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PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2015 1:23 pm 
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Radio guy wrote:
The FT-817 is an ok little rig, not great but ok and I had one for many years. By the time you add all the optional filters to improve receiver performance and add an antenna tuner your probably getting close to the cost of a KX3 but the KX3 will still be 50 times more performance and features over the FT-817 and its antenna tuner fits inside the radio. If you played with a KX3 for even a few minutes you would understand and might have to save up for one.


The KX3 is an amazing package and thoroughly modern, compact and power efficient. .

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2015 11:49 am 
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Double post. Content deleted

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2015 11:51 am 
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Radio guy wrote:
The FT-817 is an ok little rig, not great but ok and I had one for many years. By the time you add all the optional filters to improve receiver performance and add an antenna tuner your probably getting close to the cost of a KX3 but the KX3 will still be 50 times more performance and features over the FT-817 and its antenna tuner fits inside the radio. If you played with a KX3 for even a few minutes you would understand and might have to save up for one.
Radio Guy


I don't doubt that the KX3 is a good rig. The problem is that it only does HF out of the box. I don't like the idea of having to spend extra for 2 meters and not having the option for 70cm. I may get a KX3 at some point. But I am poor and there are other rigs I could spend the money on. So far the 817 has served me well.

I just noticed that the KX3 will only put out 2.5 watts on 2 meters. So that's a downside.

Yea I am curious about the KX3 but probably wont get one any time soon. If someone wants to buy one for me I certainly wouldn't object. :D

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2015 12:29 pm 
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Purple_Mutant wrote:
The problem is that it only does HF out of the box.


KX3 spec 310 kHz - 32 MHz and 44 - 54 MHz

2M and 440 can be handled by a small $40 Chinese HT

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2015 12:59 pm 
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teotwaki wrote:
Purple_Mutant wrote:
The problem is that it only does HF out of the box.


KX3 spec 310 kHz - 32 MHz and 44 - 54 MHz

2M and 440 can be handled by a small $40 Chinese HT


Right I forgot bout 6 meters. The HT doesn't do sideband! If I am going be operating portable during the VHF contest I will be doing SSB.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2015 2:43 pm 
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Purple_Mutant wrote:
teotwaki wrote:
Purple_Mutant wrote:
The problem is that it only does HF out of the box.


KX3 spec 310 kHz - 32 MHz and 44 - 54 MHz

2M and 440 can be handled by a small $40 Chinese HT


Right I forgot bout 6 meters. The HT doesn't do sideband! If I am going be operating portable during the VHF contest I will be doing SSB.



$75 VHF/HF transverter 10 - 15 watts
http://www.ebay.com/itm/144-to-28-MHz-T ... 33a3fdda0f
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2015 2:48 pm 
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It would be nice to see a new HF/2M/70cm portable set hit the market. The 817 is a good radio but it's getting a bit long in the tooth.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2015 1:25 am 
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mattltm wrote:
It would be nice to see a new HF/2M/70cm portable set hit the market. The 817 is a good radio but it's getting a bit long in the tooth.


Yea the 817 is a great radio; however it would be nice to see something new. Besides better filters and whatnot; what is there to improve on the 817? The only possible thing would be wider receive coverage. Maybe give it the covered of one of the wide band HT's. If it also had trunking and P25 decode, that would be sweet. An 817 that doubles as a broadcast receiver and police scanner would RULE! :awesome: The other thought would be more VHF or UHF transmit options. Maybe add 23cm so you have essentially a portable QRP version of a Kenwood TS 2000. Have a simple ATV interface for it and that would ROCK! Hear that Kenwood? I want a Kenwood QRP 2000! I have also been fantasizing about a rig that that covers all of VHF and UHF. General receive from 30mhz to 3gthz (minus 800mhz cell stuff that the FCC requires blocking) and transmit on all the ham bands; 6 meters, 4 meters (where legal), 2 meters, 1.25 meters, 70 cm, 33 cm, 23 cm, and 13 cm. Of course it would be all mode; AM, FM, SSB, CW, digital modes, open source digital voice etc. Regardless, hopefully someone will come out with a new DC to Daylight portable QRP rig.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2015 2:43 pm 
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Purple_Mutant wrote:
mattltm wrote:
[...] open source digital voice [...]


mmmmm, you know where I can get me some of that open source DV? I've got an itch that I don't want to scratch with proprietary BS. I'm still bitter about needing PACTOR modems for Winlink2k.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 08, 2015 3:32 pm 
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Beef wrote:
Purple_Mutant wrote:
mattltm wrote:
[...] open source digital voice [...]


mmmmm, you know where I can get me some of that open source DV? I've got an itch that I don't want to scratch with proprietary BS. I'm still bitter about needing PACTOR modems for Winlink2k.


Yea check out FreeDV

https://freedv.org/tiki-index.php

It's open source DV software for HF. It works on Linux, Mac, and Windows. You need a PC audio interface for your rig. If you are setup to do digital modes, then you are all set. I played around with it a little bit, but I never made any contacts. I need to dig up my PC headset to give it another go. Hopefully I can convince some hams in my area to try it out. If nothing else free DV is kinda cool for the spectrum scope thing and waterfall.

I was looking at Winlink. I am not fond of fact that the software doesn't run natively in Linux. A global HF email service sounds like an awesome thing for disasters. If it were all open source and running on off grid nodes connected to broadband hamnet nodes; that would be SWEET! Email service for the Zombie Apocalypse. We can call it Z-mail! :awesome:

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2015 8:58 am 
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Off-grid email over HF

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-bEANBA2-Q

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5nBqKGKSLe0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qlI1AgYykhs

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_uyWMbeAQg4

https://youtu.be/3IQHYdMUZpI

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2015 5:54 pm 
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teotwaki wrote:


Very cool. Good to know that winlink is doable with a signalink USB. I am glad I don't have to buy any additional hardware. Now I just need to figure out how to do all that with Linux. From what I can tell it's all windows software. If it doesn't run on linux, then I wont be running it. Simple as that. I haven't used windows since XP and have no interest in spending money on windows or a dedicated windows box. Hopefully I can find some way to do winlink on Linux. If I had suitable programming skills I would just write my own winlink app. But unfortunately my programming abilities are seriously limited.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2015 2:57 pm 
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Purple_Mutant wrote:
Beef wrote:
Purple_Mutant wrote:
mattltm wrote:
[...] open source digital voice [...]


mmmmm, you know where I can get me some of that open source DV? I've got an itch that I don't want to scratch with proprietary BS. I'm still bitter about needing PACTOR modems for Winlink2k.


Yea check out FreeDV

https://freedv.org/tiki-index.php

It's open source DV software for HF. It works on Linux, Mac, and Windows. You need a PC audio interface for your rig. If you are setup to do digital modes, then you are all set. I played around with it a little bit, but I never made any contacts. I need to dig up my PC headset to give it another go. Hopefully I can convince some hams in my area to try it out. If nothing else free DV is kinda cool for the spectrum scope thing and waterfall.

I was looking at Winlink. I am not fond of fact that the software doesn't run natively in Linux. A global HF email service sounds like an awesome thing for disasters. If it were all open source and running on off grid nodes connected to broadband hamnet nodes; that would be SWEET! Email service for the Zombie Apocalypse. We can call it Z-mail! :awesome:


oh cool, I'm definitely going to have to look into that.

Winlink is very cool. I've used it with WINMOR and VHF packet. Never looked into doing it on Linux, unfortunately.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2015 4:17 pm 
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Here is a short ZS thread on HF email: viewtopic.php?f=42&t=114704

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2016 6:35 pm 
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To keep these topic on the one thread.

QRP tuners

4States Tuner -
http://www.4sqrp.com/kits/4stuner/4s-tu ... 01-4-2.pdf
$45 USD, with shipping to North America $51. Build it yourself. Unusual feature is the two LED tuning aid. Built it from kit - learn something and you can fix, if needed.

While my SOTA tuner works, it is both fussy and somewhat delicate.

The PFR-3 QRP radio
http://www.qsl.net/wb8yyy/mypfr3.jpg
$285, now with a encoder and no push buttons. 3 bands, good receiver, built in tuner, built in battery pack. Key attaches directly, so no loose wires. Add phones and antenna - start communicating.

Building it from a kit means you are more likely to be able to repair the rig, should it fault.

More to come.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2016 7:24 pm 
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For a while I have been thinking of building a tuner in a pipe tobacco tin. Those are bit larger than an altoids tin; so they have more room. I have some polyvaricon caps that I ordered from QRPme. I ordered the kit that includes knobs, mounting screws ETC.

http://www.qrpme.com/?p=parts

Those are small enough that I should be able to fit a T match tuner in the tin. I am thinking of calling the tuner the: Tobacco Tin T Tenna Tuner. I need to see what my options are for compact rotary switches. Or would be simpler to use use some small SPST switches I already have. I have also been thinking of making a small multi ratio balun in a small tin. Say 1:1 and 4:1 Something similiar to this one from Buddi Pole.

http://www.buddipole.com/trraswbat.html

With compact tuner, a multi ratio balun, a BNC to binding post adapter, some wire, and feed line; you would be pretty well setup. A mast would help but if you have trees you could do without it. It would be easy enough to set up various flavors of dipoles and loops with that kind of setup. The Antenna Handbook of the United States Marine Corps has a bunch of neat wire antennas in it.

http://www.marines.mil/Portals/59/MCRP%203-40.3C%20With%20Erratum%20z.pdf


*EDIT*

Yep it looks like multiple SPST switches instead of a rotary switch to select inductance; will work just fine. I just came across this QRP tuner that does that.

http://www.qrpkits.com/sltplus.html

Sine I already have some small switches; that will be simpler than digging up a compact rotary switch. I will however have to dig up a toroidal core and suitable wire for winding the inductor.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2016 11:46 am 
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Purple_Mutant wrote:
For a while I have been thinking of building a tuner in a pipe tobacco tin. Those are bit larger than an altoids tin; so they have more room. I have some polyvaricon caps that I ordered from QRPme. I ordered the kit that includes knobs, mounting screws ETC.

http://www.qrpme.com/?p=parts

Those are small enough that I should be able to fit a T match tuner in the tin. I am thinking of calling the tuner the: Tobacco Tin T Tenna Tuner. I need to see what my options are for compact rotary switches. Or would be simpler to use use some small SPST switches I already have. I have also been thinking of making a small multi ratio balun in a small tin. Say 1:1 and 4:1 Something similiar to this one from Buddi Pole.

http://www.buddipole.com/trraswbat.html

With compact tuner, a multi ratio balun, a BNC to binding post adapter, some wire, and feed line; you would be pretty well setup. A mast would help but if you have trees you could do without it. It would be easy enough to set up various flavors of dipoles and loops with that kind of setup. The Antenna Handbook of the United States Marine Corps has a bunch of neat wire antennas in it.

http://www.marines.mil/Portals/59/MCRP%203-40.3C%20With%20Erratum%20z.pdf


*EDIT*

Yep it looks like multiple SPST switches instead of a rotary switch to select inductance; will work just fine. I just came across this QRP tuner that does that.

http://www.qrpkits.com/sltplus.html

Sine I already have some small switches; that will be simpler than digging up a compact rotary switch. I will however have to dig up a toroidal core and suitable wire for winding the inductor.


Winding 7 coils vs winding one?

These little Chinese kits ( QRP Manual Days Antenna Tuner Tune Diy Kit 1 - 30 Mhz For HAM RADIO CW is $13 on flea-bay or $20 from Amazon) have proven to be a decent enough kit of parts for the dough. The instructions suck, but the net is full of "here's what I did" videos & blogs.

A 1:1 and 9:1 BALUN (or a 1:1 UNUN) might be the better pick for the other.

Image
(colored wire optional) See http://www.wb5cxc.com/endfedant.html for well written directions for making a 9:1 UNUN.

End fed wire antennas can be noisy, keep that in mind. I've been using a 58 foot wire with a 4:1 BALUN and with my autotuner works well.

I've got a PFR-3A radio (a KD1JV design) coming in next week.
With the built-in tuner, I'll be able to use a 34 foot wire for 40-30-20 Meters and 'maybe' need a short counter poise for 20M.

I'll post a write-up once I get it out for some contacts.


fun graphic
Image
wire lengths to use to avoid 1/2 wave lengths....

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2016 3:08 pm 
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Image

My PFR-3 came in and checked out. The tuning indicator works well, so this week end I'll be out using it side-by-side with the -9200. Same ant and so on.

I have to say how surprised I am at the size difference - the PFR-3 is at least 1/3 larger and wider as well. OTOH, battery and tuner is inside, so few wires etc.

If nothig else, the RBN should show how far I can get with a wire antenna and 5 watts.....

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2016 4:34 pm 
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For big budgets (ouch) about $1500 but shell out another $250 for the antenna tuner but no internal battery option.

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240×94×238mm; 9.45×3.7×9.37in

4.2kg; 9.26 lb (HEAVY)

http://www.icomamerica.com/en/products/ ... fault.aspx

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TacAir wrote:
My PFR-3 came in and checked out. The tuning indicator works well, so this week end I'll be out using it side-by-side with the -9200. Same ant and so on.

I have to say how surprised I am at the size difference - the PFR-3 is at least 1/3 larger and wider as well. OTOH, battery and tuner is inside, so few wires etc.

If nothig else, the RBN should show how far I can get with a wire antenna and 5 watts.....



We'll be waiting for your report!

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2016 8:09 pm 
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teotwaki wrote:
For big budgets (ouch) about $1500 but shell out another $250 for the antenna tuner but no internal battery option.

Image


240×94×238mm; 9.45×3.7×9.37in

4.2kg; 9.26 lb (HEAVY)

http://www.icomamerica.com/en/products/ ... fault.aspx


I am not sure how trail friendly that rig is. For a more full featured rig it seems the two main trail friendly options are the Yaesu FT-817 and the Elecraft KX3. I have an 817 and it's a pretty sweet rig. Rigs like the Yaesu FT-857 and the Icom IC-706 series are another option. I have an IC-706MKIIG. Given it's size and power consumption I would rather take the 817 on the trail. I would consider rigs like the 857 and 706 as portable rather than trail friendly.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2016 10:05 pm 
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teotwaki wrote:
TacAir wrote:
My PFR-3 came in and checked out. The tuning indicator works well, so this week end I'll be out using it side-by-side with the -9200. Same ant and so on.

I have to say how surprised I am at the size difference - the PFR-3 is at least 1/3 larger and wider as well. OTOH, battery and tuner is inside, so few wires etc.

If nothing else, the RBN should show how far I can get with a wire antenna and 5 watts.....



We'll be waiting for your report!


Spent the afternoon measuring and cutting wire. One of the 'big guns' wit the PFR 3 really touts something he calls a Lamda ant, 34 foot and a 17 foot counterpoise nets good results - if the videos are to be believed... We shall see.

I'm going to use my NUE-PSK as a memory keyer, because the keyer in the -9200 sucks rocks and the one in the -3 is a bit iffy for loading.

I'll be doing current draw measurements etc as part of the mini-expedition.

(rubs hands together gleefully) Should be great fun....

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2016 9:44 am 
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Whenever I see mention of an end fed antenna using a 9:1 or even worse, a 4:1 balun I have to chime in. The various versions of end fed antennas using non resonant lengths of wire anywhere from 31 to 117ft suck, they are horrible little things that don't work well at all and in most cases your coax is radiating as much RF as the random length of wire.

On the other hand a resonant half wave end fed with an appropriate high ratio transformer around 64:1 impedance ratio will match the resonant end fed and radiate basically the same as a center fed half wave dipole of the same size. These types of end feds also work great on even harmonics of the lowest half wavelength they are made for.

The most common version is 40m which also works great on 20m, 15m and 10m without a tuner. The radiation pattern is very predictable being the same as a half wave center fed on the lowest band and a cloverleaf on the 2nd harmonic and so on.

The transformer is probably easier to make than a 4:1 or 9:1 and a 100w field version can use a FT-114A-43 core that cost about $2. The 40/20/15/10m version uses about 63ft of insulated wire and it would be a little longer using bare wire. You wind the transformer per the specs in the following links then add a little more wire than a calculated 1/2 wavelength at the lowest design freq, then trim the wire for the best match on the lowest band and the higher bands just fall into place.

I've had countless frustrated friends with 9:1 end feds and when I loan them a half wave resonant end fed they are completely blown away with the difference in performance. They always ask why do people recommend the 9:1 when its such a piece of crap and my only answer is friends don't let friends use 9:1 end feds.

Anyway here are some links and although there is different info in each one the common theme is the winding of the transformer with 2 turns of twisted pair for the primary and a 14 turn secondary that crosses over after 7 turns. The FT-114A-43 core will work down to about 5MHz where you can attach a half wavelength of wire for any frequency above that, so about 90ft of wire will resonate in the 60m ham band and close to the 30m ham band and so on. Around 63 ft of wire will make the 40/20/15/10m version. About 31ft will make a 20/10m version and for a cool little 10m vertical use about 16ft of wire and you can easily hang that vertically for a great low angle 10 or CB antenna.

Its recommended to use a good common mode RF choke in the feedline and I usually place that about 10 to 20ft downstream from the 64:1 transformer. I have not detected any RF on the coax on the resonant bands but if you accidentally go out of band it will light up the coax with RF. In most cases you do not need a tuner, so imagine using your tiny Yaesu FT-817 without dragging around that stupid antenna tuner that's bigger than the radio, and you will get out a signal better than anything you have probably used, other than an actual resonant center fed dipole. Plus the 100w transformer will fit in a box a little bigger than a Zippo lighter, compare that to whatever trail antenna you are using now.

I also use miniature coax like RG-174 or the Teflon version RG-316 and since these antennas have a good match you will not incur additional coax loss from operating under a high VSWR condition like the 9:1 versions. For an effective feedline choke you can wrap about 6 turns of RG-174 size coax through an FB-31-1020 ferrite bead (about $2) and just leave than on your feedline. The combination of the tiny transformer, maybe #20 or #22 wire for the antenna wound up in a plastic chalk line reel and the RG-174 makes for one of the smallest and fastest to deploy and stow multiband field antennas that I know of and it just kicks butt.

If you don't like building antennas but want the ease and performance of a resonant end fed halfwave you can just buy a commercial version from LNR called the PAR multiband end fed, or for high power versions this guy knows his stuff and makes excellent versions: http://myantennas.com/wp/product/efhw-4010/ He also makes 9:1 versions due to their misguided popularity, but being a good guy he will usually talk you into the resonant version.

Here are the links and remember, friends don't let friends use 9:1 end feds!

https://forums.hamisland.net/showthread ... b09d7d832d

http://pa-11019.blogspot.nl/2012/04/149 ... as-35.html

https://pa3hho.wordpress.com/end-fed-an ... d-english/

Radio Guy


TacAir wrote:
Purple_Mutant wrote:
For a while I have been thinking of building a tuner in a pipe tobacco tin. Those are bit larger than an altoids tin; so they have more room. I have some polyvaricon caps that I ordered from QRPme. I ordered the kit that includes knobs, mounting screws ETC.

http://www.qrpme.com/?p=parts

Those are small enough that I should be able to fit a T match tuner in the tin. I am thinking of calling the tuner the: Tobacco Tin T Tenna Tuner. I need to see what my options are for compact rotary switches. Or would be simpler to use use some small SPST switches I already have. I have also been thinking of making a small multi ratio balun in a small tin. Say 1:1 and 4:1 Something similiar to this one from Buddi Pole.

http://www.buddipole.com/trraswbat.html

With compact tuner, a multi ratio balun, a BNC to binding post adapter, some wire, and feed line; you would be pretty well setup. A mast would help but if you have trees you could do without it. It would be easy enough to set up various flavors of dipoles and loops with that kind of setup. The Antenna Handbook of the United States Marine Corps has a bunch of neat wire antennas in it.

http://www.marines.mil/Portals/59/MCRP%203-40.3C%20With%20Erratum%20z.pdf


*EDIT*

Yep it looks like multiple SPST switches instead of a rotary switch to select inductance; will work just fine. I just came across this QRP tuner that does that.

http://www.qrpkits.com/sltplus.html

Sine I already have some small switches; that will be simpler than digging up a compact rotary switch. I will however have to dig up a toroidal core and suitable wire for winding the inductor.


Winding 7 coils vs winding one?

These little Chinese kits ( QRP Manual Days Antenna Tuner Tune Diy Kit 1 - 30 Mhz For HAM RADIO CW is $13 on flea-bay or $20 from Amazon) have proven to be a decent enough kit of parts for the dough. The instructions suck, but the net is full of "here's what I did" videos & blogs.

A 1:1 and 9:1 BALUN (or a 1:1 UNUN) might be the better pick for the other.

Image
(colored wire optional) See http://www.wb5cxc.com/endfedant.html for well written directions for making a 9:1 UNUN.

End fed wire antennas can be noisy, keep that in mind. I've been using a 58 foot wire with a 4:1 BALUN and with my autotuner works well.

I've got a PFR-3A radio (a KD1JV design) coming in next week.
With the built-in tuner, I'll be able to use a 34 foot wire for 40-30-20 Meters and 'maybe' need a short counter poise for 20M.

I'll post a write-up once I get it out for some contacts.


fun graphic
Image
wire lengths to use to avoid 1/2 wave lengths....


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I have built the 64:1 transformer in those links and they work great. When winding one pay careful attention to how the winding goes from one side to the other on the core. From the links:

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"Use 1mm enameled wire. Twist a length of about 6 – 8 inch of wire with a length of 40 inch of wire. It is good practice to tape the FT-240-43 core with (e.g. PVC or Teflon) isolation (tape). Start winding (back) at point B. This is the point where the bifilar winding ends. Make two windings back. Solder the beginning of the two bifilar windings together. Later, this will be connected to the ground of the SO393 female jack (or BNC if you like). The end of the bifilar winding will be the “hot” input; the center of the female jack chassis. Cut excess wire, leave about 1½ inch for soldering. Now from point B (where you started winding back) continue winding the single (long) wire forward and make 7 single windings. Then let the wire go THROUGH the core to the other side and make 7 more normal windings. Cut excess wire (leave 1½ extra for soldering). This end will be the feed point of the wire."

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