AA8IA Amateur Radio

HF Station back on the air

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Although I’m still working on a decision regarding other antennas for HF, I decided last week to string up a dipole with the help of a friend. It is a 40m diapole in a V configuration. However, it’s essentially a horizontal V because that is my only option at present.

I dragged all of my equipment out of the mothballs and managed to get it all hooked up in a very disorganized way. I bought a Signalink USB from DX Engineering to use for digital modes. So I’m currently using a 20-amp PS, a Yaesu FT-100, the aforementioned dipole and Signalink USB, and an LDG AT-100Pro tuner.

This weekend a few QSO parties were going on including the 7th Call Area QSO Party. I made a single CW contact, almost a dozen SSB contacts, and a few PSK31 contacts.

Jay, N8SJS, encouraged me to get into the digital mode action on HF, which is why I ended up getting the Signalink USB. We hunted down signals this weekend and I made a few more PSK31 contacts and a DominoEX contact. With the help of the PSKReporter website I was able to determine that others were hearing me on the various bands on PSK. This is really handy. Jay conned me into downloading and installing Ham Radio Deluxe, which I was familar with using a few years back. This is a great program for operating the digital modes and has just about every feature known to man in it. It’s a large program suite and taxes a computer a bit, but my laptop handles it with no problem.

I ended up hearing John, AC8JB, pick off somebody on PSK right before I was getting ready to. It was cool to hear another local [he’s from Wellsville] working HF.

Although I realize the pattern of this dipole and its efficiency on the various bands is very unpredictable, it tunes up all the bands I wanted to work with no problems using the LDG tuner and I am able to make contacts. This is great, because now I don’t feel so much pressure to make a decision on other more expensive, cumbersome antennas. I can take my time thinking about what to get next.

I need to get some new coax. I’m using garbage RG8X that is at least 10 years old for HF. I have LMR-400 here and i may put that on. I need to put a coax choke in place to try and curb some RF from coming down into the shack. I also need to get everything set up on a desk and get the station grounded as best as possible.

I have a USB-to-Serial converter ordered so that i can use my serial CAT interface on the laptop [which lakes a bonafide serial port as we all know them]. This will make using HRD / DM-780 that much nicer.

Although thunderstorms were predicted all weekend, we had no T-storms and only had rain. This was great. I really enjoyed this weekend on HF and hope that by next weekend I’ll even have more fun.

Some good sites to monitor DX and band conditions:

DX Summit

Written by Mike

May 2nd, 2010 at 8:26 pm

Posted in Antennas

Tagged with , , , , ,

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