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Trans-Atlantic S2S QSO Party Autumn 2019 (Nov. 2nd).

Just a reminder for those that don’t have diaries - the next Trans-Atlantic S2S event is on Saturday 2nd November 2019, generally between the hours of 13:00 and 17:00 UTC. For those with more battery capacity, summit shelters and generally more stamina, timings may go out + 1 hour at either end of the above period.

I hope to get a decent number of S2S contacts in the log once again and from reports elsewhere, conditions seem to be improving. :grinning:

73, Gerald G8CXK / G4OIG

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OK…you talked me into it…gotta get a kitchen pass from the wife…

Pete
WA7JTM
W7A/Arizona

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Reference to previous thread:

https://reflector.sota.org.uk/t/trans-atlantic-s2s-events-20th-april-2019-and-2nd-november-2019/19721/101

Might try this event this year…Wondering what an effective 20 meter antenna might be for T-A S2S? Thinking of erecting an half-square wire beam on two telescoping poles broadside to EU…to maximize low angle of radiation. Thoughts or other ideas from past experience?

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I have used a wire beam in the past and it does work!

Did one for 20 and 17 meters…13 ft off the ground…but it still seemed to work.

Pete
WA7JTM

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Oo-er, that sounds serious Joe. I usually use my 20 / 17m vertical. The choice of summit with a decent take-off in the right direction certainly helps, as indeed does a bit of power (30 ~ 40 watts). I usually use a Yaesu FT-857D, though this time the rig is likely to be an Icom IC-703 with a small linear. It would be great to have you taking part.

73, Gerald G8CXK / G4OIG

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FYI…

Last year I worked 21 Europe stations and SEVEN of those contacts were s2s contacts during this event…and that is from out here in Arizona…at the bottom of the cycle.

So you never know!

73

Pete
WA7JTM

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Hi Pete,
in general conditions this year are even worse than last year. That being said over the last few days things have got a little better on 20m and especially on 40m. I’m hearing South American stations from the home QTH and it’s been a while since that has been possible.

My portable antenna of choice a VP2E (vertically polarised two element) wire antenna supported by a 30 foot fishing pole.

73 Ed.

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Would I be largely wasting my time then with just 10-12W of CW (KX2) and a 20m horizontal wire dipole on my 9m SOTApole?

I’ld be happy to make a simple wire vertical if that would help.

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For me, conditions during the Autumn event have always been better than during the Spring event, so I would say give it a go. Paul G6GGP (G4MD) has made contacts across the pond on SSB using his FT-817ND and a simple vertical with just one counterpoise running out in a north-westerly direction. The choice of summit helps. Choose one with a good drop off in the north-west direction. A summit with an internet connection so you can monitor the spots also helps find people quickly. Whatever happens, you’ll bag a number of EU S2S contacts and have a load of fun… and if not, there’s always the pub afterwards! :grinning:

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Hi Andy,

No, you certainly would not be wasting your time using the 20m dipole!

If you want to try a vertical antenna though - go for it. Experimenting is an interesting part of the hobby. I find HF J-Poles are a good vertical antenna as they don’t need radial wires.

The “plus point” for a vertical is the lower take-off angle compared to a horizontal dipole, however the “minus point” is that verticals can be more susceptable to noise.

I always try to have a “tried and tested” antenna along as well. So if you are used to using the 20m horizontal dipole, but want to try out a new vertical, bring both along. It’s ALWAYS good to have a backup!

Most of all though, have fun!

73 Ed.

I don’t think you’ll be wasting your time at all. I have used dipoles almost exclusively, I find they’re just so much less fussy than verticals. A dipole on a summit works very well. I did a comparison between a SOTA vertical and a SOTA dipole, there was little to split the two. I think a large factor depends upon the polarity of the signals - when the signals have been bounced a few times, who knows what mix of polarity there is. Sometimes the vertical wins, sometimes the dipole wins. As is often said, the best antenna is the one you have / is plugged into your radio!

Go for it!

Colin

Later edit…

As for angle of radiation, a vertical above a poor ground won’t have as low an angle as you might think and a dipole will have lower than you might think.

I once asked W7EL, the antenna guru about verticals v horizontal for SOTA and he said that in his opinion, a vertical lives on the beach next to a very good ground plane (saltwater)!

sloper
A sloper with the wires end to end facing north east from the US will probably work well. I created several EZNEC models of antenna setups that can be used in a summit - with what is typically carried by activators - a 6m mast. The antenna that has preferential gain is a sloper. It is hard to erect a horizontal dipole 1/2 wavelength up on a summit. If you can find a summit with a gentle downslope towards Europe - will get more ground gain (not included by my model) perhaps not much but every little bit counts. Verticals are grossly inefficient without an extensive ground radial system. However, with one or two elevated radials or better yet 4 - it still is only unity gain (no gain)

vert

So depending on the arrival angles of the signals from Europe - I think the dipole sloper wins.

Ariel NY4G

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Last year I ran my 20 meter dipole 13 feet off the ground (ends about 6 ft off the ground) and worked all of the EU stations I mentioned previously. I do set it up on the edge of the peak so the path to the NE is all downhill from the antenna.

Pete
WA7JTM

I can certainly vouch for that. As I said in my earlier email, Paul G6GGP worked several Stateside stations with an FT-817 and a simple vertical and counterpoise. He sat at the top of the slope and found that with the counterpoise running down the slope towards the States, there was more gain. This antenna was in effect a cranked sloper dipole with the top half vertical. I’m sure he won’t mind me posting his log here…

His activation was somewhat restricted by my operation on the same / adjacent band.

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Thanks Pete, good to know!

Thanks Gerald. I think I’ll try the wire beam approach… maybe take a wire vertical to play with too…along with my ICOM 706MKII, so I have a little power to play with. Hope to hear you!

Hi Ariel,

My 20m dipole on a 9m pole is a sloper. I recall that a sloper has its two main lobes at right angles to the line of the wires like that of a horizontal dipole but slightly squashed.

If I understood your comment, it would be best to align one of those lobes with the great-circle path to the NE USA (which is roughly north-west from the UK).

My target summit overlooks the Irish Sea to the west and rolls away gently on most sides. According to Google Earth the north-west path (to the USA) crosses some non-mountainous land before reaching the sea. I hope this won’t attenuate my 10-12W CW signal too much.

73 Andy

As this event is expected to take place between 1300 and 1700 - here’s what WSPR looked like on 20m today 20/10/2019 between 1545 and 1645:

It looks good between Europe and the US and some of Canada, Europe to South America does not look so promising.
(of course conditions in two weeks time can be completely different).

At about the same time 40 metres didn’t look so good (but 40m is often better just after lunch):

Interestingly 17m brought in some South American WSPR traffic!

73 Ed.

Using a dipole is not hopeless by any means, although I think likelihood of a transatlantic s2s on ssb is highly unlikely. Conditions are very poor, but even this morning I made multiple EU contacts unexpectedly with 4 watts and solar flux index of 65! I think this was in part because I had a favorable slope that reflected signals north off one side of the dipole and chasers have some very effective antennas and cw skills. The event last spring I had two transatlantic s2s and many stateside s2s. It will be fun regardless. I’m planning to take my kids camping and participate in the event if possible.

On the sloper configuration my understanding is there is some slight directionality in the direction the antenna is sloping. But I have not researched that and have no experience with that configuration. I use inverted v’s almost exclusively when portable but try to get the ends up as high as possible.