Zero SSB contacts in 8 hours - Is it me, the rig, or the continuum?

Discussion in 'QRP Corner' started by N1RBD, Aug 16, 2019.

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  1. N8AFT

    N8AFT Subscriber QRZ Page

    I just send CQ de my call sign, might be easier to just send CQ yer call without the TEST just startin out...
    If someone answers you really need not reply, unless you can...
    RBN will report it if it heaars you.
    Yes, a long wire or single wire is compact but a compromise compared to a dipole. Seems they are slightly deaf as well vs. dipoles...
    Invert Vee dipole is a vy good performer needing one support.
     
  2. KC7JNJ

    KC7JNJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    During the day on SSB focus on 20meters try hitting some nets. The maritime net on 14.300 is a good place to test. I too had owned a 817 a long time before I started making contacts. Did not make my first HF contact on it tell Dec 2017. Since then many have followed. But I have never had anyone ever hear my CQ. I spend lots of time surfing 20meters, checking WWV on 15mhz. Surfing the net while I am surfing 20. With conditions like these you have to bend to what it will let you do. The SOTA Beams mic compressor is worth every penny! It sounds crazy but it really works well. Dont give up because these conditions wont last forever. Even getting the SFI into the 70s will help, I dont that is all that far off.
     
    N8AFT likes this.
  3. K5VZD

    K5VZD Ham Member QRZ Page

    whenever this sort of thing happens to me ... I tell all my friends it was "long path"!!!
    keep trying I fire up my k1 or k2 on a daily bases ,anyway. Theres the occasional surprise.
    tom
     
    N1RBD and KC9YGN like this.
  4. W4ZNG

    W4ZNG Ham Member QRZ Page

    Lots of good suggestions so far, especially on antennas. The one SSB recommendation I can give is for this speech compressor: https://www.sotabeams.co.uk/speech-compressor-for-ft-817-818/ It really works, but don't expect miracles from it either. Think "like it's putting out 20 watts now" in net effect. Not a lot, but in many cases this is the critical boost to get you up out of the noise.

    After that... CW or digital. Yeah, it's more gear to haul, that's a downside. OTOH, it punches through much better. I do some backpacking with my 817nd, and use an iPhone, interface box, and light plastic keyboard to do PSK-31. It works OK, even under the current crummy solar conditions. Here's a blog post I wrote last year about this: https://coyoteswamp.blogspot.com/2018/04/lightweight-interface-for-digital-comms.html

    Congrats on the new General license, BTW. I hope to do the southern end of the AT in a couple of years, maybe catch you on the air then.
     
    N1RBD likes this.
  5. N1RBD

    N1RBD Ham Member QRZ Page

    I was at the top of a parking deck completely exposed and above any surrounding buildings. Antenna was configured as a slope from about 20' down to where the rig was located.
     
  6. KF9VV

    KF9VV Ham Member QRZ Page

    I never worked up a rate per hour when I started QRP. It was pretty bad. Since then I have improved my CW skills greatly, put up better antennas and invested in the time to build on the air skills. My main QRP radio has been a QCX for a couple of years.

    For me, it was not so much gear as it was improving my CW and operating skill.

    We can help!
     
    N1RBD likes this.
  7. N1RBD

    N1RBD Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks! The Georgia section can be a bear in a few places! Been there, done that.
     
  8. KM4DYX

    KM4DYX XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Radiation pattern and gain are very affected by height above ground and ground quality. The parking deck is the effective ground for your slope antenna so, in effect, the highest point of your antenna is 20 feet. Concrete is very poor ground, also. You asked about hanging the antenna vertical. Try it. I bet it would do better.
     
    N1RBD likes this.
  9. N3RZU

    N3RZU Ham Member QRZ Page

    I use an off center fed dipole 10 feet off the ground with 3 watts SSB and it does great here in Arizona. I agree with one of the other commenters that the problem may be the absence of a proper ground like here in the desert. A counterpoise is a must since I have to go as far as twenty feet in the ground to get the first sign of a ground. The farthest I have gotten with the OCF dipole is a little over 6000 miles and even got to Italy a week ago during a very brief opening on 20 meters SSB at three O'Clock in the afternoon. Get some wire and try the counterpoise but the same wire may work better if used as a dipole that is balanced. Have you tried to check the antenna with an analyzer? I always have the analyzer handy and it will tell the truth. End fed antennas will not work unless you have a good ground or counterpoise. A screwdriver with a ground wire attached will not be sufficient. Antennas are more critical than a lot of people realize and a properly checked setup will solve your problem.
     
    N1RBD likes this.
  10. N1RBD

    N1RBD Ham Member QRZ Page

    No Analyzer yet, but I've tried a Z817 on it and it's able to tune to the antenna on 40/20/10. I'll look into the counterpoise issue this week. Thanks.
     

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