Friday, November 30, 2012

A little ham radio experimentation.

I live at a relatively high spot for the area, but there are a couple of smaller hills between my home and the village of Marcellus, NY and the visage itself is located way down by the 9-Miles Creek. I hope to have a nice map/graphic to illustrate that. Anyhow, most repeaters don't make it to the village. I wanted to find a way to be in touch down there, especially since there are many places even the cell phone don't work in that rf black hole.

I decided to try out with my base radio set to cross-band repeat, from 70cm to 2m simplex. On one side, I used a Yaesu VX-7 set to tx/rx on 70cm, using 50mW of power, the base station, a Yaesu FT-8800 set to rx/tx at 5 watts into a high gain collinear antenna. Finally, my mini-van is equipped with a Kenwood D-700, set to tx at 5w into a quarter-wave mag-mounted antenna. In addition, I had an ht, a Kenwood TH-72 with a Smiley antenna, on high power, 5 watts. I made several contacts while on the way, first before I crested the infamous hills, then below it. All contacts were good. Once down in the village, the transmission got a bit scratchy, but quite understandable, meaning I may want to bump the power up a notch on the 2m side of the base radio. I then gave it a final try with the ht and I was quite pleased to hear things as well as with my mobile radio. The latter might benefit from a better antenna, but then it won't make it into the garage, so I can live with what I have now.

By using the lowest power setting I could on all the radios but the Kenwood by I used in the village, despite the known difficult location, I once again have proved that it is not so much the power one uses but the location and quality of the transmitting antenna that make a good signal. I realize I could have shown scientifically all I said above but to me, the final proof is whether it really will work, and that I got!