HAM radio

endure

GCM
You might find this useful if you were thinking of getting a licence for transmitting.
Radiocommunications licences

These days, if I wanted a new radio for listening only, I'd probably get an SDRPlay for connecting to a computer or a second hand receiver like a Lowe or an AOR for example if I wanted a stand alone radio without using a computer.
SDRPlay - with the right antenna you can listen to anything and everything from 10kHz to 2Ghz.
 
Bought some rope, pulleys, snap rings etc today and had a play with my antenna. Now have a proper dipole over the septic field. I thought I could use the highest point of the eave over my covered deck, but unfortunately it’s a hollow/decorative beam at the top, so couldn’t use that. So I’m about 20ft off the ground at that end. My extension ladder wasn’t as tall as I thought, so again, only about 20ft at the other end.

But the rope’s stretched, so I’m only about 12ft off the ground in the middle. I can re-tension it in the morning, and perhaps get another 3 feet. But still a bit disappointed with that. Somewhere, I have a “skyhook”, a device used by R SIGNALS lineys to string line from trees etc. I might have a play with that and a 15 ft pole I have to see if I cant get 30ft or so on the tree end. If I can find the skyhook.

Crap photo, but it’s there.

C1899E92-9044-47BF-B130-0D06285F6AA7.jpeg


Anyhoo, the full dipole is much better on RX, I’m receiving a wide range of Europe now; Turkey, Balearic Islands, Croatia, Germany, France, Italy, Bosnia, Austria, Switzerland, Hungary, Jersey (!), Gib, Spain, Portugal, Sardinia, Italy all heard on the new antenna. Azores and Honduras too. I only had confirmed QSOs with Switzerland, Germany, Spain, Austria and Italy though, so that tells me I’m probably getting out with too high a takeoff angle. More antenna elevation required.
 
Bought some rope, pulleys, snap rings etc today and had a play with my antenna. Now have a proper dipole over the septic field. I thought I could use the highest point of the eave over my covered deck, but unfortunately it’s a hollow/decorative beam at the top, so couldn’t use that. So I’m about 20ft off the ground at that end. My extension ladder wasn’t as tall as I thought, so again, only about 20ft at the other end.

But the rope’s stretched, so I’m only about 12ft off the ground in the middle. I can re-tension it in the morning, and perhaps get another 3 feet. But still a bit disappointed with that. Somewhere, I have a “skyhook”, a device used by R SIGNALS lineys to string line from trees etc. I might have a play with that and a 15 ft pole I have to see if I cant get 30ft or so on the tree end. If I can find the skyhook.

Crap photo, but it’s there.

View attachment 553126

Anyhoo, the full dipole is much better on RX, I’m receiving a wide range of Europe now; Turkey, Balearic Islands, Croatia, Germany, France, Italy, Bosnia, Austria, Switzerland, Hungary, Jersey (!), Gib, Spain, Portugal, Sardinia, Italy all heard on the new antenna. Azores and Honduras too. I only had confirmed QSOs with Switzerland, Germany, Spain, Austria and Italy though, so that tells me I’m probably getting out with too high a takeoff angle. More antenna elevation required.
Could you maybe find a roach pole or two to use as supports? Use one for your vertical, with radials and the other to support part of a long wire for your low band.

One way to alter the radiation angle is with a counterpoise in the direction you want your signal to go to.
 
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Could you maybe find a roach pole or two to use as supports? Use one for your vertical, with radials and the other to support part of a long wire for your low band.

One way to alter the radiation angle is with a counterpoise in the direction you want your signal to go to.

Yes, could possibly do that, but will try elevating the dipole first. Previously I had a 30ft coax on the droopy, but now have a 150 ft coax for the elevated dipole. That was $75, so for a vertical as well, it’ll be the same again to put it in the same place. And because I’m me, I’ll want a coax switch so I don’t keep fvcking about changing feeders. I’ll wait a month or two before going that route. The shack computer’s on its last legs too, that is probably a higher priority than more antennas for the next month or two.

One more thing. I’d forgotten how much of an absolute CVNT it is to un-birds-nest a 30m coax. Whatever ******** wrapped the thing in two reverse-wrapped coils wants flogging :)
 
@Electromagnetic @itchy300 @hoofie - 3.5MHz. Worth bothering with or not? As part of the calculations for my 40m band dipole, I figured out I could also fit a dipole for 20m on same securing hardware. I have enough antenna wire, and would repurpose the same feeder. But from memory, the lower freqs, although they naturally propagate further, were very noisy. Is it worth a couple hours fvcking about with it? The rope would only be about 3-5 ft at either end, depending on sag, but I think that’s fine. I just don’t know if it’s worth the effort. Antenna height vs wavelength would be terrible. At best 30ft above ground, but nearly 130ft long. Any thoughts?
 
@Electromagnetic @itchy300 @hoofie - 3.5MHz. Worth bothering with or not? As part of the calculations for my 40m band dipole, I figured out I could also fit a dipole for 20m on same securing hardware. I have enough antenna wire, and would repurpose the same feeder. But from memory, the lower freqs, although they naturally propagate further, were very noisy. Is it worth a couple hours fvcking about with it? The rope would only be about 3-5 ft at either end, depending on sag, but I think that’s fine. I just don’t know if it’s worth the effort. Antenna height vs wavelength would be terrible. At best 30ft above ground, but nearly 130ft long. Any thoughts?
Yes! Definitely. Atmospheric noise is more of a problem on 160 m (1.8 - 2.0 MHz). If you want NVIS mode for getting out of a valley, 80 m ( 3.5 - 3.8 ) and 40 (7.0 - 7.2 MHz) are most useful. 60 m too if you have an allocation and your licence covers it. Our 60 m allocations were more or less spot frequencies but now sub-bandlets. (I know your allocations differ a bit eg 75 m and extended 40m)

Although you will mostly be using these bands for short distance with LSB you will get longer range with data some modes and fairly inefficient skip as so much less of the radiation is going outwards. It's also worth it just to receive and get familiar with propagation on these bands and how the nets work.

You can experiment with full size loops, phased end fire arrays, etc later.
 
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Im thinking of forking out for one of these:

These USB sticks used to be essentially VHF and up. If you wanted HF for example, it needed a converter. Some came with a down converter but most didn't. The "buy cheap, buy twice" rule applied. Be careful and make sure you know what you are getting. There are some strange "reviews" out there speaking of digital antennas and nonsense like that. There are some better sources of reviews. Here is one.
Best Budget SDRs – The SWLing Post
 

itchy300

Old-Salt
@Electromagnetic @itchy300 @hoofie - 3.5MHz. Worth bothering with or not? As part of the calculations for my 40m band dipole, I figured out I could also fit a dipole for 20m on same securing hardware. I have enough antenna wire, and would repurpose the same feeder. But from memory, the lower freqs, although they naturally propagate further, were very noisy. Is it worth a couple hours fvcking about with it? The rope would only be about 3-5 ft at either end, depending on sag, but I think that’s fine. I just don’t know if it’s worth the effort. Antenna height vs wavelength would be terrible. At best 30ft above ground, but nearly 130ft long. Any thoughts?

No idea mate I'm unlicenced, I scan about on VHF/UHF and a bit on WebSDRs but radio is about 4th on my list of hobbies

Not that I'm in a position to advise but I would focus on getting your core bands up and working and have this in your back pocket for an easy project when you're bored on a weekend. In the meantime listen to the 20m on a WebSDR and see if there is enough activity to justify the time/kit/money investment
 

fv1620

Old-Salt
For those who have VHF tendencies, the tropo forecast looks encouraging for this morning's 4m contest in UK.

Tropo 28 Feb.jpg
 

endure

GCM
Im thinking of forking out for one of these:

You're much better off saving up a little and getting an SDRPlay. The USB sticks are re-purposed TV tuners whereas the SDRPlay is built from the ground up to do what it does. A bit more expensive but worth the extra.

It has its own software which I must admit I find a bit confusing but there are others available from the website too.

The RSP1A will cost ~£110 shipped but it's much more capable than the USB sticks.


Lots of youtube guides too.


Well worth the extra that it will cost.
 

fv1620

Old-Salt

Ex-Ten

War Hero
Aware there maybe a couple of HAMS on arrse.

For a while I've been thinking of venturing into this. I understand there are courses etc.My question is - I don't really want to be sticking external aerials up.
Is it viable to dabble in something like this with just some for of internal (mobile) aerial?
I harken to when I was 15 and had a CB with a mobile aerial on a biscuit tin behind the chair in spare room.

Is something similar possible on HAM freqs?
1: I'm a bit late to this thread
2: More than a few and we're not all former scaleys!
3: 28Mhz aka 10M FM is the closest in frequency & performance BUT there's so much more to enjoy, almost from DC to Daylight!
 

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