Call Search
     

New to Ham Radio?
My Profile

Community
Articles
Forums
News
Reviews
Friends Remembered
Strays
Survey Question

Operating
Contesting
DX Cluster Spots
Propagation

Resources
Calendar
Classifieds
Ham Exams
Ham Links
List Archives
News Articles
Product Reviews
QSL Managers

Site Info
eHam Help (FAQ)
Support the site
The eHam Team
Advertising Info
Vision Statement
About eHam.net

   Home   Help Search  
Pages: [1] 2 3 Next   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Panadapter or linear?  (Read 4978 times)
WX2S
Member

Posts: 698




Ignore
« on: July 13, 2012, 08:15:03 AM »

Hi, all,

I'm eying Christmas presents for myself. Which would you experts say is more useful for DX, a panadapter or a linear?

Thanks,
- Steve (WX2S.)
Logged

73, - Steve WX2S.
I subscribe to the DX Code of Conduct. http://dx-code.org/
KY6R
Member

Posts: 3154


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2012, 08:27:01 AM »

If you are chasing rare DX and having to deal with the huge nasty pileups - I would say the amplifier. But make sure your antenna system is as good as it can be first. I have found that a simple AL-811H works as well as a full legal amp, and at 700 watts I don't get into my (very) neurotic neighbors stereo like 1500 watts did. The difference in gain doesn't seem to affect my ability to work the rare one's in huge pileups at all. I just use 811A's because they are so cheap - especially compared to any of the "full gallon" amp tubes.

I am not a contester and have only wanted to get to HR since 2001 - and am 3 away. That means way too many huge nasty pileups - and more ESP contacts than I would care to admit to - and I have never seen the need for any kind of band scope. My skills working split have been just fine without it. Many Dx-ers and contesters swear by the band scopes. To each his or her own.

But I dream daily of the KPA-500 and the P3 - they would look so nice next to my beloved K3 - hi hi. I'd probably get used to the P3 quickly!

« Last Edit: July 13, 2012, 09:18:54 AM by KY6R » Logged
W5DQ
Member

Posts: 1209


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2012, 09:22:42 AM »

Hi, all,

I'm eying Christmas presents for myself. Which would you experts say is more useful for DX, a panadapter or a linear?

Thanks,
- Steve (WX2S.)

Having had both and used both, I'd say if I had to have one or the other, I'd go for the amp. The panadapter is nice and if you were stuck on the concept of being barefoot or QRP and needing the ability to weasel your way through the hugh pileup with mouthy morons, DX police, professional tuner uppers, occassional Whistler's mother whistling and other assorted niccompoops that seem to be drawn to DX pileups like moths to a flame, it surely might help. But if you really want to get the DX in the log and ride over the 'junk in the pile', get yourself a nice amp. Even a small Ameritron AL-811/H will be a plus over 100W but a legal limit amp will get you heard

************** PROVIDING *************

You have a decent antenna system. If you are trying to get through a pileup with only a G5RV 25 foot above ground, of course the amp is the obvious answer but an even more appropriate answer would be get yourself a REAL DX antenna and get it as high as possible. a basic tribander at 40-50 feet will be almost like adding a small amp to the aforementioned G5RV setup.

Of course, if you're like most, you've heard this all before and no sense in me or anyone repeating more of it so get yourself that nice new toy and have fun with it. As a point of reference, I have what I would consider a minimum setup and I'm looking to upgrade too as soon as the budget will allow me to. I have a Force 12 C3S (basically a set of three 2 element yagis on a short boom) at 40 feet with a Ameritton AL-811 3 tube 600W small amp. I get through about 90% of the pileups I get into being limited basically by antenna more than anything else as far as coverage indicates. My main problem lies with DX out towards the antipode of my QTH. For West EU, AF, JA, UA, ZL, VK, So Pac are well within my coverage providing propagation doesn't fight against me  Grin It took me almost 3 years of trying to finally get Zone 22 (VU/India) to complete WAZ.

Good Luck in your decision,

Gene W5DQ
Logged

Gene W5DQ
Ridgecrest, CA - DM15dp
www.radioroom.org
KB2FCV
Member

Posts: 1160


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2012, 11:20:52 AM »

As other stated, first check your antenna situation and see if there are any improvements you could make there.

If I had to make the choice between a panadaptor or an amp, I'd go for the amp first. What I generally observe in pileups, there are lots and lots of people who just keep calling and calling and calling and calling and calling and calling. Well, that's not going to help you out alot with a panadaptor as it will probably be tough to find out who he is working and were since there are lots of others just calling and not doing a whole lot of listening. I've never had a panadaptor, the closest thing might be an SDR receiver hooked the computer. I think reading a copy of "The complete DX'er" is a better purchase before a panadaptor. The amp will help you be a little louder in a pileup. I have a very modest SB-200 which admittedly almost always stays off.
Logged
WX2S
Member

Posts: 698




Ignore
« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2012, 01:52:30 PM »

Thanks, all, for the replies. An HF beam is not possible at my QTH, unless someone makes an invisible one. (Historic district plus busybody neighbors plus XYL objections.) And I've already invested the twenty or so bucks in The Complete DXer, which (along with a nifty subreceiver and some steadily improving CW skills) have already gotten me through at least one pileup.

I may still get the amp, though. Even a 500-watt amp is 7 dB.

Surprising (to me at least) that there's not even one vote for the panadapter.

Dunno what I did 30 years ago when I had the HW-101. Just persisted, I guess.

73, -WX2S.
Logged

73, - Steve WX2S.
I subscribe to the DX Code of Conduct. http://dx-code.org/
K1ZJH
Member

Posts: 949




Ignore
« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2012, 06:45:44 AM »

From what I've read, the panadpters are neat toys, but the fascination wears off fast once you start using for any
length of time.  If you can hear them, then based on the choices you've given I'd go for the amp.
Antenna improvements are the best way to start, but not everyone has the funds or means to do so.
Pete
Logged
NI0C
Member

Posts: 2391




Ignore
« Reply #6 on: July 14, 2012, 12:34:24 PM »

A good panadapter (like my Elecraft P3) is a good receiving tool for DX work.  It is useful for measuring background noise levels, finding isolated signals on a quiet band, judging the width of a pileup, finding an appropriate transmit frequency within a pileup, and much more. 

I suspect some of the "band scopes" that are built into transceivers may not be as useful or versatile as the P3.  I use the P3 all the time-- it's a tool, not a toy.

73,
Chuck  NI0C

Logged
WX2S
Member

Posts: 698




Ignore
« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2012, 06:05:10 AM »

Interesting you mention the P3, Chuck. I was in a QSO yesterday night with two hams who had the P3, and they swear by it and would recommend it over an amp.

Disclaimer: I do not work for Elecraft, and barely know anyone who does.  Grin

73, -Steve (WX2S.)
Logged

73, - Steve WX2S.
I subscribe to the DX Code of Conduct. http://dx-code.org/
N2RJ
Member

Posts: 1160




Ignore
« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2012, 06:32:11 AM »

If you don't have an amp, you need one. Any serious DXer needs one unless you want to prove that you have the skill (patience mostly) to work DXCC with 100 watts and a dipole or want to go for QRP DXCC.

But you don't need a full gallon. The first 500 watts makes all the difference. The rest is just about 1/3 of an S unit I believe.

The P3 panadapter may be more useful but I've found spectrum scopes to be mildly helpful. But now I have the skill down where I can find a split frequency rather quickly on SSB and CW (RTTY is a different animal, haven't mastered THAT one yet).
Logged
KE8G
Member

Posts: 151




Ignore
« Reply #9 on: July 17, 2012, 06:45:18 AM »

If looking to get just one piece of new equipment, I would go with the amp.  I have an 811H and a KPA500 and both hold their own in the pile-ups.

I swear by the P3 (not affiliated with Elecraft).  Today, for example, I worked H44UD (first time hearing him) and the P3 made it pretty easy.  I put my tx just a shade above the station he was working and got him on the first call!  I was also running the KPA500 and I am sure that helped.

Dxing has sure changed from years gone by, I think it is much easier with all the new equipment available for our use.

Good luck in your dxing,
73 de Jim - KE8G
Logged
W2IRT
Member

Posts: 2622


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #10 on: July 17, 2012, 07:20:30 AM »

If you don't have an amp, you need one. Any serious DXer needs one unless you want to prove that you have the skill (patience mostly) to work DXCC with 100 watts and a dipole or want to go for QRP DXCC.

But you don't need a full gallon. The first 500 watts makes all the difference. The rest is just about 1/3 of an S unit I believe.

Those extra 2 to 4 dB make a hell of a difference, regardless of what the receiving station's S-meter says. I've done this test numerous times with EU (mostly G and PA) stations on 80 the first year I had my amp. I would A/B 500 and 1500 Watts and ask them to not look at the meter but to tell me how much signal difference change they perceived just by listening to my voice at the two power levels. Invariably, as I suspected "MUCH Louder" or much clearer or similar comments followed the "jump to light speed." And although I've never tested this out scientifically or even anecdotally, I'd wager that the difference of 2-4dB over the pole to a guy sitting on wooden scaffolding in the South China Sea over a chunk of barren rock would be enough to get me in the log and not the guy who's hamsters are running full tilt at 500W.

There are times I'd love to have a panadapter of some species or another (namely in killer CW and RTTY pileups) but the times I'd use it in any given year could be measured on one hand.

Antennas (and the height thereof) first, amp second, filters/radio third, panadapter....way down there.
Logged

www.facebook.com/W2IRT
Night gathers and now my watch begins. It shall not end until I reach Top of the Honor Roll.
KY6R
Member

Posts: 3154


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #11 on: July 17, 2012, 07:35:34 AM »

If you don't have an amp, you need one. Any serious DXer needs one unless you want to prove that you have the skill (patience mostly) to work DXCC with 100 watts and a dipole or want to go for QRP DXCC.

But you don't need a full gallon. The first 500 watts makes all the difference. The rest is just about 1/3 of an S unit I believe.

Those extra 2 to 4 dB make a hell of a difference, regardless of what the receiving station's S-meter says. I've done this test numerous times with EU (mostly G and PA) stations on 80 the first year I had my amp. I would A/B 500 and 1500 Watts and ask them to not look at the meter but to tell me how much signal difference change they perceived just by listening to my voice at the two power levels. Invariably, as I suspected "MUCH Louder" or much clearer or similar comments followed the "jump to light speed." And although I've never tested this out scientifically or even anecdotally, I'd wager that the difference of 2-4dB over the pole to a guy sitting on wooden scaffolding in the South China Sea over a chunk of barren rock would be enough to get me in the log and not the guy who's hamsters are running full tilt at 500W.

There are times I'd love to have a panadapter of some species or another (namely in killer CW and RTTY pileups) but the times I'd use it in any given year could be measured on one hand.

Antennas (and the height thereof) first, amp second, filters/radio third, panadapter....way down there.

I would bet that most of us can pretty easily improve all of our antennas by a factor of 2 dB. Even a vertical - where instead of 6 dB loss - you only have 1 or 2 dB loss.

I replaced wire moxon's with aluminum yagi's for 2 dB on all of my high bands - and also greatly limited the losses on the low bands for at least a couple db, and with my AL-811H I am set. When I tried using a 1500W linear - I caused some RFI - and lowering the power and improving the antenna's seemed to be the best compromise. Dealing with an extremely neurotic neighbor was out of the question.

With the additional 2 dB (or more on some bands) in the last year I went from not getting through in massive pileups to getting through, and conditions have been about the same.

2 dB can mean being heard or not.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2012, 08:21:15 AM by KY6R » Logged
NI0C
Member

Posts: 2391




Ignore
« Reply #12 on: July 17, 2012, 09:29:12 AM »

Although I praised the P3 panadapter as a useful receiving tool, I agree with most of the folks here that an amplifier is a higher priority as a DX'ers station improvement.  I chose the Ten Tec Centurion for several reasons:  QSK capability, relatively small size and weight, quick tube warmup, and near legal limit power output.   I bought it a couple of years before I got the P3.

73,
Chuck  NI0C
Logged
N4OGW
Member

Posts: 295




Ignore
« Reply #13 on: July 17, 2012, 10:47:38 AM »

Hi, all,

I'm eying Christmas presents for myself. Which would you experts say is more useful for DX, a panadapter or a linear?

Thanks,
- Steve (WX2S.)

Get both: there is no reason the panadapter has to be an expensive present. You can do one quite cheaply using a Softrock
SDR receiver kit (<$50) and get all the benefits of say a P3. Or a LP-PAN if you can spend a little more.

The main time in "DXing" when I use a panadapter is figuring out where to call in gigantic pileups. It helps immensely there.

Tor
N4OGW
Logged
AF3Y
Member

Posts: 3715




Ignore
« Reply #14 on: July 17, 2012, 01:50:35 PM »

Hi, all,

I'm eying Christmas presents for myself. Which would you experts say is more useful for DX, a panadapter or a linear?

Thanks,
- Steve (WX2S.)

Get both: there is no reason the panadapter has to be an expensive present. You can do one quite cheaply using a Softrock
SDR receiver kit (<$50) and get all the benefits of say a P3. Or a LP-PAN if you can spend a little more.

The main time in "DXing" when I use a panadapter is figuring out where to call in gigantic pileups. It helps immensely there.

Tor
N4OGW


I dont have any luck trying that (finding the spot to call) with the scope on my pro III.  Hell, most callers never stop calling. The big blob of callers is always there.  How do you pick out the correct one in time for it to be useful?  hi  73, Gene AF3Y
Logged
Pages: [1] 2 3 Next   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!