Ham Radio

Friday, February 25, 2011
Latest Home Brew Metal Work Project - Tripod Mount For Satellite Yagis
This week I continued with my latest radio project which was to be some kind of rotator mount that I could use to set up my latest Satellite array.

As mentioned in my last post, I am planning on fixing the new Satellite antenna high up on the house. However, before I can begin working on that installation I want to build everything up at ground level and give it all a good testing out, ironing out any problems there may be on the way.

With all this in mind I began to search through my scrap material pile that I have stashed away for a rainy day etc.
I soon came across some heavy duty pipe and found some screwed/threaded bar. Then with a bit of sawing, grinding and hammering, I began fabricating the scrap pipe and metal which I finished off by welding it all up into a fairly substantial tripod.

The finished tripod can easily be dismantled and folds up nice and neat allowing it to be transported without any hassle.

I finished the job by painting it black, I then fitted the Yaesu GS5500 rotator to the top of it. (as seen below in the two images).

Next, I was ready to install the two Satellite Yagi antennas.

I fitted the 435 X beam and the 145 Yagi with a short ally pole keeping the weight down to a minimum.

The video below shows the Satellite array up and running working well at ground level.


I have already made a couple of successful QSO via VO-52 as well as hearing AO-51 nice and loud last night. The new setup will be even better once I complete the full installation on the house.

Hope to hear you via the SATs soon!
posted by Simon Davison @ 9:20 am   4 comments
Monday, February 21, 2011
More Antenna Instalations
I awoke nice and early on Sunday morning, walked the dog and then listened to the local RSGB news broadcast as usual.

Straight after the weekly news broadcast, I headed outside and began installing a CAROLINA WINDOM 80 (133FT offset dipole).

The CW-80 tunes nicely from 80M to 10M and after listening around the bands for a short while yesterday, it seems to be performing well on 40M, 17M & 15M. I will be testing it further on the rest of the bands and recording the results.

The CW-80 is suspended between the House and a reasonably tall tree at the far end of the garden, as seen in the picture.
I shall be fixing the CW-80 higher up once I install a mast on the rear of the house which will help elevate the wire high above the roof.

The next job was to begin work on the Satellite antenna array that I am planing to use. I began by asembling the two antenna systems that I will be using, a 5 element 145MHz Yagi and a 30 element 435MHz X beam. I built both antennas up to a stage that can be completed when I am ready to finish the installation.

The next stage was to get the Yaesu GS5500 Azimuth/Elevation rotator set up. I wanted to check it and get it ready to be at hand for when I am at the construction/assembly stage.

Now, the not so fun part! Yes this was the part when the hard work started.

I began runing 2 control cables and 2 coaxial feeders from out in the garden to back inside the shack. (located at the opposite side of the house = Sods Law!).
I ended up spending a few hours doing the job of running the cables making sure that all cables were as neatly installed as possible. Finally I reached the back of my Yaesu FT-847 and GS5500 Azi/Ele Control unit, there I tinned/soldered the wires and connected them up ready for the outdoor work.

I finished yesterdays antenna antics off by identifing which coaxial feeder was which, I did this simply by using a electronic test multi meter held across the SO plug connector at the shack end of the coax . At the other end I attached an old antenna socket shorted out with a croc link lead to the end of one feeder that I had suspected to be for 145MHz.

All I need now is some more spare time and a pair of good ladders so I can fit the Satellite antennas up on the house with some nice heavy brackets that I made a while ago.
posted by Simon Davison @ 8:48 am   1 comments
Saturday, February 19, 2011
Home Made Radials & Connecting Bracket
Despite another weekend of poor WX, I was determined to get started with the radial installation that I have been working on for use with my Hustler 6BTV antenna.

I decided to start with radials cut for 20M and wanted each radial to be 1/2 wave lengths.

I set about the second stage of the task by measuring four lengths of 2mm diameter wire and cutting them all the same. The four wire radial lengths were all cut at 34ft. I soldered small lugs on each end of the four wire radials, which I screwed to the brass stakes and brass mounting bracket (as seen in the previous post). To do this I used stainless steel self tapping screws.

The image below shows the mounting bracket installed. It is located directly beneath the Hustler 6BTV feed point.

The radial bracket is clamped around the ground stake as well as having a seperate short connecting wire fed directly from the antenna to the brass radial bracket.

I will be adding more radials for 40m and other bands next time I get a couple of hours spare. Until then, I am happy with the first four radials cut for 20m.
They seem to be doing a good job so far during a quick test just now, I am getting through to plenty of stations all over EU and USA without to much trouble on 50W.

I'm looking forward to more messing about with my antennas and plenty more posting on here. Thanks for the visit. 73
posted by Simon Davison @ 7:03 pm   2 comments
Friday, February 11, 2011
Home Brew Radial Grounding stakes

Since I installed the Hustler 6BTV at my new QTH I have been planning on making some radials similar to the ones I have attached to my other 6BTV which is up at the Moor top QTH. The original hustler has done me proud for over six years with its ground mount and simple wire radials.

I really like the performance of these antennas as well as there durability, that's why I had to go for a second one!

I got hold of some brass sheet which I cut into strips about 40mm wide. I then cut one end of each strip into a sharp V shape. The next job was to fold the opposite end over and tap it flush to provide extra strength when hammering the stake into the ground. I then folded the complete strip into the final V shaped angle approximately 45ยบ creating a nice brass ground stake. The finishing touch was to drill a small hole to attach a soldered lug/wire radial which can be hammered beneath the ground surface in the garden.

The second part of the job involved cutting some more brass sheet which I formed into a circular shape to be fixed at the base beneath the hustler. I drilled lots of holes in the brass grounding plate allowing me to screw many radials into it. I also formed some 8mm round bar into a U clamp which I fit to the Brass grounding plate ready to attach to the 6BTV antenna.

WX permitting I plan to have a play with my new radial kit sometime over the weekend, I have a roll of 2.5mm wire, a hammer and tape measure ready on stand by. I will try get some pictures for you to see the result. Till next time 73 have a good weekend.
posted by Simon Davison @ 8:12 pm   3 comments
Thursday, February 10, 2011
SOTA S5/KA-018 QSO with S56CW/P
Earlier this week whilst out and about in my mobile I was lucky enough to hear one of my radio pals coming through 5/9 + on 14.216MHz.

I gave a call back to Marko - S56CW, who was working portable from SOTA S5/KA-018 (a summit located on top of a Slovenian Mountain).

Marko was running bare foot 5W QRP, using his Yaesu FT-817 which can be seen working superbly in the video below that Marko made from the Mountain top.
I have had the pleasure of working Marko from many locations whilst he has been out and about /P, from my mobile Yaesu FT-100 & Maldol HFC20 antenna. This particular summit was putting out a very nice signal from His SOTA station.

Until the next time, thanks goes to S56CW - Marko for the video and pictures. Hope that you guys enjoyed the video.
posted by Simon Davison @ 10:50 pm   2 comments
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