Saturday, May 7, 2016

W3EDP Over Time

It's the antenna I keep in the back of my car because I never want to be caught without an antenna.
It's the antenna that keeps people coming to my blog. The original post I did about the antenna has more views than any other post on my blog so far.
It's the antenna I've sold before because I believe in it that much, and as of right now, it's the antenna that I make the most QSOs with at the QTH.
It's the W3EDP.

While not the best solution in every situation, it's a solution in almost every situation. Here's some examples of how versatile it is:

1. I've used it QRP, and QRPp
2. I've used it with up to 100 watts.
3. I've taken it into the field
4. I've used it in a semi-permanent deployment at the house.

Only thing I haven't run, is one up a kite, and I've got plans on doing that one day.
I have a shack logbook (Don't you?), and while not every quibble I do in my shack gets recorded into the logbook, one thing that I always try to do is record the tuner settings for the W3EDP currently deployed in the backyard. The W3EDP remains true to its tuning, generally, if I write a value down, I can switch bands and come to that setting later.

 Doesn't work all the time, but it works often enough. Take the time to notice that where you are in the band affects the tuner settings, but not overly drastically. For instance, on the date of 31 October, 2015, the setting for 3.930 was "5/6 H 3/4" That means between 5 and 6, closer to 6, H, between 3 and 4, closer to 4, but only slightly. On 11 November 2015, I went to the bottom of the band, 3.505, and the settings were similar, 5/6 H 2/3. I expected this change. Sometimes I experiment with different settings on purpose, hoping to get a better signal. You see this especially on my settings for 20m. On 30 October, I had the tuner set to /6 B /4. That indicates "Touching the left edge of 6, B, touching the left edge of 4". Typically, when using the W3EDP, this is the go to setting for most of 20m, but sometimes the tuning can be touchy. I experimented with the vertical antenna I have for 20/15m. I wanted to find a tuner setting that was close for both, and was pleased with the results (See settings for dates 16 Dec 2015).

"Silky Wire"

Corrosion on the end is intermittent along whole wire.

The W3EDP currently deployed in the backyard is built of bare "silky wire." It seems to weather well in Florida weather, and I can detect no adverse performance characteristics, despite some apparent corrosion.

 I've also built it using Radio Shack outdoor grade speaker wire, bare #14 antenna wire (wireman #511), and Flexweave. I'm torn on whether I like Flexweave or Silky better. I will say that using #14 antenna wire seems to be the best if you are going to use it in a permanent setting, as long as you won't have it touching trees, buildings, etc. One change I might make to the setup I'm running now is to the tuner.
I think I want to create a dedicated tuner, but I need to do some analysis on the antenna, maybe model it out on different frequencies, sweep through the bands. I've learned some interesting things about modeling while planning an antenna that performs well on bands that don't do well with the W3EDP. That means I'll have to change my model, but because I've learned something, I don't mind so much.

That's how things are going currently with my W3EDP. I haven't made many QSOs yet in 2016, but I do promise some more interesting antenna posts soon in the future! I'm working on building an antenna to work around the pesky tuning problems I seem to have with the W3EDP on the WARC bands, notably on 30m and 17m.
73 es HV FN,
GB Hoyt

No comments: