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[POLL] Chaser DX antenna type for 17-20-30m

There is no way that - your suggestion is “wrong attitude” James. I applaud you for “looking outside the box”. No one needs conflict with their neighbours and when you have a better site, that with todays technology you can use - why not. As you say if you move your residence, it doesn’t matter as long as you have Internet access you can use the remote station.

Good on 'yer. I’m sure a lot of Ops will be jealous of not having such an option,

73 Ed.

While I am fortunate to have beam antennas for the three bands in question, DX results vary considerably. Despite using three elements on 30m, I work very little SOTA DX on 30m. 30m however is one of my main bands for chasing in North America. This is mostly because of time of day when SOTA expedtions are active. There simply isn’t much daylight propagation on 30 to DX locations.

From Colorado, 20m seems to be my best band consistently to EU. I did pick up some EU QSOs on 17m during this month’s EU/NA event with good signals.

For JA/VK/ZL, it can be a toss up between 17 and 20m. I recently worked VK1DA who’s signal was nearly undetectable on 20, but very readable on 17m. John, ZL1BYZ is frequently strongest here on 17. This often happens with JAs also. Often I struggle to work a JA on 20m only to find their signal much stronger on 17 later in the activation.

Tenna%20003_50

Tenna_50

These antennas are both tribanders. The bottom antenna is for 30/17/12 while the top is 20/15/10. The top antenna has actually been slightly modified from this picture with the removal of the 10m reflector and a somewhat shorter boom, but remains essentially the same.

These beams are sometimes a disadvantage when chasing close in activations as the angle of radiation can be a bit low. I could sometimes benefit from lower wire antennas with a higher angle of radiation.

73, Larry

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You’re making me jealous Larry.

Most of us in the UK can only dream of having a setup like that.

Limited space and planning regulations/restrictions ensure that most of us don’t have huge towers with big beams.

I actually consider myself very lucky as I managed to convince my local planning department to allow me to install a 12 meter high mast in the back garden.

To answer the original question, my current antennas are as follows:-

Diamond CP5 on the 12m mast which covers most bands between 6m & 40m

Diamond V2000 tri-bander for my, vhf & uhf

20m long inverted L which I seem to be able to tune between 15m & 80m, although it’s too short and fairly hopeless on 40 & 80m (acts more like a dummy load than an antenna).

40m full wave sky loop (which will tune up & kind of works on 80m & 60m, even though it is technically too short and very inefficient).

The main antennas I use for chasing are:-

40m loop as most activators in Europe seem to pop up on 40m. 60m is also popular for UK activators. Sometimes they pop up on 80m, but I don’t think this band is as popular as 60m & 40m.

I use the vertical for those that pop up on 20m.

Unfortunately I can’t do cw, so I don’t tend to chase SOTA on 30m (I use 30m mainly for FT 8).

40 & 20 are the main bands for me.

If you have phone cables that are running from poles to houses rather than underground in the vicinity of your QTH then a likely source of interfence is VDSL or ADSL radiation from these phones lines. Look where the nearest broadband cabinet is and take a portable radio to see what it radiates on HF there and around the locality. No point complaining to BT they will ignore you. This widebanded interference can afflict most amateur bands from 1.8 MHz up to 18 MHz.

There are well documented methods in Radcom and other places and on the RSGB website in determining if it is interference from phone lines. I hope you are a member then you can look this information up!

The other possible source is from solar panel panel arrays or any of the 100s of switch mode power supplys in use within 100m of your QTH if it is an average residential neighbourhood. Verticals and end fed aerials relatively close to housing tend to pick up a lot more noise than horizontal aerials. Experimentation is needed to determine what is best for any particular location. An inverted vee dipole is often a good compromise. I’ve had a ham station in 9 different houses since 1982 and you have to make the best of what you have, XYL, neighbours and real estate permitting. Its challenging and you aren’t the most popular guy in the neighbourhood, that’s for sure, don’t give up and bow to pressure or it may be the end of your hobby… If you are really struggling just concentrate on one or two bands - if its HF SOTA Chasing and you don’t do CW then 20m and 40m and the bands to go for.

Make sure you have a good earth outside and all your equipment is connected to it the approved way (bus barred and not daisy chained).

I’ve challenged the neighbours and the planners - and won an appeal with the support of the RSGB. If you persist and have the time and patience you can win, on appeal if necessary, if your proposal is not too overt. Then you can get a modest antenna farm in your garden and work the world, with or without sunspots.

73 Phil

You might be right on the money with the phone lines Phil. That was something that I hadn’t considered.

My own phone line has been disconnected as I don’t have a landline (I only have a mobile phone and our internet is through a cable buried in the ground) but most of the houses still have phone lines. It’s quite probable that many of these lines are still in use.

Also lots and lots of solar panels in the area.

As I said, I got lucky with the planners. My neighbors were ok with it. There were no objections to my planning application and the lady that I dealt with from the planning department was actually extremely helpful.

I don’t think she was supposed to tell me but she did let slip that they only received one letter from a neighbour in response to my planning application for the radio mast and that apparently said “I don’t object to the mast as long as it doesn’t give my children cancer”!!!

I gently explained to her that this was mis-guided and part of the training for the amateur licence is surrounding the safety aspects.

Having anticipated this, I also highlighted presented her with a case study (which included an RF exposure safety assessment) from a broadcast radio station which had installed a transmitter about 2 miles from my house.

I also pointed out that I believed that this was OFCOM’s responsibility to police and not the council planning department (as was stated in the aforementioned case study).

At which point she agreed with me, stating that it wouldn’t be a factor in the decision as she believed that it was outside of the planning departments remit.

Next thing I knew was a letter in the post stating that my application had been approved.

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That’s great - well done. I wish it had always been as easy for me, but it sounds like you went about things the right way! In my latest application I had 16 objections, I won’t list their reasons for objecting - the list is far too long and you would probably ROTFL! The Council Planning Officer did not process my application, with regret, he told the planning inspectorate in his submission - due to staff shortages brought about in my opinion, by austerity and the reorganisation of our local council. So I appealed to the Planning Inspectorate on the grounds of non-determination during the laid down 13 weeks statutory period. I won the appeal and from June 2018 have had a 12m Tennamast in the garden with two beam antennas in daily use.

73 Phil

Phil,

As I said, I think I got lucky.

The fact that they didn’t receive any objections was obviously a big plus.

I think it also depends upon where you are and which planning department you have to deal with.

The best advice that I can give to anyone contemplating this is to do your homework:-

Look for previous applications in the area (both successful and failed) and look at the issues that came up.

Be a reasonable about what you ask for. You’re not going to get a 40m commercial lattice radio mast in a small 3 bedroom mid-terrace like where I live.

Make sure you have an answer to everything that you are likely to be asked. For example, I expected the RF issue to come up (as is often the concern with mobile phone masts) so I had the case study of a commercial broadcast mast which had already been approved.

When I gave her around 100 pages of paperwork to read, including some extremely in depth mathematics which had been compiled by experts (who know far more than I ever will) and lawyers, she decided that she wasn’t going to have the time to read & understand it!!!

Like most people, the planners are answerable to a manager. Most of the time they are just covering themselves against any comeback if there’s any problems or repercussions. They’re no different to any of us. They don’t want their boss to shout at them for making a mistake (or a bad decision).

I got the impression that she really liked it when I gave a perfectly valid reason why it was outside of her departments remit (takes the responsibility off of her shoulders).

Remember that they don’t understand amateur radio (unless they happen to be an amateur themselves). Be patient and be prepared to explain what may seem to you to be the blindingly obvious.

Like I said, a little little luck comes into it, but you may be surprised what you can get approved.

Just a comment on solar panels.

The panels themselves produce DC. They should be as QRM free as a dry cell. The inverters that produce mains voltage at the desired frequency may produce RF interference but the better quality ones don’t. Inverters are not normally on the roof, they are more commonly bolted to an inside wall of the building, in my experience. I can walk up to my inverter with a portable radio monitoring a signal on 7090 khz ssb, and even touching the radio antenna onto the heat sink of the inverter produces zero noise, but increases the level of the signal being heard. That inverter is Xantrex brand… this may not indicate all Xantrex inverters are like that, and certainly does not mean all inverters are clean. but they don’t need to radiate noise.

The switchmode power supplies in LED lights, powering routers and wifi connections, computers, game consoles are, in my experience, a more likely source of mains-radiated noise. I’ve had a few of them.

Andrew
vk1da/2uh

Usually the last place you look :wink:

Hi Larry,
First of all, congrats on your great antenna system. I wish I could have something like that.

This is something I’ve also experienced here with respect to activators in USA, I recall it particularly with @KX0R activating in W0C.
Most of the times, 20m is the best band for DX with North America but there are some occasions when depending on the year season and the time of the day, 17m and even 15m are better than 20m.
The good thing is having the choice to switch bands with great antennas on all of them.

73,

Guru