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Local WX

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Hamilton Ohio

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Wind: South at 1.3 mph
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Transceivers

09/011-Current Flex-3000- HF-6 Meter all mode transceiver, WOW where do I start.  A very quite yet very sensitive receiver, no roofing filters all filtering is done via DSP thru PowerSDR, no ringing and NO QRM by stations that want to get right up next to you, multiple notch filtering with variable bandwidths and 3 levels of notching! Allow you to run as many notch filters as you wish, with the option to save them per band if you'd like, great for contest weekends. I was hooked on the Flex 20 minutes after operating it and never during that time reached for a knob or button. Everything is right in front of you in a very nice on screen display from your computer monitor no hidden or hard to get too sub menus all adjustable on the fly. Very easy setup if you can load a hardware device driver you can run a FLEX!  I also still enjoy running various digital modes and use HRD, now I only have 1 connection the computer over a fire wire port, all rig control/audio /keying etc is done with 1 cable a nice neat clean setup. I have been receiving very good audio reports from the Flex as well,  you can select from either a 3 or 10 band EQ (on both RX/TX) there's your standard compression (Called compander) a Noise Gate and an Audio Leveller in the software if you so choose to use them.  At present I am using a Sterling Audio ST51 condenser microphone.  The current version of PowerSDR allows the internal tuner to have a range of 6:1 double that of most other transceivers. A 2 year warranty (transferable), full 30 day return if you’re not satisfied program and made in the USA. Did I mention the outstanding Technical Support and vast knowledge of information regarding setting up and other recommendations from a great user forum! "Tune in Excitement"™   As of October 2014 the 3000 is no longer available from FlexRadio Systems.

Station 02/2011-09/2011:  HF-6 Meters I am using a Yaesu FT-2000 transceiver (see below comments), It's a fairly larger radio compared to the previous station with the FT-450, The receiver on the FT-2000 is decent. The DNR functions work extremely well as does the NB.  The sub receiver is a very nice function esp when working split it's really nice being able to listen to both the DX station and the calling frequency at the same time. The layout of the front panel was nicely throughout with access to controls and functions a breeze. I am still using HRD and the CAT interface with this radio and it performs very well.  The TX EQ takes a while to get setup but once you do it produces clean TX audio.  I replaced the Audio Techncia ATR-30 microphone I used with FT-450 with a Yaesu MD-100 and the combo works very well .  As of September 2011 I would not recommend an FT-2000 to anyone looking for a reliable rig.  Having bad experiences with blown pre-amps on several occasions,  it can not handle strong signals despite it claims of doing so. I didn't know what I was missing on receive until I used the Flex -3000- at half the price of a FT-2000 it is 2-3 times the transceiver! and Yaesu's DMU display is a joke compared to the spectrum view offered by the PSDR software on a Flex.

Previous station: Yaesu FT-450, a nice little radio which certainly gone beyond what I expected for an entry level transceiver.  Despite its many complaints about having a small tuning knob I found the FT-450 an easy to operate rig. It receives very well and has a pleasant transmitted audio even with the stock hand held microphone the average output of the unit I have is very close to 100 watts and some bands will do slightly more.  It worked well with Ham Radio Deluxe (HRD) software which lets you control just about every function of the unit through the CAT interface cable and software. I also used a West Mountain Radio PnP Digital interface which plugged right into the back of the radios digital port and once configured in HRD was a great setup for digital modes plus SSTV.

 

Antennas

Vertical- using a 43 foot vertical from S9 Antennas (S9Antennas.com). I am now using a 43 foot vertical antenna mainly on 80-10 meters. This antenna covers 80-6 meters and I have made several contacts on both 80 and 6 meters but it performs best on 60-17 meters with decent results on 15-10 meters. So far I have been impressed with the results of the antenna and it has done just as well locally as the wire dipole on 40-10 meters, 80 Meters is down locally which is to be expected but I suspect for DX it will do better on 80 then the low hanging dipole I had up. For DX contacts on both 40 thru 17 meters the Vertical is hands down a better performer than the Fan dipole I had up yielding typically 3 or more S-units higher and in some cases when comparing the vertical with the wire dipole of my Elmer N8KYX who has a very similar wire dipole setup that I was using results running the same power have been even greater than just a few S units. For local contacts we seem to be very close with him having little better signals but not by much.

The real shocker for me was how much less noise the vertical has over the wire dipole this goes against what has been said about verticals and in most cases is the usually the norm (that being Verticals are by nature more noisy) I'm not sure what is causing this and maybe it has to do with location (I have some power lines which the old dipoles were closer to) then the Vertical but usually those create man made vertical noise to begin with. Anyway if you plan on going this route make sure you do some prep work by reading as much info as you can find regarding the 43 foot verticals before diving in, They require a very good ground radial system, low loss feed-line and most importantly a good tuner. (I'd recommend a Palstar Antenna Tuner) as these are NON RESONATE ANTENNAS- they are close to 60 meters and work very well on that band, but you need a GOOD TUNER, FEEDLINE, and may or may not need a 1:1 Choke Balun or 4:1 UNUN depending on setup - I'm using the (Balun Designs) 4:1 UNUN on my setup. With the addition of the 4:1 unun tuning on all the bands esp 80 meters has improved as well as  making contacts on that band.  I can get it too tune on 160M but the antenna is very short for that band although I have made several local contacts with it, during the winter I may wind up a base loaded coil for it and give it a try on 160 some more.

** My Elmer N8KYX is now using the S9 43 Foot vertical as well, and having better DX performance with it as well over his fan dipole with a little less noise as well.

 

Modified Inverted L- Another wire antenna I have been using lately is what I have been calling a Modified Inverted L. Since I have a small lot a full size 80 meter dipole just will not fit on it. The solution was an 80 Meter Inverted L it performed better than the S9 vertical did for 80 meters. I found I could again tune this antenna to work on other bands as well, but had issues when trying to use it on 40 meters. 40 Meters presented a high high impedance's as a result of the antenna being a half wave on that band. The solution was to make the entire length longer and non resonate on any band to prevent it from becoming a half wave or multiple of. After some trial and error and a length that would no longer fit the shape of an  inverted L I ended up with a modified inverted L which looks more like an upside down U. This antenna tunes very easy from 160-10 meters, So far it seems to work well on 80-20 meters for both local and DX.

Update August 16th 2014- The prevoius lengh of the Inverted L has been cut back to just over 68 feet this produced a no tuner required SWR for the lower half 80/75 meters. when needed the AT1KP tuner can easily adjust the SWr for other bands.

A 40 Meter OCFD was installled and seems to be working good on 40 meters locally on 20 and 10 meters it seems to work well for both local and DX. More information and SWR plots for these antennas installed at my station see Wire Antennas that Work

 

For 6 Meters I use a small 2 element beam made by Diamond model A-502B this has a short 3 foot boom (yes there are bigger TV antennas around me). For a small antenna it has worked well for me in fact it was the first antenna I had up once I received my Technician License.  I used it with an old Yaesu FT-690R II QRP and had a blast. It does have a good front to back ratio and good rejection off the sides. When 6 opens it provides some fun. 

 

Tuner

 For tuning the vertical and modified inverted L I use a Palstar AT1KP tuner that covers 160-6M its rock solid unlike the LDG Z-11Pro that it replaced. The unit has a peak reading power meter and lighted display, The controls are smooth and it stays put, unlike the cheaper units the Palstars have a heavy gauge metal case.

 

HF Amplifiers 

September 2011-currently using an amplifier W4EMF a friend of mine built for me. 80-10 meters it has proven to be a workhorse, running a single GI7BT Russian tube it makes an easy 600+ watts. The unit consists of the table top amplifier and a separate HV supply.

Prior to September 2011 I used an old Yaesu FL-2100B Amplifier that produces roughly 400-500 watts 80-10 meters. If you can find one of these that someone hasn't tampered with for under 300.00 and it works with decent tubes it a nice  amp to start with.

 

VHF/UHF

For 2 meter mobile use I use now use an older HTX 242 Radio Shack running a 5/8 wave antenna.

The H.T. is a Kenwood tribander 2,22,440 which has proven to be a good unit. It provides a full 5 watts output on all 3 bands. The stock antenna has been replaced with Diamond tribander which really made an improvement.

 

0141
Flex-3000
GI7BT-HFAMP
kd8lcd_023
N8SDRH1
N8SDRH2
N8SDRH3
N8SDRH4
Palstar-AT1KP
shack-2012
spectrum-view
WP_20131007_012
WP_20131007_013
01/13 
start stop bwd fwd

 

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