Logbook Analysis 2023

 

2023 has been the first time I have worked more than 100 entries in the calendar year. While there is still time to add a few more, that wont be happening, not sure when I will have time to do any radio with the holidays and painting the house 🙂

144 worked is not a bad effort for a tiny station with a couple of vertical antenna. As the cycle continues to improve I guess I should be able to beat this current record and maybe even work 100 on a single band. Yeah lots of FT8 and not a lot of anything else, though I have done a fair bit of CW and SSB, its just mostly been domestic and not stuff I log typically.

Anyway, merry holidays and a happy ramma ramma ding dong to everyone.

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The Times, They Are A Changing

Yesterday I managed to work 3 new dxcc entities, Lakshadweep Island, Eastern Kiribati and Cocos-Keeling Islands. At a rough count, this gets me close to 200 entities worked. Maybe like 198 or 199, need to do a closer count of both logs with cross referencing to make sure, but its pretty close.

I have never had a tower, never had a beam, actually I have hardly ever changed antennas ever. The setup for the last 6 years has either been a 40m dipole and a tri band vertical or now a 40m 1/4 wave vertical and the same tri bander for 20, 15 and 10m. I have also never been one of those guys who pretends to be king of the dx and bragging how great he is while running a 2kw amp on FT8, lets face it we all know who they are and they are abundant.

I have always had goals, work dxcc as a f-call, done, build a transceiver, done, home brew 100w, done, learn cw, done, work 3 band dxcc, done, work dxcc in a calender year, done this year with 144 worked so far, while working 200 entities was never on the list I am surprised that even with my maximum of 100w and 2 vertical antennas I have gotten even close to working 2/3rds of what is possible.

So what’s next? I really do not know. I have pretty much accomplished everything that I set out to accomplish and then so much more and I have done it my way and staying true to myself. For a long time the assumption was getting to here would mean upgrading the license (that is going to happen), amping up, tower and yagi and dx easy mode, but I am actually thinking of going the entire opposite way even though I have built an amp in the last month that does 200w on 40m and with a change of fets will go 400w to 6m. Rather, upgrading the license still but going much more experimental.

Like packing away the Icom and putting a home brew CW rig there, by keeping the antennas I have and not beaming up like scotty, by running the station 24/7 doing propagation research with multiple receivers and transmitters running wspr and skimmers and transmitting cw and wspr on an hourly schedule and having nothing more than 5 watts on tap. I am thinking that the future is not more and bigger, but less and that actually seems much more compelling than spending my way into dx glory.

I think I now have a plan.

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An SWR Thingy

 

100w 50 ohm resistors, overkill i know. HAHA. For such a simple circuit that an swr bridge is, i really do not understand its operation. Yeah i get the diode rectifies AC to DC and we twiddle the knobs till we get an output voltage that suits the meters or ADC we are using. Its the bit above that which does not make much sense to me, like how does the transformer separate out forward and reverse powers. That is beyond my level of comprehension. And it seems none of my books know either and seem to take it on faith that it works.

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Transmit Receive Antenna Switching

Circuit Schematic

Front Face

Back Face.

Kind of obvious how it all works, pulling the BNC to ground changes over the amp relays from receive to transmit. 12v to the antenna relays to turn on the appropriate antenna port.

I will be controlling the antenna ports from a micro controller that is also changing over relays on the low pass filter board, which is also what I intend on building next.

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Bodge Wires

When big black wires start to replace your beautiful traces, YOU FUCKED UP! HAHAHA

Other than the wiring error and the wrong footprint for the RCA jack, I think this amp tx/rx switching with 3 antenna ports should do the trick. Its been designed to handle 400w plus, but will get mated to a revision of the 100w amp I designed. I probably won’t even respin the board with fixes on it, I am only ever going to build 1 of these I do not need more amps than that HAHAHA

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