Analysis of the G5RV Antenna

Over at the Brazos Amateur Radio Club, Rick Hiller, W5RH, has assembled a 59 page PowerPoint ‘deck’ that provides a lot of great information about this often deployed, and just as often criticized, go-to antenna for hams facing space issues when considering HF antenna options.

http://www.bvarc.org/pdf/g5rv_w5rh.pdf

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ELK Log Periodic Tripod Mount

While at Pacificon last fall (2019) I attended an antenna seminar that had many great presenters, and when it was over, I won a door prize! While I did not win the HF Vertical, I won a an Elk 2m/440L5 Log Periodic Antenna, suitable for entry-level satellite work on the VHF and UHF bands – something I always wanted to try.

Once I flew home, I put the antenna to the side, and focused on other things, but a few weeks ago I came across the antenna, and with the weather here in Texas getting nicer, I decided to look into working satellites so I pulled the antenna out of my closet and started searching for a suitable mount. While ideally, being lazy, I was hoping to find a pre-built, inexpensive, and simple computer-controlled AZ/EL solution for the Elk antenna, what I did find was an inexpensive solution for mounting the Elk antenna on K0PIR’s website using an inexpensive Amazon Basics 60″ tripod, a 3″ bolt and a couple nuts and washers.

The parts list is down below (I went to Home Depot for my hardware, but there’s no reason to think you can’t source similar parts elsewhere), and beyond the price of the Elk 2m/440L5 antenna ($129.95) and the Amazon Basics 60″ Lightweight Tripod ($25.95), the hardware was under $5 (Three bags of hardware at $1.18/each):

Parts List:
1 piece of 3″ long 1/4″ x 20 Coarse Stainless Steel Bolt – 887480145410
3 pieces of 1/4″ Washers – 887480024814
2 pieces of 1/4″ x 20 Coarse Wing Nuts – 887480023718

Assembly is simple.

  1. Prepare the camera mount plate on the tripod by removing it, placing it on a solid surface with a hole large enough to allow the bolt to pop through the plate (if you put the plate on a flat surface, the bolt will not have enough “travel” to break free of the Camera mount plate.
  2. Take the 3″ long 1/4″ bolt, put one of the washers on it, then insert it into the hole on the camera mount plate, place another washer on the bolt (so they sandwich the camera mounting plate) and then tighten with one of the wing nuts. This will securely mount the bolt to the camera mount plate – put this aside for now.
  3. Take out your PVC mount “bar” from the Elk antenna and secure the center “T” piece with the center 1 1/2″ opening facing straight up. Making sure you are on a surface you don’t mind marking up with your drill, insert your 1/4″ drill bit into the “T”, holding the drill in the center of the opening. Start the drill slowly, carefully working up your speed until the drill “bites” the PVC and QUICKLY goes through the PVC.
  4. Place the PVC “T” on the bolt you attached to your tripod Camera Mount (See step 2, above), then place a 1/4″ washer on the bolt, then secure it with another wing nut.
  5. Attach the Elk antenna to the PVC mount “bar”, then attach the Camera Mount Plate to the tripod and enjoy!
Completed Tripod with Elk 2m/440L5 Antenna, horizontal polarization
Close-up view of antenna/tripod mount, note tripod level indicator
Close-up of the mount in vertical orientation
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Interesting End Fed Wire Matchbox

This antenna matchbox is available assembled from the Emergency Amateur Radio Club of Hawaii, or you can simply follow the construction details in the PDF. While the assembled unit appears weatherproof, I think it wold be best for temporary/portable applications.

This could be a good club build project, providing members with a pretty reasonable HF antenna, perfect for trying out FT8 or other weak-signal digital modes supported by Joe Taylor’s WSJT-X software.

The Assembled version, with a bit of wire for the radiator, is available here: http://earchi.org/proj_homebrew.html

 Assembly Instructions are available here: http://www.earchi.org/92011endfedfiles/Endfed6_40.pdf

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Pacificon 2019

I recently attended the Pacificon Hamfest in San Ramon, and I wanted to share with you a few photos from that event. The sponsoring organization, the Mt. Diablo Amateur Radio Club is a very active club, with activities that include an active ATV Net along with voice nets on their repeaters, and even a member that enjoys what he calls “Parachute Portable” Operation – as seen in a recent QST Magazine.

Pacificon is a good-sized event, with great participation from both industry manufacturers and seminars from subject matter experts. On the first day of the event, they host an Antenna Seminar, with a wide-selection of topics of general interest. I was most interested in the Minimal EME Station and Slot Antenna presentations, but all the presenters were interesting and informative.

As I often do, I offered to volunteer to assist the organizers (when I’m lucky enough to attend Dayton Hamvention I volunteer for a few hours, typically driving attendees to their cars in golf carts) and was asked to work “security” for a couple hours. I was glad to do it, and had a fine time walking the floor helping keep an eye on things. I highly recommend volunteering if you ever have the opportunity – my shift was late afternoon on Saturday, 2:00 – 4:00 PM, so I was able to jump on any bargains when the event opened up Saturday.

Below are some pictures, hopefully you’ll get the opportunity to attend this well-run hamfest.

These hallway tables were for non-profits and area clubs
Well-stocked kit-building area, typical blinky-light or code practice oscillator kits
Flex Radio and Expert Amplifiers were in attendence
Elecraft Radio and Elk Antennas
Spot the YouTube Celebrity, Randy, K7AGE
Let’s play a game called “Where’s Ray Novak” – one hint, he’s not facing the camera!
Tubes, glorious tubes!
Loose tubes of unknown condition, for aesthetic purposes (every shack needs some tubes!)
There were several retailers of odds-and-ends in the swap meet area
The MDARC Comm Van, note the 23cm beams, used for remote ATV links
There was something for every budget!
What shack is complete without at least one Astatic D-104 microphone?
Most vendors stayed on the show floor all three days, but a few left after Saturday

Well, I hope that gives you a glimpse into Pacificon 2019.

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Remote Radio Operation – RemoteHams

So tonight, in about 30 minutes, I took an Icom IC-7100, attached an IT-100 Antenna Tuner which in turn is connected to my MFJ-1838 cobweb antenna, and set up the RemoteHams software to control it from the other side of the DFW metroplex.

The first step would be to load the manufacturer drivers for the USB connection, but I had previously done that.

Then I physically connected the radio to the windows computer, checked for the COM ports that were created (COM5 and COM6 in my case), and made a note of them.

Then I logged into my cable/router to setup/configure port-forwarding covering the specified ports and pointed them at the PC I will be running to control the radio.

The next step is to install the server software from RemoteHams.com, select my radio (IC-7100), and make sure the sound settings are correct (both point to audio codec settings). You’ll need a RemoteHams account to complete the setup. You’ll need to configure the ‘publishing’ tab, this is where you decide how you want to share access to your radio – I just made mine public and enforced TX control, so that I need to approve any user before they are allowed transmit on my radio.

Then I installed the client software on my windows PC, again, I needed to login to the client, and I picked my radio from the list. To test the connection I hit the ‘tune’ button, and it required be to get approved before I could transmit. Success!

Some radios are very simple to configure, they simply require a USB cable between the radio and computer.

Things to figure out with my radio setup are getting access to some radio functions like DStar, the 70 cm band, etc. – I can enter UHF frequencies but I do not have the ability to select the 70 cm band the same way I can 160 – 2 meters.

If you are curious, you can install the RemoteHams.com client and test out my radio. Not sure how long it will remain up, but likely into Feb. 2019 (next month as I write this).

See: http://RemoteHams.com/

https://www.k5pa.com/Ham%20Radio/Downloads/DIY%20Remote%20Radio%20Now.pdf
DIY Remote Radio Now.pdf
Ken

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Spectrum Scope – IC-7610

Courtesy of N9EWO:
n9ewo_ic7610_scope.pdf

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Spectrum Scope – IC-R8600

Courtesy of N9EWO:
n9ewo_icr8600_scope.pdf

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Spectrum Scope – IC-7300

Courtesy of N9EWO
n9ewo_ic7300_scope.pdf

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Audio Tips for the TS-590S

I have come across this excellent resource for wringing the best audio out of (and into) the Kenwood TS-590S, and I wanted to share it.

I came into possession of a TE-590S at Dayton 2018 for the great price of $495 with the understanding that the USB port was not working. After playing with the radio since Dayton and after reading this article, I think my TS-590S is going back to Kenwood to get the USB port repaired.

Fair warning, to really get the best sound out of (and into) your TS-590S, you’ll need to connect a Windows computer running Kenwood’s free ARCP-590 software. As a bonus, I can’t wait to test out the Visual View feature shown below:

Link: http://www.w1aex.com/ts590s/ts590s.html

ARCP-590 Software: http://www.kenwood.com/i/products/info/amateur/ts_590/arcp590_e.html

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Custom Kantronics TNC – Radio Cables

Kantronics KPC-9612+ TNC

I don’t use external TNCs, but I have friends that do, and every once in a while a friend or customer will ask me about a cable to connect one particular Kantronics TNC to one particular radio, and I always refer them to this company – Associated Radio – they have been making custom interface cables for years now and their prices are reasonable in my opinion.

Associated Radio
8012 Conser
Overland Park, KS 66204
(800) 497-1457

I was initially directed to them by Kantronics technical support, and I encourage anyone looking for custom Kantronics TNC-Radio interface cables to give them a call.

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