Trane HVAC Low Band RX Interference

•April 22, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Listening to 1700 khz – which is Oakland International’s TIS station – and with my Bobtail Curtain antenna, and there is very little noise – even though the feed is about 10′ away from the house and more than 15′ away from my Trane HVAC. The Signal above noise is about 25 dB. This when the HVAC is off.

The EWE – which goes over the roof, and where the feed is only feet away from the Trane HVAC is not as good as the Bobtail when the HVAC is off. The signal is about 20 dB above the noise. So – even when the HVAC is off (and the EWE is “useable”) it has 5 – 10 dB more noise than the Bobtail. The Bobtail is much easier on the ears because of this. The 40M phase array is not as good as the Bobtail as a RX antenna at this frequency. This is a little different than what I have experienced on 160M in CW mode – the 40M phased array is the quietest of all three.

Now – when the HVAC is on – only the EWE is seriously affected, and its really bad:

There is no way to hear anything through this – and you can even see a sine wave!

Moral to this story? Getting your RX antenna as far away from ANY man made thing is the most important thing you can do for Low Band receiving!

And I need to take that EWE down – because it will never be a good antenna as long as its so close to my house and all of the noise making garbage in it.



VK0EK at Visalia 2017

•April 22, 2017 • Comments Off on VK0EK at Visalia 2017

Bob, KK6EK will give the Sunday Keynote with his presentation, “The Future of DXpeditioning and DXing”, a must see. Radio Team Leader Dave, K3EL will also be there, so please look for Dave.

Reflections on Visalia

•April 21, 2017 • Comments Off on Reflections on Visalia

I won’t be going to Visalia this year – last year was a banner year for me at Visalia and I simply couldn’t get excited about it this year. Here is my keynote from last year – where Bob, KK6EK called in via sat phone during the presentation:

I have to admit, by the time Visalia 2016 happened I was very tired and burned out about DXpeditions – it was a solid 3 years of work as Co-organizer of VK0EK. What was most fun was hanging with my Diablo DXer buddies and drinking beer.

My neighbor and world class DXer and DXpeditioner / Contester, Oliver, W6NV said he remembered fondly when Visalia was held in Fresno and it was more like a bunch of guys drinking and talking DX – that is wasn’t as formal as it it now. I guess the Diablo DXers shared that spirit last year as we went on a pub crawl as soon as my keynote was over, and man, it was a blast.

This year I’ll take a break – who knows maybe next year.


The Summer of BCB MW and LW DXing Love

•April 21, 2017 • Comments Off on The Summer of BCB MW and LW DXing Love

Pretty soon I will be working on trying to hear AM broadcast stations across the Pacific and in Asia. The combination of the Palstar R30A, Palstar MW550P and the Wellbrook ALA1530LNP should make it so. And I will also be able to listen to the new ham band and other interesting things below the AM Broadcast Band! Ham only rigs are desensitized below 160M, so I wanted something like the old Lowe HF-150, and having owned a Palstar R30CC before, I decided to revisit their fine receiver. Rumor has it – its similar to the old fantastic Lowe receivers circuit wise. I remember the audio being especially good on the R30CC, and the analog meter is very nice as well. I have liked all of my Palstar, Elecraft, Array Solutions and DX Engineering gear. This is one market where “Buy American” makes a lot of sense (because the quality is very good) – but I digress . . .

I’ve always been much more of an SWL than a ham who transmits much. My log since 1973 only has 4622 QSO’s in it!

But my radio is on every day and I listen to others having QSO’s, and now – after watching several videos made by West Coasters listening to Japanese AM radio stations using the same setup that I have – I am ready to switch gears even more towards being an SWL.

Last summer was the “Summer of Low(e) band Receive Antenna Love” and so this year will continue my low band obsession.

This how I will ward off the “DX Doldrums”, and I think we are a lot closer to the bottom of the cycle than we think. That “knee” that predicts seems a bit optimistic. I think 3Y0Z will just barely squeeze out the last juice in this cycle.

So – the lower you can go, the happier you will be as a DXer. I am sure of this, and very much welcome the bottom of the cycle – this is going to be big fun.

Antenna Work This Weekend

•April 20, 2017 • Comments Off on Antenna Work This Weekend

Photo by Wellbrook / Andy Ikin

I might get surprised and this will arrive by Saturday, but if not, I will get ready for it and set up this:

This way I can do a test between the rooftop KY6R Optimized EWE, the 40M phased array and the “plain jane” magnetic loop. The data will be then useful to know just where the Wellbrook loop fits into the scheme of things. This location is at least 20′ away from any house or powerline – which is about how far away my DXE DV-40-P 40M phased array is from any man made thing. Yes – on a small triangular shaped lot – that’s as good as it gets, and I am now sure that this is the most important aspect of a 160M RX antenna – being in clear space.

I have all the wire, the rotator and even the loop antenna. I am counting on the Wellbrook to beat these antennas, and this Wellbrook will be dedicated to my RX port as a second RX antenna. I will be very surprised if it beats the 40M phased array, but if its even close – then I will accomplish my goal – which is a noise free diversity RX setup on Top Band.

I’ll probably feed it from a side instead of the top – not sure.

“Big Bottoms” and VK0IR, VK0EK and 3Y0Z

•April 19, 2017 • Comments Off on “Big Bottoms” and VK0IR, VK0EK and 3Y0Z

Its very interesting to see the solar conditions between these three DXpeditions, because they are very similar. VK0IR happened in 1997 and it was pretty much the bottom of Cycle 22. HOWEVER, that bottom was not nearly as bad as the bottom of Cycle 23. In fact, the average bottom of that cycle did not actually hit or stay at Zero as Cycle 23 did. I guess you could say Cycle 23 had a “Big Bottom”:

That “knee” showing Cycle 24 to level off this year still intrigues me. This shows up on the Spaceweather prediction web site, but not the NOAA site. The NOAA site would have you believe that we will be at the bottom in one year from now, the Spaceweather site maybe 2019.

3Y0Z reports that they are still short – so consider donating to their cause.

Sleep Patterns and Top Band

•April 18, 2017 • Comments Off on Sleep Patterns and Top Band

Back when I was chasing DXCC Honor Roll, and even a little bit when I first started chasing 160M DXCC, I would have so much “nervous energy” that I would adjust my sleep schedule around the DX. I don’t think I ever actually set an alarm to wake me up – but would either go to bed really late – but more likely – would wake up at 3 AM after maybe 6 hours sleep at most.

For whatever reason, I’ve been getting 7 – 9 hours of sleep and have enjoyed how great I feel each day. This means I missed the T88 that was on this morning. I’m not even bummed because maybe in the next day or two I’ll be up at the time they come on the air, but I literally won’t lose any sleep over it – even though my biggest “burn” DX wise these days is 160M DXCC, and I’m only 14 away.

I guess I really am in a new era – where I value sleep over DX!