Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Terrain analysis


If you're studying the performance of your antennas over real ground including the surrounding area you need to have terrain analysis software like HFTA or Radio Mobile. HFTA can be found on the CD included with the ARRL antennabook, I haven't got it unfortunately. Radio mobile can be downloaded or you can use the online version. I chose the online version. It has no guidance, so you have to find out for yourself. But so far, there seems not to be too many options as the program is under development. However you can get the idea and it could be really useful. Of course radio mobile is all about mobile coverage but since this is calculated with surrounding terrain in mind it could be interesting for a base station as well. My omni directional copper tape vertical isn't something really shocking and that count as well for the heigth of 9m above ground level. The biggest surprise is that my coverage seems to be better to the south (land inward) and not to the north (the sea). I made several coverages from 80 - 10m and the outcome is all the same. It seems that the Island of Borkum near the coast here is blocking my signal as well. You can see the same with other islands. Playing with the software and several antenna models can get you interesting surprises. Radioamateurs which are living in the mountains or near the sea or a lake can have most advantage from it. But remember, Radio Mobile doesn't give you any idea about the DX performance as it is actually a mobile station coverage analysis program.

Radio Mobile Online

HFTA (HF terrain analysis) will show you more info about take off angles in several directions which are much more important for DX. I would like a copy but need to buy the ARRL antennabook for that I guess. It is so unfortunate we can't download the software somewhere on the internet? It has probabely a copyright by the ARRL. I think I have to look out for the book which we cannot buy here in the Netherlands as far as I know (sold out at the VERON).

Friday, 26 August 2016

New one...

By Klaus M. - Image (Map) made by Klaus M. (Mikmaq),
Germany, CC BY-SA 2.5,
https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1273342
Difficult, but on the other hand easy. I've been listening for CY9C through the week but was only able to hear them last Sunday on 17m for 5 minutes before their signal faded into the noise. Asking via fb some neighbour stations what the best time was to make the contact. PA4O Peter did work them at 17 UTC on 20m. So this Wednesday I tried but viewing the DX cluster they were only on 12/10/6m at that time.  I saw a lot of south European spots of them at Thursday around 17 UTC and decided to listen only to find a almost dead band and noise. Very frustrating. But I wanted to work them so patience is required, I have the experience things can change within a minute and you can't work them if you're not listening. And indeed they came up just readable, I made one call in which he heard me as PA4BAS but it was quiet and I managed to correct it to PE4BAS. New one in the log. 2 minutes later the signal faded and I did not hear them anymore. Later in the evening I could just decode them on 30m RTTY. But the pile-up was huge so after 2 calls I decided to quit trying.

I wonder why CY9 St.Paul Island has the DXCC status? There are at least two other St.Paul islands which are much more remote. I see this contact as just another new DXCC and not really a new country as this Island belongs to Canada and is near to Nova Scotia.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Paul_Island_(Nova_Scotia)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Paul_Island_(Alaska)
http://bit.ly/2bnTRr1 (Ile Saint Paul, Indian Ocean)

Online CY9C log: https://secure.clublog.org/charts/?c=CY9C#r



Monday, 22 August 2016

Not so spectaculair


Not so spectaculair results on 30m. TXing with the W5OLF 1W transmitter. On the magnetic loop which I found under a layer of dust in my garage. I didn't check it, just connected the battery and hit the start button on time. Left it running till 99 TX periods are over, then it shuts down. I noticed a carrier signal when transmitting across the 20m band for the first time, could be the change of the vertical antenna at the base station. Best DX was just over 2000km. I've not been busy with the radio hobby last couple of weeks. So. this is my first post this month. I have some ideas to write about and some postings are in the make and almost ready. Hopefully I will find the time to finish them and finally post them here. Stay tuned!