Tuesday, October 19, 2010

KONG20 - Midweek

Sorry for not having had the capacity to update the blog more often - I trust most of you will know about the excellent weblog found at Kongsfjord.no. Anyway, here are some observations.

Antennas - feed lines:
A few will have noticed that the beverage antennas have been replaced - and partly relocated - this year. See a post or two below for a bird's eye view. I have had all sorts of problems maintaining dry and noise-free coax feed lines. Even the sturdy RG-213 suffered wet and corroded braids.

So why not go for the simplest solution? The QDFA feed line was a simple lamp cord (100 ohm), and it worked very well. So I tested the new 310-degree beverage with the same feed line, and it worked excellently. Then both the 50- and the 340-degree beverages were equipped with surplus (probably because it is seasick green) lamp cord. From what we have experienced so far, lamp cord is an excellent coax replacement. Since it is 100 ohm, it will need a different transformer than the coax. They are of course easy to make, but I asked Wellbrook Communications to make me a few, which are weather-proof. I have used binding posts for the connections.

Antennas - wires:
The kingdom of the insulated copper wire has been toppled. The new king on the hill is insulated, steel-clad wire with a thin copper core and a tensile strength of 4000 Newton. This wire will not break. We are fairly certain that the wires have improved reception because of no poor joints (repairing the old copper wire led to more joints), actually no joints at all since they were more or less custom produced.

Antennas - QDFA:
This excellent performer was downed again on Friday. Most likely, the transistors got damaged from the sleet and hail storm on Thursday and Friday, probably from excessive static. A useful reminder to us that the QDFA phaser is still under development. Dallas Lankford will see if it is possible to add more protection to the circuitry. However, the Max-Gain fiberglass masts perform admirably. It will take a perfect storm to take them down.

We have Perseus, Excaliburs and SDR-IQs running here. They are all doing a splendid job, and there is no way of telling one from the other in terms of performance. Actually, what DX-ers should pay more attention to is the sound card. An SDR connected to a PC with a good sound card will in fact hear "more" than an SDR connected to a PC with a poor (such as an in-board solution) sound card. Identifying very weak and QRM'ed stations requires a good quality sound card.

Interestingly enough, TJ has an Icom R-75 standing in front of him. I have an Icom IC-703 standing in front of me, and Arnstein has a few Icom/NRDs packed away on the 1st floor. None of them have been in much use.

After a warm start with up to 13 Celsius, October temperatures have become quite normal, which is from -1 to +5 Celsius, though mostly on the red side of the zero mark. A mix of rain and dry, sometimes even sunny. Quite windy at times. All in all a normal October week.

It's only a few years ago the mobile phone coverage was limited to a poor signal at a single spot in one of the windows. We've come a long way since then, with full (albeit not 3G) mobile phone coverage from two networks, and reasonably fast internet access via a 450 MHz link. All receivers can be operated via remote if we so wish.

Food & drink:
As many will have noticed, a vital part of the KONG DX-peditions. Details found at OJ's weblog. However, our philosophy is to use a mix of high quality local ingredients together with the best that the rest of the world has to offer.

Oops, forgot. Coming up.


Dallas Lankford said...

Hi Bjarne,

I really enjoyed your KONG20 - Midweek article. Beautifully done. The photos were even better. Wish I was there.

Best regards,


Bjarne Mjelde said...

We wish you were here, Dallas!

Anonymous said...

Nice to see you have been enjoying some of our wine from Down-under.

Most interesting to see hear about the DX-adventures on the other side of the world.

Cheers, John Schache.

Chuck Rippel said...

KONG 20 midweek is an interesting read. Sounds like a good time is being had by all.

You made a comment about high quality soundcards. Wondering if you had a model in mind. Guy Atkis found a Chinese built enternal soundcard on the "head-Fi" www site.