Its July already ?!

Where has the year gone, or more accurately where did June go ? Well, having been busy with work, uni and mentoring the month flew by. WIth bad weather alot of the weekends it meant I couldnt get alot of what I wanted to do done, and the time I had was limited. The good news is that alot of my University work for 2020-21 year is complete, I’m just waiting for grades to be finalized. I’ve changed jobs and am glad to say my new role is more suited to me, so Im really enjoying work. I’ve also had a great time mentoring undergrads the past few months, but has made me very busy, but very rewarding – but heres the good news – this weekend I got a number of things on my ‘ham radio’ to-do list done.

Firstly, I got my IC-705 working in the garden on the Alex-Loop ham-pack. It went really well, although setup wasnt as good as I thought it should be. I’ll do a longer more in-depth write up, but needless to say initial operating was fun and exciting.

Recently and friend and I mowed the garden, as I had told our gardener to not worry about it for the moment due to the movement of tents and radio equipment out. With all the rain and sunshine the grass grew at a proflific rate ! I first borrowed a friends lawnmower, then got a cheap electric one from amazon that would do the job. I’m glad to say that having mown the antenna area with all the radials down the majority of the radials have stayed down.

I will continue to mow the grass and keep it short, then look at adding more radials with better wire-pins (I have been using plastic ones). I still have some more work to do on the 6BTV to add 17M to it, but hopefully the weather will hold at the weekend, in the mean time I have been enjoying FT8 and SWL, making interesting contacts and getting ever closer to the DX100 award.

Heres wish you well and enjoy your radio !

73, 2E0FWE

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 !

10m Telephony !

Having enjoyed a nice drive down to Poole Harbour after work I tuned around after a day of WSPR activity on the 7300. Results showed that the bands where pretty closed from the QTH, so I wasnt expecting alot of contacts.

A relaxing evening down in Poole Harbour before heading home – need to go /M from here !

I was tuning thru some of the programmed memorys in the 7300 to see if there was any activity, but it waws all quite, but then on 10m (28Mhz) a sudden group of very clear conversation, and interesting as well.

I listened in for around 30 minutes as the group discussed upcoming holidays and mobile operating along with the setups to be taken, a very interesting topic as its something I would like to do myself. It was great to hear other operators discuss band conditions as welll.

Having built up enough courage I waited for a gap to get part of my call sign in “2E0” I got out as quickly as I could as not to interrupt the flow. Thankfully on my 2nd attempt I was picked up and introduced to a friendly group of local operators, the furthest being Blandford and exceptionally clear. It was geat to hear that my setup was equally clear and we continued to discuss my Hustler setup. I was also informed of another ‘net’ on 10M lower down the bands, which I then went onto monitor, waited for an opputnity to introduce myself, and then made some contacts. Operating hear was much harder with interference and conditions making the signal barely audiable.

I did put both locations in my 7300’s memory for next Wednesday evening and it was great to have a decent QSO with local, friendly operators, furthermore it was great to see how well the hustler was doing in difficult conditions.

I will be doing further work on the 6BTV hopefully this weekend and puting the feedline underground having ordered 10ms of Extraflex bury so it can go safely underground.

Until next time, 73 !

Alan / 2E0FWE

New QRZ Award

Had a great start to the day by having an FT8 QSO with ZL3IO – amazed that even without all the radials down on the Hustler, I’ve managed to reach New Zeeland.

I checked to see if the QSO had been logged on QRZ, where I could see that I’m now able to use the QSO’s from my other callsign (M7ALU) which already had Australia in it ! A quick application and sure enough I have received the Contienants of World award !

Fantastic start to the day and looking forward to increasing the Hustlers performance – have to say with only 3 days of activity, I’m really impressed with it.

RST Rcvd-10
RST Sent-7
Distance18693km (11615 mi) @ 355°
QSO Details

Hustler 6BTV – Day 2 & 3

Its been a busy weekend at the QTH, but all good !

In hope of good weather over Easter and the lifting of groups mixing, i’ve got some comfy garden furniture. It took the best part of 6 hours to build, but am looking forward to trying it out. I might even try my IC-705 outside before heading out with it, as its not had alot of use outside the shack !

Having completed the furniture, the next day I continued my work with the Hustler 6BTV.

I used the DX Engineering documentation on how to build the hustler. It was really clear and easy to follow, with practical tips on construction methods. The detail and clarity on each step was really good. I got all the sections first connected together then looked at how to attach the SO-239. Whilst fiddly due to the small parts, it was easy enough to get it put on.

The forums (eham) strongly recommended usign plenty of copper grease for making good connnections and when the antenna has to be moved. As the pictures show, i wasnt shy about how much to use and it did make moving the linear loaders and posts easier.

I followed the guide and put the distances accordingly, it was all really straightforward.

Having done alot of the work for the radial plate before hand, i set about reusing the radials I had from my previous antennas, just to get me started. I was not to be disapointed with the results !

Having only put down roughly 20 radials to start with I was happy with the SWR Results. I’ve not got 80 tuned yet, but will spend some time for that when time allows. My first job is to get as many radials down as space/connectivity will alllow me, i can then tune the bands to the resonant frequencys I want

I’ve already made contacts on 40 and 20 meters, reaching the US and all across Europe on FT8, reception on ‘Phone’ end of the bands is equally good.

Overall this is becoming an excellent antenna, and hindsight is 20/20 vision, probably be one I would choose to start with, its construction and build quality is excellent and has the ability to tilt over in bad weather. There is still plenty of work to go, but for such few hours, it really has stood out as an excellent antenna. I’m sure as I add more radials and complete the coax installation/fine tuning will only go on to be an antenna i use for a very long time.

Hustler 6BTV – Day 1

So having looked at reviews for a multi band vertical, the Hustler 6BTV looked the right model for me. The hustler came from Radio World, and the accessories from ML&S, as they didn’t stock the 6BTV at this time. Needless to say both arrived very promptly.

I dug a hole to recommended depths and sunk a decent bit of scaffold pole I had into it. Having never done anything like this before, i was happy with the outcome in that the pipe came out level and the concrete set well. At the moment, it looks like what it is, a post in th eground, but it will look much nicer once the installation is complete.

It should be noted the reason to try out a new antenna is that the tilt-base on the Nebula had a defect and would require a new bolt and drilling the base again. I also wanted something that was easier to take up and down as even with the tilt base the Nebula is quite a weight, and the guy ropes tended to get tangled quite frequently.

nebula tilt base – bent/twisted M10 bolt

It has set a very high standard in band coverage and reach, so it will be interesting to do a comparison on the same transceiver.

The post to attach the DX Engineering and Tilt base has gone in really well, and very level. I had one section of PVC piping already in the shed, and have ordered one more and some vent-like structures to feed the coax thru under the radials will obviously check the coax for connectivity before burying it !

I’m waiting on some more radial plate bolts, so far it has 20 on there, but i want the full 60, as I’m limited in space in some directions, I want to get as many as I can down in a very radial/spoke fashion as described in the documentation.

So far I’m really encouraged by how well the instal is going and the documentation supplied with the antenna and components is top notch, but the proof will be in the performance of the antenna, which I hope wont be too long in happening !