drive to Greentop.
Greentop is a “drive-up” except that this drive-up was on perfectly paved roads as opposed to gravel forest roads. With the short cuts that Dean provided, it was a short drive, perhaps a half hour to the summit of Greentop. We were warned about severe RF interference by Ron KI4TN but I encountered no such problems. Scott and I split the coverage of the bands, him on the low bands of 60m and 40m and me on the high bands of 20m and 30m. We both made summit to summit contacts with Dean K2JB who is now on W4C/WM-018 Wine Spring Bald. We did not generate a lot of QSOs but enough with our usual chasers. Soon we were on our way to Hall Top.
The excitement of the day came in the process of trying to summit Hall Top. We were both “on the fence” about whether to do Hall Top or not. We had only one hour of daylight left with Hall Top only 11.5 km away (as the crow flies”. We decided to do it. With good cell service Google Maps got us to the gravel Tower Road to the summit. About a fifth of the way up this long and twisty forest road – we encountered a sign that said “road closed ahead”. We took a chance that the sign is wrong and the road is really open.
About 2/3 of the way up, we encountered a washout of the road way. The washout narrowed the road to about the width of the Subaru track and with trepidation we made our way across. We certainly could not turn around at that point. We were hoping that there would be sufficient space past the washout to turn around. About another 800m and we encountered a barricade. This was truly our “stop point” and I got out of the car to guide the car around. We both looked at each other and I asked “Do we hike it?”. Scott asked in reply “How much more elevation gain?”. I said – “Another 200m to the summit per the altimeter on my GPS and another 2 km”. With 30 minutes of daylight left and having to negotiate that washout again we both said “Nah, let’s go home”.