Hope you are all keeping well.
Just a little update on my homebrew antenna antics......
As some of you may know I was donated a Yaesu FT290r a while ago and successfully repaired it :-https://charlietangodxgroup.forumotion.com/t3182-yaesu-ft290r-and-repair-of
Having access to 2m VHF SSB also saw me building a Halo antenna for horizontal polarisation :-https://charlietangodxgroup.forumotion.com/t3202-2m-halo-homebrew-antenna
Now, it all appeared to work the antenna passing basic tests using an antenna analyser with flying colours.
I could pick up the GB3VHF beacon at 144.430MHz, (which still took me by surprise), but despite transmitting on the 2m SSB calling channel I received no response. (???) I knew it all worked on the vertical antenna after chatting to a couple of friends but neither of them are equipped with horizontal polarised antennas.
Scanning the SSB frequencies did find me picking up occasional signals at 144.175MHz the FT8 'channel'.
I had built an interface for HF FT8 for my Yaesu FT757gx a while back and set about hooking it up to the FT290. Unfortunately the 290 doesn't have a VOX facility and I don't have a spare 7-pin plug nor yet built a VOX circuit to hook it all up properly.
(Although I have plans in line and will happily share them at a later date when I've completed them.
So in the mean time I simply hooked up the homebrew interface audio input for the PC to the external speaker connection on the FT290 and set the volume so that the WSJT-X software didn't scream at me. (It's all about setting levels man....)
After a couple of hours of 'listening' with WSJT-X linked up with PSK Reporter I was happy to receive this information :-
Seems I received quite a few signals!!
The furthest reception was some 500km+ away..... and yes I know that this is a weak signal mode but gave me some idea as to whether the antenna is working properly or not.
It definitely seems to.
....For reception at least.
Next up is ordering that 7-pin mic plug and cobbling together a VOX circuit for transmission to see how well this antenna is really doing.
Despite 'reccomendations' that abound you don't need a fancy new rig with USB, Sound-cards, CAT control, etc. etc. A simple audio input and output will suffice....but I'll give you fair warning....you may have to lift a hand and dial in the FT8 frequency by hand...and maybe adjust the volume control.
Until the next time......
I wish you all the very best,