Ramblings from a G4 by Antony Turnbull G4CUS February 2010

I hope that you had a great time during the Christmas and New Year festivities and received the goodies you asked for. Unfortunately the 3 element Steppir I wanted was not forthcoming! I was hoping to beat the VAT increase on January 1st, however I am still a little worried that my mast is not man enough for this particular aerial. The concept of the beam is amazing, actually changing the electrical length of each element physically with each shift in frequency. Therefore the beam is virtually a mono-bander on 14, 18, 21, 24 and 28 MHz with the ability to reverse the heading at a touch of a switch without the use of the rotator! The one thing that worries me about this is all the moving parts required to lengthen / shorten each element. Having said that, I have spoken to many very satisfied users including one in Northern Canada who has experienced no problems, even at  – 30 centigrade.

Activity from here has been a little spasmodic during December due to the need to be a little social at this time of year! I was pleased to be able to work the Christmas Island DXpedition (VK9XX) again within a few minutes of sending off last month’s ramblings to Gordon, making it a total of one SSB and one RTTY QSO on 20mtrs and a RTTY QSO on 30mtrs.

I have been asked a number of times about my aerial system. As this month’s theme is aerials I thought that I would give a quick run-down of what is used at this QTH. For 80 and 40mtrs I use simple half-wave dipoles connected to the rig by a single 50ohm coax via a 1 to 1 balun. These dipoles were roughly cut to length and finally tuned to mid band with the help of an MFJ-259 antenna analyser. I always cut aerials too long and then fold back excess wire onto itself to get the right length.

This means that one has ‘spare’ wire in case of errors or future changes in aerial configuration.  I have a trap-dipole for the three WARC bands also fed by 50ohm coax via a 1 to 1 balun. The main aerial is a Cushcraft A3s three element (trapped) beam for 10, 15 and 20mtrs with a maximum height of 40ft, although I normally keep it at around 35ft because of the wind. Above the A3s is a Diamond vertical for 2mtrs, 6mtrs and 70cms. The mast holding up the beam and VHF/UHF aerial is an ancient Altron tilt-over, making it easy for maintenance purposes.

DX countries worked during December include:-

El Salvador, Chagos Island, Christmas Island, Barbados, Belize, Mexico, Honduras, Sudan, Iraq, Qatar, Aruba, Djibouti, Nicaragua, Mongolia, Sri Lanka, Cuba, Curacao, Oman, Morocco, Australia and Dominican Republic.

Contests taking place during February include:-

Mexico RTTY International Contest       1800Z,     Feb 6 to 1759Z, Feb 7
CQ WW RTTY WPX Contest                 0000Z,     Feb 13 to 2400Z, Feb 14
SARL Field Day Contest                        1000Z,     Feb 13 to 1000Z, Feb 14
Dutch PACC Contest                              1200Z,     Feb 13 to 1200Z, Feb 14
ARRL Inter. DX Contest, CW                 0000Z,     Feb 20 to 2400Z, Feb 21
CQ 160-Meter Contest, SSB                   2200Z,     Feb 26 to 2159Z, Feb 28
REF Contest, SSB                                  0600Z,     Feb 27 to 1800Z, Feb 28
UBA DX Contest, CW                             1300Z,     Feb 27 to 1300Z, Feb 28
North American QSO Party, RTTY         1800Z,     Feb 27 to 0600Z, Feb 28
High Speed Club CW Contest                 0900Z-1700Z,     Feb 28

DX to look out for during February include:-

Feb 2-10       DXCC: St Lucia             Callsign: J6         QSL: LotW, via
home call, direct, eQSL
Feb 2-15         DXCC: Cambodia      Callsign: XU7AFU   QSL: ON4AFU Buro
Feb 2-27       DXCC: South Shetland Is    Callsign: XR9JA    QSL: CE5JA  via
Buro or direct.     Greenwich I (AN-010); 160-6m; CW SSB PSK31
Feb 3-15          DXCC: North Cook Is    Callsign: E51       QSL: AD7AF  Direct
Manihiki (OC-013); 40-10m; mainly CW SSB, some RTTY PSK31
Feb 4-10      DXCC: Hawaii           Callsign: N7I        QSL: KL7JR
Oahu I (HI-008S); check 28460 14260 kHz;
Feb 6-19        DXCC: Temotu           Callsign: H40       QSL: Buro
DK9FN as H40FN (CW), DL2GAC as H40MS (SSB), DG1FK
as H40FK (digital)  Ngarando + Reef Is; focus on 160 80m; QSL
H40FN via HA8FW, others via home_call
Feb 9-25       DXCC: French Polynesia   Callsign: TX4T    QSL: G3TXF
160-10m, focus on 160 80m; QRV for WPX RTTY and ARRL DX CW
Feb 10-21      DXCC: Kenya                       Callsign: 5Z0H     QSL: LotW
Wasini I (AF-067) and Lamu I (AF-040); 160-10m; CW SSB
RTTY; QSL also OK via IK8VRH, Buro or direct
Feb 11-21       DXCC: Guinea Bissau       Callsign: J5NAR
Feb 17-23        DXCC: Belize                    Callsign: V31RR    QSL: LotW
RTTY CW SSB;   QRV for ARRL DX CW
Feb 17-Mar 10   DXCC: Tokelau            Callsign: ZK3      QSL: Home Call
160-10m; mainly CW, some SSB RTTY   QRV for ARRL DX
CW; dates subject to change
Feb 20-27        DXCC: Christmas I               Callsign: VK9X        QSL: G3SWH
By G3SWH & G3RTE as VK9X/G6AY; 80-10m; CW only;
2 stns as frequently as possible
Feb 21-25       DXCC: Bangladesh            Callsign: S2              QSL: EB7DX
By S21RC S21AM S21S S21D      St Martin’s I (AS-127)
Feb 22-Mar 3   DXCC: Brunei                   Callsign: V88        QSL: DL7JAN
By DL7JAN as V88/DL7JAN    Bandar Seri Begawan (OC-088);
160-10m; CW SSB RTTY; QSL OK via DARC Buro or direct
Feb 28-Mar 11    DXCC: Montserrat     Callsign: VP2M       QSL: Home Call
W1USN as VP2MPR (SSB PSK31) and AA1M as VP2MPL (Mar 3-11, CW)

Antony Turnbull –  G4CUS. From the Vital Spark, February 2010.

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