Its all change at the QTH !

So I’ve had a very busy week or two both on day-to-day 9-5 (+!) and around the shack.

I am lucky enough that I get a gardener once a month to do all the lawns and bushes, and I used the opportunity this time to take down all the antennas allowing for a very good tidy lawn.

DX Commander #1 in place, very well guyed down due to the wind we are having of late

I also wanted to try out a method of increasing gain and reception using a 2 Element Parasitic Array on the 40m band – the youtube video here is really good at explaning how the setup works. I was already lucky enough to have another DX Commander on order before Calum goes on his holiday, so I set about measuring the distances and getting the 2nd DX Commander setup for just 40m

The main difference between a parasitic array is that its just for a single band and the distance between the two is 1/4 wavelength, in this case 10m. The wire *should* be a little lower on the 40m frequency than the ‘driven’ – but I am going to double check that when it comes to more fetteling (cant ever get an antenna too perfect imho !).

As you can see in the pictures, I have followed Calum’s advice pretty much and put the radials down, doesnt matter on the 360, but the length is there for 40m. The main difference is that the radials are directly connected to the driven element plate and there is no physical wired connection between the two antennas. I did check the S.W.R. on 40m (and 15) and it was a more than acceptable 1.4:1 across the band *before* moving the radials up. (Note will be finding a cover for the SO239!)

I need to find a ‘good’ way on proving the parasitic is having the desired effect. Out of interest i did attach my rig master to it whilst transmitting WSPR on 40m and sure enough the SWR did go up, which does at least prove that its resonating a transmission on the right frequency.

In practice I gave trusty FT8 a go, and sure enough I was getting far more +db on the map than i have ever had. Now this isnt particuarly good ‘science’ as there could be so many reasons why that was happening, so i could of got lucky. But I will find (and if someone wants to add a comment please do !) on how to test the effectiveness (i’m expecting something like +3-5db gain) I’d be glad to accept it !

I have also upgraded my ‘main’ tranceiver, the reasons are multiple, but mostly the Icom 7300 got very good reviews and the price/performance balance looked amazing.

The Icom 7300 now in the shack

That is not to say that all the hard work and effort put into the Kenwood TS690-S will be wasted, absolutely not ! I have actually made another addition from Japan, this lovely microphone unit !

This pristine MC-85 came from Japan, sadly without box, but its immaculate !

I am hoping i can use the output switch between the Kenwood and Icom as this looks such a gorgeous microphone and the reviews of it are very promising.

I am going to put an end-fed multi bander on the TS-690S and having seen UK Antennas posted on the DX Commander Discord, done some research and went for it !

I have yet to install the antenna as I have moved my 2m/70cm mast to the rear garden. Putting out a big thanks to the after-sales support from Moonraker as I wanted to fully extended my 40ft antenna so i can use the 30m point as a ‘fulcrum’ for the end-fed antenna, creating a nice inverted ‘V’ to use.

Here is the mast I bought from them – the TMF-2 – it really is an amazing mast, yout get what you pay for with this. I looked at several sites, including this one on how to guy a mast. For 40ft it seemed i would need more guys – but gave the chaps at Moonraker a call to explain my mast, antenna and use, and re-located my guy-ring to a centre point on the sectional mast would be ok for a temporary antenna, with the obvious warnings for wind,etc.

I set about with my son (always good to have some help!) with getting the mast up and really well guyed in. I’m made up with the results, I’ve never seen the antenna looking so good and secure. The heavy duty base will be getting some additional ground-pegs but trust me that thing is HEAVY, its not going anywhere 🙂

40m mast with 2m/70cm J pole on top

I was able to reach all the local repeaters as before, but have yet to get a contact to check my signal report (such is VHF during the day time).

So there has been alot of change in the shack, but i’m really happy with the direction its going in !

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