26 Oct 2011

MV5+3 Update

Worked a few stations tonight on this “Compact” vertical antenna using 50w of CW from the FT450D on 30m -  working nicely around EU including SV1 LZ DL PA , and the highlight of this evenings session was Rob W1MK in Boxford Mass with a 569 – not bad at all and remember – (50w) – the extra radials make a difference  - also made a few contacts on 10m this afternoon,  mostly EU but if tens open tomorrow will be on the “Mode”.

Thanks Rob for the nice report:-



Rob W1MK – thanks to Qrz.com

Sandpiper MV5+3 Compact vertical

mv5 3_ant (5)
A second multiband (type) antenna was needed to mainly use for “Low Power” operations using the FT450D, and more likely used for Wspr operations and as Paul PC4T had been getting some impressive results with his new MV5+3 from Sandpiper, I decided to go for it since it was well priced I thought for a compact multibander.
Originally I wanted to set it up near, or on my garage but thinking about it we will be having renovations going on next year so decided to ground mount it elswhere but it meant removing my 60m dipole – which was not actually getting much use anyway.
This antenna covers 40m up to 6m with a choice for either 10 or 12m (I chose 10m).
Construction is ok, and the quality of tubing is comparable to other antennas I’ve used such as HyGain, but looking at it I had doubts about the way the inductively loaded radials attach to a collar that slips over the tube and they tighten in opposition to each other.
mv5 3_ant (10)
This is probably THE weak point of this antenna although this is the MK V I feel this might be improved on and would have doubts about its ability to withstand the elements especially the strong south westerly winds we get here on the coast – but I decided to mount it on the ground and it’s in a sheltered position, also less likely to get our feathered friends  perching on those radial attachments.
mv5 3_ant (1)
This is the arrangement for the radial attachment – they screw in against the main  tube and you have to make sure they all line up centrally – in my view this is not ideal, perhaps they could have expanded on this idea to include a much beefier tight fitting collar to allow the studs to screw in fully, as it is they only screw in partially and the tendency is to over tighten .
The instruction sheet supplied is vague but adequate, and the basic measurements given are for the lower ends of all the bands, I later discovered during set-up these were a mile out and in two instances had to cut the radials shorter

mv5 3_ant (8)
Straight forward connection  by PL259

mv5 3_ant (9)
Having removed my 60m dipole I used the same mount (one of those beefy clothes pole stakes from B&Q) banged into the ground and a stub pole around 2 feet long to which the antenna is attached, also I put in a 4 foot length of copper pipe as a ground to which I will attach extra radials – I set it in position and went into the set-up using an antenna analyser – having previously read that this antenna was fiddly to set up I was wondering how some people had managed to unbox/assemble/and have it running in 10 mins ? on all bands ?  Your having a laugh…!  good hour I reckon ! checking through all the bands I did get reasonable matches, but would still have to use an antenna tuner.
mv5 3_ant (3)
Ground mounting – no radials yet
40m – it’s lowest operating band (I was not expecting much on here) SWR was 1.2:1 and was very surprised, as was 30m at 1.1, best I could manage on 20m was 1.4,  17m was 1.7, 15m was 2.1,  10/6m were both around 1.9 -  all bands were set in the CW sections – so clearly I need to have another look to see if I can lower these figures but it’s a starting point. –  I have added extra ground radials for 20/30m and have made CW contacts into PA,  DL. the big test for me was 40m – comparing it to my 40m dipole there was no discernable difference on Rx at all with perhaps a slight drop in noise levels but signals about the same – there was a difference on 30m though – signals up over a dipole and less noise – all the other bands seem fine and as you would expect the higher bands especially 15/10m work well  - this is not a “DX” antenna, it’s physically  small  at 2.7m but at the price it’s a decent compact antenna - ideal if your  garden is on the small side  -  I will be using it over the next month or so on CW with my FT450D   (As used by T32C)    I’ll also add some more radials which I’m sure will help things along – I’m sure I’ll have more to say on it’s performance in due course – best part about my installation is you can’t see it. (Hidden behind shrubs)
mv5 3_ant (2)

12 Oct 2011


Yesterday I tried 10m wspr again as the previous sessions  were disappointing although there had been band activity the day before - My thoughts were that the I-Pro antenna was perhaps not performing well on 10m.
I changed my tune yesterday very early on as a couple of VK6's and a VK4 appeared on CW so I thought I'd let wspr do it's magic on 10m, propagation changed around lunch time and was producing many spots from the USA - in fact my biggest haul of reports on ten !
Below is just a snapshot of yesterdays activity.
Now a question for you - is there a way of entering or loading this "Data" into a program or Database to sort and list the information, such as listing DXCC entities/callsigns, distance,grid squares etc... I notice  there is a problem downloading csv or xml files at the moment - it would be interesting seeing how others USE this data... short of manually entering into a spreadsheet or something it all seems rather time consuming and tedious - your ideas welcomed.

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11 Oct 2011

Well since finishing the "small" job for my Sister-in-Law a few weeks back I thought I would have had more time to get Blogging and doing the radio stuff, but it has not worked out that way, plus I do seem to have got out of the habit of checking the blogs in the morning - and to be honest I have not had much inclination recently to get on the radio - listening to some of the "antics" of the pack chasing T32C beggars belief,  however today I thought I'd get the TS590S fired up and do some Wspr,  I started on 10m and though there appeared to be stations around early afternoon it was disappointing so switched late afternoon to 20m, and glad I did VK2,  VU,  VE6, W's galore so yes , conditions were very good I'd say and this is the first time I'd really put the TS590S/I-Pro  combination to the test.

The I-Pro should have come down over a month ago when I should have been erecting a 100' doublet, but the mast I ordered has STILL not arrived (Now 2 months)  :-(   not happy...  but the I-Pro has been turning up a few surprises so might leave it up  after a pre-winter check, it does seem to work very well on 20/17m but deaf on 10m - Today was encouraging and fun to see all those W's listed

1 Oct 2011

T32C Pile

What a pile too – at app’x 0700 UTC on 14187 SSB, I was reading T32C at 3/4, and later peaking up to a 4/5  -  I did have to go out and he was still running at 0900, I have absolutely N O intention of chasing the pack with my basic set up here and most certainly not with SSB, I might attempt a proper contact using  CW later on in the month when the “Big Guns” ease off a bit – let me say also here I am staggered at the “Moronic” antics of some stations ! Whistling, Breathing, Cooing, and Tuning,  and still some of these guys are using the wrong  frequency LISTEN ! most DXpeditions run split – read the manual for your radio and learn.

I wont even bother looking at the Phone end again, reckon I’ll stick to CW, much easier !

Remember the DX Code of Conduct? Link