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rhyary
02-22-2011, 06:56 AM
Hi,
Finally installed the HF into the LX450
Nothing is bolted down yet as I am experimenting with operations.
The rear get dual 20A feed into the TS-480HX

You can see the 2M FTM-350R fit into the pocket. But the TS480HX is too big. Currently I plan to mount it on the wheel well and attach it to the third seat bracket.

rhyary
02-22-2011, 07:00 AM
The optional extension cable accessory is utilized to bring every thing into the cabin.
The head unit fit very conveniently in front of the two shifters.

rhyary
02-22-2011, 07:03 AM
The antenna utilizes military spring and is mounted to the jerry can rack. Originally I wanted it to the side, but the rear had a brace between the two hoops and we mounte the bracket to that bracket.

The antenna is hamstick 20M. It tunes to 14.150 @ 1.0 SWR and at 14.350 it is 1.5 SWR. I think this are very good numbers

rhyary
02-22-2011, 07:07 AM
QSO:
First day I made contact with a guy in Alabama. very thrilling.
The next day I made contact with Florida and a mid-western state. I forget the exact one. This morning on the way to work I made contact with Florida again.

Not bad for a mobile rig. My observation is that i can have a good QSO with rigs that have a very good antennas no matter were they are. So this is not mobile to mobile QSO. For example yesterday evening I made contact in Florida with a setup that had 60 feet antenna and some massive setup. But he came loud a clear and no problem understanding it.

rhyary
02-22-2011, 07:12 AM
Operation:
Much to learn here. I read the manual 50 times, went back to the General study book.

I am not clear how much the RF gain should be, what the speech processor should be, I played with the filters (NAR 1.8 for SSB), and DNR, etc etc, but because I am not on the other side, I don't know what effect it all has on the receiving end.

I have to figure out the scan. I programmed it to scan only the 20M (14.150 - 14.350) so that works great. but the scan does not stop. It flies by the conversations. I can hear a conversation comes into focus, and then it scan right by it. I have to stop it manual and go back. Which defeat the purpose of the scan.

It is daunting how much more complicated HF is compare to VHF/UHF.

I like it!

Seldom Seen
02-22-2011, 07:41 AM
Operation:
Much to learn here. I read the manual 50 times, went back to the General study book.

I am not clear how much the RF gain should be, what the speech processor should be, I played with the filters (NAR 1.8 for SSB), and DNR, etc etc, but because I am not on the other side, I don't know what effect it all has on the receiving end.

I have to figure out the scan. I programmed it to scan only the 20M (14.150 - 14.350) so that works great. but the scan does not stop. It flies by the conversations. I can here a conversation comes into focus, and then it scan right by it. I have to stop it manual and go back. Which defeat the purpose of the scan.

It is daunting how much more complicated HF is compare to VHF/UHF.

I like it!

Nifty Guides (http://www.niftyaccessories.com/Kenwood_cards.htm) are much more concise than the owners manual.

rhyary
02-22-2011, 08:27 AM
The manual is not the problem. :-)
It is understanding what it means that I need help with.
Meaning: I know how to adjust the RF-Gain. But what does it mean?

Example:
The radio came with the RF-GAIN setup to the maximum (100).
The atmospheric noise was so loud, I almost went deft.
I adjusted it down to 80. Atmospheric is now better, but is that the best way to take that noise down?

Also, the squelch, unless almost at full does little to atmospheric noise. Unlike VHF/UHF it seems to not be as effective. It kills the stations AND the atmospheric.

So the above is ONE example. I have questions like that on almost any adjustments I can make, and there are so many, regardless what manual I am using.

It is not clear to me where exactly one learns about it, Unless one is allowed to bug DaveInDenver to death. :-)

Rami

Groucho
02-22-2011, 09:05 AM
RF Gain is like your squelch on VHF. As you adjust it down, it squelches out (or quiets out) all but the strongest signals that can get past the S-meter setting which is directly related to your RF Gain setting. On my Yaesu FT-857D, as I adust the RF Gain up, the S-meter needle goes up from 0 incrementally. If I set the RF Gain to where the S-meter is at S6, then only signals that my radio receives that are greater than S6 will be sent to the audio. Otherwise, they are muted. IMVHO, it is a great way to eliminate some of the "noise" associated with operating mobile.

I always get nose level with my vehicle's motor off. Once it is going, my usual S meter noise goes up to around S3. As I pass certain areas in my neighborhood or town, I get varying levels of noise, driving by lots of high power lines, places with a lot of Wi-Fi, etc. So I almost always keep my RF Gain at a level where only signals greater than S3 in strength will be heard. I had done a lot of work to my 80 to abate noise, and only on really bad propagation days do I need to open up the RF Gain more to even hear stations.

Keep the questions coming!

'73
Nathaniel
WIIN

rhyary
02-22-2011, 10:09 AM
Many thanks for the quick replies.

I have the Extra license since November, hence 150 - 350.
My goal is to set the radio the best I can to specific scenario. It will be too complicated to ask questions on all the possibilities. I have a TS-480 with most of any adjustments in the book. Lets focus the helping on the following:

** I am using SSB USB on the 20M (140.150-350) with hamstick antenna and good SWR. I want to make the best out of this settings **

OK, squelch off, and use the RF-Gain.
At full gain my S meter currently where I park is reading S5 with just the noise. It does not move when I start the car.
I have Noise Blanker to deal with pulsing and the manual says to put it on when in mobile installation. I does take our the pulsing from the engine. There is no alternator whine.

I have noticed that as I take the gain down, at some point the S meter start going up.
The conversation I had were around S9. So should I gain it down until the S meter is on S9

Yes?

rhyary
02-22-2011, 11:17 AM
>> The S-meter should go down as you turn the gain down, so all I can think is that it's a feature of the radio trying to tell you what level signal would be required to hear a station. This would be the case if the noise floor goes down (it gets quieter) but the S-meter goes up.
/ENDQUOTE

After this discussion I will look up the explanation in the manual. I am better equip to understand it now.

rhyary
02-22-2011, 11:27 AM
From the manual

S METER
While receiving, serves as an S-meter to measure and display the received signal strength. While transmitting, serves as a power meter plus an ALC meter, an SWR meter, or a Speech Processor compression meter. The Peak Hold function holds each reading for approximately half a second.

RF (RADIO FREQUENCY) GAIN
The RF gain is normally configured to the maximum level regardless of the operating modes. The transceiver has been configured to the maximum level at the factory. However, you may decrease the RF gain slightly when you have trouble hearing the desired signal because of excessive atmospheric noise or interference from other stations. First, take note of the peak S-meter reading of the desired
signal.

Turn the MULTI control counterclockwise until the S-meter reads the peak value that you noted.

• Signals that are weaker than this level will be attenuated and reception of the station will become easier. Depending on the type and gain of your antenna, and the condition of the band, adjust the RF gain. When using FM mode, always adjust the RF gain to the maximum level.

Groucho
02-22-2011, 12:11 PM
Isn't this what I said a few posts ago? Just sayin...

From the manual

S METER
While receiving, serves as an S-meter to measure and display the received signal strength. While transmitting, serves as a power meter plus an ALC meter, an SWR meter, or a Speech Processor compression meter. The Peak Hold function holds each reading for approximately half a second.

RF (RADIO FREQUENCY) GAIN
The RF gain is normally configured to the maximum level regardless of the operating modes. The transceiver has been configured to the maximum level at the factory. 1)However, you may decrease the RF gain slightly when you have trouble hearing the desired signal because of excessive atmospheric noise or interference from other stations. First, take note of the peak S-meter reading of the desired
signal.

Turn the MULTI control counterclockwise until the S-meter reads the peak value that you noted.

Signals that are weaker than this level will be attenuated and reception of the station will become easier.2) Depending on the type and gain of your antenna, and the condition of the band, adjust the RF gain. When using FM mode, always adjust the RF gain to the maximum level.


RF Gain is like your squelch on VHF. 1)As you adjust it (RF Gain) down, it squelches out (or quiets out) all but the strongest signals that can get past the S-meter setting which is directly related to your RF Gain setting. On my Yaesu FT-857D, as I adust the RF Gain up, the S-meter needle goes up from 0 incrementally. 2)If I set the RF Gain to where the S-meter is at S6, then only signals that my radio receives that are greater than S6 will be sent to the audio. Otherwise, they are muted. IMVHO, it is a great way to eliminate some of the "noise" associated with operating mobile.

I always get nose level with my vehicle's motor off. Once it is going, my usual S meter noise goes up to around S3. As I pass certain areas in my neighborhood or town, I get varying levels of noise, driving by lots of high power lines, places with a lot of Wi-Fi, etc. So I almost always keep my RF Gain at a level where only signals greater than S3 in strength will be heard. I had done a lot of work to my 80 to abate noise, and only on really bad propagation days do I need to open up the RF Gain more to even hear stations.

Keep the questions coming!

'73
Nathaniel
WIIN

Sheesh! If I was any closer to the text from the manual I would have to be called out on plagiarism!

rhyary
02-22-2011, 12:18 PM
Yes it is. I was just pointing out how close you were to the manual :-)

Armed with the new knowledge, out I went to the parking lot for hands on.

So if I bring the gain from 100 to 80, very little noise is suppressed and S meter changes very little called it S5
If I change it from 80 to 70 some noise is quite, S meter changes from S5 to S9. Problem is I get a lot of clear conversation in the S7 to S9 range and that will be lost.

So I can't gain it down significantly with out loosing weak, but clean conversation. hmmm.

If I take it to S9 (about 60 to 75 on my dial) I get significant noise reduction, actual nice and quite. Clear station is above S9 so that works but I couldn't find any QSO during the 5 minutes I had to play with it.

Can I reach Colorado on the 20M?

If the above make sense to you, than I think I got the picture.

Groucho
02-22-2011, 12:56 PM
:D. Just like making a contact, I wanted to make sure I was heard. :D

My first seat-of-the-pants reaction from what you describe is that you haven't done enough noise abatement.

When I first installed my mobile rig in my 80, I figured if I could make contacts I didn't need to go any further. Then I really started to pay attention to the KBG website (www.k0bg.com) (http://www.k0bg.com) and his expansive knowledge about noise abatement. I wrapped the spark plug wires with the copper-clad Scotch tape, I bonded each door, hood, exhaust, ignition parts and tailgate piece with flat stainless bonding cloth (1" wide stuff with a grommet every 4" or so), checked to see if my diodes out of my alternator were leaking (supposedly a problem on many Toyota's) and put an inductive type mobile impedance matching unit from MFJ Enterprises as well as a matching coil at the base of the antenna. All of a sudden I started to see my noise level drop, and my ability to hear all stations went up.

The KBG website is technical in nature, but Alan is attempting to make things easier to understand with notes and stuff. I suggest taking a look, even though some in the club would argue that he has no idea of what he is talking about. Almost 30 years in this hobby says something. Take it for what its worth. But at least try a couple inexpensive things and see if it doesn't improve.

My :twocents:

rhyary
02-22-2011, 01:07 PM
I will. As you said, you started with installation and then improved further.

rhyary
02-22-2011, 03:06 PM
I am only going to bond what's easy. I am that kind of a guy :-)

hood, exhaust, frame to body. Ordering the strap with the eyelets this week.

rhyary
02-24-2011, 11:56 AM
I expect to get a spool of tin coated copper strap Monday and will work on bonding when I get it.

But to put things in perspective I can get a very strong signal from stations in Canada, Massachusetts. Basically 100 to 400 miles is no problem and they can hear me no problem including while driving. In fact this stations are so strong, I can RF gain down to 60%, eliminating the atmospheric almost completely and call it good. In fact, I can leave the RF gain at 100% and simply turn down the volume.

When I succesfully communicated with Florida, Alabama and Minesota again I did not have trouble at all and got a good signal report. I suspect these stations had a massive antenna and conditions were favorable.

The proximate stations were talking to remote stations. Yesterday I heard the Canadian talking to London and today a Canadian was talking to Honolulu.

I can only hear these London/Honolulo remote stations on 100% RF gain with up the volume. The white noise is quite loud but not painfully so. I doubt the remote stations can hear me.

I am just wondering. If I can get good communications 400 miles radius with just as installed, what am I after? I much more will I have to do and to gain what?

There is a difference in noise when the car is running and when the engine is off. But that engine noise is not a factor in understanding remote station since it is at the same noise level as the white noise. It is just different.

Your thoughts?

rhyary
02-24-2011, 01:29 PM
After lunch treat.
Just heard a station from Denver, load and clear like my 2M. However he did not reply. He reported transmitting with 1500W. Not going to happen in mobile. :-)

Did successful QSO with Bermuda, about 900 miles

rhyary
02-25-2011, 10:07 AM
funny numbers, you go 5W into 44' and I put 200W into 7'.

This morning I heard a strong station (59+20) taking to a weak station (53).
My gain was at 100%. I suppose if I gain mine down to 90 or 80% I would hear the strong station perfectly, but non of the weak station.

Using the above conversation I played with all my filters and combination of filters to see what it means to the weak station and the strong station.

Groucho
02-25-2011, 10:43 AM
Keep in mind the effects that the atmospheric conditions have on radio waves. They are predictable (sometimes) with the time of day, and obviously with the sunspot cycle.

I usually have great QSO's on 17M phone in my later afternoon (~11PM-ish GMT). And this propagation travels fast. It starts on the eastern seaboard and ends up in Japan in a very short period.

My 20M voice contacts are good for weekend mornings. I can usually hit eastern europe from my mobile rig from between 2-4PM GMT my time.

My 40M voice stuff is mostly at night. From 1AM GMT to 11 AM GMT I get really good propagation. I made a good QSO to Hawaii on 40 in my early evening. But right around 12PM GMT the international broadcast stations wake up and 40M goes dead for amateur traffic. Too much QRM.

I made one 10M contact in my history as a licensed amateur. That was just after I got my technician license. I spoke with a guy for about 90 seconds from California. That was it. No luck on 10M since then, but I'm hoping that we start climbing on the back of the next sunspot cycle so I can make things fun. 10M when I was 12 and listening to my father (early 80's) was kind of cool. He took a converted CB radio, and transmitted around the world with 4 watts of power to a 50' high 10M beam.

That last experience is to show how dependent these radio waves are on conditions. My father now has legal limit amplifiers to beams up 80' in the middle of nowhere New Mexico and 10M is still dead. 20 years ago (during what some consider the best sunspot cycle to date) 5W on a converted CB rig literally went around the globe. Cayman Islands to Christmas Island.

Now start praying to Ra the sun god for more sunspots...

Bruce Miller
02-25-2011, 11:17 AM
The QSO's you make, rhyary, are interesting. Let's hear about more of them.

Sounds like a good time to read up on propagation and how our sunrise and sunset times (as well as sunrise and sunset for the DX op) affect propagation and the frequency we choose to work the DX we want.

If you really want to get serious about all this, get some MUF (maximum usable frequency) software. With that, you plug in the frequency and the DX station's QTH and your computer will tell you the time in GMT you need to be on the air to probably make a contact with that DX station. It's fun for a while until you find yourself up at 3:00AM to work that rare South Pacific island.

Given our poor sunspot numbers, I would expect that transequatorial propagation will have us reliably working mostly Caribbean and Central American stations.

Old timers will tell you if you can hear them, you can work them. What other QSO's have you made?

rhyary
02-25-2011, 11:50 AM
Bruce,
I was successful two way QSO with Canada, Florida, Minnesota, Bermuda, Alabama and Massachusetts in the few days I have it up. Today I heard someone from the Philippines talking to a very strong station.

Dave and Nathanial,
Besides the fun stuff, I want HF to save me when I get stuck with the 80 in nowhere. So I am am less concern with talking with Japan but reaching someone in the US and calling 911 is very appealing to me. In the process I plan to learn more about RF. I don't see myself getting interested in contesting. But you never know.

I just ordered the 40M and 10M sticks. Sounds like the 10M stick would be a wast of money. :-(