Category Archives: N0BCB

HAM radio call sign, N0BCB, previously KD0PVZ.

New VHF/UHF antenna

I finally got around to adding an antenna for the 2m and 70cm bands at my house.  I chose the Tram 1480 since it got great reviews and was half the price of comparable amateur base antennas.  The antenna is fed with about 40′ of LMR-400 and is mounted to a short satellite TV mount about 30′ above ground level.  So far this setup seems to work great, but I don’t spend much time on these bands so time will tell. I did use self-sealing antenna tape on the mid-section joint, based on reviews about water getting into the antenna.

 

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W0C/SR-059 Mt Democrat and W0C/FR-001 Mt Lincoln

Continuing on with my recent desire to add more points to my SOTA total, I decided to drive to the Kite Lake TH last night and camp for an early am start up Mt. Lincoln and Mt. Democrat.  Mark, Christian and I hit the trail head at 6am to beautiful weather.  It had rained some around 4am but was clear when we left camp.

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When we got close to the summit of Democrat, dark clouds were already building.  The weather forecast had been clear until 2pm.  So much for weather forecasts!  We pushed on to the summit and the clouds moved off to the West/North.


I worked a few guys right away from Democrat, then packed it up with hopes of making Lincoln before bad weather hit.  I had forgotten (thin air?) that I was going to try working K1Jd and KT5X in Santa Fe on CW.  I had scheduled a QSO on 2m with Bob K0NR, and he was within range of 2m at his cabin.

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We crossed over Mt. Cameron.  This one doesn’t qualify for SOTA, and really doesn’t qualify as a 14er for any bragging rights.  Not enough prominence.  Somebody had left these cardboard signs on all the summits.

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There were more chasers available from Mt Lincoln.  I quickly had enough in the log and moved on.  The weather was really starting to close in.   It was fun to work a few guys on 40m-CW.  Nowhere near the pileup I would have dealt with on 20m.

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On the way across from Cameron to Bross, it started hailing and thundering.  I decided to not try my luck on Bross (plus it’s a closed summit, but that wouldn’t normally stop me!).

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The final track log and elevation profile:
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All the photos from this trip can be viewed in my Smugmug Gallery

73 de Bryan N0BCB

KD1JV MTR v2 Part 1

I’ve been slowly building up my Steve Weber Mountain Top Radio version 2 kit over the past week. For the SMT parts I chose to try reflow soldering in a toaster oven, and I’m glad I did it that way. I used solder paste in a syringe from Cash Olsen as recommended by Steve. For the oven I used an unmodified $20 Rival oven from Walmart set to 420F and simply watched for the paste to become glossy solder.

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Once the SMT parts were in place, it was easy to finish the standard through hole parts.

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Right now I’m in the process of winding the toroids and soldering them down. I’ll update this again once all parts are down and I begin with adjustments and testing.

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Buddipole 2m 5/8 wave vertical

I’ve been doing some searches for a 2 meter, 5/8 wave vertical using Buddipole parts, and so far I haven’t come up with one. So, I decided to figure it out on my own! This is pretty easy to build if you have the Versatee and rotating arm kit. I only had 2 whips available, but with 3 and a jumper you could use 2 ground planes.
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This antenna is tuned around 146.52 as a center frequency. Adjusting the element lengths and/or the coil taps should allow use over the whole amateur band

Freqency

SWR

R

X

145.0

1.4:1

44

17

146.0

1.1:1

45

4

147.0

1.3:1

63

10

A closeup of the Versatee.  Connect the Red coax wire to the Blue Versatee connection.  Connect the Black coax wire to the Black versatee connection.  The Coil wander lead connects to the coil 1.5 turns in from the brass screw at the top of the Coil. This should equate to ~ 0.15 uH of inductance.

MFJ-259b at 146.52

Ground plane element length (19.25″):

Vertical element length (48.0″):

Mini coil tap (1.5 turns in from the top, brass screw)

5BTV radial wire system

I put together a radial system for my 5 band trapped vertical antenna. I’m using (32) 16.25′ radials, soldered to a 10 gauge bare copper wire. The copper ring will connect to the 3 bolts at the base of the vertical. For wire, I purchased a 500′ roll of underground dog fence wire at Home Depot. Each wire will be buried just below the surface in a star burst pattern. I used the ARRL antenna book to calculate the optimal radial system for the amount of wire I have.

5BTV radial wire

5BTV radial wire

Blue Sky Marathon 2013

Erin and I helped with the Indian Summer North aid station at the Blue Sky Marathon for our 4th consecutive year on Sunday.  Erin was the race photographer, and I helped with radio communications.  It was a fun day, with great weather.  I made a time-lapse movie that covers roughly 7am to 1pm, looking West from our aid station.

 

Activation Alert: Pemigewasset Loop

I’ll be backpacking the Pemi Loop in New Hampshire this weekend, and plan to activate 4 summits.  Times listed below are approximate depending on hiking speeds and conditions.  I will be running 10 watts SSB with my KX3 and LNR 10/20/40 EFHW trail friendly antenna.

Pemi_Loop

Saturday 9/21/2013

19:00 W1/HA-092 Owl’s Head Mountain (10 pts)

Monday 9/23/2013

13:00 W1/HA-022 South Twin Mountain (10 pts)

15:30 W1/HA-095 Mt Garfield (10 pts)

19:00 W1/HA-022 Mt Lafayette (10 pts)

 

If I’m feeling really ambitious, I may detour on Sunday the 22nd and pick up W1/HA-228, Pt 3051 (4 pts).  I will probably get on the air Sunday night from my campsite.

 

Hope to hear lots of stations on the air!

 

Bryan N0BCB

Alternative Buddistick Vertical

I started my HF career with a Buddistck kit, and learned to tune it pretty well with the factory options. It was my primary SOTA antenna until I switched to a 24′ carbon crappie pole and EFHW for lighter weight and faster deployment. I’ve been looking for a way to use the Buddistick as a camping and travel antenna. My goal was to keep the component lengths to 13″ for suitcase packing.
I decided to add an 8′ Buddipole shock cord mast so that I don’t need to rely on a place to mount the clamp. I also upgraded to a Versatee and the rotating arm kit RAK so that I could deploy the antenna without a wire radial.

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Tonight I tested the setup on 20m and was able to contact K4Y with 10w from my Elecraft KX3, first try!

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The whole kit weighs a few pounds and takes up very little space when packed.

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I made my own guying kit from MSR aluminum tent stakes and paraline. I am planning to print a 3D guy ring so that
I can still rotate in horizontal mode.

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Soon I will add a couple more 13″ arm sections to make tuning easier.

W6/NC-030 Mount St Helena

For the 2013 NASOTA weekend, I decided to try an unactivated summit near wine country, since we were already vacationing here for the in-laws 70th birthday.  Mt St Helena is accessible by trail or fire road.  There was a mountain bike in the garage of our rental house so I decided to also do my first bicycle SOTA!  The bike was too small for me and needed some minor maintenance, but it did get me to the summit and back safely.

The first mile and a half is on a small trail, and is a difficult ride.  It’s possible to start directly onto the dirt access road, but you’ll have more elevation gain and distance.  I was able to ride most of the trail through here, with a few lifts over large rock areas.
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Once you pop out onto the dirt road, it’s just plain climbing.  The corners have some loose volcanic dust/sand, so be careful on those.

As I neared the summit, I got to witness a very cool dirt devil

 
The summit, and 2 nearby, are covered with antenna farms. I set up directly next to a microwave repeater, and my 2m radio was popping every 30s or so. I decided 2m was way to obnoxious to listen to, so I shut that radio off and never tried the band from there. I was able to make a couple of 20m contacts, but I had S9 noise on my KX3 and gave up pretty quickly. I was following other activators on SOTAgoat, and couldn’t hear anybody on 20m. 40m had much lower noise, and I managed a couple of contacts there. I had my first every 17m contact with KJ6NHF on W7N/WC-001.

Map/track here:

And elevation profile showing over 2000′ of gain in 5 miles:

And finally, the summit log:

The rest of the photos can be seen at: photos.mainelife.net

W0/WE-001 Castle Peak 14er 8/4/2013

This year I decided to combine the Colorado 14er Event with Summits on the Air for a weekend of fun in the Colorado High Country!  Our hike up Castle on Sunday, August 4th was the final day of a 5-day camping/hiking trip starting in Fort Collins.  We spent Saturday night at site #2 along the road up to Castle Peak, and got a 5am start on the trail.  Since we were driving all the way to just below the Pearl Pass Rd split, we got to sleep in a little.
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The trail to the summit follows an old mining road all the way to ~ 12,800′, where it becomes a scramble up a boulder field.  We decided to take a harder route up the summit, which goes to the extreme left when viewing the summit from the 12,800′ area.  This was probably a class III scramble, and was very difficult at times.  For the route down, we came down the “normal” route.  You can see the road we hiked in the background:

About 45 minutes from the summit, I began hearing 14er stations on 146.52 and 147.42.  I talked with Alan NM5S and told him we’d be on the summit soon.  I’ve started using a Smiley 2m 1/2 wave antenna for summit activations, and have found that it works really well.  I routinely make contacts to 100 miles with this antenna, and the biggest benefit over the Arrow Yagi which I also use is that it’s available during the hike up.

Once on the summit, I worked a decent pile of guys, both on 2m to other 14er summits, and on 20m-ssb for SOTA.  Here’s my log from the day:
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The remaining pictures from Castle Peak can be seen at W0/WE-001 Castle