HF -- No one is hearing me

Discussion in 'General Technical Questions and Answers' started by AC1LL, Jun 19, 2021.

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  1. AC1LL

    AC1LL XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    New to ham radio. Have an IC7300 feeding a 102' G5RV inverted V at about 40'. Getting good (nearly flat) SWR on 20m (also on 12). using internal tuner. I hear conversations in Europe, South America, etc., but no one is hearing me when I CQ or respond to a CQ.
    I've played around a bit with FT8 and have made QSO's as far as Russia (I'm in US, Maine), but also see from using pskreporter that I am hearing much better than I am being heard. Incoming signal often at +10db, my signal being reported at -7, etc.

    Looking for any suggestions
    73
    AC1LL
     
  2. W4HRL

    W4HRL XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Greetings Martin -

    I have a couple thoughts to share - some may even be relevant :).

    Since power output on SSB is dependent on your audio (voice) driving the transmitter, be sure that you have your mic gain and compression set up correctly so that you are getting max power out. There are Web based SDR's that you can use to see how you are getting out. I find the one in Utah that has an East pointing antenna works for me here in Virginia a lot of the time (20M, daytime).

    Since you have determined that you seem to be hearing better than transmit, take a look at your coax condition. Bad coax can hear better than it transmits sometimes. Also, what is your SWR without the tuner in line? That is what your transmitted signal will see as it travels to the antenna.

    How much power are you running with FT8? If not 100 watts, maybe increasing your power out will give you better pskreporter results.

    You can also set up the 7300 CW keyer to send a message (TEST TEST TEST de AC1LL AC1LL Ac1LL) that can be tracked / reported on by the Reverse Beacon Network in a similar way pskreporter is reporting on your FT8 signals.

    I saw that you are in the Bremen area. For the past number of years, we have spent the month of August in a rental house in Back Cove / Muscungus Bay. Looking forward to hitting BCMS for some lobster.

    W4HRL
    Mike in Poquoson VA
     
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  3. AC1LL

    AC1LL XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Mike,
    Thanks for these suggestions. I was thinking that I needed to check the connection between the coax and the balun at the end of the ladder line. I've tried hitting some of the SDRs without success but will retry the Northern Utah one. I'm running pretty low power on FT8 (0.5 watts I think). My point is to see how far that will go, assuming that 100W SSB should do as well.
    Give me a shout when you are in the neighborhood.

    AC1LL
    Martin
     
  4. NM7G

    NM7G Ham Member QRZ Page

    There's a chance your antenna system (connector, coax, balun, radiator) has a significant loss somewhere. Suggest you measure VSWR with tuner bypassed (omitted). A good VSWR means little if there's an attenuator in RF path. Look for the slightest corrosion. Clean everything before reassembling. Look at coax-cable interface carefully for corrosion or moisture. Any greenish hue, and/or whiteish powder) are dead giveaways for corrosion. At low power ( 5-10W) you might even want to test your balun with a non-inductive resistor(s) in place of the G5RV. I agree with the advice about SSB voice power. You need to know you modulate the signal fully, without distorting of course. Using the RBN on CW is an excellent idea. Actually using CW is an excellent idea!

    After doing the above, unless your balun is near new and never been wet, I'd try a new balun.
    Have fun and 73!
    Gary
     
  5. NM7G

    NM7G Ham Member QRZ Page

    Mike,

    One more suggestion: While trying to evaluate your station's TX performance, focus on domestic contacts with stations you can hear well. This will eliminate some of the ionospheric variables and the antenna takeoff factor with dxing. Ask "how does my sig compare with other stations you hear (in my area)?" Getting their feedback is essential for knowing you're functioning ok on TX. I'd do it on at least two bands, and maybe a dozen or more QSOs on each band. Of course if you have access to a portable wattmeter, preferably peak-reading for SSB, you can know with certainty if the problem lies within the 7300+mike or the antenna system.

    After you gain confidence from a station evaluation you'll be more confident calling other continents. By the way, I've chased dx for decades, and use a rotatable yagi up 60' at 450' elevation QTH. During poor solar conditions (like now) I often call dx that ignores me, or struggles to hear my 100W, and I run CW which allows narrower bandwidth than SSB. The ionosphere is in control of my HF fun!
     
  6. NM7G

    NM7G Ham Member QRZ Page

    OOPS! Sorry, Martin. I had just talked with a Mike o_O
     
  7. AC1LL

    AC1LL XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    No problem. I've been called worse things:eek:
    Tried the Reverse Beacon
     
  8. AC1LL

    AC1LL XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Mike,

    Tried the Reverse Beacon Network. Several times on a few different bands. Got only one spot. 20m 5dB from someone in PA. I would assume this is not a good sign.

    Thanks
    Martin
     
  9. NM7G

    NM7G Ham Member QRZ Page

    Don't place much importance on one data point, Martin. To gain useful info from the RBN one must call CQ and check for spots many times, and best if spread over several days. Remember, we're still at/near the bottom of a sunspot cycle. At my station prop has been poor more than 80% of the time this year. Gather, on each band you want to test, 20+ spots before you start drawing conclusions . I suggest not running RBN checks at the same time of day, but spread them over many clock hours. Propagation is seldom stable for long these days. On high bands (20m and up), stations hearing you and which you hear will typically move from east to west throughout a day. That's normal. It may not initially be obvious, but if you listen a lot, which I encourage, you'll observe prorogation paths move across the earth. Keep it up. You will learn from this, just not immediately.73 gary

    Remember, we're still at/near the bottom of a sunspot cycle.
     
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  10. NM7G

    NM7G Ham Member QRZ Page

    Do keep using the RBN, but keep in mind that your evaluation of how well you "get out" is related to what you hear. The more you listen the more quickly your skills will grow. You'll make more contacts on a band where you hear many strong sigs than on a band where (and when) you hear few or only feeble sigs. When starting out it's helpful to focus on strong signals. If you call a specific station, you not only can select whom you work, but you also get to choose receiving conditions. Most of the time, ionospheric skip is reciprocal; not always, but often.

    A tip: Keep an eye on the geomagnetic numbers (A and K). We generally want low numbers. Most band openings I enjoyed this past year, either on 20m or 15m, resulted from turning on the rig when A and K were low. I like A=5 or less and K=1 or less. If we get an A of 4 and a K of 0, definitely power up the rig. Have fun!
     
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