How do I DX?

General Mobile CB antenna advice and troubleshooting

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karlfrancis
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Tue Oct 04, 2011 9:16 am

Where do I start?

I understand DX'ing to be something that some people do by going to the top of a big hill, set up a small mast with an antenna at the top of it and copy other breakers from further afield than possible whilst sat at home or in the car.

Have I got it right?

I have two FM rigs, no amps, a couple of spare power supplys, SWR meter, a small generator and two small 5m masts that can be combined. In my mind, all that I now need is an antenna and sufficient coax. If this is the case, do I need a basestation/house antenna or a quality twig?

I saw a link to a £20.99 Silver Rod antenna by Thunderpole. Is this what people are using?

Any advice welcome. I'm in Swansea, South Wales, anyone who can grant me land access permission please drop me a note!!!

Many thanks folks.

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stampman
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Tue Oct 04, 2011 4:41 pm

yes top of a hill stick an antenna up and go fishing you learn as you go along trying different thing dont spend a lot till you are sure its for you

good luck


*King* *King* *King* *King*
if it anit broke dont fix it

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porky.69
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Tue Oct 04, 2011 8:12 pm

[quote="karlfrancis"]Where do I start?

I understand DX'ing to be something that some people do by going to the top of a big hill, set up a small mast with an antenna at the top of it and copy other breakers from further afield than possible whilst sat at home or in the car.

/quote]
yes i went out on sunday with my lincoln and a sirio 4000 antenna and enjoyed a fair few good contacts in the uk and europe,
i was on very high ground

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porky.69
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Tue Oct 04, 2011 8:40 pm

karl .have you any ssb knowledge, theres been skip (dx) coming in most days on usb from the usa :wink:

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karlfrancis
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Tue Oct 04, 2011 8:45 pm

I bought a rig from eBay thinking it was a FM rig but didn't know what 'mid-band' meant. The rig says AM on the box and have learnt through this forum that it'll be made legal next year'ish.

It's a CB-Master 2040. Is this a SSB rig?

joe jeep
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Tue Oct 04, 2011 9:47 pm

Yeah I go DX'ing, I take my Lincoln and Lake Manxman 950 up 5m of rg58 to a 115cm steel pole with a 5/8 silver rod and some guy ropes stick all my radios in a cheapo pop up ten from argosh and a great day dx'ing, the other thing to add is that it all packs down into the box the rod comes in and the radios and batteries go in a ruck sack will hopefully get round to posting my setup in the gallery at some point, it is not for everyone trekking up a hill but it's good fun for me.

Cheers
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Location: Littlehampton, West Sussex.
On either UK19 or if you cant find me there try UK26.

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karlfrancis
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Tue Oct 04, 2011 10:39 pm

I'm coming to the end of a 23yr career in the Army, (communications) so I'm adverse to walking up bloody hills!!

I saw a pic on a thread from the forum showing someone with a pop up tent and small tent etc. It looks like fun but I don't want to be using anything illegal i.e. to see how far I can get a copy using 4watts and an elevated antenna.

Driving my Freelander up a hill means I can take a small generator and all my creature comforts. When you don't have to do without them...............don't go without them!!

Would like to see the pics sometime mate. Can you ping me a message or something when you post them?

Cheers.

Offplanet
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Wed Oct 05, 2011 10:33 pm

As an example, this July from the top of Fan Brycheiniog in South Wales with a Silver Rod and a Midland Portapack (less than 4watts FM - all legal), I was able to work stations around 115 miles away on groundwave and several European countries on the short Summer Skip (called Sporadic E).

The mountain is 802m high (2631ft A.S.L) and was around a 10Km trek there and back, so perhaps not so good if you don't like climbing hills these days :wink:

Here's a video of the day http://youtu.be/JSpbMiTMJCc

Here's a pic from another trip, this time to Hay Bluff near Hay-on-Wye (again quite a climb!)

Image

I enjoy the hillwalking, but most people search the Internet, and ask around, in order to find good locations from which to operate from a vehicle (viewpoint car parks, hilltop lanes etc.) - every Sunday from around 1pm to 5pm there's a DX Net on UK Channel 32, which is well worth giving a go.

As far as running from a homebase, you'll possibly struggle on a DX Net, unless your home is located in a good location, with a good antenna and low background noise (unfortunately there's a lot of interference in towns and cities that mean homebase set-ups can be rather deaf).

It is perfectly possible to get long distance contacts from a homebase when skip conditions are prevailing though - for example, the USA has been strong well after dark this last few nights, but these are signals that bounce of the atmosphere rather than the ones that go along the ground. Providing you have a reasonable take-off for the signal (no hills in close proximity), skip contacts are achievable from locations that are not high up - in fact, when the skip is running a good place to go is the seafront :wink:

I've used an Antron 99, Silver Rod and homebrew dipoles on Dx trips and they've all worked well - the Thunderpole 5 looks a tidy lightweight job too. From a good location in a vehicle, mobile antennas like the 7ft Thunderstick, 9ft Tank Whip and the bigger Sirios work well too.

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porky.69
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Wed Oct 05, 2011 10:52 pm

great bit of video there gary, thats the way to dx cracking scenary and a flask of tea, :D

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karlfrancis
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Wed Oct 05, 2011 11:10 pm

I have a replied on the Big 30 thread about DX'ing and have mentioned pics that had inspired me to look into this further.

You've posted the pic that I looked at! Small world.

Funny you should mention the sea front as that is where I intend to go this Friday to see what comes across the water. However, I'll only be using a twig so it'll be Devon area and not much further I imagine.

I have build endless dipole during my time in the Royal Signals. We would build multi frequency dipoles, NVIS, (Near Verticle Incident Skywave) dipoles, 3/4 wavelength end fed dipoles, droopy dipoles, 1/2 wave and 1/4 wave too. It was fun using the Army HF sets. We used to have a 250w amp which was pretty much a two man lift! All the antenna building along with knowledge of improvised antennas is dying out pretty fast in my trade now.

Thanks for posting this, its fired up some real inspiration.

Offplanet
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Thu Oct 06, 2011 12:09 am

Thanks chaps - flask of tea or coffee and a few Scotch Eggs are key to a successful DX outing :wink:

I've done just as well on homebrew dipoles as anything really - I often use a simple centre-fed made out of wire and it works great :)

(Used vertically and supported on a fibreglass telescopic pole).

Good luck with the DX efforts!

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karlfrancis
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Thu Oct 06, 2011 1:47 pm

Have just ordered my antenna, coax and plugs etc. I have a 5.4m lightweight mast so when that all arrives, I'll be good to go.

I was talking to a shop earlier and they recommended I try Charlie Tango DX Group. The guy in the shop told me that he thinks it's run by a couple of Welsh guys. I joined and guess what.......I saw that you had joined too! Small world. However, after looking throught the list of callsigns, I didn't see any in Wales!

What's the score with a callsign? Is it so you can be identified as belonging to a particular DX group?

Can't wait to try out my set up. Won't be this weekend though as I'm away on a course.

hobgobblin
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Thu Oct 06, 2011 4:08 pm

I live on a small Scottish Island and have found that going to beaches here and being at sea-level has given me good results. I'm always mobile - 10m and 11m with the Hustler HF Mobile System and have had some great dx - Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Eastern-Europe.... all on sideband and believe me or not the USA on FM!

Good luck with the set-up... be prepared for dis-appointments aswell as great success on these bands. I've had a mixture of both. It can be frustrating not getting to talk to anybody - either because the airwaves are dead or that they're so busy you can't get through the pile-ups!!

Changing the subject I just spoke to a fellow ham 10 miles away on the 2m band (vhf) with my handheld using a small dual-band mag mount antenna on the car. As with 10 & 11m I can turn the radio on every day and not get anyone and then another day there is someone also on air.

73's :)
HOBGOBBLIN
"Others looked at radio and saw a
gadget; his genius lay in his capacity
to look at the same thing . . . but
to see far more." Nelson A Rockefeller

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karlfrancis
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Thu Oct 06, 2011 4:33 pm

I've noticed that there's more traffic at night but I'm not mobile at night and I'm only in the car for around an hour a day on a work day. I don't have a set up at home but I'm working on that one, (her indoors isn't too keen). I'm due to have an operation very soon which will see me laid up for a good few weeks and the CB would be an ideal toy!

If you can get the USA on FM, perhaps we'll get a to talk one day.

Sctoland eh? My Mother is from Glasgow. I only have aunties and uncles there now though.

Is channel 32 a common calling channel for DX'ing or are people sticking to 19?

radiomaker
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Sat Oct 08, 2011 10:36 am

Is skip from the USA a common occurrence, or just due to Sporadic E in summer?
I don't suppose you'd get any into Yorkshire, would you.

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