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A warm welcome from Richard G6HKS - Some of you may know me, I am a keen all mode VHF and upwards DXer but like many I have a less than perfect radio location – this has obliged me to optimise my station to the best of my ability – to this end I became a fan of Dereks PowAbeam designs which are in my opinion the closest to perfection yagi designs – period. For example look at the antenna temperature of the WAXXX10S to its competitors in the VE7BQH listings, antenna temperature provides a good overall performance indicator and at 225 degrees kelvin is simply 'best in class'.
In 2014/15 Derek undertook some ground breaking work - Q-factor analysis that calculates a figure of merit score against a designs all weather stability potential. All our designs take this work into account and are all weather performers – you wont miss any dx due to your yagi going off-tune (really quiet on receive sometimes confused with low noise performance!) or your PA protection tripping out due to high vswr. The heaviest rain or dew makes negligible impact (see G6HKS Wet Weather Test).
My goal is simply to make it as easy as possible for Radio Amateurs to construct their PowAbeam – whether it be for a local rag chew or some serious DX'ing. To this end I am happy to offer complete or part material kits which enable you to construct a PowAbeam design of your choice at a really competitive price and of course the added enjoyment of making your own antenna which really works.
For 144 and upwards my choice is 4.76mm (or 5mm) parasitic elements combined with a 5/8ths (or 16mm) diameter co-axial driven element (using the unique ParAclip solution and driven element RF transparent mouldings). The result is a really good looking low profile antenna handy for those winter storms. For 4 and 6 metres we move up to half inch two-piece parasitics with a 7/8th oversleeve centre joiner onto 2 bolt stauff clamps – being quite acceptable at these lower frequencies (see parts tab and kit proces for more details and feel free to contact me with any bespoke requests)
Do check out the very latest (Jan 2016) 5 element design for 50 meg / 6 metres the WS65065 – with a 4 metre boom length its not so much the raw gain of 7.4 dbd but just look at the tight H-Plane which will help to reduce all that local QRM (material kit £130)!
I am also a big fan of LDMOS SSPA's and the benefits of ‘instant on’ capability which is great for those fleeting E's qso's while others are still warming their tubes (or face running a large noisy amplifier on standby all day ) plus of course the far better efficiency – 70% at 144 for example. Check out the LDMOS tab which is a photo file of my 432 500w PA project now completed and providing many EME contacts – about 350 watts make it into my 4 x 18ele CQM18UC low Q EME array – I have started work on its big brother a W6PQL twin for 432 and will post picture updates as time allows
2015 General activity observations:
I rate 2015 as a good dx vintage year from my average qth - some good Es openings on 144 to all the usual suspects and some cracking tropo on 144 and 432 highlights RA3LBW in KO64 at 559 on 144 (politeness made this was RX only – how I wish id just called on SSB instead of waiting as his signal faded away to 419) and how about LY3A 59+20 KO26 on the 432 eme array 2.5 metres off the deck beaming into a thick Leylandii hedge. S51ZO on 144 Aurora was 559A – I really must get my CW capability sorted in 2016 as I sense it could be a big Aurora year.
2015 432 EME observations:
plenty of 432 EME with the new system, still awaiting my first single yagi station qso (several x2 yagi stations worked), most average stations worked at decent signal strengths. Using a trilithics notched attenuator I am getting 10-12 dbs of sunnoise and with observations over time believe my small array of 4 x CQM18UC 3.3m booms are working pretty much to perfection (for example HB9Q -8, PI9CAM -8, NC1I -7, OH2PO -6 although clearly a lot stronger being S2 on the guessmeter, DL9KR CW 5S29) .Check out my YouTube of the massive signal from Frank NC1I on 432 (peaking S2 at times) and I2FAK on 144. I will start to add more when I remember to video them (recents include good signals from FR/DL1RPL using just 2 small yagis LNA's make a marked improvement to a 432 array and borderline SSB is possible at around -12 digital strength. Personally on 144 I found the SSB threshold to be around -7 . Getting stations to try SSB remains a bit of a challenge – I now know how the CW versus Digital fraternity feel :o) activity on 432 is lower but nevertheless in recent times seems to be improving especially during contests. For 2016 ill be adding another 1db of antenna gain so I look forward to hearing my echoes a little louder.
Resources for constructors:
SDR capability is like being blind and given sight – with a decent antenna it takes away the reliance for spotting sites (although these remain great resources). During E's it gets you to the DX quickly. If you dont have a commercial SDR set up using a G4HUP PAT board allows you to take an IF tap into a dongle of your choice (I use the pro-plus)Getting into LDMOS construction check out RFHAM and W6PQL sites. Personally Jim W6PQLs website and kits are outstanding – I was originally drawn to Jims site needing an effective sequencer – his kits are great and the sequencer is a good starter kit for those new to SMD construction. Jim also has many useful video clips to help you. I opted to get the heatsink from RFHAM for my single 432 LDMOS but have used Kuehne electronics for the twin and they have some great options, Italabs also similar – take your pick. Ancilliary stuff from Ebay, RS components. If needed I can provide hard to get QRO hardline coax and appropriate DINs/NTypes to match that are essential for your amplifier internal QRO feeds – check the Parts and price list for more details / just ask.
Back to PowAbeam antennas:
We have a lot of designs here – Our most recent key designs are linked via the header page light blue right hand side menu plus and you can also select the design archive if needed. In each case you can refer to the VE7BQH listings to get an independant perspective. The kits I offer are material and include all parts, final accurate cutting and drilling is for your pleasure. You can make any design you wish – per elements/boomlength of your choice. Any bespoke orders, parts etc let me know and I will be happy to put a price together for you. Interested in becoming a paraclip distributer in AMS or APJ region just drop me a line.
What is the PowAbeam USP? – we have four...
Check the BUILD page for notes and tips on construction, on the PRICES page we offer various material kits so you can homebrew you own PowAbeam at low cost. I am also very happy to cost up any bespoke order just let me know what you are after.
Making a PowAbeam kit is pretty straighforward (no tuning - no baluns – just make it and go) you need some basic construction skills and should view this as a learning project with a high performance yagi as the end result – you will also see a number of articles/construction notes on the PowAbeam site to help you. If required I am more than happy to make up the driven element for a small fee (£10), other requirements on request.
Finally we dont shout very loud about our designs but prefer the yagis to do the talking and its good to know our designs are being adopted by so many of you and behind many long DX QSO’s there is a PowAbeam at work...
catch you on the airwaves whether Es, Tropo, Aurora
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