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Messages - NQC

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Equipment / Re: " Feedline " Antenna - "450 " Ohms
« on: June 10, 2021, 1208 UTC »
Hey Rob,

One of the problems I have is that I have no coax fed receivers left,the R- 70 and R-71a are long gone.

So everything has to be inductively coupled to my ferrite rigs ( ie the ATS 803a,etc)

Yes , the loop hopefully will work out.

But again, I was also thinking of trying for something larger, especially for long  dx frequencies that have no qrm or qrn issues.

I really have nothing to lose by simply trying it, the investment in materials is fairly small.If it doesn’t work out , it’s no big thing.

If nothing else, I am learning some new things as I go along.

I have some good “ tests” that I can use during the day .Ultra weak WINS 1010 or WMCA  570 from NYC , both of which are 20 Kc away from super strong locals
WEEI on 590 and WBZ on 1030.

I see how it works out.

My thanks for the reply.


Equipment / Re: " Feedline " Antenna - "450 " Ohms
« on: June 09, 2021, 2100 UTC »
Hey All,

The spot were I would set up may not be SUPER  noisy, if I gave  the wrong impression on that I apologize.

The vertical folded quarter wave is supposed to be a “ low noise”  (“magnetic “ ?) antenna.

One of my goals ,other than a reduction of some possible noise, is to have an antenna that has some decent capture area.

FWIW I am also in the process of building a BIG octo loop around 5 ft diameter and (at least temporarily) wound with 660/46 litz. The var cap will be a 4 gang /500 pf ceramic  wired “wiper less” to eliminate wiper loss.

After this post it’s down to the shop to work on the loop.

So I have a couple of things to eventually try ( other that the Select -A - Tenna loop, which is very good but has limitations due to it’s size).

Again, thanks for the replies.

de K

Equipment / Re: " Feedline " Antenna - "450 " Ohms
« on: June 09, 2021, 1120 UTC »
Hey Stretchy,

Interesting ideas to think about.

Thanks for the info,

de NQC

Equipment / " Feedline " Antenna - "450 " Ohms
« on: June 08, 2021, 1531 UTC »
Hey All,

I want to try an antenna that would be for temporary use  in areas of possible power line noise.

I envision running 2  insulated  multi stranded   wires  ( AWG size TBA , aluminum vs copper  composition TBA ) ,
 air spaced at 1"   to  "simulate "  foam twin lead in  the  ball park  300 to 450 ohm  range     .
Conductors are  shorted at the elevated end.

I am shooting to build a supposed  folded  vertical "quarter" wave/ "low noise " design  for  1 Mhz. It's a bit unclear to me what length is "ideal" and  what  length actually represents  a TRUE quarter wave when it is  folded .

FWIW, At 1 Mhz a quarter wave MONOpole  would be 234 ft (  for now I am disregarding any "Earth" side considerations such as 45 degree  drooping  radials, buried "spoke" radials, etc). 234 feet is  WAAAAY  TOOOOO TALL !

But I AM thinking about a possibly  alleged "desired" electrical  length of 117 ft.

117 ft is also a "practical " length to actually be able to work with.  I am not sure  whether (2X) 117 ft would  still   only "represent" an 1/8 monopole in reference to the wire run's total  vertical height -OR- whether it acts as a "true" folded 1/4 wave, having one leg running up to full height and one leg running back down to "lawn level" (117 ft "plus" 117 ft).

BTW, I am sure that there is no way I can hang it "fully" vertical. I'd be LUCKY to get it up 40 or 60 ft. So there would probably be more than  HALF of the antenna's  total length arcing over and running fairly low  horizontal to the  lawn (like a kite string). I can probably get    a tie off on a low tree branch at 6 ft or so , then down to radio. Implications ?

I also wonder if  giving this "twin  lead " a few twists is advantageous. I have seen this done when twin lead is actually used to FEED  a "real" antenna (  ie a horizontal dipole ).

For  the  receiver, I'd make  up a 175 or 220 uH (wound with #28) ferrite bar with maybe 4 or 5 "taps" mostly bunched up at the cold end- hopefully one of which winds up  at a ball park  300 ohms or greater (otherwise put, guesswork).
 A  properly spec'd ceramic var cap would be across full coil,so  the project would end up being a twin lead tuned  ferrite  auto transformer air /magnetically coupled to the receiver's internal  ferrite.

I know that design specs  and "rules" are much less important on receive antennas as  opposed to transmit antennas.Also  the "characteristic response" is going to  vary as one moves up or down in frequency away from the "design reference" of 1 Mhz. There is one school of thought that says "Just try it and see how it works". The problem is that I don't have NEARLY as much to time play radio as I would like, so I'd like to get a bit of  back round , input and "predictions" before I forge ahead.

Also, it  can be a bit of  learning experience and  if nothing else, a  theoretical exercise  on how antennas work.

ANY help GREATLY appreciated,

de N1NQC 

MW Loggings / Re: Dxpedition to Wells, Maine
« on: June 06, 2021, 2338 UTC »
Hey Yankee.

Interesting re FED.Not sure if /when going to Wells again this summer.

Next stop may be Cuttyhunk Island where the dx just simply ROARS in , especially at night.

One exception though , last time on the island I did try for WBAL during day time using Panasonic Rx 840 (which has a kickin’  AM section), but no luck.No BFO on that rig , so unsure if there could have been a beat  note or not. But no hint at all  in AM mode.

Maybe a better path to FED compared to BAL.

I will put in the “ try for” notes, we’ll  see.


MW Loggings / Re: XEPRS 1090 am 0315 utc 05 Jun 2021
« on: June 06, 2021, 1418 UTC »
Hey Yankee,

My jaw dropped when I saw you post K and X call signs, until I read that you are  currently out on "the  coast" :).

Nice catch to hear the Border Blaster "Express" /  XEPRS  , one of my favorites that I've read about re the old Mexican Flame Throwers.

I have never heard a Mexican on MW from MA. PLENTY of Cubans  and some other  Caribbeans  (especially  when I am in the town of Gosnold on Cuttyhunk Island , Buzzards Bay , MA ) but  never a peep on MW. Just too much of  stretch  - WAY too much U.S.  on frequency on same bearing  .

I've only  ever copied Mexico on HF . Even then, at least in my experience at my station, it was exceedingly  rare over the years for some reason. Maybe 1 or 2 hams and 1 or 2 broadcasts over 50 years.That's it.

I heard a LOT more from the "tough" areas of South America than from  old Mexico.

TONS of  night time Mexicans  crystal set  copied while I was on the Gulf coast of FL, EASY "fish in the barrel" type of  catches. Even some in daytime on car radio.No brainer there.

But to me ANY Mexican copy, even when you are "staring" at it  (ie  from West FL) is AWESOME !

OT, but speaking of Mexicans, one of my favorite pirates was XEROX, "Radio Duplicado". Hilarious !


MW Loggings / Dxpedition to Wells, Maine
« on: June 06, 2021, 1332 UTC »
Hey All,

 Yesterday I took a day trip to Wells ,on the coast of Maine.

Logged on the car radio at a HUGE salt marsh ,1830 UTC.

570 WMCA Nada, M.I.A.
710 WOR barely any audio
770 WABC barely any audio
880 WCBS barely any audio
660 WFAN barely any audio , maybe a TAD better, up and down in slow QSB.   ( FWIW, 710,770, and 880 couldn't even "find  the ambition" to  give me any QSB :)))

A bit of an education: Despite  being at the  marsh  there was no salt advantage  . The   NYC to Maine  bearing was  nearly ALL over a land path of high loss New England granite. It was nice to find out where the  "dependable" NYC day timers (listed above)  almost completely run out of gas. So being 78 miles north of my normal Boston QTH caused even the BIG New Yorkers to pretty much  find the  end of their string.  MAYBE they would have been  a" bit more  usable" on a BIG antenna, but.....

1010 WCNL Newport ,NH ,at around 110 mi ,mostly barely any audio, but up and down a bit  like 'FAN. Bizarre transmitter - 10 Kw daytime into a 62 ft (!) antenna (  essentially a "dummy load")
1600 WUNR Boston barely any audio, despite 20 kw at 78 miles, but I was mostly out of pattern.
740 WJIB Cambridge, MA, 250 watts into  omni 1/8 wave, mostly barely any audio. Interesting to deliver the same as 'UNR.
730 WJTO Bath ,Maine, 1 Kw omni, 65 Mi ,mostly salt path.Loud and clear. JTO is net control /program origin station for JIB and others around New England.

So , some really cool and interesting very weak signal  daytime work.Fun.

(Also on 150 Kc- ATS 803a:  Surprised  no QRN crashes copied  despite lightning within 100 to 150 Mi to West . So I'm also finding out how a  barefoot (no outboard  loop) ATS  may  on work on LW or BCB. . A sensitive rig , but with a short ferrite bar). The 803 got no  NYC BCB  at all.

Other activities were: beach ( 52 deg water WAY too cold, could only wade up to ankles  :o) seafood, shopping/ flea market with the Mrs. (got a few cool goodies ) ,  cool breezy ride on a  nicely restored antique  trolley at trolley museum,  walk  in pine forest ,countryside driving, etc.

Wx was around 80,humid  and mostly sunny. At times good flows of very cool air off ocean  suddenly gave nice refreshment. At other times , flow would shut down and it got quite warm.  Later on , well after  the ATS  150 Kc LW session, visually  interesting thunderstorms (with infrequent lightning)  built up  to the our distant   West (around  the Lake Winnipesaukee area of NH  and  Northward toward   MT Washington ,NH   ), but we got home before they drifted into the Boston area.

Overall , a GREAT day, felt good to get out and actually be able to DO things.


Amateur Radio / Re: 2M SSB - Is it worth the cost?
« on: June 02, 2021, 1552 UTC »
Hey All.

I guess I'll chime in. 2M SSB was a LOT of fun. But even  "back in the day" it was  never very active compared to FM. Maybe a net or two and a bit of  other traffic  in the evenings. On    FM you had a long wait to get in on a number of frequencies

A decent 2M SSB station  could work from here in Boston to NYC most every night, without enhanced conditions.

I have been off 2 M (FM and SSB) for a LONG time now. But even FM seems pretty dead. A few years back while in NYC (!!) on a Friday night I scanned FM and found near zero.

One of the biggest factors of course , is the antenna / height and to a lesser extent , the power level.

A 2m SSB signal needs to travel unimpeded in order to go into "development". Clearing local  obstacles (immediate trees/ structures) is really desirable. Clearing  the more distant terrain is good too. The closer and higher the hills, especially in the wrong direction, can cause a radio shadow.

So  2M SSB  ,being essentially aimed 90 deg. toward the horizon requires decent clearance.6 M being  a SKY wave (at WHATEVER take off angle) still requires some height, but may be less fussy if all things are "equalized" re 2M physics vs. 6 M physics.

In flat  Florida, height   really shouldn't be as   big  an issue as it was in the hilly Northeast.   Just clearing the trees and local blockages ie large / close buildings may cut it.

My REAL concern is activity. Outside of Field day and the scheduled VHF contests  I am not sure how much would be left. Even DURING those events, I may think activity may be kind of thin.But I have been off for so long I wouldn't want to say for sure.

FWIW, 900 Mhz amateur radio  debacle  here  went from ZERO, to very active (with a number of VERY BIG mountaintop /skyscraper  repeaters) to ZERO,dead, buried in 10 months or so (!).

 Even the guys that built the repeaters bailed out.I LOVED using it ( I had   some bullet proof  Moto  HT and mobile gear, a  big  commercial fractal  panel antenna and  lots of home brew antennas) when it was active, but it didn't last :'(. Kind of an exceptionally sped up version of the 2 M band story - up, big, down , "dead".

Is it "worth it" to put up a station that may give great sanctification and fun, but for only a few days a year ? Only you can answer that. I'd HATE to discourage anyone from using any band.

I am not longer able to put antennas on my large flat apt building roof. But a few years ago I DID have a small "farm" up there .I had nothing for 2 M SSB- to me it was  not active enough to justify using the mast  space ,I put up a "more" active 6 M band  antenna instead .You may not have this problem

 I didn't invest 6 M  very heavily either. But 6 is a much better "value" , at least to me. I had a dipole and used barefoot power
of around 15 watts on peak. I had a blast, but only on 6 or 10 days a year when things were open strong enough for my tiny flea station  to be able to work.Also I used to hear a LOT  more  (and also more often) than I could actually  work.Just LISTENING on 6 was a GAS.

  6 is skywave, while 2 is tropo/scatter etc. I  got a FAR larger coverage area on 6 (ie Portugal,most of US), even if it was on  a "10 day a year"  small station."   It seemed the better way to go, at least for me at that time. Your mileage may vary.

IF I COULD (which I CAN'T) I would build  a "better"   6M station with a GOOD  antenna and decent power. I  still wouldn't go TOO nuts ( on something that may now  work TWENTY days  per year , rather than ten :))). But I would definitely go a bit bigger that what I had  before, IF  I could do it again.

I LOVED studying the propagation on 2M  and did a LOT of QRP on SSB and horizontal  FM.

And now , the " Complaint Dept."- I am a rag chewer. A quick signal report on 20, 15, 12,  10 (or 6 or 2) is GREAT. AWESOME ,I just "worked" India (or wherever) . Now what ? I really didn't get to know the person and may never "work" him again.

DX on 6 (or 2) is a REAL TREAT and a really big , fun accomplishment. But when Dx is in, no one wants to talk very long , they want to move on and fill the log. And while I really "get it" as being a lot of  fun for SOME folks (more power to 'em ! ),   I  didn't want to be  just a "log filler", even on rare dx . Especially to areas that I had already worked once or twice before ,over any period of time.

That's why I loved 40 NVIS.With  7 watts on peak and  a low dipole it was almost  like making a dependable "phone call" EVERY day / 365 per year to the same folks at 100 to 200 miles.I REALLY got to know them, which for me was much more fun than just  giving /getting   a 5/9 report.

I never was into digital QSO modes.

I liked to put up beacons at my QTH.


Hey Poacher,

I have been a bit intrigued by these ones,which have seen  on the frq. list.

Maybe  when my new BCB Dx  antenna is finished.


Hey All,
I recently picked up a beautiful 1920's variable cap mounted in a heavy oak side sloped enclosure. The cap , dial and panel look almost like new.

The downside was that it  only topped out at 250 Pf , not really high enough for any of    my "serious" uses. The  inductor for the bottom of B'cast  is 400 uH (!) of #28 rectangular five point spiderweb.It looks more like a SAILBOAT than a spider's web :). Space was extremely tight. It's  wound   on a small sheet of vanished writing pad  thin  cardboard. Basically I "tried" to violate EVERY rule of good crystal set building (re L/C ratio, coil shape,  coil form material ,  var cap insulation being  bakelite, etc, etc).

I may try a few outboard tricks to "sort of" help it, but don't expect too much other than locals here.

But it WILL be a NICE piece of "eye candy" with nickel binding posts, cotton wire, etc ,etc. Everything is being  done with  1920's material and look.

My bedside shelving is small and already mostly packed up with gear , but this rig will be small   and should fit .  I'm thinking of a  fun little single dial radio for the local  big guns on an indoor short wire, which is fine.

Years ago I smelted my own "home brew" lead  sulphide material by melting lead and rapidly working in  raw sulfur. It  instantly burst into flames and had to be blown out like a big birthday candle.The  resulting material was black and ugly- NOT pretty and  sparkly like   the silver bearing "steel" galena " that I've also  used   . But BOY, was it HOT- very sensitive and easy to set . Maybe I try  whipping up another   batch  in a small metal cup  for use on this set.


Hey Poacher,

 Very in interesting info especially re SLFCS (which I had not heard of  ) and GWEN which I had heard of and remember when IT was up.

A bit OT , but FWIW, I was assigned to the CSS in Germany, not DIRECTLY involved in SIGINT, but as a support of it.

But there was plenty of "side action". For reasons I do still do not understand , I was allowed to build  my own personal listening post IN the barracks. It included outdoor smaller U/VHF AM/FM, a large  (successful)  "trans Atlantic" VHF low band antenna and HF antennas (on R-71a , R-70 ,etc). It was amazing how much "open mode" traffic there was  - IF you knew where to look.

I was ALSO allowed to do the SAME thing  in the barracks  while at a previous posting in SC ( 100 ft long wire with Rhombic  antennas suspended underneath- for U/VHF/AM FM  "SIGINT" and TV Dx), mostly using the same rigs as above.I was actually able to locate  an intelligence "entity" close by  on my installation that was still using CW ! That's ONE way to "hide"   (I guess ???).

During exercises in SC I   used to set up a hidden UHF aero receiver at work  on our local tower UHF  frequency listening for "hostile" call signs on approach. I'd quietly don my gas mask a full minute before the "surprise" attack. Folks never figured out how I did it :).

All happened a million years ago, I imagine things are different now.


Equipment / Re: Dueling Selecta- A Tennas (NOT Banjos)
« on: May 28, 2021, 1423 UTC »
Hey Syfr,

The tower / building that now transmits JIB has been on the air under various call signs ( that went broke) for many years before Bob bought it.

I think having the personal resources to keep her on air is the main reason why it has lasted.

Now that he has a following it seems that his annual fund raising is enough to keep WJIB, net control WJTO ( Maine) and the smaller outlets on air.

FWIW, the original JIB call sign here in Boston was a “beautiful music “ big signal FM operation that eventually tanked and got sold off to a new owner and a new format.It had no connection to Bob at all.


Hey All,

 Ray : DDR design is  interesting , never seen that one.

Dood: I have seen train antennas like that.

Still learning. 


Longwave Loggings / Re: 338 UMP
« on: May 26, 2021, 2159 UTC »
Hey Pinto,

I once got frost bite on my ear going for SAQ at Marconi Beach Cape Cod (which I DIDN'T  copy, but DID copy on another "warmer" attempt). Used an   R-70 with 2000 ft on gnd, 500 bare copper in salt water. Rig would  completely fail from such super cold and had to be warmed up by running  car heat to get it to work again. No permanent damage caused, just too cold to work.

I'm not that crazy anymore :P


Longwave Loggings / Re: 338 UMP
« on: May 25, 2021, 0958 UTC »
Hey Pinto.

Yes, it’s possible when one goes off , another could be copied.

Back in the day I logged beacons from the   Eastern  1/2 to 2/3 of the US (and Canada) .

Some of my favorites were the ones jammed up near the bottom of the B'cast band ie bcn YWA, etc.

It’s kind of like LW broadcasting- log it before it goes extinct.

I used to like to dx the old Frying Pan Shoal bcn off shore SC  and the Super Power TUK Beacon with aviation voice weather at the Loran sight on Nantucket , both are long since QRT.

I know of at least one guy who built a LW crystal set in MD and got quite a bit of Beacon dx.

Eventually I am probably going to  build some type of LW loop (  unsure of size yet)  for the ATS 803.I will have to get away from local noise though.


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