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Using FT8 to demonstrate Antenna Orientations

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by KM9G, Oct 6, 2021.

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  1. K2ENF

    K2ENF XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Indeed. The only question mark in my mind is with the (very) substantial grounding (I actually have a #6 line running from the ground stake to a compression bon on the U bolts holding the antenna to the mast, and bridged to the spark gap, as well as a choke made by running some 58 through a couple of toroids 10 or 12 times each.....)... I'm not quite sure how much is coming back down the line at me, Since I'm not getting anything on the FS meter, even running my full power of 100w, I tend to think it'[s not much.

    As a parting smile I'll add that it's the bast $30 investment I've ever made for Ham Radio.
    M1WML and W1YW like this.
  2. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page

    RE: Hillbillies...

    Mindy (KM1NDY) thinks I called us Hillbillies, and intended it as a put down. Nope. Didn't say that. But Heck-- That's one major compliment(to be called a hillbilly) in my book! I would love to be called a self reliant, proud, hard working, respectful, nicest people you ever met 'hillbilly'. Yep! Know plenty of hill folks. Some are relatives by marriage!

    What I actually said is that we should not reduce science to the level of a 'hillbilly swimming pool' (HSP).

    HSP's are typically about 12-14 inches in level, in the bed of pickup trucks. Regular swimming pools are typically 4 feet deep or better. So the comparison was amusing and apt: an attempt to be a pool, but not at the same level.

    If you are offended by a HSP then you are probably being snotty. MO.

    Chip W1YW
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2021
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  3. 2E0TWD

    2E0TWD Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Thank you Mindy, you managed to sum up my thoughts on Mr. Chip, I don’t think he’s a bad guy so to speak, just very rude in the delivery of his truth. Clever man nonetheless. My main objection was how he came across to the new people, there is enough to put people of this hobby.
    KD5BVX, M1WML, KC7ZXY and 1 other person like this.
  4. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Like Socrates, I've 'corrupted the youth' of hundreds of teenagers. They were grateful for it. They called me 'Professor'. They were lucky to have me help start their careers, in college.

    At work I have guided dozens of interns and young people, who are now well established engineers, C level executives , and important security cleared movers and shakers. Come to think of it, one of them just became a VP at Google. Huzzah! I've had impact! ;-)

    If you want to make bogus claims that I am 'turning people off to ham radio', a bogus 'radio guru' 'bad influence', and so on , then show us the data. I seem to recall a roomful of youthful excitement when I demonstrated an invisibility cloak at Dayton, for example.

    In the US, ham radio has seen a steady growth in the last 8 years. The average age of newcomers is well over 30, and they are coming in under the auspices of public safety and preppers. The Tech test is a major turn off for young people. Ask them.

    It is important that new hams know that ham radio IS a path to doing applied science, and a respected one. But nonsense has to be meted out , even when well intentioned. Example: don't stick a shopping cart in a tree and make it an antenna.

    Just because you can doesn't mean you should. MO's.

    Chip W1YW

    "We are ALL hillbillies..or should be"--W1YW
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2021
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  5. K2ENF

    K2ENF XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I can tell you the code requirement... (please note, the italics are not idly placed) was why I didn't enter ham radio 40 years ago. As someone who had, at the time, a first phone, (well, back when it actually meant something, ) ....understanding of the technology wasn't the issue. It didn't make sense to me at the time and it still doesn't, IMO, other than perhaps an effort on the part of the old boys club, to keep out the riffraff.... such as myself. It was, alas, successful for many years, I think to the detriment of ham radio..

    Alas, also, that attitude I speak of still prevails in some corners of the hobby.... as we are about to see, I doubt not.
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2021
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  6. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page

    I feel that all should be welcomed but none should be too comfortable-- Life is a continual learning process, and its fun to do so. No one is better than anyone else.

    The code requirement was dumb after about 1980 or so...after that CW was not a dominant mode. I like CW because it forces my brain and ears to work... that's me, not imposing that on others.

    BTW, if one is hard of hearing, here is a way to make CW easier to copy (for those who like CW)....

    1) use a transceiver with 2 receivers;
    2) offset the second receiver by about 100+ Hz;
    3) the CW will be two-toned like a telephone dial tone;
    4) the noise stays as noise and is not two toned;
    5) your ears will hear the two toned CW far better than a single tone.

    Nice to meet you here, Eric; hope to CU OTA:)

    Chip W1YW
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2021
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  7. 2E0TWD

    2E0TWD Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Oh Dear! It never ends does it. Delusional Narcissist to boot.
    KD5BVX, M1WML, K6CLS and 3 others like this.
  8. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Go to bed. It will be a brand new day tomorrow.
    M1WML likes this.
  9. K2ENF

    K2ENF XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Depends what you're doing.
    Its definition is as a weak signal mode, not a low power mode, particularly.
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  10. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Well, I would give that (above) a 1.1 out of 5. And not even a student's T test!

    The radio ART is the application of RF knowledge. The radio SCIENCE is the acquisition of new RF knowledge. Its not a matter of cold facts vs finesse. What does that even mean?

    Rest assured I am doing just fine at furthering the radio art.

    Mindy, just live up to your own last statement, and so shall I.

    Say hi to Ed Cibas for me. Have a good holiday.

    Chip W1YW
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2021
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  11. KL7AJ

    KL7AJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    If it's done in a relatively short period of time, you can make some approximate measurements. Ideally one would transmit a CPOL signal so as to be able to distinguish between X and O mode propagation. I go into this in some detail in my December 2010 QST article, "Gimme and X, Gimme an O; What's that spell? Radio!"
    M1WML, PU2OZT and K4FMH like this.
  12. DO1FER

    DO1FER Ham Member QRZ Page

    I didnt talk about cow ways, you should know. But think about the difference of a linear optimization and an asset utilisation. What is the result? At next think about the probability calculus and when the data is getting unsharp that they are not reliable anymore to get an answer. When you find the answer to this topics, then you are a step further.


    Cornelius DO1FER
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  13. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hi Eric,.

    Relatively short is very short. As in essentially real time.

    Had a nice discussion with WA3FET about this very topic yesterday. He independently agreed with my assessment. The QSB and the roundoffs kill you on this approach with FT8.

    It turns out that real time propagation analysis is becoming a hot topic for some outside of ham radio; FT8 is considered and rejected as a mechanism for same.

    Even the flavors of the month (Big Data and AI) can't remove selection effects, and digital roundoff at low SINR.

    Chip W1YW
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2021
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  14. K2ENF

    K2ENF XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    It occurs to me that I haven't commented directly to the video but more to the ancillary stuff. So, I'll do that here.

    Since the antenna that I'm using for this purpose is an omnidirectional vertical, trying to figure out the radiation pattern at least in terms of front end gain is useless. The radiation pattern is assumed to be omnidirectional.

    I know very well that immediate spot checks on a single antenna are pretty much impossible, given changing conditions. And frankly, I never figured on having any more than a rough guide from and from the signal reports from my local net. And understand, the design consideration was a balance between the two. Add to that the physical considerations of wind loading and whatnot when you start getting the antenna extremely high.

    I found over a period of months how about 6 months then once I started getting beyond about 35 ft the signal report increases reached diminishing returns as you went further up. I decided that as far as I was concerned the additional physical problems with installing the antenna at a greater height probably wasn't worth it.

    As far as DX is concerned I made observations over a period of a month or two for each height that I tried at each step using psk reporter to tell me what the average distance was for each antenna height that I tried. I found that once I got beyond about 35 ft the average distance readings started getting a little fuzzy, and I attribute that to varying conditions. But interestingly I found that once I started getting below 35 ft, my distance readings on DX tended to drop off rather dramatically regardless of conditions and I attribute that to not so much the radiation pattern of the antenna in a horizontal plane but how much of the signal was going straight up because of the proximity to the ground in other words, nvis more or less.

    So I settled on a 35 ft height at the antenna tip as the best all-around setup for the purpose.

    So, yes, you can in fact use FTA or if you like wspr has a tool for antenna performance. Just don't expect that you're going to have a decent comparison in an afternoon or even tremendously conclusive results numerically. That said, when used as I described here, it can be a great help
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  15. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page


    A vertical monopole has a null at the zenith and is poor at high angles.

    What you are probably seeing is the launch angle of the vertical monopole is decreasing as you raise it and about that height you are getting asymptotic decreases in the launch angle, which is then fairly close to the horizon. IOW the antenna pattern of the vertical monopole is getting close to what one sees in free space. Low launch angles favor DX.

    The differences you are seeing with the launch angle change (from the height differences) are fairly large towards the horizon--many dB-- and thus not as sensitive to fairly rapid QSB. In those cases there is no reason to use FT8 at all and analog modes have enough SINR to make the measurements useful. Just as with the 10M beacon network from decades back.

    Notice the only variable you changed was height, for the antenna.

    Chip W1YW
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2021
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