Well, the challenge gave me a good start to the year, with 4 activations on 80m. ‘Must try harder’ for topband!
I found that my 80 - 60 - 40 linked dipole would not tune up on 160m. The next experiment was to use loading coils. I took note of Colin @M1BUU’s inductance measurements of his adjustable loading coils (85 - 110 micro Henries).
I thought that if I wound some to the lower end of these values, eg 85 micro Henries, that would bring the dipole closer to resonance, and the Elecraft T1 tuner would then match it.
However, I wound the coils on some ferrite rod of unknown provenance, so it might just be that it is horrible at 1.8 MHz. I’ll have to investigate further, probably with an analyser to see what is going on.
During the Flavours Challenge in January I activated DM/BW-008 (Schauinsland) and DM/BW-009 (Kandel). Both were quick activations. Schauinsland in the evening and Kandel early in the morning.
For the 80m band I usually use my homemade G5RV antenna. But I only had the UnUnTenna from QRPguys (for 10-40m) in my backpack. With the Elecraft T1 tuner this could also be successfully tuned for 80m. I know i was probably very quiet for chasers. Many thanks to all the chasers who worked me with patience on the 80m band.
The sun on it’s way down. The walk out was in the shade of the summit. The days are very short still.
Just 10 QSOs here.
Interesting as these two activations and a dry run on Benbeoch GM/SS-186 on New Year’s Eve are the first time I’ve given 80m a proper go. Signals are either 59 or very weak. I’m surprised a dipole so low works as well as it does.
GW/SW-041, SW-014 and SW-012 were all activated on 80m ssb for the Challenge and, today, SW-011 was also activated. All three were activated using my 20,40,60 dipole with the loading coils inserted in the 40/60 gaps, tuning up very easily to 1.2 SWR or better using the KX3 internal tuner (which will not bring the SWR below 4 without the coils). This has worked well over the past year or so, although I have generally favoured 60m. This let me down today with only three contacts until I QSYed to 5.4035 to bring in Michael, EI3GYB, I then reluctantly fitted the coils (not easy with the wire over the rocky East side of the Sugar Loaf) to gain a further 13 contacts, some of which I would have liked for the Challenge.
I did have a go with the 160m coils but something was not quite correct - they worked in the garden, but not on the hill.
Now I will be looking at the FT8 threads here and considering some digimode chasing in February.
I had been advocating in the MT an 80/160m challenge for quite some time so as a chaser I was fascinated by the results. Considering that the antennas used by activators were compromised by low height and inefficiency from the use of loading coils, the signal strengths on 80m were little short of phenomenal. I gave most of my contacts reports of S8 or 9, some were considerably over the nine - and I had a 20dB attenuator in circuit the whole time! I worked 21 summits, it would have been more but I was plagued by severe noise after the weekend. To put this into perspective, signal levels on 60m and 40m were much lower during the same period. At this time of the year and during daylight hours it seems that if you can get an antenna up 80m is a great band for SOTA.
160m was a disappointment, probably a challenge too far when 80m is also available, there was too little activity to evaluate its potential.
I have only managed to chase one activator (@OE5EEP) on 80m. My experience has been very disappointing because all central European activators I tried to copy were far too weak and buried in tons of band noise.
The only contact I could have logged with good signals was yesterday when EA2LU called CQ on 80m from EA2/NV-151, which is a summit less than 10Km LOS from my remote station antennas and despite seeing the spot on SOTAwatch, I forgot about the ongoing Flavours challenge and didn’t go to chase him because I had already chased him on 20m some few minutes earlier…
Could you point me to the challenge results table please?
I had a look on the Database>>Results>>Challenges but only see the 12m and 6m results.
Good to work you from the Mells - Sunday conditions much better that the horizontal freezing rain of Saturday. I have made some improvements to the 80m dipole, so hopefully can perform a little better on the next 80/160 challenge.