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 My homemade Delta Loop seems to work very well!

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Lynton
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PostSubject: My homemade Delta Loop seems to work very well!   My homemade Delta Loop seems to work very well! Icon_minitimeSat Jun 10, 2023 4:32 pm

Hi everyone,
      I love experimenting with antennas especially those made of simple pieces of wire.
I have a Sirio Signal Keeper antenna but always preferred my home made half wave dipole over that even though I have not achieved any DX contacts with either antenna!

Today I made a full wave delta loop antenna out of wire with a commercial 4:1 balun attached and am very impressed so far.
The horizontal at the top of the triangle (2.75m long) is around 3m off the ground with the remaining two sides meeting at the bottom near the ground where they connect to the 4:1 balun.
So far I have noticed much much less noise with the S meter stuck at about 1 S point whereas with the dipole and Sirio it sat at around 5 or 6.
I am also hearing for the first time the Amercian stations on Ch6 EU (Superbowl AM) channel loud and clear this afternoon.
Of course hearing those could just be down to conditions but my first impressions with this antenna is that it definitely works!
I'm waiting for some EU skip to see what happens on the DX front.

Lynton

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PostSubject: Re: My homemade Delta Loop seems to work very well!   My homemade Delta Loop seems to work very well! Icon_minitimeSat Jun 10, 2023 5:09 pm

Hi Lynton,


I do love a good old homebrew antenna and slinging up bits of wire is right up my alley of interest.

Well done with the Delta loop (something I've been wanting to try again) and glad you seem to be getting good results so far with it. My homemade Delta Loop seems to work very well! 1f44d 

They apparently work very well for DX with low take off angles the 'other' way up and bottom corner fed (loads of info on the old t'internet about them) but quite often it's a case of what we can fit in where we can.

I take it from the measurements mentioned that this is for CB/11m?


I've just been playing around with a 40-20-10m end fed made from wire washing line (bit different from my lawnmower lead doublet Wink ) and not that impressed. I may just repurpose it and give a delta loop a bash after seeing your posting....it may improve my 10m reception a bit. (Might help me with my pathetic attempts at the Charlie Tango 10m challenge!!)

Cheers for posting and keep us updated on how you do with it. I hope it serves you well and bags you some good DX.


All the best,
Victor

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PostSubject: Re: My homemade Delta Loop seems to work very well!   My homemade Delta Loop seems to work very well! Icon_minitimeSun Jun 11, 2023 7:12 am

I think it's awesome you are making antennas Lynton. Personally, it's an area of radio experimentation I really love.

Do keep us posted on how you get on with your loop. You're hearing stations, that's a good start... you can't work them if you can't hear them.

Lynton and Victor.. UK thunderstorms forecast today. Obviously be very careful about operating at these times, but once you're happy to plug your coax back in again after a storm has passed on, E skip can sometimes be heightened, certainly appeared to be yesterday (though no new 10m entities for me). Fingers crossed for both of you.

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PostSubject: Re: My homemade Delta Loop seems to work very well!   My homemade Delta Loop seems to work very well! Icon_minitimeSun Jun 11, 2023 7:43 am

Cheers for the heads up there Neal, the EFHW is already back down. (Couple of S points down on the lawnmower lead loft job plus night and day difference with FT8 decodes!)

Bits of wire, who'd have thought how interesting it can all be. Wink

What you currently running on 10m? (I need all the help I can get!)

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PostSubject: Re: My homemade Delta Loop seems to work very well!   My homemade Delta Loop seems to work very well! Icon_minitimeSun Jun 11, 2023 8:57 am

10m antenna is still mostly the good old fan dipole. 10m & 12m from 450ohm window line with a couple of spurs for 11m. 12m line a lot shorter than it should be due to, I presume, coupling with the 10m line.

Everything else I have tried this time around has just not topped that setup. In the past for 11m a single element quad loop worked wonders for me with the feed being relatively close to the ground, and a local ham is currently using a 2 element delta loop on 10m with fantastic results with it not being at any great height. So I have my eye closely on Lynton to see how he gets on.

Half mulling over making a temporary single element delta loop to try in the garden, I'll see how Lynton gets on first, or if anyone else is using one currently and wants to chip in and let us know how well it's working. I'd probably make it simpler and forgo the 4:1 and just lengthen the sides and shorten the top to make it closer to a 50ohm feed point as that's working well for me in small form factor for 70cm. Just how to make it easily collapsible as I wouldn't be able to leave it up...

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Lynton
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PostSubject: Re: My homemade Delta Loop seems to work very well!   My homemade Delta Loop seems to work very well! Icon_minitimeMon Jun 12, 2023 7:03 pm

Thanks everyone for your replies, they are giving me even more encouragement to keep playing around with this stuff.
Victor I did toy with the idea of an end-fed then figured the loop would be easier to match to 50ohm coax and yes the delta loop I speak of is indeed for CB/11M.

Neal I love the simplicity of wire antennas, they cost next to nothing so if the wind gets to them they are easily replaced with next to no additional cost. Also capturing that DX with something one has built is a thrill. This time round 30 years after my initial CB activity getting that DX is still to happen.
I'm hearing stuff but not had any luck getting any replies as yet which is interesting because I don't remember it being that difficult back in the eighties and nineties.
Oh and I think we've managed to miss those thunderstorms thus far although the clouds look a little ominous sometimes!

OK so my delta loop. Here's where i'm at currently after a few days.............

Still no DX contacts made although to be fair I haven't had much time to try very hard.
When I made the original post my Delta Loop was sloped down toward the house. I have now fixed the lower end higher up so the top part of the triangle is horizontal or thereabouts.
The problem with me doing that for speed (and  it maybe temporary) I used an existing fixing on the house which has meant the antenna now picks up from the North-South direction which is severely limiting what I am hearing.
I can hear the Italians only just about while the Spanish and Portugeese are stonking signals!
Tomorrow I plan on making some more adjustments to the direction the loop faces so I can at least hear something from East-West.
I'm finding the antenna to be incredibly quiet in that it is not picking up much man made interference at all unlike my dipole and vertical.

I'll never be able to get the loop so East-West is exactly broadside but I hope to go someway toward that and maintain the height.

I'm thinking if the height is not doable I may be better to go with it as was in my first post. ie. sloped horizontal at the top but able to receive something from the East-West.

I hope that makes sense.

Lynton

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PostSubject: Re: My homemade Delta Loop seems to work very well!   My homemade Delta Loop seems to work very well! Icon_minitimeSun Jun 18, 2023 4:37 pm

Hi all,
     An update...........
CB band conditions haven't been the greatest as far as I can tell but I am hearing stuff from most of Europe and the famous Sweden Repeater on CH20 was audible a couple of nights ago.
Any DX contacts are eluding me thus far no matter how hard I try which is frustrating.
Currently my loop is configured apex down with apex feed meaning I have a horizontal at around 5m high then coming down from that two diagonals meeting at the bottom into a 4:1 balun.
I think this configuration whilst easiest for me to implement gives horizontal polarization and a moderately high radiation angle which isn't the best for DX.

I have managed to change the antenna direction slightly so its facing NW/SE.
Am I never going to get any DX with this setup?

I have done some reading and understand that if I feed the loop near one of the top corners at about a 1/3 wavelength down i'll get vertical polarization and a lower radiation angle which should be better for DX.
That configuration will be awkward but not impossible to implement so before making the changes I wonder if anyone else out there has had more success than me when using a loop in the configuration I am using now.

Messing around with antennas is such good fun if a little frustrating sometimes!

Cheers

Lynton

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PostSubject: Re: My homemade Delta Loop seems to work very well!   My homemade Delta Loop seems to work very well! Icon_minitimeSun Jun 18, 2023 7:07 pm

It's all good fun Lynton,

I wouldn't of thought the polarization would make a lot of difference for skip contacts but the angle of take off will. Great to hear how your experiments are going. Keep us posted on how you get on

73's Gary.

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PostSubject: Re: My homemade Delta Loop seems to work very well!   My homemade Delta Loop seems to work very well! Icon_minitimeSun Jun 18, 2023 7:57 pm

Gary,
    Yep all good fun but I want to get some DX in before the end of the season and time is fast going by.

Cheers

Lynton
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PostSubject: Re: My homemade Delta Loop seems to work very well!   My homemade Delta Loop seems to work very well! Icon_minitimeSun Jun 18, 2023 8:16 pm

As Gary says, it's all good fun Lynton. My homemade Delta Loop seems to work very well! 1f44d 

11m conditions haven't been all that brilliant recently (I still haven't much luck with 10!) unless you're one of the lucky few here with big beams.

I've built several antenna systems now, each reaping rewards or slight disappointment but every one has been an enjoyable and educational experience. Two operators could build the same antenna but have different locations, surroundings and the like so land up with different results from each other.

The only advice I can offer is to give an antenna some 'time' and experience how it operates under differing conditions. Quite often you can chase your tail making changes thinking all is good when conditions pick up when in fact a few revisions ago might have been best(!!)

Keep enjoying yourself and take any apparent 'frustrations' as part of the education.

Great to hear your updates, always good to hear about others radio ventures and look forward to more.


All the best,
Victor

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PostSubject: Re: My homemade Delta Loop seems to work very well!   My homemade Delta Loop seems to work very well! Icon_minitimeSun Jun 18, 2023 9:22 pm

Hi Victor,
     Yes despite my disappointment at not getting any DX contacts I am having a lot of fun just playing around.
I remember 30 years ago getting DX was relatively easy so I guess this time round I expected it to be like that or maybe even easier given not quite so many people are active these days.
What you say about same antennas in different locations performing very different is very true and something that is easy to lose sight of in all the excitement!
Also I think your suggestion of me letting my antenna have some "time" before making further changes is good advice especially as you've noticed poor conditions on 11m also.

Thanks for the reply and of course I'll update this thread when I have more (hopefully good) news to report.

Regards

Lynton

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PostSubject: Re: My homemade Delta Loop seems to work very well!   My homemade Delta Loop seems to work very well! Icon_minitimeTue Jun 27, 2023 10:26 am

Hi All,
    Still no DX contacts made with my Delta Loop.
Are 11m conditions still very poor or is it just me not having any luck?
I'm hearing Spanish, German and Italian stations in quantity but they're not hearing me.

How is everyone else doing with the DX?

Cheers

Lynton

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PostSubject: Re: My homemade Delta Loop seems to work very well!   My homemade Delta Loop seems to work very well! Icon_minitimeWed Jun 28, 2023 6:36 am

Hi Lynton,

I do admire your tenacity and sticking with it. My homemade Delta Loop seems to work very well! 1f44d 

Same here really, lots of reception on 11m (as well as 10m) but not getting contact with any of them.

A lot of stations you'll hear are more than likely running a bit of power in their quest for radio supremacy so unless you're squirting back a lot of RF too they probably won't hear you. That's not to say we should all jump into the "More Watts Igor!" mentality as they do say "if you can't hear them, you can't work them" and no amount of extra power they bolt on their end will improve their own reception.

Another thing to remember is that if you're hearing say a lot of Italian stations (probably the biggest culprits for the use of big linears!) at their end they may be hearing a lot of UK stations that you don't even know are there. So at their end they have a cacophony of stations calling them and picking out your call may be difficult or wiped out by someone here running a bit of power too. Under those circumstances it pays to call often and hope you bust the pile-up by breaking into a gap.

(You can witness this for yourself on many of the online KiwiSDR receivers by selecting a distant station and hearing what they hear.)

I'm sure you'll get there with your antenna and when you do make contact you'll be so thrilled it'll make you try even harder. My homemade Delta Loop seems to work very well! 1f44d


Oh, on another note....thanks to your mention/posting of Delta Loops and constructing one I have also constructed myself one but for the 6m or 50MHz Amateur band. Smile

I have a long doublet antenna (my infamous lawnmower lead in the loft!) and along with my home made ATU can tune it to 6m but I didn't seem to be getting anywhere with it. So out came a length of wire unravelled from a broken transformer along with a bit of old 75 ohm TV coax for an impedance match (love making stuff from junk) and my wife tacked it all up into the loft space for me. (Pointy side up, bottom corner fed for vertical polarisation and low angle.) When switching from the doublet where I hear nothing to the Delta I had stations piling in!!

Early days yet and 6m is infamous for it's all-or-nothing activity but I'm starting to bag contacts which I believe wouldn't have happened otherwise.


So thanks Lynton, your experiments with a Delta Loop may not have bagged you much yet but you certainly banged my S-meter of radio enthusiasm to an S9/+60dB. My homemade Delta Loop seems to work very well! 1f44d 


Apologies for my typical 'waffle' (and I do love an emoji or two) but I wish you well with it and your postings at least enthused myself and hopefully others into giving a Delta Loop a try.

All the best,
Victor

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PostSubject: Re: My homemade Delta Loop seems to work very well!   My homemade Delta Loop seems to work very well! Icon_minitimeWed Jun 28, 2023 9:40 am

I had something like this.
I bought a 2m/70cm yagi months ago and it sat in the box in the corner.
A m8 kept telling me to put it up but it still sat there along with a rotator i got 12 months ago for next to nothing.
So not long ago i put it up set it up with a compass app on my phone and fired it up.
Well what a shock 1150 mile contact on ft8 along with about 20 others why did i not put it up long ago and my m8 laughing at me "told you so".
Next day nothing and the next week nothing well not heard anything after that day.
Even took it down to check it all out.
It's just how radio goes.
Keep the faith it will come round to you.

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PostSubject: Re: My homemade Delta Loop seems to work very well!   My homemade Delta Loop seems to work very well! Icon_minitimeWed Jun 28, 2023 12:18 pm

Yes, as Victor, thanks for the inspiration Lynton! I decided give one ago. Not outside though, in the loft again. What I created would never hold up outside for very long being direct fed by the coax into a choc block and then lots of odds and ends of wire offcuts held together with more choc blocks and tied taught with string. It's horizontally polarised fed at a narrow V point on one side so no transformer balun needed.

My homemade Delta Loop seems to work very well! 10and110

It was an absolute ar*e to get it tuned enough to be usable. I think a combination of the far end sat in the middle of the wires of my fan dipole and loft ladder, and possible impedance bumps in my dodgy element construction.

SWR isn't everything I know, but for those that worry about such things the final result was <2.8:1 between 26.955MHz and 28.885MHz. Appeared as flat as could be between 27.742MHz and 28.056MHz. Above 29.200MHz there's a few odd low dips too. Antenna tuner can make the rig happy anywhere I would want to use it on 10 & 11m.

No real impressions just yet as the band seems dead. Unwanted noise level seems about the same as my fan dipole. Can detect a faint bit of PLT, that might be being picked up from the house wiring of which the bottom wire come closer to than any elements of the fan.

Keep trying Lynton. Maybe we'll have a delta loop to delta loop QSO if the conditions align for us.

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PostSubject: Re: My homemade Delta Loop seems to work very well!   My homemade Delta Loop seems to work very well! Icon_minitimeWed Jun 28, 2023 9:34 pm

Victor,
   You won't find me giving up easily, i've often been called tenacious!!!
Yes its frustrating sometimes but also exciting directing ones mind toward something a little different and learning along the way.
I did wonder if my lack of contacts might be because the stations I'm hearing are running "a bit of power". That was the case 30 odd years ago so I guess why would it have changed now!

I'm so pleased my Delta Loop experiments have caused a real interest even though I am not initially getting the results I first imagined but as you say Victor i'll be thrilled when that first contact is made after so many years.

I'm interested to know how you get on with your 6m Delta Loop. I have no idea what the propagation is like on that band now other than perhaps basing it on my VHF TV DX adventures of many years ago.
From your description it sounds like you have your DL orientated the opposite way to me giving you that low radiation angle for the DX.
That configuration is possible for me but more difficult to implement hence the reason for me worrying about mine not having any DX ability whatsoever.

Don't apologise for your "waffle", its great to "hear" your friendly voice and indeed others out there.

Don't forget to keep us all posted on how your 6m loop goes after you've played with it a few days.

Cheers for now

Lynton

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PostSubject: Re: My homemade Delta Loop seems to work very well!   My homemade Delta Loop seems to work very well! Icon_minitimeWed Jun 28, 2023 9:44 pm

Neal,
      I'm liking your setup!
Its an interesting mix of wire and choc blocks but being shielded from the weather it matters not.

Same as I said to Victor I'd love to hear how you get on with your DL after you've been running it a few days and hopefully the band conditions have picked up.

As for interference I found my DL to be a lot quieter than my quarter wave vertical or my horizontal dipole but that could of course simply be due to the fact its not located in exactly the same place more than anything else.

My SWR goes from 1.8 at around 25.6MHz to around 1.3 at the top end of the 27/81 block with it being 1.0 - 1.1 throughout the CEPT block so exactly how I wanted it. I do have a 4:1 balun feeding it though so maybe that helps I'm not sure.

Would love to have an on air natter with you if as you say conditions work out for us.

I'll have to post some pictures of my DL since I have mentioned it so much!!!  My homemade Delta Loop seems to work very well! 1f600

Cheers

Lynton

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PostSubject: Re: My homemade Delta Loop seems to work very well!   My homemade Delta Loop seems to work very well! Icon_minitimeWed Jun 28, 2023 9:47 pm

Alan,
      Thank you also for your words of encouragement.
I guess after 30 years I only remember the "good times". You know those times where the DX was there and I was working it without problems.
I'll definitely stick with it and pretty much as you've all suggested something good will happen eventually.

Cheers

Lynton

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PostSubject: Re: My homemade Delta Loop seems to work very well!   My homemade Delta Loop seems to work very well! Icon_minitimeWed Jun 28, 2023 10:23 pm

Cor, VHF TV DXing now that does take me back a few years. My homemade Delta Loop seems to work very well! 1f44d

It's all frustrating fun at the mo Lynton what with Sporadic-E as well as Tropospheric propagation modes, (amongst others), on those frequencies. Early doors yet but exciting to try out another band. Strung up to follow the roofline with the bottom corner coax feed dropping straight through the 'shack' ceiling. (Short runs = low loss!)

So far it's got me Finland, a bit of a Spanish run and a UK local contact. There's repeaters up there too so might try that out as well.


When the 'skip' is in on CB frequencies you can get contacts with the proverbial piece of wet-string so I wouldn't worry too much about antenna orientation. (Far too much emphasis based on perceived 'perfection' nowadays!) Many mobile operators can attest to their DX activities often with little more than a 1/4 wave mag mount atop the car.

It's just great fun to build ones own antenna and reap the rewards rather than purchasing on exaggerated gain/performance claims until the next-best-thing comes along.

Like Neal (SangueG) I love nothing more than gathering materials to hand and bolting it all together with a similar tale utilising the ubiquitous electrical connector or 'chocolate' block. It is supposed to be fun after all and I would loathe to find myself calculating the miniscule loss differences between such and commercial connector systems. Wink


Thanks again Lynton for posting about your radio adventures and it has enthused at least a couple of us to give the Delta Loop a go. What could be better than that. My homemade Delta Loop seems to work very well! 1f44d

(I know, some DX contacts would be great but I'm sure they'll come along and at least you're having fun trying.)


All the very best,
Victor

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PostSubject: Re: My homemade Delta Loop seems to work very well!   My homemade Delta Loop seems to work very well! Icon_minitimeThu Jun 29, 2023 6:07 am

100% agree with Victor on the smile on your face when you get your first contact on your self made aerial.
Mine is an end-fed with a strange unun but it works.
It's in a sloping V type configuration but does for me.

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PostSubject: Re: My homemade Delta Loop seems to work very well!   My homemade Delta Loop seems to work very well! Icon_minitimeThu Jun 29, 2023 9:00 am

Lynton wrote:
My SWR goes from 1.8 at around 25.6MHz to around 1.3 at the top end of the 27/81 block with it being 1.0 - 1.1 throughout the CEPT block so exactly how I wanted it. I do have a 4:1 balun feeding it though so maybe that helps I'm not sure.

Would love to have an on air natter with you if as you say conditions work out for us.
If your triangle loop is roughly equilateral then using a 4:1 is spot on for matching to your 50Ω feed. Even if it's not close to having equal sides, you've clearly got yours matched well enough going by your SWR readings. I took the lazier option of shortening the triangle's far end side quite a bit and lengthening the other two sides which narrows the angle at the feed point bringing the resistance closer to 50Ω. Too impatient to wind a 4:1 and too tight fisted to buy one lol.

Yesterday's conditions on 10 & 11 were shockingly bad, at my QTH anyways. I read there was an M class flare yesterday and another the day before, so that's probably the cause. I do have high hopes for the loop though as, despite the bands sounding dead when I was on, running it on 10m FT8 still managed a sprinkling of contacts over Europe and then grey lined to a few in Brazil and Uruguay. I think if you were licenced for 10m and ran FT4/8 or WSPR you'd be surprised at where your loop is actually managing to reach. If you've got a friendly local ham you could ask them if they'd run a digi mode on 10m /a at your QTH, I think you would be really surprised at what your antenna is doing and give you confidence to keep trying for phone mode contacts.

Fingers crossed for us both that the Sun will behave over the coming days. I don't know what times you have been trying, but for me midmorning and mid-afternoon are the most common times for European and Russian Sporadic E contacts and evening as sunset approaches longer DX to South America, that's not a given a though and Sporadic E can happen at any time.

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PostSubject: Re: My homemade Delta Loop seems to work very well!   My homemade Delta Loop seems to work very well! Icon_minitimeThu Jun 29, 2023 9:37 am

Squishing your triangle from an equilateral to an isosceles is a good method to reduce the feed impedance there Neal. My homemade Delta Loop seems to work very well! 1f44d

You can also utilise a length of 75 ohm coax to match it in as well and I used a 3ft 10in (1.18m) length of TV coax for 50MHz attached to the loop before connection to my 50 ohm coax. (0.8 velocity factor for foam dielectric but would've been 3ft 2in for polyethylene.)

For 10m it would work out to be about 1.74m or 5ft 8in and a little longer for CB frequencies.

Very cheap and very easy, just work out a 1/4 wavelength of 75 ohm coax not forgetting to multiply by the velocity factor.

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PostSubject: Re: My homemade Delta Loop seems to work very well!   My homemade Delta Loop seems to work very well! Icon_minitimeThu Jun 29, 2023 6:59 pm

Victor wrote:
You can also utilise a length of 75 ohm coax to match it in as well
I had to duck under the freeview TV antenna coax numerous times whilst adjusting the feed point of the delta loop. Thought about chopping a section out, there's plenty extra not needed up there. Maybe for the next project, as long as the better half is not here watching TV Wink


My delta loop has just lost it's phone mode virginity.

165AT/E825 at 17:04(UTC). 10W USB 27.645. Sent 59, RX 57.

I'm happy, it works. I used to not go above 27.6 using USB in the '80s as it made the legal FM users irate, but I don't think there's anyone to bother around here these days. A good tip for you Lynton to try and get you a DX contact is, if you don't mind not sticking to the rules, is to get away from the hubbub of the mid block and T5 and go for stations calling on quieter frequencies like this one.

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PostSubject: Re: My homemade Delta Loop seems to work very well!   My homemade Delta Loop seems to work very well! Icon_minitimeFri Jun 30, 2023 6:28 am

Had a Homer Simpson Doh! moment before bed about my one. Wonder if anyone else picked up on it? A delta fed on the side as I did is vertically polarised, not horizontal as I wrote Embarassed How my mind lost track of what it was supposed to be doing when I made it, who knows.

That might be the reason its picking up a faint bit of PLT and not because its closer to house wiring. I'll keep it up for a while to see what more I can do with it, but it will be rejigged to a horizontal at some point *shakes head at self*

I wonder if you had any time to check the airwaves yesterday evening Lynton. There was quite a lot of activity, landing in my area anyway. Strong Italian and French stations on hi block and German ones on mid. I didn't have any more QSOs after my one, just mainly listened.

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PostSubject: Re: My homemade Delta Loop seems to work very well!   My homemade Delta Loop seems to work very well! Icon_minitimeFri Jun 30, 2023 12:53 pm

Neal,
   Yes I did check yesterday evening and in fact most evenings there seems to be an opening of some sort to the continent. Most signals are S8 and above so pretty respectable.

We all have those moments!
Perhaps you got your horizontal and vertical mixed because you was thinking about mine at the time!

I have listened up on T5 etc and again can hear lots and lots of activity but would rather stay on the mid block at least for the moment.
For whatever reason Ch34 mid seems to be a good indicator of conditions so I am thinking perhaps that's a calling channel especially for the Italians.

Cheers

Lynton
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