I bought an inexpensive GPS antenna on eBay, the requirement was for one that operated from 3-5V to suit both of my GPSDOs. The antenna is mounted in an electrical junction box on conduit above the roof for reliable coverage.
The question was whether the active antenna with 5m of RG174 coax and SMA male connector at A$6 posted was any good.
To map its behaviour, it was attached to a Trimble Thunderbolt GPSDO and Lady Heather used to plot rx signal level over about 30h.
Above is the plot. The pattern is not quite symmetric as there are obstructions in play, in fact some of the dips in performance are explained by specific trees and the roof profile. There is a gap to the south at low elevations, GPS satellites don’t fly there (MEO inclined 55° from the equator) .
Overall, it reaches similar strength at the zenith as other antennas tried.
Overall evaluation, it seems to work ok though the coax is a bit rough.
Messi & Paoloni Ultraflex 7 coax cable compared M&P UF7 with RG-213. This article does a similar comparison between M&P Ultraflex 10 and LMR400UF.
Both cables are of similar size, ~10mm overall, stranded centre conductor and foil+braid outer conductor. The shield stranding is different and the foil is copper in the UF10, aluminium in the LMR400UF.
Let’s take the loss factors calculated for TLLC and de-construct the conductor and dielectric loss for each line type.
Above is a comparison of the cables. Continue reading Messi & Paoloni Ultraflex 10 coax cable
A recent long running thread on QRZ entitled “True balanced auto-tuner” was sure to tease out some pretty woolly thinking… the word “true” was enough to signal the outcome.
There are only three words in the title, we can dismiss “true” as a harbinger of woolly thinking, and though people will argue the toss on the appropriateness of the term “auto-tuner’, most people share an understanding of the meaning. “Balanced” is another problem altogether.
After thirty odd posts, there has been no definition or discussion of the term balanced, or its advantages or disadvantages.
One of the recommendations by several posters is the old is new again solution, the once popular link coupled tuner and the work of W5ZQ featured in one of those recommendations.
W5ZQ and WW8J
W5ZQ describes a tuner inspired by WW8J. W5ZQ extended the design and provides a writeup on optimising balance.
Above is W5ZQ’s partial circuit. In the article he describes and shows:
- adjustment of the grounding point of the output tank; and
- current meters which presumably attach to J2 and J3.
Key to analysis of the topology is that the centre of the output inductor is grounded. This results in the circuit tending towards equal but opposite phase voltages on the output terminals. Continue reading True balanced tuner
I mentioned elsewhere that I dowloaded the WSPR archive for 1/08/2017, and particularly analysed 40m spots.
There were close to 1,000,000 spots for the day, about 340,000 on 40m, and about 20,000 individual transmissions reported during the day (40m).
Tx / Rx mix
Above is a pie chart of the mix of Tx Only, Rx ONLY and Tx/Rx stations. The largest group is Tx Only, 44% of stations do not contribute reception records. Nextly, 30% are Rx Only, and 27% Tx and Rx. Continue reading WSPR – data mining 40m 01/08/2017
On the back of A WSPR experiment for station evaluation I thought I would try a similar experiment on 30m in the quest for some meaningful results.
Given the lack of activity from credible stations on 40m, it seemed worth a checkout on 30m befor committing to the trial run, large download and data analysis.
So, I ran WSPR for a half hour just before 0000Z and observed the activity on WSPRnet map. I should note that my tx power was 0.1W and rx performance was impaired as there was a 20dB attenuator in line to achieve the tx power.
Above, the map after of the half hour of activity.
The encouraging this was that there were 12 stations active. Continue reading WSPR checkout on 30m
An experiment was conducted on 40m using WSPR to compare my own station transmit performance with others relatively close by.
The experiment was conducted around sunset on 01/08/2017, data was collected for the period 0600Z to 0900Z, sunset was at 07:17Z.
The experiment was unannounced as previous experience has been that if the WSPR community becomes aware of activity that does not accord with individual’s opinion of acceptable, the activity can be disrupted.
Data for analysis was fetched by downloading the archive which contained nearly 1,000,000 records for the day, and about 340,000 of those were 40m spots.
Factors shaping experiment design
The following is a discussion of various factors that weighed into experiment design.
Transmitters tend to cluster around the centre of the 200Hz WSPR band.
Above is a frequency distribution of tx frequency, and it is evident that the risk of interference is reduced by choosing a frequency near the upper or lower limit of the band segment. There was some activity just outside the designated band segment which might indicate care and competence of operators.
One wonders if randomising the tx frequency might not reduce collisions and improve decode rates. Continue reading A WSPR experiment for station evaluation
I was working recently on an antenna and a visitor was intrigued by a device I was using.
Above, the device is for tensioning a wire span, commonly called a come-along though that term gets applied to all manner for appliances for broadly similar purpose. A significant difference is that this was designed for smooth hard drawn copper wires, and has smooth flat jaws (70x6mm) and does not put a kink in the wire (as do most wire grips for more general fencing and FSWR use). This one has had the strap replaced, it came with a 1.25″ canvas reinforced rubber transmission belt which became hard over time. Continue reading Come-along from the past
This article continues on from Implementation of G5RV inverted V using high strength aluminium MIG wire documenting impedance measurements and voltage calculations.
Impedance was measured with an AA-600 looking into 500mm of RG400 then the Guanella 1:1 balun, then 9m of fabricated transmission line as described in earlier articles in the series. The balun is located at the antenna entrance panel and the coax shield is grounded via that panel (ie the normal operating common mode current path exists).
Above is the impedance measurement plotted on a Smith chart. This is more useful and very meaningful as an interactive display in Antscope where are you move the cursor, the frequency and key data are displayed. Continue reading Implementation of G5RV inverted V using high strength aluminium MIG wire – impedance measurements
A correspondent wrote about trying to reconcile by G/T worksheet with EME Calc.
Many times I have tried to validate it and run into problems. At one time I reported them to the author, but they were never acknowledged, much less fixed.
The specific problem on this occasion relates to the receiver performance tab.
Above is a screenshot (with my annotations) where I have basically stripped the configuration down to a receiver attached to a noiseless antenna with lossless line. Continue reading EME Calc v11.11 reconciliation issues
This article continues on from Workup of G5RV inverted V using high strength aluminium MIG wire and describes the implementation.
Above is a view of the steel mast with the Inverted V G5RV rigged from the top of the 11m mast using a halyard though a purchase on a small gibbet to offset the antenna and feed line from the mast. There are lateral guys at 7m height, and the left hand one is non-conductive synthetic fibre rope. Atop the mast is a 2m/70cm vertical. Continue reading Implementation of G5RV inverted V using high strength aluminium MIG wire