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Author Topic: My Morse Learning Campaign  (Read 364502 times)
KB1WSY
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Posts: 1309




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« Reply #300 on: September 14, 2014, 04:06:35 PM »

Yesterday I built an extra audio amplification stage for my 3-transistor regenerative receiver. I used a 2-transistor push-pull circuit from the 1950s, so my little receiver is now a "5-transistor" deluxe model and now has a Loud Speaker, not just Headphones!





To my surprise, monitoring CW with the speaker (rather than only the headphones) is a useful "change." The headphones are much better for really weak signals buried under the noise, but otherwise, I think changing between headphones and speakers from time to time adds a useful variety and makes copying easier overall. I also find that having them both on at the same time (headphones and speakers) can be quite good.

It's also useful to "monitor the bands" in the background, with the speaker, while working on other stuff in the shack.

73 de Martin, KB1WSY
« Last Edit: September 14, 2014, 05:01:55 PM by KB1WSY » Logged
KB1WSY
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« Reply #301 on: September 18, 2014, 01:26:55 PM »

As the negotiations to allow me to put up an antenna outside my apartment continue, I'm still plodding away with the canned QSO practice as well as monitoring real on-air stuff. This is good because the transition from the Farnsworth spacing to "real code" has been laborious. My world continues to be peopled by Tom, Ann, David, Elizabeth and a plethora of others. Their fictitious names, hometowns, RST reports, weather, rigs, antenna, ages and professions, in that rigid order.... There's a pleasing randomness sometimes. Tom, 60, is a student while Lucy, 26, is an architect (not actually taken from the drills but that sort of thing).

I also spent some time last night monitoring a large pileup at the bottom end of 40m. This was very useful for practice in copying callsigns.

Numerals seem to cause the most trouble of all, but this too shall pass.

Can't wait to get on the air.

73 de Martin, KB1WSY
« Last Edit: September 18, 2014, 01:34:02 PM by KB1WSY » Logged
AC2EU
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« Reply #302 on: September 18, 2014, 01:32:42 PM »

Go stealth!!!
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KB1WSY
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Posts: 1309




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« Reply #303 on: September 18, 2014, 01:36:26 PM »

Go stealth!!!

I have backup plans if permission is not granted. I don't actually have to go stealth; I have permission to put up a much less optimal antenna (end-fed, low altitude, relatively short) just outside my rental apartment. But first, I'm going all-out to try to get permission for a full-length dipole. It's a QRP station and I want the best possible antenna that can be installed, under the circumstances. My proposals have been submitted, I'm just waiting for a decision.

73 de Martin, KB1WSY
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K8AXW
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« Reply #304 on: September 19, 2014, 08:41:14 AM »

Martin:  Considering the elapsed time in these "antenna negotiations," have you considered the UN?  This might be faster.   Grin 

I imagine these people have one hellova time buying a new car!!
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A Pessimist is Never Disappointed!
KB1WSY
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« Reply #305 on: September 19, 2014, 10:11:13 AM »

Al/K8AXW. There are now six separate parties involved in these antenna negotiations -- I live in a fairly densely populated section of a close suburb, studded with classic New England "triple decker" housing. I don't want to go into details because publicly airing them on an online forum could be (a) counterproductive and (b) violate people's privacy. Suffice it to say that progress is being made ... and that all of the wasted time was my fault, not theirs.

BTW I hate buying new cars. In fact I've only done it twice, in my life, and plan to become car-less within the next couple of years.

73 de Martin, KB1WSY
« Last Edit: September 19, 2014, 10:36:21 AM by KB1WSY » Logged
W1JKA
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« Reply #306 on: September 19, 2014, 02:51:25 PM »

Re: KB1WSY

Your post become more and more interesting as time goes on. CAR-LESS you say, are you going to replace it with your version of a Benson Gyro Copter? if so I can hardly wait for the construction pics. Wink
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KB1WSY
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« Reply #307 on: September 19, 2014, 04:03:27 PM »

Re: KB1WSY

Your post become more and more interesting as time goes on. CAR-LESS you say, are you going to replace it with your version of a Benson Gyro Copter? if so I can hardly wait for the construction pics. Wink

Not really. I'm a city kid and so is XYL. We have spent major portions of our lives in large cities, car-less and relying on public transportation. Even now, although we live in a suburb, the "T" (Boston's subway) is only a 12-minute walk away. When traveling larger distances, we tend to take an intercity bus, Amtrak or a plane. The last of our children left home a couple of years ago and about two years from now, we'd like to move back to the center of a large city, where a car would be unnecessary.

Obviously this will pose a problem with continuing my newly rediscovered ham radio hobby -- a major antenna challenge! I love this hobby but other things are more important. Meanwhile I'd like to get a decent setup for the next year or two while I have all of this suburban space! (I'm a renter and the property belongs to other people, so I have to be very persuasive Grin).

73 de Martin, KB1WSY
« Last Edit: September 19, 2014, 04:10:04 PM by KB1WSY » Logged
K8AXW
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« Reply #308 on: September 19, 2014, 05:27:35 PM »

JKA is correct on one major thing.  This thread or discussion is becoming more interesting as we go!  I'm beginning to get a better picture of your living/antenna conditions and understand much more.

As you described the situation I immediately visualized a 18th century London apartment setting..... which of course was only momentary.   Roll Eyes   Grin  

You're correct in not "outing" your neighbor/negotiation in more detail.  I'm sorry I was so flippant.
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AC2EU
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« Reply #309 on: September 20, 2014, 06:57:38 AM »

I you MUST live in a big city, car-less is the way to be! I used to do business in NYC from time to time, which required a vehicle. I hated everything about those trips. The traffic jams, detours, no parking, taxi cabs, etc, etc, etc were big part of the effort.

Living in a large city is one thing, commuting is just plain crazy. I don't know how some folks do that trip every day.

Anyway, we are all waiting for the other shoe to drop. This has been a very long saga, and you're still not on the air!  Roll Eyes
Where there is a will, there's a way. I'm beginning to think you prefer to write about your quest rather than attaining it.  Grin

« Last Edit: September 20, 2014, 07:37:40 AM by AC2EU » Logged

KB1WSY
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« Reply #310 on: September 20, 2014, 07:26:39 AM »

I'm beginning to think you prefer to write about quest rather than attaining it.  Grin

Actions speak louder than words. Stay tuned.  Tongue
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KB1WSY
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« Reply #311 on: September 25, 2014, 03:36:38 AM »

The antenna negotiations continue. So far, so good.

In a fit of possibly unwarranted optimism I have ordered all of the materials to build the antenna. Even if I don't get permission to put it up, it can always do duty in a future QTH, or be used on Field Day, or be dismantled and re-configured in a more stealthy design.

Full details don't belong here, but in the antenna forum, where I will probably post when construction begins. Here's a summary meanwhile.

In the latest proposed location, there isn't enough room for an 80m wire antenna. So I'd be confined to operating 40m and higher. To me this is no great loss: I go to bed early at night (around 9 p.m.) and 80m seems to be mainly a night-time thing. However, in addition to 40m, I'm keen to get on 20m, both because of the "daytime" possibilities and for DX. This will require building a new transmitter, and that project is already "queued up," possibly for early next year.

Because winter is approaching fast and this is New England, if permission is granted I'm going to try to put up a 40m/20m antenna before the weather becomes a factor. This would be a trap dipole configured as a shallow inverted-V with the center about 25 feet up. I am building the traps myself, using the classic "coax around PVC" designs published in QST. The antenna would be mounted in a tree that is located a few feet across my landlord's property line, in the neighbors' yard. That neighboring property is a multiple-family condo with four separate owner/tenant parties involved, hence the negotiations!

There are various complexities, including the need to tunnel underneath a stone path and through a stone wall, among other things (I already have permission to do those things; it's the "above ground" stuff that is dragging out the negotiations). For aesthetic reasons, among others, the coax will be buried all the way from the shack to the tree (I bought fancy "direct burial" coax). Because I don't own the property, extra-careful attention is also being paid to lightning protection and grounding (far more attention than was ever given by 1960s Novice Ham). All this has now been researched, including figuring out how to dig underneath the path and drill through the wall. I am poised to go, if permission is granted. Cool

Big CW pileup at the bottom of 40m last night. As usual, I could catch all of the fishermen/women, but couldn't hear their quarry (the new antenna should help with that!). My dial isn't calibrated but it must have been very close to the bottom of the band.

73 de Martin, KB1WSY
« Last Edit: September 25, 2014, 04:13:33 AM by KB1WSY » Logged
AC2EU
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« Reply #312 on: September 25, 2014, 06:52:39 AM »

The coax for a dipole should attach at a 90 degree angle with the antenna plane. Are you going to be able to do that?
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K8AXW
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« Reply #313 on: September 25, 2014, 08:33:05 AM »

Martin:  I also suggest you research the trap design you've chosen.  It's my understanding that the coax traps aren't the best way to go.  If you feel that my "understanding" is in error, please disregard.

I sincerely wish you the best with the antenna negotiations.  You certainly have earned this 'victory' when you finally get it!!  Mercy!!
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KB1WSY
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Posts: 1309




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« Reply #314 on: September 25, 2014, 09:06:44 AM »

The coax for a dipole should attach at a 90 degree angle with the antenna plane. Are you going to be able to do that?

Yes. It's an inverted-V but still relatively "flat" and up 25 feet. The coax would come vertically straight down the tree then run underground to the shack.

Martin:  I also suggest you research the trap design you've chosen.  It's my understanding that the coax traps aren't the best way to go.  If you feel that my "understanding" is in error, please disregard.

The coax-style traps have been described in half a dozen articles in QST and also in the 2014 ARRL Handbook, which I have. Other hams who use them have told me they work fine for them. The trap design I'm looking at has low loss and a relatively high bandwidth for the 40m segment of the antenna. As you know, one drawback of trap antennas is that the outside-trapped section has reduced bandwidth compared to a simple dipole. Because I'm only planning to operate in the CW sections of the band, the reduced b/w isn't much of an issue anyway.

There are dozens of different trap designs, but if you're going to homebrew your own, the coax-coil designs are a good place to start, in my opinion. They are straightforward to build, rugged and easy to weather-proof. I'll be using small RG-174 coax, which has various advantages in terms of trap optimization and also makes the traps smaller, therefore less visible. The only disadvantage is they fail if you feed them with more than about 500W but that's not an issue in my case!

Can you remember what the issues are with the coax traps? I'd be interested to know.

One issue is that any trap antenna needs to be adjusted ("trimmed") in situ, but I'm quite looking forward to that.

The parameters of my antenna project were nailed down after an exhaustive set of exchanges over on QRZ, which you can find here: http://forums.qrz.com/showthread.php?450950-80-40-20-Dipole-(2).

I sincerely wish you the best with the antenna negotiations.  You certainly have earned this 'victory' when you finally get it!!  Mercy!!

Thank you! You don't know the half of it! I'm trying to be discreet, to maximize antenna approval chances!
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