Saturday, 23 July 2016

Poor conditions so time to fix antennas

"The bands are bad this week" I hear them say.

I doubt if they use the bands I use. Still, I nod in agreement.

I also doubt if "the bands" operate as a single unit. That is the point about them. They are bands. Slices of spectrum. The things that make them interesting are their differences. In reality, they hardly ever work as a symmetrical unit. Some of them are at their best when the sun spot cycle is at its worst, and others are affected the other way.

So I need to navigate this carefully. The bands I use have done badly recently when it comes to Sporadic E. From here anyway. The RSGB News says there have been Es openings, but not here. Maybe they don't cover here in their news. I had one contact in the book between 17 and 23 July - and that was meteor scatter.

I associate this time of year with working the Azores on 4 metres, or days of Es over the Baltic, with 50 stations worked in a day and me welcoming the sunset with a sore logging hand and a frog in my throat.

If Es does not work, the bands I tend to use - 6m, 4, and 2m - are often saved by the other esoteric modes I use. Meteor scatter has brought me two contacts in the past 25 days. The last aurora contact here was just over 6 months ago. The last tropospheric ducting period was 6 weeks ago. So I am claiming that "the bands are bad".

This makes time for organising the antennas.

After complaining that I had made no progress on moving my 6m antenna onto a separate mast, yesterday I moved my 6m antenna on a separate mast.
The six metre HB9CV is in the right foreground. It was there before, but then it was mounted on a peely-wally pole. Now it is on a nice guyed pole which also supports the 40m dipole. The antenna is about 6 metres above the ground and stands clear of the ridge tiles. It is actually slightly higher than it was before it fell down a while back. Or rather when I dropped it a while back. The lightweight Conrad rotator, which spent a while with GM6ZFI, has returned to rotate it.

In the distance on the left is the main mast (not cranked up in the photo). As a compromise, a Diamond x30 has appeared on the top of that mast. This replaces the Moonraker vertical which was previously on the right hand pole. The x30 is a fairly modest antenna which works as a half wave on the 2 metre band. I would rather not have it right above the 2m horizontal beam, but I do not have any where else to put it.

Immediate results from the new location for the HB9CV were good:-
That was a new 6m DXCC from here on JT65 (though I have been heard in 4X4 on 4 metres). However, the new antenna location is producing those streaks on the waterfall. These are birdies which were not visible at the previous location and so there must be some source of interference over there. Some switching power supply somewhere I guess.

These changes mean that, for the moment, the 6m line has lost its stub filter. I must sort that out.

But let us hope that this antenna set-up actually last for a while.

I am getting fed up chopping and changing it.

You all must be getting fed up reading about it.



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