Hexbeam revisited

A few posts and many months ago I posted about my exploits with my Hexbeam and the issues I had with neighbours, to cut a long story short, I took the Hexbeam down and sold it due to an issue with neighbours, I was pretty gutted as for the time I had the hex up it worked very very well indeed for me and gave me the access to the 5 upper HF bands including 17m and 12m with pretty much full 2 element performance, it also gave me in those short few months a few all time new ones, anyway the said neighbour has since left and ive been mulling over the idea of another Hex.

As you will know from my recent posts, ive seperated from my wife of 25 years recently and that has left me devastated, what it also has done is left me not in the best state financially, I had to sell off most of my radio equipment to try and clear debts and try and get myself on a solid financial footing going forward, im slowly getting there but sadly most of the radio stuff is gone, what I didnt do is get rid of my antennas or tower so they are all still in situ along with my one little solitary IC-7000 which has been working wonders for me recently with my little 2 element Moxon on 10m, sadly im missing out on the other bands and to that end ive been contemplating another Hexbeam, I cant afford to buy a new one so ive started looking for a 2nd hand Hex, ive still got a few bits and bobs to sell which should just about give me enough money to purchase one

So thats where I am, im itching to get back up and running on the lower bands from 12m down to 20m,  currently im not too worried about the lower bands but I do have a rotary dipole for 30m/17m/12m which I will be putting up as well, 40m and 80m im not really worried about right now, possibly in the near future but for now im just concentrating on the Hex and getting back onto the main HF bands.

Anyway thats where I am, I shall keep you updated on my search for a 2nd hand Hexbeam and fingers crossed will be back up and running as soon as possible, the plan to eventually get an IC-7610 is still ongoing it will just take sometime before I have managed to squirrel away enough money to buy it

Life Sux

To coin an America phrase, well it certainly sux for me on a personal level but radio wise things arent quite so gloomy, im still only able to get on 10m for the time being, I purchased a cheap Cushcraft A3S which is in need of a fair bit of TLC to get it back to its former glory, I should really have looked a little closer when I bought it but it was all bundled up, a few of the tubes have been cut and bodged together and a few are bent so it will need a fair bit of work, the traps all look ok though apart from a few missing plastic end caps, one of my fellow CDXC members has very kindly sent me a couple of spare traps with good ends which will help enormously with my restoration, im not sure if once I have gotten it all sorted I will put up as a 3 element tribander or maybe just try it as a 2 element with reflector and driven element, ive still got the neighbours to think of. 

10m has been in pretty good nick for the last couple of weeks and indeed as if ordered to plan the band was wide open for the CQWW contest weekend, I was working but managed to grab a little bit of time whilst at the workshop to bag a couple of all time new ones in BA7LOK and VR2T, also in the last week have managed to work my first VK on 10m for probably 20 odd years, managed to work the 7P8RU Dxpedition and the 3DA0RU Dxped previously, other noteable ones another ATNO in VP9I in Bermuda and then to top it all JT1CO from Mongolia, so all in all its been a great couple of weeks radio wise on 10m, sadly my personal life is still a struggle every day, I think it will take me a very long time if ever to get over my seperation from the love of my life.

I have put up a couple of youtube videos for you to see some of the fantastic conditions we have been having on 10m recently

And lastly as the feature pic for this blog post its the most recent picture of the shack since pretty much everything else has been sold, looking very bare considering the 7700, 7600 and 7300 were in the shack previously 

Onwards and Upwards, albeit very slowly at the mo, Adrian

Quick update and all things 10m and future plans.

Not too much to update really, most of my kit is now sold apart from the ancillary kit although its all selling, slowly but its selling, I keep finding extra bits to sell as well, I would say my IC-7610 fund is getting there but other bills are taking priority so its not growing as fast as I would like, well to be honest its not growing at all, it seems to be diminishing and with Christmas coming up I fear it will diminish more, being a single parent of 5 is difficult enough but its crippling me financially but hey ho it is what it is, I doubt very much the 7610 will be in my plans for this year, more likely early next year now, but the kids come first. 

For now my solitary IC-7000 and the little FT-817ND at the workshop are all I have, it would be nice to have a 100w radio at the workshop and when eventually I find the funds for the 7610 for home the remaining IC-7000 will move to the workshop, although its been fun playing with 5w to the 3 El LFA its certainly a struggle at times, especially given the poor state of 10m right now

Although its fair to say 10m has started to pickup, its been open into South and Central America for the last few days during the evening, contacts into FY, LU and PY on CW as well as CE, CX, and a few others on the little IC-7000 so fingers crossed things are starting to pickup, I have decided to swap antennas so the 3 El LFA I use on 10m at the workshop will move to my home QTH and the Moxon I have here will be moved to the workshop

`Other than that not much to report, im still coming to terms with my marriage breakup, ok im not really coming to terms with it but for my kids I have to appear to be doing just that, my hobby is something that helps more than I probably realised, its been my hobby/lifestyle choice for 30 odd years so its the one constant in my life that I still love and it keeps me sane

Couple of pics of the LFA put together and ready to replace the Moxon I just put it together as per the Diagram and didnt even have to adjust the loop ends for lowest SWR, 1.16 out of the box so to speak, happy with that so just left it, hopefully it will be up fairly soon.

Oh and as an addendum Ive been thinking about a trailer tower recently, it would allow me to chop and change antennas at the workshop but also allow me to just head out every now and then and do some /p work i can also park it up at the side of my house to put the odd larger antenna up for contests and the like, im pushing it with the antennas I have at home as it is so to have the option of just putting something up for a short period of time is very appealing, watch this space. 

73 all

Adrian G0KOM

Lots of change and Hearbreak.

The last couple of months has been very difficult for me,  the breakup of my marriage to the love of my life after 25 years  has forced me to take stock and also look to the future, I decided to start afresh and try and clear as much of my debt as possible so I pretty much sold all of my equipment, my lovely 7700, 7600, 7300 and others, strangely the only radio I kept was my little FT-817ND, now as an Icom fanboy ive always loved the little Yaesu.

I also put up for sale a lot of anciliary kit and also quite a few of my antennas but I didnt remove my current little antenna farm, ive been a ham for 35 years its not just a hobby its a lifestyle and something I love so I wasnt about to give up totally, ive since picked up a little IC-7000 (ive had a few of these fabulous little radios) so for the moment im able to get on the air, I think the plan is to save some money and also let a few more bits and bobs go and maybe get one nice radio and that will be it, no more shack full of gear, ive pretty much settled on an IC-7610  as the radio that I will buy but for now the little IC-7000 and the little FT-817ND will be my shack, I previously had a 2nd hand 7610 but stupidly let it go, anyway thats the plan, a simple 2 radio shack, 7610 and the 7000 with the little 817 being used for /m in the car and any portable stuff, i take it to the workshop with me as well and do a bit of 10m QRP as I have the 3 El 10m LFA up. 

I had recently decided to put up my 9 Element 2m LFA antenna thats been sitting in the shed for a few years so ive now put that up to complete the little antenna farm, ive done very little 2m stuff in my 30 odd years so looking forward to seeing how it works, luckily im able to use either the IC-7000 with 50w or the little FT-817 with 5w

So thats my little update, no idea if anyone will even read it but there you go, I will be back, my priorities are now my children but my Amateur Radio is the only other outlet I have or want, its keeping me sane and hopefully I might have saved enough pennies by the end of the year for that 7610.

Conditions initially seemed to be picking up recently but seem to have taken a dive again with the SFI dropping down to levels from earlier in the year, at least were on the up as far as the sunspot cycle is concerned.

So my plan now is to immerse myself in work from now on, something ive just not had my head in for the last month or so, too be honest im not sure where my head. has been in the last couple of months, get some more money behind me and crack on with life, its all I can do

I know this is supposed to be a radio blog so apologies for the slightly personal nature of this one. 

Its not easy, I miss her every day.

Onwards and Upwards, allegedly.

New 6m Antenna

Well not so much a new 6m antenna as Ive replace my 5 El Op-Des-KOM with an Innovantenna 5 El LFA, I built this antenna at work a few years ago but never errected it at home as I was always paranoid it was a little big but im over that now, its actually not really that big at 3.9m boom length, why did I change, not sure really hoping the little bit of extra gain will help and also that the LFA is well known for its low noise performance and I suffer from quite a high noise level here at home, anyway its up and working well, A62A on 6m FT8 for an ATNO for me today proved that, I still do not nor have ever had an amplifier on any band so still just 100w here, im sorely tempted though as it can be hard going barefoot in this day and age. 

I also plan on replacing my Moxon with the 3 El 10m LFA I have up at the workshop, not sure when, possibly this week or next, I suspect I may put the rotator cage on the mast to cope with the extra weight as well, but for now the 5 Element LFA and the 2 element Moxon are doing what I want and need them to do. 

All change again

Well things havnt quite gone according to plan lately, despite my enthusiasm at putting the Hexbeam up it would appear my neighbours dont share my enthusiasm, in fact quite the opposite, I wont go into the ins and outs of it but im not a happy bunny, as a result I have now had to take down and sell my brand new Hexbeam, I understand its not to everyones taste but when neighbours whom I thought were friends turn out to be not quite as I first thought and rather underhand in their actions it leaves me little choice but to either come to some sort of agreement or understanding or just give up the hobby or rather my passion that I have had for over 30 years now.

Im not about to do that so ive taken the Hex down and decided that the decidedly lower profile 2 element 10m Moxon and 5 Element lightweight Op-Des for 6m will be the weapons of choice for this summer, after that ive got some thinking to do, whatever I put on the tower it will need to be in a flat plain so as not to look like the (as my neighbours put it) monstrosity the Hex was.

As my daytime job is working for Innovantennas the likeliehood is I will go with one of our own antennas, the XR5C is looking like the ideal candidate right now, small 3.3m boom and capacity hat loaded shortened 20m elements, that will give me effectively a 2 element trapless yagi on all the bands from 10m thru to 20m including the WARC bands which is pretty much what the Hex does. 

Anyway as we used to say in the RAF I mustn’t let the bastards grind me down and I will move forward, onwards and upwards, or should I coin the motto of my very own Royal Air Force, Per ardua ad astra “through adversity to the stars” 

Fuckem I say

73 Adrian

Little (or is it big) Update

So the shack is rapidly disappearing and shrinking by the day, sadly now my Retina Imac 5k has gone, I didnt think id be as gutted as I was but I am, been a fabulous computer to have in the shack, ive borrowed my daughters little old laptop for now but im struggling to get the enjoyment out of windows as well as the fact its only a 13in laptop and my eyes are struggling, anyway it is what it is and whats done is done. 

I put up the Hexbeam last week, I had ordered a new one from Ant MW0JZE but in the interim i picked up a 2nd hand one so I put this up this week.

Get a Hexbeam “They said”

It works wonderfully “They said”

It looks much bigger on the ground “They said”

When its up in the air it will look much smaller “They Said”

They lied, this thing looks bloody huge, im awaiting the fallout from the Neighbours or a visit from the local council, (Maybe I could tell them im on Furlough from GCHQ) I hope neither will happen but given the bad luck that has befallen us in the last few months im only too aware that more bad luck is on the way.

On a positive side, it bloody well works very well indeed

73 The Pessimistic Ham

All Change

Well as ive mentioned before due to the pandemic and its affect on my self employment ive drastically slimmed the shack and my equipment down, its really saddened me but it is what it is.

So the new shack for the end of Jan 2021 as per the above shot, one single radio for now, not even a 2m radio for local chat, I will be back “dont know when dont know where” breaks into a Vera Lynn classic LOL.

Even the 27in 5K Retina Imac is up or sale, downsizing to a small Mac Mini, sad times.

On a completely different subject, ive just gotten back from work (I am able to work during lockdown) should have been there all day but the weather today has been bitter, heavy rain, cold and wind made for very uncomfortable working conditions in a very cold unheated brick workshop in the middle of the countryside, when I couldnt feel my fingers and my toes were freezing it was time to call it a day and come home to a lovely warm house.

Nostalgic pic of how the shack used to look, I know I shouldnt drink and DX

It never rains but it pours

A little fed up recently, with having to slim down my equipment due to financial issues I had thought my spirits would be lifted by my recent overhaul of my tower and what would hopefully be the replacement for the MA5B, put a new winch and cable on the tower which was quite difficult in itself in a box section tower but I got there in the end.

I purchased a 2nd hand Hexbeam last year, its an antenna ive always wanted to use and having ordered a new one from Ant MW0JZE I took the opportunity of purchasing a 2nd hand one to use in the interim period so after finishing the tower work I began the process of building the Hexbeam, it soon materialised that it wasnt going to end up being the dream antenna I wanted, nothing to do with performance, the hexbeams are proven performers, its all down to size, I always knew it would be a little different from a visual perspective but thats ok, what I didnt perhaps perceive was that in my very small garden this thing is rather huge, I hummed and hahd and sat for a while thinking about it and then decided to dismantle it, I dont have a huge garden and im fairly surrounded by houses, I honestly thing my neighbours would have kittens if I put this up.

So where does this leave me, honestly im not sure, I could visit my neighbours and ask them if they have any issues with me putting it up, I could just put it up anyway or I could give up  and think of something else, at this point I just dont know, what I do know is I need to get something that is going to perform reasonably well up fairly soon before I lose another year to mediocrity.

Yeah and its been pissing down for days, someone up there is having a laugh !!

More slimming down and antennas

First of all, Happy New Year to anyone who may be reading this, my first post of the new year, following on from my last post about slimming down due to my financial situation I have now put up my Icom IC-7700 for sale from my home shack and will continue to use the IC-7300 which ive had for a few years, the 7700 is hands down the best radio i have ever used, just an amazing receiver and amazing filtering coupled with just the right amount of front panel buttons without having to delve deep into the menu system, am i gutted, bloody right but the 7700 is worth at least £2K so I have no choice but to let it go.

Whilst doing things on a budget ive not had any antennas up for the lower bands, nothing lower than 20m here so a few years ago I bought a very rough R7 which in hindsight was a wreck, last year I picked up an R5 which was in slightly better condition albeit with an issue with the 17m trap so I decided to have a play at making one good R7 out of the old R7 and the better R5, anyway I got it up and running this week and it seems to play ok not really tuned it for lowest SWR on each band yet but on the CW portions of all bands bar 40m its less than 1.7 which im happy with, its about 1.9 on 40m which with a tuner I can live with, I have currently only pretty much ground mounted the antenna to test it but initial tests look good, heard a fair bit of stuff on 40m last few days including some NA at decent signal strengths so the plan is when the weather improves to move the antenna to a different location in my small garden and mount it so the base is approx 8-10ft off the ground, its currently on 2ft   from ground level.

The downside of vertical polarization is the noise level, its around S5-S7 on 40m  but sadly the 30m noise level is still S9+ which it was previously on my old R7000, ive no idea at this point what im going to do if anything to try and remedy that.