Saturday, September 29, 2007


I have added "How to: Build a MFJ Cub Transceiver" to my home page "Hints and Kinks" section. You can get to my home page here:
I assembled and aligned this radio in one day. Well, I did all that, took the pictures, and did the web pages in one day! So, if all you're doing is assembling the radio, it should take only a few hours.
I set up the soldering iron late this morning and turned on the computer. Before I sat at the bench I cranked up a whole list of Soldersmoke podcasts. I had been so busy lately that I had fallen behind. I'm still not caught-up, but I got through eight of them today. They made an excellent backdrop to my own bench work.
I picked one of the worst days of the year to test the radio, though. The 40m band is filled to the brim with RTTY contesters. This does not make a very good environment for checking out the sensitivity of a new receiver!
I did not mention these items in the web pages but I'll add them here. Elecraft make some Mini-Module Kits that are very helpful for breathing life into a new radio:

None of this helped me in my planning or packing for the St. Kitts trip. But, I love to build things and it had been a very long time since I'd built a significant kit. Melting solder is good! Tomorrow I'm back to St. Kitts planning. But tonight I'm going to play with the new rig...

Friday, September 28, 2007

Melting solder

The ARRL has a new fall lineup of publications. I purchased the new Antenna book at Dayton and have ordered the new Handbook from the web site along with some other items. The first of it arrived today including the new version of Low Power Communications by Rich Arland (W3OSS, formerly K7SZ). [I tried to put a link in for the book but the ARRL site is tangled up at the moment.] The ARRL had a special bundling the book with a 40m QRP-Cub Transceiver Kit from MFJ. Though Sandy would likely insist otherwise, Scott needs a new toy! I will assemble the radio tomorrow. I have been missing the smell of melting solder.
I had lunch with my friend Rich (AB1HD). He had borrowed my FT-817 and some accessories to give them a workout with his digital gear. The last of the pile was returned today including the PAR End-Fedz 20/40m end-fed half-wave (EFHW) QRP antenna. I believe this particular model is discontinued and replaced with a 10/20/40m version. Both are rated at 25 watts continuous duty.
When I came home tonight I used my throw bag to get a line quickly up in a tree to see if the antenna is still in good tune. The 20m band looked great; the 40m band dipped far below 7 MHz. Adjusting the antenna is done by doubling back some of the wire on the end. I eyeballed the amount to change and had it resonant in the middle of the 40m band the first try.
Though this antenna is rated only for QRP or very low power work, it could still have a place on a DXpedition. If you wanted a quick way to hoist an antenna for listening for band openings, this one is a good idea. Also, you can hang this off a balcony from a high floor hotel room. It needs no counterpoise (though a small one does help) so it is ideal for those situations where you must deploy an antenna in a small area. Note that the other PAR Electronics offerings handle 100 watts or more. If the others are as nice as the one I own, I believe you'll be happy with them.

I would like to offer my humble congratulations to the 3B7C team for their efforts on St. Brandon. According to their press release this evening they put in 137,500 QSOs. Wow. They didn't use the "no sunspots" excuse; they just got it done. First class operators and good organization prevail. I have spent many hours watching DXpedition videos, reading DXpedition articles and books, and studying all that I can find from those who do this well. Obviously I'll be scouring anything coming from the Five Star DXers relating to this trip. It is one for the record books.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

ZF2LH on 17m

I sneaked1 out of work early to come home and watch the Cubs game. Though I have a very short commute, I tuned up on 17m and found ZF2LH (Larry) on 18.15750 hanging out and putting a few QSOs in the log on the HFPack calling frequency. He was on a Buddipole and had a pretty good signal though the band was closing. I wonder what configuration he was using? Anyway, keep checking these higher bands for openings. They are open much more often than you might expect.

Before I became engrossed in the game, I was able to sort about 50 cards for the outgoing QSL buro. I'll drop that box in the mail tomorrow along with some direct requests that came this week. This means I have only a small handful of NE1RD/1 cards to turn around to be completely free of QSL cards. Hooray!

[1] I had written "snuck" as in "I had snuck out of work", but the dictionary insists that "sneaked" is preferred. Who knew?

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.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

3B7C now QRT

The 3B7C online log now shows both my QSOs.

I represent just two of 135,718 QSOs in their log. Amazing!
Congratulations to the Five Star DXers Association for a job well done.

Antennas for travel: bring your brain

I announced earlier this month that I was working on a white paper Antennas for 100 Pound DXpeditions. I am still working on this, and will continue working on it through the end of this year before I can claim that I have a complete draft. I had a very early (and sketchy) version of this up in the NE1RD Download Area for a few days to solicit comments, but I've since taken it down. I will put up a new (partial) version again after my return from St. Kitts.
This exercise is really a continuation of the research that I had been doing since the beginning of this adventure, and especially a continuation of a series of blog posts that I had done a year ago called Antennas for travel. In those posts I talked about fishing poles, Force-12 Sigma-5, Buddipole, Buddistick, and Superantennas MP-1. One thing I should emphasize is this: I rarely use an antenna right out of the box without thinking about what it is doing and how I can make it better. So, for example, when I say I used the Superantenna MP-1 on Hawaii, please note that I didn't use the stubby little 4 foot whip that came with it; I used the 12 foot MFJ whip. Also, I didn't just use the stubby little 8 inch rod packaged with the antenna; I added a 22 inch Buddipole arm (or two). Check out the photo below.

What's the difference? There is a great deal of difference! If you start with a 12 foot whip and add another two feet or even four feet in Buddipole arms, you have a full-sized, or nearly full-sized antenna for 20m. Compare that to an antenna that is only a 1/2 or even 1/3 the length of a full-sized radiator you would have if you simply used the parts that came in the box. There is a great deal of difference indeed!
The most important part of any antenna system is your brain. Bring it, you might need it. {grin} Take a look a what an antenna system offers out of the box, then ask yourself, "what can be done to make it better?" For antennas that use the standard 3/8 inch by 20 threads, the most obvious thing you can do to better the performance of the antenna is to add a long (12 foot) whip, and extend the area under the loading coil with items like a Buddipole arm or Hustler fiberglass pole. Full-sized antennas are better than shortened compromises. Doing everything you can to eliminate the need for a loading coil also helps. (Capacity hats are worth a whole post by themselves!)

Experiment. Part of the charter of the Amateur Radio Service is to extend the knowledge of this science and art. Those are high-sounding words, but you can help fulfill that charter by being a little adventurous with the antennas you use while traveling. You'll likely get better performance, make more contacts, and have more fun.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Backup rig

I was up late last night (again). While Sandy was upstairs watching baseball, I was downstairs with the evening's project spread over the whole of the bed. I turned on The War by Ken Burns and began to work, first straightening out my Yaesu FT-817 kit, and then bring HamMac up to date.
The FT-817 has served as my "backup" radio for trips. Weight and space permitting, I'll include this in my St. Kitts DXpedition, too. If the Icom IC-7000 dies before the contest, I guess I'll change my category to QRP and work as much as I can with 5 watts. Of course I don't expect that to happen, but there's nothing wrong with being prepared.
In addition to the radio, I have a small power supply and the LDG Z-11 automatic antenna tuner with the W4RT one-touch-tune accessory. In fact, I have a bunch of the WR4T Electronics accessories including the FT-817 Reference book, the One BIG Punch speech compressor, a 500 Hz CW filter, and a bale.
I made a modification to the radio last year adding a small box to the rear with a PowerPole connector. The small power supply leads terminates in a PowerPole, the radio has a PowerPole connector, and the power cord for the tuner also has a PowerPole connector. I had somehow misplaced my "Y" connector for the power (so I could route juice to both the radio and tuner) so I crimped another as part of last night's exercise. Once that new power harness was in place, both the radio and tuner fired up happily.
It was then time to turn to HamMac. HamMac, as you might remember, is my laptop dedicated to radio work, especially DXpeditions and travel. I have not been deliberate in keeping the software up-to-date, nor had it been backed-up in a while. I worked towards both of those goals last night as part of this exercise. Included in the effort was installation of the new drivers for the West Mountain Radio RIGtalk USB rig control interface. MacLoggerDX recognized the radio immediately. (OOPS. MLDX was also out-of-date. A quick download and now I'm running the latest version of the logging program, too.)
The rest of the evening was spent loading software, manuals, and books on to the machine. I added the ARRL Antenna Book CD, the ARRL Handbook CD, and the ON4UN Low Band DXing CD. For fun, I also added the Chuck Adams (K7QO) Morse Code course. I'm trying, but sometimes I think my brain has become a dried and brittle thing.
I need to now review what is on the laptop and determine what else, if anything, needs to be added. I'll begin that effort tonight.

The St. Brandon log (3B7C) didn't have my 20m QSO in it when I looked this morning. Hopefully, this will appear later today. I did work them. Well, I'll put it on the card and (along with the 80m contact that does appear in the on-line log) and see if they confirm it.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Painter pole mast

Thirty days until our departure. I just realized there are only four more weekends to finish up my trip planning. I need to get focused!

Sandy and I made a trip to Home Depot yesterday. There were a number of last minute items on the list but the biggest problem to solve was that of the mast for the Mosley Mini-32-A beam. I have heavy duty aluminum mast sections that I purchased from The Mast Company but each 48 inch section weighs 2.2 pounds (1 Kg). This is great stuff. It held up a very heavy monoband yagi on Field Day. It supported the very heavy Force-12 C3SS on Deer Isle, Maine for a special event. I just need far less for the 6 pound Mini-32A.
I purchased two 8 foot painter poles. I cut the threaded head off of one pole and removed the rubber bottom from the other. They now slip together nicely. A simple bolt through the two poles allows the stacked combination to be about 15 feet in length. It looked sturdy, but would it support the weight of the antenna?
Yes. I assembled (for the last time before the trip) the Mosley this morning and popped it on top of the stacked painters poles. Once guyed, it was quite solid. I'm considering adding a third painters pole! That would give me a combined height of about 22 feet from the three poles. Each pole weighs about 2 pounds so I've cut my weight for mast material in half. I like that!

The St. Brandon team (3B7C) is wrapping up their work. I had hoped to work them on either 20m phone or CW before they packed up. I listed on 14.022 for a very long time. I could barely hear them. Then I bounced back and forth between phone and CW ends of the band vowing to make my attempt as soon as they were readable in either mode.
The Mosley was set up outside the shack's window and pointed towards St. Brandon. (MacLoggerDX has a beam pointing feature but I'd never used it before today!) Finally, an opening on phone gave me my chance. I made my call and the return from 3B7C came though cloaked in QSB. A big tip-of-the-hat to the operator on St. Brandon. He spent the extra time confirming my call sign and fighting the noise to get me in the log. Thank you. I now have them confirmed on two bands. It should appear in their online log tomorrow morning.
This was a confidence builder for the antenna, but it also was a wake-up call for me. I had been hoping all this time that conditions and solar activity would have improved significantly by now. Obviously, they have not. If anything, conditions seem worse than those we had on Montserrat! I may need to reconsider my QSO goals for the trip.

Dave Bushong has a new podcast in his 99 Hobbies series. His guest this time is Carl Luetzelschwab (K9LA) discussing propagation. His podcasts are always fun. Give it a listen!

Thursday, September 20, 2007


I worked St. Brandon (3B7C) on 80m phone last night. I'd love to work them a couple of more times before they go but I'll have to hurry. They will be QRT on 24 September according to their plan. If I wasn't so busy at work I would consider a DX-itis sick day. {grin}
The 3B7C web site has some really interesting stuff on it including a great feature that helps you plan when you should work them on a particular band. I wonder how hard that would be to add to my log processing program? Something to ponder, I guess.
This crew of top-tier operators is doing quite well considering it is at the bottom of the cycle. The Daily DX reported that the team has passed the 100,000 QSO mark. They also have a DXCC total of 187. Wow. One of my (stretch) goals is to work DXCC while on St. Kitts but I can't imagine putting that many in the log! They have been disappointed with 15m and 17m openings. That's not good news for me. I had hoped to work a bunch on 17m while on St. Kitts prior to the contest. We'll see if things improve in a month.
Speaking of which: the solar rotation cycle is about 27 days. So, we should start paying attention to solar conditions about 27 days prior to our arrival. That is near the end of this month. There are no guarantees, of course, but the part of the Sun facing us in a few days will be the part of the sun facing us during my week on St. Kitts. Let us all wish for sunspots and otherwise quiet conditions.
I'm still packing and weighing stuff. I may assemble the Mosley one more time this weekend and put it on the mast we're bringing. Maybe I can work 3B7C on SSB and CW on 20m with it. That would be a nice test!

Finally, if you have not already done so, you must visit Scot's (K9JY) web blog and catch up on his continuing series 30 Ham Radio Contest Tips. There are great ideas in here and not just for contesters. Highly recommended.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


I am experimenting with Twitter, a very lightweight way to tell the world what you're doing. This isn't a substitute for the DX packet spotting system but it might be interesting while on a DXpedition to tell folks what I'm doing (setting up antennas, on the air, changing bands, trying 6m, etc.) You can use your regular RSS feed utility to follow along by using this URL.


I will likely be using this on St. Kitts.

Presentation and award

I've had a couple of things going these last few weeks that have kept me quite busy. First, and perhaps foremost, is the effort I'm putting into my antenna analysis white paper. I had a very preliminary draft up for a few days to solicit comments. I've since taken that down since so much has changed and been added. This is a long term project. Sure, I hope to get some results that I can use immediately for my St. Kitts planning, but I know I won't have a complete draft of this until early next year. I'll decide how best to distribute it when it is closer to completion.
It was a beautiful day on Sunday and I spent some chunk of it assembling the Mosley Mini-32-A beam with the new parts. It seemed to work very well. I've got one concern, though. One of the coils on the new parts has unraveled a bit on its plastic form. I think it will be fine for the St. Kitts trip, but I've got to think about what to do about this problem over the long term.
In addition to St. Kitts preparations, working on the antenna analysis white paper, and working a VE session Saturday morning, I've also been scrambling to get the new version of my 100 Pound DXpedition presentation ready. I finished the slides, audio and video editing, and rehearsals of the talk on Monday night. I gave the presentation to the PART club last night. It was well received (at least no rotten fruit was tossed in my direction). It is a completely revamped talk, much different and improved from the those I gave in 2006. I'm scheduled to give it twice more this year to other clubs (so far).
PART club elections were held last night. I had decided not to run again for club Secretary as I thought it would be good to bring in new blood to the Board of Directors. Steve Rimsa (WA1KBE) won that slot for the next year and I'm sure he'll do well. Congratulations, Steve!
Finally, prior to my talk I was presented with "Certificate of Merit" from the PART club for my contributions over the last few years. It was completely unexpected and, in a completely uncharacteristic way, I was speechless. For those who know me well, that is not a typical state for me! Anyway, the gesture is very much appreciated. It is a good group and I've been pleased to contribute in my small way. Here I am with PART President Bo Buddinger (WA1QYM) receiving the award.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Weighing in and self-sufficiency

I've got a couple of things to report in today's entry. Things are starting to heat up for the St. Kitts trip. My packing exercise last weekend was a partial success. I have a first cut at the items to be brought with us on the trip but I'm still overweight. Since there are two of us I could bring a total of 200 pounds (100 per person) and still be within my general guidelines but I'm trying to reduce the total weight down to something considerably less. Here's where I stand right now (approximately):
  • Pelican 1610 -- 42 pounds. This now holds the IC-7000, Alinco power supply, LDG tuner, mixer and mixer power supply (for recording audio), and cabling for everything. The only thing missing for a complete station is microphone and paddles.

  • Golf case -- 60 pounds. This puts me over the 100 pound limit if I'm traveling by myself... but I'm not. {grin} In here is the 33-foot mast, Mosley beam, a three 20-foot fishing poles, pre-wired vertical antennas for 40/15 and 17m, radial wire, and a small Buddipole system. Also in here are five mast sections that weigh 2.2 pounds each (for a total of 11 pounds). There is other stuff in there as well, I'm sure. (I'm doing this from memory.) Note that coax and tools are not yet listed.

  • Miscellaneous stuff -- There is also a messy pile of stuff next to the big cases. A tool kit (10 pounds), 500 feet of coax (20 pounds), Heil headset in case with adapters (couple of pounds), antenna analyzer in small Pelican case (another couple of pounds), and a few odds-and-ends (Dacron rope, bungies, etc.).

As you can see, I'm still overweight. But, I could stick all those odds-and-ends, tools, and even coax in another bag (together all this stuff weighs much less than 50 pounds) with Sandy and I packing all our clothes and personal items into her bag. I know I could do this, but I'm hoping to do better.
One of the reasons why the weight is out-of-control is because the antenna plan is not yet complete. Do I need the mast sections? (11 pounds) Do I need all that coax? (Four pounds per hundred feet) Do I need all those tools?
The excess weight is an indication that I'm deferring decisions until I get to the island. That might be the right answer (wait-and-see), but it is more likely that I've just not thought about things enough here at home in my pre-trip planning. As more decisions are made more weight will come off the package.

I'm also scrambling a bit to get my new presentation finished for the talks I'm to give soon. I speak to the local club on Tuesday of next week. I present to the Nashua, NH club in October prior to the St. Kitts trip. I speak to another club in November. The first two talks will concentrate on the Montserrat trip; the November talk will most likely include things from the St. Kitts trip.
I bought a projector this week. It seemed like an extravagance but it takes a lot of pressure off of me. I won't be scrambling to borrow one every time I give a talk. I was on the edge of making the decision when another invitation came in the mail from the Framingham club. OK. Uncle. I picked up a Sharp XR-30X projector from Staples. I had a coupon for an online purchase, there was a $100 rebate on the unit, and overnight shipping was free. As the marketing slogan goes, "That was easy." This projector, combined with a small amplified speaker system, is all I need to do my presentations. I'm now self-sufficient.

Finally, I've been working feverishly on my study of antennas for 100 Pound DXpeditions. I've removed the very early (partial) draft from my public download area because there have been substantial additions (and some changes) since I put it up about a week ago. I've not gotten much feedback -- except that it is long -- from folks. I'm inclined to wait until I have something much closer to a finished product before showing it again at this point.
The last few nights have been spent studying the effects of ground. The type and shape of the ground beneath our antennas is always important but in these 100 Pound DXpeditions the antennas tend to be small, close to the ground, and situated above rocky or sandy dry soil. There are some things we might be able to do about this. I'm running though those experiments this week. There have already been some fascinating results!

That's plenty for today. Back to work!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


This is not ham radio related. Skip it if you like.

My home town is Acton, Massachusetts. I wasn't born here, but I've lived here longer (nearly 25 years) than I've lived anywhere else. My QSL card has a picture of Acton town center with its obelisk and white clapboard town hall in the background. Just to the left and across the street from the green is a small monument with a brick pathway. I was there this morning at 8:46 AM.
I was also there a year ago on this day, and the year before that. On this sixth anniversary of 9/11 no bells were rung and no flags were carried. I was alone, sheltered from the light rain by large tree that stands between the small monument and the street.
There were no words today. I had none and no others were there to offer theirs. So, I stood in silence waiting for that one notable minute to pass.
Words that normally flow easily from my fingers now appear only haltingly. I cannot, or perhaps will not, convey all that I am thinking or all that I am feeling right now. Six years later I believe I am still processing the events of that day. It may take a lifetime to finish.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Packing (1st round) for St. Kitts

I began the great equipment drive of 2007. Like those cattle drives of the Old West, pieces and parts are strewn over most of the living room floor with a slow and meticulous migration of all this junk towards the large cases that will eventually go to St. Kitts. I hope to have the first "draft" of the equipment packed into the Pelican 1610 and "Vault" golf case selected from all this stuff by the end of the day tomorrow. The balance will go back into storage. When I have a complete set I'll post the inventory and weight allocation here.
After a brief respite at the Blue Ginger restaurant in Wellesley celebrating a friend's 10th wedding anniversary, we returned home to this enormous mess still infesting most of the upstairs living space. Rather than deal with it, I returned to working on the antenna white paper Did I mention that the white paper is a partial draft? There is so much more to add it is dizzying. I began working on the low-band antenna section (which was left with little more than a "to do" in version 0.18). So, some of these antennas will be in the next version.
Finally, I was able to put in a full evening of work on my presentation materials last night. I've got the first of three talks to be given to local groups in just a week so I've got to get something finalized. Luckily, audio and video captured during the Montserrat trip is a lot more interesting than me talking... and I've got a bunch of that stuff. {grin}

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Where'd he go?

I have not blogged for about ten days. Miss me?
During this hiatus I have been trying to finish a draft of a white paper entitled Antennas for 100 Pound DXpeditions. You can find this in my download area. The file to download is named "Antennas-for-100.pdf" and it is approximately 26 MB in size so be patient.
I was not entirely happy with things I had done on Montserrat. Further, some of the "conventional wisdom" I received on various Buddipole configurations did not make sense to me (though I was reluctant to argue at the time). I decided not long after returning home that what was needed was a disciplined and scientific approach to this problem. What do these antennas do? How well do they perform? What configurations work? Which configurations are unsatisfactory?
I begin to answer some of these questions in this white paper. Here are some conclusions I've drawn on the Buddipole, for example:

  • No short whips -- The standard Buddipole configuration sold comes with stainless steel whips just under 6 foot long. They are too short for reasonable HF work. I will still use them for my 6 meter Yagi made from Buddipole parts, but I'll not use them again for HF. Period.

  • For 20 meters and up, no coils -- The standard Buddipole configurations specify coils and particular taps for the bands. I believe it makes more sense to remove the coils from the bag and substitute long whips (9 foot 4 inches) and two extra antenna arms. That can be used to make the antenna described below.

  • Only full-sized verticals for the Buddipole -- In the end, after looking at configuration after configuration for the Buddipole, the only one that really performs well is the full-size vertical with no coils and four radials. The 20 meter version requires four arms and a fully extended long whip, but it is great on that band.

  • At least 4 radials -- I've read lots of discussions about using just one sloping radial for the Buddipole. After extensive modeling, I am convinced this is a very bad idea. At least four radials are needed. Four elevated radials help create an antenna that performs very well. The one radial approach gives you a bizarre pattern with deep nulls.

I also analyze two other antennas: the Force-12 Sigma-5 and the TW Antennas Traveler. For their size, both antennas performed very well. The fact that they are multiband antennas (5 bands 10-12-15-17-20) fed with a single feed line means significant savings in coax weight. Instead of running five runs of small coax for five single band antennas, one could run a single length of high quality coax, reducing signal loss and still saving weight. It is important to assess whole systems of things, not just the pieces like the antenna.

I have presentations to give to local clubs beginning in about two weeks. My new slides are not done. So, I will likely disappear again for a while. Comments on the early draft of this white paper are encouraged. Let me know what you think.