Saturday, June 30, 2012

Sunday antenna afternoon

Testing my new mast, Cobwebb vs end fed and possibly the 10m yagi 

Tomorrow I will be testing my new home made portable aluminium mast. I have constructed it using various widths of aluminium loosely fitting pipes and clamps. Theoretically it should be able to reach 13m (42ft). I will update my Projects page with more info and pictures later. 

I hope to be able to set it up attached to my car without further (guying) support and reach at least 10m (33ft). It will be interesting to see if it can hold my 10m 4-el yagi (6kg) at that height. 

If it works out well enough I will raise my Cobwebb 5-band antenna (only 2kg) and compare it head-to-head with my half wave end fed wire antenna to see which of the two is the better /P DX antenna. I just hope conditions on the higher bands are favourable tomorrow. 

A dipole's effectiveness depends a lot on its height above ground. With the Cobwebb's lowest band being 20m, a mast that goes up to 10m does not make it a DX killer on the lower of the five bands. However, I think it is fair to say that 10m is very reasonable height for a /P operation.

More later..

Sunday, June 10, 2012

PAFF-041 Bargerveen

Zoo on 40m, good conditions on 15m and 20m and even some contacts on 6m

Yesterday I was in the northern part of the Netherlands together with some people who were going to watch soccer all night. As I don't care for that game, I went out to a "most wanted" PAFF that was reasonably close (less than 30 minutes drive): Bargerveen.

PAFF-041 (bordering on DLFF-076)

I had already checked out the area on the map and found an entrance road into the park. I started out on 15m as 10m seemed rather dead - it was already past 19:00 local time.

15m was lively but quickly suffering from quite some QSB. I still worked 41 stations in half an hour. During that time I was pleasantly suprised by a visit from JA and from YB - both putting in a 57.

After 30 minutes I went down to 20m. It was rather crowded with a contest going on (I am not used to activate WFF in the weekends - normally 20m is a lot quieter). I stayed on 20m for 45 minutes, greeting a lot of familiar callsigns. Here I was greeted by another JA station.

Multiband HyEndFed on 15m high pole
As usual I decided to go down to 40m when things slowed down on 20m. However I was not prepared for the state of things on 40m at that time. I think it was due to the contest (Portugal contest?) and some other WFF activities but I could not find a clean frequency in the entire band. Tuning up and down I decided to settle for a noisy but just bareable spot. I got a couple of answers but it was clear to me that it was as dificult for others to copy me as it was for me to copy any station. Normally a WFF activity on 40m generates a pileup but I only copied a handful of stations. What might have contributed to a lower activity level - apart from the crazy QRM - was the fact that a soccer game with the German team had started (normally a lot of German OMs call in on 40m).

After only 7 contacts on 40m (a new record I think) I decided to use my last 15 minutes to try 6m. I saw some spots that indicated I might be able to work a few European stations. Ofcourse you won't come across a lot of hunters but I just discovered this band and I like its unpredictability. A few calls brought me into contact with 5 stations in 10 minutes - ER, 9A and YO.

All in all I was on the air for about 90 minutes in which I logged 103 contacts from 30 DXCCs. One third of the OMs passing by were new contacts to me. The maximum QRB was set to 11.500km by an OM from YB (a new record during a PAFF activation for me). DX came in from the east only. I did not copy any DX from the west (like the usual VE or east coast USA).

Luciano I5FLN, Manuel EA2DT, Axel DL1EBR and Jean-Louis F1NZC came by on two bands.

Thanks all for calling in.
Lars, PH0NO/P