Earlier this week I built a simple wire moxon antenna for 50MHz for use at home, detailed on this page (link). The impetus for this build was to contribute towards the Hereford ARS campaign to retain the RSGB VHF Championship Trophy that we won over the year long 2019 contesting calendar.
I already have a 50MHz yagi (link) for use portable when contesting but at 7.2m long it’s just too large to assemble in the garden and if I could get it to the height required for a clear view would put the fear of (deity) into the whole estate! So the plan is to add a few club points using the little moxon.
As you can see a vast difference in antennas! However I was not completely dismayed. I have been out contesting on the hills often with the big yagi and really struggled to break pileups to DX on sporadic E openings, usually with many other club members who I usually do better than just calling over the top of me. I’m always low power at 10W, but look at that beam man! So I have come to the conclusion that the vertical pattern of the long yagi is just not suited to the angle required to get good results on Es. I may be wrong as many others use reasonable beams but my post summer 50MHz contest catchphrase is:
“I bloody hate Es season!”
But the radiation plots of the moxon design I thought were very promising. Not only a great big fat front azimuth lobe (in red on graph below) with a 3dB beam width of 78° but a huge vertical shape )in blue on the graph) to it covering all take off angles you could imagine for Es. So despite having way under half the gain of ‘the beast’ that disparity in gain once we get off the main heading the moxon would ‘catch up’ a little and should also be launching skywards when required. My theory anyway!
So, contest day. I planned to do just 6 hours and as it’s more family friendly to get that over with in one session for me so I opted for Sunday morning and the last 6 hours before the contest ended. Amazingly for me I seemed to have pretty much cherry picked the best slot of the 24 hours. I was 4 hours into the contest before I got any other G squares than my own and IO81 adjacent to my square (I sit on the join line at IO82PA). But I was busy with the Es! Great fun. I only have 100W max on 6m and whilst some of the pile-ups especially to EA were hard to break it was very enjoyable! One station ( I think Italian) even commented “wow such a huge signal” after our QSO. This is on two bits of wire and some plumbing tube!
I was completely unable to raise all the ‘local’ EU countries like F, ON, PA nor could I get any GD, GI, EI, GU, GJ. If I had their country and square mults would have upped my score nicely. However my new temporary summer 50MHz contest catchphrase is:
“I bloody love Es season!”