80m to be tried / 160m possibbly too!
Saturday 26th August saw us test fire the 40m folded monopole antenna with the SGC-230 ATU on 80m. Local contacts out to 300km were made about an hour before sunset so it appears to radiate at least. Modelling in 4NEC2 shows that the pattern will be fairly low angle as well, although the efficiency will be down. At least it gives me something to try (considering 80m wasnt a band I was going to rely upon as this is only a one man show). So, 80m will be something to watch for from E6AG – at least on JT65
I am still planning some tests at night (possibly this coming weekend) to see how reports come in domestically across Australia to see if it has any hope of something more from Niue.
40-10m Monopole Results Speak for Themselves
To give me more of a feel for how the monopole works, I took also it for a test run during the WIA’s Remembrance Day Contest this year from the back yard of my mother in laws house in the country. The results speak for themselves. Compared to my dipoles, I was receiving reports from VK6 and VK4 of S4-5 points higher on the monopole (over typically 2000km+ paths). While I had it setup I also worked AL3/AA7CH (IOTA NA-042) on 30m and UW1M on 40m (in-between the contest calls). I have high hopes as a result for the antenna system on Niue!
Repairs and Preparations
The other thing that Steve VK5SFA and I did this weekend was go over the antenna and replace the squid pole which had split during the RD Contest. The last thing I needed was to get there and find that the main antenna was in pieces. After trying to track down a commercial source of 9m squid poles in Adelaide it was the North East Radio Club who came to the rescue with a stock of them. Thanks David VK5MDF for dropping them around to my QTH! It was then about an hours work at Steve VK5SFA’s to retrofit the pole and give the antenna a test (using my full back up station whats more). Good news was everything worked!
160m Experiment to be included
With the packing situation becoming much clearer as things are finalized I also find I have one more item of luggage I can take and fill with wire and coax. So, a plan is being hatched to at least try a full size 160m loop around the house, or if not, then a 160m dipole. No guarantees it will work but having something that can resonate down there (with a tuner at least) may make some top band contacts possible. We will see. The low bands were not a principle target of my trip (manpower and time) but if I can put up something simple then I am prepared to give it a go, considering the inquiries I have received asking me to attempt it for an ATNO, even from VK operators! 160m is likely to only be JT65 operation (and possibly FT8) but CW could be tried on request.
Then A Surprise!
So, the final packing is now underway. One final case to obtain this week and we will be set. There were some niggling questions remaining about how much coax to take etc that still needed answers. So while Googling the net I happened to stumble across Lance W7GJ’s website detailing his EME exploits on 2012 from Kaliki Lodge! Fantastic I thought, I can finally see photos of the back yard and confirm how everything could fit together. Now I am truly excited. The house looks to give me 100ft elevation overlooking the Pacific to the west north west so paths to EU and Japan should be excellent.
More news as we get ready to depart – it is getting closer now!
73 de Grant VK5GR / E6AG