VLF field test – a total failure!

Well, I did my first VLF earth-mode field test today since my brain bleed in Sept 2013. Sadly, it was a total failure. I am at a loss to explain the results.

Tuned VLF loop

I put the 5W, 8.976kHz, beacon on into the same earth electrodes used successfully on 472kHz (best DX on TX over 1000km) and went about 1.6km to a car park where I always had strong signals using a tuned loop on RX and earth-electrodes on TX from the old QTH in the same village. Nothing at all copied today – absolutely nothing. I waited in case I was in a pause between QRSS3 callsign transmissions, but no absolutely nothing at all. Not even the tiniest hint of a signal.

So I parked in the road about 0.3km from this QTH and again nothing at all. At this point we drove home.

Sure enough, everything was still working at the TX end.  I am using one remote ground and the mains ground as the shack end as for 472kHz. I did check this was grounded to real ground.

So, whatever utilities assistance I was getting before at the old QTH is not the same at this newer QTH. All very very odd. I was expecting to see something. In the past I received transmissions from the old QTH at the new QTH (about 0.3km away) using just an E-field probe on the car. From the old QTH I spanned 6km!

In summary, this VLF test was a total failure. I am at loss to explain things. Not only that, but the work has left me very exhausted. My brain is still foggy, but the results today were not due to any mistakes with the HW gear or PC Spectran settings.

I am not having much success today.

Roger Lapthorn, G3XBM, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Cambridge, England.

2 Responses to “VLF field test – a total failure!”

  • n4lne:

    Hello Roger

    We are so happy to see you out there trying OM

    73
    Phil N4LNE

  • jan oh2eko:

    VLF 3 kHz to 30 kHz not sure i read your post right but as far i see i did not notice any HUGE coils or kilometer long antennas…
    If you gonna use bedrock or ground it better be wet or salty or metally

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