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Author Topic: YL wonders if she needs an amp. Seriously.  (Read 8379 times)
KE4DRN
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Posts: 3734




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« Reply #15 on: January 04, 2012, 06:57:31 PM »

Hi,

before you invest in more equipment, can you give us more info,
how long a coax run and the type of coax are you using?

from the google map of your qth, looks like  you can install
a dipole and see what you are missing by using the GAP.

73 james
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W0NTS
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Posts: 61




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« Reply #16 on: January 05, 2012, 12:20:56 PM »

I would suspect the GAP Titan antenna, especially on 80M. Many reviews of this antenna indicate assembly problems associated with the poorly written manual. This antenna is noted for extremely narrow bandwidth on 80M. Have you checked the SWR on the bands you are operating on? If the SWR is high due to antenna or coax problems your transmitter can "fold back" (reduce power). Be sure to check your coax for problems. I assume you are using either an onboard or external antenna tuner. If not, you should be. May I suggest you put together or purchase a dipole antenna for a single favorite band of operation, (assuming you have sufficient real estate to put one up) and make comparisons with your GAP Titan. Homebrew antennas are much, much cheaper. Next, I suggest you check your modulation level. Modulation is paramount to a good signal. But do not go to the radical modulation extremes that many CB'rs use. Perhaps you have a bad mic or you need to make adjustments for mic gain or equalization (if that is available in your transmitter audio circuit). A W2IHY equalizer may be very beneficial to your audio. Good luck.  Dennis W0NTS   
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KC9QQ
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Posts: 45




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« Reply #17 on: January 05, 2012, 02:52:42 PM »

Welcome to the world of ham radio.  I can appreciate your frustration in making contacts.  While an amplifier may help, I agree with many of the other posts that a simple dipole might provide a better experience.  I would also suggest you consider attending one of the Bloomington Amateur Radio Club meetings.  There are several hams in the club that are very good with antennas.

Fred, KC9QQ

Here is a link to the BARC website:  http://www.bloomingtonradio.org/
« Last Edit: January 05, 2012, 03:16:21 PM by KC9QQ » Logged
K7PEH
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Posts: 1124




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« Reply #18 on: January 05, 2012, 04:19:18 PM »

I had a Gap Titan antenna and it did work -- I even made some contacts.  But, when I upgraded to a Traffie 5-band Hexbeam the bands came alive.  They were full of signals and in general if I could hear someone he could hear me using the hex beam and that was hardly ever true when I had the Gap.  With the Gap, I could transmit all day and not be heard by very many.  Like others have said, before investing in an amplifier, invest in a new antenna or string up dipoles if they will fit on your property.
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KD8MJR
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Posts: 2679




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« Reply #19 on: January 06, 2012, 02:49:01 PM »

The Gap titan is an ok antenna, and the fact that you can hear them means its working well.

That is absolutely untrue.

"Receiving well" often has very little to do with how well an antenna work for transmitting, and is not an indicator of a good transmitting antenna.

LOL I think the "Comma" in my sentence is being overlooked  Grin
Let me rephrase it.

 The Gap Titan is an OK Antenna, since you can hear them it means the Gap Titan is working well.

I am not saying the Titan is a great Antenna nor am I commenting on Receiving equating to Transmitting in the General sense, I am just saying if he is hearing a lot of stations and his SWR is Low then his Titan is not defective, it's working well.
My experience has been that if you bump up the power on an Antenna that hears well and has low SWR it will get out further. It's Certainly true for my G5RV on the Bands that have low SWR.
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W8JI
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Posts: 9296


WWW

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« Reply #20 on: January 06, 2012, 03:33:40 PM »

I think the real point is that a Titan never "works well" on some bands.

It is important to understand receiving lots of signals, and a low SWR, doesn't have anything to do with high transmitting efficiency and adequate or acceptable transmitting performance. 

It is a pretty poor antenna on some bands compared to other simple antennas.

73 Tom
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KD8MJR
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Posts: 2679




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« Reply #21 on: January 07, 2012, 10:23:48 PM »

You are one of the forums leading the experts, so I would not go up against what your saying, I respect your knowledge on all things ham radio so I retract my statement  Smiley
I really thought the Titan was better than that.

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KD6KWZ
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Posts: 276




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« Reply #22 on: January 08, 2012, 10:55:05 PM »

Quote
"Receiving well" often has very little to do with how well an antenna work for transmitting, and is not an indicator of a good transmitting antenna.

Agreed. I've had it where the antenna worked OK on receive, but had a horrid direct (untuned) SWR, so transmit power gets lost in the tuner.

Don't take the linear amplifier plunge yet, IMHO. Let's see what you can do to get the most out of what you already have.

So, a list of comments/question for Carolyn. Some of this is "thinking out loud", so it may be "the blind leading the blind" here,
since I don't own this rig or antenna:

1. Is the antenna connected to the ANT 1 plug, & the antenna ANT 1 is on the screen? Might seem elementary, but I have to ask...

2. The Kenwood TS-590S has an automatic antenna tuner. What's the SWR on each band? And, just because it tunes does not mean the antenna is a "great" one. Some people have tuned filing cabinets, but I would not recommend doing that under normal circumstances. This will give a clue about the antenna's condition, for if it can't be tuned to a low SWR, something's wrong.

From a review of the Gap Titan:"The assenbly instructions as others have said leave much to be desired. If you search around the internet you will find additional info and close up pictures that can be a big help." Not trying to bash them, but it could have been misassembled, from the sounds of that.

3. Is the TX power set all the way up? There's a software setting for that.

4. What kind of ground are you using? The Titan may say it doesn't need radials, but you should still ground the rig with it's own ground. It's weird that the beginning of the TS-590 manual has a picture of tying the rig ground into the electrical service ground.

5. Your signal seems weak, but is it garbled as well to those who you can pick up? I'm thinking of voice compression with this question. Use the TX output feature to hear what you sound like directly from the Kenwood. See the next one for a garbled voice.

6. I see the Kenwood 590S has a TX filter. "Since the high-pass and low-pass cut-off frequencies can be switched independently, you can have fine control over filter operation." If you have a high pitched voice, but cut way back the high pass bandwidth, you may have an issue.

7. Do AM & FM work good on 10 & 6 meters? 29.2MHz is the AM 10 meter calling frequency, & 29.6MHz is the 10 meter FM simplex calling frequency. Note that the TX filter passband does not function on FM, but the speech processor & TX equalizer *DO* function for FM.

8. Kenwood may have software updates to help you.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2012, 10:58:45 PM by KD6KWZ » Logged
KX5JT
Member

Posts: 217




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« Reply #23 on: January 08, 2012, 11:52:47 PM »

Just a couple comments here...

4. What kind of ground are you using? The Titan may say it doesn't need radials, but you should still ground the rig with it's own ground. It's weird that the beginning of the TS-590 manual has a picture of tying the rig ground into the electrical service ground.

7. Do AM & FM work good on 10 & 6 meters? 29.2MHz is the AM 10 meter calling frequency, & 29.6MHz is the 10 meter FM simplex calling frequency. Note that the TX filter passband does not function on FM, but the speech processor & TX equalizer *DO* function for FM.

4.)  RF ground is not the same as electrical ground... try not to confuse those two!  Having said that, the rig should be grounded to the electrical service ground for safety (not for anything signal related).  The Titan does not need "ground radials" because the lower portion of the antenna is the other half.. sorta like a vertical dipole, but good earth conductivity is still desired even if one uses a vertical dipole.

7.)  There is no "10 meter AM calling frequency" per say but most people use 29.000 Mhz in this fashion, not 29.2 Mhz



I do agree that Carolyn should get her station performing well as a 100 watt station before considering a linear amplifier.  There is no reason that 100 watts should not make plenty of contacts and be heard very well.  As others have noted, a female tends to have no problems attracting contacts on HF phone, so something is definitely wrong and throwing an amplifier at the situation should NOT be the focus at first.
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KM3F
Member

Posts: 523




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« Reply #24 on: January 09, 2012, 12:19:13 PM »

Carolyn, your probably in confusion from the volume of replies.
Using a vertical has it's limitations on noise for receive and radiation efficiency/quality of the antenna installation.
On your radio, do some setup checks.
1. Check the SWR on all the bands you work. If much more than 2 to 1, it begins to fold back the output power on transmit.
Make the test on CW mode and note the SWR reading. If too high, the antenna may need adjustment according to the instructions or a tuner to give a little match help.
2. On SSB, look at the ALC indication and set mike gain so the ALC just activates as you talk. Nothing wrong with a hand mike as long as you talk close.
3. For speech processor, look at that indicator in terms of DB.  Adjust the processor in /out for about 6 db on voice peaks. This level of processing should not result in and audio distortion unless there is excess RF coming back from the antenna.
4. On the antenna, is there any radials involved? You may need at least 4 if needed by the antenna design.
5. I would not try an amplifier until all the above has been looked at.
The 590s is a great radio. But like any it could always have an issue until recognized as such.
In ham radio, these are the things we have to work out as part of the hobby.
.
I run a 480 and it performs so well I don't need to upgrade to the 590 yet.
I work 80 and 40 off a fan dipole with great results even DX on 80.
The rest of the bands are all on beams for 20/15/10/6/ 2m and 432 SSB weak signal using 2 transverters and amplifiers.
On 80m DX my AL80B at about 850 watts is generally worth about 10 to 15 over S9 into Europe over 100 watts at about an S8 TO 9.
This observation has played out over the last 3 years to the same stations and countries under every condition you could have. They often have very high noise levels and need the extra signal for easy read.
BTW my son runs a 590s, so I know a little bit of how they work.
As far as mikes go, I use a Heil dual cartridge HM10 on a boom and a Heil Pro Set Elite headset/mike with the new HC6 cartridge.
Good luck.
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KC9URR
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Posts: 2




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« Reply #25 on: January 13, 2012, 11:09:04 AM »

Wow, I am seriously blown away by the sheer amount and depth of your answers! There is so much for me to digest, surely, before I can answer them. Being a new ham, it is overwhelming. Yes, there is enough land here for a dipole. So far I enjoy the 20 meter band, perhaps that's due to the fact that I can hear it pretty well. 17 m sometimes. Oddly enough, I do get good reception on 80 and 160 but I've never tried to work it. As for the Gap Titan, you are gonna love this, my 14 year old son put it up for me. So I do need to check about everything. He just passed his Extra, so he is no dummy, but he has not been on the air a whole lot yet either and is inexperienced in all things Ham.

So...  you all have thinking of getting something else for 20 m. Especially since I really love the Event Stations (history buff what can I say), and its a good band to start on. We are joining the local club and looking forward to its activities and meeting everyone, maybe bounce some questions off of people that way too. The Kenwood 590 sure looks good, but I'm not real comfortable with it yet, sure wish the manual was written better! I'll explore all of your suggestions. Thanks you ail SOOO MUCH. You make a gal feel welcome in this grand hobby- now to get my girls to study for their license!
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N6AJR
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Posts: 9921




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« Reply #26 on: January 14, 2012, 09:52:23 AM »

In a word, Yes.

First get the best antenna you can up in the air, then get a decent amp to feed it. It sounds like you can hear better than you can talks so more power is indicated. Go have a friend with an amp holler at you on the air.  Have them start with 100 watts, and see how he sounds. then have him drop power to 10 watts and see how he sounds, then do it at 500 watts, 1000 watts and legal limit. There will be some difference but not as much as you would think.  a small amp runn ing 500 watts or so will probably fix your problem.  but you are ok to 1500 watts so do what you want.

I have 6 or 8 hf rigs in the shack and they all have their own amps.  mostly I use the Orion into the alpha 87a, into a 3 element steppir.  this system autotunes the radio, amp and antenna so when I change bands of even  frequencies it all autotunes as I go.  but you can spend near $8000 for this setup new.  a used ameritron 811 will be around 500 bucks used and give you 500 or so watts and this will help you.  first antenna, second radio, third amp.

good luck and enjoy
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AA4HA
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Posts: 1586




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« Reply #27 on: January 15, 2012, 03:24:57 AM »

Carolyn,

I agree that you should try to maximize your system performance before just jumping on the amplifier bandwagon. As a YL I have a problem with audio "punch" and the difficulties of being heard and understood on SSB operations. Much of the audio processing that works so well for a male voice does not help YL's out as much. A good microphone and an audio processor really has made the difference in my SSB work. I can still maintain a natural cadence to my speech and as you know a female voice pattern has as much to do with the silences and lower volumes while speaking.

I had opted for audio processing equipment that was more along the lines of what is used by commercial radio stations as it maintains a natural sound to my speech instead of just using compression that works so well for men. This has even helped me on FM operations as I frequently run a low power level on VHF/UHF repeater operations and do not "blow the doors" off and drive a repeater into full quieting.

There are many operators who have worked for decades on less than 100 watts on HF and done an excellent job of working DX. A good antenna, feedline, microphone and adjustments to your setup will make your operations operate at the peak of efficiency and intelligibility before you opt for an amplifier.

I would suggest that you find someone who may not have a "golden ear" to monitor your transmissions while you are transmitting into a dummy load. Work with them in maximizing your microphone, audio processing and speech patterns for a clear, intelligible signal. This can usually be done in an evening of test transmissions on a quiet band without causing undue stress for other hams while you work through your configuration.

Oh, and welcome to HF!
Ms. Tisha Hayes, AA4HA
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Ms. Tisha Hayes, AA4HA
Lookout Mountain, Alabama
PA3ALX
Member

Posts: 9




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« Reply #28 on: January 17, 2012, 12:33:52 AM »

I think the problem is not your transmitting power but the ears of the other station. My experience is that KW stations only have big mouth but no ears. I mostly use 70 Watts from the TS590 and a wire antenna of 30 mtrs.But again don't try if conditions are poor. When I was a radioofficer in the merchant navy in 1961 we had transmitters of 100 Watts and of course always CW because SSB is very inefficient in long distant DX. I had to report every 24 hours our QTH to the home coastalradio in The Netherlands and sailing all oceans and seas it was OK 90 percent.Even in poor conditions .Now that is the art of listening and not shouting. Meanwhile I am still QRV in CW being 70 years of age. There is still hope for a good QSO ! Master the art of CW and go in whole new world. Enjoy the hobby.
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VE7RF
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Posts: 212




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« Reply #29 on: January 17, 2012, 04:34:02 AM »

I think the problem is not your transmitting power but the ears of the other station. My experience is that KW stations only have big mouth but no ears. I mostly use 70 Watts from the TS590 and a wire antenna of 30 mtrs.But again don't try if conditions are poor. When I was a radioofficer in the merchant navy in 1961 we had transmitters of 100 Watts and of course always CW because SSB is very inefficient in long distant DX. I had to report every 24 hours our QTH to the home coastalradio in The Netherlands and sailing all oceans and seas it was OK 90 percent.Even in poor conditions .Now that is the art of listening and not shouting. Meanwhile I am still QRV in CW being 70 years of age. There is still hope for a good QSO ! Master the art of CW and go in whole new world. Enjoy the hobby.

##  hey, PA3ALX... aren't you the bozo who started the thread yesterday about.. "why not use SKYPE instead of running a kw" ?    You claim to run 5 watts cw just yesterday..and today you claim to run 70 watts cw. Which is it?   BTW..  SKYPE /IRLP /Echolink is NOT ham radio either...it's fubar, plane and simple.  I see your silly troll thread got blown out in less than one day.

##  what this woman need's to do is max out with her ant system 1st.  THEN crank up the power. And while she is at it..design everything so the ant system, and everything downstream from her amp, will handle the power. Come summer time, when the low bands are noisy every night, having a kw makes a HUGE difference.  The 100 watt boys  don't even cut it.  CW is fine, but I can talk faster on ssb than you can send cw.  Once the ant system is maxed out..due to $$  or property size, etc, you have no other option except to crank up the power.  Trying to get another 10-15 db more than your existing 80m inverted vee up 80' is almost impossible.  Sure, any amp won't buy you anything on RX.. BUT it's a simple method to give you 10-15 db on EVERY BAND..with just one small box..on TX.  Some will say.. " you can't work em if you can't hear em"
 I say...." you can't work em, if they can't hear you " 

later... Jim  VE7RF
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