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Offline G0BVZ

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Going loopy
« on: January 27, 2014, 01:02:34 UTC »
 Dark sky, freezing rain bullets, a perfect day for antenna work:  I read that the worse the wx, the better the antenna so I gave it a shot.  The NVIS 40m horiz loop worked ok but really didn't cut it on 60m: I could load it on 60m but it was worse than a dummy load. I did the sumz and decided to splice in a little over 14m wire. 

I slacked the suspension at two corners and the loop & I descended into a world of tangled confusion.  It was a gloomy day, the lightweight black plastic insulated wire all but invisible. Strange words were uttered. My foot found a soft spot and sank ankle deep in icy mud. My fingers kinda stiffened up. The wire persisted in tangling around me. I wasn't happy.

It was so cold that my 100w solder gun wouldn't melt the solder. In other times the dodge was to wind a few inches of cored solder wire around the splice and then get a flame under it.  It was ok for emergencies but such joints were usually dirty and poor. I had another weapon, a 1500w heat gun.  From 1cm away it melted the solder in seconds and produced bee-yootiful bright joints and then made short work of the heat shrink I slid over the splices.  A further 45 minutes of trips, tangles, strange oaths, imprecations and fancy suspension cord pulling saw a 60m horizontal square loop hovering ~4m over the ground.  At this point I was paralysed with cold; wet, miserable and tired I got all the junk under shelter as the rain pelted again. 

This was a good sign: I had suffered so surely the loop would be good. And it was.  It loaded on all hf bands.  Reception on 60m was good.  Yesterday I heard stations on 60 at 59 and 579. Today I heard G stations at 59+20dB and 599+20dB: the biggest sig was @12w!  Outside the GB allocation some SM stations were putting out rock crushing sigs.  Then the  band was fading and so was I so  TX tests happen tomorrow. By then my feet may have warmed up again.....

It looks like I have a functioning NVIS antenna for 60m: I did hear it is an increasingly popular band for QRP so that's something to look forward to.

Vic /tired but.....  tired.   ;D

Offline G0BVZ

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Re: Going loopy
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2014, 12:16:27 UTC »
...<snip> so TX tests happen tomorrow. By then my feet may have warmed up again.....

It looks like I have a functioning NVIS antenna for 60m: I did hear it is an increasingly popular band for QRP so that's something to look forward to.

In the absence of any CW ops this morning I plugged in a microphone and got a couple of signal reports on SSB. Both gave me 59, one from the Isle of Lewis (Cool! Pity I'm not IOTA.) and the other Huddersfield. Both stations thought my 5w pep was doing a great job, which was nice.  I've not yet had a report from a really local station so the jury is out on my ability to use NVIS for close in working, which is what I want to be able to do. Time will tell.

I did hear an Italian station with a big signal but he was working outside the UK allocation of frequencies so I could not go back to him:  I wonder if there is a common QRG for I & G....

Vic /off to do some elementary carpentry.