After years of successfully keeping my Topband vertical in service during winter storms in costal environment my streak of luck has finally come to an end. This season alone I had more problems with the Topband vertical than in the past 10 years. Heres a quick recap of the so far very eventful season at SE0X.
November: Vertical comes down in a storm. A few days later we raised it up again, but the FCP and loading coil where destroyed when the vertical landed on top of those. We were able to force the pipes pretty straight with guy line tension. Stew Perry cancelled.
January 13: Loading coil and FCP replaced. Antenna back in service!
January 15: Another storm hits the area, measure loads of SWR via remote after the storm.
January 19: Quick visit to SE0X, the antenna is bent 90 degrees. I am able to raise it up, but now it is severely deformed.
January 23: Gail force wind in the area, remotely I measure 6:1 SWR. No no no, not again! Starting to look for alternative stations to work CQ160 from.
January 25: SWR back to normal, the antenna apparently raised itself up again and works well as soon as the wind settled. Logged JT and a few others. Hope is back, maybe the CQ160 is happening after all.
January 26 (today): Back at the station. One of the top guys have slack. Antenna looks sad, but at least it is standing up. More adjusting of guy lines to make it reasonably straight.
WX forecast for the weekend looks good with only moderate winds from S/W which is favourable. Now I can just cross my fingers that the vertical will survive CQ-160 so we can aim for another record.
And if I am really lucky it might even be around for 3Y0Z, that would be the real bonus.
So if you hear me in CQ160 CW this weekend, work me quickly. You never know when its time for another diary entry in this never ending story of challenges.
73 & GL!
It seems like CQWW CW will be a single band effort! The Topband Vertical a SE0X didn’t even make it through the first storm of the season. This week it was discovered to be resting on the ground after a few days of rough weather with storm. One of the guy line supports didn’t hold up to the forces of nature. After 10 years of loyal service it decided it was time to give up. The antenna itself is in one piece but rather deformed. The FCP and loading coil is a mess. It will be a challenge to get it back up and into service before the CQ160 contest.
The skimmer receiver at SE0X has been offline a few weeks. Some of the local species find RG6 coaxial cable delicious. Our 100 meter coax was temporarily repaired this past winter after being chewed off. This summer when replacing the coax, I found deep cuts caused by animals in several places were the coax crosses trails.
The new coax now cross these trails inside a rubber hose which hopefully will protect the coax a little better. Protecting your expensive coax against the wild life is definitely something to if your station is in the woods. Luckily the SE0X skimmer is located away from the main station. At SE0X wild life is limited to birds, fish and the occasional fox who doesn’t mind a swim.
Skimmer spots are being reported to the Reverse Beacon Network by SE0X and can been seen here.
Challenged by the QRM picked up by my omni directional active RX vertical when trying to work TL8TT on Topband, I decided it was time for a directional RX antenna pointing south in addition to my N/W and N/E Pennants. I had a transformer and termination resistors collecting dust so I decided to throw out some wire to make a short BOG, Beverage On Ground. Since I didn’t have any proper common mode chokes at hand I just wound about 10-12 turns of the coax around a FT-240-31 core. How does this quick fix compare with a proper RF choke? Read more ›
CQ 160 is one of my favourite contests. The goal this year was set to break the SM record in SO-HP Assisted. In addition I also wanted to beat my own score from 2010 in SO-HP (unassisted). Reasonably well prepared, somewhat rested and with the gear in shape I was ready to take on the challenge. This is the story of SE0X in CQ 160 CW 2017, keep on reading to see if I succeeded in hitting my goals. Read more ›
The Elecraft K3 transceiver at SE0X is an early first batch model. It was ordered within days from the K3 announcement at the Visalia DX convention 10 years ago. Many improvements has been introduced over the years and most of them have been implemented in our K3. Read more ›
Our CW skimmer is finally online again after a series of both software and hardware problems. It all started with with Windows automatically upgrading to Win 10 which lead to network problems. The WiFi link was replaced with Ubiquity equipment which seemed to cure the problem. Read more ›
Why am I always working on antennas in November, right at the start of the wet and windy season!
Posted the above video on Twitter. I have to admit it doesn’t look as dramatic when seen on video, but when below the tower the beams swing back and forth like a mobile whip on the highway. Read more ›
Earlier this month I was logging more than one thousand contacts in the IARU HF contest using an SDR transceiver. In this blog post I will share my experiences of this modern approach to contesting. Read more ›
The IARU HF Contest this past year was a lot of fun despite the bad band conditions. More than 1000 QSOs where logged in 22 hours of operating time. Here is a short summary with results. Read more ›