May 222013

It has been an interesting week at G4NOK on 6m. For a station in the North the conditions have been typical in some ways but with some nice surprises. I’d say that it has been a very good early sporadic E season but in addition there has been some very good Trans Equatorial Propagation (TEP) as well. For a station as far north as IO93FR in order to take advantage of the TEP openings we need a Sporadic E link to southern Europe or North Africa. It really is better the further South you go in Europe. Peter G8BCG who is in IO70 hears a lot of choice stuff. He is sending me a recording of tonight’s opening to South America. I heard absolutely nothing of this, such is Sporadic E assisted paths. I will upload it when I get it.

I personally have managed to add 2 new DXCC to my list, which now stands at 181 from G4NOK, thanks to D2EB (Angola) and 4L1UN (Georgia).  I have heard some good African DX but if they are rare and many Gs are calling I don’t work them again as I prefer to let others who need the country work them first. Of course if the DX is calling CQ without any answer I will call them again so that they don’t get discouraged. It is a fine balance to do the right thing but at least I try. I don’t always get it right of course but don’t worry someone will let me know.

Seriously – newcomers should get to know the band plan and use it. It is taken pretty serious in Europe by the DX community. The most important thing to do is listen and on no accounts work Europeans on SSB below 50.130.

There have been a few new ones heard weakly but not worked. Of course stations in the south have been working them easily. This is the way it is on 6m. The notable ones are 3B8DB,3B8CF and TJ3SN, 3DA0NJ, ZP5SNA and J68DS.  I am particularly frustrated by 3B8 (Mauritius) and 3DA0NJ. These ones always seems to be on the noise floor working southern Europe with 59 signals. It is difficult to work them but I will keep trying, I expect the opportunity will have gone within a few more days until October and November if we get any F2 propagation before the sun goes to sleep for another good few years. This cycle when compared to the last one really is very poor.

I have also heard a number of South African stations but I don’t need ZS6 and they were hearing others much louder so I didn’t add to the QRM.

Last night was interesting. The ZD7VC beacon was loud for about 40 minutes. I recorded it when it was peaking 559;  here is a recording.

ZD7VC Beacon 21st May 2013 – 21:18 UTC

Later last night there was a spotty opening to the Caribbean with FM, 9Y, KP4 and 8P6 worked. Also heard weakly was FG and J68 which would have been a new country for me. I’ll get him sometime in June I’m sure…

Here is a list of the 6m QSOs since the last report. Some of the locators will probably be wrong as I am experimenting with HRD which does not do a very good job of autofilling locator squares. I am going to look at DX4WIN as it seems very popular with many of the 6m guys.


12/05/2013 15:28 EA6BHO JM19HO 599 599 CW ES 1601
12/05/2013 17:07 CN8LI IM61CE 59 59 USB ES 2555
12/05/2013 17:36 EA9UG IM75IV 599 599 CW ES 2005
12/05/2013 18:35 EA5BX IN80AA 599 599 CW ES 1535
12/05/2013 18:36 EA5BX IN80AA 599 599 CW ES 1535
12/05/2013 19:24 GS3PYE/P IO76UQ 51 52 USB ES 372
13/05/2013 19:34 D2EB JH87MB 559 559 CW ES 7618
13/05/2013 20:26 PY2XB GG66PI 599 599 CW ES 9630
13/05/2013 20:26 PY2XB GG66PI 599 599 CW 9630
13/05/2013 20:38 CE3SX FF47MA 579 579 CW ES 11709
14/05/2013 17:58 EA9BW IM75IV 59 59 SSB 2004
14/05/2013 17:58 EA9BW IM75IV 59 59 SSB ES 2004
18/05/2013 13:39 GB75FOC IO93 599 599 CW John RCG pileup! +-45
18/05/2013 15:10 A45XR LL93EN 599 599 CW 5953
18/05/2013 16:37 4L1UN LN12IG 559 579 CW 3462
21/05/2013 20:35 KP4EIT FK58 55 51 SSB +-6877
21/05/2013 20:45 WP3UX FK68QE 55 59 SSB 6754
21/05/2013 20:53 FM5AA FK94 55 55 SSB +-6717
21/05/2013 21:00 9Y4VU FK90IK 559 339 CW 7109
21/05/2013 21:02 9Y4D FK90 55 55 SSB +-7080
21/05/2013 21:06 8P6SH GK03FE 51 51 SSB 6749

Number of QSO listed: 21

During this time of fairly intense Sporadic E it has been really quite good on 4m too. I have worked quite a bit and the low power does not seem to be much of a disadvantage. I’ll do a report on 4m soon.

PS for those who attended my talk on Sporadic E last week I haven’t forgotten the page that I said I’d do, just no time – too much DX!


Conrad G0RUZ

May 022013

I rushed to the club from work hoping to catch some of the African stations that were around this afternoon on 6m. The shack had been further improved by Robert and Mick P, they had set up the IC7400 on 6m and 4m and so it took no time for me to figure out that I’d missed the really juicy stuff. I found a huge signal on 50.099 cw TF8GX, I gave him a call and we exchanged 599 both ways. It was only much later on that I realised that the first 5 QSOs that I had were with 5W, truly QRP! We reduce the drive in order to drive the 4m transverter.

It was very enjoyable to work a few stations on Sporadic E after such a long lay off.

Thanks to Mick and Robert for making everything so comfortable – great job. I hope that people enjoyed the little opening that we had, I did listen on 4m for a bit but nothing doing.

Here is a summary of what I worked.

QSOs with the new 6m beam, first 5 QSOs with 5W!

QSOs with the new 6m beam, first 5 QSOs with 5W!

Apr 222013
Nice, straight and neat

Nice, straight and neat – click for full size image

Finally the antennas are up and working. Make no mistake some members of the club have worked very hard to make this happen, they should be proud. There is a lot more detail here than at first meets the eye. For instance Robert M0CRX took the time to make a very good balun former. This balun works extremely well on all the HF bands including 40m.

I am not an experienced HF operator but I have observed a lot over the years by being around. One thing that I can say for a fact is this: This is the quietest 40m antenna we have ever had up at G4NOK. It really is amazing to hear such a quiet band, the noise floor below signals is below S1 and then boom there is a huge s9+40dB signal there. This is also testimony to the HF rig’s good receiver, I was pleasantly surprised at how good the TS590 is in this respect.

The balun is not a true balun but a choke balun; it’s purpose is to prevent currents from flowing on the outside of the coax, you can see the balun structure in between the two antennas on the stub mast. The more observant will notice that the balun coil is at right angles to the feed. This helps to stop the fields from the antenna being induced on the turns of the coil. You will see this kind of thing all over the place. A standard way of preventing coupling between two inductors in a circuit is to orient them at 90 degrees to each other. The orientation of the balun simply follows this rule. The photos below shows the balun and feed in more detail, just click on the images for more detail.

Further out showing how the balun is clamped to the boom

Balun is clamped to the stub mast perpendicular to the antenna boom – Click for full size

A longer stub mast would allow the balun to come up from the underside of the driven element but this way is much stronger. This is important for us as we have an exposed hill top site. This way will also help rainwater run away from the cable. At the moment there are just ty-wraps holding the balun to the former but we will be coating the balun in a waterproof coating of some type in the near future.


Close up of the balun - maybe 'Ugly' but very effective

Close up of the balun – maybe ‘Ugly’ but very effective

Here is a slightly closer view, the inspiration for this implementation of the ugly balun came from Robert and the following site:

Build the ‘Ugly’ Balun

Notice the lack of connectors – cheaper , lower loss and nowhere for water to gather.

Close up of the A3S feed - Extremely waterproof

Close up of the A3S feed – Extremely waterproof

The tails to the feed are not super short like they would be for a VHF antenna but they are still quite low inductance at the frequencies we are concerned with here; namely 40m, 20m, 15m and 10m. There is a little give in case the antenna slips round in the 70 mph winds that we experience quite often. We have a plan to help ensure that there is no slippage of the antennas but you will have to wait to see what that is. I am a believer in letting the stub mast slip in the rotator a little rather than risking shearing the drive shaft of the rotator.

What I don’t like is the antennas slipping and thus damaging the feeds.Mick M6MWP has an idea how to stop this altogether.


For the A3S this consists of self amalgamating tape, heatshrink (2 layers), more self amalgamating tape and finally liquid rubber all over the eye terminals where they fasten to the boom. I don’t think that the water can get in unless the coax outer sleeve gets punctured. If you click on the image you will see that the photograph is so fresh that the liquid rubber is still dripping. It’s a bit tricky to get off as well so I recommend wearing some protective gloves.

VHF dual band yagi

As I may have said before the Innovantennas 12 ele dual band antenna is the best constructed antenna I have ever seen, it is extremely robust, chunky and yet reasonably light. You can tell the quality of the construction from how straight we have been able to get it when assembled. This antenna is dual band and so needs a balun that can cover both bands – once again a choke balun was chosen. Due to the higher frequencies involved the balun is quite a lot smaller. Also as we now on VHF it is imperative that there is no unnecessary inductance in the feed, so the coax tails are extremely short. I think that they are as short as possible. The cable passes through the boom and then the balun is formed by winding 6 turns on a furniture polish can. This is then kept in place with a few ty-wraps and the attached to the underside of the boom, once again at 90 degrees to the driven element – only this time in a different plane.

On 6m the antenna seems to be as good as my old M2 6M7 even though it is a little bit shorter. It is definitely a quiet antenna on 6m and GB3MCB in Cornwall was 559. On 4m the antenna is better than the old one but is a little off tune. The antennas have not been tuned at all yet.

Here are a few detailed photographs.


Waterproof and low inductance – as recommended by G0KSC – click for full size

Choke balun under the boom

Choke balun under the boom






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