Posts Tagged ‘ssb’

A Tip o’ the Hat


I really have to extend a hearty "tip o' the hat" to all you QRP SSB guys out there.  Not being used to SSB operations, not being used to QRP SSB operations has provided me with a learning experience. In your writer's most humble opinion, QRP SSB has a difficulty factor of 10X compared to QRP CW.

Today during lunch time, I was hunting around for NPOTA stations on 20 Meters.  Not hearing anything on the CW bands, I moved on up to the realm of voice - foreign territory, indeed!.  There I heard two stations. K0USA on 14.260 MHz and K0RP on 14.340 MHz.  K0RP was very weak, with QSB making it worse. K0USA was a good 5X5 into NJ and even 5X7 when QSB would let up. I decided to  concentrate on Mary, who was the op behind the mic.  It took the better of 15 minutes, but I got in the log - and it was a new one for me, MN46, the Homestead National Historical Monument in Nebraska.

For her part, Mary did a superb job dealing with my weak signal.  Only 5 Watts to the Buddistick has gotten me decent results on SSB in the past, but today, with the monstrous QSB, it was their beam (which was pointed south, by the way - I was off the side) and her great ears that made the difference. I owe her a ton of gratitude for sticking with me and granting me the ATNO.

Getting back to the topic of SSB vs CW ..... I'm pretty confident in my CW skills. From past practise, it's pretty easy for me to gauge who is workable and who isn't. I still get surprised from time to time; but I've gotten pretty good at figuring out who I am able work and who I am not..

QRP SSB is still a crap shoot for me. Like I stated, it's foreign territory.  To make things even worse, shall we say that patience is a "hard won virtue" for me?  Living in New Jersey all my life, I'm used to the fast pace of the Northeast. Things, especially at work, are wanted yesterday.  I'm used to dealing with that, and delivering those kind of fast results.  The downside is, that I've come to expect that, in return.  Waiting is still a battle for me.  Not in all situations, but in many - especially when I am dealing with myself.

QRP SSB is an extra hard challenge for me and will be for quite a while. The upside is hopefully, I'll become more skilled at it; and I'll also gain more patience, because of it..

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!


A Tip o’ the Hat


I really have to extend a hearty "tip o' the hat" to all you QRP SSB guys out there.  Not being used to SSB operations, not being used to QRP SSB operations has provided me with a learning experience. In your writer's most humble opinion, QRP SSB has a difficulty factor of 10X compared to QRP CW.

Today during lunch time, I was hunting around for NPOTA stations on 20 Meters.  Not hearing anything on the CW bands, I moved on up to the realm of voice - foreign territory, indeed!.  There I heard two stations. K0USA on 14.260 MHz and K0RP on 14.340 MHz.  K0RP was very weak, with QSB making it worse. K0USA was a good 5X5 into NJ and even 5X7 when QSB would let up. I decided to  concentrate on Mary, who was the op behind the mic.  It took the better of 15 minutes, but I got in the log - and it was a new one for me, MN46, the Homestead National Historical Monument in Nebraska.

For her part, Mary did a superb job dealing with my weak signal.  Only 5 Watts to the Buddistick has gotten me decent results on SSB in the past, but today, with the monstrous QSB, it was their beam (which was pointed south, by the way - I was off the side) and her great ears that made the difference. I owe her a ton of gratitude for sticking with me and granting me the ATNO.

Getting back to the topic of SSB vs CW ..... I'm pretty confident in my CW skills. From past practise, it's pretty easy for me to gauge who is workable and who isn't. I still get surprised from time to time; but I've gotten pretty good at figuring out who I am able work and who I am not..

QRP SSB is still a crap shoot for me. Like I stated, it's foreign territory.  To make things even worse, shall we say that patience is a "hard won virtue" for me?  Living in New Jersey all my life, I'm used to the fast pace of the Northeast. Things, especially at work, are wanted yesterday.  I'm used to dealing with that, and delivering those kind of fast results.  The downside is, that I've come to expect that, in return.  Waiting is still a battle for me.  Not in all situations, but in many - especially when I am dealing with myself.

QRP SSB is an extra hard challenge for me and will be for quite a while. The upside is hopefully, I'll become more skilled at it; and I'll also gain more patience, because of it..

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!


6m/70cm antenna updates at the QTH

I have made some changes to my antenna set up. A local amateur was selling a second 13-element 70cm yagi and a 6m HB9CV antenna at a low price so decided to acquire them.


The 70cm yagi was to replace the small 7-element one which I pressed into service as a hand held antenna for potentially finding my HAB payloads last year.

To be honest I wasn't really after a 6m antenna due to the size and visual impact. I have a 6m 'wooden' moxon I made back in 2014 but it is heavy, ugly and unstable so had been collecting cobwebs in the garage. I decided with the prospect of 'Sporadic E' season around the corner I would be foolish not to put it up.

The HB9CV wasn't in the best of conditions but seemed complete albeit it was purchased dismantled. The elements were a little weathered so I set about cleaning them up with a light rubbing down with some wire wool and a rag with a drop of WD40. On closer inspection the tube that made up the front element had some noticeable bending and on removing the plastic mounting to investigate I spotted a crack in the tube wall by the hole for the mounting bolt.

While it hadn't totally separated it would only be a matter of time before it did fail as it was flexing, the plastic mount was the only thing holding it together. I found a suitable piece of alloy tube from a scrap antenna which was a perfect fit inside the broken element. I cut a suitable length and pushed it up inside the element to the appropriate position and then simply drilled through and bolted either side of the central hole to stabilise and strengthen it (can be seen in image below)


The next issue I had to address was the feed point, it came with about six inches of RG58 coax projecting from it where it had simply been cut for removal by the previous owner. I prised off the cover cap to find it full of water, the reason being a hole in the back and it being stored outside I believe.


Thankfully the trimming capacitor seemed okay, while it was wet it wasn't corroded. It was all dried out and the hole plugged with silicon and I set about re-assembling the antenna which was a little fiddly to get the phasing line to sit properly but once done it was a simple matter of adjusting the capacitor to get the VSWR to a minimum in the SSB section of the 6m band. I mounted on the rotator pole just below the X50 collinear.


I used it last month in the 6m UKAC and while my operating not exactly earth shattering I was happy with its performance using just 10W in the low power section just "search and pouncing" for a little over an hour.
.

The 70cm Yagi was straight forward as was already assembled, I just had to make a slight tweak to the gamma-matching bar as the VSWR was unexpectedly high around 2:1 in the SSB segment of the band, it seemed to have been tuned for the FM portion of the band. I managed just an hour "search and pouncing" in Aprils 70cm UKAC, I started late and while signal reports both ways were a marked improvement I found the extra directionality and off beam rejection something I will have to get used not helped by a temperamental rotator. 

6m/70cm antenna updates at the QTH

I have made some changes to my antenna set up. A local amateur was selling a second 13-element 70cm yagi and a 6m HB9CV antenna at a low price so decided to acquire them.


The 70cm yagi was to replace the small 7-element one which I pressed into service as a hand held antenna for potentially finding my HAB payloads last year.

To be honest I wasn't really after a 6m antenna due to the size and visual impact. I have a 6m 'wooden' moxon I made back in 2014 but it is heavy, ugly and unstable so had been collecting cobwebs in the garage. I decided with the prospect of 'Sporadic E' season around the corner I would be foolish not to put it up.

The HB9CV wasn't in the best of conditions but seemed complete albeit it was purchased dismantled. The elements were a little weathered so I set about cleaning them up with a light rubbing down with some wire wool and a rag with a drop of WD40. On closer inspection the tube that made up the front element had some noticeable bending and on removing the plastic mounting to investigate I spotted a crack in the tube wall by the hole for the mounting bolt.

While it hadn't totally separated it would only be a matter of time before it did fail as it was flexing, the plastic mount was the only thing holding it together. I found a suitable piece of alloy tube from a scrap antenna which was a perfect fit inside the broken element. I cut a suitable length and pushed it up inside the element to the appropriate position and then simply drilled through and bolted either side of the central hole to stabilise and strengthen it (can be seen in image below)


The next issue I had to address was the feed point, it came with about six inches of RG58 coax projecting from it where it had simply been cut for removal by the previous owner. I prised off the cover cap to find it full of water, the reason being a hole in the back and it being stored outside I believe.


Thankfully the trimming capacitor seemed okay, while it was wet it wasn't corroded. It was all dried out and the hole plugged with silicon and I set about re-assembling the antenna which was a little fiddly to get the phasing line to sit properly but once done it was a simple matter of adjusting the capacitor to get the VSWR to a minimum in the SSB section of the 6m band. I mounted on the rotator pole just below the X50 collinear.


I used it last month in the 6m UKAC and while my operating not exactly earth shattering I was happy with its performance using just 10W in the low power section just "search and pouncing" for a little over an hour.
.

The 70cm Yagi was straight forward as was already assembled, I just had to make a slight tweak to the gamma-matching bar as the VSWR was unexpectedly high around 2:1 in the SSB segment of the band, it seemed to have been tuned for the FM portion of the band. I managed just an hour "search and pouncing" in Aprils 70cm UKAC, I started late and while signal reports both ways were a marked improvement I found the extra directionality and off beam rejection something I will have to get used not helped by a temperamental rotator. 

What is the big deal with amateur radio? What is it that you hear? (Part 1)

Shortwave Radio - spy vs spy
Shortwave radio has been a source for great sci-fi plots, spy intrigue novels, movies, and so on, since radio first became a “thing.” But, what is the big deal, really? What is it that amateur radio operators listen to?

In this video, I share some of the types of signals one might hear on the high frequencies (also known as shortwave or HF bands). This is the first video in an on-going series introducing amateur radio to the interested hobbyist, prepper, and informed citizen.

I often am asked by preppers, makers, and other hobbyists, who’ve not yet been introduced to the world of amateur radio and shortwave radio: “Just what do you amateur radio operators hear, on the amateur radio shortwave bands?

To begin answering that question, I’ve taken a few moments on video, to share from my perspective, a bit about this shortwave radio thing:

Link to video: https://youtu.be/pIVesUzNP2U — please share with your non-ham friends.

From my shortwave website:

Shortwave Radio Listening — listen to the World on a radio, wherever you might be. Shortwave Radio is similar to the local AM Broadcast Band on Mediumwave (MW) that you can hear on a regular “AM Radio” receiver, except that shortwave signals travel globally, depending on the time of day, time of year, and space weather conditions.

The International Shortwave Broadcasters transmit their signals in various bands of shortwave radio spectrum, found in the 2.3 MHz to 30.0 MHz range. You might think that you need expensive equipment to receive these international broadcasts, but you don’t! Unlike new Satellite services, Shortwave Radio (which has been around since the beginning of the radio era) can work anywhere with very affordable radio equipment. All that you need to hear these signals from around the World is a radio which can receive frequencies in the shortwave bands. Such radios can be very affordable. Of course, you get what you pay for; if you find that this hobby sparks your interest, you might consider more advanced radio equipment. But you would be surprised by how much you can hear with entry-level shortwave receivers. (You’ll see some of these radios on this page).

You do not need a special antenna, though the better the antenna used, the better you can hear weaker stations. You can use the telescopic antenna found on many of the portable shortwave radios now available. However, for reception of more exotic international broadcasts, you should attach a length of wire to your radio’s antenna or antenna jack.

Check out books on radio…

I’m on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

2m SSB history

IC202

For me, 2m SSB began with the purchase of a 10W pep Belcom Liner 2, which opened up 2m SSB to the masses. Before then, people used homebrew transverters and HF rigs to get on VHF SSB.

After that I owned the IC202 from ICOM which had a very good VXO but less power (3W pep).  Later, the first digital synthesised rigs appeared and 2m SSB really took off.

In the last 20 years or so, certainly here in the UK, VHF/UHF SSB took a nosedive and what little VHF/UHF activity there is is mainly using FM. Here in the UK there is good SSB activity in contests and in good lifts, but little casual use of the SSB/CW modes, which is a pity. Ranges on SSB can be much greater than FM for similar power levels.

When I first used my Liner 2 I was amazed how far I could reach in flat conditions, even with 10W and a small indoor antenna.

See https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/vuhf/ic202 .

Mizuho QRP SSB rigs

I don’t think this company still exists.

At one time you could buy Mizuho single band SSB handhelds for many bands up to 2m including many HF bands.  I owned the 2m 200mW pep version (MX2) and managed to work some decent SSB DX with mine mostly with a 1/2wave whip on the rig. The main issue was the poor battery life, so I tended to use an external 9.6V battery.

My rig was used in the main with a homebrew 2m-10m transverter and I worked all over the world on 10m with just the tiny Mizuho rig on the desk.

If I remember right I covered the CW and main SSB parts of 10m by having a couple of crystals in the transverter. Somewhere I still have the transverter, although it has not been used for years.

See https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/vuhf/mx2 .


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