For this episode, I shot about 2 hours of video of me casually working the 20-meter band on a Saturday with a contest and two state QSO parties in progress, editing the video down to under 30 minutes. I comment on what I’m hearing, make a few domestic QSOs, one QSO with France, and unsuccessfully work Italy. All with 80 watts into a homebrew magnetic loop antenna. Enjoy!
I didn’t do any major stuff over the weekend, just working a couple special event stations that I heard, a couple contacts for the Montana QSO Party, and a few more for Winter Field Day. Continue reading
I’ve been spending a lot of time coming up with a good way of motorizing the tuning shaft of the vacuum variable capacitor, and make the whole assembly modular so I can move it from one loop antenna to another to optimize a particular band. I only ended up using one antenna during the 12-hour NA QSO Party on Saturday, but it generally went pretty well. Continue reading
Now that I’ve been working on ham radio antennas, I have a couple of projects for the video blog. The first one is a 6-meter 4-element Yagi. It is designed to be semi-portable, and for me this is particularly important because it’s not practical for me to leave up an antenna for any significant length of time. Perhaps impudently, I am posting this introduction and design video before I actually have the antenna on the air! However, I have tested the antenna itself (sans 1:1 balun) with a VNA and it seems to behave more or less as expected.
I spend a lot of time talking about various design parameters and the actual modeling procedure, so this may seem a little dry if you’ve done this before. But, I try to keep my speech pace relatively slow on these videos, so there’s always the 1.25x and 1.5x speed options on YouTube. Part II will detail the construction process, and Part III will show testing and hopefully actual on-air performance.
Okay, now for the more extended story concerning the beginning of my true amateur radio operating “career”. Continue reading
I had my 10-foot magnetic loop antenna ready to go for this weekend’s ARRL SSB contest, but realizing that it would only work one band (20 meters) for that contest, at the last minute I decided to build a new loop to finally go on the air as K7HKR. I used this on-line calculator to figure out something optimized for both the 20- and 40-meter bands with the high-voltage variable capacitor I have on hand. This ended up being a 15-foot circumference loop made out of 1/4″ copper coil pipe, which is much easier to bend than the 1/2″ pipe I used for the 10-foot loop. Continue reading
Finally some more ham radio content. After getting my license in May, I passed my General exam in June, achieving my goal of better than a 90% score. I even applied for a vanity call in June and received it after the nominal 3-week wait (K7HKR; “K7 Hiker”). My goal starting out was to use home-brew antennas (except for my handheld). But, I got distracted by the summer FM broadcast band sporadic-E season, and hiking trips, and the fall equinox trans-Pacific AM broadcast band DXing season, and work, etc. Thus, I haven’t been taking advantage of having a large fraction of amateur radio frequencies available to me. Continue reading