Showing posts from July, 2015

Building a new antenna at N6QW ~ Part V

A Potential Major Setback ~ the Rohn H950 Mast We all have heard the caution about the unbelievable low price and you get what you pay for and most likely the physical product does not satisfy the requirement. I believe I am at that point with the H950 mast. I was at first unsure and more confused about how to actually assemble the mast which I found later involves moving a section beyond a point on the next larger section and aligning a notch on the inner pipe with a hole drilled in the larger section.   Once aligned you simply place a cotter pin through the assembly so that the inner section notch rests on the cotter pin and then a clamp mechanism is aligned with another hole in the larger section to force against the inner section. The intent here is to have the cotter pin prevent the inner section from slipping down and the clamp's purpose is to make sturdy the two section. Nice theory.   I substituted 5/16 steel bolts with nuts for the cotter pin and assembled 4 out

Building a new antenna at N6QW ~ Part IV

Task Sequencing ~ Step by Step Task List If you haven't guessed by now this blog is more to cause ME to think about how to install the new antenna and in doing so document and share the information. I tend to get a bit wordy, mostly out of fear that I will fail to include all of the detail needed to do the task. Please bear with me and in future posts I will try to be more economical in my word usage.   What goes where and what gets done first? There are so many individual tasks that must be done and in somewhat drifting back to my days in aerospace manufacturing, we often found that items installed at one station had to be removed at a subsequent station to install the items at that downstream station. That was wasteful and caused a lot of rework and did I mention additional cost. There is also another consideration in that my current antenna mast has to be removed to make room for the new mast. Thus I will be "off air" for a period of time and the goal is to ma

Building a new antenna at N6QW ~ Part III

More Front End Engineering In Parts I and II, I covered looking at some of the basics about where I would place the new beam support mast and the all important dimensional clearances needed to raise and operate the beam antenna. In parallel with that activity I had been "noodling" the three very important components of the antenna system which I will describe here.   The mast selection was based principally on cost which hopefully I will not rue the selection I made. A roof mounted mast was ruled out in large part because of the implications of boring holes into the roof of my "California Cracker Box" home. A roof installation most likely would involve a structural engineering review and very likely some internal construction to support the mast, beam and rotator. That also has implications for earthquake safety as we are located in an area of active earthquakes. A permit and engineering review by the local building department would be required if this optio

Building a new antenna at N6QW ~ Part II

The all important "Engineering" of the project. I learned a long time ago that the "front end engineering" of a project is the critical success factor whether it is building a new radio or installing an antenna. I have coined a term that I call "noodling" where much time is spent researching the background information and where the alternative analyses are evaluated. When the mast is 1/2 way up in the air, that is not the time to think about will this assembly support the antenna or will it come crashing to the ground. Haste does make waste and you must never forget that sage advice when engaging in a new project.   When I installed the current  fiberglass antenna mast I created a plot plan of my house, where I assessed the available real estate and possible site locations of the support mast. Surprise! I found that my options were really limited when considering the length of the Extended Double Zepp, the attachment point to the eaves and choosing 

Building a new antenna at N6QW ~ Part I

A New Antenna Installation at N6QW When I moved back to California in Mid-2013, it was with great trepidation and sense of loss of my beloved extended Lazy H antenna. Moving to a postage stamp sized lot with no trees surely was a step back from my former QTH that was a 1/2 acre lot with 150 foot tall pine trees, located about 500 feet from Puget Sound with a clear shot to Europe. But life can be cruel and we should always think of the glass as half full!   My  antenna at the new Southern California QTH was a compromise given the time available, my desire to get back on the air and working with what I had. Subsequently I ended up with a 20 Meter Extended Double Zepp that was arranged in an inverted Vee configuration with the apex at 26 feet and the ends at 10 feet. For the center support I purchased a 4 section telescoping fiberglass pole and bracketed the lower section to one of the eaves on the back side of my home.   The antenna is fed with a 35 foot section of 450 Ohm lin

First Receiver Tests LBS-II

  The first receiver tests of the LBS-II. 7/2015
This is my newest SSB transceiver dubbed the LBS-II. It is a single band for 40 Meters and has a 5 watt output. The size is 2.5 inches high by 4 inches wide and 7 inches deep. The IF is at 9.0 MHz using an INRAD model 351 four pole filter. The VFO and BFO signals are supplied using a Si5351 driven by an Arduino Pro-Mini. It took about 3 weeks to construct. See full detail on the build at