Wednesday, March 9, 2011
1. Use efficient antennas
A half wave dipole or better is preferred.
2. Know your capabilities - do not expect DX every time
It would be nice to work Europe with one watt to a mobile whip on forty metres, but do not expect such contacts to come easily (if at all). Instead, you should cast your sights a little lower and enjoy the closer-in contacts that are more achievable.
3. Have frequency-agile equipment
Many articles describe simple crystal-controlled QRP transmitters that can be put together in an evening. These are fun to build but frustrating to operate; 99 percent of such rigs sit on shelves, unused, gathering dust. Instead, use a VFO or 3.58 MHz variable ceramic resonator on eighty metres, or a VXO with at least a 10-15 kHz tuning range on the higher bands.
4. Use 'tail-ending' to advantage
When your signal is weaker than average (such as when operating QRP), 'tail-ending' is the most effective way of obtaining contacts. Simply tune across the band, noting the contacts that are ending. When all stations sign clear, call one of the stations. They will most likely reply to your call, even if only to give a signal report.
5. Have a quality signal
A transmitter that clicks and chirps is harder to copy at the other end than a signal from a clean and stable rig. This is particularly the case when the receiving station is using narrow CW filters.
6. On CW, know the relationship between your transmit and receive frequencies
It is possible for a station to miss your call if you are transmitting on the wrong frequency. Set direct conversion QRP rigs so that they transmit about 800 Hz below their receive frequency. Conversely, if calling CQ, tune around your normal receive frequency (with the RIT control) just in case a station is calling you on the wrong frequency.
7. Have an efficient transmit/receive switching system
A homebrew station that requires the operator to flick two or three switches to switch from receive to transmit is inefficient and may result in missed contacts (particularly during contests). Use just one T/R switch or experiment with the many break in and timing circuits available.
8. Use the best receiver you can afford
Most of the complexity in a QRP station is in the receiver. While simple receivers are fine for casual SWLing, active operating requires a somewhat better class of receiver. Aim for good frequency stability, adequate bandspread, reasonable selectivity, good strong-signal handling and an absence of microphonics. A well-built direct-conversion receiver should satisfy on all five counts for all but the most hostile band conditions.
9. Enter contests to boost your operating skills
Many people think that high power is necessary to participate in contests. This is untrue, particularly for the local VK contests. Contest rules are given in Amateur Radio magazine and on the WIA website.
10. Don't be afraid to call CQ
On bands such as ten metres, the band can be wide open, but no one would know as every body is listening. Call CQ, particularly when you have grounds for supposing the band is open, for example reception of beacons or 27 MHz CB activity. Automatic CQ callers using tape recorders, computers or digital voice recorders are particularly handy here.
In this tuner. a variable inductor made bv mutual coupling between two coils of near equal inductance is used as the L match inductor. The object is to have a variable inductor with no taps or rollers. These coupled coils, LI and L2 are connected in series (see Figure) to get total inductance.
A reverse switch connects the two coils either for additive or subtractive M to accomplish a wide range of total L. With LI = L2 = 10 uH and K = 0.8 the range is about 4 to 36 uH. One coil is wound on the plastic case of
a 12 ga empry shotgun shell and the other on a 20 ga empty shotgun shell . The winding is #23 magnet wire so that the outside diameter of the 20 ga coil slides nicely into the 12 ga shell to allow variable coupling by sliding the smaller coil in and out of the larger coil.
1. Use a low base 20 ga empty shotgun shell and drill out the primer end to clear a 114 inch screw.
2. Take a 1/4-20 nylon hex nut and glue it over the hole just drilled. This gives the shell a threaded nut that will run on a lead screw to move this coil in and out of the 12 ga shell.
3. In preparation for winding the coil cut off and discard about 318 inch of the crimped end of the 20 ga plastic so that a well formed coil form remains.
4. Locate and drill a 1132-inch dia hole in the plastic about 114 inch from the end just prepared. This is for the start of the $23 magnet wire winding.
5. Locate and drill another 1132" dia. hole in the plastic about 7116 inch from the fust hole toward the base. This allows 15 turns between the holes from start to finish, Drill a 1W-inch hole close to the base that will serve to bring both ends of the winding out for connections clear of the sliding fit. .
6. Wind 15 turns of #23 magnet wire between the two 1132 dia holes. Start with one end into a 1132 dia hole, into the shell and out the 118-inch hole. When 15 turns are on, put the end into the nearby 1132- inch hole, down the center of the shell and out the 118-inch hole pulling the wire tightly to maintain tight turns.
7. Take a 12 ga shell, cut the crimped end off to make a uniform coil form and wind on 13 turns of #23 magnet wire. No holes are used for the start and finish of the winding so tape must be used hold the winding and dress the leads. Clear fingernail polish may be useful as well.
8. A 1/4-20 x 2 inch nylon machine screw along with an extension of 114 inch wooden doweling is used to make the lead crew shown in the diagram in Figure
The antenna shown in Fig is called an inverted-L antenna. It is simple and easy to construct and is a good antenna for the beginner or the experienced 1.8-MHz DXer. Because the overall electrical length is made somewhat greater than ë/4, the feed-point resistance is on the order of 50 Ù, with an inductive reactance. That reactance is canceled by a series capacitor as indicated in the figure. For a vertical section length of 60 feet and a horizontal section length of 125 feet, the input impedance is ≈ 40 + j 450 Ù. Longer vertical or horizontal sections would increase the input impedance. The azimuthal radiation pattern is slightly asymmetrical with ≈1 to 2 dB increase in the direction opposite to the horizontal wire. This antenna requires a good buried ground system or elevated radials. This antenna is a form of top-loaded vertical, where the top loading is asymmetrical. This results in both vertical and horizontal polarization because the currents in the top wire do not cancel like they would in a symmetrical-T vertical. This is not necessarily a bad thing because it eliminates the zenith null present in a true vertical. This allows for good communication at short ranges as well as for DX
The simplest way to shorten a dipole is shown in Fig . If you do not have sufficient length between the supports, simply hang as much of the center of the antenna as possible between the supports and let the ends hang down. The ends can be straight down or may be at an angle as indicated but in either case should be secured so that they do not move in the wind. As long as the center portion between the supports is at least ë/4, the radiation pattern will be very nearly the same as a full-length dipole.
The resonant length of the wire will be somewhat shorter than a full-length dipole and can best be determined by experimentally adjusting the length of ends, which may be conveniently near ground. Keep in mind that there can be very high potentials at the ends of the wires and for safety the ends should be kept out of reach.
The loop can be fed in the center of one of the vertical sides if vertical polarization is desired. For horizontal polarization, it is necessary to feed either of the horizontal sides at the center. Optimum directivity occurs at right angles to the plane of the loop, or in more simple terms, broadside from the loop. One should try to hang the system from available supports which will enable the antenna to radiate the maximum amount in some favored direction.
The overall length of the wire used in a loop is determined in feet from the formula 1005/f (MHz). Hence, for operation at 7.125 MHz the overall wire length will be 141 feet. The matching transformer, an electrical 1/4 ë of 75-Ù coax cable, can be computed by dividing 246 by the operating frequency in MHz, then multiplying that number by the velocity factor of the cable being used. Thus, foroperation at 7.125 MHz, 246/7.125 MHz = 34.53 feet. If coax with solid polyethylene insulation is used, a velocity factor of 0.66 must be employed. Foam-polyethylene coax has a velocity factor of 0.80. Assuming RG-59 is used, the length of the matching transformer becomes 34.53 (feet) . 0.66 = 22.79 feet, or 22 feet, 91/2 inches. This same loop antenna may be used on the 14 and 21-MHz bands
Are you looking for a multiband HF antenna that is easy to construct, costs nearly nothing and yet works well?
You might want to try this one. The Loop Skywire antenna is a full-sized horizontal loop. Early proponents suggested that the antenna could be fed with coaxial cable with little concern for losses, but later analysis proved that this was a bit of wishful thinkingthe relatively low values for SWR across multiple bands indicate that cable losses were part and parcel performance. The best way to feed this versatile antenna is with open-wire ladder line, with an antenna tuner in the shack to present the transmitter with a low value of SWR.
The antenna has one wavelength of wire in its perimeter at the design or fundamental frequency.
If you choose to calculate Ltotal in feet, the following equation should be used:
Total L = 1005/F
Where F equals the frequency in MHz.
Given any length of wire, the maximum possible area the antenna can enclose is with the wire in the shape of a circle. Since it takes an infinite number of supports to hang a circular loop, the square loop (four supports) is the most practical. Further reducing the area enclosed by the wire loop (fewer supports) brings the antenna closer to the properties of the folded dipole, and both harmonic-impedance and feedline voltage problems can result. Loop geometries other than a square are thus possible, but remember the two fundamental requirements for the Loop Skywire—its horizontal position and maximum enclosed area.
There is another great advantage to this antenna system. It can be operated as a vertical antenna with top-hat loading on other bands as well. This is accomplished by simply keeping the feed line run from the antenna to the shack as vertical as possible and clear of objects. Both feed-line conductors are then tied together, and the antenna is fed against a good ground.
Antenna construction is simple. Although the loop can be made for any band or frequency of operation, the following two Loop Skywires are good performers. The 10- MHz band can also be operated on both.
3.5-MHz Loop Skywire
(3.5-28 MHz loop and 1.8-MHz vertical)
Total loop perimeter: 272 feet
Square side length: 68 feet
7-MHz Loop Skywire
(7-28 MHz loop and 3.5-MHz vertical)
Total loop perimeter: 142 feet
Square side length: 35.5 feet
The actual total length can vary from the above by a few feet, as the length is not at all critical. Do not worry about tuning and pruning the loop to resonance.
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
It is very simple to build and you can tune it in your shack room (simulating a holyday installation in a Hotel...) using an antenna analyzer (I used my Autek VA1) but I think that you can do it also with a SWR meter and a general coverage rtx using low power.
Start with the ends some cm longer (ex. 400 mm instead of 330 mm) and then cut both sides until you have the resonance in 20m band.
Remember that the frequency is not critical because then you will "tune" the dipole with the Antenna Tuner Unit.
Thanks to author Guido, ik2bcp / iu2r / ab9dg
The material used is a thick copper wire. Take copper wire about 20cm and bend at 5cm. make 5 turns of the wire on a screw or any thing that make the winding looks good. Ok then stretch the turns about 3mm wide. now make few turns on the other end.Place it on your EVDO antenna as shown in the figure. see the difference in Signal strength.
You can use this trick to get good signal in indoor from any mobile broadband networks like BSNL, MTS MBlaze etc.
Thursday, March 3, 2011
This antenna was designed for amateurs with limited space who also wanted to operate the low bands.It was first described in July 1992 QST by A. C. Buxton, W8NX, and features innovative coaxial-cable traps.
Fig shows the antenna layout; it is resonant at 1.865, 3.825, and 7.225 MHz. The antenna is made of #14 stranded wire and two pairs of coaxial traps. Construction is conventional in most respects, except for the high inductance-to-capacitance (L/C) ratio that results from the unique trap construction.
The traps use two series-connected coil layers, wound in the same direction using RG-58 coaxial cable’s center conductor, together with the insulation over the center conductor. The black outer jacket from the cable is stripped and discarded. The shield braid is also removed from the cable (pushing is easier than pulling the shield off). No doubt you will want to save the braid for use in other projects. RG-58 with a stranded center conductor is best for this project.
The 7-MHz traps have 33 µH of inductance and 15 pF of capacitance, and the 3.8-MHz traps have 74 µH of inductance and 24 pF of capacitance. The trap Qs are over 170 at their design frequencies. These traps are suitable for high-power operation. Do not use RG-8X or any other foam-dielectric cable for making the traps. Breakdown voltage is less for foam dielectric, and the center conductor tends to migrate through the foam when there is a short turn radius. Loading caused by the traps causes a reduced bandwidth for any trap dipole compared to a half-wave dipole. This antenna covers 65 kHz of 160 m, 75 kHz of 80 m, and the entire 40-m band with less 2:1 SWR.
Quarter-wave vertical antennas are useful for local communications when size, cost and ease of construction are important.
The antennas shown are built on a coaxial connector. Use UHF or N connectors for the fixed station antennas. BNC connectors are good for mobile and portable antennas. BNC
and N connectors are better than PL-259 connectors for VHF/UHF outdoor use because: (1) they provide a constant impedance over the frequencies of interest, and
(2) they are weatherproof when the appro priate connector or cap is attached. The ground-plane antennas require a panel-mount connector (it hasmounting holes to hold the radials).
If the antenna is sheltered from weather, copper wire is sufficiently rigid for the element and radials.
Antennas exposed to the weather should be made from 1/16- to 1/8-inch brass or stainless-steel rod.Radials may be made from 3/16-inch aluminum rod or tubing and mounted on an aluminum sheet. Do not use aluminum for the antenna elementbecause it cannot be easily soldered to the coaxial-connector center pin.Where the figures call for #4-40 hardware, stainless steel or brass is best. Use cadmium plated hardware if stainless steel or brass is not available.
Fig shows the off-center-fed or OCF dipole. It is not necessary to feed a dipole antenna at its center, although doing so will allow it to be operated with a relatively low feed-point impedance on its fundamental and odd harmonics. (For example, a 7-MHz center-fed half-wave dipole can also be used for 21-MHz operation.) By contrast, the OCF dipole of Fig, fed 1/3 of its length from one end, may be used on its fundamental and even harmonics. Its free-space antenna-terminal impedance at 3.5, 7 and 14 MHz is on the order of 150 to 200 Ω. A 1:4 step-up transformer at the feed point should offer a reasonably good match to 50 or 75-Ω line, although some commercially made OCF dipoles use a 1:6 transformer. At the 6th harmonic, 21 MHz, the antenna is three wavelengths long and fed at a voltage loop (maximum), instead of a current loop. The feed-point impedance at this frequency is high, a few thousand ohms, so the antenna is unsuitable for use on this band.
With the large number of operators and wide availability of inexpensive, single-band radios, the 10-m band could well become the hangout for local ragchewers that it was before the advent of 2-m FM, even at a low point in the solar cycle.
This simple antenna provides gain over a dipole or inverted V. It is a resonant loop with a particular shape. It provides 2.1 dB gain over a dipole at low radiation angles when mounted
well above ground. The antenna is simple to feed— no matching network is necessary. When fed with 50-Ω coax, the SWR is close to 1:1 at the design frequency, and is less than 2:1 from 28.0-28.8 MHz for an antenna resonant at 28.4 MHz.
The antenna is made from #12 AWG wire and is fed at the center of the bottom wire. Coil the coax into a few turns near the feedpoint to provide a simple balun . A coil diameter of about a foot will work fine. You can support the antenna on a mast with spreaders made of bamboo, fiber glass, wood, PVC or other non conducting material. You can also use aluminum tubing both for support and conductors, but you’ll have to readjust the antenna dimensions for resonance.
This rectangular loop has two advantages over a resonant square loop. First, a square loop has just 1.1 dB gain over a dipole. This is a power increase of only 29%. Second, the input
impedance of a square loop is about 125 W. You must use a matching network to feed a square loop with 50-Ω coax. The rectangular loop achieves gain by compressing its radiation pattern in the elevation plane. The azimuth plane pattern is slightly wider than that of a dipole (it’s about the same as that of an inverted V). A broad pattern is an advantage for a general-purpose, fixed antenna. The rectangular loop provides a bidirectional gain over a broad azimuth region.
Mount the loop as high as possible. To provide 1.7 dB gain at low angles over an inverted V, the top wire must be at least 30 ft high. The loop will work at lower heights, but its gain advantage disappears. For example, at 20 ft the loop provides the same gain at low angles as an inverted V.
Two popular ham bands, especially for Novice and Technician class operators, are those at 7 and 21 MHz. As mentioned earlier, dipoles have harmonic resonances at odd multiples of their fundamental resonances. Because 21 MHz is the third harmonic of 7 MHz, 7-MHz dipoles are harmonically resonant in the popular ham band at 21 MHz. This is attractive because it allows you to install a 40-m dipole, feed it with coax, and use it without an antenna tuner on both 40 and 15 m.
To put this scheme to use, first measure, cut and adjust the dipole to resonance at the desired 40-m frequency. Then, cut two 2-ft-long pieces of stiff wire (such as #12 or #14 house wire) and solder the ends of each one together to form two loops. Twist the loops in the middle to form figure-8s, and strip and solder the wires where they cross. Install these capacitance hats on the dipole by stripping the antenna wire (if necessary) and soldering the hats to the dipole about a third of the way out from the feedpoint (placement isn’t critical) on each wire.
Brass tubing is available in some hardware and hobby stores. It comes in sizes from 1116 to 21/32 inch outside diameter(OD), in l/32 inch steps. Each size slip fits within the next larger size. It is usually sold in 12- or 36-inch lengths.The antenna is made from two 12-inch lengths of 5/32-inch tubing and two 12-inch lengths of 118-inch tubing. A V-shaped horizontal dipole is formed when the tubes are mounted through a short piece (6 inch or so) of 7/8-inch OD plastic pipe (see Fig). It is V shaped to reduce the overall size and provide a better match to 50 R coax.
Begin by drilling two 5/32-inch holes through the plastic pipe at right angles to each other. (Position one hole slightly below the other so that the dipole elements cross inside the plastic pipe without touching.) Enlarge the holes of two solder lug and force each over one end of the S/32-inch tubes and solder them in place.
Push the other end of those tubes through the holes in the plastic pipe until the solder lugs are flush against the pipe. Strip the end of a length of coax, then solder the braid to one solder lug and the center conductor to the other. Use sealant to weatherproof the coax end and feed point.
The antenna is adjusted to resonance by sliding the 118-inch tubing in and out of the larger tubing to achieve minimum SWR. If the fit is too loose, nick the end of the smaller tube slightly with diagonal cutters, and force it into the larger tubing. After performing the adjustment, cut the smaller tube to a length that leaves about an inch inside the larger tube and solder it to the larger tube. The element lengths on my antenna are about 20.5 inches each, and the SWR was near unity over most of the 2-meter band, with a slight rise at the high frequency end.
The demiquad is a single-element 1 quad antenna. The length of the antenna is,like the cubical quad beam antenna (see Chap. 12), one wavelength. Figure shows a type of demi-quad based on the tee-cross type of mast.
The impedance-matching section is a quarter-wavelength piece of 75-Ω coaxial cable (RG-58/U or RF-11/U). The length of the matching section is determined from:
L is the overall length, in feet
FMHz is the frequency, in megahertz
V is the velocity factor of the coaxial cable (typically 0.66, 0.70, or 0.80)
The original G5RV antenna was developed by Louis Varney G5RV for 20 meters. Although his design was a good one, he used the 450 ohm ladder line as a feed-line-to-antenna impedance match, and without the use of a BALUN. We discovered that feeding the 450 ohm ladder-line directly with an antenna tuner, left us with a shack full of RF…HOT mics, hum, and in some cases, we had "squeals" from rectified RF getting into the microphone audio path, within the transceiver, a sure sign of RF-Feedback (base rectification).
To make the G5RV more "user-friendly" and with less RF exposure within the HAM-shack, we added an MM11 BALUN at the lower end of the 450 ohm ladder-line, and from the asymmetrical input of the MM11 BALUN (outside the HAM shack), we used 50 ohm (low impedance) coax to reach the antenna tuner inside the HAM shack. We’ve found that this improvement to the G5RV has put more of our transmitted RF into the elements of the antenna, and made the antenna virtually noise free and reduced re-radiation as much as 85 percent.
Without using an external antenna tuner, we’ve found that our transceiver will work into the 50 ohm coax and the MM11 BALUN with VSWR below 2:1 on the bands the G5RV is cut for.
By making the additional BALUN and coax improvement to the original 20 thru 10 meter G5RV, it is now possible to build the G5RV for more bands, and thus cover lower bands and frequency’s. We now have a means by which we can have an antenna that fits almost any real-estate configuration, from as little as 27 feet (8.2 m), (20 thru 10 meter bands) to 207 feet (64 m) (160 thru 10 meter bands).
Multiband antenna using paralleled dipoles, all con-nected to a common 50 or 75-Ω coax line. The half-wave dimensions may be either for the centers of the various bands or selected for favorite frequencies in each band. The length of a half wave in feet is 468/frequency in MHz, but because of interaction mamong the various elements, some pruning for resonance may beneeded on each band.
Two-band operation in limited space may be obtained with the multee antenna. The portion identified as H should remain as vertical as possible, as it does the radiating on the lower frequency band.
Two-band operation may be obtained on 1.8/3.5 MHz or on 3.5/7 MHz within the confines of
the average city lot by using the multee antenna shown in Fig. Dimensions are given for either pair of bands in the drawing. If built for the lower frequencies, the top portion will do little radiating on 1.8 MHz; it acts merely as top loading for the 52-foot vertical section. On 3.5 MHz, the horizontal portion radiates and the vertical section acts as a matching stub to transform the high feed-point impedance to the coaxial cable impedance.
Since the antenna must work against ground on its lower frequency band, it is necessary to install a good ground system. Minimum requirements in this regard would include 20 radials, each 55 to 60 feet long for the 1.8/3.5-MHz version, or half that for the 3.5/7-MHz version. If not much area is available for the radial system, wires as short as 25 feet long (12 feet for 3.5/7-MHz) may be used if many are installed, but some reduction in efficiency will result.With suitable corrections in length to account for the velocity factor, 300-Ω TV twin-lead may be substituted for the open wire. .
The bobtail curtain antenna is a fixed array consisting of three individual quarter- wavelength elements spaced a half-wavelength apart, and fed from the top by ashorting element or wire. The inverted bobtail curtain, or Thorne array, consists of an upside down bobtail curtain as shown in Fig. 12-11. The radiator elements are each a quarter-wavelength long. Their lengths are found from
The lengths of spacing between the elements are exactly twice above the value or
Feed method worked out by the late J. H. Thorne (K4NFU/5), feeds the end elements from the shield of the coaxial cable, and the center element of the array is fed from the center conductor of the coaxial cable. A coaxial impedance-matching section is used between the cable transmitter and the antenna feedpoint.
The bisquare antenna, shown in Fig, is similar to the other large loops, except that it is wavelength/2 on each side, making a total wire length of two wavelengths. This antenna is built like the diamond loop shown earlier (i.e., it is a large square loop fed at an apex that is set at the bottom of the assembly). In this case, the loop is fed either with an antenna tuning unit (to match a 1000-Ω impedance) or a quarter-wave length matching section made of 300-Ω or 450-Ω twin-lead transmission line. A 1:1 balun transformer connects the 75-Ω coaxial cable to the matching section.
The bisquare antenna offers as much as 4-dB gain broadside to the plane of the antenna (i.e., in and out of the book page), in a figure-8 pattern, on the design frequency. It is horizontally polarized. When the frequency drops to one-half of the design frequency, the gain drops to about 2 dB, and the antenna works like the diamond loop covered previously.
The delta loop antenna, like the Greek uppercase letter “delta” (∆) from which it draws its name, is triangle-shaped (Fig. 14-8). The delta loop is a full wavelength, with elements approximately 2 percent longer than the natural wavelength (like the quad). The actual length will be a function of the proximity and nature of the underlying ground, so some experimentation is necessary. The approximate preadjustment lengths of the sides are found from:
The delta loop antenna is fed from 52-Ω coaxial cable through a 4:1 balun trans former. The delta loop can be built in a fixed location, and will offer a bidirectional pattern.