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Thread: Kugellager's Shack

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Colorado
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    404

    Default Kugellager's Shack

    In this thread I intend to detail some of the equipment I use or have fabricated over the years. This includes my radios, antennas, filters etc or ideas for equipment.

    I will add posts from time to time as I get around to it.

    John
    ];')
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    Last edited by Kugellager; 12-19-2014 at 09:21 AM.
    Hammarlund SP-600 JX-37
    Rycom 1307A-GR
    Tecsun PL-380
    Quantum Phaser
    30 ft/10.5 m low-noise vertical in tree.
    27 ft/8 m low noise vertical on 5 ft tripod
    27 ft/8 m low noise vertical on 13 ft/4 m tilt-over crank-up mast
    W1VLF LPF for LF/VLF & DL4YHF SpecLab for NDB's
    DX'ing Videos

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    404

    Default Antennas at home QTH

    You might have noticed the three vertical antennas I have mentioned in my sig line at the bottom of my posts. I recently made a YouTube video showing each one and giving a very brief explanation of their construction and use. I will add more details soon.



    Vertical 30 ft Antenna Details:
    This antenna consists of 30 feet of 14 AWG THHN solid copper wire that is secured to a branch at the top of a pine tree. The bottom of the wire is about 4 ft off the ground and is secured to the of the tree via a short bungee cord to allow for motion in the wind while keeping the wire relatively taut. A short length of wire then runs to the matching transformer which is enclosed in a standard gray outdoor electrical box. I use binding posts for the antenna wire and ground wire fabricated from 1.25" screws as with wingnuts for attachment. The ground wire is about 4 ft of 10 AWG bare solid copper wire that runs to a 1/2" copper pipe ground rod buried 6-7 ft deep. From the binding post, the connections go to a FT140 Type 75 toroid via 42 turns of 22 AWG magnet wire. The other side of the toroid has 6 turns of magnet wire that go to a SO-239 coax connector. From the SO-239 connector I run RG6 Quad Shield coaxial cable back to the house and radios. The coax is buried just under the surface. This helps to prevent the dog or kids from playing with it.

    This antenna is located about 40 ft from the house and is farther from any other electrical source with the exception of buried utilities. It is my antenna with the lowest noise and the main antenna I use for just about everything. I commonely phase it with one of my other verticals using my Quantum Phaser when BCB DX'ing and is pretty much the only antenna I use for LW or NDB DX'ing.

    Vertical 27 ft Antenna Details:
    This antenna consists of 27 feet of 14 AWG THHN solid copper wire that is secured to a telescoping fiberglass mast made from 4, 8-foot long sections of fiberglass pole from Universal Radio. The mast is supported off the ground by a 5 foot tall steel antenna tripod. The bottom of the wire is about 5 ft off the ground where it connects to the matching transformer which is enclosed in a standard gray outdoor electrical box. I use binding posts for the antenna wire and ground wire fabricated from 1.25" screws as with wingnuts for attachment. The ground wire is about 6 ft of 10 AWG bare solid copper wire that runs to a 1/2" copper pipe ground rod buried 8 ft deep next to the willow tree in which this antenna is hidden. From the binding post of the matching transformer, the connections go to a FT114 Type J toroid via 44 turns of 24 AWG magnet wire. The other side of the toroid has 6 turns of 22 AWG magnet wire that go to a SO-239 coax connector. From the SO-239 connector I run RG6 Quad Shield coaxial cable back to the house and radios. The coax is buried just under the surface. This helps to prevent the dog or kids from playing with it.

    This antenna is located about 40 ft from the house but is only about six feet from a small electrical junction box and is not as quiet as the antenna in the pine tree. It is my secondary which I commonely phase it with one of my other verticals using my Quantum Phaser when BCB DX'ing.


    Vertical 27 ft Crank-up Antenna Details:
    This antenna consists of the 27 feet of surplus RG-59 coax that is secured to a telescoping fiberglass mast made from 4, 8-foot long sections of fiberglass pole from Universal Radio. The mast is supported off the ground by a 13 foot tall crank-up mast. The mast consists or two 3" diameter heavy-walled galvanized fence post buried in 3 ft of concrete supporting a 13 foot long section of the same 3" fence post. The 13 foot long section pivots on a 1/2" galvanized bolt about 6 ft off the ground that allows me to lay the entire antenna horizontally when not in use. At the top of the pivoting section is the 27 ft fiberglass mast. I use a small hand crank winch to raise and lower the mast and antenna. The bottom of the coax antenna wire is about 6 ft off the ground where it connects to the matching transformer which is enclosed in a standard gray outdoor electrical box. I use binding posts for the antenna wire and ground wire fabricated from 1.25" screws as with wingnuts for attachment. The ground for this antenna is the base of the mast in the concrete that also has a 1/2" copper plated grounding rod that goes throung the concrete and into the soil about 6 ft. From the binding post of the matching transformer, the connections go to a FT114 Type J toroid via 44 turns of 24 AWG magnet wire. The other side of the toroid has 6 turns of 22 AWG magnet wire that go to a SO-239 coax connector. From the SO-239 connector I run RG6 Quad Shield coaxial cable back to the house and radios.

    This antenna is located adjacent to the house and is not as quiet as the antenna in the pine tree but seems to be a little better that the antenna in the willow tree. It has the strongest signal levels (but NOT signal/noise levels) of all three most likely due to it being farthest off the ground. It is my tertiary antenna which I commonly phase it with one of my other verticals using my Quantum Phaser when BCB DX'ing. It takes less than five minutes to crank it up but I use it much less frequently than the other two which take no prep to get ready for a evening DX session...especially when it is cold outside.

    General Antenna Details:
    My antennas and matching transformers are designed to best perform in the MW and LW bands with the MW BCB taking preference. The design is based on the low-noise vertical antennas that Dallas Lankford has written about and that I have adapted to the specifics of my QTH. For phasing purposes; the distance between my primary antenna in the pine tree and the two secondary antennas is about 85 ft for both. The distance between the two secondary antennas is about 110 ft. By using different two-antenna combinations I can create several different phase patterns. Sometimes one station will phase out better with one antenna combination than another.

    John
    ];')
    Last edited by Kugellager; 12-16-2014 at 02:02 PM.
    Hammarlund SP-600 JX-37
    Rycom 1307A-GR
    Tecsun PL-380
    Quantum Phaser
    30 ft/10.5 m low-noise vertical in tree.
    27 ft/8 m low noise vertical on 5 ft tripod
    27 ft/8 m low noise vertical on 13 ft/4 m tilt-over crank-up mast
    W1VLF LPF for LF/VLF & DL4YHF SpecLab for NDB's
    DX'ing Videos

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    404

    Default Antenna Matching Transformer

    Here is the standard matching transformer I use to match all of my MW/LW DX'ing antennas to the RG-6 Quad Shield coax I use.

    My matching transformer consists of a FT-114 Type J toroid with 44 turns 24 AWG magnet wire on the antenna side and 6 turns of 22 AWG magnet wire on the coax side. I overlap the 6 turns at about the center of the 44 turns. I hot glue the finished toroid in a standard 4" weather proofed plastic electrical box. The transformer is soldered to a SO-239 connector on the coax side and attachecd with crimp connectors to binding posts that I made from #10 hardware. The antenna and ground wires get attached on the outside to the binding posts with wing nuts for ease of attachment. I have used cheapie banana-style binding posts but have found that they can break from the stress or repeated attachments/detachments of 14 AWG solid copper wire I use for my antennas. My own fabbed binding posts out of #10 hardware are much stronger and allow me to seal out water better as well. I have yet to re-do anything on my original transformer box for my main antenna and it has been up for over 5 years.

    In older versions of my transformer I have used FT-140 Type 75 toroids but the FT-114 sized toroids work just as well but are smaller and less expensive.
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    Hammarlund SP-600 JX-37
    Rycom 1307A-GR
    Tecsun PL-380
    Quantum Phaser
    30 ft/10.5 m low-noise vertical in tree.
    27 ft/8 m low noise vertical on 5 ft tripod
    27 ft/8 m low noise vertical on 13 ft/4 m tilt-over crank-up mast
    W1VLF LPF for LF/VLF & DL4YHF SpecLab for NDB's
    DX'ing Videos

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    404

    Default Quantum Phaser

    As you know, I primarily use three low-noise verticals, which I phase for MW DX. I use the Quantum Phaser from DXTools.com to phase two of the three antennas. I have various antenna switches I use to switch from one antenna to another allowing me to use any combination of the three. My antennas are spaced either 85 ft (26 m) or 110 feet (33 m) apart depending on which combination I use. Because of the close antenna spacing relative to the wavelengths of the frequencies phased, it can be tricky to get a deep null at times and takes a steady hand on the phaser knobs. However, I am able to get nulls of near 60 dB a times.

    There are three main ways I use the phaser to null out unwanted signal. The most common and probably the most satisfying is to null out a relatively strong station to reveal one or more weaker stations underneath. I have greatly expanded my log over the last several years by nulling out strong locals or regionals. The second use is to null out the splatter from a strong local on adjacent frequency to reveal a weak signal under the splatter. I do this by tuning in the strong adjacent station, adjusting the phaser for strongest null then tuning in the original station to hear the much quieter signal. The third and most difficult is to use it to null out IBOC waterfall hiss to reveal the station underneath. I use the same method as I do to null a strong adjacent station. This is most difficult as IBOC tends to be very strong and you really only will hear something under it at the ideal null point.

    Below I have included a link to a video of me using the Quantum Phaser to null out a local 5 kw station, 1280 KBNO, to reveal a weaker station, 1280 KZNS in Salt Lake City underneath KBNO. I am able to null the signal of KBNO 50-55 dB is signal strength as you can see from the signal meter.

    Last edited by Kugellager; 02-25-2015 at 02:24 PM.
    Hammarlund SP-600 JX-37
    Rycom 1307A-GR
    Tecsun PL-380
    Quantum Phaser
    30 ft/10.5 m low-noise vertical in tree.
    27 ft/8 m low noise vertical on 5 ft tripod
    27 ft/8 m low noise vertical on 13 ft/4 m tilt-over crank-up mast
    W1VLF LPF for LF/VLF & DL4YHF SpecLab for NDB's
    DX'ing Videos

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    404

    Default

    Two more phasing video links:

    Phasing out IBOC from Adjacent Channel

    and Phasing out Splatter from a 50 kW Adjacent Channel below:



    John
    ];')
    Hammarlund SP-600 JX-37
    Rycom 1307A-GR
    Tecsun PL-380
    Quantum Phaser
    30 ft/10.5 m low-noise vertical in tree.
    27 ft/8 m low noise vertical on 5 ft tripod
    27 ft/8 m low noise vertical on 13 ft/4 m tilt-over crank-up mast
    W1VLF LPF for LF/VLF & DL4YHF SpecLab for NDB's
    DX'ing Videos

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Shreveport, LA
    Posts
    3,563

    Default

    John, you have a good looking setup.

    MW was always my favorite kind of DX. If I had a SP-600, I might retire from TV DXing... That old receiver looks mighty impressive.
    Danny
    Shreveport, LA
    Mexico/Latin America TV DX ID Tips http://www.tvdxtips.com
    Submit and read DTV Stats http://www.tvdxexpo.com/dtvdxrecords.html
    TV and DTV DX Photographs http://www.tvdxexpo.com
    My Photographs of 100 Mexico TV DX Local IDs http://www.tvdxexpo.com/100mexicotvids.html
    More than 1,100 TV logs since 1994

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    404

    Default

    Thanks for the kind comments Danny.

    The SP-600 is still an amazing machine and is my regular DX radio. It can really pull out the quiet signals and allow them to be understandable. It's no Perseus, but until I can afford to buy and SDR of that level, the SP-600 will serve me well.

    John
    ];')
    Hammarlund SP-600 JX-37
    Rycom 1307A-GR
    Tecsun PL-380
    Quantum Phaser
    30 ft/10.5 m low-noise vertical in tree.
    27 ft/8 m low noise vertical on 5 ft tripod
    27 ft/8 m low noise vertical on 13 ft/4 m tilt-over crank-up mast
    W1VLF LPF for LF/VLF & DL4YHF SpecLab for NDB's
    DX'ing Videos

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    404

    Default Tilt-over Crank-up Antenna Mast Detail

    Above I described the tilt-over antenna mast I built a few years ago. Below is a video I made detailing its construction, operation and ease of use as well as its stealthy properties. I have used it in several configurations and with a variety of antennas over the years but have settled on the current configuration for my MW DX'ing needs.



    John
    ];')
    Hammarlund SP-600 JX-37
    Rycom 1307A-GR
    Tecsun PL-380
    Quantum Phaser
    30 ft/10.5 m low-noise vertical in tree.
    27 ft/8 m low noise vertical on 5 ft tripod
    27 ft/8 m low noise vertical on 13 ft/4 m tilt-over crank-up mast
    W1VLF LPF for LF/VLF & DL4YHF SpecLab for NDB's
    DX'ing Videos

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    404

    Default SDR + HF Upconverter Build

    Here is a simple SDR with an upconverter build I made a few years ago. It was geared toward MW listening but is not particularly sensitive. It does however work well on VHF-UHF and well on things such as ADSB. It uses a NooElec Dongle SDR and the Ham it Up Upconverter paired together.



    John
    ];')
    Hammarlund SP-600 JX-37
    Rycom 1307A-GR
    Tecsun PL-380
    Quantum Phaser
    30 ft/10.5 m low-noise vertical in tree.
    27 ft/8 m low noise vertical on 5 ft tripod
    27 ft/8 m low noise vertical on 13 ft/4 m tilt-over crank-up mast
    W1VLF LPF for LF/VLF & DL4YHF SpecLab for NDB's
    DX'ing Videos

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    404

    Default FM Trap Demonstration

    I am in the slow building process of building a switchable front end for SDR as they are wide open and susceptable to overload/intermod from strong local FM stations. In this video I demonstrate one of the filters I cobbled together. This one is an FM trap I made from two simple FM traps put in series. Why two? As you will see in the video I live only about 7 miles/11 km from multiple high-power FM stations.



    John
    ];')
    Hammarlund SP-600 JX-37
    Rycom 1307A-GR
    Tecsun PL-380
    Quantum Phaser
    30 ft/10.5 m low-noise vertical in tree.
    27 ft/8 m low noise vertical on 5 ft tripod
    27 ft/8 m low noise vertical on 13 ft/4 m tilt-over crank-up mast
    W1VLF LPF for LF/VLF & DL4YHF SpecLab for NDB's
    DX'ing Videos

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