Category Archives: Amateur Radio

I Would Like to Get an HF Antenna for my Home – Part 1

We have heard this numerous times from our Amateur Radio customers. Whether you are just starting out, or an oldtimer who has been hamming for years – and everyone in between – this is a fairly complicated and in depth subject.

What does an antenna do ?
This is what radiates your signal out to the world. This is the most critical part of any amateur radio station. If you are going to cut corners or save some of the budget, this is NOT the part to do it on.

So how do you select the correct antenna, when there are so many to choose from ?

Let’s look at the types of antennas available.

A Vertical antenna for HF

Verticals – Basic, can be single or multi band. Relatively inexpensive as well. Should be ground mounted with ground radials installed, which is what turns most people away from this type of antenna. An absolute minimum of 4 radials are required, but don’t expect huge results. Typically 32 or more should be installed, on the ground (they will settle in and disappear over time) or you bury them yourself.
Ground mounted verticals are good for DX because of their low angle of radiation.

The same vertical can also be installed on a roof or tower, but they require some form of counterpoise system. This is typically accomplished by hanging the  radials from the base of the antenna. A good example would be installing the antenna on a roof, and laying the radials across the roof.

Radials always connect to the base of the antenna , and are run outward in equal divisions, much like the spokes of a wheel.

Here is a typical vertical antenna: https://radioworld.ca/but-hf6v
You can add some options or homebrew your own.
This radial kit by DX Engineering includes radial wire, fasteners, and “staples” to staple the radials to the ground. The staples will decompose naturally on their own.
DX Engineering also manufactures a base plate for mounting the vertical to a post, and then securing the radials to the plate.

Radioworld sells verticals by Butternut, Comet, Cushcraft, DX Engineering, Hustler, Hy-Gain, and MFJ.
Some are single band, two band, or multiband up to 9 bands. In general, the more bands that the antenna covers, or the smaller an antenna is, the more of a compromise the antenna is. Where most multiband antennas employ coils and/or traps to allow extra bands, antennas like this 43 foot vertical from DX Engineering use no coils or traps, but utilises a remote tuner (sold separately)  at the base of the antenna. And you still need those radials.

Then, there are vertical antennas that employ a matching network on the antenna, with a few very short radials at the base of the antenna. These are much better for tower or roof mounting, as you don’t have wire radials hanging and drooping down, and looking messy. This is again a compromise antenna, but they do work reasonably well. Typically they cost 1.5 – 2 times more than a ground mounted vertical.
Here is an example of a multiband vertical with a matching network.

Vertical antennas are very popular due to their reasonable cost, multiband coverage and ease of installation. They are ideal for small lot sizes. They offer a uniform radiation pattern, but tend to be noisier than horizontally polarised antennas. Yes, you can work DX, but you’ll be blending in with everyone else when you’re calling that rare one.
And be sure to keep an open mind – this CB antenna covers 10, 11, 12 and 15 metres, and requires no radials.

Wire AntennasWire Antennas – The easiest and least expensive of HF antennas. You can purchase commercially made and pre-tuned single, or multiband wire antennas, or build your own. Typically wire antennas are configured as dipole or inverted V styles, but can also be slopers, inverted L’s, long wire or various other styles.

Some popular wire antennas, like the G5RV, require a matching network (tuner) to work properly. This would also apply to non-resonant antennas like longwires, inverted L’s and slopers.

Because of their low cost, low profile, low maintenance and decent performance, many hams build their own wire antennas. You can build everything yourself, or use some commercially made parts like this inexpensive centre and end insulator kit. Add your own wire, special dacron rope to tie off the insulators, and feedline (cable), and you’re all set !

Beams, or directional antennas, are a step up from the others. These antennas direct the signal in one direction, and reject signals from other directions. They are basically a dipole antenna with reflective and directive elements added on to a common boom. They can be for single bands or for multiple bands, but because of their size do not (usually) cover lower frequencies.

A single element antenna is a dipole. The signal radiates from the sides, but not the ends. Adding a director(s)  and a reflector(s) alters the radiation pattern into one direction. The more “elements” (director/reflector elements) the more gain an antenna will have, in one direction. The antenna is aimed at the station you wish to contact. This is done with a rotator on the tower, accessed from a control box at the operators station.

Here is a three element beam for 10, 15 and 20 metres th3-mk4

In this picture, the signal is aimed to the left. The centre element, called the driven element, radiates the signal. The element on the right (the reflector), reflects the signal to the left. The leftmost element (the director) directs the signal to the left. Directors are physically shorter than the driven element, whilst the reflector is physically longer than the driven element. And there is plenty of math to calculate all those dimensions.

Beams can be quite large, and usually need to be supported by a tower. Some smaller beams can be mounted on smaller structures, like tripods or stand alone masts.

Here is an example of an extremely large antenna system20mbeam

Like any antenna, the higher up it is mounted, the better it will perform.

To the left is a 5 element beam for 20 metres, on a 78 foot tower. Quite expensive, it requires some serious work to put up, but will give a really big signal.

 

 

 

So when customers come in saying they want an antenna for HF and what do we recommend, it really isn’t an easy answer. We have to ask many questions to find what works for you.

Come on in and let’s talk.

Tim VA3FU
WAC, WAS, DXCC

New to Radioworld – DX Engineering Radial Plates DXE-RADP-3

DX Engineering Radial Plates are made of 304 Stainless Steel, 1/8 inch thick and 11.625 in. x 11.625 in. outside dimensions. They are made with the finest Stainless Steel that will last! Not cheap aluminum that will dissolve in your soil !

DX Engineering Radial Plate
DX Engineering Radial Plate

Includes the correct Stainless Steel bolts, nuts, star washers, flat washers and lock washers to attach the radials.(Includes 20 sets, plate can accommodate 60 sets).

SmartSDR for iOS announced by FlexRadio Systems

FlexRadio Systems and Marcus Roskosch, DL8MRE Partner to bring SmartSDRTM for iOS to Market

 

SmartSDR for iOS allows operators to run SmartSDR on an iPad® or iPhone®

Essen, Germany and Austin TX – August 5, 2016: FlexRadio Systems and Marcus Roskosch, DL8MRE announced today a partnership to develop, market and sell a client interface application for both iPad® and iPhone® devices. SmartSDR™ for iOS was designed to offer FLEX-6300, FLEX-6500 and FLEX-6700 owners the ability to operate from home or remotely through their mobile device.   SmartSDR for iOS provides many of the great features of SmartSDR for Windows® plus a few extras.

Full and Remote Control

SmartSDR for iOS can almost fully replace SmartSDR for Windows® and most of its features can now be used from your mobile device without the necessity to use a PC. You can operate in any mode, such as SSB or even CWX including sidetone.

In addition, the application can run along with programs on your PC such as N1MM or CW Skimmer or even along with SmartSDR for Windows as Remote Control.

Extras

On top of that, SmartSDR for iOS offers a visual Band plan and DX-Cluster integration. Band limits, modes and DX-Cluster spots will be displayed right inside the panadapter.

SmartSDR for iOS supports multi-tasking on newer iPads so it can run side-by-side and concurrently with any other app on your device.

To run SmartSDR for iOS the operator will need a FLEX-6000 series radio, an Apple device such as an iPad®, iPhone® or iPod® Touch running iOS 9.0 or greater. A newer iPad (3, Air 1 or newer) or iPhone (5s or better) is recommended.

To run this app at your home, nothing else but a regular Wi-Fi connection is needed. You can immediately start using the app.

To run the app and to operate your FLEX-6000 series radio from outside your shack, you need to have a VPN connection to your home network.

SmartSDR for iOS will be available from the App Store starting August 5, 2016 and is priced at US $49.99. Optional features such as the DX-Cluster and Band Plan are priced at US $4.99. For more information on SmartSDR for iOS client or FlexRadio Systems visit www.flexradio.com.

 

About FlexRadio Systems

FlexRadio Systems is a pioneer in the design and development of software defined radios (SDRs) for the amateur radio market.  Founded in 2003, FlexRadio was the first to introduce an SDR radio to the amateur community allowing for personality, functionality and performance of the radio to be upgraded through simple software downloads.  This revolution by FlexRadio Systems allowed for the evolution of amateur radio as we know it today.  FlexRadio Systems is headquartered in Austin, Texas, USA.  For more information, please visit www.flexradio.com or follow FlexRadio Systems on Twitter or Facebook.

 

About DL8MRE

Marcus Roskosch, DL8MRE, was formerly the global head of a multi-national discount chain’s IT department for almost 15 years. He has been a developer of application software since 1985 and has been developing iOS applications since 2008; when Apple first introduced the App Store. He currently has more than 50 applications on the Apple App Store and Microsoft Windows Store including the popular Electronic Toolbox. In 2010 an application he developed for NXP on the prestigious EMMAs award and in 2013, his NetworkToolbox app was awarded as Best of Year by PC Magazine.

 

 

FlexRadio Systems is a registered trademark and FLEX-6000 Signature Series, FLEX-6300, FLEX-6500, FLEX-6700 and SmartSDR are trademarks of FlexRadio Systems. Apple, iPhone iPad, iPod are registered trademarks of Apple.   Windows is a registered trademark of Microsoft. All other marks are owned by their respective owners.   Stated specifications are subject to change without notice.

 

Yaesu Month at Radioworld

yaesu month banner May 2015

May is YAESU Month at Radioworld.  We are offering exclusive giveaways, Instant Savings Coupons and Extended Warranties on selected radios all month long (while supplies last).

Be sure to take advantage of the great savings offered with the Yaesu Mail-In Rebates too!

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FLEX RADIO Promotions – Just in time for the Holidays

Xmas-Holiday-Sales-Banner

Buy a Flex 1500 QRP Transceiver and SAVE $60 NOW

Buy any Flex 6300 or 6500 Series Transceiver and receive a FREE Flex Control Knob ($125 value)

Buy a FLEX 6700 Transceiver and receive a FREE GPSDO (a $900 SAVINGS)

Buy a FlexRadio Transceiver at Radioworld receive FREE SHIPPING during this promotion!

Radioworld Central now open!

Everyone in the Radioworld family is proud to welcome Radioworld Central in Calgary, Alberta. The Grand Opening of our new sister company in the west is a welcome addition to customers new and old, offering the same great products and customer service they have come to expect, now serving western Canada better than ever before.

Radioworld Central
8,  711 48th Ave S.E., Calgary, AB T2G 4X2

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Radioworld presents Bob Heil – Saturday July 12, 2014

Radioworld presents Rock and Roll Hall of fame inductee Bob Heil

– Saturday July 12, 2014 at the BARC Hamfest, Milton Ontario!

Heil Day Screen

Bob will host two workshops;

The first hour will start with the 10 minute DVD and cover the proper use of microphone, adjusting transmitter EQ, performance demonstrations, etc.

The second hour will start with a different DVD – about 8 minutes and then spend time doing live demonstrations on improving receiving audio set ups and covering some of the actual science of Audio…   How it affects everything about Amateur Radio operations.

This is one for the record books….. See you there!

About Bob Heil (source Wikipedia)

Bob Heil (October 5, 1940) is an American sound and radio engineer most well known for creating the template for modern rock sound systems. He founded the company Heil Sound in 1966, which went on to create unique touring sound systems for bands such as The Grateful Dead and The Who. He invented the Heil Talk Box in 1973, which was frequently used by musicians such as Peter FramptonJoe Walsh and Richie Sambora, and is still in use today.

Heil has been an innovator in the field of amateur radio, manufacturing microphones and satellite dishes for broadcasters and live sound engineers. In the late 1980s Heil Sound became one of the first American companies to create and install Home Theaters, and Heil has lectured at major electronic conventions and taught classes at various institutions.

He has won multiple awards and honors, and in 2007 he became the first manufacturer to be invited to exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.