Saturday, August 29, 2015

Temporary Installation of the 8-L 6-M InnovAntenna LFA-2

New Yard Ornament
Once the antenna was tuned and moved to my QTH, it was time to stick it up and see if I could hear any signals from the Moon!  I'm sure my neighbor's think I've gone completely off the rails (my wife is SURE of it) but I think this looks really cool in the front yard.

 With the help of my wife, Evelyn, and later Tim, K8RRT, I managed to place a 10-foot section of Rohn 25 at a place in the yard where the antenna could see my moonset and be able to turn without hitting the house or the trees.  I put the gin pole at the top of that tower section and once we connected the antenna to the gin pole rope, it was not hard to pull it up to about a height of 15-feet. 
CQ the Moon!

I attached a 168-foot piece of LDF4-50A (1/2-inch Heliax) to the antenna, ran it around the house, across the driveway in front of the garage and in through a window in the spare bedroom and then into the shack.  It was connected directly to the Output of the Alpha 8406 amp with a Double-Male "N" connector.

For a few nights now I've been getting up really early to listen off the moon as it sets in my western horizon.  So far I have not copied any signals but the best two nights of the month are coming up and I have high hopes that I will be able to hear something.  On the right is a photo of the antenna aimed at the setting moon.  Click on any photo to make it larger.

UPDATE:   Lance, W7GJ, had traveled to the Federated States of Micronesia to operate a 1-man 6-M EME DX'pedition as V6M. He managed to operate for 3 days before his amp went up in flames! Bummer!  The best EME conditions were just starting when his amp died so he could have worked many more stations if the amp stayed working.  It failed because of voltage spikes on the poor AC mains at his QTH.  He managed to work 37 stations and said he could have doubled that number if the amp had not failed.

     I listened for him and other stations for the first 3 days of his operation with no luck hearing anyone.  Then, as my moon was setting on August 29th, I decided to at least call him.  His procedure is to email each day and post the completed QSO's plus a list of stations he has heard.  I knew I would not be able to work him (unless things improved with better conditions) but I was hopeful that he would report hearing me.  I only transmitted for 42 minutes (actual key-down was 48 seconds out of each 2 minute period.)

     Below is the important portion of his email report for that day:

Anyway, on August 29 during the NA moonset, I worked W1JJ, W7JW, W3UUM, W7UT, and KR7O. I also copied K4PI, K7CW, K7RWT, N3CXV, N3XX, N5DG, N8JX, VE1JF, W3XO, W6XU, and W8TN.

     WOOOO, HOOOO!!!!  My little single antenna 6-M station was actually heard in Micronesia!

     A couple of days later I ran a sked with a station in Michigan and he copied me as well.  However, I just am not able to hear the other stations.  Obviously I have something not right in my receive setup (either the radio or the computer) which needs to be worked out before I can make EME QSO's.  Still, the fact that these relatively small stations have heard me is proof that it may be possible in the future.

     I have now taken down the antenna from the front yard.  It would have come down at the same time anyway but the Homeowner's Association did make a visit here on Sunday because one of my nice neighbor's filed a complaint.  After that visit, Evelyn told me to just keep it up as long as I want in the front yard!  Love that gal!

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