Monday, May 6, 2019

I Figured Out A Way To Get On 160m

Like most transceivers, my Yaesu FTDX1200 is capable of working 160m-6m.  I have made many contacts on all bands except 160m.  Between my Maxcon OCF3K80  and my Mosley TA-33-JR I can work most bands without a tuner.  160m is a very different animal. I've heard a friend say that his end-fed dipole could tune 160m.  I've tried the built-in tuner in my transceiver with no luck.  When I got my Yaesu VL1000 Quadra System up and going, I found that it also has a built-in tuner.  I tried the Quadra System tuner with no luck either.  I figured I would need to just make a 160m antenna at some point and just gave up on it.

Somehow, I came up with an idea.  A wonderful...awful idea.  I thought that since neither tuner could tune the Maxcon for use on 160m, I wondered if a combination of the two might be able to.  So here is what I did:

  1. Set the Transciever for 160m FT8 frequency.
  2. I enabled the tuner on the Quadra system.
  3. I pressed the TUNE button on the Quadra system for it to try to tune.
  4. The Quadra System made an adjustment and then gave up.
  5. I enabled the tuner on the transceiver.
  6. I held down the tuner button on the transceiver so it would try to tune.
  7. The transceiver was able to tune the SWR flat.
It's important to note that the Quadra System was only being used as a tuner and the amplifier was not in OPERATE mode.  This is important because if it was not in bypass, it would only be matching the load between the transceiver and amplifier input.  The display on the Quadra System did show an SWR of 3.0 but since it was in bypass and I was only running 50watts I didn't see this as a problem.  The SWR meter on the transceiver showed a calm 1.1!  When I run my transceiver's tuner with the amplifier in bypass, the Quadra system always shows the SWR between a the tuner circuit and the antenna while the transceiver's meter shows the SWR from transceiver to antenna including the circuitry going through the Quadra System.  

Now knowing the transceiver was satisfied and the amplifier was not going to be in use, I left the rig and waited for 160m to become active.  I went to watch a movie with the XYL, and upon my return saw that I had decoded a couple stations on 160m FT8.  So I gave a few calls.  I actually did work a few!  The furthest away was VA3KSF in Canada at 500+ miles.  

KG4LST first 160m contacts

Using two tuners isn't ideal...in fact I probably won't run this configuration often.  Even with the transceiver seeing a low SWR, that doesn't mean the antenna is effective on that band.  I'm also not wild about the potential of causing problems with the Quadra System.  But, it was a fun and interesting way to test and make some contacts on a new band!

73 de KG4LST sk 

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