Tag Archives: Buddipole

Field Day is coming!


Another Field Day is around the corner, June 28th – 29th. This year I have the opportunity to head back to my home state of California.

This trip is going to be a bit longer with more time on the road as well as spending more time in California. I am now the proud owner of a 2014 Coachmen Clipper travel trailer… it is like a travel trailer, only smaller. But small is good, my Toyota Tundra is not rated to tow a whole lot. So this adventure is going to involve some camping and somewhat more of a leisurely pace in the daily mileage heading out there.

The site for this field day will again be up at my dad’s cabin at Mi-Wuk Village in the central portion of the Sierra Nevadas. My dad, KD6EUG, has done some station upgrades to his shack at the cabin to include the addition of a hex beam and a yet to be used Icom PW-1. I will be using my IC-7000 with my Buddipole.

Now is the time I need to shake out my equipment to see if I have everything. I have not used the IC-7000 in quite a while and I need to make sure I have everything I need to set up two Buddipoles at the same time.

For logging, I think our choice will be to use the N3FJP Field Day software. I was really impressed with how it worked last time.

Yes… the bands are open

Like you needed me to tell you about it.

I was initially licensed in 2001. Finally upgraded to General in 2005. Up to this point, my ham radio career has been under less than optimal propagation. From the oldtimers, I’d heard tales of 10 meters… when the sunspots where there, 10 meters could be worked around the world with only a wet clothesline (not even wet, just a bit damp). Frankly, it was hard to believe. My one prior 10 meter contact had been an opening QSO during the 2006 Field Day… Virginia to New York, some serious DX? [I thought so at the time.]

We’ve all heard the news… 10 meters is open. But from an HF standpoint, I was limited to my Buddipole, where I was nugging out CW contacts on the 40M Novice Band.

This weekend I threw up some wire and everything changed…..

Europe, the Caribbean, Alaska, 10 meter magic! (… I thought 6 meters was The Magic Band?) 10 meters was like a local 80 meter ragchew without the S5 noise floor, everybody has a 2KW amp, and the vast majority of the inbreds were nowhere to be found.

Thanks be to Apollo – may the sunspots continue!

Time to look about getting a 10-10 membership…. and, with a little luck, I might even have the cards for DXCC.(!)

…. need to put a map up on the wall.

Building a vertical dipole configuration with the Buddipole Deluxe Kit – Mark J. Culross KD5RXT


From the Jupiter Tequesta Repeater Group is a great guide for putting up a Buddipole as a vertical dipole

Mark has some very useful tips:
- Use 1-gallon plastic jugs filled with water to keep the tripod stable
- Put a coil balun comprised of 13-turns of coax, approximately 9” in diameter right below the VersaTee
- Use the “down” leg of the vertical for tuning the antenna

Thanks Mark!

The Lansing, KS Hamshack


Progress has been slow in getting my shack setup at the new QTH in Lansing, KS. I had success running three differnt feedlines from the shack, through a narrow path between the basement ceiling and the main floor to an access box on the houses exterior wall exiting to the side yard. I purchased 50′ coax cables for each run, thinking that 50′ feet might have been too long. However, 50′ ended up being right on the nose, offering me just the right amount of slack in the hamshack and easily reaching the access panel on the exterior wall.

I have unpacked the majority of my equipment that came from Korea and from the old house in Leavenworth. The weather station and VHF/UHF antenna is temporarily mounted on our deck. The plan is to mount it on the chimney, but I am going to need some help getting it up there.

I have a Buddipole up in the side yard and connected it up to one of the feedlines. I fired up the K3 and the radio seems to be working well. Next I tried connecting the Microham USB III digital interface, but have run into some trouble in getting it to cooperate with fldigi. This time, once I get everything working, I am going to copy down all the settings as well as the connections to make sure next time I move it, I don’t have such a steep curve to re-figure out what I had already figured out some time ago.

Some minor problems I am encountering (besides the fldigi/Microham USB III): the weather station gets buggy when I am transmitting on VHF and the weather station software freezes up when I transmit on 40M. The later problem is nothing new and I had limited success trouble shooting the problem by adding chokes to the weather station data display power supply and putting the computer that runs the weather station software on an UPS. The VHF transmission problem is new. I have a 2″ PVC pipe that both the VHF antenna and the weather station are mounted on. I have not previously had a problem with any interference from the VHF antenna, but I will try and move the weather station down the PVC pipe a bit and see if that eliminates the interference issue.

Tasks that still await me: cleaning up the workbench, clearing out the excess boxes that are lying around, organize the QSL cards. I need to establish (and stick with) a system for managing QSL cards. I am pretty sure I have enough cards to get my DXCC, but I have to put the cards in order. I also have a stack of cards to send to the outgoing bureau for the YI9MI operation and a handfull for HL2/AD7MI and HL9MI.

Ham radio and my year in Korea

Here is a a re-cap of my amateur radio activities during my past twelve months in Korea:

(1) DX – I enjoyed working a good bit of DX, enjoying most QSOs with stateside contacts as well as Pacific exotics. The greatest limitation I had was my operation location and resulting inability to ideally situate an HF antenna. Living in the barracks (the ultimate in CC&R) restricted any type of permanent antenna installation, further limiting my options. I solely used a Buddipole (which after many additional accessory purchases, became two Buddipoles). Despite the antennas being positioned next to a three story building, I was able to make contacts to North America, South America, Europe, and even Africa. I credit this to improved band conditions over the past months and also the Buddipole… it’s a keeper.


(2) EchoIRLP node – I brought my embedded EchoIRLP node to Korea and interfaced it with a Kenwood VHF/UHF rig. Again, with my poor location and inability, I could not have an antenna installed outdoors. Instead, I kept the Kenwood rig at its minimum wattage setting and used a roll-up J-Pole made from ladder line. With my HT also set on minimum power, I was able to make effective use of the EchoIRLP node. My primary contacts via the node were with the XYL back in Kansas. She has a mobile VHF rig, to include APRS. I could check to see when she was on the road for her morning or afternoon commutes, connect through my EchoIRLP node here in Korea to our EchoIRLP node back in Kansas. With the XYL’s rig set to the frequency of the Kansas node, I could frequently ride along with the XYL and harmonics as they moved about. Additionally, the Echolink capability of the embedded node allowed me to regularly talk to my dad, KD6EUG, while he connected to my node via an app on his cell phone. Another great enjoyment was the ability to monitor the different IRLP reflectors and sometimes participate in ongoing nets. I am sold on the flexability of the embedded EchoIRLP node and will take it with me again when I get deployed for a long duration.


(3) D-STAR – starting with a D-STAR Dongle, I moved to a DV Access Point and got an ICOM D-STAR HT. I enjoyed playing with D-STAR and the ease of having the Access Point as well as the IC-92AD (http://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/ht/5092.html) made using D-STAR pretty straight forward. There is no aruging that the audio quality for D-STARS is poor. The complicated nature of setting up a rig at home for the XYL would also make D-STAR a poor choice to replace the EchoIRLP node. However, I enjoyed having the flexibility of having the ability of getting on D-STAR.


(4) Linux – all my radio operations here were supported by using the Ubuntu distrobution of Linux. After toying with CQRlog, I have settled on fldigi as my primary interface to my HF rig.


(5) APRS – although my APRS operations here were limited to the internet (Korea has virtually no APRS traffic), I used xastir (www.xastir.org) to show where my operating location was and also advertised my EchoIRLP node.


(6) WX station – never happen. I could not find a good location to place the collector, so it is still in the box. More importantly, wgoohat I didn’t get the opportunity to learn was how to interface a weather station to the APRS application xastir.


(7) Stars & Stripes article – I was able to discuss my amateur radio experiences with a reporter from Stars & Stripes.

On a radio safari


Today was a real adventure on the airwaves. I only made 12 contacts, but there were a few that are quite memorable. My location here in South Korea affords me the ability to make contact with exotic locations even with my modest Buddipole antenna. The first contact wasn’t actually a contact – tuning around 20M, I stumbled across 9W6HLM and 9W6BOB operating from Borneo (yes, 9W6BOB is Borneo Bob… how cool is that?). Both stations were on the air, leisurely trolling for contacts… although they couldn’t hear me. I was able to hear them work Denis, WA5TYJ, in New Mexico. Fortunately, the noise level for me was very low and I could just hear Denis.

The next two contacts were with JA’s – a completely unremarkable accomplishment from the QTH here in HL-land. However, they were made using my newly basedlined Linux Ubuntu hamputer using CQRLOG, Fldigi, and Flrig. Again, an unremarkable accomplishment on the face of it… until you hear about my trials and tribulations of getting it working.

Then I worked ZS6CCY, a South African station, on 20M phone! That was pretty exciting. I switched to Fldigi to give PSK31 a try and was able to work a few Russian stations. Then booming down the waterfall came Kim, HL2DYS. I had yet to work another station here in South Korea… but I had to be patient. Kim was working the South Pacific and Europe. When there was a hole, a jumped in and we had a great QSO. Hopefully I will be able to meet Kim soon for an eyeball QSO.

There was a major JA phone contest underway, so I decided to head up to 17M and see if I could scare up another phone contact. While spinning and grinning I fell upon V73RS… Rob on the Kwajalein Atoll in the Republic of the Marshall Islands. Wow!! He was just above the noise level and I was his first contact before the spotters got him and the pile-up hit. Rob stuck with me, which is saying something. First – because my callsign here is HL2/AD7MI…. which is horrendously difficult to pass across less than desirable band conditions. Second – Rob wanted the name of my city, which is Uijeongbu (I spell: Uniform India Juliet Echo Oscar November Golf Bravo Uniform). It is quite a mouthful. The pileup kept building, but Rob stayed with the QSO and told me he was there on Kwajalein and that I should look for him on 10M, as conditions generally more favorable for a 2-way exchange.

Back to 20M where I worked another Russian station. Then I snagged JT1DN, a station for Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. It is hard to get more exotic than Ulaanbaatar. Mongolia is not actually far from Korea, but it was my first contact ever with the country and I won’t soon forget it.

Maintaining the exotic theme – my next contact was with YC9ETJ – Bali Island, Indonesia. Agung had quite a pile up and I was glad to get picked up by him.

Sunset and the grayline approached and I was successful in working Poland and Norway. All in all – I was quite excited with the contacts for the day.

Buddipole to the rescue

Spinning & Grinning has been quiet for too long. Life here in Korea has been really quite busy. But I can’t complain about the commute, with my quarters only a short three minute hike to the bunker where I work. I don’t go off the camp here nearly as much as I should. By the time I get to my room after work, I am usually just too tired to make the effort. Summers in Korea are HOT. Not Iraq hot, but more of a Georgia heat… with all the humidity. I don’t have a car here, so all my movement is on foot and using public transit. The summer made it fairly uncomfortable to go out and explore. Now the summer is gone and the weather is just right, in my opinion.

My quarters here in Korea are not conducive for amateur radio operations. There are low-lying power lines everywhere and not many trees. It is also impossible to establish a permanent feedline exiting my room as there is no existing access and I can’t drill a hole through the wall without incurring the wrath of the garrison commander.

The answer: the Buddipole. I’ve read NE1RD’s blog on his 100lbs DXpedition and am well acquainted with the virtues of the Buddipole. With a Buddipole, I would be able to quickly set up and take down an antenna that would let me get on the HF bands. For a feedline, I would be able to support a short run out of my window and out to the Buddipole that would have to be located nearby.

Coinciding with the CQ WW DX Contest, I decided to set up the Buddipole and give it a try. I’ve used Hamstick dipoles before without much success. I didn’t have high hopes for the Buddipole, simply for the fact that it is a compromise antenna and I had it set up right next to a three story building. I should have had much more confidence. When I fired up the rig, 20M was alive with activity and I had a 1:1.0 SWR. It was a great feeling to be behind the mike again and I enjoyed logging the contacts.

Now I need to go get some QSL cards printed up for HL2/AD7MI.