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Author Topic: New Technician and FT-857d and Reception Problems  (Read 1265 times)
KC0YDD
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Posts: 2




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« on: January 12, 2008, 12:36:34 PM »

Hey folks-

I am a Technician class Amateur (studying for General) and want to get my feet wet in HF.  I bought a used FT-857d from a local ham and I am having a bit of trouble setting it up.  I have an Astron SS-30 30 amp PS for it, as well as an AT-100Pro tuner from LDG.

I bought, from HRO locally here in Denver, 100 ft of 50 ohm coax, as well as a pre-made G5RV Lite by Radio Wavez.  The problem is that I can hear the odd station on 20m but I can't hear a darned thing on 10m, or 15m.  Let's not even get into transmitting yet, I'm just trying to get to the point where I can hear other folks...  My buddy, a general class amateur from Cali, calls me on 10m but I can't hear a darned thing on seemingly any frequency on 10m.  I can't even hear the ARRL code practice.  I've tried 25 feet of #14 wire stuck in the center poll of the HF receptacle on the back of the radio, and get the same (or worse, to be honest) performance.

One problems I have with putting up a dipole or any other sort of large wire antenna is that I can't easily get on the roof of my house-  The angle of the roof is very very steep and I don't have a tall enough ladder.  So the G5RV lite is hung from a tree 37 ft above the ground.  The ladder line hangs to about a foot off the ground.  My yard is tiny, so I can't really put in any sort of meaningful tower...

Basically my back yard is about 30ft by 30ft, and paved.  My house is about 35 ft tall at the apex of the roof.  I have a balcony at about 15 ft.    Does anyone have any recommendations for a decent antenna that does not require ground radials (I cannot burry anything, and the ground radials for most of those types of radios would take over my entire back yard) and is light enough that I might be able to bolt it to one of the posts on my balcony, or to the side of the house?

I'm ready to buy a couple of hamsticks, mount them on a long pipe of some kind, bolt that to the side of the house and see if I can't get them above my roof line...

I was thinking also of getting a High Sierra antenna, one that I could detach and easily put on the roof of my camper for when I go boondocking, but that's a lot of cash...

Anyone have any thoughts on reception?
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AA4PB
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Posts: 12847




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« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2008, 04:35:27 PM »

10M and 15M are rather dead during this part of the sunspot cycle. You may sometimes run across some openings in the afternoon. You should hear lots more activity on 40M and 75/80M at night.

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NA0AA
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Posts: 1042




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« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2008, 02:23:16 PM »

Agreed - you are very rarely going to be driving a signal from CA to CO on 10 meters.  If you get the timing right, 15 is possible, but it's got to be open - again, rare right now with the sunspot cycle.

You will find many more operators down on 80, 40 and during the day, 20 meters.  It's just that time in the sunspot cycle.

10 meters may be useful in your local area though if you have friends/elmers.  We sometimes play with 10 in the local area but DX openings are few and far between this time of year.
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WB2WIK
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Posts: 20595




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« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2008, 04:09:12 PM »

For Denver to almost anyplace in California, 10m is a very bad band.  You can catch some sporadic-E that will make this hop, but it's very hit-or-miss, mostly "miss."  It's much too far for tropo and there isn't any F2-layer sky wave on 10m at this point in the sunspot cycle.  Even if there was F2 skywave (which there is not, right now), from Denver to almost anywhere in CA is not a good path, because then "it's too close."

Stick with a much lower frequency band for best results.  You can do Denver-to-CA on 20m at many times of day, but that band has been giving out around darkfall and then going to "nothing."

40m is your best shot most of the day and early evening, followed by 75m after that (during darkness hours).  160m is a good band for that distance also, but sounds like you probably don't have room for a reasonable 160m antenna.  I'd go for 40m/75m.

Forget about 10m-12m-15m, they're just not there for you right now.  17m is open during daylight hours but often folds up 1-2 hours before nightfall.

WB2WIK/6
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ONAIR
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Posts: 1741




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« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2008, 12:06:38 PM »

   Is your set up grounded correctly?  A poor or broken ground can make a night and day difference in receiver performance.
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AA4PB
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Posts: 12847




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« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2008, 05:30:35 PM »

A station ground shouldn't make any difference with a balanced antenna like a dipole or G5RV. An RF ground is only REQUIRED when you feed an unbalanced antenna like a vertical or and end-fed wire.
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KC0YDD
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Posts: 2




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« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2008, 05:27:23 PM »

Thanks everyone for your excellent advice!

Cali being "too close" for 10m is something I hadn't thought of, especially because he says he can hear Florida.  He's also on top of a mountain, and has  a nice vertical with resonant ground plain.

I'll listen to 75/40 and see what I can hear.

I take it if 10m is out 6m is also going to be toast?

Thanks everyone!
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ONAIR
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Posts: 1741




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« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2008, 09:07:08 PM »

   A good ground can make a difference with reception, although it can vary depending upon the antenna setup, antenna location, receiving frequency, and a host of other variables.  
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W4KVW
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Posts: 488




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« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2008, 01:36:18 PM »

"IF" you read this in time,6 & 10 meters are WIDE OPEN today during the VHF Contest I have heard BOTH coast this afternoon here in N.Fla.on 10 & 6 meters as well.

Clayton
W4KVW
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K7RNV
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Posts: 98


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« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2008, 08:41:10 PM »

http://cluster.f5len.org/index.php?what=14
F5LEN Webcluster
This is a dx spotter, and it will let you know who is on the air. Mostly overseas to overseas...band condts. are not good but from time to time some good dx comes in...usa to usa on 20 is fair. The rest of the bands are no go...40 75 mtrs at nite work good..but first check out the coax to make sure you have no shorts..good luck on the general...73 from reno nv. Bob K7RNV
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