HC2AO VIEWS

Hello brethren et al.

Haven´t you noticed the recent trend of regionalization of DX peditions? This is to say that expeditions are getting more overzealous calling EU or NA or JA only, not giving even a tiny window for others.  No doubts – from a certain DX QTH A there are very narrow windows of opportunity for areas B,C,D and those would appreciate a rare contact. Yet, if it is a new one for someone in area E such a QSo wouldn’t be less appreciated.  Even focusing on, say, EU won’t be affected by much if a DX operator would give 10 -15 minutes each hour to anyone no matter geography. That would let steam off from some hot heads and lead to less frustration and therefore DQRM.  Such a practice can be announced prior to a DX pedition commence.  An explanatory post on DXworld or DXnews or QRZ.COM stating that, for example, the main focus is NA but a chance will be given to all geographical location first 15 minutes of every hour, please follow operator’s instruction.

Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite… or something alike

I don’t expect that some expeditioner will read and use it right away but there is a hope.

God bless all of you.

-- 
ALEXEY OGORODOV

Hello brethren,

 I won’t be surprised if in the closets of those who entered CQ WW 160 SSB with low power one finds attributes of marquis de Sad followers.  It is an act of sadomasochism in its best. Jokes aside. The band filled with CQ signals from edge to edge and no one hears you. From Ecuador it sounded like US and VE guys were re-enacting NAQP or Sweepstakes. Aren’t you bored working each other? Endless CQs from some big guns. How about tuning around a bit? HiZs, beverages, WallerFlags seemed to be of little help to those, who were not privileged to be born or raised on either Coast of North America. No offense, just being sarcastic.

All in all conditions were great, especially on the first day. I heard EU working NA, some Pacific Q’s made from both continents, Asia was active. I was search and pound with 95 watts output and logged UA2, EW, UR, HA, S5, and LY beside usual Caribbean stations. NA save several were deaf to my calls. VE6SV qso despite the distance was the most interesting with that part of the world. XE2X and XE1RCS seemed to be hearing only US. AK5DX, K5ZO, KG7H and others that are usually easy q’s, this time were impossible to reach. Guys, listen to the South once in a while.  All in all, some fun, some frustration  - a lot was heard, a few worked.  

--
ALEXEY OGORODOV

Let me be a jerk, but it´s better than to be a hypocrite. VP8STI-SGI, ET7L pileups were the last straws.  

Two phrases are often heard in ham community but sound farther and  farther from truth: ham spirit and gentlemen’s band. C’mon, folks, be honest – do you really believe that we are still gentlemen possessing the proverbial ham spirit?

 I can only laugh after listening to any pileup small or big, for a rare DX or a special event. A1-ops and FOC, and all kind of other elite DX Club members, not all but quite a few, those, who are sworn to DX Code of Conduct raw and file fellows behave worse than mental institution patients as if it were their last deed on the Earth. Shame. Needless to mention the behavior of raw and file fellow amateurs  - if the best of the best set them such a “great” role model.  I ain´t no saint and I don’t prophesize anything but I strongly believe and exercise simple rules:

I don’t call if I don’t hear the station.

I don’t call if I’m not sure who I’m calling.

I don’t call if I have that country confirmed on that band and if there are more pretenders. I always assume that for someone it can be a coveted new one.

I don’t tune on DX’s frequency.

I don’t comment or command on DX’s frequency.

I don’t call if I don’t hear my call full or partial from the DX.

I don’t call if DX wants not my area.

I don´t call a DX if I don´t like his-her operation style and/or integrity.

There are other do nots but those are personal. 

With all due respect,

Alex, HC2AO aka Jerk

Hello brethren,

Before coming to the recent DX activity, I´d like to share my vision of DXing as a part of our common hobby.  IMHO, DXing is a game, and there are rules to the game, very simple, very basic: work as many DX entities on as many bands and modes from your own station or if moved within the borders of your DXCC entity. It seems okay to use a remote (again within your own DXCC) if you are restricted by law or life circumstances. Using a remote station in other country and not announcing that fact is violation of the rules.

3XY1T The Italian team is doing a great job again. This time 160 and 80 meters are not ignored. Their real time, on-line log tool is awesome and saves tons of unnecessary dupe qsos. Great job, boys!

LU1ZI Radio Club Argentino activity from South Shetland Island is under way. I wish the ops were using more bands. There is a word they may try 160. QSL via LU4AA buro or OQRS on their web-site. No EQSl or LoTW planned.

RI1ANR Oleg, ZS1ANF is currently active from Novolazarevskaya Base in Antarctica. He´s active on 160 meters band as well.

ET7L    Yarik, UW7LL and Andy, UR4LRQ are active from Ethiopia till April. It is not a DX-pedition and they QRV as time permits mostly on the weekends, using 240 watts. They recently added a beverage to NA. Number of NA has been worked on 160 and 80 meters. QSL via US0LW

All in all conditions on low bands and especially 160 meters have been good, superior if compared to the same period last year.  Overall activity on TB increased and let’s hope it will stay this way.


--
ALEXEY OGORODOV

Hello brethren,

No internet here for five days, so I will publish it when it´s back. Actually, take the internet away, and you feel real again. LOL. No Dx Cluster spots, no skimmer reports, no chats… Boy and his radio in its best. I discovered that I have plenty of time that can be used to repair stuff and fiddle with antennas. Yet, I do miss friendly, on-line technical advices from KST crowd, especially Brother Eric-san, Esq. aka NO3M and Dado-san, BiH Guild of Radio Critics, construction engineer, aka E74AW.

I managed to complete 9 Band with South Georgia adding the last 28 and 21 qsos (with 30 watts). Happy about that. The new vertical that I will describe later keeps amazing me. Happy about that. FOC contest is in progress, NAQP is in progress, not much activity otherwise. Kinda sad but FOC guys (or is it FOCers, correct me if wrong… hmm… no, sounds politically incorrect, I´ll stick with FOC guys) called me very actively last night on 160. That´s positive. It´s the Carnival time, the place is filled with tourists and full of RF crap. Noise level on 160, notch and shifted applied, S8. Irritating. I´m using my skeleton (stripped of all but 3 radials) 80m  Inverted L. It lowers the noise floor to S4 (notch and shift applied) and works fine on strong to moderate incoming signals from North and South (give or take 20 degrees) but is completely deaf to West and East. A curious fact, the same is true when I use 160 vertical for RX on 80. On the designed i.e. 80M the skeleton Inverted L is as noisy as any other resonant one – s7 to s9 noise floor.

Now about the new wobbled-gobbled vertical of mine that performs extremely well despite my low hopes in the past.

Step by step soliloquy.

Since we build a new shack at the farther end of the property, having a Vertical on the cliff had become tricky. The coax length doubled and my neighbor put a power line in a very inappropriate (in my opinion) spot. Temporarily, we relocated TB vertical some 65 feet inland. All I could come up with height-wise was some 12.5M and the best option was to run a Inv L. And that is what I’d done. With 35 odd radials on the ground it performed somehow but I didn’t like it. I wanted something better. 

Read more: February 12. 2016

I had 2 homemade fiberglass poles lying in the yard with no use – the remnants of my previous TB vertical project.  I tried to raise it and failed – the poles weren’t sturdy enough to be installed as a self-supporting structure. I would have to pray every day not to have some asshole cut one of the guy wires and make it collapse. Then I tried one length of fiberglass on its own. 14m piece held up on its own well but it would be too short for my needs. I thought – what if I put it on the terrace on the second floor of the shack and run a somewhat sloping wire from its top to the ground. I had had a bad experience with a vertical standing next to the building and that made me a bit hesitant. Finally, I said, hey, why not and mounted the fiberglass pole on the terrace.

Read more: February 12. 2016

What I got was about 23.5 meters of vertical or near-vertical conductor. It sounds good and looks good but the close proximity of the 2 story concrete building on top of which the antenna is mounted made me feel somewhat uneasy. I ran a short (21 ft) length of coax from a tuner in the shack and hooked it up to the antenna. I started with 12 radials. Skimmers saw me, NA was answering, a few EU’s. It didn’t appear to be overwhelmingly inspiring. I increased the number of radials to 20. Better reports, mostly NA, but more EU qsos. I smelled something tasty cooking. My last all-in effort brought the number of radials to 40.  Wow, that made difference, tremendous difference. Some skimmers began to report 24-28 Db snr reports, never seen before with my 80 watts output, the same with real people. NA reported HUGE signals pretty much across the nation. EUs began to hear me much better. CQ WW 160 was the final exam for this array. I logged 200 plus contacts 40 something states and 30 or so countries.  DXs worked with it: VP8SGI (one shot), K5P (3 calls), 4V1TL, FY5KE, LX7I, number of East EUs, KH6 (I will mention KH6AT remark later). It was time to sing the glory song.

Now downsides.  Radials due to physical restrictions are deployed only in 120 degrees sector, from NNW to SW. That decreased my signal towards NW, W, SW which had been usually-easy directions. I also notice the role of the main house (2 story, concrete, 40 feet away from the antenna W direction) in attenuation. Bryce, KH6AT who had been my beacon both direct and reverse, said that I lost some two-three S-units on a new antenna. Two solutions – demolish the house or install a separate antenna in an obstacle free space for those directions (doable: old spot on the cliff, low profile N4RJ Bird Feeder type Inverted L with radials into salt water).

Obviously, all my remarks are purely subjective, only time will tell. The antenna performance until now could be just a lucky strip of enhanced propagation and no merits should go to the aerial itself. Nonetheless, I tried running for a few days as a reference that 12.5 meter Inverted L extending the tail part to be resonant on 160 as I had been doing for months: the new vertical outperformed it dramatically. After a few days, I dismantled the radial ground from 80 m one to add to the new aerial. As well, I re-tuned it to 80M, since I noticed some coupling effects between the two and didn’t feel like figuring out whether that was of any benefit or otherwise.

Technical aspects. I’m no tech wiz even remotely. My approach is simple – apply logic and common sense, visualize, cut and build, so I’m going to tell what I have done and noticed without putting any theory under.

As I was taught in the army by my rough but life-smart instructors, any conductor can be used as a radiator, even a nail. Match it and RF will flow in and even some of it will not turn into heat but propagate outwards. I also knew that Vertical or near-vertical radiators tend to send RF a bit farther especially if you are close to salt water, say, an ocean.  I knew that nail would work but I happen to have a longer conductor that I could arrange to remain vertical. I knew that vertical could mean zigzagged but reaching for skies, as well as slopped, stepped, wound etc. but always with an angle higher than 45 degrees to a given ground surface.  I knew that I’d get a better match than in the case of a nail if I use something to load my vertical radiator to compensate for the missing quarter-waveness. I chose 2 loading wires, starting with 16m each at roughly 65-70 degrees to the ground plane (luckily I had supports available). Further, I trimmed the loading wires to about 14m each, the angle intact. Given the shape, the number of radials, the real ground type, and the objects in the vicinity, including 3 other metallic masts, I obtained an interim reading of SWR 1.32 across 35 KHz segment 1790 – 1825. I intend to expanse the radial field adding another 20 radials. Gurus say it will be to no practical avail but I’m not an easy believer and will do it at any way. An air-wound RF choke seemed to be efficient but I added a dozen of ferrite beads today. Daylight, it looks that it helped to reduce the noise floor a bit but I will draw more precise conclusions at night. In the mean time another goliath project is brewing my head. I found some unused aluminum pipes…


--
ALEXEY OGORODOV

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