Showing posts from July, 2009

Blast from the Past…

  Blast from the Past… Filed in Station on Jul.27, 2009 I picked up a couple of DVDs with almost all of the back issues of 73 magazine. As I was browsing through the good old days , I came across the issue that gave me my 15 seconds of fame… That entry was from the October, 1985 issue of 73 Magazine.  I had been randomly selected to receive an award for representing all of their subscribers for their Silver Anniversary edition. The prize was a very nice Astatic Silver Eagle D-104 microphone.  While I appreciated the sudden change of luck (I normally do not have much luck, that’s why I don’t gamble…) I did not keep the gift.  As I recall, I had it hooked up to my Kenwood TS-430 for a while, but decided that it did not have the sound that I liked.  It also required a 9 volt battery to be replaced regularly.  I sold it later that year at one of the local Hamfest auctions. D-104 Silver Eagle Anyway, it was fun to run across that, and share it here…

Field Day 2009

  Field Day 2009 Filed in Contests on Jul.02, 2009 On the eve of Field Day, after assembling the antenna, we put together the rest of the station. For this trip, we just ran the ladder line through the window, straight to the balanced antenna tuner. The TS-480 was wired to the power supply and the antenna tuner. Speakers, microphone and logging program were made ready… Getting the radio ready We tested the antenna tuner, which was able to tune all HF bands except 160 meters with this antenna configured as a dipole. We are guessing that we could run the antenna as a flat top vertical against a counterpoise or ground on 160 meters, but we didn’t try it on this trip. The Tuner settings for our antenna were as follows: Settings for the Ranch Doublet Finally, Saturday arrived and we were ready to try it out… We operated with my Call (wb0smx), which gave us full Extra Class privileges. Randy started out on 20 meters… Randy waiting for field day to start John worked quite a

Field Day Preps… HF Doublet Construction Con’t

  Field Day Preps… HF Doublet Construction Con’t Filed in Antennas on Jul.02, 2009 We attached the center antenna support to the top of the center mast, using one of the eye bolts, but putting the eye on the opposite side of the mast, really just using it as a normal bolt. Then we secured the wires to keep them from tangling, and raised the mast… Center Insulator Support Installed on Mast    With the mast raised, the antenna looked kind of like one of those PBS creatures on the childrens programming! Creature from Juniper Valley Ranch We stretched the wires tight between the three masts, and it was good… Doublet installed and ready for use. Nighttime was approaching, and we got done just in time… Sunset on the antenna So it was off to the LittleHouse to put together the rest of the station (next post).

Field Day Preps… HF Doublet Construction

  Field Day Preps… HF Doublet Construction Filed in Antennas on Jul.02, 2009 Once the two end masts were in place, we moved inside to construct the doublet antenna. The basic design comes very close to the design at It is basically an 80-meter dipole fed by a length of 450 ohm ladder line into a balanced antenna tuner. 80 meter doublet antenna design It was quite an adventure gathering the parts for this antenna project. I first looked at the website for Ham Radio Outlet (HRO), which has a local store in Phoenix. I was getting short on time, so needed to get something together quick before field day arrived. The HRO Website showed a Van Gordon All band doublet for sale at $44.95, which was a great deal. They showed that it was in stock, but didn't indicate at which store. In addition, I was looking for a balanced antenna tuner to go with it, the MFJ-974H model from MFJ Enterprises . This also showed in stock on the day before I visited the local store.

Field Day Preps… Antenna Masts

  Field Day Preps… Antenna Masts Filed in Antennas on Jul.02, 2009 My good friend from Omaha, John (wb0who) arrived on Friday, June 26th to participate in Field Day and get a tour of the Ranch. The first order of business was to finish getting the guy lines attached to the towers, and get the towers in the air. We attached 4"³ or 5" eyelets (depending on which way we were going through the 2x4s) at the top of the masts to support the ends and center of the dipole. Then we attached similar eyelets about 5 feet below the top of the masts for guy wire supports. These were placed so that the guy wires would pull in the general opposite direction from the antenna wires. Attaching the guy wire eye bolts As we were raising the first mast, a thunderstorm blew in, and it started raining pretty hard. We took shelter under the shade tarp for awhile, then eventually moved to the LittleHouse to gain a little safety from lightning. Rain coming down About an hour later, we