Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Propagation planning meandering

One of the things Sandy and I did last weekend was pull together a pile of "spare" Buddipole parts to make a rugged version of the antenna. The VersaTee is the centerpiece of the unit with three shock-cord whips (two 5-section whips and one 7-section whip for the vertical radiator), and a pair of coils from the oldest of my Buddipole systems. I put a description of the antenna on the Yahoo Buddipole Users Group (BUG) this morning after a couple of emails were exchanged with Budd and Chris at Buddipole Antennas. Because the antenna has two shock-cord whips as elevated radials it performs much better than the "L" configuration (which has only one horizontal element). The far-field pattern should be nice and even in the azimuthal plane with a take-off angle between 20 and 30 degrees, depending on the ground beneath it. My first contact with this setup was with Wales on 20m. It was late afternoon here so Wales was in darkness. I still got a solid 59 with just 100 watts. I'll take it!
This is another candidate for the St. Kitts trip. The package weighs about 5 pounds (less mast). One thought is to configure a 17m version and put it on top of the painters pole mast I'm using for the Mosley beam. I'd run the two horizontal elements in parallel with the boom of the Mosley. I might need to try this before I leave. The California QSO Party is this weekend. Perhaps I will assemble the Mosley one more time after all!

HamMac got more tender loving care last night. I put the DXpedition web site source code on it, updated iLife and iWork, and installed DXLab suite. We were lucky to have the author of this software speak to our local club recently and I was convinced that I should have some of these resources available to me for my next trip. It seems like very good stuff!
I typically use MacLoggerDX as my logging program for DXpedition and contest logging. I probably will again for this trip, but I wanted to have the option of using N1MM if the mood struck me. This logging program is a favorite of the Yankee Clipper Contest Club and is becoming a favorite of contesters in general. The comfort factor with MLDX is high with me. It has never let me down. We'll see.

The next big thing that needs to be done (and I've not started) is propagation planning. Now that I have an antenna that is directional, I'll need to figure out where (and when) to point it. The ARRL Antenna Book comes with a bunch of propagation prediction tables, there are many software offerings that do predictions, and there is a wealth of information for this on the web and elsewhere. It needs to be done. I don't want to be in the contest on Friday night wondering if I should be changing bands or turning the antenna. I should have that figured out well before I leave!

Finally, a note about traffic to this site. I'll never have the following guys like KE9V enjoy with his Long Delayed Echoes, nor should I. Jeff is promising new podcasts and I suspect the wires will be warmed by the number of downloads that generates. I know I'm excited to hear them!
This forum is reasonable for dropping some hints about the things I'm thinking about day-to-day, but deeper planning discussions or deeper analysis is best done through another mechanism.
All that said, the readers are spread out all over the planet. (I think this map shows the last 25 readers when the snapshot was taken.) I would just like to say to everybody, Thank you for reading! And thank you for all the supportive comments received both here on the blog and privately. They are appreciated.


Click on the image above for a larger view of the map.

2 Comments:

Blogger David said...

Hey, Thank you for writing!

Regarding propagation, I used Hamcap to produce this page. There are, of course, many other choices, but I liked the options that it gave and the ability to post the propagation for my ZF2DK web page.

Just out of curiosity, what did you use to generate that map? I've got a couple of different things that monitor my blog, including Google Analytics and the stats that come out of Feedburner, but I don't recall seeing a map like that anywhere.

September 26, 2007 8:57 PM  
Blogger NE1RD's Blog said...

Hamcap looks pretty cool. Thanks for the pointer!

The map came from StatCounter,
a statistics service (free) that I use with the blog.

September 26, 2007 9:32 PM  

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