Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Microwaving with W4ZRZ


Last night my son and I journeyed back to nearby "Locust Ridge" which is 5.1 miles from my home in EM63og. The site is at 900+ feet in elevation and completely clear cut to make room for a housing development. When the economy went South, many of the homes were never built, leaving a 1/2 mile stretch of paved road with flat lots of either side.

Unlike most high spots in Alabama, the trees have been removed, leaving clear views in 360 degrees. I operated rover here during the June 2009 VHF Contest and was really impressed with the signals on all bands.

We returned last night to complete our microwave contacts with Jimmy Long, W4ZRZ on all microwave bands. We had tested from this site just prior to the contest, and worked Jimmy on all bands up to 3.5ghz, but did not attempt 5.7 & 10ghz at that time.

Our "spot" is marked with both sticks and small flags, and we use the GPS to insure that we return to this exact site, hoping to complete VUCC for several microwave bands here in the future.

With ease, we worked both CW and USB contacts with Jimmy Long, W4ZRZ last night using equipment borrowed from Bill Capps, AF4OD. The 1.5 foot dish uses Down East Microwave transverters for the two bands, and shares a common Yeasu FT-817ND for an IF rig.

Output power on 5.7 is 15 watts, while 10ghz is limited to less than 2 watts. Despite the handicap, the 10ghz is often much louder due to the dish size realtive to frequency. Jimmy Long, W4ZRZ is going to add a 10 watt amp in the near future, before venturing into Arkansas, Mississippi, and Kentucky in an attempt to provide VUCC contacts to AG4V.

Hopefully, he can mount another such mission before summer's end to try to add the four grids that I need in the microwave bands for VUCC as well.

The sunset was beautiful and my son actually seemed to enjoy Dad's radio nonsense for a change. Weather was perfect too...and Jimmy was loud as always. With the completion of these contacts, I've now completed with him on all bands 6M thru 10ghz. We even did a demonstration of these contacts for Field Day on Saturday in nearby Shelby County, though those wouldn't have counted for the VUCC effort.

Jimmy does so much to encourage newcomers to VHF/UHF operations, and I'm very grateful for his friendship. See you on the Ghz range too!

1 comment:

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