Station Description - W3YY
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My station has been designed for single-op operation with a focus on DXing and contests. The goal was to have a reasonably competitive station on all bands without an unreasonable investment in time and money. I think I've accomplished the first part of this goal, but I'm not sure about the second part! I did have one other goal in mind for the station. That was to have, as long as I can climb towers and do antenna work, a station I can maintain by myself. Occasionally, I will need help, but I want to minimize this as much as possible.
Here's the configuration of my current station:
There are two towers, 100ft of Rohn 25G and 120ft of Rohn 45G. Each of these towers is top-guyed about 8 to 10 ft below the top of the tower. This will allow me to place a second antenna on a Tic-Ring rotator below the top antenna and still maintain easy access to both. This also gives me the opportunity to point the two antennas at the top of the tower in different directions, something I couldn't do if they were on a common mast.
Both towers are guyed at three levels with with Phillystran HPTG6700i cable. I love this stuff.
160-meters: On the 120ft tower I have a 1/4-wave sloper coming off the tower towards Europe at about the 110ft level. It performs very well into Europe and Africa, but I want to add similar antennas toward JA and the Pacific.
80-meters: This used to be one of my best bands, with an inverted-vee at about 105ft. Lately, however, this has not seemed quite as competitive as it used to be. I guess others are putting up stiffer competition.
40-meters: In the fall of 2004 I installed a 2-el Force 12 Magnum 240N on the 120ft tower. It hears stations I can't copy on my 40-meter inverted-vee at 70ft! The 240N is 85% full size and has sufficient bandwidth to cover both the CW and Phone portions of 40-meters, something that I'm not sure any other shortened 40-meter beam can do. I've been very pleased with its performance. I rotate this antenna with a Yaesu G-2800DXA controlled by a Green Heron RT-21D controller.
30-meters: A dipole at 46ft on the 100ft tower. This antenna is new as of April 2008, replacing an inverted-v that was previously at about 70ft. The 46ft height (a half-wavelength) provides a much better vertical radiation pattern than the same antenna at 70ft.
20 through 6-meters is handled with a 4-el SteppIR Yagi on the 100ft tower. This is turned with a Yaesu G-1000DXA rotator controlled by a Green Heron RT-21D controller. I installed this antenna in the fall of 2003 and it has been an outstanding performer on 20 through 10-meters, including 17 and 12. Despite initial concerns over reliability, I've had no problems in over 6 years (as of December 2009) of operation, except for some controller problems (in the shack) that SteppIR resolved quickly and at no cost to me. I'm not sure the antenna is the best for 6-meters, but CT (Portugal) was my first 6-meter QSO of all time, so I guess it can't be too bad!
To help make the station maintainable, I've tried to limit individual antenna weights to under 100lbs and eliminate stacking of antennas on long masts (see note above about top guy position). There are no antennas here that I don't feel comfortable with in a one-on-one situation, although I do admit to using block and tackle arrangements at the top of the tower when needed. Have you ever noticed that 80lbs on the ground feels like 250lbs at 120ft?! I thought the gravitational field didn't vary that quickly and, in fact, occurred in the opposite direction. Pardon me while I recheck my Physics 101 textbook.
I have one short receiving beverage about 350ft long. This is a DX Engineering reversible beverage that runs NE/SW. It works very well and better than any previous beverage I've tried at my QTH.
Inside the shack, the main rig is a Yaesu FTdx5000 driving an Alpha 8410 amplifier. When needed, a Palstar AT-4K antenna tuner is available. I use a Yaesu FT-897D when travelling. For portable antennas I use wires with an MFJ-902 tiny travel tuner or a Yaesu ATAS-120A antenna. For fun, I have a beautiful Collins S-Line (75S3-C and 32S-3A) and a mint condition 75A-4 to use when in a mood to remember my early years in ham radio.
Plans for the future include putting up Tic-Ring rotators and additional yagi's in a stacked configuration.
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