Helicopters and more

Whats your aerial doing?

What have you been doing radio wise this weekend?

On the constant effort to improve our stations I popped over to Martins to help him with some adjustments and put into action another of his fabulous ideas.

First off the Hex beam wires were a bit loose. He said I had put them on twisted….but you know that can’t have been true. It blamed it on the pigeons.

As it turned out it wasn’t even them. Some of the wires were just a bit loose and to deal with that the chaps who make the hex beam supply a cord to pull two of the arms together so having exonerated myself from the twisted wire slander we set about lowering the mast to effect the fix.



which was pretty easy once we had worked out how to lean the mast over without the use of hard hats.

Then to deal with the main issue. We both have spid rotators and you will (I am sure) have read my post about the problems that I had with the controller. Well Martin has the same issues and a combination of this and the mast being able to rotate on its own left him with three severed RF cables.

So, he thought, you need some way to monitor the mast and check it is pointing in the right direction and not wrapping itself up.

CCTV for aerials. That’d the answer, And the next big thing in amateur radio I predict.

Bullet Cam on the end of the roof, monitor in the shack. Adjust the camera to that north is up and flip the image so that it rotates on the screen to match the compass rose.



This is taken after dusk. the low light performance is so good.

Martin might even be able to spot the pigeons tying his hex beam up in knots !!!


My That's a Whopper

After the first 144mhz UKAC this year I found I was being out gunned with my 7 element LFA and a quick look at the competition shows they are all using higher gain antennas. So I had a chat with Justin of Innov Antennas fame and he has sent me the dimensions for a 14 and 13 element LFA yagi.

I went for the 13 element (lucky for some) which is 8m long. I have made it in 2 bits using the innovantennas 144mhz choke balun. I have added a new section to the mast that makes it easier to out the beam up a couple of supporting lines to keep it straight. In the driveway is is ok to put up and it will probably be just the wind that might be an issue at MP.



I have managed to get 1:1.3 VSWR over the SSB band. It wants to be fully resonant at 145 but i can’t seem to change that with different reflectors and directors.


Tuning consist of standing on a ladder and tapping the LFA elements in and out with a spare bit of aluminium. I expect the VSWR to change when i get it up to its full height but can only do so much without going out with it.

It will be interesting to see how it performs.

Times Technology Analyser

I have had to return my T100+ to the manufacturers as it seems to be performing very oddly.

It doesn't seem to recognise the antenna when it is connected and give me very odd readings even when there is no antenna connected.
I have re calibrated it and re set it to no avail.

Hopefully the chaps in Honk Kong will be able to sort it out.







Green Heron

I use Spid rotators. One at home and one for the portable setup.

The controller for the one at home has been playing up loosing its place and as the Spid does not have endstops it is very easy for it to wind your coax and cables up round the mast. So I had a look at whatever everyone else was using and ordered a Green Heron controller from Jeff.

It arrived after our wales Trip, where incidentally the portable buddipole vertical worked ok. I got to the US and Canada on it. Anyway I digress. After confusing myself comparing the spid instructions with Jeff’s and an email dialogue with Jeff I finally got to connect the wires the right way round! Thinking too hard rather than just following instructions!

Anyway, Jeff’s support for us intermediate numpties is second to none. It still amazes me how people in this hobby provide such a brilliant service.

I will report on it after a bit more of a trial but so far I could not be happier with it and it had stayed synchronised with the beam- that’s the important thing.

Here is whats inside it

So what are the advantages over the standard Spid one.

1 there is a knob you can turn to point and shoot where you want the beam to point

2 it is configurable to allow you to set end stops to stop it where you want
3 It ramps up to speed and slows down so it doesn’t shock the mast or antenna
4 it interfaces with Maclogger DX to show where the beam is pointing (see the green line on the compass - the grey one is where the station you are trying to contact is). It also gives you a green line on the world map to show where you are pointing


Screen Shot 2016-01-17 at 17.53.12

Here you can see the green line pointing at Bob VP8LP

There is a programme that goes with it but for that i need to invoke the dreaded windows so I will persevere with it for a bit as I might have to succumb to set the end stops as the rotator is set up, cable wise for 2 full rotations.

It connects to MLDX as before the only issue I am having is that it looses the USB connection when I turn the power off and on again. So I think i need to clear the Mac’s cache….or something technical like that.

Here it is in the shack. A quick test got us the US and Canada on 20m just as the band was vanishing. So all of you who know, from the UKAC, that I wang my beam around with gay abandon missing QSO’s from most of you, can be assured that the same is likely to happen from home as well!



/A in Wales

We are off for a winter break in Wales for Mrs LDZ’s birthday.

IO71 if you were wondering..

So I have some of the gear so I can have a go at the 70cms UKAC on Tuesday (which happens to clash with Mrs LDZ’z big birthday). I have been working on a portable setup for SOTA and thought I would give that a go.

We were told there would be no phone signal but the 3G router was pressed into action and sure enough we have internet without the need for the big 3G antennas, hence the ability to update the website.


The radio antenna is a Buddipole shock-corded whip which I have mounted onto a monopod pole (you could use a hiking stick) and that is held up with four radials cut to 10/15/17 and 20m. You need to use a loading coil to give you all the bands but the whip is resonant on 17 on its own. The buddipole coil has colour corded clips that you can set for repeatable setups.

This all packs down to 400mm in length and is easily portable.



You do need an analyser to make the most of a setup like this as the tuning can be quite critical.


I have it resonant on 40m as well but have yet to try that out. It probably needs another longer radial.

So far it has been good for Iceland, the Azores, Portugal etc with good reports. So far no luck with further afield.
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