Black Diamond Melon

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yogi
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Re: Black Diamond Melon

Post by yogi » 04 Aug 2019, 13:56

When I operated my ham readio station the dipole I used stretched across from our rooftop and over the neighbor's (my uncle) roof along the peak line. I think I anchored it to the chimney or something. He lived in a two flat so that I interfered with both families in that building. And yes, I too had a supply of high pass filters which did absolutely no good due to the proximity of my antenna to theirs. Theirs were in the attic dirctly under my dipole. I had a 10 watt homebrew rig and an store bought 125 watt tranceiver. Both overloaded the neighbor's TV. Unfortunately, I could not do anything for them and reciting my rights to blot out their tv reception didn't cut it. So, we came to an agreement. While I was strictly CW in those days, I did not broadcast until after 9PM, and often later if I saw the lights on over there.

You are right to say that most ham radio antennas would not get close enough to a medical device in order to overpower it with RF from the 40 meter band. I would not bet my life on it, however.

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Kellemora
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Re: Black Diamond Melon

Post by Kellemora » 05 Aug 2019, 10:30

I spent a whole lot of years running nothing but 40 meter CW, and occasionally 80 meter and although I did have 160 meter, I rarely used it.
I actually got my start in Ham radio, thanks to my uncle, on 6-meter, so went directly for the technician's license.
He gave me a Heathkit Lunchbox kit for both 2 and 6 meters, these were am rigs by the way. Nobody used 2-meter am, so I abandoned it for the 6-meter Benton Harbor Lunchbox, which as I got older I put in my car.
He also gave me an old Hallicrafters HF receiver with the big gandy dancer tubes inside.
This was all it took for me to get hooked on HF, and I built my own 40/80 meter simple transmitter.
Needless to say, once I was HOOKED, I began building everything Heathkit had to offer.
My Tech license expired while I was in the service, so I had to start over as a Novice again.
No biggie, I was only interested in 40-meter CW so never upgraded for many years.
Then when I did, I kept upgrading to Advanced. I would have advanced to Extra except their was some problems with my new license and I ended up having to take all the tests over again.
They finally figured out what the problem was, but by then I had another one of my attacks and would be lucky if I could even pass the novice test afterward. So, I've been Advanced Class ever since, which no longer exists, hi hi.

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yogi
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Re: Black Diamond Melon

Post by yogi » 05 Aug 2019, 11:30

My old brain is finding it difficult to remember the details, but I do recall getting my license while in high school. A buddy of mine in grade school had a crystal radio set which he showed off to me one day. That was an amazing device in my eyes and it started my whole career in electronics. Thank you Billy Markus, wherever you are. When I got to high school I discovered they had a ham radio club. I went to only one meeting because I also had an afternoon paper route that required me to deliver newspapers right after school. One day while talking to my girlfriend on the phone I heard some code in the background. It turns out her brother was practicing to get his novice license. For a long while after that I would go to her house to visit her brother, which didn't go over too well with her. LOL He knew of another kid wanting his license and all three of us went together downtown Chicago to take the test. The written test was easy but I was horrible with the code. Fortunately I managed to squeak by at the minimum (15 wpm?) and got the license. It didn't take long after that for me to get the general license. The friend of my girlfriend's brother invited us over to his house to see his Collins S Line. He had a full KW at his disposal - money was no object to him. His parents were wealthy. I kept the license and station for many years. When I married we moved to an apartment where I could not operate my rig. The long and the short of it is my license lapsed and I never renewed it. I think with a little study I could get back into it, but who needs it? I have the Internet now. :mrgreen:

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Kellemora
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Re: Black Diamond Melon

Post by Kellemora » 06 Aug 2019, 12:11

The code requirement for Novice is only 5 wpm, which is really hard.
After you do learn all the letters, symbols, and numbers. It is much easier to learn and understand the code at over 15 wpm, because you actually hear the words themselves at that speed, and not just the letters.
At 35 wpm code sounds like listening to someone from New York talking, hi hi.

It's like typing in a way, as you type, you don't think of each letter, you think of the word and it flows out your fingertips.
Code over 15 wpm is much the same way, with a bit of practice of course.

I still have my license, but have not set up my station here. Was too busy trying to renovate a house to move into, which I sold to take care of Debi's mom after her dad died, then was remodeling this crooked little house, which still is not done. A couple of heart attacks slowed me down considerably, and then with the COPD and Empysema, well, I can't do much anymore, and it is now getting worse really fast, which is scary to me. Hard to breath all the time now.

Like you, there isn't anyplace you can't go on the Internet, although it is entirely different than Ham Radio which is more like what's your location, what rig you running, what antenna, how much power, send a QSL, bye.

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yogi
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Re: Black Diamond Melon

Post by yogi » 06 Aug 2019, 14:20

The novice code requirement probably was 5 wpm, but it seemed like it could have been ten times that. After I got the novice license I'd listen to the navigation weather reports broadcast in code. I think they had to be about 30 wpm and none of it was actual words. They were giving terrestrial coordinates and various weather information. I used that to build up my receiving speed because none of it made sense and it was impossible to predict what was coming next. Thus, when I got to the FCC office for the general exam, it was a lot easier to copy. Then there were the ARRL code practice broadcasts. Not sure now where I peaked out but I did get a certificate from them.

Code com was even more brief than voice: FB OM TNX RST599 WX CLEAR CHICAGO, 73s PLS QSL
lol

Eventually I did get good enough so that I didn't have to write anything down. I could just listen to the code while doing something else and then answer back. Most of my ham days were on CW because it cut through the QRM a lot better than SSB. But the QSO's on voice were a lot more fun.

The Internet is no comparison to 40 meters other than the fact both reached around the globe, assuming you had a cubical quad on a rotater with the ham rig. :mrgreen:

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Kellemora
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Re: Black Diamond Melon

Post by Kellemora » 07 Aug 2019, 11:36

Other than Dipoles, most of my later HF work was done on a ground mounted Butternut vertical w/160 add-on coil.
For VHF/UHF I had a tall tower, and then later a push-up pole to replace the tower after it blew up in a lightning strike.

I have had several beams and yagi's over the years, and ironically, my biggest yagi was for 2-meter packet radio use.
For voice on 2-meters I used either a stacked-J or mirror image J.
I loved to play with antenna designs, and came up with a few great ones over the years.
Hundreds of hams have tried my linear loaded inverted V for 160 meters in a small space and loved it.
Well, also my different J-pole designs also. I even came up with single and stacked-J's for mobile.
I made several and sold them right after I came up with the idea, and had access to the materials I needed.

Our repeater club had a few HF frequencies we could access using our 2-meter or 440 handy talkies.
Since I had HF gear, I rarely used their HF system, except just to try it out. Not all it's cracked up to be, because you don't have enough control over the rig to tweak out a station. Not like you do with a good rig like my Kenwoods.

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yogi
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Re: Black Diamond Melon

Post by yogi » 07 Aug 2019, 13:33

You're talking equipment I never dealt with. My only antenna was a dipole and I never went below 80 meters or above 10 meters. Much of my hamming was on 40 and 10 meters, although I loved 15 meters because it was hit and miss for anybody to be able to use that band. I might have tried 160 meters too, but my antenna wasn't tuned for it. 20 was very popular and more crowded than I cared to deal with. It was ok for CW, but I still favored 40 meters where I could see how close I could get to Radio Moscow and still hold a QSO. I'm pretty sure they were in the ham bands illegally and didn't consider snuggling up to their carrier to be interference. It's surprising how many other hams did something similar. Got to have a great notch filter to do that.

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Kellemora
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Re: Black Diamond Melon

Post by Kellemora » 08 Aug 2019, 10:46

I rarely if ever used 17 or 20 meters for much of anything.
But was often switching between 40 meters and 80 meters depending on the time of day and where I was trying to reach.
I did manage to earn WAC (worked all continents) on both 40 and 80 meters, however, it was not a simple task.
Like a big sine wave, 40 meters may end up on an island in the middle of the ocean, while 80 meters will get you to the coastline of England and a certain time of day, but not into Europe until later in the day.
Like bouncing a ball toward a wall and needing to make the ball bounce 4 times before hitting the wall. Tricky.

I only used verticals for 10 meters, and was active in 10-10 International contests.

Early AM 6-meter was where I had my first contacts, and 99% of those were local, so we could meet for an eyeball.
This was not through repeaters like in later years. Almost all 2-meter work and above was done on repeaters.

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yogi
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Re: Black Diamond Melon

Post by yogi » 08 Aug 2019, 12:41

Anything 10 meters and below relied on skip to do any DX-ing at all. The ionosphere was not a constant and that's what made 15 meters so unpredictable. Some days I could barely get across town while others I talked to places like Guam. The openings in those DX regions were generally pretty short - no more than 20 minutes. Most of the time half that. That's why the first thing you did was ask for a QSL card. My low power rig got to a few continents via skip, but I don't think I worked all of them. Those Antarctica dudes were very rare.

Funny to say but I thought those vertical antennas were ugly. They only belonged on mobile rigs, such as the back of your station wagon. Of course dipoles were not eye appealing either. I liked the look of the beam type antenna but never could afford one. Besides, the landlord was pissed that I was interfering with his television in the first place and would never agree to a tower even if I could afford one. Another reason I didn't go vhf was because I was a DX nut. Repeaters didn't count as far as I was concerned. :grin:

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Kellemora
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Re: Black Diamond Melon

Post by Kellemora » 09 Aug 2019, 12:27

When I lived in the apartment in Kirkwood. My ten-meter antenna was a light standard holding a pair of floodlights for the steps and parking lot, and a part of my wishing well I talked about once before.
It also had a 220 and 440 antenna as part of the roof decorations and nobody ever noticed.
I also had one of the downspouts trimmed for 10 meters, but could not work east or north on it.
Been so many years ago now, I can't remember which antenna's I had up in a tree, one that being close to the branches wouldn't bother it too much. All the rest were dipoles.

We made good use of the Ozone layer for bouncing signals about 8 to 9 years out of every 13 years, while it was still thick enough. At the very peak of the Ozone layer's density we had excellent reception and transmission qualities. At the bottom we very poor reception, if any at all, and of course during the year and a half the hole in the ozone layer was eating our signals, hi hi. That hole in the ozone layer has been there since I was ham in 1959. Still there today too. Freon has not affected our ozone layer one iota. It still gets thick and thin cycling every 13 years, just like always.

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yogi
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Re: Black Diamond Melon

Post by yogi » 09 Aug 2019, 13:47

My understanding is that the ozone layer floats around in the stratosphere. That is located way below the ionosphere. To be honest I don't know what effect ozone has on rf propagation, if any. The ionosphere however if full of radicalized atoms that have an excess of electrons. This situation will and does deflect rf signals.

I would have loved to inspect your antenna farm, especially with a standing wave meter in hand. I know odd objects such as downspouts can be tuned to resonate at the desired frequency, but the impedance and standing waves have to be horrendous. Not that it matters if you are able to communicate. With all those antennas in various locations you must have had a dozen or so lead in wires/cables. I bet you could have been hired as a cable installer for the phone company. LOL

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Kellemora
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Re: Black Diamond Melon

Post by Kellemora » 10 Aug 2019, 11:47

You don't really have all that many coax lines running into the shack if you have a common connection point to each antenna, basically in the center of each dipole all merging at the same point.
I did not have that at the apartment, so did have several different coax lines running into my shack.
But some of them were tied together after using X number of feet of an impedance matching coaxial line.

When I lived in Des Peres, I had several end fed dipoles all tied to the same coax. They ran from just outside my upstairs window to different peaks on the greenhouses. End fed never works as well as center fed, which is why I changed many of them to horizontal Vee antenna's. This improved them considerably.

In Creve Coeur, my Butternut vertical covered all bands, and only had one coax feeding it. But it too had an impedance matching coax from it for about 6 feet if I recall. Probably 75 ohms into a 52 ohm coax into the house. This coax also had a ten loop coil at the house, went through a gas bottle arrestor and then to a grounded copper plate with coax connectors on it that went through the wall. It was a nice system I had set up there. Plus you probably saw a few of the pictures of my various antennas.

When I lived in the apartment, I bought a good antenna tuner which I used there, at my house in Des Peres, and at my house in Creve Coeur. For most of my antenna's I had them tuned well enough I didn't have to adjust the tuner off the center notch. But at the apartment, that was a different story, I had setting for each antenna I couldn't change, such as the downspouts and gutters, vertical hidden in the trees, etc. The could have been perfect in open air, but once put into the tree, there was some interaction with the tree, so a tuner was required, especially if I worked both ends of the band.

Since I no longer had Heathkits to build in the later years, about the only thing to mess with was antenna designs.

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yogi
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Re: Black Diamond Melon

Post by yogi » 10 Aug 2019, 15:09

My dipole was cut to 40 meters. I had a coil or two on each leg to accommodate the other bands I worked. I seem to recall an "X" configuration and experimented with a "V" pointed skyward. In all cases there was a single feed of coax that matched the impedance all the way back to the transmitter where I had a tuner to get the standing waves under control. It seems like it may not be a good idea to have several types of antenna connected to one feed, but that's too long ago for me to remember antenna theory. I'm not sure how important antenna design is anyway for ham radio. You can use a long wire and get out just as well as having a tuned system.

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Kellemora
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Re: Black Diamond Melon

Post by Kellemora » 11 Aug 2019, 11:32

You can burn out a transmitter if you are not transmitting into an antenna tuned for the band you are on.

On receiving only antenna's the closer you tune them to the desired frequency of reception, the better they will pick up that frequency without interference. It's almost like turning the volume up on a radio for a weak station.

Rabbit Ears, remember them? Well I have two in my house right now to pick up a channel DirecTV stopped carrying. Channel Six here.
They pick TV stations as far away as Indiana clear as a bell. But only if they are turned the right way.

Now let me hit you with this regarding rabbit ears.
Like most folks back in the old days, they would stick a piece of tinfoil on top of the antenna so it would pick up better.
The problem was, they were getting too much snow, even with the antenna turned in the right direction.

Since I was a ham radio operator and had swr meters, including the loading type you could tune for a specific frequency.
I was at my mom and dads new house one day before he put up the rooftop antenna.
He too had put some tinfoil on top of the rabbit ears to get Channel 2 I think it was.

You may remember rabbit ears with a dial you could turn looking for the best picture.
All that dial did was make the antenna longer or shorter, like a tuner so to speak.

But back to my dad and his rabbit ears.
I looked up the exact frequency used by each TV station, we only had 4 at the time.
Then I lowered each ear of the antenna until I had it in perfect tune for that channel.
Then I would scratch a mark on both ears of the antenna for that channel, and move on to the next.
Two of the stations came in clear with the ears pulled all the way up, and spread out.
One station all you had to do was slip the ears a tad bit shorter by about an inch and it cleared up.
But that pesky channel two, I had to have one ear pushed in like 3 inches and the other 2-1/2 inches, in other words not equal to get the exact frequency reading on my meter, and a clear picture on the TV.
Dad figured out on his own, that if he set one ear in at 2-1/2 inches, and the other ear in at 1-1/4 inches and spread the ears further apart, he could get all the stations clear enough he didn't have to fiddle with it if he changed the channel.

I purposely bought HDTV antenna with rabbit ears instead of the stick to your window type. Glad I did too.
With a couple of adjustments in direction and angle of the ears, we went from getting 18 to 22 channels, all the way up to 36 to 39 channels, without moving or adjusting anything.

Now, if only I could afford a DVR that could record all six the frau's favorite channels, I could get rid of the Dish.
She has a Roku Stick to see her Amazon Prime channels, but would probably be better off with a FireStick or similar.
She doesn't want to mess with all the free on-line movies and shows she can get.
Not even if I ran an HDMI cable from a computer to the TV.
She likes to sit in her recliner and just push buttons, hi hi.

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yogi
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Re: Black Diamond Melon

Post by yogi » 11 Aug 2019, 12:16

The best reception of an rf signal is had when the antenna is tuned to the target frequency. Rabbit ears are tuneable dipole antennas and as such directional. Thus you need both the length and the direction to be exact in order to get everything to resonate at its peak. The antenna at my house near Chicago was the traditional roof mounted(dipole) beam type than nobody uses anymore. We were far enough from the city so that all I had to do was aim the antenna in the approximate direction and we could receive 60+ over the air channels. When they switched to digital broadcasts were able to get about half a dozen of the old analog channels too. If I could rotate the antenna, I have no doubt we would get well over 100 channel reception, and probably closer to 200 given the number of cities within ground wave distance. Trouble there is most of them would be the same network stations in different locations.

I played with rabbit ear antennas back in the days when televisions had them built into their cabinets. They were a pain to adjust to put it mildly. And yes I did put aluminum foil on a few. LOL Also acquired one with an amplifier that didn't seem to do anything. Plus, if you did manage to tune in a station perfectly, it would all go out of whack if you simply walked near the antenna. So, while the rabbit ear system worked well enough, it was less trouble to just put an antenna up on the roof. Of course, by the time I did that everybody else in the neighborhood was using cable. We never did until we got here in Missouri. Guess what. The friggin cable signal fades in and out periodically too. So what's the point? I'd mount a roof antenna if the HOA didn't have a hemorrhage over me doing it.

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Kellemora
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Re: Black Diamond Melon

Post by Kellemora » 12 Aug 2019, 13:53

Living here on a mountaintop, I have direct line of site to all the towers on Sharps Ridge, so reception via the rabbit ears is exceptional.
My mom and dad lived in a HOLE, and even with outdoor beam antenna's got poor reception. In fact, his whole area got poor reception their first couple of years there. Then the big three ABC, CBS, and NBC collectively had a repeater type tower installed out by Marine Avenue on that high hill out there. After it was installed, we swung the antenna that way and all was good, even for the PBS station and a new UHF station that opened up. Don't know if they were on that same tower or not. Dad also got a couple of TV stations from the Columbia Missouri area that were independent stations with his antenna pointed in that direction.

I don't think mom ever had cable at that house until she wanted to use WebTV for e-mail. It is possible she didn't have WebTV until she moved into the seniors apartment complex, which is probably more likely. Because when I stayed there after selling my house and helping her get her house ready to resell before moving south, I had to use Dial-Up with my computer.

A couple of years before she passed away, my brother bought her a cell phone with texting because she no longer had WebTV for some reason, probably because they shut down. She was offered MSN TV that would still work with her WebTV keyboard, but the price was more than she would pay. That much I remember, hi hi.

My uncle Andy built a rooftop antenna that worked better than even the highest priced Wineguard I think it was.
The reason it worked so well is he tuned three of the four elements for each band for the center of the picture carrier, and the fourth element to the center of the sound carrier. Plus he used some trick like cross-phasing of the elements, which made it look like the elements were zig-zag just over the supporting horizontal member.
He could have sold it if it covered all the TV bands, but it only covered those in St. Louis.
Where the store bought ones need to work in all areas, which is probably why they have so many elements on them.

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yogi
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Re: Black Diamond Melon

Post by yogi » 12 Aug 2019, 14:34

If I lived alone I am pretty sure that I could do without television altogether. Anything I might want to see could more than likely be streamed, and probably for free. Most of what I watch is on Public TV and are reruns. Those programs are available from their website if I recall correctly. Anything to do with current events or weather is handled by my computer. My cell phone announced rather loudly this morning that a flash flood warning was in effect so that I don't need a TV for that kind of thing either. I do like the idea of smart televisions that can be integrated with my computer. However, at the moment I don't see any motivation to look into it.

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Kellemora
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Re: Black Diamond Melon

Post by Kellemora » 13 Aug 2019, 15:04

I'm sure you know of most of the free movie and TV show websites.
If not, I have a whole list here I got for the frau, and she rarely uses them.
More often than not, she will ask me to download something for her to a stick she can just plug into the TV.

About the only thing I watch on TV is a prerecorded show the frau thought I would like, and do so while I'm eating dinner so as not to burn up my time watching the idiot box, hi hi.

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