Re: Hawaii DXpedition Final Day-- 400w Australian Bonanza!
On Sun, Nov 10, 2019 at 11:25 PM, Todd wrote:
<<< Well done Gary and Chris re the MW exotics logged at Hawaii. >>>Thanks Todd! It was a great honor to welcome Chris to Hawaii, and learn from his experience in African and South American DXing success.
<<< I note that Chris was using a PK loops 50 cm (19.7 inch) diameter loop. Interested to hear what signal gain and directivity differences were experienced for the 5 inch FSL versus the 50 cm PK loop. >>>
Since Chris has both of these antennas (and I don't have any PK loop) I should probably defer to him on the relative comparison between these two very different tuned loops. I do know that Chris was using the Tecsun PL-880 and 20" PK Loop combo for most of his DXing in Hawaii, but that he also used the modified CC Skywave and 5" FSL on at least one occasion. By the way, there is a YouTube video posted (not by me) of a direct comparison between a 4" FSL antenna and a 20" PK Loop, at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k7y2a4gWoGM
As background information, I should add that the current 5 inch "Frequent Flyer" FSL antenna models have been tweaked into a razor-sharp, High-Q tuning state, which provides an exceptional amount of gain for the antenna size, but with the side effect of requiring very careful tuning to exploit the extremely sharp (and deep) gain peaks. If someone is accustomed to using a relatively broad-tuning PK loop in a DXpedition environment (as Chris was, at Rarotonga in June), it's not easy to switch over to the ultra High-Q tuning system of the current "Frequent Flyer" FSL antennas. On the other hand, if someone has years of practice tuning the new, highly-tweaked FSL antennas (as Craig Barnes and I both have), the thrill of having such awesome compact performance is very habit forming.
<<< I am considering purchasing a 65 cm (25.6 inch) diameter loop for AU $250 including postage from PK Antennas. The 65 cm version is their largest passive (non-amplified) loop that covers the full MW band. My main intended application is taking it away on vacation trips, or to nearby parks, etc. My 102 cm (40 inch) side length square PVC tunable box loop is too big for anywhere but inside the house or outside in the backyard. The smaller 65 cm loop may also be useful for local strong signal null vertical plane tilting at home. >>>
As I shared with Chris, a DXer needs to use whatever gear he feels most comfortable with. There are many antenna tradeoffs such as portability and gain, highest Q and ease of tuning, highest Q and DX station audio fidelity, etc. Every commercial antenna has design compromises as the manufacturer attempts to appeal to the largest possible number of customers, and make a profit by satisfying their needs. When you design your own antennas (as I did with the PVC air core loops, and the airport-friendly FSL antennas) you have the chance to choose your own design priorities, even to the point of fanaticism, such as with the 9 foot square PVC loop, the 17" diameter monster FSL or the razor-sharp-tuning 5" FSL antenna. Would everyone feel comfortable using these? Of course not. DXing is supposed to be a fun hobby, so choose whatever works for you, and the fun will naturally follow.
<<< For anyone that can handle mosquitoes and crocodiles, Northern Australia offers a large variety of exotic signals that could be considered for a future ULR MW DXpedition. Australian DXers Dave Onley and Craig Edwards have already conducted a comprehensive DXpedition to Nhulunbuy, Northern Territory . >>>
That sounds interesting, although the 45 degree heat in places like Alice Springs might be even hotter than the DX you track down? Chris mentioned that Queensland is the currently popular hot spot for Australian DXpeditions, although a lot of DXers either hop a plane to NZ or the Cook Islands. I visited Aitutaki in the Cooks last year in April, and it was awesome!