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Author Topic: DXing from northern Idaho  (Read 3273 times)
K0YQ
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« Reply #15 on: November 16, 2017, 07:30:43 AM »

That's is a lot of aluminum and steel. 7 elements at 40 ft.

Obie N5VYS

I'm personally more impressed with the foil over bamboo poles.
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W6GX
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« Reply #16 on: November 16, 2017, 09:12:47 AM »

I did a Google on K9LTN's Steppir array.  Word has it that he wanted it for BS7H and Peter 1.  And apparently the array didn't even make it to its first birthday....Mother Nature took it down and another ham bought some of the remains of the antenna.  K9LTN is also a SK.

73,
Jonathan W6GX
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N5VYS
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« Reply #17 on: November 16, 2017, 10:22:58 AM »

That's is a lot of aluminum and steel. 7 elements at 40 ft.

Obie N5VYS

I'm personally more impressed with the foil over bamboo poles.
Intriguing!

Obie N5VYS
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KB8GAE
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« Reply #18 on: November 16, 2017, 01:34:44 PM »

I'm personally more impressed with the foil over bamboo poles.

Your comment made me think of a 10 meter qso I had in the 2014 ARRL DX CW contest with Shige, JH1GNU, who was a running 5 watts and came in a true 599 on the dipole.  I looked him up on QRZ after the contest and was amazed to find that he only uses home brew antennas made from fishing poles, adhesive aluminum tape, and aluminum wires. He likes working the low bands qrp with these antennas from a small city lot.  His QRZ page has lots of info and construction tips on how he put them together.  Ham Radio at its finest IMHO.

Rich KB8GAE
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AA6YQ
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« Reply #19 on: November 16, 2017, 01:54:16 PM »

I am planning my retirement move to northern Idaho but much to my surprise I was informed by a couple of other hams that propagation along the Canadian border worldwide is terrible. Is this true?

Besides the impact of local weather on antenna and cables and the impact of local terrain on signal propagation (e.g. mountains that block your signals in certain directions), the primary issue will be proximity to the northern auroral oval. There is increased absorption of HF signals traversing an auroral oval. The size of the auroral oval expands and contracts with space weather. The closer your QTH is to the northern auroral oval, the more paths to other areas of the world will cross the auroral oval, and thus the more your short-path signals to these areas will be weakened by absorption.

HF signals from a QTH on the geomagnetic equator suffer the least from absorption by auroral ovals.
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AF6D
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« Reply #20 on: November 17, 2017, 04:37:27 AM »

Meanwhile, I have to wonder what you are complaining about.  I looked up your QTH and it's at about 6000 feet above sea level.  [6350 ASL] Other than the aforementioned disadvantages of some DX that equate US with East Coast, I'd say you are very well situated right now.  I don't see a lot of reason to move unless you are in a bowl, relatively speaking.

A lot of hams would love to live in top of a 6000 foot tower.

I am in VHF nirvana!!! But I am in CALIFORNIA. We are taxed to death and although I get the 4 seasons snow is unpredictable. I love the snow. I just want out. I hear Colorado is a good trade-off.
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AF6D
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« Reply #21 on: November 17, 2017, 04:42:16 AM »

If you choose to remain on the western part of the U.S. for reasons other than ham radio, you might consider Colorado.  I will send you a PM.

73,
Jonathan W6GX

I am disabled and walk with difficulty. Living in the mountains as I do I've seen plenty of beauty. But I want a home by the lake. I can handle the snow. I can have firewood delivered and stacked. I don't have family to speak of so I want to do my thing and be happy. SteppIR's are good with rime ice but nothing is perfect. I have been thinking of Colorado. As for DXing with a 6 call it can be tough. We're easy pickin's.
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AF6D
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« Reply #22 on: November 17, 2017, 04:45:41 AM »

I'd be willing to bet there were no contacts from Northern Idaho in the Heard Island log...

However, the sear beauty of the place, for some would be a reasonable offset.

LOL, I'll take that bet Tongue I live in Spokane which is in the North Idaho area around Coeur D'Alene, Sandpoint, etc. and worked Heard on 20, 30, 40, and 80 meters. So that dispels your theory for myself and many other hams in this area. I will say that DX'ing in the more northern latitudes can be challenging at times as we are affected more by solar disturbances. But you learn to adapt and enjoy the view Smiley

John K7KB

One reason I want north western Idaho is Spokane Regional Medical Center only about 30 minutes away.
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AF6D
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« Reply #23 on: November 17, 2017, 04:47:19 AM »

I want stacked SteppIR's...

 The Lunatic Fringe is alive & well regarding stacked SteppIR's. I would be interested in knowing the particulars of their phasing lines.

 https://www.arraysolutions.com/ke5ee  

 And, if you click on no other link today click on this one. An antenna array of epic proportions. A TRUE mechanical nightmare!!! From what I recall reading the owner died about 1 year after constructing this setup. Wonder what ever became of all the antennas?  http://www.kkn.net/dayton2006/K9LTN.pdf

                                                                     Tom KC0W                                                                  

I have seen pictures of that monster SteppIR and I'd give up a kidney for it! 22dBd on 20m!!!
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LA7DFA
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« Reply #24 on: November 17, 2017, 06:08:16 PM »

I am at 63 degrees north, and have no fear of "black holes", and the geomagnetic activity varies.  Try to enter the locations into VOACAP on DXsummit, and you will se how propagations are from various QTHs.

The only secret in hamradio, is to get your signal out close to the horizon.   Get your horisontal antennas one lambda up, and I will garantee lots of DX.  This is valid even for simple antennas, like a dipole.   For low bands a large GP with good groundplane, is a great antenna.

For SSB, you probably need yagis to get the same score as CW or digital.

VK0EK was worked on 12-80m here using dipoles.  Working over the Equator is generally much easier, than across the auroral oval.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2017, 06:21:50 PM by LA7DFA » Logged
AA6YQ
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« Reply #25 on: November 17, 2017, 11:00:49 PM »

Working over the Equator is generally much easier, than across the auroral oval.

Yes, when your QTH is near an auroral oval, look for long path openings.
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W2IRT
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« Reply #26 on: November 18, 2017, 07:09:50 AM »

The first thing I would do once you find a few promising places to live is do an HFTA analysis and find the one with the best takeoff angle in the directions you need. Had I known this one thing before buying my current home I would have kept looking. I'm blocked to Europe and Africa, and as a DXer, contester and lowband guy, let's just say I set myself up for if not failure, then increased challenges. As Dave and others have mentioned, you'll still face other geographical issues but having a clean takeoff is a good start.

As for SteppIRs, they're decent compromise antennas but foolish IMHO for a serious installation. Multi-monobanders from JK Antennas would be the first thing I'd look at. Stacked C31XRs (JK bought out Force-12) or an equivalent for 10-15-20, a full-size 3 element 30/40 Yagi, a stack on 6m and a 4-square on 80 are what I'd put up, and either a fixed-height self-supporting AN Wireless tower or 100+ feet of guyed Rohn 55, with high quality rotors and rings. No compromises! If you have a lot of land and a lot more money, then stacks of long boom monobanders for 10, 15, 20, and 40 would kick ass and take names.
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LA7DFA
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« Reply #27 on: November 18, 2017, 02:12:15 PM »

Yes, when your QTH is near an auroral oval, look for long path openings.
Long path and skewed is often the only solution.  Thats how we worked K5P on 80m from here.
Shortpath was probably impossible, due to their lack of decent groundplane SP plus polar attenuation.

But as W2IRT says, a low horizon is important too.  Especially on the higher HF frequencies and VHF.

I am living on an island, and despite being a tad to the north, I can hear and work a lot, with patience and know-how.
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W2IRT
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« Reply #28 on: November 18, 2017, 09:29:53 PM »

a low horizon is important too.  Especially on the higher HF frequencies and VHF.

I am living on an island, and despite being a tad to the north, I can hear and work a lot, with patience and know-how.

It's pretty darned important on the lowbands, too. I'm at 250' ASL approximately, but firing into granite from 020 to 220°. Ria is about 45 minutes west of me, with an elevation of 800' ASL at the base of her tower, then 75 feet up from there, but with a clean takeoff to Europe and Africa.

She can hear things from those regions at S7 that I can't hear at all, either on my 80m Vee, 160m Inv-L or K9AY loop--and she can put a signal into those places and works them typically in the first half hour, where it takes me days. Trust me when I say takeoff angle is probably the single biggest consideration to buying a new home if you intend to DX or contest seriosuly. It's a huge gamechanger if you're in the right—or wrong—place. A half a mile east and my 80/160 totals would be over at least 50-75 higher by now. Meanwhile, I've got a great shot north and northwest. JAs will hear me over almost anybody in the area when the bands are open, and in contests I work every single one that's spotted and a few who aren't.

As for being on an island, you just can't beat a saltwater path.
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AF6D
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« Reply #29 on: November 21, 2017, 08:25:42 AM »

I appreciate the well intended comments. While it's true I live at roughly 6700 ft ASL our snow is unpredictable. I love the snow. I love the peace and quiet and tranquility and that's what I seek. Unfortunately there are two world-class ski resorts here in Big Bear that when it does snow or they blow snow or both the three ways in and out of the mountain are so bottlenecks that it's ridiculous. Those of us that live up here, us Highlanders, pay attention of the weather reports and stock up on groceries and medications and Pet Food in advance. Then we hunker down and stay put.

Although I own a set of 2 meter repeaters I am an HFer. I live out on one of the southernmost ridges in the area and I have a commanding VHF View for almost 360°. As far as HF, I'm high enough up and have a good take off and go with my SteppIR. Yes, they are a compromise antenna but an extremely well performing antenna. Of course there's nothing bad to say about having metal up in the air for each band but the problem with that is snow loading, high winds, and broken elements. With the SteppIR's you simply retract the elements and you have fiberglass hanging out there that flexes in the wind.

I am not very pleased to read about the propagation of northern Idaho. I suspected and that's why I asked this. I have worked my share of Idaho and Montana and Wyoming in spite of people that claim they are hard to get.  Not from where I'm at. I do know that Colorado is very popular for retiring hams. I want a place that has a lake nearby and preferably up on top of the hill. I don't want to get stuck down in the valley and have my signal bouncing off the granite walls. There doesn't appear to be too many lakes in Colorado. I found Lake Dillon with its high prices and small acreage. It's not what I want. I don't really look forward to Southern Idaho but I might be amenable to perhaps Reno. Anywhere other than California where our government is so screwed up and they tax us to death! I'd like to die of natural causes and not starvation.

I'm open to suggestions for areas of the country that offer the four seasons including a nice snow season. I am partial to forest areas and the peace and quiet and tranquility of sitting on a bench and watching the deer walk across your lawn or the squirrels that come up to you and you can hand them you're nuts. Yes, I know what I just wrote.

I have not yet stacked steppir's. But a double stack is preferred and the phasing lines are a compromise because as we all know the stacking distance affects the pattern and gain. One nice thing is that you can turn one east and one west even though they do have a bi-directional mode that is unity gain. But they are effective antennas and do well with snow loading and wind.
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