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Victor
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Victor


Call Sign : 26-CT-3228 Ham M7VIC
Posts : 3716
Times Thanked : 225
Join date : 2019-11-10
QTH or Location : Bedford
Equipment Used : Various

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PostSubject: Skip Hunting for Hunting Skip!   Skip Hunting for Hunting Skip! Icon_minitimeWed Apr 20, 2022 11:52 am

Hi All,

I hope you're all keeping well and most of all enjoying your radio.


I'll bet that there's some of you that can't walk past a skip of rubbish without a curious peer inside it. I know I can't and often as a younger man on my travels I'd find myself scrambling inside a skip if there were any good pickings! (After asking permission first of course. Wink )

Now that I'm an old fart and housebound crippled the opportunity doesn't strike as much so you can imagine my delight when the neighbour had a skip plonked on their front lawn recently. Went round there as fast as I could hobble on my crutches(!) and asked my neighbour if I could have a 'peruse' through. (Great woman, been neighbours for donkeys years.) Slim pickings but grabbed a couple of junk items that might come in use one day.

A recent roofing job had seen the workers destroy my old fan dipole array antenna setup in my loft but my missus did a fantastic job of stringing up a dipole for 10m recently. (To participate in the Charlie Tango 10m Summer Challenge).


Still could do with something better than that and didn't fancy sending the missus up the loft hatch to string more dipoles so set about coming up with an idea for a multiband antenna.


One idea soon presented itself with a 44 foot Doublet, link below :-

http://webclass.org/k5ijb/antennas/Only-one-wire.htm

Yeah, some have already cringed at me about ladderline feeders and I'll bet someone will moan about imperial measurements. (13.4 meters if you must. Rolling Eyes ) However, input from a fellow CT member, (The DB), set me straight that this might be a good idea.

So, onto the skip pickings....

55 foot, (OK, OK, 16.7 meters), of twin core mains flex from an old lawnmower.

Skip Hunting for Hunting Skip! Img_0010

A curtain rail, unused but missing all the rail sliders. (?)

Skip Hunting for Hunting Skip! Img_0011

I'll need to scrabble around for a few more bits but that should get me started.

Now, stripping cable can be hard on your hands but with a simple bit of wood with a hole big enough to slide the cable through and a screw poking perpendicular the cable can be 'scored' to make stripping apart easier....

Skip Hunting for Hunting Skip! Img_0012

Didn't take long and I started measuring out lengths ready to make up the antenna and feeder. After a bit of saw work and knocking up a quick jig to drill holes I soon 'converted' the curtain rail into ladderline spacers...

Skip Hunting for Hunting Skip! Img_0013

Yeah, none too shabby. Smile

Now I had to think about this all a bit more knowing that it would be my missus up in the loft and would need to be a fairly easy job. Luckily I remembered having a screw hook right at the apex of the roof timbers and slap bang in the middle of house width. If I could just figure out a simple fixing that she could just 'hang' then all the better......hmmm, 'hang'....Ah yes! A hanger!

Skip Hunting for Hunting Skip! Img_0014

I'm sure I've seen a clothes hanger used before, maybe on a SOTA website but a great idea nonetheless and I soon had the measured lengths of wire cable tied and taped to the hanger.

Now onto the fun of feeding all those ladderline spacers I made through....

Skip Hunting for Hunting Skip! Img_0015

What a tangled web we weave..... Very Happy

Didn't take as long as it looks and was a surprisingly soothing task listening to those wires zip through that old curtain rail.

Unfortunately there's no pictures of my missus, (who was by then red faced), stringing this lot up in the loft for me and she hates having her picture taken at the best of times(!) But she managed to string it up in a NNW/SSE direction draping the very ends of the doublet wire over the end rafters as the loft isn't quite wide enough. Should be good to go.

Unfortunately I haven't yet scrounged enough parts together to make myself a rather lovely Balanced ATU for all this so set about using a BAL-UN to hook it up to my homebrew Pi-Match ATU. Oh, arguments abound on how to solve this one and after some playing around with multiple toroids wound in all sorts of fashions I settled on a simple 4:1 Ruthroff......

Skip Hunting for Hunting Skip! Img_0016

In a box no less, with connectors and everything!
The box was from some long distant abandoned project and I just cut a couple of aluminium plates for it. (Which came from some 'skipped' door protector plates.) The screw terminals were from a junked old, 'MOT tester' and the SO239 from an old radio. The toroid? T130-6, freed from an old power supply unit. Liking the prices? Hasn't cost anything yet. Wink

Is a T130-6 any good for the job and how did I find out what toroid it was?

The following site provides some handy measurements helping to identify such things :-

https://toroids.info/T130-6.php

So with it all hooked up to my Pi ATU I set about finding the settings with a marvellous little bit of kit donated to me, (thanks again Alan!!), namely a NanoVNA sweeping the frequencies I should be able to get with this antenna. I could easily match everything from 40m to 10m, (7MHz to 30MHz), from a low 1:1 SWR with the maximum reading being 1.4 which should do the job nicely.


I can hear some of you seething right now ready to bash at that keyboard........

The 4:1 Ruthroff is doing the job for now and hooking up a 1:1 in any guise just screwed things up. Yes, the ladderline comes right into the shack and keying up my licence limit of 10 watts on any of the frequencies causes no problems whatsoever, no PC speaker buzz, disturbed monitor images, microphone 'kiss' or anything. In fact my RF current meter, (homebrew), showed up no problems at all with 'leaking' RF.


Does it work? Well I've had a chat with a friend on 40m so far and unfortunately he couldn't QSY to 10m for me to claim a point for an English contact! Wink Further on-air testing will proceed. (I've only just got the whole flipping thing hooked up!)
Plus the bands have been pretty awful since I hooked it up confirmed by listening to several webSDR's. (I nearly thought it or the radio wasn't working for a moment!)


It won't make me a DX king that's for sure but it's got me back on air which was the ultimate aim.
(40, 30, 20, 17, 15, 12, ahem 11, and of course 10m band operation.)

For my first play with 'ladderline' and a doublet I've been quite pleased. Now onto trying to scrounge a variable capacitor for my balanced ATU which of course I may post details about. Oh, did I mention my Zetagi SWR meter conversion to a 'Tandem Line Bridge' to check this lot? I'll save that for another posting.......


Antenna for 'free'. Can't be bad.


Apologies for the long posting.....some of you know me better. Wink

All the very best,
Victor

John123, walt, Razz229, keithgriffin1962, TheReverend, SangueG, Tonyvic and like this post

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SangueG
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SangueG


Call Sign : 26-CT-3971 / M7TDV
Posts : 696
Times Thanked : 36
Join date : 2021-01-30
QTH or Location : Cirencester, Gloucestershire
Equipment Used : Little radios, home-made antennas

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PostSubject: Re: Skip Hunting for Hunting Skip!   Skip Hunting for Hunting Skip! Icon_minitimeWed Apr 20, 2022 8:38 pm

Really enjoyed reading your write up Victor. I love making antennas out of cheap items as I think you know, but am definitely learning stuff from you through posts like these. That idea for cable stripping for one, nice!

Have loved giving over my working conditions when asked as "low power into an indoor dipole". You're going to really love getting peoples reactions telling them you're "using an indoor creation from items dug out of a skip"! Very Happy

Awesome.

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Victor
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Victor


Call Sign : 26-CT-3228 Ham M7VIC
Posts : 3716
Times Thanked : 225
Join date : 2019-11-10
QTH or Location : Bedford
Equipment Used : Various

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PostSubject: Re: Skip Hunting for Hunting Skip!   Skip Hunting for Hunting Skip! Icon_minitimeWed Apr 20, 2022 9:08 pm

Cheers Neal, really appreciated mate. Smile


You've done some cracking antennas and experiments with bits of wire just in your short time as an Amateur and I've been impressed. Especially with some of the contacts you've gained and I still love how you 'drive' that G90 of yours!

Ha, yeah - working conditions will be funny to explain as well as my old Yaesu FT757GX that I fixed/restored myself. (Then wait for the "Are you allowed to do that as an M7?" Wink )

Got to admit although it's been a pain at times I've loved my journey through the Amateur Radio route and have never enjoyed myself more. So far it's mostly about getting my licence and station together, the fun should really start with the contacts now......although I still have a hankering for CW. (Sheesh, never ending!)


Never once begrudged those that can afford fancy/expensive gear to get themselves on air but always good to know that you can achieve a lot with very little also.


All the best to you,
Victor

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John123
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John123


Call Sign : 26CT763
Posts : 2979
Times Thanked : 107
Join date : 2019-06-27
QTH or Location : Manchester
Equipment Used : Optima, Superstar 360fm, Stalker 9fdx, President Jack
Age : 48

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PostSubject: Re: Skip Hunting for Hunting Skip!   Skip Hunting for Hunting Skip! Icon_minitimeSun Apr 24, 2022 12:01 pm

Nice work and write-up, Victor.👍👍👍

Very satisfying to be able to construct a great antenna, especially from salvaged parts. I hope it gets you some good contacts in the log.

73s John.

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TheReverend
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Call Sign : 26-CT-3921 / M7GDA
Posts : 128
Times Thanked : 6
Join date : 2020-12-22
QTH or Location : Lambourn
Equipment Used : CRT SS9900, CRT ONE N, CRT Electro, UV-5r, B550p, HP-202, Sirio 4000, T2lT, Sharmans X-50, Diamond A430....and many bits of wire.

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PostSubject: Re: Skip Hunting for Hunting Skip!   Skip Hunting for Hunting Skip! Icon_minitimeWed Apr 27, 2022 12:17 am

A wonderful post Victor!!......and would you believe that, even after reading your post, I let a colleague at work 'skip dive' a few aluminium kick-boards from a skip in our yard?!  I didn't think about it at the time, however there should be plenty to go round for me to make various boxes!

Cheers,

Simon.

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Victor
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Victor


Call Sign : 26-CT-3228 Ham M7VIC
Posts : 3716
Times Thanked : 225
Join date : 2019-11-10
QTH or Location : Bedford
Equipment Used : Various

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PostSubject: Re: Skip Hunting for Hunting Skip!   Skip Hunting for Hunting Skip! Icon_minitimeWed Apr 27, 2022 7:04 am

Hi John,

Cheers mate, was great fun getting this lot together and just had to share the experience. Smile

Seems to be working well so far and if I can just get enough radio time I'll be able to test it further. (Always seem to busy with something that 'needs doing' rather than what I want to do!)

Much appreciated.


------------------------------

Hi Simon,

Thanks, much appreciated. Smile

Oh yes, aluminium kickboard plates can make all sorts of wonderful stuff, enclosures included and all the best when dug out of a skip for free!

Cheers mate.

------------------------------

Thanks to all that enjoyed this and really appreciate the comments.

All the best,
Victor

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