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Author Topic: Can't hear me on 10m  (Read 1538 times)
KJ6TJX
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Posts: 35




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« on: March 24, 2012, 12:13:40 PM »

So I built a 10m dipole with insulated speaker wire (first build), strung from eve (20') down to fence, sloping about 45 degrees, connected to HTX-100.  Middle of band SWR is 1.3.  Last few afternoons I've heard lots of ops mostly grouped in Great Lakes area, deep South, Alaska and South America.  I did hear two Australia ops, which is kewl considering that's a long way around.  I'm northern California.

Haven't been able to make a single QSO either responding to CQ's or calling.  Conditions haven't been great, so I'm I just hearing the high power beam stations and just too weak to get above the noise floor to be heard with 25W?  Have a Moxon on list of to-do's but anxious to make first HF contact.

I did recently purchase a IC-718, though haven't taken receipt yet. 

Thanks,
Jon - KJ6TJX
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WB6BYU
Member

Posts: 13242




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« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2012, 01:02:04 PM »

There could be a number of issues.  A good starting place is to find a local ham to work
to make sure there aren't other issues.

For example, if your RIT is enabled, then you end up transmitting on a different frequency
than you are receiving.  When you do that the other station is unlikely to hear you.

There might be something wrong with the rig - RF in the mic circuit, for example, that is
distorting your audio so they can't understand you. I'm presuming you are seeing the
expected output power on your meter, otherwise your radio might not be putting out as
much power as you expect.

Arranging a first contact with a local will help to resolve some of these potential issues
without worrying about propagation at the time.


But it is often the case that we hear stations who can't hear us.  Receive and transmit
should be similar, but the ability to receive a signal is based on signal-to-noise ratio.
If the station you hear is running high power, or has local noise sources, or is using
a beam antenna pointed in a different direction, for example, then they may not hear
you.  If you hear them S5 above an S2 noise level, and they have an S7 noise level,
then even if you are running the same power they won't necessarily hear you over
their local noise.  Or they may hear a lot of stations that you can't hear due to the
differences in propagation.  Usually when signals are S9 or higher I expect to be
able to work a station:  when they are below S7 it doesn't surprise me if they don't
hear me (but sometimes they hear me better than I hear them.)

And if they are in a contest trying to work stations in Asia, for example, their signals
may be strong, but they aren't interested in working California stations, so they will
likely ignore you.


When conditions are good you should make quite a few contacts, but I know how
frustrating it can be.  It took me a few months to make my first one, and I think I
got 4 in the first 5 months, operating several times a week.
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ONAIR
Member

Posts: 1741




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« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2012, 02:44:06 PM »

So I built a 10m dipole with insulated speaker wire (first build), strung from eve (20') down to fence, sloping about 45 degrees, connected to HTX-100.  Middle of band SWR is 1.3.  Last few afternoons I've heard lots of ops mostly grouped in Great Lakes area, deep South, Alaska and South America.  I did hear two Australia ops, which is kewl considering that's a long way around.  I'm northern California.

Haven't been able to make a single QSO either responding to CQ's or calling.  Conditions haven't been great, so I'm I just hearing the high power beam stations and just too weak to get above the noise floor to be heard with 25W?  Have a Moxon on list of to-do's but anxious to make first HF contact.

I did recently purchase a IC-718, though haven't taken receipt yet. 

Thanks,
Jon - KJ6TJX
  I have used an HTX-100 with a dipole and also with an A-99, and have worked the world!  I agree to first check with a local ham and see how the radio is working.
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WB2WIK
Member

Posts: 20595




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« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2012, 06:21:49 PM »

I must agree, Dale's advice was great.

Just because you have a low SWR doesn't mean the antenna is effective, and you may indeed have distortion that simply makes it impossible for others to understand you.

To check that, use a very local ham who can hear you on direct-wave, or use a second receiver to listen to yourself.

It might also be (if all else is well) that the stations you're calling are running a kilowatt and have a big power advantage over your 25W station.  That can happen, and it does happen.

Try a very local contact to see what's going on.
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KI4SDY
Member

Posts: 1452




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« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2012, 06:41:08 PM »

Make sure you have the mike gain adjusted correctly on that HTX-100.  Wink
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WB6BYU
Member

Posts: 13242




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« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2012, 08:27:56 AM »

Quote from: KI4SDY
Make sure you have the mike gain adjusted correctly on that HTX-100.  Wink


Yes - make sure that your meter reads correctly during transmit - it will bounce up and
down on SSB, but if your output power and/or internal meter doesn't show some variation,
the rig isn't putting out power (even if it shows output in CW mode.)

If you don't see any indication of output power when you talk (just squeezing the mic
button isn't enough on SSB) then check the mic gain (if it is down too low you won't
have any output) and the microphone connections.
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KJ6TJX
Member

Posts: 35




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« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2012, 10:14:26 AM »

Thanks all for the input. 

The meter (l.e.d.) runs up on transmit, however I haven't actually put a power meter on the radio.  Will do that next.  To my knowledge, the mike gain is fixed and one of the "mods" you'll find on the internet is mic gain boost, so obviously some believe the stock mic gain is lacking.  Also, it dawned on me this AM the low end of my sloper is facing almost due west (the Pacific Ocean).  Just how much radiation is headed east (or north or south), when the wire is oriented east/west, but with the low end to the west?  Does it change more than take-off angle?

Also, does it matter which end is up once the ground has more of an uneven effect on radiation off both lobes?  A vertical has center coax conductor as radiator feed and shield as ground system.  At what point does the angle and/or proximity to the ground become a vertical and no longer a sloper?

Finally, I will find a local HF operator and try to verify the radio is actually transmitting something intelligible.   

Jon
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WB6BYU
Member

Posts: 13242




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« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2012, 11:03:31 AM »

A sloper will have plenty of radiation in other directions.

The radiation from a sloper is partly vertically polarized and partly horizontal.
Which end is connected to the coax center conductor or the shield shouldn't
make any difference if the dipole has an effective balun.  If it doesn't, then
there may be a difference, but it will depend to some extent on the length
of the coax, how the rig is grounded, etc.  It becomes very difficult to
predict the exact behavior, but in any case you still should have enough
RF radiated to make contacts.

When the band is open - when you hear lots of strong signals - you shouldn't
have any problems.  If you can only hear a few signals then they may be running
high power, and the path losses between you may be too high.  10m isn't open
as often as the lower frequencies (though more so now than a couple years ago)
and when it isn't it can be pretty dead.  When it does open, you can work around
the world with low power and simple antennas.

One thing you can do is to listen for beacon stations between 28.1 and 28.3 MHz
to get an idea of how the band is in various directions.
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WF2S
Member

Posts: 12




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« Reply #8 on: March 26, 2012, 02:43:07 PM »

  Even with a monster sized yagi and 1.1 Kw, I sometimes am in the same boat as you.. QST ran an article about 'one-way propagation ' a while back.. If you hear the stations on 10, that is only one indicator.. Sometimes I try PSK and under the less than optimal conditions, I can make a Q when other more conventional modes can be frustrating..
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