My Homebrew 10 Meter Moxon antenna in my backyard

I took some time off to build my first HF antenna using the plan I’ve obtained few months ago. I chose moxon as my first 10 meter HF antenna as it is small and compact and it is directional, allowing me to focus it into a single direction for a pretty quiet QSO, without much interference.

The material I used in building this moxon are :

  • Green ground (12 Gauge ?) wire, it has 7 copper wire inside it.
  • PVC pipe (3/4″ diameter) as necessary to hold the wire in place, you can use other materials too, as long as it formed the basic dimension of moxon antenna

Antenna Plan and Results
I use the plan described in this post; 10 Meter Band Compact Directonal Antenna and started building it immediately. The result of the antenna can be seen here :

9w2wtf moxon

9w2wtf moxon

Performance
Although I build it only as a temporary antenna (thus its flimsy), it performed rather well when compared to other types of popular 10 meter band antenna in my place (Delta Loop, Inverted-V) as the antenna is directional and it does not requires the use of transformer balun.

I’ve managed to make contact with 12 stations in 6 days since it has been erected.

Some tips working on 10 meter band

  • Use a good low loss cable such as RG-8 or Belden 9913
  • Make sure you know where you point your antenna, the direction of your antenna is crucial if you ever to make contact with distant station.
  • The propagation is pretty good during daytime between 3pm – 8pm by my observation, use that time window wisely.
  • Use directional antenna like Moxon or Yagi as they allow you to focus your transmission to a certain direction and eliminate excessive interference on the band.
  • Be patient

That’s it and good luck!

p/s:
I wouldn’t recommend PVC pipes if you are planning to erect a permanent antenna as they are flimsy. Use aluminium pipes or copper tubes as they are more durable and offers best performance.

10 Meter band ham radio calling frequency in Malaysia

Since 10 meter activities gained popularity lately in Malaysia, I decided to publish 10 meter calling frequency for the benefits of local hams in my region :

28.480 MHz USB
28.485 MHz USB
28.490 MHz USB
28.495 MHz USB
28.500 MHZ USB

Most local and DX activities concentrated on these frequencies with 28.490 MHz being the most popular for calling DX stations.

Tips for newbies hams on HF
Be sure to ask if the intended frequency is unoccupied by asking (“is this frequency in use ?”) at least three times. Then proceed to make a general call, “CQ CQ CQ this is 9W2QSO 9W2QSO 9W2QSO calling CQ CQ CQ, this is 9W2QSO calling any station and standing by” and listen for any call for few moments.

In Malaysia, the best time for 10 meter USB operation is around 4:20pm – 10pm, your milleage may vary though.

Good luck.

The Homebrew Slim Jim Antenna Gain

I’ve been searching for information regarding the radiation angle and the gain of slim jim antenna, but found none of it. So I decided to build the model of the antenna inside the ever useful MMANA-GAL software to get the information I needed myself.

From what I can surmise, the slim jim has a slightly lower radiation angle than vertical dipole antenna and is easier to mount, thus it is suitable to use for point-to-point communication VHF-UHF operation. It has a gain of about 2.8dBi-3.2dBi in free space and 4.8-5.8dBi when mounted at about 30feet from the ground. Here’s the result of MMANA-GAL :

Slim Jim 9w2wtf

Slim Jim mounted 30 feet above ground
Slim Jim Antenna gain

Slim Jim in free space

Moxon Antenna Plan for 27MHz CB and Freeband Operation

Here’s another 11 meter Moxon Antenna plan suitable for 27MHz CB, Freeband and lower 28MHz Amateur Radio operation band.

10 meter moxon
27MHz CB Moxon Antenna

Dimensions
A- 392.09 cm (154 3/8 inch)
B- 58.62 cm (23 1/16 inch)
C- 11.25 cm (4 7/16 inch)
D- 73.4 cm (28 7/8 inch)
E- 143.27 cm (56 7/16)

Gain, Radiation Pattern (mounted at approx 30feet)

Gain : Approx 10-11dBi (30 feet above the ground)
Freq range : 27.300 MHz – 28.300 MHz

11 meter 27MHz CB Homebrew Moxon Antenna

The main advantage of Moxon rectangle antenna are :

  • Compact and Small
  • Has considerable gain
  • It can eliminate noise on HF band
  • Easy to construct
  • Suitable for HF operation (mid-low radiation angle)

Refer here for 10 meter Moxon Antenna Plan for Amateur Radio operation (28.2MHz-28.8MHz) : 10 Meter Band Compact directional antenna, Moxon

CWIRc : Send Morse Code in IRC – tools for Amateur Radio Operator

Eager to practice your CW skills but you have nobody to practice with? In some countries like Malaysia, CW knowledge and proficiency is still required to operated HF portion (except 10 meter) of the Amateur Radio band.

Having said that, I’d like to present CWirc, an XChat irc client plugin which enables you to send and receive morse code through IRC. Developed by a fellow ham F8EJF, CWIrc has a lot of features which really enhance your CW experience on the internet, including the option of hooking up a real CW keyer using serial port interface.

CWIrc enables you to exchange morse code with fellow irc users on the internet, provided that the other users also knows morse code and has installed CWIrc. Though this might sound a little bit of a stretch when thinking the odds of meeting people with both requirements, it is actually not so in reality. You can find those kind of people exactly in #cwirc on irc.freenode.net server who are eager to chat with you in CW.

Screenshot

Requirements

  • Linux (or Unix based) machines (I personally used Ubuntu)
  • XChat IRC Client
  • CWIRc plugin

Both XChat and CWIrc are included in Ubuntu (as well as Debian) software repository, so you don’t need to compile or download separate package from their respective websites.

Common Courtersy and Procedure when working with Repeater

  • Before making a call, listen to the repeater frequency for 10 seconds or more to make sure it isnt busy
  • If you are going to test if a repeater is working in your place, just announce “your callsign, testing” “your callsign, monitoring”. Do not press the PTT and listen for its tail feedback (kerchunking).
  • When joining a conversation, do not say “Contact, contact” that will make it harder for the stations on the repeater to identify you and arrange your station in a conversation, especially for mobile station. The correct way is to announce your callsign between the pause, or say “your callsign, join”.
  • Most Important: When people pass the mic to you, do not immediately transmit. Wait for 2 seconds then continue your conversation. Failing to do so will prevent others to join your conversation, and will make other people uneasy with you when you are on a repeater
  • When you heard a station requesting radio check on a repeater, then wait 2-3 second then respond. It is common courtesy to do so in order to help a fellow ham testing his setup. But you should only answer radio check when you are in a good position to do that yourself. See Below
  • Avoid answering to radio check when you are operating in a less than desirable setup, such as operating on a moving vehicle behind mountains or tall buildings. Worst if you are operating from a moving vehicle with rubber ducky antenna
  • Please give an honest report to a station when responding to a radio check. If the station can barely hold the repeater, just say so. Do not give a Q5 report on a Q2 signal. The station might be in false impression that it can established a good transmission between repeater and this going to create undesirable interruption during a conversation.
  • Leave a conversation when the other stations are giving you a Q2 signal report, unless if its an absolute emergency. your signal would be too noisy to be readable by other stations it will disrupt communication.

Non Repeater specific

  • When signing off, simply say “guys, I need to sign off because i want to attend some chores, waiting for your final“, then pass the mic. Avoid using Q-Code, especially the wrongs one. Some station even combine QRU, QRX and QRT together in conversation when signing off, this will create confusion to newcomer as well as old-timer as the codes were used wrongly in this type of situation.
  • Using tons of Q-Codes simply to look cool, isn’t going to make you sounds cool . Using QSY as in “I’m going to QSY to Singapore tomorow” is not correct, QSY should only be use when you are changing frequency. Just say “I’m going to Singapore tomorrow”, sounds even better. Malay rendering would be like this, “Esok saya nak QSY ke Kuala Lumpur” versus “Esok saya nak pi ke Kuala Lumpur“. Notice the pronunciation “Q, S and Y” actually makes the conversation longer and harder to pronounce than a normal conversation. Try and think it over

Note that this post serve as a general reminder to myself as well to others when working on air, especially on a busy repeater. It is just a common sense guideline which I accumulated from old hams over time and it is a good advice to be practiced by all hams.

My final QSL Card design – 9W2WTF

After some tinkering around with GIMP and graphics around the internet, I decided to settle down with this particular design. Hope that it’ll be distributed around the world soonish :

9w2wtf QSL Card