I was doing a little correspondence when UN3F in Kazakhstan popped up on 30M. Recently I have increased my 30M operating. I am usually on 40, 80 and 160 and had only worked about 100 countries on 30M till about a month ago, so I have been trying to pick things up on 30 since not too much new in the way of spots comes across the cluster for the other bands. I could do a lot more on 160 but my antennas are still down on that band.
Just as I tuned him in he was working a WB8 and I was getting set to work him and he seemed to disappear, probably going QRT. He was past his sunrise so he was probably heading out to work. At the same time I saw 4K8M in Azerbaijan spotted so I loaded up the memories and had at it, clicking back and forth.
Unfortunately UF3F was truly gone but I had 4k8M in the log first call.
I have 3 antennas available for 30M and none of them are great. I have a 135ft flat top at about 50 ft fed with open wire to a Johnson KW matchbox. That antenna has as pattern that looks like this on 30M (north is strait up)
This antenna was not a very good match for UN3F but a better match for 4K8M
The second antenna is my 65ft 80M vertical. On 30M this antenna approximates a 5/8 wave vertical. This antenna has an extensive radial system and exhibits a SWR of about 2:1 on 30M. I better match that with an Ameritron tuner. This is the antenna I use the most on 30M
Finally I have a 45 ft vertical wire out of a tree that has a MFJ 929 auto tuner at the base of the tree. It has a beautiful pattern:
unfortunately the ground system on this antenna is abysmal since I mostly use it as a RX probe antenna for diversity, so I don't transmit on it much. UN3F is on fairly often so I'm sure I will have another shot at him before summer
If you're interested in writing something interesting for this blog regarding your SDR experience let me know. I would like to include things like how your SDR contest station is set up, or your VHF station that uses SDR as the system center, feats of weak signal work or how well the SDR works in various challenging situations. If you are a foreign ham and would like to comment on the growth of SDR in your particular part of the world. Bring it on!
I reserve the right to publish or not, but I'm pretty open to documenting a wide variety of honest experiences from users, for readers to explore. The understanding of SDR in our hobby is so nascent, that I want the reader to be able to see the value of SDR through the eyes of YOUR experience and enthusiasm.