[Skimmertalk] Antennas for Skimmer radios?

Dave Pascoe km3t at km3t.org
Tue Dec 20 11:24:23 PST 2011

Great topic, Larry.  I think the answers to this will vary all over the
map.  As you know, there are so many factors to good reception: QTH,
local noise conditions, antenna, etc.

Here is what I am currently using on my modest Skimmer Server setup:

Radio: QS1R SDR
Antennas: * Single DX Engineering Active Antenna (out in the woods)
          * 80m off-center-fed (OCF) dipole up about 45' (no tuner)
          * Magnetic loop antenna up around 12' (attached to tree)
            (RF Pro-1A)

These are currently fed through a power combiner with the active antenna
output amplitudes adjusted so as to not dominate the passive antenna
output too much.

While the setup hears well due to QTH and fairly low noise, I would like
to improve it.  The magnetic loop has very good S/N and complements the
active vertical fairly well.  I was thinking of a timed switching system
that would dwell on each antenna for 5-10 seconds.  Not sure if this
would improve things, but certainly would get away from the situation
where noise from one antenna affects an antenna that may be quieter at a
given time.

Best of luck with your setup.

Dave KM3T

On 12/20/11 2:09 PM, H Lawrence Serra wrote:
> Pete N4ZR suggested I put this out to the group: 
> I would like to hear from skimmer ops on what ANT systems they are using for 
> their skimmers.
> I am in the SW corner of the US, on the wrong (west) side of close-by Mt. 
> Soledad and have roof space-limited ANTs. I use a PA0RDT active mini-whip ANT 
> about 5 ft above my roof for my SDR-IQ radio which feeds the skimmer. I was 
> surprised to see from N6TV's RBN stats that I have the lowest SNR average for 
> signals of reported RBN skimmers, and post only 1/5 the spots N6TV had and 1/10 
> the spots WA7LNW had from my part of the country.
> I have tried putting my 2-el Steppir yagi pointed 045T on the skimmer when I am 
> not contesting, and even that little extra gain results in more skimmer spots 
> from NA and EU. My plan now is to find a used A3 tri-bander that I can cut down 
> to a 2-el due to space limitations and because I want a broad beam width. I plan 
> to use a coupler to feed both the active mini-whip and the 2-el yagi to the 
> skimmer's feedline, so I don't have to mechanically switch ANTs when SkimScan 
> switches to the low bands at night.
> Anyway, I would be interested in what SDR or other radio you use, and what 
> ANT(s) you use for your skimmers.
> 73, Larry N6NC
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