Monday, 25 September 2017

Messing about with Antennas

Yesterday here in Kingston it was a glorious day, with a high of 27C......41C with the humidex, so of course it was the perfect day to go to Lake Ontario Park and play with some antennas.

Several years ago I bought from Buddipole a Rigid Shock-Corded Whip and a Mini Shock-Corded Whip, and I have never used them...they just sat in the corner of the shack.   The issue here is that Buddipole produces no information about how to use these whips, unlike the rest of the products they have.  These two types of whips appear to be orphans.

There seems to be nothing on the Internet about these whips, no ideas for settings or how to set them up, or even how to tune them so they work on various bands.  So, it seems like it was time to experiment with them.

My Rigid Shock-Corded Whip is made up of five 22 inch sections, with a 19 inch adjustable stinger on the top and a 17 inch one on the bottom, giving it a total length of 146 inches.  According to the Buddipole literature, this whip is good for 10m through 17m, and can be used on 20m with the use of two extra 22 inch arms.

After four hours of experimenting with different set-ups here's what I managed to get to work:

On 15m, at 21.150, the SWR was 2.0:1.  The whip was set up with no stingers used, and on an 8 foot mast.  I used a single 10' 9" counterpoise wire running from 8 feet down to 4 feet.

On 17m, at 18.136, the SWR was 1.5:1.  The whip was set up with the top stinger fully extended, but the bottom stinger was not used.  It was also set-up on an 8 foot mast.  I used a single 14' 3" counterpoise wire running from 8 feet down to 4 feet.

On 20m, at 14.145, the SWR was 2.0:1.  The whip was set up with both stingers fully extended and two 22" arms.  It was also set-up on the 8 foot mast.  I used a single 14' 3" counterpoise wire running from 8 feet down to 4 feet.

Even with changing the lengths of the counterpoise wire I could not get below these SWR measurements.

The Mini Shock-Corded Whip on the other hand could not be tuned anywhere.  The version I own is the nine-section version with a 10 inch adjustable stinger on top for a total length of 122 inches.  This whip is going to take a lot more experimenting before I can get it to work.

I'm very surprised that Buddipole does not seem to support these whips the way they support the other antennas they produce.  The documentation they produce for their other antennas is fantastic.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Chillycon 2017

What a difference a year makes !!!   This Chillycon was anything but chilly, in fact I doubt it got below 23C all weekend.  We had beautiful blue skies and not a drop of rain in sight.  The only downside was the 14 gazillion mosquitoes we had to dodge all day, they were relentless.

It was different this year being at Murphy's Point Provincial Park instead of at Rideau River.  Some of the campsites left a lot to be desired, and yet others were large and very usable.   Also, these sites were not as private as at Rideau River, but hopefully we will be able to go back to Rideau River next year after they fix the flood damage.

We had about 14 camping, 6 from Kingston, 6 from Ottawa, and 2 from Montreal.  Many others dropped in for the day on Saturday and stayed for the Pizza supper that night.   It was great sitting around after the supper talking to everyone, in fact the last guy left the campsite at around midnight, so a good time was had by one and all.

Lots of different radios and antennas to see and talk about this year, most of us have come away from it with a few ideas for winter projects.

Bob VA3QV was supposed to come for the Saturday, but was a no-show.....I will talk sternly to him over this issue later.   It was great to see Martin, VA3SIE, and his XYL for the first time in about 6 years.......he had the Polar Bear QRP Club flag flying proudly over his site all weekend.

Due to the lousy propagation not many QSO's were made, however, Eric VA3AMX won the Annual DX Contest with a QRP CW QSO with a Brazilian station.  

363 days to go till the next Chillycon!!

Jim VE3ULC operating his portable Digital gobox.
The camp Kitchen.
Somebody has to guard the Scotch and Rum!!!

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Wow, September already!

VA3QV heading to Chillycon
As we enter September I really wonder where this year has gone.  It seems with all the rain we had that we have gone right from spring to falling about 3 weeks!!

There's not really a lot planned for this month except for the annual Chillycon weekend which is being held at Murphys Point Provincial Park this year due to flood damage at our usual location at Rideau River Provincial Park.   This year it will not be the same, it seems a bit more crowded at Murphys Point and not as open......but it will have to do for one year.

On a good note, the long-range weather forecast for the Chillycon weekend, September 16/17 is looking mighty dry and warm.....what a change from the past three years that will be!!!

Later on in the month, September 24th to be exact, a group of us are planning to activate the Portsmouth Olympic Harbour Light for the very first time.  It already has a number, CAN-815, and we are looking, and hoping, for good weather for that event as well.

It's starting to cool off at night these days as well, that means here in Canada we start our annual antenna maintenance programs to make sure they will stand up to our five months of crappy winter weather.