More EchoLink

So, EchoLink up and running fairly reliably. If you don’t have an EchoLink number, get one as soon as possible. It’s not hard. You’ll need to validate that you have an Amateur Radio License and to do this, the folks at EchoLink need a clear scan (or picture) of your license. You can take a picture with a digital camera or you can scan it into your computer. Take said picture and upload it to the EchoLink staff and they will review it and send your node number lickity-split! I think they say within 24 hours but sometimes its more like two to four hours. Yes, it’s a lot of waiting but well worth it. One of our club members was travelling to the west coast and checked into the local repeater from his stopover airport using his Android phone! That my friends is pretty damned sweet.

Click this link for more info on the EchoLink validation process.

New G5RV Jr

I was outside yesterday and noticed my G5RV was hanging by a thread! Oh dear. I’ve been wanting to build one a little more robust so now I get my chance. This time I’m going with the 450 ohm ladder line that I have – just under 16 feet needed. I was looking to actually make a full sized G5RV but I just don’t have the room. The Jr. works well down to 40 meters and up to 15 reasonably well. The Antron 99 works pretty good from 12 to 10 meters (and somewhat at 15 too). The 80 meter sloper (using coils) works well too. The XYL is pretty good about the sloper taking over the yard but I know she would like me to reduce my HF footprint – and honestly, so would I.

Maybe, just maybe, I can run a wire to my front yard tree (one half of the full sized G5RV) and reduce my 80 meter footprint in the backyard. I just can’t get the full sized G5RV apex up high enough to be very effective. Even the Jr. at 26 feet is a compromise but it does work pretty well regardless. Better a low wire than NO wire I suppose.



Tonight was SPARC’s 2 meter and 40 meter nets. Well attended to be sure (38?). I believe it was a record. Hats off to VA3LFC for tonights net. Great job! Too bad I had to go to it via IRLP but oh well. There was one ham from Michigan that got in (he’s 6km farther than I – no big deal – and his path is like 75% over water) that needed 175 watts to get in full quieting. Ouch. That’s why my 50 watts barely does it. They either need, A. an additional RX site or B. better receivers.

Also, I got in no problem on EchoLink but when they engaged IRLP, it booted me right off. EchoIRLP (as advertised) it is NOT. I also tried my phone (using EchoLink) with exact same results. 🙁

80 meters was a bit noisy on my end but signals were quite strong. This net got 13 again I believe which is pretty good. I only wish people would yack a bit more instead of “just checking in”. Again, oh well. It’s nice to see (hear) people on HF at least 🙂 I may propose a 40 or 20 meter net at some point. Guys would need way smaller antennas and would be well attended. My preference is 40 meters but depending on conditions, 20 could also be excellent.




After trying several 5/8 wave mobile designs, here are my conclusions:
– 5/8 wave 2 meter antenna gives me about 2-3 S-units better signal. Works excellent! My little 3″ mag mount though is not nearly strong enough to hold it securely at highway speeds. When I post a pic of it, you’ll see why 🙁
– 5/8 wave antenna on 7ocm – sometimes better, sometimes worse, mostly the same. I also tried different coil dimensions and discovered a large coil will not match properly. Best option is about 2 turns around a 1″ diameter – I get a (max) 1.2:1 VSWR over the entire 70cm band. The 1/4 wave I get about the same VSWR. So, for UHF, I wouldn’t bother with a 5/8 wave. A 1/4 wave works just as well in 90% of the situations I’ve encountered and, it’s much smaller.


Just an FYI: 10 to 12 meters has seen a lot of activity lately. Personally, I have made contacts from Europe to California and south into South America. Conditions change quickly but there is often plenty of time to make a QSO. I was hoping for some 6 meter activity but alas, I ran out of coax to have my 6 meter beam operational 🙁 Stupid high coax prices vs. fixed income 🙁

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