Been a most productive day at kc9bqa.com. Nov. 10, 2016 has been the best day in several years, perhaps. I’ve made 7-8 posts today. If you’re a regular visitor and a lot of these posts are redundant for you, please scan the post headlines and grab what interests you. If you’re visiting and you would like to share this info with other hams, by all means, please do so. I don’t represent myself as an authority, I’m more of an enthusiast. I hope to get guys interested enough that they will start to do their own research and keep learning from other sources.
I promised a post about the WA5VJB Cheap Yagis for 144, 222, 432, 902 and 1296 MHz. There’s even a few antenna plans for the satellite bands in this link too. If you have some homebrewer in you or have elmers or buddies who like projects here’s a fun way to save $$ on antennas.
Go to: http://www.wa5vjb.com/yagi-pdf/cheapyagi.pdf
If you can follow the detailed plans, you will end up with modest yagis that work well. Guys I know have made these antennas and have been very pleased. I am not a homebrewer so don’t ask me for further details. I’m just saying that these WA5VJB Cheap Yagis are proven performers, if you can homebrew. They are not DX monsters, but they are no joke, either. They would also make a great project for a club to work on.
I will also add that someday, I hope you want to get out even farther and you will move beyond the Cheap Yagis. Doubling your boom length (as long as you can do it safely) really make a big difference.
That’s the short story. If you have another few minutes, what follows is additional info that will help you improve your station.
I try to periodically make posts geared toward newcomers to weak-signal VHF/UHF. I’ve made all these posts before, but many of them are years old and only the hardest-core obsessive will use the search feature here at kc9bqa.com to find what they’re looking for in the archives which go back to 2009.
I try to make posts that will help VHF’ers hear more signals, get out farther and know where and when the best times are to hear more signals. Far too many hams give up on the SSB/CW side of VHF too soon because they expect instant activity. It’s not like that, unless you’re in a major metro area or a heavily populated part of the country.
One needs to know where and when there are known sources of activity. Plus the better your station is, the more you can take advantage of the superior range SSB on VHF offers.
I’ve said this dozens of times before at kc9bqa.com. Antennas are the most important part of a SSB/CW/Digi station on VHF/UHF. Period. Stop buying expensive rigs and hooking them up to cheapo antennas. Put your VHF money in antennas first. Get a horizontal yagi, longer the better, and get it up in the clear. If you can go really high (SAFELY) so much the better. But mostly, if you can just get clear of most obstructions (esp. those in a direction where there’s lots of activity) you have a real good start.
Get good feedline. Stop losing decibels in the coax. Line losses increase quickly on VHF and UHF. Start thinking in terms of 9913 (at a minimum) and more like LMR-400 or 600. If you have runs longer than 100′ or you’re on frequencies as high as 432 MHz or higher, consider investing in hardline. The post right below this one at kc9bqa.com (dated Nov. 10, 2016) has links to low-loss coax charts.
IF I’VE REALLY GOTTEN YOU THINKING, HERE’S MORE MATERIAL:
I was just digging around in my own archives and I think that’s a really good post from 2011. It is long, so read when you have 5 minutes and take what you need. In that post, there are concrete ideas and strategies that are very worthwhile.
Remember — I encourage you to share this info with your ham buddies or club. If it helps get more signals, plus happier and smarter operators on the SSB/CW side of VHF/UHF, then Mission Accomplished.