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Author Topic: Never Fully Functional  (Read 1979 times)
KD2BHY
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Posts: 18




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« on: July 20, 2014, 09:40:05 AM »

Hello
For the past 3 years I have been trying to build an HF station. It hasn't gone well. I started out with an Eico 753 that drifted so much you couldn't make a contact. After that I bought a ts520 s. I only ever heard one or two s-5 signals whenever I turned on the rig. 10 antennas later I am in the same position. My setup now is a ts520 going to a 20 meter dipole, and Ive made very few contacts. I need advice as to what I should do next because I have run out of options. I have made very few contacts and really want to get on the air. (Keep in mind I am a young ham and have very limited funds)

Thank you
« Last Edit: July 20, 2014, 09:42:54 AM by KD2BHY » Logged
N0SYA
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Posts: 309




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« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2014, 12:19:08 PM »

How does the system perform up on 10m?
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If you have a clumsy child, you make them wear a helmet. If you have death prone children, you keep a few clones of them in your lab.
N7BMW
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Posts: 110




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« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2014, 12:21:48 PM »

Find an Elmer.  There are still many hams that would be happy to help a newer ham.  Find a local radio club and ask for help. 

Take the radio to the Elmer's QTH to check it out with their antenna.  If the radio is good ask for him/her to come to your house to check your antenna.
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KD0SFY
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Posts: 112




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« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2014, 01:30:22 PM »

Hello
For the past 3 years I have been trying to build an HF station. It hasn't gone well. I started out with an Eico 753 that drifted so much you couldn't make a contact. After that I bought a ts520 s. I only ever heard one or two s-5 signals whenever I turned on the rig. 10 antennas later I am in the same position. My setup now is a ts520 going to a 20 meter dipole, and Ive made very few contacts. I need advice as to what I should do next because I have run out of options. I have made very few contacts and really want to get on the air. (Keep in mind I am a young ham and have very limited funds)

Thank you

Just some general thoughts, without knowing everything you have tried or your technical knowledge/expertise:

20 meter dipole?  How high off the ground?  Should be roughly 35 ft up.  While you can use a 20 meter dipole for other bands, it really works best at 20 meters.  If the antenna is less than 35 ft up, you are probably sending most of the energy up at a high angle and exceeding the maximum usable angle/critical angle for 20 meters, so you are sending most of the energy into space.  20 meters doesn't do well for NVIS mode. 

Dipoles are broadside antennas, so the wire should be strung perpendicular to the direction you want to talk.  IOW, if you want to talk to the southwest, your wire should run northwest to southeast. 

Have you trimmed the antenna for the frequency band?  Remember that dipole calculations are meant to get you in the ballpark, so cut long and trim to tune. 

If you are using a standard unbalanced coax to dipole center feed unit, use some coils of coax or a common mode choke to get rid of unwanted RF on the shield.  Or, use a balun or balanced feed line, depending on your rig/tuner.

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VE3TMT
Member

Posts: 370




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« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2014, 07:11:35 PM »

Are you a member of your local radio club?

If so, have another member come over and check your setup. The 520 needs to be tuned properly for the frequency you want to operate on. They are not just turn on and operate radios. Perhaps a club member has a backup solid state radio you could try out to make sure your antenna system is performing properly.
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K5TED
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Posts: 694




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« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2014, 07:53:29 PM »

Would be interesting for you to set up a sked on 20m and on 15m, before summer is over, and see if you can get some of the hams in this forum to participate, just to see if it's propagation, operating conditions, or procedure that is preventing your hobby enjoyment.

Yes, the best option at this point is to seek help from a local ham knowledgeable in practical HF operation. This point has been made in your topics for a couple of years now. Are there no hams in your circle? Do you operate 2m?
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NO2A
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Posts: 754




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« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2014, 08:53:25 AM »

Does the rig load normally into your antenna? You should see about 220ma plate current for 100 watts output,ballpark figure. What feedline are you using?
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KD2BHY
Member

Posts: 18




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« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2014, 02:54:56 PM »

I think the best thing to do is have a local ham come iver and take a look at my station
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N8XI
Member

Posts: 119




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« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2014, 06:51:38 AM »

I think the best thing to do is have a local ham come iver and take a look at my station
James,

20 Meters relies very heavily on propagation.
The solar flux has been almost nil lately.
I have to congratulate you for not giving up.
Trying 10 antennas...I would have given up after 2 or 3  Smiley
If you have the room I would try a 40M antenna. It is open most times. Maybe even a bit of DX at night.

Anyway, I did an address search for Port Washington NY (at qrz.com) and there were 84 hits.
I am sure an email to one or two would bring a little assistance.

GL and 73
Rick - N8XI
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WX7G
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Posts: 5917




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« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2014, 07:31:12 AM »

If your station can make only a few contacts on SSB it should be able to make hundreds of contacts on CW.
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N3HEE
Member

Posts: 113




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« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2014, 09:44:49 AM »

Assuming your radio is working properly you should be able to make lots of contacts on 40 meters both day and night.  If you have the room put up a simple 40 meter dipole and give it a try.  If you cant make contacts on 40 then there may be a problem with your radio.  Find a local ham to help you.  Good luck and hang in there!  You'll get it working soon.
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NR9R
Member

Posts: 149




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« Reply #11 on: July 23, 2014, 12:58:55 PM »

I'm sorry to hear about your frustration and have to give you some credit for sticking with it for the last few years. 

It sounds to me like something in your system is not working.  With a properly functioning receiver you should be able to hear many signals on 20 meters during the day with even a wire dangling off the back of the radio. 

Can you give us a little more info on your station set-up?  What type of feedline are you using?  Do you have a way to check SWR?  Do you own a dummy load to test the transceiver?  Do you have a manual for the TS-520 that you can reference for tuning it properly? 

As mentioned previously, I'd recommend getting involved with a ham club and ask for some help.  I remember being 12 years old and dropping into a ham club for the first time.  I met a lot of great people who gladly gave away or loaned me more equipment than I knew what to do with.

-Anthony, NR9R     
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