Top band DX-ing is real ham radio challenge. 160m is also referred as the "Gentleman's band"...
160 meters - DX-ing on the Edge...

Listopad 2006

CQ WW DX, CW - 25.11.06

25. listopadu 2006 v 7:58 | Petr, OK1RP |  Band reports
The biggest contest ongoing and on TOP is possible work mni nice stations see comments:
Petr, OK1RP

Calling without hearing (was CQ 160 WW) - discussion

24. listopadu 2006 v 11:30 | Petr, OK1RP |  Operation topics
Tom, W8JI wrote:
This years top band CQ WW 160m contest was a mixed experience.
On one hand, a WW contest is always a thrill, but on the other hand this one was very frustrating. Why? Too many stations on too little room. This leads to a situation where you have, within minutes after the contest started, a string of pearls of strong (overpowering) stations continuously calling CQ
TEST, often not hearing stations coming back to them. My frustration was that I heard weaker US stations calling under the strong europeans. If I tried to call one of them I immediately heard the europoean cry "QSY">>

It is the same on this end. We could hear Europeans every few hundred hertz as i tuned the band, but no way could we work them all. When we would be on calling CQ there would be Europeans under us calling CQ. That prevents both us and them from making QSOs.

If we switched to maximum gain directional patterns on Europe, Carribean or western US stations would move on top of us. We were largely QRM limited in the contest.

That's just the way contests are. It would be interesting to hear solutions, but I think we have to accept it.

The bigger problem is this:

> There is probably not much to do about this situation but
a) donÂt call if you donÂt hear the dx and b) make ONE call
(not two or three).
> The discussion about DX windows earlier on this forum was
interesting. I think that in the future with contests on one
band, we must >develope some system with dx-windows but how?
Who knows!

I think the biggest single mistake made on 160 was doing
away with a DX Window in the USA bandplan. It was OK for me
and big east coast stations, but very unfair for small
stations. We now have another possible step towards
increasing problems on other bands.

http://www.w8ji.com/rm-11305.htm

http://www.w8ji.com/mixing_wide_and_narrow_modes.htm

While it has ALWAYS been a problem, there seem to be more
stations calling (often with long calls) when they very
obviously cannot hear the DX station at all. Why do people
do that? Is it because with enough power they can
occasionally make a "QSO" without really hearing the other
guy?? This is one step removed from just changing the
writing on a QSL card. Who can feel good about a QSO like
that?

What's the best way to reduce that problem?

73 Tom, W8JI
***
Tom: In my humble opinion turning off the spotting network would go a
very long way to solving the problem. It amazes me how many guys dump
their calls when a spot shows up, even if they have not identified the
station they are calling. I often hear the dx come back to them with no
response.......I'm sure you have heard the same thing as you listen far
more than I on top band.

I know it is progress, but I would truly rather have it the old way when
we listened a lot and called our buddies on the telephone when a juicy
one showed up. Let the flames begin.
73 bob de w9ge
***
Bob:
You are not alone Bob. In fact, that is why we have this rule in the Stew
Perry contest: "Remote or Cluster spotting shall not be used." However,
I believe there are other factors. Some of them are just due to more
stations being on the air - which is a good thing - but it makes working
the weak ones tougher.

Personally, I think the 5 kHz window is not up to the task any more. There
are simply too many "DX" stations on during a contest to make it work. With
perfect spacing and no key click problems, there is probably room for maybe
10 or 12 DX stations in the 5 kHz window. Maybe if you are lucky, you can
hear half of them. I never understand why we don't extend it to 1840.

It is easy to imagine a great system - like where people that are within
6 hours of their sunrise only operate from 1800-1820 - and everyone calls
them at +20 kHz of their frequency (1820-1840). However, I doubt anything
that complicated would work in the real world. The different frequency
allocations by countries makes this a non starter.

In the mean time - the single thing that can be done to help is to spread
out. I know not all countries can work up the band, but a lot of them can.
I heard VE3EJ near the end of the CQ160 working Europe at a great rate
around 1872 kHz. Make an effort to tune up the band and REWARD those
stations who have made the choice to avoid the more common frequencies.

It was interesting that packet didn't help me with the few European QSOs
I was able to make. Part of the problem is that there were a ton of spots
and I couldn't hear most of them. If a station did get spotted, the pileup
was too thick to deal with. The stations I worked were found CQing during
their QSB peak and quickly worked before anyone else found them. With te
exception of being beat out by W2VJN to I4EAT, there just weren't any other
stations calling the guys I worked.

No easy answers. Get your MPs unclicked and improve your receiving antennas.

73 Tree N6TR / K7RAT
tree@kkn.net
***
Perhaps during every 'even' hour, domestic stations
count, while during every 'odd' hour, only
non-continental contacts (or perhaps non-same-country)
stations are counted?

There were a bunch of times that I heard DX under CQs
of stations on the 2nd night (even calling the CQing
station!) they weren't working them, and with their
ownership of the frequency, neither was anyone else.

I was disappointed to hear a US station ask a JA
station to QSY (as the band shifted to favor JA); it
wasn't clear that the US station was working anyone.

Of course, being a contest, DENIAL of contacts to
other contesters is also a strategy, I guess.

73, Brian Moran
***
>On one hand, a WW contest is always a thrill, but on the other hand this one
>was very frustrating.
Two things I enjoy most about Amateur Radio are contesting and DXing on 160
Meters. Yet for the very reason others have expressed, I have a hard time
getting psyched to do a 160 contest. Last year after getting run off a
frequency early Saturday night, I just decided it wasnât worth the
frustration. This year I worked about 20 friends and decided to enjoy my time
doing something else. With so many people packed into such a small space, the
problems are unavoidable.

>when they very obviously cannot hear the DX station at all.
I couldnât agree more and this IS a growing problem on the lowbands. Now I
know someone will say hey Iâve heard you in a pile-up once or twice and you
were calling out of turn. Fair enough. One of the things that draw most of us
to Topband is the challenge of working stuff that is routine on other bands.
Once and awhile an already weak signal suddenly drops even further into the
noise or an ill-timed burst of QRN takes out the station we are trying to work.
Itâs happened to the all of us at one time. Thatâs not what weâre
talking about here!
Take a listen the next time someone even semi-rare shows up. There are
people calling that clearly have no business doing so. A good example was
7X0RY Thursday night before CQWW 160. He would ask for the N2. A large
portion of people just kept right on calling. A K5, W3, WB2, K9 you name it.
They were in there. Or better yet, he would get a full call and these same
individuals would keep hammering away when he clearly was not calling them.
The process repeated itself with almost every station the 7X was trying to
work. This sort of thing is happening on a more frequent basis and it just
defies logic and common sense.
I donât know of any way to fix this other than to ask people to exercise a
little restraint and self-control. For starters, just because something is
spotted on packet doesnât mean you should start calling. The rule I use is
that I donât call unless I believe I have a reasonable chance of hearing the
guy come back to me. By that I mean, was I able to hear who he was working
before I pull the trigger? Lastly, keep in mind that your peers are listening.
Itâs your call and operating skills on display when you transmit.

73
Ken K4ZW

***
Tom wrote>
> What's the best way to reduce that problem?

Tom and others,

I am a beginner on Top band reflector so maybe I've no rights to talk
so much over there, but in this case maybe I have some solution
reducing the problem...

...not calling CQ DX at any price even not calling CQ DX when "I am"
using 2kW and "my" receiver is connected to LW 40m up 6m in industrial area !

It sounds me like Symphony to listenning ON4UN; G3ZES etc. how they
are able to work DX by DX on 160m although the band seems to be dead
in my QTH > just noise only, but these guys spent lot of time to
build an receiving antennas for first I guess and then solved the
problem with enough power...

Please follow my things shortly > after my moving to new QTH I have
no antennas for RX/TX on 160m so I am looking for any solution for
long time. I am testing number of antennas for RX and trying to find
the best solution in my crazy small lot over there. My idea is to
focuse to build up as best performance receiving antennas as possible
in my location to be able hear even small pistols DX's first and then
I would like to look for any TX antenna to go in the air. Yes, it
means for longer time be only SWL from my home QTH, but what I can do better?
As I am listenning on Top band every nite > I heard many times as
some EU's calling CQ and no answered to JA's or even VK's calling
back ! It means that my antenna (low inverted V for 40m) is so good
for receiving? Definitely not > it means that their receiving
conditions are pretty bad.
Many times I heard as big guns calling CQ DX and of course they are
working DX's > at this moment I thought that I will install some
inverted L for TX and I also should try to call CQ cause the band is
significantly openned. But I did not do it ever cause I never know
how much station answering me and thinking about me that I am crazy
with "potato" instead of receiver...

So what do You thing about changing the behaviour on Top band? Seems
to be a fashion to call CQ DX cause it shows to others "hey I am
DXer". From ownself experiences I can not recommend > if my setup is
not fairly DXer setup then it more saying to others "hey I am crazy
or in worse case I am LID"...

...or am I wrong?

73 and CU on Top,
Petr OK1RP
(ex OL1BVR)
***
Petr:
Different people call CQ DX at different times - with different results.

W7LR recently discovered that he should probably call CQ DX more often than he does.

I occasionally do it under specific circumstances:

1. When I hear no signals on the band and am trying to create some activity.

2. When I determine that the band is *really* well open to Europe, and I
have a shot at working the 2nd or 3rd tier stations who normally do not
get results when they call CQ DX.

3. If I know several stations are looking for me on a specific frequency at
a specfic time.

Note that CQ DX only applies to the non-contest situations.

I think it has its place. Obviously, W8JI can get away with it more often
than I do...

Tree N6TR
***
Petr,

Welcome to topband. Actually, CQDX makes considerable sense. There are times
when the band is open and nobody discovers it. Last night the A and K were
both at zero so I was on there CQing away when nobody else was to heard from
anywhere. There are unusual openings to various places that can only be found
by probing. The auroral oval causes all sorts of havoc for us northerners.
For example, I live in Minnesota, a very northern state just south of the
magnetic north pole. EU DX is rare around these parts. And when it does
happen, the signals are at levels that require ESP (Extra Sensory Perception)
to dig them out of the noise floor. Every once in a while--very rare--this is
not the case. And the signals can be pounding in when, amazingly, the east
coast does not hear them at all. Tree reports similar events from Oregon, much
further west of me. Is it a polar path? A Pedersen Ray? Who knows. But the
only way to find them is to check. I often listen to guys lik
e W8JI working DX, just to see if I can hear them. The vast majority of the
time, the DX is just a whisper from here.

Back in 2001, OK1TN was good enough to work me during the ARRL DX contest in
February. He was good enough to confirm it with a QSL card too. But he is the
ONLY OK1 in my log on Topband. I would love to add OK1RP to that very short
list.

So if you were to get on and send CQDX, you would have a pile-up if the US can
hear you. And those of us in the hinterlands can only hope that the east
coasters will get bored with working yet another OK1 station at 10dB over S9
and let some of the rest of us have a shot at the rare OK1 QTH.

Again, welcome to topband. And by all means, CQ DX for me.

73

Ford-N0FP
ford@cmgate.com
***
IF there is really a problem, it will probably take care of
itself. I made a mistake in never listening above about 1845
thinking there probably was no activity up there. Having it to do
over, there would be a lot of S&P or perhaps CQ activity by me above
1850. As activity increases stations will move to a more clear
frequency even if it is up as far as 1875 or higher. Think about when
10M was wide open about 5 years ago. I can remember running Europe
as high as 28200 or higher. When the band is not so alive, stations
probably don't even listen higher than about 28075. The problem on
160M is not nearly as bad as 20M where it is further compounded by
the fact that you sometimes cannot even hear the stations that are
100-600 miles away..

Finding a frequency and calling CQ when you can obtain results or
choosing to S&P when you believe you will produce better results in
that mode is all a part of it. As far as what W4ZV says, he is
correct in that you have a right to call a DX station who is calling
CQ regardless of whether there is a local calling CQ on the same
frequency and N2IC is also correct in saying that you have the right
to CQ provided you are not interfering with a DX station that has
locals calling that DX station.

However, it would be nice if the contest rules strongly suggested a
larger window (say 35 Khz.) be reserved for DX stations to call CQ
from 0000-0600. This would encourage the USA/Canada stations who want
to call CQ to go up the band during that time period.. They can work
the weaker ones calling CQ as well as the 50 loud Europeans who would
call CQ and run USA and Canada when the band is really open. It
would also be nice to recommend that same frequency QSOs not take
place in the JA band between JA sunset and W6 sunrise, whatever times
those are. A lot more stations would have the opportunity to work JA
if split operation were used. It is sometimes frustrating when you
may only have 30 minutes near sunrise to work a few JA stations and
there are 20 loud West Coast stations occupying 1810-1825 from 0800
to after the sun is up everywhere in the USA. The only hope with the
current situation is to grab a frequency at a very early time in that
window and call CQ until sunrise even if you may not hear a single JA
but in hopes that you might work a couple of them at a sunrise peak.

Stan, K5GO
/orig.published on Topband mailing list/

Beautifull nite on 22.11.2006 in OK land

23. listopadu 2006 v 16:18 | Petr, OK1RP |  Band reports
Hi all,
as the TOP band sounded beautifully on yda nite I am copy-pasted the list of spots from DX-Cluster OH2AQ for about 2 hrs before midnite and some of my comments how readable has been in my location...
    EA3KU      1832.1       6V7D                                         2337 22 Nov    
    DK0PM      1833.5       S9SS        huge signal                 2333 22 Nov    
    DL4CF      1831.6       9M2AXSH/DX  s9ss                    2323 22 Nov    
    SP3EPK     1811.1       ZB2FK                                       2316 22 Nov    
    IK2SGV     1825.5       5A7A        up 3.5                        2306 22 Nov    
    UA1ARX     1833.5       S9SS        fb sig                        2312 22 Nov    
    TA2RC-@    1831.5       9M2AX       copy you go!         2310 22 Nov    
    S58M       1831.4       9M2AX                                       2309 22 Nov    
    RA4UN      1831.4       9M2AX                                      2305 22 Nov    
    S58M       1824.1       MJ0AWR                                     2306 22 Nov    
    DL1GGT     1824.0       MJ0AWR                                  2310 22 Nov    
    SP7CDG     1831.4       9M2AX                                     2305 22 Nov    
    DL4CF      1824.4       MJ0AWR                                    2302 22 Nov    
    LX1DA      1811.1       ZB2FK       not heard me              2259 22 Nov    
    RA6AX      1831.4       9M2AX       clg ve1zz                  2258 22 Nov    
    S51DV      1825.5       5A7A        TNX  73                      2255 22 Nov    
    UA1ARX     1831.5       9M2AX       fb sig cq na              2247 22 Nov    
    SM4PBT     1818.1       TZ6MF       wkd up 1819.34        2249 22 Nov    
    S58M       1818.0       TZ6MF                                         2241 22 Nov    
    S58M       1825.2       5A7A                                            2236 22 Nov    
    SP9GFI     1825.2       5A7A                                           2231 22 Nov    
    I5MXX      1811.3       ZB2FK       cq                              2232 22 Nov    
    HA8BE      1818.0       TZ6MF       nice sigs                     2230 22 Nov    
    S58M       1822.0       A61Q                                            2223 22 Nov    
    DL1FKA     1825.4       5A7A                                          2227 22 Nov    
    UA1ARX     1822.0       A61Q                                          2219 22 Nov    
    S58M       1829.9       CU2/OH2UA                                   2214 22 Nov    
    UA1ARX     1829.9       CU2/OH2UA   fb sig                     2209 22 Nov    
    SQ9FMU     1821.4       5A7A                                          2156 22 Nov    
    IV3GCD     1821.0       5A7A        UP                               2155 22 Nov    
    TK5IH-@    1821.5       5A7A                                           2151 22 Nov    
- around 21:50U I found 5A7A on 1821.5. Their signal was really big and stable. Pile-up was w/o cops and QSOs came quickly.
- unfortunatelly I heard just few mins CU2/OH2UA with good sigs but when I decided to try to call him he left freq.
- lower on 1811.1 mni ops called ZB2FK and reported him good sigs but no beep in my area, luckily I have QSO from last year so no pb...
- guys from TZ6MF had good sigs but lot of QRM on freq even QSB. I tried to use audio filters KAF in my K2 and surprisingly helped a lot. Sigs was copyable 569 finaly here.
- Very big surprise was for me signal from ST0BB on 1818.1 at 22:20U. He called cq EU with no takers. So I am not sure if it was pirate or so as he even was not spoted in cluster. Came thru 589 solid sigs no QRM. After 10mins he left freq...
- Charles, S9SS had great signal at 23:15U as always. Pile-up was after few mins really strong and mni takers worlwide called him. As QSB jumped sigs down to 559 only I did not called him on yda evenning.
- 9M2AX came thru with unbelieving signal up to 589 on 1831.6 but mni takers tried to catch him. Also there was QSB so sometime was not easy to copy him specialy when somebody called at the same time of replying to other one... At 23:20U sigs sounded more stable but did not peaked higher that 559.
Well it was nice openning on 160m on yda evenning. I did not make mni QSOs as I operated from fixed QTH where low linear loaded Inv.V for TX, K9FD receiving loop and K2/100 reduced to QRP cause strange TVI have to use.
Mni 73, Petr OK1RP

160m band report 22.11.2006

22. listopadu 2006 v 23:10 | Petr, OK1RP |  Band reports
21:58U 1821.5 5A7A 599+ up 3
21:58U 1818.0 TZ6MF 569 up

New poll - Are You satisfied with the TOP band blog ?

22. listopadu 2006 v 12:21 | Petr, OK1RP |  Home
Dears,
as I would like to make as interesting as possible blog about the 160m "Gentlemen's" band I prepared the small poll to check with You how You are satisfied. Please do not hesitate to vote nor put any comments to Guest book please.
73, Petr OK1RP

Guest book - comments, tips and improvements are welcomed

22. listopadu 2006 v 12:10 | Petr, OK1RP |  Guest book
Dears,
any comments, tips for improvements, articles, band reports or releated informations to any section of this blog are welcomed... put it by clicking to "Přidat komentář" or "Nový komentář".
Thank You, Petr OK1RP

Dr.Harold Henry "Bev" Beverage (1893-1993)

21. listopadu 2006 v 16:44 | Petr, OK1RP |  Hall of Fame
Dr. Harold Henry "Bev" Beverage (1893 in North Haven, ME - 1993) is perhaps most widely known today for his invention and development of the Wave Antenna which came to be known as the Beverage Antenna and which for the last few decades has seen a resurgence in use within the hobbyist radio amateur and broadcast dx community. Less widely known (outside of the community of science history researchers) is that Bev was a pioneer of radio engineering and his engineering research paralleled the development of radio transmission technology throughout his professional career with significant contributions not only in the field of radio frequency antennas but also radio frequency propagation and systems engineering.
Harold Henry Beverage graduated from the University of Maine in 1915, and went to work for General Electric Company the following year as a radio-laboratory assistant. In 1920 he was placed in charge of developing receivers for transoceanic communications at the Radio Corporation of America (RCA). Three years later, when he was just 30, he received a Morris Liebmann Memorial Prize for his contributions to the development of transoceanic radio.
In 1938, the Radio Institute of America presented him with its Armstrong Medal for his work in the development of aerial systems. The Beverage antenna, the citation said, was "the precursor of wave antennas of all types." Beverage was awarded the IRE Medal of Honor in 1945, "In recognition of his achievements in radio research and invention, of his practical applications of engineering developments that greatly extended and increased the efficiency of domestic and world-wide radio communications and of his devotion to the affairs of the Institute of Radio Engineers." In awarding him its Lamme Gold Medal in 1957 the American Institute of Electrical Engineers cited him "for his pioneering and outstanding achievements in the conception and application of principles basic to progress in national and worldwide radio communications."
Harold Beverage did have favorite 160 meter receive antenna named after him. He donated one of his original Beverage transformers to the University.
The RCA named Beverage chief research engineer of communications in 1929, a position he held until 1940. At that time, he was promoted to vice president in charge of research and development at RCA Communications Inc., a subsidiary of the Radio Corporation of America. He retired in 1958 from that position and as director of radio research but continued to work in communications as a consultant.
Mr. Beverage died on 27 January 1993 at the John T. Mather Hospital in Port Jefferson, L.I. He was 99 and lived in Stony Brook, NY
Harold's nephew is a ham (W1MGP). Still lives at the family QTH of North Haven Island.
(Thank a lot to Bruce K1FZ for informations and pictures )
73, Petr OK1RP

Excellent conditions on 160m by Barry, VK2BJ

21. listopadu 2006 v 12:12 | Petr, OK1RP |  Band reports
Hello gang,

I have seen lots of positive comments about good conditions on 160 from EU to NA.

You guys are not the only ones !

On Sunday evening, 19 November, I worked a total of 13 W and VE stations in W1, 2, 3, 4 and 9 plus VE1 and 3.. Included in the contacts were members W2JB and K9DX.

This is by far the best opening I can recall on 160 from this part of the world. Hopefully the good conditions will extend to the EU path which is extremely difficult from VK2.

See you all in the CQWW this weekend.

161, Barry VK2BJ
...so nice conditions seems not be only from EU to NA but worldwide isn't it ? TOP band season already started so its good time to put some wires outside and turning ON the 160m radios.
It must not be the big guns setup only lets try to put up some quarter wave half sloper, inverted L or so and tune Your rig to 160m when You have free time. Most of TOP banders will agree that You will get lot of fun.
73, Petr OK1RP

Libya, 5A7A on the air

20. listopadu 2006 v 17:32 | Petr, OK1RP |  Band reports
After some years of silence, an international team
will activate Libya for ham radio.
We are on the air from
November 15th- 29th2006.
Contact: 5a7a@gmx.de
The goals of the Dxpedition are
  • to support the development of ham radio in Libya
  • to activate a rare countryon all bands and modesincl. digital modes and FM
  • To perform more than 50,000 QSOs
  • to take part in CQWWDX contest CW
  • to give you the prefix 5A7
  • to set the focus on "long distance DX" like W6/7, JA, VK, etc.
  • to serve the lowbands
News from currently on-going 5A7A DX-pedition to Libya...
November 20Still no Internet DSL modem available at 5A7A so please QRX for the logs.
November 19All antennas are up and the pileups are huge. Camp #1 has 3 stations, Camp #2 has 4 stations running. There is hardly any interference between the stations. We had more than 20,000 QSOs in the log on Sunday morning.
All of the team members are happy and everything is still going very well.
We also tried to make use of the Meteor Scatter season on 6m / 2m.
Still no Internet DSL modem available so please QRX once more for the online log search.
November 18We now have a DSL Internet line but not yet a DSL modem. We hope to get it today so that we are able to upload the logs and pictures.
All antennas are up which includes a 3 ele 40m Spiderbeam, a 4-square for 40m on a flat roof, a 80m 4-square at the beach and the 160m vertical. All of the equipment is working perfectly.
Attention: Yes, we can run two stations simultaneously on the same band!
We had very good JA runs on 20m long path and North America on 160 and 80. We try W6 tonight via long path.
Falk, DK7YY, arrives today. On Wednesday K3LP and DL8YHR leave and will be replaced by DK2DO and DK8FD.
November 17We had some delays here with our plans but almost everything is running well here and everybody is doing fine. We came on the air yesterday at noon with the first antennas - 2 Spider Beams and a 5m high (low) dipole for 160m.
Today we build most of the rest of the antennas, a 80 and 40m 4-square, the 160m vertical and a few more antennas. On 160m we are having strong QRM caused from a nearby BC transmitter. But we are confident to resolve the problems with our receiving antennas.
We are probably going to get internet access tomorrow which means that we can provide the first online log most probably then. Weather is sunny and we have temperatures of 25 degrees Celsius.
November 165A7A came on the air today at noon. The team made it successfully through customs with some 1.2 tons of equipment. There are some minor problems at the hotel which should be resolved soon. Also K3LP and K1LZ are in the country now after some initial problems with the visas.
Actual situation on 160m reported on http://oh2aq.kolumbus.com/dxs/ ...
9H1SP 1821.2 5A7A thanks 9th qso up 3 1621 20 Nov
YO5TP-@ 1821.5 5A7A TNX QSO 1617 20 Nov
IZ1BII 1821.4 5A7A wkd up 3 tnx 1617 20 Nov
ON4MA 1821.4 5A7A QSX 1824.17 good ears 1602 20 Nov
UA6JFG-@ 1821.2 5A7A qsx up3,new1! 1559 20 Nov
RN4ACQ 1821.4 5A7A CQ up 1558 20 Nov
More and updated info as equipment used on 160m and others You can catch ontheir web http://5a7a.gmxhome.de/
As their setup for 160m is good and operators and quite experienced seems to be easy to catch them specialy from EU. Have a good fun in the pile-up.
73, Petr OK1RP

Six Beverage antennas switch by Pat, TK5EP

19. listopadu 2006 v 10:01 | Petr, OK1RP |  Technical topics
Six Beverage antenna switch
During our multi-multi contest operation, we came against a problem while using low band receiving antennas.
There were 3 low band stations, one on 160m, another on 80m and one on 40m.

The problem was simple : how could we share the Beverage antennas on all of these 3 stations ?

The first solution was to split each antenna in 3 directions with coaxial T's and to use a coax switch on each station, so that each station could select a different antenna. That proved to be not very satisfying, the impedance seen by the receivers and antennas were changing a lot depending on the position of the different switches.

DK4VW, Uli told me that the BCC (Bavarian Contest Club) crew was using a Beverage switching box that proved to be very efficient and i began to build such a box with his precious help.
Informations below given with permission of DK4VW.

Here the theory, only one band (160m) is represented. There are 3 identical boards :

Each operator can switch his receiver to one of the six Beverages, without interfering on the other receiving stations, with the help of the control box close to his operating position.
The control box is connected between the receiver and the spliting box. It is nothing more than a very ordinary 6 position rotary switch with 6 resistors. It is connected to the spliting box by the help of a 50 Ohms coaxial cable on any length.

The spliting box has 3 identical boards in it, one for each band.
On one side of the box, there are 3 RF connectors going to the 3 receivers (160m, 80m, 40m) and on the other side there are 6 RF connectors going to the 6 Beverage antennas.
All board are connected to the 6 RF connectors in parallel.
The spliting box is power supplied by the main.

The need of the bandpass filter is to isolate each receiver input from the other. The antenna switch is build around a LM3914 voltage comparator and 6 small relays. A voltage is made variable in 6 steps by the mean of a voltage divider and is feeded to the signal input of the LM3914.
The fixed part of the divider is in the spliting box and the variable part in the control box.

Depending of the position of the switch of the control box, a different output of the LM3914 is selected which activates a relay, and so a different antenna.
Here the LM3914 data sheet in PDF format.

Below is the drawing of the 160m spliting board.
The 80m and 40m boards are identical, except the components inside the doted box which represents the bandpass filter.
The 3 boards are mounted close one to the other, the antenna inputs are connected together. Beverage 1 of 160m board is connected to Beverage 1 of 80m board and to Beverage 1 on 40m board, same for all inputs.

The 3 bandpass filters must be built in shielded boxes. No printed boards are necessary, they are "air" built.
Here is the diagram of the control box :

The 80m bandpass
Click here to see the bandpass curve

The 40m bandpass
Click here to see the bandpass curve
160m banpass curve
FAQ :
Q: How do i match my Beverage antenna to my 50 Ohm line ?
Well, the standard impedance of a Beverage antenna is close to 450 Ohm. So you need to make a 9:1 transformer to drop this impedance to your 50 Ohm.
You can do that easily with the help of a ferrite core like this :
Winding is made with 6 turns of trifilar copper isolated wire 0.7mm in diameter.
First one is A-B, second one C-D and last one E-F.
You can use a FT-82-43 core or any other appropriated material.

The balun must be mounted in a waterproof plastic box with a RF connector (50 Ohm) and 2 outputs made of screws for the wire (450 Ohm) and the ground.

Q : I find the reception is low, can i use a preamplifier ?
Yes you can, even if not necessary. The signal strength is often lower than with a dipole or a vertical but the signal to noise ratio (S/N) should be excellent. The preamplifier used should have a very good IP3, or intermodulation should appear.
Here a page with a preamplifier that can be used with Beverage antennas : http://w7iuv.com

Q : Can i use the bandpass filters for something else ?
Yes, for sure ! The filters have been designed for 50 ohm impedance and can be used in RX front-end, preamplifiers etc... Their diagrams are given in the doted boxes. They should be built in shielded boxes.
Stay tuned !!
Please mail me if you find some errors or have some interesting infos to share ...

73, Patrick TK5EP
Version 1.0 (8 february 2002)
version 1.1 (1 august 2002) 40m bandpass modification.
Version 1.2 (03 january 2003) added links and FAQ.


Operation from rare DX location, Bill W4ZV

16. listopadu 2006 v 9:03 | Petr, OK1RP |  Operation topics
Hi,

Here are a few suggestions for operation from rare DX location on 160m:

1. QRS a little. 35 WPM is far too fast for 160 with
noise, QSB, etc. ~25 WPM works much better.

2. Send the station's call several times (for the same
reasons above). Sending it only once does not work well.

3. Send the station's call at the end as well as beginning
of your exchange.

(Like this but at ~25 WPM):

AA4NU AA4NU 599 599 AA4NU K

AA4NU CFM 9J2VB up 3

This is how DL3DXX, DL7PE, KM9D and many other excellent
Topband ops do it! 160 has unique challenges due to QRN,
QSB and generally weak signals (i.e. stations calling Vlad may
be stronger to him than he is here because of differences in
antennas, power, etc) so some unique operating style changes
may help.
73, Bill W4ZV
...
Tree, N6TR comments:
Very excellent advice.

If anyone wants to invest some time into really understanding how
these techniques come into play with the "typical" weak signal
conditions often encountered on topband, I have a CD of about 75
minutes during a European opening that I enjoyed a few weeks
back. I was able to "run" about 10 Europeans during that time,
but only one or two of the QSOs were acheived on the first take.

One QSO didn't make it, but I sure tried. Send me an SASE of some
kind that a CD will fit into if you would like one. It is a good
weak signal workout during my work commute.

Quick Boring report - worked SV3RF and CT1FJK on Monday night.

Worked the VK9C station Monday morning with a good signal just
before my sunrise. Yesterday AM, heard the radar pretty well, and I
understand it was on again today.

Tree N6TR
/Original published on Topband mailing list/

160m - "Gentlemen's band"

15. listopadu 2006 v 18:46 | Petr, OK1RP |  Home
160 meters
Just above the mediumwave broadcast band, 160 meters is the lowest radio frequency band allotted for use by amateur radio operators in most countries. Seasoned operators refer to 160 meters as Top Band; it is also referred to sometimes as the "Gentlemen's Band" in comparison to the often-freewheeling 80 meters allocation. Effective 160 meter operation can be particularly challenging, as full sized antennas (on the order of a half-wavelength or more), are difficult to come by for many amateurs with limited space. Nevertheless, many radio amateurs successfully communicate over extremely long distances with relatively small antennas. 160 meters is populated by many hightly dedicated experimenters, as it is a proving ground for ingenuity in antenna design and operating technique. Much about ionospheric propagation on 160 meters is still unknown. Phenomena such as "chordal hop" propagation are frequently observed on "top band" as well as several unexplained long-distance openings. Additionally, inexplicable radio blackouts, such as are sometimes encountered on the A.M. Broadcast band, as well, can occur on 160 meters. Much speculation about these events has been put forth by the scientific community, and 160 meter operators are in a unique position to investigate such fascinating mysteries. The original "magic of radio" is very much alive and well on 160 meters.
160 meters has an interesting history in Amateur Radio, as well. It is one of the oldest amateur bands, and was the staple of reliable communication in the early days of Amateur Radio, when the majority of communications were relatively short distance. As the higher frequency bands were developed, along with the associated smaller, more convenient antennas, 160 meters fell in to a period of relative disuse. Although there has always been activity on the band, fewer and fewer hams were willing to put up the sort of antennas necessary to take advantage of the band's unique properties. The H.F. bands were so much easier to use, and used up a lot less real estate. Additionally, after World War II, a large part of the American 160 band was allocated to Loran navigational beacons. Regional power restrictions for the remaining sections of the band were put in place as well. Many older hams recall, with no great fondness, the ear-shattering racket of nearby Loran stations. Great ingenuity was used to eliminate the pulse noise of the powerful beacons, through such famous cicuitry as the "Select-O-Ject of the late 1950s," the technology of which was adapted to modern noise blanking circuits used in most current amateur receivers and transceivers. Despite the countless challenges thrust upon the small but dedicated band of 160 operators, the band survived. With the demise of Loran, the band experienced a new birth. The regional power restrictions have been removed, and 160 is no longer the "orphan" band it had been for nearly half a century.
That's what saying Wikipedia about the 160m band - interesting isn't it?
73, Petr OK1RP

Poor ground, better Beverage, John B. Mitchell, USA

15. listopadu 2006 v 17:30 | Petr, OK1RP |  Antennas
Poor ground, better Beverage
Herbert Schoenbohm, Vigin Islands: I read sometime in the past that the necessary wave tilt that makes a Beverage develop its directional and performance criteria equates to the propagation of the incoming signal differently over the wire and the poorer conducting earth beneath it.
John B. Mitchell, USA: I can attest to the fact that poor ground seems to really help beverage performance.
Here, in SWVA, the Appalachians are mostly limestone, karst regions, with a thin overlay of mostly decayed matter representing the oak and maple hardwood forest floor.
I have three beverage antennas running tree-to-tree between 600-800 feet long.
I've done some limited modeling and read most of the literature, and everything confirms what I hear. I find no need for preamps, since most times the signal on the beverage is within 10-15 db of a full size inverted vee at 100-plus feet, or an inverted L, somewhat lower, which are my references.
The signal/noise ratio, of course, usually makes up at least 30 db of improvement, so the beverages are almost always better.

If my ground were better, the tilt angle no doubt would be significantly higher.
I estimate, from modeling, research, and on-the-air testing, that these beverages are most sensitive to an angle around 20-50 degrees.
While 20 degrees would not be considered "low-angle" on 20 M, it certainly is for Top Band. As a matter of fact, I question whether even transmit angles much below this are particularly useful under most practical conditions. (An exception might be a quiet January night in the middle of the sunspot minimum.)
There is much in the literature which indicates that transmit angles around 20-40 degrees are optimum for Top Band DX, since lower angles require the signal to traverse the D layer through a greater distance, thus attenuating the signal more. We've seen a lot of discussion about "high angle" conditions on Top Band, and since my Inverted Vee, because of terrain influence, is down only about 6 db at 30 degrees, it often outperforms the Inverted L on typical Eu-path DX from Virginia.
Of course, efficiency enters the picture, since the L doesn't have an ideal ground plane.

The individual who posted a few days ago about using a reflector with his high dipole resonated with me, also.
I believe experimentation with horizontal arrays, even at lower heights (around 100 ft) is warranted, and I intend to try this.
I placed a reflector directly below an 80 meter inverted vee at 50 feet (close-spaced, around 20 feet) and obtained 5 db improvement within 1000 miles and no change at 3000. I think this shows that close-spaced reflectors tend to widen the lobe, which, in this case is good, since it gives more useful radiation at lower angles than straight up.
So, even if it's tough to calculate the perfect length for a two-element array with both elements at, say 100 feet, I think it might serve to provide 10-12 db front-to-back at low angles, and lower the main lobe enough to pick up around 5 db at 30 degrees, which I have stated I believe is a more important angle than, say 10 degrees.
Poor ground actually may help here too, and sloping terrain always helps, so I'll experiment some next season.

Since most people have better ground than I do, I'd stay away from anything that raises the angles at which the receive antenna is most sensitive. By the way, my beverages are "short" for the Broadcast Band, but perform amazingly well, allowing the beverages to "capture" different signals on the same frequency by switching directions.
/published originally on Top band list, June 2000/

Beverage Antennas Construction by Tom, W8JI - part II.

15. listopadu 2006 v 17:25 | Petr, OK1RP |  Antennas
Multiple Antennas Crossing
Crossing of Beverages has little effect if they are not parallel or nearly parallel. Try to cross at an angle of 90 degrees if possible. Even a few inches of spacing is enough for right angle crossing. With shallow angles, assuming they can not be avoided, increase wire spacing to a few feet.

Transformers

Always use isolated transformers for feeding Beverages. It is cheap, simple, easy insurance against unwanted common-mode ingress of noise and signals into the antenna from the feedline shield. See the Common Mode Noise page for an analysis.
I use 73-mix FairRite Products 2873000202 cores (about 1/2 inch square and 1/3 inch thick 73 material) in my transformers. These cores require a two-turn 50-75 ohm winding. The high-impedance winding is 5 turns for 75-ohm cables (6.25:1 Z ratio) or 6 turns for 50-ohm cables (9:1 Z ratio). Small insulated hookup wire is actually better than enameled wire. The thicker insulation is much less susceptible to developing shorted turns in rough service.
While my early transformers were waterproofed with Krylon and coated with insulation foam, I have finally laid out enclosed transformers and terminations with internal lightning protection. The transformer sections have F-fittings, and all use stainless steel hardware.
For a Reversible Beverage, I use the following:

Multiple Antennas at One Feedpoint

Never bring multiple antennas to one feedpoint, especially when they share one common ground. I've noticed a definite deterioration in pattern with multiple feedpoints arranged with only ten feet of spacing, even when they had separate ground systems. One set of Beverages installed with 5-10 foot of feedpoint separation has noticeably poorer patterns than other identical length antennas with wide separation at the feedpoint.
Multiple antennas actually may be the only case where a sloped feeder can make a difference, the slope will actually move the effective feedpoints further apart. The best idea, however, is to separate the feedpoints by several times the antenna height.

Termination Value

Having precise termination values isn't necessary, but get as close as you reasonably can. There are some impedance measurement suggestions circulating that absolutely do not work. One is to just use a tuner to match the terminated (or unterminated) antenna, and work backwards with loads to measure tuner impedance ratio after matching. This won't tell you a thing about proper termination, unless you repeat the measurements on dozens of frequencies spread over a wide range!
There are three fast, simple ways to test for proper termination:

With an Antenna SWR Analyzer

  1. Connect the antenna analyzer at the Beverage feedpoint through a good matching transformer
  2. Sweep the analyzer frequency from 1.8 to 7 MHz (or over a ~4:1 frequency range near the frequency intended for antenna) while watching SWR
  3. Adjust termination for minimum SWR variation (not minimum SWR, minimum SWR variation!)
When installation (including grounds) and termination is proper, SWR VALUE will remain nearly the same regardless of frequency

With an Antenna Impedance Meter

  1. Measure the feedpoint impedance (right at the feedpoint) of a roughly terminated antenna at the frequencies of highest and lowest resistive impedance. You can do this through a known good transformer by correcting impedance for use of the transformer
  2. Multiply the lowest measured impedance by the highest, and then find the square root of that number. This will be the correct termination impedance of the antenna

With a Clamp-on RF Current Meter

(This does not work well with voltage, because of measurement method error problems)

  1. Apply a small amount of power from a transmitter, do not exceed antenna system component ratings!
  2. Measure current at the termination, and several points up to a distance of at least 1/2 wl from the termination
  3. Adjust termination resistance so current shows a smooth current decline as you move the meter towards the termination
Note:
In about 500-800 feet of distance, power loss in a Beverage is around 3dB. This corresponds to a 1/3 reduction in current. If you attempt to adjust for equal currents (or voltages) over any distance, the antenna will be MIS-terminated!

Identifying a Composition Resistor

We commonly assume any brown phenolic resistor is a carbon composition resistor, but that isn't true. Most of the smooth brown-colored phenolic cased resistors manufactured after 1960-1970 have actually been carbon film resistors. There are only a limited number of manufacturers supplying carbon composition resistors. One is Allen-Bradley. They are expensive special-order parts, and the buyer must specify composition types.
As we see from the photo, it is impossible to identify a composition resistor by external appearance.
The only sure way to identify a resistor, short of ordering it from a reputable source, is through a destructive test. We can, for example, apply a large momentary overload and look for a resistance change. A resistance change indicates a film-type element. We could also cut the resistor open, and look for a non-conductive core. A non-conductive core indicates the resistor is a film style component.

Why Composition Types?

We need composition resistors in any application where the resistor is subjected to very-large very-short overloads, or where the system demands a nearly pure resistance at a very high frequency (F>100MHz).
Obviously, in the case of a Beverage at a few MHz or lower, we could get away with using many styles of wire-wound resistors or spiral-film resistors. A small amount of inductance would not be a major problem, and virtually ALL carbon or metal film resistors (constructed with resistance elements deposited or cut in a spiral on an insulated core) would not have excessive inductance. The thing we can not tolerate is the sensitivity of non-surge rated components to damage from lightning storms, even distant storms.
The life of a carbon or metal film resistor, when used as an antenna termination, is relatively short in most locations. Just a few coulombs of energy, when applied in a few milliseconds, will cause a carbon or metal film resistor to change value. Worse yet, the resistor will not be altered in appearance. (Carbon also has a strong tendency to change value with heat. Even modest operating temperatures, over a period of time, will cause a carbon resistor to change value. Metal resistors are more stable.)
Unless you want to make a full-time career out of testing your antennas and replacing resistors, use a energy absorbing composition type resistor!
I install a small lightning gap of about 1/8th inch across my antenna's ends, both at the feedpoint and the termination. This helps immensely with very close strikes. I use either Ohmite OY-series metal compositions or A-B carbon composition resistors. You can buy metal composition resistors at DX Engineering.

Ground Systems

The ground system mainly provides an RF and lightning ground. Having a very low ground-resistance is not especially important, unless an Autotransformer or Un-un is used! Autotransformers and Un-un's don't isolate the feedline for common-mode. The antenna needs a stable ground, not necessarily a low-resistance ground.
In my tests over the years, a 3/4-inch copper pipe driven five feet or deeper into the soil typically measures between 50-150 ohms of RF resistance on 160-meters. (DC or low frequency AC measurements will NEVER give the correct earth resistance for RF, and they certainly can not tell us ground conductivity.) Unless you have exceptionally poor soil, going deeper than five feet will not reduce RF resistance on frequencies above 1.8 MHz. Skin effect limits the depth of RF current in the soil, so the extra rod depth does nothing. Lower resistance values (about 55 ohms) were obtained in a wet marshy area of NW Ohio, with a very rich black acidic sandy loam soil. The higher resistance were obtained in rocky clay soil typical of the Atlanta, Georgia area.
My present location has rolling pastures and wet clay soils, providing under 100-ohms of RF resistance at 1.8MHz with a five-foot rod.
The general guideline I follow is to use at least two five-foot copper rods (I use 3/4" copper spaced 5 feet apart). If I can not get full depth, or if the soil is particularly poor, I add a few 30-60 foot buried radials. The idea is to obtain a reasonably stable ground, so termination does not change.
If you are unsure if you Beverage's ground is adequate, measure the impedance of the beverage with an antenna analyzer with your operating ground systems. Note the reading. Add two temporary radials 1/4 wl long suspended above earth at right angles to the Beverage, and re-measure the impedance. (It is OK to have them there at right angles to the antenna and not have them connected, and them connect them while taking readings.)
You can measure the impedance on the low-Z side of a good transformer. Under almost any condition, the wires would have 100 ohms or less impedance. If you see a very noticeable change in impedance, you probably should consider improving the ground system. Impedance changes of 15% (or larger) indicate a potential ground stability problem, because the ground resistance would be nearly 100 ohms. This test should be done when the ground is dry, or any time you think you might be having a ground problem.
Always remember to keep the shield of the cable isolated from the Beverage ground! Never use un-un or autotransformers.

Length

For length considerations, see the directivity factor text. It is not necessary, nor does it do any good, to go beyond 1-1/2 or 2 WL. By the time the antenna is that long, current is so low any addition length makes the pattern worse. I limit my 160-meter antennas to 800-feet, and use multiple antennas when a sharper pattern is required.
Directivity can actually decrease if a longwire-type array is made too long. This is true with Rhombics and Vee Beams, and it is also true with Beverages.

Zigzagging Wire

While a nice clear straight wire looks great, it does more to make us feel better than hear better! Minor ups and downs in height or dips or valleys don't really seem to have any noticeable impact.
Although it probably is a good idea to keep the wire as straight as possible, it is the overall direction and length that is most important because each small area contributes on a similar small portion to the overall directivity and signal reception.
Tom, W8JI
If You would like to know more about author nor You are interested in more informations about receiving antennas and not only about that then visit web pages of Tom, W8JI please on http://www.w8ji.com/
73, Petr OK1RP

Beverage Antennas Construction by Tom, W8JI - part I.

15. listopadu 2006 v 17:19 | Petr, OK1RP |  Antennas
Hi,
everybody who is interested in the serious TOP band operation or even the DXing on that band know that most important is the reception. Althought I am one of the TOP band ops. who have pocket size gardens nor even post stamp size lot for antennas in fixed QTH - sometime I have chance to go to operate portable where is temporarily possible to install antennas for serious operation even for improved reception.
I tried to install many years ago receiving antennas incl. Beverages but many times I had no success nor results as I expected. During that time comes to my head a lot of questions about an installation of the Beverages antenna and construction...which height is enough, does make any impact if wire zigg-zagging on the lot, what about the termination value and his impact for directivity, how to make correctly the transformer and many others.
If You are still not satisfied with Your Beverage or You would like to improve it then read the followed article very carefully as its writen by one of the famous TOP bander Tom, W8JI !
Beverage Antennas Construction
I installed my first Beverage Antenna (in the early 1970's). I was delighted to find a large improvement in weak-signal reception from such a simple, inexpensive antenna. Over the years I've continued to use, compare, and refine my Beverage antennas. Despite having very large vertical arrays, Beverages remain my primary DX receiving antennas. There just isn't any antenna that is as simple, as easy to construct and maintain, and as foolproof as a Beverage!
I refine my antenna systems by comparing systems against each other for extended periods of time, usually more than a year. My station has a convenient switching system allowing instant comparison of antenna systems. When an antenna system is almost never used, I abandon that system and try something else. Even though I use engineering tools (books and models), I always compare and measure actual working systems. I presently have over thirty Beverages in three different clusters of arrays, the end result filtered through years of measurements and A-B testing of systems.
A great much has been written about Beverages. Unfortunately much or most information is a repeat of previously published information (and misinformation) from verbal discussions or from other articles or handbooks! It is time to set aside some of the myths that have been handed down and repeated so much they have become "fact".

Types of Beverage Wire

The most commonly used wire types are single conductor hook-up or electrical, electric fence wire, and special antenna wire such as copperweld. The only significant and easily noticed difference between these commonly used wires is in physical properties, such as ease of soldering, strength, and life

Insulated Wire

Sporadic claims have appeared indicating insulation prevents charged droplets of water from making an antenna "noisy". I've never been able to verify that rumor either in A-B tests of actual antennas or through planned experiments. Other reports, many from reliable sources, also seem to discredit this rumor.
One of my experiments was to charge a stream of water (against earth) with an extremely high voltage supply, and spray the water on a wire. Other than corona noise from sharp points, the type of wire made no difference at all in "noise". The water droplets obviously were not hitting the wire like hundreds of random charged capacitors, they generated no noise at all. This is really what we would expect, if we consider that each drop contains only a very miniscule amount of change and also has nearly perfect insulation (distilled water is a very good insulator).
Controlled observations also tend to support the idea corona, and not charges in individual droplets, cause precipitation static.
In Ohio, my long Beverages stretched across open farm fields. Snow would whip across the fields, rain would pelt the wires, yet insulated and bare wire Beverages running in the same direction always had the same noise level. Beverages that picked-up corona (or "p-static") noise were always near or aimed at tall towers. With corona sizzling at 40-over-nine on my tall towers, Beverages (and even small "magnetic" loop antennas) aimed at the towers would "hear" the same precipitation noise.
The same was true for tower-mounted antennas. The largest noise problems came from antennas mounted high on towers, and generally were with antennas that had "sharp" ends jutting out in the air. Lower antennas, even those of identical construction, were either significantly quieter or totally free of precipitation static. This effect was reported many times by contest operators and DX'ers with stacked antennas. They universally switch to low antennas to eliminate or reduce p-static, even though the same moisture is hitting the lower and upper antennas. This strongly indicates precipitation static is from corona discharge, and not from charges in each individual drop of moisture hitting the antenna.
After my move to Barnesville, Georgia my first antennas were all insulated wire. Hook-up wire was pressed into service in my first group of temporary Beverages. As non-insulated conductors permanent antennas were added, there wasn't any observable change in inclement weather noise. As before, the antennas nearest or aimed at tall towers picked up some p-static noise. Antennas located away from the towers remained free of precipitation static, whether bare or insulated.
There is also some chance, if the antenna wire is not under significant tension, that insulation may sometimes hide a broken conductor.
Insulated wire may reduce leakage currents if a substantial part of the conductor is in contact with resistive paths, such as wet brush or tree branches, but you may be better off trimming back any substantial foliage in contact with the wire.
While insulated wire has no major performance disadvantage, it also has no advantage.

Type of Conductor

Copper wire is a good choice if supports are close. Copper wire lacks the mechanical strength of steel-core wires, but is very easy to work with. It is softer, making it easier to bend. Copper wire can be repeatedly scraped or re-soldered without worries about piercing a thin copper coating and exposing a rust-sensitive steel core, and it is readily available and relatively inexpensive in large quantities.
Copperweld wire is much stronger and has about the same RF resistance as 100% copper. Like copper, it is easy to clean and solder after it has been exposed to the weather as long as you are very careful to not scrape through the thin outer coating of copper. It is considerably more difficult to work with than normal pure copper wires, any kink or sharp bend will substantially weaken the wire.
Most fence wire I've found is cadmium plated, rather than zinc galvanized. Using RF current meters, I have measured increased losses when using zinc or cadmium plated steel wire. Beverages already have substantial current loss due to the close proximity with lossy earth. I've measured about 60% of feed point current remaining (~4.4dB loss) after passing over around 700-feet of electric fence wire, and about 10% more current (~3.1dB loss) using copper-clad steel wire. Steel fence wire would aggravate losses that already limit the benefits of using long Beverage antennas. In a very long antenna, the small additional loss of steel fence wire might slightly reduce performance.
In my Beverages, the important consideration is antenna maintenance. I use copperweld wire or electric fence wire, because strength is a primary concern. With spans exceeding 200 feet, my antennas need a large strength to weight ratio.
Don't use welding wire! It is a very poor material choice. It rusts (and as with aluminum) you'll have connection problems in no time.

Beverage Supports

Some would have us believe we need non-metallic supports for our Beverages, but there is not the slightest technical justification for such suggestions.
The only requirement for the support is it must hold the antenna up, and it can not connect the antenna to ground. A metal pole with a small PVC stub for an insulator is every bit as good as a full non-metallic pole. Trees make good supports, especially if you use nail-type electric-fence insulators for use with wooden posts.
I've never seen a problem allowing a wire to contact a branch, although I do trim out the branches and avoid any contact with trees.
For end supports, I use trees, pressure treated lumber, or landscaping timbers. With a lot of tension, I backstay the poles to a dead-man (generally an old brick) buried in the ground. When I set end-posts with my power auger, I line the hole with copper flashing. That becomes part or all of the feed point (and termination) ground connection.
I never anchor or wrap the Beverage wire around insulators, except at the ends. I always allow the wire to "float" through the insulators. When the wire floats, you can tension the entire antenna from either end. If anything breaks the wire, you can see it at any point! A "floating" wire is much easier to repair if it is damaged, because you only need release tension on one end to splice the wire. Re-tension that same end, and everything is restored. It takes no more tension to support a 1000-foot Beverage with supports every 100-feet than it does to support a 100-foot wire between two rigid supports, but it is a much more difficult to break the longer wire. A longer "floating" wire will often take-up enough slack to remain up after deflecting a large tree branch, where a shorter rigidly-anchored span will almost certainly break either the insulators or wire.

Beverage Insulators

If you expect a long-lasting antenna and have a long antenna, be careful when choosing insulators! Some types of electric fence insulators will not last long. The unreliable types of post insulators have two square folds to hold the wire, a square shaped base, and nail through a small molded plastic angle. The weak points of this insulator are the square retaining tabs, and the molded nail tube at the insulator base. When this type of insulator is mounted horizontally, the wire's weight will stress both the molded nail tube and a single tab. I typically find about 10% of the insulators fail within a few months. After three years, the few dozen installed here have virtually all failed.
Avoid these types!
Round yellow or back plastic insulators with the nail going through the center, like the examples below, are much more reliable post insulators
Ceramic post insulators may look great, but they do not allow floating the wire across the insulator. Even if you do manage to find a ceramic insulator that allows floating the wire, the ceramic will quickly wear away at the constantly moving wire. Avoid ceramic insulators, unless you are prepared to "buffer" the wire through a UV resistant soft plastic bushing!
Good end-insulators are becoming difficult to find. I always use compression types, but the material has to be either ceramic or very thick plastic. Some very thin plastic compression insulators will actually cold-flow and allow the wire to pass through the insulation. This is particularly true with thin steel wires that are tensioned over 25 pounds. Heavy-walled egg insulators are much more reliable, and not subject to wire migration through the thin insulation.
My favorite insulators are large these rather thick Fi-Shock yellow plastic insulators. They are slippery enough to allow the dead-end wire or rope to loop over the insulator, and create a 2:1 mechanical advantage when tensioning.

Height

I've found very little performance difference with height, unless the Beverage is more than .05WL high. As the height exceeds .05wl, performance seems to be reduced. Small rolling hills or ravines also seem to make any difference. Follow the contour of gradual slopes, and go straight across ditches or narrow ravines without following the contour.

Sloping Ends

There really isn't a logical reason to slope the ends of a Beverage. After all, six-feet of vertical drop is six feet, no matter if the drop is over 50 feet or straight vertical.
Consider, for example, the K9AY or Pennant antennas. Both have sloped wires, yet virtually all of the response is from the vertical slope of the wire in the antennas. As a matter of fact, the actual shape makes very little difference in the way each antenna works. Why would anyone, knowing how a Pennant or K9AY works, think that a Beverage somehow magically breaks tradition and stops responding to vertical signals in the wires when we slope them a bit? What difference would it make in noise anyway, since the entire antenna responds to vertically polarized signals?
There isn't any possible way, including use of shielding or additional conductors, to prevent the end-wires from having the very small effect they have. Save yourself time and worry, and avoid a needless hazard. Just drop the end-wires vertically right down to earth.
will continue...

The 11th Edition of the Stew Perry TopBand DX Challenge

13. listopadu 2006 v 18:24 | Petr, OK1RP |  Home
Ladies, Gentlemen and others,
The Boring Amateur Radio Club is pleased to announce the running of the 11th edition of The Stew Perry TopBand DX Challenge starting 1500Z December 30 and ending 1500Z December 31, 2006.
This CW contest mixes distance between the stations and transmit power to arrive at a
final score. All the rules and other cool stuff pertaining to this character building contest is found by going to: http://www.jzap.com/k7rat/stew.html
This unique RF clash also is special in that the contesters who partake of this winter exercise also determine what amazing feats of daring-do and performance and near magic are deserving of a snazzy plaque. We also have very beautiful certificates for the deserving who rise to the top in certain areas. Stalwarts of contesting have, over the years, donated a paltry $50 to the club in order to sponsor a plaque that they feel is important to recognize some aspect of this great contest. I've recently returned from the beaches of ZL8R to find some of these stalwarts have already pledged support for this years running of The Stew Perry TopBand DX Challenge as noted below:

KL7RA Highest Number of QSO's
W7TMT Top Score, Low Power, First time entry
KB7Q Top Score in Grid Field "DM"
N5IA Most Grid Squares worked
N7JW Top Score South of the Equator
K7CA Top Score Asiatic Russia
N0TT Top Score USA Op < 21 y/o & > 100 QSO
VK6VZ Top Score with antenna in a space < 20m X 10m winner receives an official Royal Flying Doctors of Australia cap
You also can join this group of distinguished RF slingers by simply coming up with a category, that will pass approval with the Subcommittee on Plaque Appropriateness and Smut, of The Boring Amateur Radio Club, and sending the required check to me at my CBA. Your call will be inscribed upon the plaque along with the winner of your chosen category. We even send the plaques first class mail to the winners around the world.
There are a few warm-up contests before The Stew Perry TopBand DX Challenge and we here at the club encourage you to participate in them whether they be single or multi band, regional, local or worldly. Ours is the best, though. Some have approached us about a packet assisted category. We feel that at least in this contest, a ham enjoying the contest should be singularely competent enough to actually find another station to work long with then attempting to work him/her/it. Spotters of the Hams enjoying this contest disrespect what we're attempting to do as they disrespect themselves. There are plenty of other contests where packet is played so try it packet-less...you may like the increased sense of self actualization when it is all done.
More missives from The Club as the date draws near, the sponsors list grows and the tension mounts.
73 and I remain, Lew W7EW / W7AT
...so I hope that more TOP banders will join specialy from Europe to make fun on the band. As one of my good TOP band friend said "do not waste Your time on another bands if You can make the challenge on TOP band...", hi.
73, Petr OK1RP

Pacific opening on TOP last night

12. listopadu 2006 v 15:07 | Petr, OK1RP |  Band reports
In spite of high K Index we had quite good opening yesterday to Pacific. Around 17 UTC V63JYwas with much better signal than V63UA with more power a few days ago,it seems Japanese group has better location to Europe.
They are transmitting from Chuuk Island which is slightly closer to our part of theWorld.V63JY,JQ,VE are going to be active till 13th November so still 2 days of a chance for Europe .V63JY was using 1822 and 1824 kHz QSX up 3 or 1 down. Also KH0/K3UY had nice signal yesterday after 1850 Z on 1824 kHz QSX up 1 and they will be there more 3 days.

73, Rys SP5EWY
(orig. published on TOP band reflector)

K2 vs. RX Beverage ext. antenna

12. listopadu 2006 v 9:14 | Petr, OK1RP |  Technical topics
Hi,
for all who are using their K2 for 160m DXing with external RX antennas will be interesting that article from Ken, K0PP as follows:
A word of caution ...

I severely damaged the RX antenna RF stage of my FT-1000D due
to RF coupling from the TX antenna (1KW, 160M) into the RX antenna.
I later measured the induced RF voltage with a 'scope ... it was many
volts. Some commercial (marine) receivers have lamps in series with
the RX input for protection ... others have pico-fuses.

I realize this situation didn't involve a K2, but I'd be VERY careful.
I've since installed an external RX protection box on both my radios
RX antenna inputs.

Someone mentioned a 47 ohm resistor or an RF choke from the antenna
connector to ground. I have this arrangement on my open-wire feeders
where they enter the shack. Dry blowing dust or snow can build up a
considerable charge on the antenna and find a path to ground somewhere...

I mentioned marine receivers above ... Saint Elmo's Fire is a common
event at sea ... when you see your ship's antenns(s) "glowing" in the
dark you know why those protection lamps are there. (:-)) Bzzzzt!

73! Ken Kopp - K0PP
(orig. published on TOP band reflector)

160m band report 12.11.2006

12. listopadu 2006 v 8:58 | Petr, OK1RP |  Band reports
1824.0 CP4BT 01:29U 339 and works EU,
1822.1 3XD2Z 02:15U 559 and works OK!
1822.0 TI4CF 05:33U 339 weak and hard readable in JO60
1819.2 CT3MD 02:06U 599 big sigs