Active FM Antennas?

Uncle Menno

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#1
I'm currently using an old Radio Shack triple A battery-powered widget I picked up at a hamfest some years back, but it has trouble pulling in WBJC no matter how I orient it. Is there a good active FM antenna available? (The classic twin-lead dipole isn't really an option, as there really isn't anywhere to hide it at an effective height but still within reach of the Cambridge soundbox I'm using.)
 

Uncle Menno

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Been a licensed nerd for...a long time. Currently running 100W from a Kenwood TS430 into a 102 ft dipole up about 60 ft and fed with 300 ohm twinlead. Also have various 2 meter gear including a home brew 4 element quad--currently on the back porch pointing approximately at the Andromeda galaxy. Still need a better FM antenna, though.

KD3LT
 

Rob in Arlington

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Not to bogart this thread, but does anyone know what might have happened to my last two VW AM radios? After about 100K miles the reception deteriorates precipitously. 980 is virtually unlistenable.
 

Uncle Menno

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Not to bogart this thread, but does anyone know what might have happened to my last two VW AM radios? After about 100K miles the reception deteriorates precipitously. 980 is virtually unlistenable.
I'd start by looking for bad/corroded antenna connections. Any way you can get at the back and hook up another piece of wire to see if it makes a difference?
 

DoberDadinMD

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Been a licensed nerd for...a long time. Currently running 100W from a Kenwood TS430 into a 102 ft dipole up about 60 ft and fed with 300 ohm twinlead. Also have various 2 meter gear including a home brew 4 element quad--currently on the back porch pointing approximately at the Andromeda galaxy. Still need a better FM antenna, though.

KD3LT

I'm new...3 years now but really just 2 years seriously. 100w into a homebrew dipole in the attic. First with an Icom 751A and now with a 756Pro. I also have a home brew antenna for 2 meters.

KB3TYC
 

Uncle Menno

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I'm new...3 years now but really just 2 years seriously. 100w into a homebrew dipole in the attic. First with an Icom 751A and now with a 756Pro. I also have a home brew antenna for 2 meters.

KB3TYC
Attic antenna, eh? Covenant restrictions?
 

Uncle Menno

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Attic antenna, eh? Covenant restrictions?
Indeed, but I can't complain. I can get into Europe and have 48/50 States...just missing AK and HI.
Well done! 20 meters, I presume? SSB or one of the digital modes?

I was puttering about on 17 meters late afternoon yesterday and heard somebody (SSB) on the Big Island, so the opportunities are there. Of course, when 10 meters is open, you can work the world with 10 watts into wet string. I was once visiting the in-laws in the Bay area and stuck a hasty 10-meter inverted V on their roof and worked ZLs and JAs like nobody's business with a little 25 watt Radio Shack 10 meter xcvr.

Here are two of my most prized QSL cards:

https://www.dropbox.com/sc/3r0m1igqmbj8l44/omvdqoR_Rw

Well, that scan doesn't display in preview, but I hope you can get the picture nevertheless.

Maybe I'll just spring for one of those little Terk active FM antennas to see how it works. Not like it will break the bank.
 

Rob in Arlington

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#16
Not to bogart this thread, but does anyone know what might have happened to my last two VW AM radios? After about 100K miles the reception deteriorates precipitously. 980 is virtually unlistenable.
I'd start by looking for bad/corroded antenna connections. Any way you can get at the back and hook up another piece of wire to see if it makes a difference?
If this involves removing the headliner I'm probably screwed.
 

Uncle Menno

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#17
I'd start by looking for bad/corroded antenna connections. Any way you can get at the back and hook up another piece of wire to see if it makes a difference?
If this involves removing the headliner I'm probably screwed.

It will almost certainly involve pulling some part of the dash apart to get at the back of the radio where the antenna connects. If that's not your cup of tea, there are of course places, e.g., body shops, that will do it for you for a fee.

On the other hand: I just idly googled the problem, and this link takes you to one of the first hits. It appears that you're not alone. VW may have had a problem with some of their radios:

http://www.vwforum.com/forums/f100/gti-2010-intermittent-am-radio-42507/
 

DoberDadinMD

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Well done! 20 meters, I presume? SSB or one of the digital modes?

I was puttering about on 17 meters late afternoon yesterday and heard somebody (SSB) on the Big Island, so the opportunities are there. Of course, when 10 meters is open, you can work the world with 10 watts into wet string. I was once visiting the in-laws in the Bay area and stuck a hasty 10-meter inverted V on their roof and worked ZLs and JAs like nobody's business with a little 25 watt Radio Shack 10 meter xcvr.

Here are two of my most prized QSL cards:

https://www.dropbox.com/sc/3r0m1igqmbj8l44/omvdqoR_Rw

Well, that scan doesn't display in preview, but I hope you can get the picture nevertheless.

Maybe I'll just spring for one of those little Terk active FM antennas to see how it works. Not like it will break the bank.
Nice cards!!

Mostly 40 meter SSB. Been playing some with PSK but I switched out computers and messed something up.
 

Uncle Menno

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Thanks. I was pleased to get them. eQSL has taken a bit of the fun out of it for me. I'd still like to get a card from Greenland--or better yet, go pick it up myself. I've occasionally heard an OX3 on the Southern Cross DX net (14.238.5 at around 7:30 am), but his signal has always been way down in the mud. Australia comes in much better at that time than Greenland.

Mostly 40 meter SSB. Been playing some with PSK but I switched out computers and messed something up.
48 states on 40 meters SSB with an attic antenna? Not bad indeed! Sounds like somebody was putting in some all-nighters.

If I ever get going on PSK31, I expect I'll work 40--although it is dismaying to think that there are people out there with 3 element 40 meter beams. I've got a little Icom 703 for back-up that I would hook up for PSK use.

Pity you haven't gotten to see a really active sunspot cycle this time around. Propagation has been meh right through the peak of this cycle. When the sun is really cooking, 20 meters is open around the clock, with 15 & 10 opening early and closing late. Now we have to wait for another eleven, unless we get a last minute uptick into 2014.
 

DoberDadinMD

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#20
Thanks. I was pleased to get them. eQSL has taken a bit of the fun out of it for me. I'd still like to get a card from Greenland--or better yet, go pick it up myself. I've occasionally heard an OX3 on the Southern Cross DX net (14.238.5 at around 7:30 am), but his signal has always been way down in the mud. Australia comes in much better at that time than Greenland.

Mostly 40 meter SSB. Been playing some with PSK but I switched out computers and messed something up.
48 states on 40 meters SSB with an attic antenna? Not bad indeed! Sounds like somebody was putting in some all-nighters.

If I ever get going on PSK31, I expect I'll work 40--although it is dismaying to think that there are people out there with 3 element 40 meter beams. I've got a little Icom 703 for back-up that I would hook up for PSK use.

Pity you haven't gotten to see a really active sunspot cycle this time around. Propagation has been meh right through the peak of this cycle. When the sun is really cooking, 20 meters is open around the clock, with 15 & 10 opening early and closing late. Now we have to wait for another eleven, unless we get a last minute uptick into 2014.

Being here on the coast helps with Europe and got most of the States on the OMISS net (which pretty much still use cards, though some folks are going eQSL only).

Yeah, I've not had much luck with the other bands, but I can wait.
 

Uncle Menno

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Particulars on your attic antenna, please? I ask because I'm Elmering a kid from our church who doesn't have anything around his house to hang an antenna from but does have an attic.
 

DoberDadinMD

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Particulars on your attic antenna, please? I ask because I'm Elmering a kid from our church who doesn't have anything around his house to hang an antenna from but does have an attic.

I used speaker wire that I cut to the 40 meter frequency I wanted and feed with Coax into a 1:1 Balun. Don't remember the SWR off hand, but I don't need an antenna tuner for that frequency. It even drops a little bit from the balun down to the ends and I even had to make an L-turn on one of the ends. We've got a pretty high peaked roof, so I think the whole thing is probably 32' off the ground at the apex.
 

Uncle Menno

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I used speaker wire that I cut to the 40 meter frequency I wanted and feed with Coax into a 1:1 Balun. Don't remember the SWR off hand, but I don't need an antenna tuner for that frequency. It even drops a little bit from the balun down to the ends and I even had to make an L-turn on one of the ends. We've got a pretty high peaked roof, so I think the whole thing is probably 32' off the ground at the apex.
Many thanks. His place is split-level ranch, so the roof is fairly flat and not very high. Plus, we have to wait and see how much fuss/muss his mother is willing to put up with. These things can require delicate and artful negotiations.

Wiki has the following on ham radio's use of "Elmer":

The term first appeared in the March, 1971 issue of QST magazine's "How's DX" column by Rod Newkirk, W9BRD (now also VA3ZBB). Newkirk called them "the unsung fathers of Amateur Radio." While he probably was not trying to coin a term at the time, here's how Newkirk introduced "Elmer" in his column and, as it turned out, to the rest of the amateur radio world: "Too frequently one hears a sad story in this little nutshell: 'Oh, I almost got a ticket, too, but Elmer, W9XYZ, moved away and I kind of lost interest.'" Newkirk went on to say, "We need those Elmers. All the Elmers, including the ham who took the most time and trouble to give you a push toward your license, are the birds who keep this great game young and fresh."
I thought this usage was older than that, but have nothing to show to argue my case. My Novice Elmer was W3OY, a kind and gracious gentleman who was frequently mistaken for W2OY, who was his every opposite. Google will give you some details if you're interested.
 
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