I’m Andy, G7MJV (IO91CB), and I’m in the process of returning to amateur radio after a very long break. I don’t think it’s going to be easy as I live in a first floor retirement flat. I have been listening to other hams from around the world on the Hack Green WebSDR but I want to be able to transmit.
I’ve been licensed for around 30 years and passed the RAE when I lived in Hedge End. At the time, I was mainly interested in packet radio on VHF so space wasn’t a problem. I did play with a bit of HF as I had a reasonable garden but now I don’t have any space at all for outside aerials.
Spiral Loop Antennas
I came across an interesting article recently about spiral loop antennas. Could this be the anwser to operating amateur radio from a retirement flat? The article was on a website called Harry’s Homebrew Homepages by SM0VPO. I found details of an 80 meter frame antenna that was very interesting as well as a 20 meter version.
I also found some construction details on a website by N4SPP that is very informative. It has details of both the 20 meter and 40 meter versions. I have bulit both of these and have purchased an air-spaced capacitor for testing reception.
I don’t have an amateur radio tranceiver yet but have been using an RTL-SDR* that I’ve had for some time.
For my experiments, I’ve been using some software called WSJT-X and FT-8. I’ve discovered a website called PSKREPORTER and it shows that stations I have received.
The image below shows what I received on 20 meters and I must admit that I was quite surprised.
Returning To Amateur Radio
I’ve also tried out the 40 meter sprial loop antenna with my SDR will similar results, considering the band.
I’m now hopefully that I will be able to operate HF amateur radio once I purchase a suitable tranceiver.
The only problem ( if it is) with the spiral loop antenna ( as with a mag loop, as well) is that it’s vertically polarised. If you’re interest is working the world then this can be an advantage. I’m not sure what it’s going to be like working UK stations on 40 meters yet, time will tell. All aerials seem to be a compromise and I know that mine will be.
Loft Mounted HF Antennas
One option that I do have is to mount an antenna in my small loft space. It’s only 6 meters by 5 meters so it would have to be small. I can certainly accommodate one for 28 MHz but 14 MHz would be a struggle. I suppose I could look at a loaded dipole for 20 M or just see if I can bend the legs at the ends.
The one issue that I might have is that there are some large bore steel water pipes that feed through the loft, at floor level. They feed hot water to the entire retirement complex for heating and I don’t know how they would interact with an aerial. Time to experiment..
*An SDR It’s a small software defined radio , about the size of a very large memory stick, that plugs into a USB port on a computer. At one end is an SMA connector where you can attach an aerial. The SDR is controlled by some software and it can be used for receiving all sorts of signals.
So, once I’ve got the ability to transmit, I shall see how many radio amateurs I can chat with.
Andy – G7MJV (IO91CB) : Returning to amateur radio