Simple inverted Vee wire dipole for 50MHz

Now it’s towards the end of June and I have been listening to the other club members I chat and contest with reporting on all the times 50MHz has been wide open on sporadic E, I decided today I would knock up a simple antenna for 50MHz for the garden. My location is not suitable for any real antennas due to neighbour issues so I thought I would make a wire delta beam and mount it fairly low as I have a suitable 2m length of plastic pipe I could use for the cross boom. A quick look at the design scuppered those plans as I had no suitable 75ohm coax here.

I then considered a simple aluminium dipole as I have loads of 1.5m lengths of 12mm tube in the garage. Then it came to me in a eureka moment. A good old trusty inverted vee would be easy to make and do the job nicely!

Since I made my first 20m inverted vee dipole I have since butchered it by cutting off the coax to use elsewhere and it has been lying around the garden for a year or so in the grass in the corner of the garden. Rescue that and put new coax on and I am good to go!
50MHz inverted Vee dipole centre
Next (as seen already above) I needed a pole. I took the bottom 3 sections from my 8m SOTA fishing pole which gives me about 3m of lightweight but stiff pole. In the garden there was fitted a rotary washing line with a two part stem set in the ground. Amazingly it was the perfect fit for the bottom section of the pole! The two sprung plungers even stopping it flapping around:
rotary washing line base section
Into the HF antennas odds and sods box and I got out one of the SOTAbeams lasered guy rings I bought to hang the dipole from. I slid it down to a reasonably but not excessively snug point and wrapped some tape around below that to stop drifting lower and possibly cracking as the plastic is fairly brittle feeling. I also sealed the feed point with liquid insulation tape which is great stuff and taped the coax down the pole to take the weight of the coax, which is longer than I need and only RG223 but I am just looking for something to get on the air and do some tests:
50MHz inverted Vee centre detail
With my HF dipoles I usually peg the other end to the ground with a length of string to insulate and keep the voltage maximum point off the ground but that really didn’t seem a plan. So that delta beam boom was called into play as a dipole spreader:
50MHz inverted Vee close up
It’s literally just lashed on with insulation tape:
50MHz inverted Vee spreader detail
At each end I drilled a single hole to thread the wire through which actually retained the wire quite well due to the tension and angle. But I backed that up with the ubiquitous cable tie. Also visible is a blob of the liquid insulation tape on the end of the wire to stop water seeping up the wire via capillary action:
50MHz inverted Vee end detail
Here is the finished set up ready for tuning. On the left of the image you can see the coax running into my custom wall mount coax connector box:
50MHz inverted Vee
Talking of tuning…
To ‘design’ the dipole I use done of my favourite sites I use for all my HF dipoles over at sotamaps.org. (Click on the 2nd tab for the calculator). I put in the centre height measurement from my set up and adjusted the end support height to get a little under a metre horizontal distance between mast and end support. You can set the wire type via the settings button. You can see it offers me  1.32m for each side. So I cut mine to 1.42m to start as it’s always easier to trim than add!!
50MHz inverted Vee design
First measurement showed beautiful resonance a little under 50MHz, so I trimmed 10mm off each end. Nearly at 50MHz, so 10mm more. Resonant now more in the CW end so I took off another 5mm. The final cut length is actually 75mm longer than the designer suggested, so it could be my  selection of wire should have been for a thinner one or thicker insulation than I chose. (that’s ex red wire with a dose of UV fading applied!):
50MHz inverted Vee SWR trimmings
SWR 1:1, zero reactive component and 49ohms resistive component (50 ohms a tad higher up the band but still in SSB section). I’ll take that!
50MHz inverted Vee SWR
Plugged into the trusty Yaesu FT-857D and a quick scan showed some Es stations calling. Found an EA station and called him, replied to me first time! As did the next 4 stations. Nice one!
first 5 QSOs all one call
So there you go. It is dead easy to get on 6m even with very awkward neighbours and small gardens. 50MHz truly is the magic band when those Es open up too!

Car portable cable access

Nearly all of my radio is done portable in one way or another. When I am car portable like many people I bring the cables in through one of the car windows. As I like to operate both through the winter and in the summer I wanted to keep the cold and rain out in winter and the flies out in the summer.

My simple solution to this is a strip of 1 inch thick closed cell foam with a shallow slit in one edge to fit on the top of the window, and a notch for the cables. Simple but works for me. It also doubles as rattle reducing packing on the way up and back!

car portable cable entry

RSGB 432MHz UKAC 14th March 2017

2017 is the first year Hereford ARS has been actively participating in the RSGB UKAC series of contests. As we as a local club were doing pretty well by being 4th overall I felt I should expand my band operations onto 432MHz to help the team score points. I don’t have any antennas at all for 432MHz but Craig M0BUL offered to loan me his 19 element Tonna. After using my 7.2m long 50MHz yagi this seemed like a tiny thing but Craig assured me it was a contest winning yagi.
432MHz 19 elementTonna yagi
It was certainly much easier and faster to set up. I could take it already assembled and fit it to the mast in seconds. As a result on tear down I was through the gate at 10:58 after the contest ended! First time away before 11pm.

I have not been on 432MHz since we used to do March 144/432MHz in the 80s and 90s and we always found it very hard work and much slower than 144MHz on QSO rates. I had been checking the previous contest results for a while and could see activity is very similar to 144MHz and more than the other bands. I think the modern shack in a box radios must help as back when we were last on you had to buy a 70cms radio to get on the band. I personally didn’t because it was so much quieter (vicious circle!).

Activity overall was down on 144MHz but I had some good spells of good activity and pileups and was very pleasantly surprised!

My QSO map:
432MHz UKAC 2017-03-14 map
Claimed scores (top 10):
Claimed scores 432MHz UKAC Mar 2017
Final scores (top 10):
Final scores 432MHz UKAC Mar 2017
Full result list (PDF)

Hereford ARS Members results:
HARS members results 432MHz UKAC Mar 2017
Hereford ARS standing in local club section:
Local club standings 432MHz UKAC Mar 2017

RSGB 50MHz UKAC 9th March 2017

This month I am hoping to improve on my 3rd from February. It was a close top three but 3rd is still 3rd. Hopefully I can do better this time!

The nights are starting to draw out a little and I managed to get my first photo of the yagi in almost daylight:
6 element 50MHz DK7ZB by G1YBB
Conditions we still flat for me but I did manage to work an F and PA station this time at least.

My QSO map:
50MHz UKAC 2017-03-09 map
Claimed scores (top 10):
Claimed scores 50MHz UKAC Mar 2017
Final scores (top 10):
Final scores 50MHz UKAC Mar 2017
Full result list (PDF)

Hereford ARS member scores:
Hereford ARS 50MHz Member scores
50MHz Local club standings so far:
RSGB 50MHz UKAC Local club standings Mar 2017

RSGB 144MHz UKAC 7th March 2017

Next round on the series comes round again followed by the 50MHz UKAC two days later like in February! Busy busy busy. For this round I decided to take the yagi partially built rather than fully disassembled like normal to make set up and tear down a little quicker. It has 3 sections so I assembled the middle and front and fitted the elements only have to add the rear and fitting the elements to that. Every little helps!

Overall activity was down a little for me but I did work a few GM and PA, ON and DL.

My QSO map:
144MHz UKAC 2017-03-07 map
Claimed scores (top 10):
Claimed scores 144MHz UKAC Mar 2017
Final scores (top 10):
Final scores 144MHz UKAC Mar 2017

Full result list (PDF)

Hereford ARS Members results:
HARS members results 144MHz UKAC Mar 2017
Hereford ARS standing in local club section:
Local club standings 144MHz UKAC Mar 2017

RSGB 70MHz UKAC 16th February 2017

This is another first for me! I have never been on 70MHz before since I got my licence in the 80s. So this one was going to be interesting! I can see from the previous entries that activity levels are lower than most of the other bands but I think it is on the up and the Hereford ARS does have a few members active on this band.

I don’t actually own any 70MHz equipment myself at all but Matt G8XYJ has loaned me both a transverter (actually both of his) and his 4 element DK7ZB portable yagi. It was small enough to take on the roof bars which is a nice change and helps speed up the rush of building the station and tearing it down to get home when you are operating out in the the sticks portable.

I found it a bit harder work than usual but still better activity than we had on 432MHz in the 80s! I came in 4th in my low power section which I am pretty pleased with. Top of my agenda though was a new longer beam as a few stations I could hear just couldn’t hear me but I am sure a much longer yagi will make a good difference.

My QSO map:
70MHz UKAC 2017-02-16 map
Claimed scores (top 10):
Claimed scores 70MHz UKAC Feb 2017
Final scores (top 10):
Final scores 70MHz UKAC Feb 2017
Hereford ARS member scores:
HARS members results 70MHz UKAC Feb 2017
70MHz Local club standings so far:
Local club standings 70MHz UKAC Feb 2017
Full result list (PDF)

RSGB 50MHz UKAC 9th February 2017

Second time out with the long yagi for 50MHz. This time I have the side guys finished for it. These not only help protect the thin 20mm boom from the wind but also help me assemble it. There is considerable sag on the boom and as I assemble the boom to the mast the forces on the clamping of the boom supports to overcome are quite massive. Imagine holding a long pole out horizontally by only the amount you can get in your hand at the very end. But once the side guys are fitted and supporting the boom and boom supports all is great and easy to assemble:
50MHz 6 element yagi side guys
So far the side guys have not been properly tested and I hope it stays that way! That said I have good confidence the system should survive in any wind I am still able to erect it in by myself.

My QSO map:
50MHz UKAC 2017-02-09 map
Claimed scores (top 10):
Claimed scores 50MHz UKAC Feb 2017
Final scores (top 10):
Final scores 50MHz UKAC Feb 2017
Full result list (PDF)

Hereford ARS member scores:
Hereford ARS 50MHz Member scores
50MHz Local club standings so far:
RSGB 50MHz UKAC Local club standings Feb 2017
Full result list (PDF)

RSGB 144MHz UKAC 7th February 2017

Round two of the 144MHz UKAC series in 2017. This is the first year I have taken part from the start so I am intending to put a good effort in and hope I can continue to do well as I did in the end of 2016. Also now as part of a participating club team I feel it important to contribute as good a score as I can. This month we have the addition of Dave G4ASR adding his score as well as a few more of the club.

Anyway, business as usual and crack on. This is being written a month later as it has been a busy month for me with more bands and more jagi building, so memory of details is now faded. Activity was good for me which is essential as although I often do very well on QSO points based on basic points per km, the biased B2 bonus system makes it hard to stay ahead of those with those in good reach of the juicy 2000 point red squares. Anyway, soap box over all we can do is bash away and if I can get 3G signal try and find some mults on KST chat. recently I have had 3G access a few times and this contest may have been one of those. Even so I got the lowest bonus points in the top 3 places in my section.

My QSO map:
144MHz UKAC 2017-02-07 map
Claimed scores (top 10):
Claimed scores 144MHz UKAC Feb 2017
Final scores (top 10):
Final scores 144MHz UKAC Feb 2017
Full result list (PDF)

Hereford ARS Members results:
HARS members results 144MHz UKAC Feb 2017
Hereford ARS standing in local club section:
Local club standings 144MHz UKAC Feb 2017

RSGB 144MHz UKAC 6th December 2016

This was my last contest session of 2016 on the back of two successive section wins. So the pressure was (put) on myself to try for a hat trick of section wins.

No changes to the actual transmitting station this time but some refinements to the overall station environment.

First up was a quickly deployable rain shield for the generator. I have the Honda EU20i suitcase genny:
Honda EU20i Generator
This is a great little genny that is electrically quiet on HF and at the low power I am running doesn’t change a beat between receive and transmit running on the economy mode. In that mode I reckon it should do 9 hours easy on one tank. However the AC outlets on this model are normal BS 1363 three-pin 13A sockets which are not very rain proof. So far I haven’t had this in the rain but I no doubt will so for my UKAC site I made a simple shelter to stop direct heavy rain (it was very low cloud for this contest and with flash the picture is not great!):
Generator shelterIt is a £1 tarp 1 square metre from Tesco with an eBay lightweight key ring size karabiner on two corners and two tent pegs on tent guys. Takes literally 20 seconds to deploy here as the genny is set up next to a chain link fence.

The other issue I addressed for this contest is in car lighting. I log on a Micro$oft Surface Pro 3 tablet with keyboard. I turn of the key lights to save battery, and even if I leave them on they go off after no use to save battery, so I like to have a light on to see the keyboard so I can spring into action when I get a call. This current car as well as having the first headrests that are a nightmare to get off (and needed mods to make that fast) the rear light will not stay on. It has some stupid timer on it so I am probably often heard on air slamming my car door as I have just opened it to get the lights on again. In these winter months it doesn’t help keep me warm. My daughter was throwing out her touch bedside lamp as the touch part doesn’t work any more and it is on permanently so it seemed a plan to recycle that for contesting. Sorted!

Anyway, the contest went well although a LOT of QRM from a couple of local as crow flies stations tonight, more than usual. Not as many QSOs as last time but some good spells of activity. But this was the first contest this year (and century!) where it was judged I had a perfect log!

My QSO map:
144 UKAC 2016-12-06 QSO map
Claimed scores (top 10):
Claimed scores 144MHz UKAC Dec 2016
Final scores (top 10):
Final scores 144MHz UKAC Dec 2016
Full result list (PDF)

UK and Europe VHF Contesting Maidenhead Locator Map

With the introduction of the B2 scoring system in 2017 I decided it was time to update my VHF contesting map that I use to help me aim the beam and find multipliers and bonus squares when out portable.

I have beam heading marked centred on my portable locations. They are close enough together at this scale to us just one point.
G1YBB B2 contest Locator map
I usually take an A4 print of this map with me to refer to but the PDF file is fairly high resolution and should be printable at least A3 size at decent quality. Here is a 100% view of the map to see the detail:
100% scale view of detail

You can download it if you wish but if you wanted one centred on your location you can always email me (my email is on the home page here). The annotations are all done in vector layers and can easily moved around to suit. Here is my PDF for a look but it’s probably only any use to David G4ASR and other portable stations in my area.

G1YBB B2 Contesting Locator Map of UK & Europe (15.4MB PDF)

Edit:
However several people have asked for a copy of the map centred on their locator so one of these below may be of use for you. The centre point of the beam headings covers a couple of squares around the actual centre so one near yours. If not you can always email me.

G1YBB B2 Contesting Locator Map of UK & Europe from IO93EG

G1YBB B2 Contesting Locator Map of UK & Europe from IO90WX

G1YBB B2 Contesting Locator Map of UK & Europe from IO92FI

G1YBB B2 Contesting Locator Map of UK & Europe from IO92IR

G1YBB B2 Contesting Locator Map of UK & Europe from IO93KE

G1YBB B2 Contesting Locator Map of UK & Europe from IO90HX

G1YBB B2 Contesting Locator Map of UK & Europe from JO02KM

G1YBB B2 Contesting Locator Map of UK & Europe from IO82PC

G1YBB B2 Contesting Locator Map of UK & Europe from IO93TB

G1YBB B2 Contesting Locator Map of UK & Europe from IO93KH

G1YBB B2 Contesting Locator Map of UK & Europe from JO01JK

G1YBB B2 Contesting Locator Map of UK & Europe from IO70SS

G1YBB B2 Contesting Locator Map of UK & Europe from IO71LX

G1YBB B2 Contesting Locator Map of UK & Europe from IO82RJ

G1YBB B2 Contesting Locator Map of UK & Europe from IO83PN

G1YBB B2 Contesting Locator Map of UK & Europe from IO93MG

G1YBB B2 Contesting Locator Map of UK & Europe from IO93RF

G1YBB B2 Contesting Locator Map of UK & Europe from IO71VO

G1YBB B2 Contesting Locator Map of UK & Europe from IO83MR

G1YBB B2 Contesting Locator Map of UK & Europe from IO91QN

G1YBB B2 Contesting Locator Map of UK & Europe from IO91WP

G1YBB B2 Contesting Locator Map of UK & Europe from IO76XA

G1YBB B2 Contesting Locator Map of UK & Europe from IO70TQ

G1YBB B2 Contesting Locator Map of UK & Europe from IO85NS

G1YBB B2 Contesting Locator Map of UK & Europe from IO92PU