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 Post subject: a Big tower question for Ham Radios
PostPosted: Jul Wed 02, 2008 2:57 am 
Member

Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 3759
Location: Shrewsbury Mass 01545
when I get someday a ham radio do I have to have a Huge tower?
thanks from william


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Jul Wed 02, 2008 4:53 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 3631
Location: Westminster, CO, USA
No. But if you are like most hams, you will want one.

You can do a good job with inverted V antennas, which are just dipoles where the ends are closer to the ground than the middle. A vertical antenna is great when space is an issue. If you stick with the VHF bands the antennas get even smaller. Not as much fun in my opinion.

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Tony Casorso


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Jul Wed 02, 2008 2:22 pm 
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Joined: Oct Sat 20, 2007 3:36 am
Posts: 14393
Location: Southern NH, 03076
Define big?

Hams are permitted up to 200' with a few FCC caveats as well as local regulations. Higher is permitted with a bunch of paperwork.

In most cases size matters :roll: but much simpler antennas can work just fine. It all depends upon what goals you set. bands of operation, equipment, etc.

I have 4 towers from 60 to 180' and a fifth is in process. I tend to get carried away a bit :lol:

Carl


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Jul Wed 02, 2008 9:22 pm 
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Joined: Sep Sat 09, 2006 3:05 pm
Posts: 52
Location: Texas
I know ham friends that have worked a lot of DX with just wire antennas in the attic, but that was when solar conditions and propagation was better than now. With modest antennas and low power CW is more effective than SSB, and 30 watts or so on PSK31 can work wonders. It all depends on your goals and what you want to do. Start simple and go from there. Have fun!
Steve


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Jul Wed 02, 2008 9:38 pm 
Silent Key

Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 34328
Location: Sandpoint, IDAHO 83864
In 43 years of being a ham, I have never, except once for a few months while I operated W4ODR, have I ever had what any ham would call a decent antenna. Most of the time it has been just end fed wire antennas low, maybe 20 to 30 feet high. I have not counted the DX countries I have worked, but I know it must be close to 300. This is mainly CW operation with a bit of SSB at times, maybe 2% at the most. Power levels were in the 100 watt range for the most part (98%). I have over a hundred DX countries worked from my mobile! And antennas are a considerable compromise for any mobile operation.

If I was given the opportunity to have a station with monstous antennas, I would not know what to do with myself!
Curt

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Curt, N7AH
(Connoisseur of the cold 807) CW forever!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Jul Wed 02, 2008 9:50 pm 
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Joined: Sep Sat 09, 2006 3:05 pm
Posts: 52
Location: Texas
I guess I was spoiled starting out in 1967 with good solar conditions and having an 85 ft tower and a Hy-Gain TH-6-DX. Falling in love with DX chasing and contesting was easy then. I don't think I could have achieved #1 DXCC Honor Roll on Mixed and Phone without some good antennas though. Even with my current 70ft tower and yagis, I couldn't take the chance of missing my last one - BS7H, and worked them from my buddy's QTH in NV where they were S-9 all the time! Too many friends here in TX wound up with "not in log" contacts! :cry: Dxing is all a matter of longevity and not letting anything get by you anyway.
Steve


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Jul Wed 02, 2008 9:57 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 2284
Location: Florence, Al. U.S.A.
"I have 4 towers from 60 to 180' and a fifth is in process. I tend to get carried away a bit "

Carl

The local DX experts will tell you that anything over 65' high is wasted. Presently, my DX ant. is a 20M dipole up about 30'.

Carl


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Jul Wed 02, 2008 10:18 pm 
Member

Joined: Sep Sat 09, 2006 3:05 pm
Posts: 52
Location: Texas
Don't get discouraged by all our banter here William. You can get started with a $25 QRP kit (meaning low power of 5 watts or so) and a simple wire antenna you can make yourself, and have fun making contacts on the HF bands. Get a subscription to QST, or CQ magazine to name a couple where you can find loads of articles on how to get started. Better yet, find a local ham club, and attend the meetings where you can find all the help you need to get things started. :D
Steve - W9DX


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Jul Thu 03, 2008 3:39 am 
Member

Joined: Oct Sat 20, 2007 3:36 am
Posts: 14393
Location: Southern NH, 03076
Carl Neidert wrote:
"I have 4 towers from 60 to 180' and a fifth is in process. I tend to get carried away a bit "

Carl

The local DX experts will tell you that anything over 65' high is wasted. Presently, my DX ant. is a 20M dipole up about 30'.

Carl




Given enough time anybody can work them all on 20M with a low dipole; its been proven over and over again. Ive no interest in that type of operating, life is too short and there are many other bands to enjoy and interests to persue.

When my station was setting new DX contest records for about 10 years it was the antennas that played a big part. I was competing with many that didnt care about FCC power regs and beating them with 1200W.

With 4 high, 4 el individually rotatable stacks, on 10, 15, and 20 that could be switched in several combinations and a 4 over 4 on 40M it was easy to control a frequency as well as work stations others didnt even know existed. The big tower also supported antennas for 80/75 as well as 160M phased verticals.

If you have K6STI's YO program or the ARRL Antenna manual version my QTH is featured in TA (Terrain Analyzer) or HFTA as an example of being able to maximize performance on all paths and at all elevation angles based upon the local terrain out to about a mile. My negative horizon in all directions is superb for VHF and above but is the gradual slope into the far field that reinforces the signal at HF to the max. Height DOES matter if you intelligently exploit it.

To me FUN was working 140+ countries and all 40 Zones on 10M in one weekend or WAS and 100 countries on 160M in a weekend. Or working the first JA on 160 from NE or the first 5BWAZ from NE, etc, etc.

Or run a pileup of DX back in February in the ARRL CW DX contest on 80M with a PP 211's oscillator on a breadboard.

I sort of lost DX chasing interest once I was on the top of the Honor Roll CW, SSB and Mixed and up over 325 on all bands except 160 and that is over that now. These days most of the aluminum is down and I have one homebrew yagi per band including WARC except for a 2/2 on 40.

The enjoyment now is 6M and above up to 10GHz ( I hold one end of the 432 MHz North American tropo record) as well as recreating several period stations from the 20's to the 60's that are fully operational. I can often be found on 30M with a 1939 Meissner Signal Shifter at 7W and 1934 National FB7-XA receiver to a 3 el yagi at 90'.

Ive no use for the current DXCC rules or respect for the standings. All mine are within 25 miles which IMO is the only thing that should count.

CW and SSB only; if I cant hear it and copy plain text or voice, it doesnt exist, no damn computer is going to do the work for me!

Carl


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Jul Thu 03, 2008 4:05 am 
Member

Joined: Feb Mon 04, 2008 5:12 am
Posts: 2678
Location: Nowhere, I'm gone
TonyC wrote:
If you stick with the VHF bands the antennas get even smaller. Not as much fun in my opinion.


I would agree. I'm not a ham but I used to listen a lot and it seems like VHF and 2 meter FM isn't the same kind of ham radio.

Mike


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Jul Thu 03, 2008 2:15 pm 
Member

Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 2719
Location: Athens, Greece
Carl Neidert wrote:
The local DX experts will tell you that anything over 65' high is wasted.



:roll: :roll: :roll:

That 65' "expert" opinion would be debated by many, particularly those interested in lower bands and/or serious DXing. The good thing about a great antenna system is it works both ways - sniffing out the weak ones while working as a force multiplier on transmit!

Certainly, the impressive antenna setup that Carl enjoys isn't necessary to have fun on ham radio, but man it sure helps a lot!

Quote:
Or run a pileup of DX back in February in the ARRL CW DX contest on 80M with a PP 211's oscillator on a breadboard.


Man, you musta been Mr. Popular :D That thing have a bit of a "yoop" to it?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Jul Thu 03, 2008 2:30 pm 
Member

Joined: Oct Sat 20, 2007 3:36 am
Posts: 14393
Location: Southern NH, 03076
Quote:
Or run a pileup of DX back in February in the ARRL CW DX contest on 80M with a PP 211's oscillator on a breadboard.


Man, you musta been Mr. Popular That thing have a bit of a "yoop" to it?



It certainly started out that way John!

Several rebuilds later it settled down and the yoop is barely discernible with a 400 Hz filter. Less chirp than a Heath VF-1 for sure!

Besides running thru a balun and a coax fed antenna Im also using regulated DC on the filaments, bias, and B+. The keying circuit is SS and I use my 80's era KC Keyer with it. I was going to rebuild into a 160-20M multistage but instead tore it down to redo neatly on a nice clean breadboard. The original was on scrap 3/4" plywood :lol:

The multistage wants a free running oscillator (VFO) on 160M but I havent found a multigrid tube besides a 24A that fits the 1929 AWA rule. Unless I start off with an 860 as did the Navy!

Carl


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Jul Thu 03, 2008 6:09 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 1646
Location: On the Left Coast
William,
Just to show you what can be done easily. Here is a photo I took two weeks ago of a little 20 mtr Sideband project I've been working on. It's part kit, part homebrew. Puts out 10 watts into a 65' wire strung up an oak tree. There is a homebrew antenna matching unit between the antenna and radio. I've made contacts all over N. America and have heard stations from all over the world with just a 65" wire antenna.

Image


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