Monday, January 20, 2020

One hour in the 2020 Summer VHF/UHF Field Day

This is about the most basic setup you could have. Five watts of 144 MHz SSB only with a 2 element yagi at not much higher than sea level. Nevertheless contacts up to nearly 200km were made.

Here's the video.


PS: Enjoy building antennas? Many hams do. Hand-carried QRP antennas, my first antenna book has been very popular. That concentrated on basic concepts and the lower HF bands. Anyway here's the follow-up. Called More Hand-carried QRP antennas it describes more than 30 antennas and accessories that you can easily build. And there's more of an emphasis on upper HF, VHF and UHF antennas that the previous volume didn't have so much on.


Sunday, January 19, 2020

Introducing More Hand-carried QRP antennas (ebook)


There's no doubt that building antennas is a popular activity amongst hams. This is reflected in the sales of my books; Hand-carried QRP antennas consistently ranks as the most popular with thousands sold. 

We're overdue for another volume. Not because anything in the first book is out of date but because the antenna field is so wide that only a small fraction can be covered in one book. 

Hence the new release: More Hand-carried QRP antennas. With the basics covered in the first volume, this gets straight down to business with descriptions of over thirty antenna projects. There are also some background articles and ideas for the antenna experimenter.

More Hand-carried QRP antennas devotes more attention to upper HF, VHF and UHF antennas, complementing the lower-HF focus of the first volume. But you'll still find projects for bands down to 1.8 MHz, including some exciting loop and loaded pole ideas.

Everything presented has been built and tested by the author over almost 30 years of successful QRP activity.

More Hand-carried QRP antennas is available in ebook format with a paperback edition coming soon. It's the author's seventh book, following on from popular previous titles for QRP operators, antenna builders, radio beginners and more. 

The price is the same as with the first book; under five US dollars or five euro. 

To learn more watch the summary video below, search the title in Amazon or head over to the book's page on my website


Friday, January 17, 2020

Trying the Skyfoil kite

John KC0KBG very generously mailed me this frameless kite. The good thing about it is it has no bulky poles. Hence it can scrunch up into a small light package ideal for portable QRP. 

In this video I take it for a fly. It probably isn't great for very light winds but in a moderate wind it held up, even supporting 20 metres of thin hookup wire for an antenna. The video below is my test of it. 


You'll be able to buy it via Walmart stores in the US later this year. Or you can order it via Amazon. Link is here (note that it's an affiliate link so I get a small commission on items sold - no extra cost to you).


If you do get one please let me know how you go in the comments below!

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Get your free sample 'On the Air' magazine from ARRL

ARRL has launched a new magazine for beginners to amateur radio. It's called 'On the Air'. 

I like it. The first edition includes articles on propagation, using repeaters, extending your transmitting range, public service communications, buying a handheld transceiver and more. 

The first edition is available as a free sample by clicking here


PS: More detail on operating, also suitable for new hams, is in Minimum QRP. It's the top-selling manual on the equipment, antennas, operating and strategy of successful low power amateur radio operating. And its techniques work for 100 watts as well. It's available for under $US 5 each in electronic form. Or you can get a paperback version. Visit VK3YE Radio Books to find out more. 



Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Some material on ham station lightning protection

We don't often get thunderstorms here in Melbourne. But they're much more common in the tropics further north. And apparently also in places like the USA deep south.

Anyway here's some videos and links that discuss how amateurs can prepare against them and save their gear from being blown up. Not surprisingly they're all American.

Ham Homestead (video)



KB2UYT article via ARRL website on lightning protection (pdf)

Above is first of a three part article. Read other parts via DX Engineering website.

Another ARRL article on lightning protection for the ham's home (pdf)


PS: I've now written six books on various aspects of amateur radio. Whether you experiment with antennas, enjoy QRP or are starting out in radio there's a book for you. Find out more here

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Ask me anything - 13 January

The latest Ask Me Anything. Discusses a range of topics with questions from viewers.


PS: Want to read about antennas? Consider this selection of antenna books. They are affiliate links meaning that I receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you) if you decide to purchase.

    

Monday, January 13, 2020

The balanced S-match

Just when  you think  you've seen all types of antenna coupler configurations, another comes along.

It's called the 'S-match' and is designed for use with balanced antennas eg tuned feeder dipoles.

A description appears on the website of one of our radio clubs in Melbourne.

http://www.wandarc.org.au/2019/09/08/balanced-s-matcher/

It's based on ideas from PA0FRI and RZ3AE.

I've not yet tried it. Have you? If so please let me know in the comments below.

PS: Want to learn about portable antennas? You'll find many ideas and projects in the top-selling Hand-carried QRP antennas.



Friday, January 10, 2020

Peukert's Law and batteries

Something I've 'known' but never, until today, seen described concerns how much current you can draw from rechargeable batteries. Especially when what you're drawing is a high percentage of a a battery's amp hour rating. 

For instance supposing you had an FT817 that draws something like 2A on transmit. You might think that a 2AH sealed lead acid battery is sufficient to keep you transmitting for 2 hours (I'm assuming a continuous duty cycle mode like FM). 

But in practice you'll get less. Why? It's something called Peukert's Law. 

I hadn't heard of it up to today (where I was researching a question I got asked). 



To summarise you need more battery capacity than you might have calculated when you're drawing lots of current, eg when  using a radio transmitter, particularly on a high duty cycle mode eg FM, SSTV or WSPR.

 PS: I've now written six books on various aspects of amateur radio. Whether you experiment with antennas, enjoy QRP or are starting out in radio there's a book for you. Find out more here



Thursday, January 9, 2020

Oblong loops for 28 and 50 MHz

I've had great results with 50 ohm oblong loop antennas for 144 MHz. But what about 28 and 50 MHz? Today I built one for those bands. Watch the video to see how it performed.



PS: Want to learn more about portable antennas? You'll find many ideas and projects in the top-selling Hand-carried QRP antennas.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

VK amateur involvement in bushfire communication

If you'd like to read what role VK amateurs have had in bushfire relief communications you might wish to read the following: 




The fires are far from over and the above good work amateurs are doing is continuing. In fact VKs have been assisting with communications not just in the last few weeks but going back several months at least. 

Information on various bushfire appeals appears here if you wish to donate.

Accounts of Australian amateur involvement in bushfire communication (going back to 1939) can be found in these issues of Amateur Radio magazine: 




Monday, January 6, 2020

Will an unbalanced antenna coupler work with a balanced tuned feeder dipole

We're always told that if you used a balanced antenna, such as a tuned feeder dipole, one should use a balanced antenna coupler rather than something that's simple and unbalanced eg a single L-match. 

In this video I do some tests on WSPR with a tuned feeder dipole (20 metres end to end, 8 metres feedline) on 14, 18 and 21 MHz. I swap between a balanced antenna coupler and an unbalanced coupler. Are there differences in signal reports? Watch and find out!  



PS: Find hints and tips for working DX in Minimum QRP. It's the top-selling manual on the equipment, antennas, operating and strategy of successful QRP operating. And its techniques work for 100 watts as well. It's available for under $US 5 each in electronic form. Or you can get a paperback version. Visit VK3YE Radio Books to find out more. 




One hour in the 2020 Summer VHF/UHF Field Day

This is about the most basic setup you could have. Five watts of 144 MHz SSB only with a 2 element yagi at not much higher than sea level. ...