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Author Topic: Are you under 30 and how did you get interested?  (Read 1220 times)

Offline jasmine

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Re: Are you under 30 and how did you get interested?
« Reply #15 on: June 12, 2019, 0219 UTC »
hi,

i'm 24 and probably come here from a different path than most of you. i'm not into amateur radio and have no interest in transmitting. i got interested in radio as part of my greater interest in the electromagnetic spectrum. i'm an astronomy major and though i have always been fascinated by the sky as a girl scout we got a visit of a grad student from the local university's astronomy program. the way she enthusiastically talked about electromagnetic waves as distant info messengers sounded like magic! from that moment on i knew what i wanted to do. she sort of became my mentor and we exchanged a lot of emails! she's now a radio astronomer and has been to some pretty exotic places like the atacama large millimeter array in chile!

anyway when i was in high school i became interested in the detection of the reflection of distant radio stations off of meteor trails as another way to collect data in basic meteor astronomy. it was going to be a science project and my dad who i seldom saw (divorce) even offered to help (he's an engineer) but i ended up doing something else.

more recently in april i was looking for something totally unrelated on youtube and came across this guy using an SDR to listen for spy numbers stations. i was like "wait, what? those are real?" i had vaguely heard of them because of that movie "The Numbers Station" but had no idea they were real. i learned more about hf radio and how it is affected by geomagnetic activity as well as how electrical activity in Jupiter's magnetosphere itself can sometimes be heard here.

i bought an rtl-sdr and nooelec 1:9 balun on the basis of that video and put up a 50 foot longwire antenna inside the little off campus house we rent and watched the signals come in on the waterfall plot looking like something out of The Matrix! i was hooked! i started googling a lot to find out more about the signals i was detecting and came across this forum among others.

i experimented for awhile and learned the rtl dongle while good for vhf and above was not the best for HF so i bought an sdrplay rsp1a from ham radio outlet about a month ago. it was a definite upgrade and so now i'm looking to upgrade my antenna. i don't have a lot of space and learned there are some compact antennas like the mini whip and magnetic loops (maybe too expensive for me on a student budget). most of all i want to take down the wire in the house lol so any advice on how to replace it would be great. there is space to mount a compact antenna outside so that is my next step.

on a personal note i was reluctant to post here as most of the people here are old enough to be my dad or in many cases grand dad and i hadn't come across another female but i at least found a thread with some people closer to my age.

btw: we dont just listen to lady gaga and justin bieber, most of us listen to everything and have tons of spotify and/or pandora playlists.  don't hate me cause i like ariana grande and charlie puth ;)
« Last Edit: June 12, 2019, 0329 UTC by jasmine »

Offline OgreVorbis

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Re: Are you under 30 and how did you get interested?
« Reply #16 on: June 17, 2019, 1056 UTC »

i'm 24 and probably come here from a different path than most of you. i'm not into amateur radio and have no interest in transmitting. i got interested in radio as part of my greater interest in the electromagnetic spectrum. i'm an astronomy major and though i have always been fascinated by the sky as a girl scout we got a visit of a grad student from the local university's astronomy program. the way she enthusiastically talked about electromagnetic waves as distant info messengers sounded like magic! from that moment on i knew what i wanted to do. she sort of became my mentor and we exchanged a lot of emails! she's now a radio astronomer and has been to some pretty exotic places like the atacama large millimeter array in chile!

i experimented for awhile and learned the rtl dongle while good for vhf and above was not the best for HF so i bought an sdrplay rsp1a from ham radio outlet about a month ago. it was a definite upgrade and so now i'm looking to upgrade my antenna. i don't have a lot of space and learned there are some compact antennas like the mini whip and magnetic loops (maybe too expensive for me on a student budget). most of all i want to take down the wire in the house lol so any advice on how to replace it would be great. there is space to mount a compact antenna outside so that is my next step.

on a personal note i was reluctant to post here as most of the people here are old enough to be my dad or in many cases grand dad and i hadn't come across another female but i at least found a thread with some people closer to my age.

btw: we dont just listen to lady gaga and justin bieber, most of us listen to everything and have tons of spotify and/or pandora playlists.  don't hate me cause i like ariana grande and charlie puth ;)

My family has a background in astronomy and my dad's first major project was building an observatory for a university. I am into radio purely because of it's interesting properties. I've thought about connecting the two areas, but I'm more concentrated on my HF projects now.

Anyway, it really depends on exactly how much space you have, but a full size antenna is always best. There really is no good way of cheating the system and making something smaller that works better. You may find something decent, but not better.

It's fun to take advantage of the surrounding resources in a clever way. Like for example if there is a large metal fence or water main, you can use that for grounding a 1/4 wave vertical. Using a slingshot or crossbow to launch fishing line into a tree and then raising the antenna with that is another way.

If you don't have any grounding resources, then my opinion is to go for an inverted V. The cable goes up a tree to a branch and the two lengths of antenna slope down to the ground (it's a sloping version of a dipole.)

Good luck and don't feel intimidated to come back :)
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Offline i_hear_you

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Re: Are you under 30 and how did you get interested?
« Reply #17 on: June 17, 2019, 1433 UTC »
most of all i want to take down the wire in the house lol so any advice on how to replace it would be great.

Some more information on how much room you have outside, what sort of natural towers (trees) you have, and whether this must be stealth would be helpful for fine-tuning suggestions, but here are some ideas:

1) Move the wire outside, "ground" it to a fence or pile of old wires (or other metal) hidden under grass/soil, run coax to your receiver.  To decrease EMI pickup, wind some isolation transformers for each end of the coax and leave it floating.

2) Minimal, raised quarter-wave vertical with two radials.

3) Horizontal loop around the perimeter of the house hanging under the eaves.

4) The inverted V as mentioned, with the apex mounted to the highest point of the roof and the ends staked to the ground for easy deploy/stowing.

I have experience with #1 for SWL and #2 for 20m TX/RX.  I haven't had a chance to A/B test them for RX-only.  #2 is handy because I can untie the radials and move them out of the way during the day, then put them back at night for use.  It's also simple to drop the entire antenna to pack away, but in order to save oneself from having to get the line back up and over, make sure it is long enough to have both ends at ground level, then tie them off to the tree trunk while not in use.

Getting your antenna outside should yield a big improvement.  Because you are using SDR and by definition your receiver will be by a computer, it may be necessary to choke power cables, USB cables etc. with suitable ferrite materials to reduce EMI.

Offline Josh

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Re: Are you under 30 and how did you get interested?
« Reply #18 on: June 17, 2019, 1847 UTC »
Yeah well I have Ariana Venti on my playlist, along with lady gagme and justine beaver!

:D
Conveniently located near Vincennes Indiana.

Offline JimIO

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Re: Are you under 30 and how did you get interested?
« Reply #19 on: June 17, 2019, 2048 UTC »

cd playlist
rm *
cd ..
rmdir playlist
reboot

Offline jasmine

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Re: Are you under 30 and how did you get interested?
« Reply #20 on: July 05, 2019, 0133 UTC »
most of all i want to take down the wire in the house lol so any advice on how to replace it would be great.

Some more information on how much room you have outside, what sort of natural towers (trees) you have, and whether this must be stealth would be helpful for fine-tuning suggestions, but here are some ideas

there isn't much room at all, there is a deck but where i am is pretty urban so running wires everywhere outside is not an option. after a lot of research and watching videos on youtube i think i've settled on a wideband magnetic loop. thanks for the advice though! :) the choke beads on power adapters cut down on some of the interference i get. the loop will go outside on the deck which should help too.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2019, 0147 UTC by jasmine »

Offline MDK2

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Re: Are you under 30 and how did you get interested?
« Reply #21 on: July 06, 2019, 1202 UTC »
there isn't much room at all, there is a deck but where i am is pretty urban so running wires everywhere outside is not an option. after a lot of research and watching videos on youtube i think i've settled on a wideband magnetic loop. thanks for the advice though! :) the choke beads on power adapters cut down on some of the interference i get. the loop will go outside on the deck which should help too.

Wideband loops are, as far as I know, only active loops which means that they have little amplifiers built at the point where the ends come together. You could order such an amplifier kit (and sorry, I can't make any recommendations because I've not done this for myself), solder it together, and build a loop out of cheap parts such as copper water line. I've built a passive (unamplified) loop for myself which was pretty easy and cost about $30 in parts, but it has limited range and the loop itself must be tuned every time you tune more than about 100 kHz away. However it could be used indoors as long as it was near a window, and turning it this way and that to null noise (a loop's greatest strength is this ability) is great when you're in an urban setting.

If such a project appeals to you, and you're in possession of a soldering iron or gun and some solder, you can follow these directions and get a loop that covers about 5-19 MHz. You can make it easier on yourself and instead of harvesting a tuning capacitor out of an old clock radio, as he does here, you can order one online.
http://www.kr1st.com/swlloop.htm

However, if you want full range of LF-HF (0-30 MHz), and don't want or have time to put together your own amplifier, I recommend the W6LVP active loop. It's about half the cost of other loops, and Larry (a ham op whose call sign is W6LVP) is a great provider of service who will help out in any way. If you're in a city (sounds like you are), you may end up needing extra filters built in to help control interference from nearby broadcast signals, and those will increase the cost. But it's small, can be used on your patio with no problem, and may be all the receive-only antenna you will ever need.

Anyway, I too used to have no interest in broadcasting. It took only about two years of SWLing for my mind to be changed. ;)  Someone as curious about different modes as yourself may do the same. ESPECIALLY if you get into satellite communications, moon bounce, and things of that nature. Welcome to a surprisingly engrossing hobby!
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eQSLs appreciated wickerjennie at gmail

Offline Josh

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Re: Are you under 30 and how did you get interested?
« Reply #22 on: July 06, 2019, 1838 UTC »
I've used window sills as supports for hf loops, feed at a corner and you have vertical polarisation, at a center of top or bottom and you have horizontal. Just put a turn or two around the window sill and feed it with coax and a tuner and there you go.

Want to try these out in the future;
https://www.ebay.com/itm/MLA-30-100kHz-30MHz-Ring-Active-Receive-Antenna-for-Shortwave-Radio/312676401718?hash=item48ccf74236:g:pYsAAOSwraNdFT0u
https://www.ebay.com/itm/MiniWhip-Active-Antenna-HF-LF-VLF-mini-whip-shortwave-sdr-RX-portable-receiving/123674160968?hash=item1ccb8def48:g:l8QAAOSwHNtcfRT0

Sure they can be kit built but it'd cost as much for the parts and shipping when these are already put together.

That being said, a pa0rdt type with an mpf102 and 2n3904 in place of the j310 and whatever is doable as I have the parts.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xOSQ-lnkef4
Conveniently located near Vincennes Indiana.

Offline i_hear_you

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Re: Are you under 30 and how did you get interested?
« Reply #23 on: July 08, 2019, 1609 UTC »
after a lot of research and watching videos on youtube i think i've settled on a wideband magnetic loop.

For giggles, consider purchasing a BC AM tuning cap, some thin-gauge magnetic wire and using a pizza box or plastic milk crate to wire up a BC AM tuned loop.  I haven't found much worth listening to on BC AM, but I'm addicted to improving what I can pull in.  It becomes a sport.

I suspect experimentation with tuned loops will help you develop your HF loop.

Offline Pigmeat

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Re: Are you under 30 and how did you get interested?
« Reply #24 on: July 08, 2019, 2144 UTC »
I lived in a garage apt. in my late 20's. I had balcony on the alley side that I would run 40 or 50 ft. wire up and down the deck "snake style" then under the door and to the receiver. It worked surprisingly well in defeating the demon of aluminum siding that had plagued my indoor antennas. Aluminum siding and metal roofing are some noise trapping stuff.

Offline jasmine

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Re: Are you under 30 and how did you get interested?
« Reply #25 on: July 10, 2019, 0325 UTC »
there isn't much room at all, there is a deck but where i am is pretty urban so running wires everywhere outside is not an option. after a lot of research and watching videos on youtube i think i've settled on a wideband magnetic loop. thanks for the advice though! :) the choke beads on power adapters cut down on some of the interference i get. the loop will go outside on the deck which should help too.
However, if you want full range of LF-HF (0-30 MHz), and don't want or have time to put together your own amplifier, I recommend the W6LVP active loop. It's about half the cost of other loops, and Larry (a ham op whose call sign is W6LVP) is a great provider of service who will help out in any way. If you're in a city (sounds like you are), you may end up needing extra filters built in to help control interference from nearby broadcast signals, and those will increase the cost. But it's small, can be used on your patio with no problem, and may be all the receive-only antenna you will ever need.

hi again, that is the loop i have settled on  :D as for building stuff, while i am ok with a soldering iron, i'd prefer to buy this as i know it works and between work and school i don't have time to tinker much.

Quote
Anyway, I too used to have no interest in broadcasting. It took only about two years of SWLing for my mind to be changed. ;)  Someone as curious about different modes as yourself may do the same. ESPECIALLY if you get into satellite communications, moon bounce, and things of that nature. Welcome to a surprisingly engrossing hobby!

while i never rule anything out i seriously doubt i'd want to become a ham. i've listened to many and browsed QRZ enough to have a pretty good idea i don't want to become one. i do enjoy learning tech and how to receive other modes and stuff from them though. im strictly an SWL.

Offline jasmine

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Re: Are you under 30 and how did you get interested?
« Reply #26 on: July 10, 2019, 0329 UTC »
I've used window sills as supports for hf loops, feed at a corner and you have vertical polarisation, at a center of top or bottom and you have horizontal. Just put a turn or two around the window sill and feed it with coax and a tuner and there you go.

Want to try these out in the future;
https://www.ebay.com/itm/MLA-30-100kHz-30MHz-Ring-Active-Receive-Antenna-for-Shortwave-Radio/312676401718?hash=item48ccf74236:g:pYsAAOSwraNdFT0u
https://www.ebay.com/itm/MiniWhip-Active-Antenna-HF-LF-VLF-mini-whip-shortwave-sdr-RX-portable-receiving/123674160968?hash=item1ccb8def48:g:l8QAAOSwHNtcfRT0

Sure they can be kit built but it'd cost as much for the parts and shipping when these are already put together.

That being said, a pa0rdt type with an mpf102 and 2n3904 in place of the j310 and whatever is doable as I have the parts.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xOSQ-lnkef4

thanks, i did look at the mini-whip and still may pick one up as they are inexpensive but i think i'll try the magnetic loop first. i heard the mini-whip would work best in areas without a lot of electrical interference, which is not the case where i live but is the case at my parent's house so i may pick one up to try out there when i'm there.

Offline Josh

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Re: Are you under 30 and how did you get interested?
« Reply #27 on: July 10, 2019, 0819 UTC »
This HAM found interesting effects with the active whip antenna as far as noise goes;
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MTkVGN9tgQg
Conveniently located near Vincennes Indiana.