Saturday, March 10, 2012

Tinkering on 15 meters today

Some time back I put together a dipole for 15 meters. It is made from elements from an old VHF television antenna. The boom from the old VHF log periodic remains and the longest elements were reused along with the next longest elements, joined together by about a meter of wire looped around reused egg insulators.

I've been testing the dipole, attached to the boom, using c-clamps on the top of the Hills rotary clothes line. That way I can rotate the dipole to get the strongest signal. However rotating it didn't seem to produce much improvement in signal. So I lowered the mast and bolted it up about eight meters above ground level and about five meters above the shed.

I was running 50 watts in both locations. On the clothes line the SWR was 1.2:1. Then on the mast the SWR was around 1.1:1. However the signal strength of incoming stations wasn't much improved.

I tried making contacts for about two hours. The band was quite noisy, S7-S9. Around 0700 UTC the band cleared up locally to S2-S4 noise. Tuning around I heard JH2UZR calling CQ. However the local noise near JH2UZR made for a difficult contact. None the less we exchanged signal reports, 4x8 for JH2UZR and he gave me a 5x9.

Afterwards there was a pileup on 3W7W, Wayne in Vietnam. I had a couple of attempts to call back but he retired for the day. I had a couple of attempts to contact other stations heard, but the noise came right up.

One of these days I am going to have to figure out why everyone seem to hand out 5x9 even when it has been a difficult contact...

Anyhow, it was exciting getting a DX contact on 15 meters this afternoon =)

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