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Thread: Ham radio information needed

  1. Link to Post #81
    UK Avalon Member Nick Matkin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ham radio information needed

    Quote Posted by norman (here)
    ... but, I once met a bloke on a hilltop in Mid Wales who had fallen asleep listening to USA truckers talking to each other on nothing more than legal CB radios.
    This sometimes happens, but unfortunately propagation of lowish-power CB from mobile antennas over long distances (more than about 2000 miles) depends upon very good ionisation of the F2 layer, usually during solar max, and when the sun is over the centre of the propagation path. Such good propagation conditions are very unpredictable!

    Shorter "skip", beyond ground-wave coverage (say north Scotland to southern England) on these freqs (27/28MHz) depends upon Sporadic-E, another extremely unpredictable (sporadic!) ionospheric propagation mode. But this is beyond what Bill needs to know to get started.

    The mobile antennas that came with Bill's rig are probably for VHF/UHF. They may be antennas for the other bands (possibly 27 MHz CB if the rig transmits there - it's certainly within its coverage - but may be "locked out" as it's not a ham radio band. Note: There are usually hacks to get modern transceivers to transmit on a very wide range of frequencies. The rigs are designed for many uses but programmed for their specific, intended market.).

    As others and I have previously stated, sticking to 14MHz/20m will give good enough coverage until Bill gets familiar with the rig and other technical details.

    The antennas Bill bought with the rigs may be mobile antennas for most or all of the ham bands (do you know what they are Bill?) which will be useful, though not as effective as balanced dipole-type antennas supported high up at a base station.

    Nick
    Last edited by Nick Matkin; 8th December 2012 at 10:15.

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  3. Link to Post #82
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    Default Re: Ham radio information needed

    Quote Posted by norman (here)
    I've just remembered that you may not be aware of how the banding works best for weaker ( amateur ) signals. Most transmitters with lower power usually confine themselves to "single sideband". That can be lower sideband ( LSB ) or upper sideband ( USB ).
    Sideband modulation is a clever variant of Amplitude Modulation (AM) which has sufficient quality for speech communication.
    There are 3 main components in an AM signal: the carrier wave, an upper sideband (USB) and a lower sideband (LSB).

    The information signal (speech) is only in the sidebands and is redundant. So you can save significant power by only
    transmitting one sideband. The carrier wave is taken out by a clever hetrodyne mixing technique. One of the unwanted
    sidebands is than filtered out before being amplified in the final stage. The missing carrier must be added again in the
    receiver as a reference for received sideband info. Incorrect tuning does make the voices sound higher or lower.
    There is another advantage on the receiving side: the needed bandwidth is a lot smaller so very fine filters can the also
    reduce the amount of white noise energy coming in.

    As a rule of thumb: LSB is used < 10 MHz and USB is used > 10 MHz

    On HF bands Single Side Band (SSB) is the main speech communication modulation method.

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  5. Link to Post #83
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    Default Re: Ham radio information needed

    Quote Posted by Nick Matkin (here)
    The antennas Bill bought with the rigs may be mobile antennas for most or all of the ham bands (do you know what they are Bill?) which will be useful, though not as effective as balanced dipole-type antennas supported high up at a base station.
    Mobile whip antennas are vertically used and dipole antennas usually horizontally. This is causing a different polarization (in theory).
    Vertical antennas are often used for local mobile communication or in Ground-Plane traffic (see GP antennas).

    Horizontal polarization should (again in theory) give you better angle beaming away the signal ... However in practice there is so
    much reflection around (Buildings or hills, trees etc.) which changes the polarization. That's why Bill in an ideal situation should
    have his dipole antenna high above ground on the hill top with horizontal free view.

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  7. Link to Post #84
    UK Avalon Founder Bill Ryan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ham radio information needed

    -------

    Many thanks again, Nick, Ron, Norman, Everyone --

    Very much appreciated indeed. I'll order the G5TV double 10m-160m straight away-- and I have a large bunch of questions, to come later.


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  9. Link to Post #85
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    Default Re: Ham radio information needed

    NO BILL! I think the OPTIMISED one 6m to 80m is the one that does not need (or claims not to need) a tuner for most of the bands - the one I suggested in post #76. It is much smaller, and unless you have all the space needed for the 160m/1.8MHz version (and you probably won't use that lowest 160m band anyway) I don't see any advantage in getting the 160m version. In fact it may need a tuner for the main band of interest 14MHz/20m.

    It's this one: Optimized G5RV / ZS6BKW 6m - 80m $68.00 on the W8AMZ website.

    If the 'double size' 160m version doesn't need an ATU for 14MHz/20m you should be ok. But I think for 14MHz the one you're going to buy may not be good for this band - 14MHz/20m - without a tuner.

    (I'm trying to find some data to confirm the specs on 14MHz/20m for both types.)

    Ask when you buy - ask them which is best for use without a tuner for 14MHz/20m.

    Or to keep things really simple the single band only dipole for just 14MHz/20m is this one:
    20m Half-Wave Dipole $26.00 the first on the list on this page but that really does limit you to just that band.

    Yes, I'm sure you'll have a bunch of questions soon. No prob!

    Nick

    EDIT: I think I've found the info. The resonant band (i.e. most efficient) is 14MHz/20m on the one I suggested, not the double-size, 160m version which has a resonant band on 7MHz/40m...
    Last edited by Nick Matkin; 8th December 2012 at 17:51.

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  11. Link to Post #86
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    Default Re: Ham radio information needed

    The 160 meter version of the G5RV antenna requires an elevation of 70' above ground level.

    The 80 meter version of the G5RV antenna requires an elevation of 40' above ground level.

    Something to consider when considering how the antenna will be supported.

    My gut feeling is that the specifications above are not critical.
    Last edited by Ron Mauer Sr; 8th December 2012 at 23:29.

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  13. Link to Post #87
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    Default Re: Ham radio information needed

    Quote Posted by Nick Matkin (here)
    NO BILL!
    [snip]
    It's this one: Optimized G5RV / ZS6BKW 6m - 80m $68.00 on the W8AMZ website.
    Got it -- my apologies (and thanks again)

    (to Ron) : 40' above ground level isn't a problem.

    Questions about the coaxial cable:
    • I need to run that all the way from the radio to the antenna -- yes?
    • Assuming so, is distance a factor? It might well be several hundred yards or more.
    • To reach the antenna from the radio, I may have to bury it for 12-15 ft, to get across a dirt road. Alternatively, I could erect a couple of high posts to carry it across the road aerially. Does it matter if the cable runs underground?
    Last edited by Bill Ryan; 8th December 2012 at 23:52.

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  15. Link to Post #88
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    Default Re: Ham radio information needed

    Quote Posted by Bill Ryan (here)
    • I need to run that all the way from the radio to the antenna -- yes?
    • Assuming so, is distance a factor? It might well be several hundred yards or more.
    • To reach the antenna from the radio, I may have to bury it for 12-15 ft, to get across a dirt road. Alternatively, I could erect a couple of high posts to carry it across the road aerially. Does it matter if the cable runs underground?
    It is best to run it all the way, unbroken, from antenna to receiver .'

    If you keep the coax in the air it might work as part of
    the transmition reception-system , allthoug a coax cable
    is shielded , the shield normaly operate as neutral (minus)

    ( Dug into the ground the length of cable would probably
    matter less on the reception calculations )

    Anyway :
    The length of the cable do matter, since there is a resistance
    on a specific ratio for every meter of any cable, coax or not ...

    Ohm , per meter, should be described for any cable available
    and taken into account when calculating the frequence (hz)
    and even more to power ( push ) received signals
    ( Power Volts have a natural curve to it ..).

    Plan for some more (sources) to feed the Ham-Radio.
    & enough diameter for a sustainable currentflow , to
    the apparatous ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ohm%27s_law )

    So, use a coax, but find the biggest (diameter) size of copper core
    as possible, if there is a long stretch of cable .

    Be well.

    ..
    -
    Last edited by noxon medem; 9th December 2012 at 00:27.

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  17. Link to Post #89
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    Default Re: Ham radio information needed

    Quote Posted by Bill Ryan (here)
    Quote Posted by Nick Matkin (here)
    NO BILL!
    [snip]
    It's this one: Optimized G5RV / ZS6BKW 6m - 80m $68.00 on the W8AMZ website.
    Got it -- my apologies (and thanks again)

    (to Ron) : 40' above ground level isn't a problem.

    Questions about the coaxial cable:

    • I need to run that all the way from the radio to the antenna -- yes?
    • Assuming so, is distance a factor? It might well be several hundred yards or more.
    • To reach the antenna from the radio, I may have to bury it for 12-15 ft, to get across a dirt road. Alternatively, I could erect a couple of high posts to carry it across the road aerially. Does it matter if the cable runs underground?

    Here is a link to calculate feedline loss: http://www.timesmicrowave.com/cgi-bin/calculate.pl

    Notice that as frequency gets higher, attenuation becomes greater.

    On the 20 meter (14.150 MHz to 14.350 MHz, U.S. Amateur) band and using RG8x, attenuation is 1.335 dB per 100 feet. You can purchase more expensive cable that will not attenuate the signal as much.

    "Several hundred yards or more" is a very long distance for RG8x coax. For each 6dB loss in the antenna system, the S meter will drop approximately 1 S unit.

    It might be better and simpler to find a place where the antenna can be located closer to the transmitter. Perhaps using a 20 meter dipole (total length 33 feet)(See Nick Matkin's post #85) would be a good first experiment. The ends can droop significantly. The center should be as high as you can conveniently get it.

    Antenna height is more important on 144 MHz (2 meters) and higher frequencies than it is on 14.3 MHz (20 meters). Communications on 2 meters is primarily (but not exclusively) line off sight. On 20 meters the primary signal path from the antenna is to the upper atmosphere where it is reflected (when conditions allow) back down to the earths surface, many miles away. Multiple hops are common and will be the signal path between Ecuador to Europe.

    If you decide to bury the coaxial cable under a dirt road, run the cable inside PVC pipe for the width of the road to reduce the risk of repeated abrasion on the coax from vehicle traffic.
    Last edited by Ron Mauer Sr; 9th December 2012 at 03:16.

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  19. Link to Post #90
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    Default Re: Ham radio information needed

    Yes, agreed with all above. Several hundred yards is a lot for ordinary coax. For every 3 dB of loss you have lost half your power! So as rmauersr states above in post #89, 300 feet of RG8x (from the loss charts) at 14 MHz means you have lost more than half your power in the cable. That sounds more dramatic than it is, but is not to be recommended! The site that sells the antennas should be able to advise on other suitable lower-loss cable types if you roughly explain the situation.

    (In practice, if a transmitter drops its power by half, the perceived drop in strength at the receiver is hardly noticeable. It's a non-linear effect - don't worry about it, but it's good engineering to keep losses down!)

    RG213 cable has much lower loss, but is thicker, heavier and more expensive. See this cable-loss chart. Just remember, for every 3dB loss (attenuation), you lose half the power to the antenna - with a corresponding drop in received signal strength to the signals you are listening to. So a 6dB loss is a quarter of the transmitter power, 9dB an eighth...

    If you use a heavier coax cable on the G5RV, check that the antenna can support the extra cable weight if it is mounted quite high. You could use lighter cable for that bit, but it means joining, possible water ingress - you don't want to be bothered with all that!

    Cable losses also increase with frequency, and at VHF/UHF with such a long cable run, just about any cable will dramatically reduce the power at the antenna (and reduce signals reaching the receiver). Losses below 30 MHz should be manageable. But if you use VHF, I suggest you put the rig in the vehicle and use the vehicle's vertical antenna. (You can always set up a better VHF base-station antenna later if necessary.)

    (Obviously VHF/UHF transmitter towers hundreds of feet high need long cable runs, but they use expensive heliax cable. Expensive, quite difficult to handle and rarely necessary in a ham radio installation!)

    Putting coax cable underground is OK if it doesn't get damaged by animals, compression or abrasion. You don't want water getting in, which will gradually but dramatically increases losses. Putting it in some sort of conduit is what the pros do (in concrete, but plastic pipe should be sufficient) but that can be an expensive and big job - but as rmauersr says, at least do that as it passes under the road.

    Overhead OK too, provided it's not stressed under its own weight.

    And the general rule - keep the actual antenna as high as possible. For all practical purposes in the real world it can't be too high. The 70 and 40 foot quoted above and in the adverts are recommend minimum heights. But the higher it is, the more exposed and conspicuous it is and the longer (and heavier) the coax feeder cable must be before the ground takes the strain.

    Carefully check the installation info here - you may have other questions.

    Ideally the 'arms' of the antenna should be be horizontal, (but this is not essential) with the 30ft of flat ribbon feeder cable which comes from the centre hanging vertically down. Do not shorten this flat cable as it's an integral part of the antenna. It's often called 'ribbon', 'window' or 'ladder' line because that's what it looks like. The 30 or so feet of this flat cable will be terminated with a coax socket (probably an SO239 which in this case should also contain a device called a balun - but don't worry about that) to which the plug (PL259) has the long run of coax cable (RG8x or whatever) connected which is plugged into your transceiver.

    Alternatively you can mount the antenna with the highest point in the middle like this in an 'inverted-V' configuration, trying to keep the ribbon cable away from the vertical support.

    You must waterproof the connector joining the ribbon cable to the coax. Self-amalgamating tape is probably the most common and successful way of doing this. The antenna supplier may stock this.

    I hope you're not being put of by all the technical hurdles...

    Nick

    PS: It's not uncommon for ready-made dipole-type wire antennas to need adjusting after installation. The final hight, mountings, nearby trees, buildings etc. will affect the performance slightly. As the main 'resonant' band of this antenna is 20m/14MHz, I expect the small print suggests the ends are trimmed for minimum SWR on this band. This means checking SWR with an SWR meter (or maybe the rig's inbuilt SWR meter or using a fancy antenna analyser), and trimming an couple of inches of both ends, re-mounting it antenna and measuring SWR again. This can take sometimes ****** ages. But it needs to be right because if you want to avoid using an antenna tuning unit, the least that will happen is that the rig will back-off its power if it senses a poor match (high SWR) with the antenna. The worst is a blown rig!
    Last edited by Nick Matkin; 9th December 2012 at 13:43.

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  21. Link to Post #91
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    Default Re: Ham radio information needed

    For a base station, why not have aerials set up well for each band you want to use. The UHF one is likely to require a lot of different considerations than the HF one. I thought most bigger radios had more than one RF input for that reason.
    Those of the positive polarity are of service when by action or thought or even intention, another entity or the self is freer to seek his or her own path than before the intended service was performed. --L/Leema

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  23. Link to Post #92
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    Default Re: Ham radio information needed

    Quote Posted by Anchor (here)
    For a base station, why not have aerials set up well for each band you want to use. The UHF one is likely to require a lot of different considerations than the HF one. I thought most bigger radios had more than one RF input for that reason.
    Yes that's right, the FT857D has two antenna connections, one for 1.8 to 50 MHz (HF) and 144 to 430 MHz (VHF/UHF) as the requirements are quite different. Since the VHF/UHF signals are (more or less) line of sight, they also need mounting in the clear and high up if possible at the base station, which is not something you can guarantee when out mobile!

    I've just checked out the FT857D documentation. That's one hell of a manual Bill! Have you been able to check the rig to see if it works on all bands/modes?

    Nick

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    Default Re: Ham radio information needed

    Bill,

    It is easy to check the receive portion of the radio. Just connect any length (longer the better) wire to the center of the antenna connector. You might be surprised to hear some stations in Europe. Commercial broadcasts are most likely to use AM (amplitude modulation). Amateur radio transmissions are most likely to use USB (upper single sideband) on 20 thru 10 meters, or LSB (lower single sideband) below 20 meters.

    To play it safe, set the transmitter output power to minimum to avoid accidentally transmitting into an antenna that is not tuned properly, or when the antenna is not connected.

    Ron
    Last edited by Ron Mauer Sr; 10th December 2012 at 23:58.

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    Default Re: Ham radio information needed

    -------

    Many thanks yet again to all of you for your many valuable and detailed contributions. I've ordered the
    Optimized G5RV / ZS6BKW Multi Band Dipole Antenna plus 200 ft of LMR-240 coaxial cable. You can be quite sure I'll be back here early in the New Year (after it's delivered) with a whole bunch more questions.



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    Default Re: Ham radio information needed

    Quote Posted by Bill Ryan (here)
    -------

    You can be quite sure I'll be back here early in the New Year (after it's delivered) with a whole bunch more questions.

    Like how to attach the plugs to the coax! (You did buy some plugs to fit to the cable...? One to connect coax to the antenna and one to connect the other end to the rig. I completely forgot to suggest these earlier, but they are not difficult to obtain.)

    I'm sure we can find something on Youtube if there's no one who can fit them for you. Actually, the cable supplier may have done it for you already.

    Fitting them (probably PL259 plugs) is not that hard, but you may need to practice a couple of times - there are things to watch out for when doing it if you're not familiar...

    Nick

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  31. Link to Post #96
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    Default Re: Ham radio information needed

    Quote Posted by Nick Matkin (here)
    Quote Posted by Bill Ryan (here)
    -------

    You can be quite sure I'll be back here early in the New Year (after it's delivered) with a whole bunch more questions.

    Like how to attach the plugs to the coax! (You did buy some plugs to fit to the cable...? One to connect coax to the antenna and one to connect the other end to the rig. I completely forgot to suggest these earlier, but they are not difficult to obtain.)

    I'm sure we can find something on Youtube if there's no one who can fit them for you. Actually, the cable supplier may have done it for you already.

    Fitting them (probably PL259 plugs) is not that hard, but you may need to practice a couple of times - there are things to watch out for when doing it if you're not familiar...

    Nick
    Thanks, Nick: I asked the supplier to fit the plugs!

    Much appreciation for all your kind help and constructive suggestions. More questions later, for sure.


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    Default Re: Ham radio information needed

    I am sure there are some 'somewhat' experienced operators somehwhere in the neighborhoods in Ecuador, nearby...
    if it is a possiblity to connect with them for help too.

    And I'm sure this has been thought of...there are good people everywhere/somewhere to help with practical knowledge and hands-on experience..
    Last edited by eaglespirit; 4th January 2013 at 13:01.

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    Default Re: Ham radio information needed

    I've just been collating data for an amateur radio HF band plan. I was amazed to see frequencies marked: "GLOBAL EMERGENCY"

    Before anyone starts thinking TPTB know something we don't, I suspect they have been allocated for decades. But it seems someone was thinking ahead and managed to get unwieldy international radio conferences to agree allocations for them!

    For anyone needing to use such communications during a disaster, the frequencies are: 14300 kHz on 20 metres; 18160 kHz on 17 metres; 21360 kHz on 15 metres. Presumably they are SSB (USB), although I dare say anything that will work could be used.

    Nick

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    Default Re: Ham radio information needed

    I just found this video, Eric Dollard explains why Ham radio operation may not be possible during the next solar minimum. This info seems to fit with Suspicious Observers view of the Electric Universe. It is late and been a busy day I did not look into Eric very much. Any credibility here?

    "A nation which has forgotten the quality of courage which in the past has been brought to public life is not as likely to insist upon or regard that quality in its chosen leaders today - and in fact we have forgotten. "John F. Kennedy


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    Default Re: Ham radio information needed

    I don't disagree with Eric , however there are other methods . IE, ground wave and Doppler meteor transmissions . Also EME (Earth Moon Earth ) commonly known as Moon bounce . Also you would still have line of sight , so it wouldn't be a total loss of communications .

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