Coaxial Conudrums

So this weekend i really wanted to complete my feed-line for the 6BTV, its been ‘dug up’ for a few weeks and its case of making up the coax to feed into it. I’ve made many feedlines/patch cables with other coax and SO239 and PL259, but the M&P coax and connectors, well, are just really testing my patience.

underground feed line location

The video for making this cable up, makes it look so simple, even this young lady (ND2L) can do it.

looks easy enought (ultraflex 10 being used here)

And the M&P official video makes it look easy enough

Fitting plugs

I’m using ExtraFlex bury, so it requires that 5mm incision to get the collar in.

I tried soldering, cutting and fitting the plugs as per the videos. On my first attempt i didnt get a good result on the resistance, but thought to give a try anyway, but yep, it didnt work.

I stripped everything down and tried again, I only have a metal ruler for measuring lengths, but done i best i could with it, and i dont have a decent knife, i actually ended up cutting my finger and blood was everywhere 🙁

I tried again and was frustated that again i didnt get the resistance outputs that was needed for an installlation. I cut the ends of the cable off. Repeat *4. On the 4th time it was now 20:00 BST and I was getting very tired of doing this, so just stripped everything back and had a rest.

Fast forward 12 hours I took a look at what the problems could be in my method. One the measurement was not good, the ruler wasnt good enough for the job, and more critically the injury from the blade was bad. I’ve ordered a measurement tool and a proper stanley knife. I’m really hopeful I can get this to work, the cable and plugs have cost *alot* and more importantly have cost me alot in time now.

TL/DR – use the right and safe tools when working with coax and plugs (I’m) not familiar with.

15m DX at night ?!

Was just playing about on my radio with FT8, having had one phone QSO on 20m to Italy, then a number of FT8 on 20m as well, thought, lets give 15 meters a try. Having never really persisted at using 15m, it was an ideal time as I could keep an eye on WSJT-X and tidy/file stuff at the same time.

The band looked completely empty when I started, but as the CQ’s keep transmiting, lo and behold I was rewarded with a contact !

FT8 15m contact

There was even some reports to see on PSKReporter !

Reaching far on 15m with 50W of power

I was really suprised, and impressed, with how well the 6BTV is doing, its such a great antenna and I’m getting more out of it every time I have time to use it on the frequencys I previously didnt really use.

Moral of the story is, if the band looks dead, still give it a go ! you never know who you might contact !

So long VDSL!

Hi All !

A quick one really slotted between work and uni assignments. The shack is now on fibre-coax to the QTH ! I’ve turned off the BT Router, and this had improved the QRM visibly on the KiwiSDR.

Please see video for a demo.


More updates coming soon, have an exam Wednesday, so updates will be a little more frequent after that 🙂

Posted in QRM

10m skip FT8

Having kept an eye on the Kiwi WebSDR I could see plenty of activity on the 10m band, a sure sign that the ‘skip’ from the ‘E Layer’ had picked up. For those ‘new’ to skip, there is an excellent write up here by VK3FS on the behaviour of this ionospheric band.

Here I’ll be showing over the course of just a few short hours how the E-layer built up, the collapsed.

10m skip at 18:04 UTC in IO90BS

Tuning to the 10M frequency for FT8, 28.074, there was allot of activity, transmissions from Europe where coming in the strongest, and even as far as Brazil in South America. It was incredble to see the band so ‘alive’

pskreporter on 10m transmitting 40w

I started transmitting on what had now become a very noisy channel, with plenty of DX around Europe coming in very strong. My own signal from the Hustler 6BTV and 40 watts of power resulted in the QSO’s started to roll in, with little to no reties.

Racking up the QSO’s on FT8

Grid Tracker really came into its own here, making logging to QRZ effortless so I was able to focus on QSO’s rather than uploading ADIF files. This resulted in 2 confirmed QSO’s almost immediately, with an impressive the furthest being 950 miles to IS0SLM in Dolianova.

Band conditions at 19:22 UTC showing the changed in the ‘E Layer’ propagation

Just as quickly the band and opened up, the conditions returned back to the regular behaviour for the E-layer, as seen in the 19:22 and 19:39 signal spectrum from WSJTX.

Band conditions at 19:39 – signals were getting much weaker in WSJTX Wide Graph

By 20:30 I could still be heard but the 6BTV, a vertical and with that being non-directional, wasn’t pulling in the weaker signals for a QSO to be completed.

10m reach at 20:33 with 40W

My reception reports via Pskreporter showed a big difference. I’d be interested to know if this was a phenomenon of the grey-line as the sun set or just the charge in the E-layer collapsing and limiting propagation again.

9 10m QSOs with some great reports and distances

I was still really happy in this ‘short’ time to get so many FT8 QSO’s via 10m. It really is a fascinating band, and one I will do more research with as I continue to improve the performance of the 6BTV and also work 6m with my Yagi antenna

Is skip season coming ?

The great thing of having a WebSDR is the ability to monitor a huge amount of the HF spectrum visibly.

CB Operators on 27Mhz – mostly SSB, heard alot of French and Irish.

Seeing a sudden surge of red comms in the KiwiSDR, I then set about transmitting WSPR packets. And sure enough, I was reaching Italy with 5W on 10M !

WSPR on 10M with 5W

I still have my 2M/70cm and 6M beam to complete, but this really motivates me to get that done sooner rather than later, I hope the ‘skip’ season is around for a while, but it wont for me thats for sure !

In the mean time, here is an excellent video from Oxford Shortwave Youtube channel, demonstrating the reach he has on his 2m antenna, something I’d reallly like to do with FT8 as well !