The AM Rally Returns! February 1-4 2019

Discussion in 'Amplitude Modulation' started by N1BCG, Dec 18, 2018.

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  1. WD4IGX

    WD4IGX Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Steve, WA1QIX, was just amazingly strong here in Lawrenceville, GA. I called repeatedly but couldn't get through what was basically a pile up. I did hear a station in Tennessee get through with a barefoot Viking Valiant so I thought my DX-100 might but it didn't.

    But Steve's audio was so good and his signal so loud I recorded a bit and thought he might like to see and hear it here. Pay no attention to the S meter. It's almost useless on a Mohawk anyway, plus if you notice I have both the RF and IF gain backed way WAY down, basically to where I can't hear anything else but Steve and he's still booming in:

    Oh yes - if it sounds like a bit of an echo it's from mostly bare walls in the ham shack and some of the concrete floor still bare as well. I have a rug to go down on that portion but have to move some stuff, including a big pile of cinder blocks in one corner, so I've not done it yet. :D Definitely not on his signal.
  2. K5UJ

    K5UJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    If you are running 100 w. and you can't work anyone, something's wrong. You're possibly under modulating your carrier, you're D104 is bad and distorted, or your antenna isn't any good. AM demands good antennas. The kind of things that work okay for CW and slopbucket are a liability for AM, like power eating baluns, G5RVs, traps, etc. Also late at night when 75 m. is long, or even after around 6 p.m., a cloud burner won't work too well.
    AC0OB and AG5CK like this.
  3. K5UJ

    K5UJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    You are nit picking. I don't have time to be drawn into a high school student council argument, so common on

    The fact is that there are or have been a number of hams gifted at building who have built rigs for others, in some cases for a considerable amount of money. Owners of these rigs should not be allowed to pose as if they built the rigs themselves, either intentionally or inadvertently. A cash transaction means the rig falls into commercially built. Otherwise, "Home built by others" will do. Period.

    By the way, I've been dissatisfied by this for a number of years but only got around to mentioning it now, because you posted those categories and that precipitated my comment. I do not want to be considered as picking on this particular event; my comment applies to all of these AM operating events, such as the one ER sponsors.
    AC0OB likes this.
  4. AG5CK

    AG5CK Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I talked to couple of people that were running 20 to 30 watts last night but it was tough. I finally talked to wa1qix right before he shut down for the night.
  5. WA1QIX

    WA1QIX Ham Member QRZ Page

    Major pile-ups last night! Would have been nice to stay up all night, but have duties in the morning (church), so had to be reasonably bright-eyed ;)

    A couple of us were at W1AW on Saturday, operating the BC1-T broadcast rig on 3885. Talk about pile ups !! It literally sounded like channel 19 whenever I said "QRZ the AM Rally. This is W1AW" - WOW !!

    There is something a bit awe inspiring and at the same time humbling about operating W1AW and of course actually using the callsign W1AW - and during such an event as the AM Rally. It was a great privilege indeed.
    W8KHK likes this.
  6. WD4IGX

    WD4IGX Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I won't know about the first, really, until I get a scope, which I will. I don't THINK the second is the case because I have made contacts before and no one reported distortion. The antenna - well you're right. It is what it is and what I can do right now. When I was shopping for a house in 2004-5 I hadn't been active in radio for something like 20 years and didn't really plan to be again (the bug comes back, like a lot of other interests of mine) and it, well, sucks for antennas. What I have is a 100' doublet in an inverted V fed with "window line" (I know, I know - but at this power level and with a very short run, out an entrance panel of the shack window and almost directly up to the not very high antenna, it just wouldn't make any difference at all if I did have real ladder line.) It is not high enough, and I do plan to get the apex higher, I just don't have a ladder that can do it. I'm having new siding put on the house in spring and it will be done then, if not before. Another problem is that on my tiny .22 acre lot and the way the house is oriented, raising it too high would narrow the angle between the legs too much. I'm thinking about various ways I can improve it (and the noise is HORRENDOUS here - I need to go on a noise hunt too) but none of them are happening this weekend - or next for that matter. It's fed through an MFJ tuner and the internal balun.

    I suspect part of it is what you suggest; by the time I've gotten one the past couple of nights the band was indeed pretty "long." I heard AG5CK working WA1QIX as referenced above, and heard Travis from Arlington TX just fine. I heard lots of 5s and zeros and even one or two seven calls who were apparently really in 7-land.

    But I think the big thing was this - the band during the rally, at least late like this, was dominated by the really big signals like Steve and W1AW (note Steve and everyone else - I am NOT complaining! Signals like that are something to aspire to.) Most of the "little pistols" like me were trying to talk to the guys with the big signals and there were basically always two or three pile ups going, and little else. I was hearing the other guys talking to the big guys, and I'd bet they could have heard me as well, but (probably, yes, from the low antenna giving me a high radiation angle during long conditions) I wasn't beating them out to the big guns and the rest of us were not listening for or calling each other.

    "It is what it is" to repeat an over used but apt to this case phrase. I'm still having fun with it. It's great hearing so much AM and playing with these old radios I bought that are about my own age (for the Mohawk) or even a bit older for the DX-100.
  7. K5UJ

    K5UJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Ur problem is the antenna. An inverted V isn't really ideal (they are actually poor antennas because their average height which is what counts, is the height halfway between the apex and the level of the ends). Don't worry about the ends extending too far. Go out as far as possible then let the rest dangle straight down.

    That's another problem. You need a genuine balanced line network, like an EFJ KW Matchbox or some other link coupled matching network. At some point replace the window line with ladder line.

    Well you know the way forward, so things will get better. the rx noise is another issue--a phasing / nulling box works wonders. The MFJ box isn't too bad.
  8. K4KYV

    K4KYV Premium Subscriber Volunteer Moderator QRZ Page

    Maybe next time have two categories: Homebrew built by the operator, and homebrew built by another amateur. I don't think commercially produced kits even when built by the operator, e.g. DX-100, should be considered "homebrew" at all. But even that can become nebulous. What about a kit in which the builder made substantial revisions as he constructed the kit? What about a commercially built or military surplus transmitter or kit that has been extensively modified or re-designed by the operator? For example, my 160m rig is basically a Gates BC1-T that has been highly modified, including re-designing the driver plate/PA grid tank and neutralisation circuit, considerably modifying the enclosure, re-building the RF driver stage onto a sheet metal chassis to replace the original PC board that was full of burn-holes from resistors, and completely replacing the stock speech amplifier/audio driver board with likewise substantially modified audio driver/speech amp modules from a Raytheon RA-1000 (hence the nickname "Raytheon-Gates hybrid"). It's now probably as much homebrew as modified BC rig, although I would still list it as the latter.

    I occasionally hear operators on the air describing their homebrew transmitter in such a way as to clearly imply that they designed and built it themselves, only to sheepishly admit it was built by someone else when asked specific questions about how they went about solving some problem or proceding with its design or construction.
    W8KHK likes this.
  9. W2VW

    W2VW XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    W1AW was on 160 late last night using 25 watts. That callsign seems to improve band conditions.
    W8KHK likes this.
  10. WD4IGX

    WD4IGX Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Finally made a QSO where I was strong enough to receive a detailed audio report. Talked on 7275 to Paul, WA3VJB, in Maryland who said my audio was very clear and Q5 but pretty narrow, reminiscent of an old Motorolla FM HT that was known for being narrow. Well that fits with a D104, really. I have another mic or two I can wire up for it and try for comparison and I think I will, but there is actually something to be said for that D104 type response, as far as effective communication. But AM is more about audio than most other voice modes, so another avenue of experimentation. Sounds like fun ahead. :)
    WA3VJB likes this.

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