Date   

Re: Si5351 audio pops and PLL Lockups

Nick Kennedy <kennnick@...>
 

Hoo boy, the joys of programming up a synthesizer for your rig!

I've been doing a lot of programming on a Si5351a with I & Q outputs recently but haven't had it actually connected to a receiver much as yet.

However, doing similar things with a Si570 I have heard that noise while tuning. It can be pretty pronounced and distracting but I'm grateful it's gone when I stop turning the knob.

In the early days of the KX3, Elecraft was fielding a lot of questions about this. The noise was referred to as "zipper noise".  Theirs was again an Si570 and the noise wasn't loud but was noticeable. I think they mainly used careful routing of certain wires to mitigate it. This may have been the I2C signals, I don't remember for sure.

Since it might come from one or more of three areas, you might try software experiments to see which makes the noise, or makes the most noise.  

First, have your encoder signals active but your MCU not sending any Si5351a control signals or LCD updates.

Next, have your MCU continuously updating the Si5351a with no encoder input and no LCD updates.

Third, have the MCU continuously updating the LCD with no encoder or data to the Si5351a happening.

As far as the chip losing PLL synch ... I'm not sure I've seen that on my Si5351a project but I used to see it some with the Si570 and I concluded it was RF interference. If my output from the chip was unterminated I'd have the problem, but if it were properly terminated, it did not occur. I think this happened mostly at VHF though.

In my current I/Q Si5351a project, I'm adding the bells and whistles to make it into a full featured VFO with things like band selection and having a keyed line input to tell it when to do the offset shift, plus RIT. 

As far as shifting between TX and RX goes ... it works fine but I realized a bit late I could have used the 3rd clock to go to the TX while the other two provide I & Q for the RX and there would be no need for switching when going from RX to TX and back.

I'm not using a library for the Si5351a control, which makes it easier to examine the code. I do have libraries for LCD and Wire (I2C).

73-

Nick, WA5BDU


On Tue, Mar 17, 2020 at 8:09 AM WB9YZU via Groups.Io <wb9yzu=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:
Hi Folks, I'm sure you folks have fielded this question before, but search results haven't been very fruitful.
My rig is a Forty-9er that I have modified to accept a VFO instead of a XTAL. I based the idea from a 2016 article in QST where the author used a I2C DDS and a parallel display.

I decided to take on the design and programming of the Arduino backbone myself and went with a Si5351a and put the display on the I2C bus via an adapter card that just piggybacks on the display. Nothing fancy. I'm using an inexpensive digital encoder to change frequencies.

The frequency is constantly being updated to the Si5351a, this is because keying requires that I change from a receive to a transmit frequency on the fly, and to avoid transmitting while the Si5351 is changing frequencies, I am keying the Forty-9er with the Arduino.

Everything seems to work pretty well, the radio does what it's supposed to do, and I have made a number of nice QSOs.
However the enjoyment is somewhat muted by this annoying popping and PLL dropout when dialing the rig.
When the PLL goes to lunch, I can't recover and I need to reset the radio. Though the symptom can appear most anywhere, it is much more prevalent around 7.055.

Steps I've taken do date:
Scoured the code and internet for clues. I am on my NthX2 attempt to write a decent code, the last attempt actually made it worse!
I verified that I am using the latest Etherkit Si5351a Library; version 2.1.4.
I tried to debounce the encoder by using an interrupt call and a debounce routine on the interrupt.; I also added .01uf caps across the encoder CLK and DT Lines to GND.

I read that the LCD is a noise source, so I installed 100uh coils on the power feed (+ & -)  to the display board. That cleaned up some audio noise.

From the number of Si5351a based QRP rigs, I assume a solution(s) has been found? What has worked for you folks?
--
, Ron WB9YZU


Si5351 audio pops and PLL Lockups

WB9YZU
 

Hi Folks, I'm sure you folks have fielded this question before, but search results haven't been very fruitful.
My rig is a Forty-9er that I have modified to accept a VFO instead of a XTAL. I based the idea from a 2016 article in QST where the author used a I2C DDS and a parallel display.

I decided to take on the design and programming of the Arduino backbone myself and went with a Si5351a and put the display on the I2C bus via an adapter card that just piggybacks on the display. Nothing fancy. I'm using an inexpensive digital encoder to change frequencies.

The frequency is constantly being updated to the Si5351a, this is because keying requires that I change from a receive to a transmit frequency on the fly, and to avoid transmitting while the Si5351 is changing frequencies, I am keying the Forty-9er with the Arduino.

Everything seems to work pretty well, the radio does what it's supposed to do, and I have made a number of nice QSOs.
However the enjoyment is somewhat muted by this annoying popping and PLL dropout when dialing the rig.
When the PLL goes to lunch, I can't recover and I need to reset the radio. Though the symptom can appear most anywhere, it is much more prevalent around 7.055.

Steps I've taken do date:
Scoured the code and internet for clues. I am on my NthX2 attempt to write a decent code, the last attempt actually made it worse!
I verified that I am using the latest Etherkit Si5351a Library; version 2.1.4.
I tried to debounce the encoder by using an interrupt call and a debounce routine on the interrupt.; I also added .01uf caps across the encoder CLK and DT Lines to GND.

I read that the LCD is a noise source, so I installed 100uh coils on the power feed (+ & -)  to the display board. That cleaned up some audio noise.

From the number of Si5351a based QRP rigs, I assume a solution(s) has been found? What has worked for you folks?
--
, Ron WB9YZU


Re: SSB-Mite Question

ohwenzelph
 

It is interesting, the hi-per-mite has 8 plastic film caps which in some circles are valued at audio frequencies over other kinds. It’s not clear to me what kind and how much of a difference it makes and when to use them. My guess is that Dave actually understands it and might shed some light.
thanks
jer


Upcoming Event: Wednesday Evening 40 and 80 meter Nets - Wed, 03/18/2020 8:00pm-9:00pm #cal-reminder

main@4SQRP.groups.io Calendar <main@...>
 

Reminder: Wednesday Evening 40 and 80 meter Nets

When: Wednesday, 18 March 2020, 8:00pm to 9:00pm, (GMT-05:00) America/Chicago

Where:40 and 80 Meters

View Event

Organizer: jomatlock@...

Description: The 40 Meter Net will be at 8:00 pm central time  on 7.122 +-. QRM
NCS is WQ5RP Operator to be determined.

Wednesday evening 80 Meter CW Net. will be at  (8:30PM Central Time Wednesday). 
The 80 meter net will be called on 3.564 MHz +/- QRM.
Net control operators are Johnny AC0BQ or Paul N0NBD.

* NEW *  Wednesday evening DMR Voice Net will be at (Thursday) 0300 UTC (9:00PM Central Time Wednesday/)
Four States QRP has a Brandmeister DMR Talk Group (TG31654). Join us to discuss QRP, ask questions, or just ragchew. The Wednesday net is a directed net  but any other time you may use the Talk Group to chat with other QRPers.
Net Control operator is Bert NØYJ.


For Sale

bobby rolph
 

Hello. I have a couple of Hilltoppers for sale. Both units are already assembled and working properly. I have one 40m and one 20m transceivers. I am asking $80 for each unit of $150 if you would like to purchase both. I will cover the shipping for the US lower 48 states. I am selling to fund a new project. Just email me privately if you are interested. 73
KB4QNR
Bobby Rolph


Re: Test build on 'Circ-Key' - found a problem to report

nm0s_qrp <ai9e_qrp@...>
 

What you discovered is a _feature_! The battery power is only connected when the cable is plugged in. That way you can power down the keyer without having to disconnect the battery.


Test build on 'Circ-Key' - found a problem to report

wa2cky
 

Not sure if there is anyone, in particular, that I should sent this to but I did find a 'bug' in the pc board.  Not critical as it was easily fixed but none-the-less should be noted.

Problem: the battery negative terminal is NOT routed to the 'ground' layer on the board. The '-9V' only goes to the Key Output jack and not to any of the other 'ground' connections (e.g. the U1-8 and U2-7).

Fix was easy - a short piece of wire from the 9V battery negative connection to the mounting hole/ground layer about a 1/4" away. 

Now back to the testing.

Bob, WA2CKY


Re: Fire In The Wire

Gwen Patton
 

From the consensus here, I think I'll make myself another full-sized W3EDP End-fed and try that next time I go operate at the park. It'll have to be when the parks are actually OPEN again, as the recent COVID-19 quarantine effort has caused them all to be closed, at least in my neck of the woods. That's literally...one of the parks in question is a humongous farm with big wooded areas here and there with trails throughout it. It's called the Norristown Farm Park, KFF-4363, and it's my favorite since it's only a mile or so from me. One of the side parking lots has a couple of handicapped spaces my van will fit into, and has a picnic table under a small shelter just 50-75 feet from the parking lot, so I can roll my little flat roller cart over there from my van and set up. There's plenty of room, a flat, grassy area, that I usually use for my wire antennas next to the table, so I set up my antenna, then set up the station under the shelter, and begin operating. The only end-fed I've used there so far is the SOTABeams end-fed with the built-in 20/30/40 tuner, and that works reasonably well. But I may just try a W3EDP this spring with my Elecraft T1 tuner and see what results I get.

I've got other experiments on the burner as well, including a dipole made of electric fence strap -- 15 parallel stainless-steel wires woven lengthwise into a 2" wide strap of poly webbing. It's used to make some fantastically wide-bandwidth single band dipoles, so I want to see if I can make a fan dipole using the stuff. There may be too much coupling between the wires, but it's worth a try. It might just need a lot of trimming to overcome the coupling. If that's the case, I may be able to make a decent multi-band fan dipole that's simpler to erect. I'd model it, but frankly, I don't yet know how to use the modeling software. I've got several programs, but they're so much Greek to me! hi hi

73
Gwen, NG3P

On Mon, Mar 16, 2020 at 2:38 PM Tim N9PUZ <tim.n9puz@...> wrote:
I am a big fan of end fed antennas for portable use as well. Even when I
am in a wooded area I usually use my 31' or 28' Jackite pole as a
support. I attach the wire to the tip, extend the mast to its full
height, and then just let it lean into a tree.

Tim N9PUZ

On 3/16/2020 10:36 AM, Nick Kennedy wrote:
> Getting back to the original poster - I like the EFHW for field
> operations because it only needs one support. I'm a total klutz when
> it comes to getting lines through trees. I also like the Jackite pole
> (31') as a support.






--

-+-+-+-+-
Jenny Everywhere's Infinite: Quark Time
http://quarktime.net


Re: Fire In The Wire

Tim N9PUZ
 

I am a big fan of end fed antennas for portable use as well. Even when I am in a wooded area I usually use my 31' or 28' Jackite pole as a support. I attach the wire to the tip, extend the mast to its full height, and then just let it lean into a tree.

Tim N9PUZ

On 3/16/2020 10:36 AM, Nick Kennedy wrote:
Getting back to the original poster - I like the EFHW for field operations because it only needs one support. I'm a total klutz when it comes to getting lines through trees. I also like the Jackite pole (31') as a support.


Re: Fire In The Wire

Jim Upson
 

Yes...I personally think it makes sense - as I stated 1000’s if hams use Type 43 for matching units....so I can’t believe it is a bad choice...just maybe not as optimal as it can be....

However.....as I want to reiterate....I am not technically skilled....but I believe KX0R is very technical (see his QRZ page)......so I wanted to share his thoughts in case others had not seen it...and to get your feedback....so THANK YOU for the response!

Once I build a Type 43 and a KX0R version I am hoping some power meter results and RBN spots will confirm the level of effectiveness differences....maybe it will be subtle....maybe significant....time will tell. :-)

Again....I am open to all solutions at this point....not sure what’s Josh is interested in trying...

THANK YOU for your comments....it does help me learn as I go...

73, Jim/ AC3B 


On Mon, Mar 16, 2020 at 12:16 PM John <ve3ips@...> wrote:
Jim

what shall we use if 43 is no good?   I learned a lot from your post and maybe i will just stick with a dipole to keep it ya'll ya'll simple simple

I also spent a lot of bench time working with type 43 and 61 transformers. Type 43 is so lossy that it’s hard to measure a resonant frequency in a tuned circuit. It’s really designed for broadband transmission line transformers and EMI suppression chokes. It’s not a good choice for conventional transformers. Many of the people posting here don’t seem to know what these terms mean. I would not use type 43 to feed the antenna in my SOTA systemThe reason some antennas use it is that its loss hides the mismatch errors in the system! It lowers SWR by adding loss  


John VE3IPS

Ham Radio is a lifestyle not a Hobby!
Take the radio outside and operate from the Field




On Mon, Mar 16, 2020 at 11:36 AM Nick Kennedy <kennnick@...> wrote:
Boy, a lot of good info in there Jim. Thanks for taking the time to put it all together.

One point I'll take a bit of an issue with is the suitability (or not) of ferrites such as type 43 for antenna matching transformers.

It's true that the Q can be as low as 1 at HF which can make one wonder how it can possibly be good for anything other than a choke at those frequencies. But it can. My explanation is that most of the losses are core losses caused by the flux in the core. But in a transformer with a high coupling coefficient, flux in the core is minimized and such losses are not excessive.

Your source suggested that with his allowance for transmission line transformers but I think it can be true for conventional transformers and autotransformers as well, although maybe not to the same extent.

Measurements should tell the tale. I did some with FT-114-43 transformers designed for EFHW matching a few years ago  and see losses on the order of 1 dB for 40 through 20. Not negligible but not prohibitive either.

The huge crowd of users of the currently popular homebrew version of the MyAntennas EFHW are using large diameter ferrite cores such as FT-240 to reduce losses as well as handle more power. They've also transitioned from type 43 to type 52 which does lower losses some more. 

Getting back to the original poster - I like the EFHW for field operations because it only needs one support. I'm a total klutz when it comes to getting lines through trees. I also like the Jackite pole (31') as a support.

73,

Nick, WA5BDU


Re: Fire In The Wire

John
 

Jim

what shall we use if 43 is no good?   I learned a lot from your post and maybe i will just stick with a dipole to keep it ya'll ya'll simple simple

I also spent a lot of bench time working with type 43 and 61 transformers. Type 43 is so lossy that it’s hard to measure a resonant frequency in a tuned circuit. It’s really designed for broadband transmission line transformers and EMI suppression chokes. It’s not a good choice for conventional transformers. Many of the people posting here don’t seem to know what these terms mean. I would not use type 43 to feed the antenna in my SOTA systemThe reason some antennas use it is that its loss hides the mismatch errors in the system! It lowers SWR by adding loss  


John VE3IPS

Ham Radio is a lifestyle not a Hobby!
Take the radio outside and operate from the Field




On Mon, Mar 16, 2020 at 11:36 AM Nick Kennedy <kennnick@...> wrote:
Boy, a lot of good info in there Jim. Thanks for taking the time to put it all together.

One point I'll take a bit of an issue with is the suitability (or not) of ferrites such as type 43 for antenna matching transformers.

It's true that the Q can be as low as 1 at HF which can make one wonder how it can possibly be good for anything other than a choke at those frequencies. But it can. My explanation is that most of the losses are core losses caused by the flux in the core. But in a transformer with a high coupling coefficient, flux in the core is minimized and such losses are not excessive.

Your source suggested that with his allowance for transmission line transformers but I think it can be true for conventional transformers and autotransformers as well, although maybe not to the same extent.

Measurements should tell the tale. I did some with FT-114-43 transformers designed for EFHW matching a few years ago  and see losses on the order of 1 dB for 40 through 20. Not negligible but not prohibitive either.

The huge crowd of users of the currently popular homebrew version of the MyAntennas EFHW are using large diameter ferrite cores such as FT-240 to reduce losses as well as handle more power. They've also transitioned from type 43 to type 52 which does lower losses some more. 

Getting back to the original poster - I like the EFHW for field operations because it only needs one support. I'm a total klutz when it comes to getting lines through trees. I also like the Jackite pole (31') as a support.

73,

Nick, WA5BDU


Re: Fire In The Wire

Nick Kennedy <kennnick@...>
 

Boy, a lot of good info in there Jim. Thanks for taking the time to put it all together.

One point I'll take a bit of an issue with is the suitability (or not) of ferrites such as type 43 for antenna matching transformers.

It's true that the Q can be as low as 1 at HF which can make one wonder how it can possibly be good for anything other than a choke at those frequencies. But it can. My explanation is that most of the losses are core losses caused by the flux in the core. But in a transformer with a high coupling coefficient, flux in the core is minimized and such losses are not excessive.

Your source suggested that with his allowance for transmission line transformers but I think it can be true for conventional transformers and autotransformers as well, although maybe not to the same extent.

Measurements should tell the tale. I did some with FT-114-43 transformers designed for EFHW matching a few years ago  and see losses on the order of 1 dB for 40 through 20. Not negligible but not prohibitive either.

The huge crowd of users of the currently popular homebrew version of the MyAntennas EFHW are using large diameter ferrite cores such as FT-240 to reduce losses as well as handle more power. They've also transitioned from type 43 to type 52 which does lower losses some more. 

Getting back to the original poster - I like the EFHW for field operations because it only needs one support. I'm a total klutz when it comes to getting lines through trees. I also like the Jackite pole (31') as a support.

73,

Nick, WA5BDU


Re: SSB-Mite Question

nm0s_qrp <ai9e_qrp@...>
 

Some of the capacitors require a high precision to accurately hold the frequency response of the filter.  These will be the film capacitors, and the smaller dipped ceramic capacitors.  For passing audio, and decoupling the DC lines, the capacitor is much less critical, so cheap disk capacitors were used.

73 Dave NM0S


Re: SSB-Mite Question

Johnny AC0BQ
 

Ge Jerry
That’s a good question for Dave.
He may see ur post here, but his email should be on the kit page.
72
Johnny AC0BQ 

On Sun, Mar 15, 2020 at 9:16 PM ohwenzelph via Groups.Io <Ohwenzelph=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:
Maybe this should be directed to David Cripe NMØS
Two of the caps are film caps, the others are mostly ceramics, including disc ceramics right in the audio path. In this setting when is it important to use film caps and why?
thanks
jerry aa1of

--
Check out the 4SQRP website at 4sqrp.com


SSB-Mite Question

ohwenzelph
 

Maybe this should be directed to David Cripe NMØS
Two of the caps are film caps, the others are mostly ceramics, including disc ceramics right in the audio path. In this setting when is it important to use film caps and why?
thanks
jerry aa1of


Re: Fire In The Wire

Jim Upson
 

Let me be clear.....I am NOT an expert.....and this LONG post may not be what anyone wants.....or may be 'old news' to everyone...or worse may not pass a 'test' by true technical experts....

With the caveats aside......My 3 part response to W0ODJ's question is:
>   Part 1...what I want to do in the <near> future
>   Part 2...what I am using today
>   Part 3...my conclusions....remember, I am not claiming to be an expert...please cut me some slack if I am off base....but also please let me know so I can learn from you and that I don't pollute with bad recommendations....

Part 1:  
I too am on a journey for an effective portable antenna solution....especially for operating portable on SOTA outings where time is in short supply (like when I do attempt to do multiple SOTA Summits in one day).  I have not proven any of these 3 solutions yet, but these are how I plan to focus my experimentation this spring/summer:

First..as backgrond in case you haven't seen this:   Sotabeams did a survey in 2014 and concluded this:   https://www.sotabeams.co.uk/blog/5-most-popular-hf-portable-antennas/  :

#1:  End Fed Half Way (18%)
#2:  Linked Dipole (16%)
#3:  Single Band Dipole (12%)
#4:  Random Length End Fed wire (12%)
#5:  Ground Plane (11%)

So......I've focused my attention towards the various End Fed solutions (Half-wave or Random)...The Half-Waves should be more 'efficient'....while the Random EF's offers greater band hopping versatility...

1)  64:1 solution with a Half Wave wire:  Answers to a very similar question that was posed on the SOTA Reflector:  https://reflector.sota.org.uk/t/kx2-3-w-tuner-owners-what-antenna-do-you-use/16758.   I thought the following from W2USA (at near the end of 67 responses posted) regarding a 64:1 solution was interesting.....see the link embedded in his response regarding N1KDO's 64:1 unun:

Sure, I have a buddy here locally (N1KDO) who has been using and liking this antenna setup with his KX3 for a while and has been encouraging me to give it a try. I finally built the unun pretty much exactly like he has on his website (link: https://www.n1kdo.com/baluns-ununs/index.html 69). It is the last thing on the page. I used a different case than he did, but it is pretty much the same otherwise. I made some small holes in the back of the case and looped a cable tie through it. Then I can velcro the cable tie to the pole, so it is not just hanging there. I dont have any pics of mine, but I will try to snap some next time I have it out.

The radiators are 0.5 wavelength and the counterpoise is 0.25 wavelength. The beauty of that is if you want to use the truly resonant wire for each band (and not have the tuner make up the difference) you can use/resuse wires as radiators and counterpoises. For example, the counterpoise for the 80m wire is the 40m radiator, the counterpoise for the 40m radiator can be used as the 20m radiator, and the 20m counterpoise can be the 10 radiator and so on. Same with 60/30/15. 17m and 12m are the only odd ducks that probably do best with their own set of wires. (I purposefully left out 6m since the KX2 doesnt have 6m :(. haha) So you can bring a whole “set” of wires out there and you will definitely have less than (# of bands)X2 sets of wires. Plus like I was saying before, the tuner can make up the difference as well. I did an activation a couple weeks ago, put the 40m set up, and did really well on both 40 and 20.

Hope that helps some.

-Steve / W2SWA

2)  49:1 solution with a Half-Wave wire:  Peanut Power QRP Multiband EFHW from G0POT... http://peanutpower.co.uk/efhw.    He briefly talks about in this youtube...starting at "1-min: 25-second" mark:    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4nuZq2pcUA

3)  KX0R ...... I consider this guy an true technical expert.....I plan to try to make his solution after the above 2 solutions are first tried as I want to first "build up" my "builder skills".  The following LINK is to a very long article (read that as "with a lot of good details")...and if you subscribe to QRP Quarterly he also recently published it there too....And, If you look over his QRZ page...I think you will the same feeling I get....that he "knows his electrons" very well from both a theoretical and, more importantly, a practical point of view:  Here is KX0R's solution:    https://reflector.sota.org.uk/t/a-versatile-tuner-for-sota-activations-by-kx0r/19748  .  His SOTA scores are impressive....hence his solution is both theoretically and practically proven (at least in my eyes)

4)  I will also try a vertical...these are the one's I am focused on....
     
>   Buddistick:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FVUrx8xL6EA   But if you go with 2 or more counterpoises...and you change bands....then they need to shortened/lengthened and that does not appeal to me on the surface....be sure to read the Buddipole in the Field, by B. Scott Andersen (NE1RD)...starting on page 106.

>  Another sort-of vertical solution is the "Mini Black Widow from WA3WSJ":    https://wa3wsj.homestead.com/UP-Outter_BW_Mini.html  this, I believe will not require re-turning the counterpoises or vertical length to change bands....

>  Finally another version is from QRP-GUYs.... https://qrpguys.com/qrpguys-tri-band-portable-vertical-antenna/nggallery/thumbnails   and following this advice regarding the counterpoise wires found within this SotaReflector posting:   https://reflector.sota.org.uk/t/interesting-new-sota-vertical-antenna/16885  (it's been awhile since I read all of it...but in general I recall 1 or 2 ELEVATED radials will improve its performance compared to the QRPGUY's solution of laying their 4 radials on the ground.

Part-2
For my current portable antenna....I have had what I think is very good success with a 20/40 EFHW (2-bands).....which I bought (not made) from LNR...but now you can buy them from Virbroplex.  This version was developed by Dale Parfitt/W4OP many years ago...and are still quite relevant and popular today...and were originally sold as Par-End-Feds., then LNR sold them, and now Virbroplex has taken over the commerical rights ( http://www.vibroplex.com/contents/en-us/p3413.html )...

I typically hang my 20/40 EFHW on a SOTABEAMS 23' mast (Tactical 7000hds) and just lean it against trees...with the wire oriented as an inverted-v and the ends 3+ feet above ground.  Goes up 'quick' and comes down 'quicker'   :-)     I can also make it a self-standing telescoping pole using this solution:   http://www.qsl.net/wb3gck/guyring.html This works amazingly well....even in some moderately windy conditions.....but I seldom need it unless out in an open field.

Just yesterday (Mar 14) I did a one-day '4-summit blitz' in the SOTA-Pittsburgh PA region (W3/PT)....and with my KX3 (with built-in tuner), 14-watts, and only using SSB....I worked England, Sweden, Germany, Spain, Canada (granted, my signal reports were typically 33 to 44 with some 55+ now and then...but then propagation isn't great either these days)...as well as all across the US (California, Texas, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Florida, NC, NY...etc.)  Here is just one of the 4 summit's log I did yesterday (if you have registered on SOTA, you can see all my contacts from yesterday....

image.png

I also have used in the past (2017 timeframe) a 17-meter Par-EFHW....and got great results across the Arizona, Colorado and west-coast.  Par EFHWs  'just plain work'....

So...1 or 2-bands EFHW works great for me...but of course it is very limiting....and I especially want to also have 60- and 80-meter bands for more close-in contacts...as you can see in my log from yesterday's SOTA outing above...I use the 20/40 on 80-meters with some success...the internal KX3 tuner tunes it to 1:1 or even 1:0.......albeit the signal reports are typically 22-44-ish due to it's shorten length I suppose....hence, I am on a quest for a more versatile solution but one that will minimize the compromises (efficiency losses) given my KX3's max low-power of 15-watts.  See Part-1 above for my "plans".

A friend, Jill N3ICE, was also out doing other summits (W3/SV area) yesterday and her solution is the Packtenna commercial 9:1 version.  With her RANDOM End-Fed APPROXIMATELY 59', and a shorter counterpoise...(I get the actual lengths later if you want them) she was able to work DX (Spain, Germany, Czech Republic, and all across the USA...with KX2 and 10-watts and all SSB......including one Summit-2-Summit with me at 15:07 UTC (signal reports 33 both ways).  

image.png

Part 3
So...what's the bottomline....at least from my neophyte perspective....

>  The 'best' (efficient) antenna is, as we all know, a resonant one...and the general wisdom I've collected on SOTA Reflector or other internet sources says a Linked-Dipole is one of the favorite SOTA antenna solutions..... similar to these commercial offerings from Sotabeams:   https://www.sotabeams.co.uk/four-band-portable-dipole-antenna-system-band-hopper-iv/ .  BUT BUT BUT.......you must get up and off your BUTT to change the links..which probably requires you to lower the telescoping pole...change the link....and re-raise the pole to change bands.....something that is less than exciting (pain in the BUTT) especially when you are in a wooded area and the wires are carefully placed among the tree branches....it's hard enough to be able to get all that wire up to begin with....let along be able to change the links from time to time....Hence, a compromise solution is a preferred approach to the otherwise resonant dipole version.  This is not for me....

> Next 'best' efficiency-based-solution seems to be EFHW's that 'perform' similar to a resonant dipole...because in reality they are (a resonant dipole....Half-Wave length......just fed at one end).  The challenge is to make them multibanded.....and this challenge has 2 options:  one can add links (BUT BUT BUT....), or add traps.  Adding traps are often thought of a 'big compromise'....but Tom W8JI has debunked that issue as not relevant (http://www.w8ji.com/traps.htm ).  Commercial versions of traps are available from Sotabeams...(10, 20 or 100-watt versions).  The limiting factor is that most people recommend to keep the number of traps in a wire to 2 traps (although I forget where I heard this...so I am not sure this is gospel)...giving you 3 bands.  For me, the first trapped EFHW I will make is for an 20, 40, 60 ......with a 49:1 or 64:1 unun near the radio end......I may later try a trap version giving me 4 bands (for 20, 30, 40, 60) when I know Morse Code.....or simply add a link at the end of 40m wire for the  4th band on a 2-trapped EFHW wire.

>>>> Quick note...this is probably not necessary...but....I refer a lot to Sotabeams....I have ZERO interest or stake of any kind with that company...I am just a very satisfied customer over the years...as I am with the 4States offerings...

>  I am surprised your 49:1 isn't working well for you....seems to me that it should be a near ideal solution (effective, fairly efficient and certainly "operator friendly") assuming your antenna is a Half-Wave long.  I'd suggest you maybe should have someone take a look at it with you to see if there is a good reason for it not working well for you.  I personally have very high-hopes for it....or it's cousin the 64:1 version....See "Peanut Power" in Part 1 above.

>  My 'ultimate' plan is the KX0R tuner solution....no traps, no links, one EF Random wire....if building one from scratch seems out of your skill...you might want to consider this excellent 4States QRP Club offering:   http://www.4sqrp.com/4stuner.php  which I THINK mimics closely to the KX0R solution (maybe others can confirm....but that is how I see it).  Here is a Youtube that shows the 4SQRP tuner........ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aTHqz4XrVnM

>  Among the EF solutions, for me the last likely solution is a 9:1 solution.....it has the widest range of versatility.....but seems to generate both glowing as well as many rather un-favorable reviews.....but Jill, N3ICE certainly has done very well with her version....Balun Designs has a good reference for lengths to use:   https://www.balundesigns.com/content/Wire%20Lengths%20for%204%20and%209-1%20ununs.pdf   or here:   http://www.hamuniverse.com/randomwireantennalengths.html

I'll throw one last link I've found beneficial me to...I had asked a question on the SOTA reflector regarding when to use Ferrite vs Type 2 or Type 6 Powdered Iron toroids....  https://reflector.sota.org.uk/t/efhw-transformer-toroid-t-6-yellow-or-t-2-red-or-ft-43/18802   skip down to response #35 from KX0R.....and later in response #39.    I found his comment on type 43 toroids particularly interesting in that, at least from a theoretical point of view, and as such, the 49:1 or 64:1 solutions SHOULD NOT be as efficient as his solution discussed above in Part-1 (3rd solution from KX0R)....YET....to me.....there are literally 1000's of hams who give high praises for the 49:1 / 64:1 type of solution typically using a Type-43 toroid....

I also spent a lot of bench time working with type 43 and 61 transformers. Type 43 is so lossy that it’s hard to measure a resonant frequency in a tuned circuit. It’s really designed for broadband transmission line transformers and EMI suppression chokes. It’s not a good choice for conventional transformers. Many of the people posting here don’t seem to know what these terms mean. I would not use type 43 to feed the antenna in my SOTA system. The reason some antennas use it is that its loss hides the mismatch errors in the system! It lowers SWR by adding loss.

I personally do NOT think KX0R is more of a theoretician than a practician...actually I think he is basically both practical (end results oriented) grounded in the theoretical....thus I've chosen to think it's valid (but with my caveats, I have no skills to prove or refute his finding)...

OK...that's given you WAY much reading.....I hope that maybe some of it is useful or possibly new news to you.....but if this is all old news...then all I can say is that I am sorry for taking up so much digital ink....like I said in the beginning...."I too am on a journey...."

I would really like to know where you end up....sharing ideas makes this hobby the best in the world (for me anyway)....

To those with strong technical skills....I would HIGHLY value your response if what I am saying is wrong technically...other otherwise bad advice....I want to be correct....yet I know my serious limitations regarding technical topics....

Humbly,
 72/73, Jim AC3B





Re: Fire In The Wire

Austin Seraphin, KA3TTT
 

I have an AXE1 and a Buddistick, but got them as we entered the cooler part of the year, so haven't had much time to test them. The Buddistick can take a little work to tune, but once you set it up it will send out a reliable signal. Just remember to straighten out the coax. The AXE1 works well for quick operation, but I find it didn't tune quite as reliably. If you give the auto tune button on the KX3 a second tap it might do a better job. I'll test more as it gets nicer. I also think I will refit an Alpha Loop with a knob so I can tune it without power. A magnetic loop on the roof deck sounds fun.


On 3/14/20 6:43 PM, Gwen Patton wrote:
It's interesting that you mention W3EDP antennas, Joshua. I have one as my main wire on my home station right now. I love the design, and it seems to work really well for me. I haven't used one portable, though. Should work about the same, I would think. I ran a half-sized one a couple of years ago, as an expedient over the winter when my OCFD came down in a storm, and it worked, just not nearly as well as I'd like. I also have a quarter-size one I used indoors as a test antenna on my bench. Again, it worked, but not super well because of the size and location.

I have the Elecraft AX/AXE portable antenna, but I haven't really had a chance to test it out yet. Maybe this week, if the weather is nice, I'll take it out in the backyard and give it a try. I also have a nifty antenna I bought from a guy on Etsy. He calls it a "SlinkTenna". It's the old standard Slinky antenna, except he uses the junior sized Slinkies, and builds the whole thing in a very well thought out PVC enclosure. It's at https://www.etsy.com/listing/671341314/slinktenna-80m-6m-helical-dipole-hf-ham -- I recommend the optional support kit.

Ok, I'll be quiet now. ;)

73,
Gwen, NG3P

On Sat, Mar 14, 2020 at 3:32 PM Joshua Wood <WoodJRx@...> wrote:
Spring is right around the corner, so i'm looking at my current portable antenna options.  Does anyone have any advice on easily deployable portable antennas?  I've had minimal luck with my homebrew EFHWs using a 49:1, and my 9:1 not-so-random wires usually seem deaf.  The NorCal Doublet I made works okay, but is finicky to deploy, and fragile (ribbon cable isn't meant for 40ft runs, apparently).  I made two KE4PT End-Fed OCFD, and loved their form factor - but not their results.  My PAC-12 has had some decent results, but is finicky to tune.  My homemade Mag Loop (using the chameleon kit) has nice sharp tuning and good receive, but i've struggled making contacts with it.  I've had mixed results with a number of QRPGuys kits, as well.

I know it seems like a silly question, but- does anyone have any advice for a portable (i.e. small packed size) multi-band HF antenna (40-30-20-15)?  A club member has loaned me one of their W3EDP, but weather and family obligations haven't been conducive to testing it yet.  I figured now is the time to build new antennas to test this spring / summer!

~Josh
W0ODJ


--

-+-+-+-+-
Jenny Everywhere's Infinite: Quark Time
http://quarktime.net
-- 
73, Austin, KA3TTT
https://ka3ttt.net


Re: Learning CW. (Was: The Friendly Group)

Tim N9PUZ
 

On 3/15/2020 8:50 AM, Dr Jim Kennedy via Groups.Io wrote:
Can you please provide the link for the courses in your post?
--
*72/73, Doc - K2PHD
OOTC#4697 - SKCC#5669 - NAQCC#9194 - FISTS#18988
OEM/RACES/ARES/CERT/SKYWARN
K2PHD@...
FN20qv*


Re: The Friendly Group

Michael N6MST
 

On Sat, Mar 14, 2020 at 11:07 AM, Jeff Collins wrote:
My Internet connection will not support that class right now. I can barely watch a YT Video.
Hi Jeff,
My father-in-law is about to start his first CW Academy and has ZERO code experience. I have taken two of the CWA classes and highly recommend them but I get your internet connection won't work for the actual class sessions. I suggested to my FIL he do a "pre-study" of the material provided for CWA students. Honestly, if you can do self-study you can learn code using just the homework from the CWA. You won't get the procedural stuff that gets discussed in class but you can definitely learn code doing this. Below is the email I sent to him last week describing how to do this, he really is new to radio and not the best with computers so I kinda spelled everything out for him in detail. Good luck!

Here's what you do! First CLICK THIS LINK and read the first five pages. This document is all the formal homework you will have for the entire eight weeks. If you follow the instructions and work on these session assignments for 30 minutes every day you will be picking up Morse code with no problems. Each week you will go through two sessions when you are in the actual class so I would shoot for a similar schedule while you are doing your pre-studying, but if you have to do only one session per week that is fine too.
 
For your homework you will use the Morse Trainer website for the "Copying segments" practice and you will use your paddle and radio (with BK-IN turned OFF like we set up yesterday) to practice the "Sending segments" that are found in the homework document for whichever session you are on.
 
On the Morse Trainer website you will see your Sound Controls on the right hand side. When I did my first class I had them set as: Pitch: 600, Speed: 20, Farnsworth speed: 12 and you can change these however you like. I suggest you modify the Pitch frequency to something that is pleasing to your ear but leave the other two at 20 and 12. Farnsworth speed is the speed between letters and words, so you can listen to letters sent at 20 words per minute but the spaces in between letters is longer so it is easier to hear the individual letters and your brain can learn fast letters easier. Once your Sound Controls are set you can add your information into the "Personalisation" box toward the top of the page. The website automatically works your personal details into some of the practice toward the end of the class, that's what the Personalisation area is for. Once your info and controls are set it is time to practice! Scroll down and select the session you wish to work on. Obviously the first time you do this you will work on session 1. Below that you will hopefully see the "Copying" tab selected. Make sure the volume on your computer is up and hit the "Play" button. The first time I would do this WITHOUT headphones so you don't accidentally blow your eardrums out! Switch to headphones once you verify the audio level is acceptable. Use the Play, Pause, Stop controls as well as the Previous or Next controls to navigate through the session and practice at least two 15 minute practices every day!
 
If you do the homework as outlined and you make the effort every day you WILL learn Morse code and during your class sessions you WILL learn how to operate your radio on the air using the CW mode. Working CW on the air is much more than just knowing Morse code and that is one of the main jobs of your instructor, to work with you to teach you the procedures and common practices that are used in ham radio. You will do copying and sending practice in class but you will spend  time discussing the procedural stuff too. You'll also spend a bit of time getting to know your other classmates and I suggest you take advantage of that opportunity and really make an effort to be social and participate in the class. I have learned a LOT from classmates as well as other hams on the air. Damn near everyone in ham radio is extremely helpful and there is a ton of knowledge floating around.


Re: Learning CW. (Was: The Friendly Group)

Dr Jim Kennedy
 

Can you please provide the link for the courses in your post?
--
*72/73, Doc - K2PHD
OOTC#4697 - SKCC#5669 - NAQCC#9194 - FISTS#18988
OEM/RACES/ARES/CERT/SKYWARN
K2PHD@...
FN20qv*

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