TopBand: N7GP CQ 160 SSB (Long)

Milt Jensen, N5IA
Wed, 3 Mar 1999 07:24:02 -0700

     Call used: N7GP                      Location: AZ, USA       CQ Zone:  3
     Category: Single Op, Single Band     Mode: PHONE             Power: 1500
     Callsign of Operator: N5IA           Exchanged Information:  N7GP  RSAZ  

     Hours of Operation: 31:00            Average QSOs per hour:  29
     Band   QSOs     Points   States/Provinces   DX         Final Score
     160     647      1510           53          14           101,170  

     DX worked:  7-XE, KP4, 4-KH6, V4, ZF, VK, 2-KL7, P4, G, GJ, EA, EA8,
     Equipment: Yaesu FT-1000 MP, Alpha 91b, (the XZ1N station) 1/4
wavelength wire vertical with base at 70' AGL, full size dipole at 250' &
8, 2 wavelength Beverages.  Operating from the Lazy B Ranch in the Pinaleno
Mountains of southeastern Arizona, 60 miles north of the Mexico border and
7 miles west of the New Mexico state line.

     Highlights: Being called by GJ2D.  Making TX antenna comparisons.

     Low lights: Having the earphones jumping around on the operating table
1.5 hours before sunset the 2nd night due to static crashes.
As many have expressed already, the QRN was extremely heavy both nights.  I
thank all the stations that stuck with me for 6 to 10 overs so that I could
piece together their callsign and get a "roger, QSL".  I also apologize to
the many stations who I was unable to copy, or that I did not hear at all
and continued CQing in your face.

This was an enjoyable outing with the primary intention of comparing the
performance of a high dipole to a 1/4 wavelength ground plane.  The results
were nothing short of astonishing.

The primary support for both antennas was a 250 foot high steel tower.  The
dipole was constructed of # 12 solid copperweld and was mounted with the
feedpoint at the top of the tower.  The ends were supported by small rope
anchored 1,000 feet away from the tower.  The axis of the dipole was
basically east/west.

The vertical was constructed of wire with the vertical 1/4 wavelength
element composed of a 6 wire, 4 inch diameter circular cage of # 14
stranded copperweld.  The base insulator was made of 1/2 inch teflon plate.
 There were 14, 120 foot long radials made of # 12 stranded copper.

The vertical was suspended from a 3/16 inch steel catenary wire and spaced
1/4 wavelength distant from the tower on the northeast side.  The catenary
was anchored approximately 1,000 feet distant from the tower with
approximately 800 lbs of tension.  The base of the vertical was 70 feet
above ground and the radials sloped down and outward at nearly a 45 degree
angle.  The radials were tied off to rocks at ground level.

In advance let me say that the dipole was no slouch of an antenna.  It was
a full size dipole mounted 1/2 wavelength above dry, rocky, high desert
terrain. During the CQ 160 CW test in January, Robin, WA6CDR operated N7GP
and this antenna in this position worked 26 DX countries.  

The following is a copy of the notes that I made during the contest when I
asked stations to give me a comparison report of the signals received at
their location as I did an A/B transmit test. I would switch between each
antenna making a 2-3 second transmission on each, for a total of 3-4 times
back and forth.  A previously stated, the results were amazing.

To put things in proper perspective time wise, sunset was at 0100 Z and
sunrise was at 1400 Z.  I tried to utilize stronger stations at different
distances, azimuths, and times of day with emphasis on early evening and
late morning when the band was opening and closing.  If anyone wants to
compute the distances, I am located in DM52.  

Of real note is that the two stations that reported no difference (Sonora,
Mexico and Tucson, AZ) and the one station who reported the dipole better
(40 miles north of Tucson, AZ) are all southwest of my location.  As noted
above, the ground plane was suspended 1/4 wavelength from the tower on the
northeast side of the tower in the hope that the tower would act as a
reflector and create a cardiod pattern with a null to the south west.
These reports indicate that may have been the case.  However, I was called
by and worked VK3IO.  I was being called by VK4WE (told to me by another
station only 200 miles from me whom I let work the VK4) but I could not
hear a whisper from him.  The reason for mentioning this is that VK is the
same Azimuth from my location as Tucson and Sonora, Mexico, the direction
of the planned null in the vertical's radiation pattern. 

Here are the reports with the exact words of the reporting station.  Thanks
to all these stations for taking the time to run the test with me and give
me a report.


4   22:37z N0KOV  Kansas       Barely copy on the Dipole.  Booming in on
5   23:00z AA7US  central AZ   Vertical by 1.5 S units.
6   23:05z N0AH   Wyoming      Couldn't hear me on the Dipole.
8   23:24z NF7E   N central AZ Almost couldn't hear me on the Dipole.
Flagstaff, AZ.
12  23:45z N7DF   central NM   Vertical 5 over 9.  Dipole just under 9.
17  23:59z XE2SOZ NW Mexico    No difference in Sonora, Mexico.
18  00:00z WI7J   SW Utah      Vertical better near St. George, UT.
20  00:02z K6SE   So Calif     Vertical 1 S unit better.
26  00:15z KJ6EO  California   Vertical 3 DB Stronger.
28  00:17z KE6GX  West AZ      15 DB better on the Vertical in Lake Havasu
29  00:18z K6HNZ  California   Vertical much better in Northern California.
31  00:22z K2UOP  West Virg    Could not hear me on the dipole.
54  00:59z N7JW   SW Utah      S9 on vertical.  S6 on Dipole.  Southern UT.
59  01:08z W3TS   Pennsylvania Cannot copy on the dipole.
63  01:17z KD9SV  Indiana      Vertical is 5 S units better.
176 03:57z N7CK   S central AZ 5 db better on the dipole.
245 06:24z WA6CDR Los Angeles  15 db down on the dipole vs vertical.
250 06:35z KH6CC  Hawaii       Vertical 1 S unit better.
417 14:15z N0AH   Wyoming      The vertical 6 S units better in Wyoming.

                Start the 2nd night

419 01:02z K0UO   Kansas       S7 on dipole and 10 over 9 on vertical.
424 01:32z N6LU   California   Vertical +15 and dipole +5 over S 9.
460 03:05z W7HSG  Tucson, AZ   Absolutely no difference between the
vertical and dipole.
519 05:11z AL7DJ  Alaska       Two S units better on the vertical.  W7MT
in Oregon same.
597 09:55z WW1WW  Massachusetts    Vertical has a slight edge.
607 10:22z KH6E   Hawaii       Vertical is 2 S units better.
621 11:40z N0MLJ  Minnesota    3-4 dB stronger on vertical & W9CH in
Illinois says vertical also 1 S unit stronger in IL.
624 11:43z WA2PCS Pennsylvania Vertical better by 1 S unit.
625 11:48z K8EIG  Ohio         Vertical 10 dB better.
626 11:56z K3KO   Nor Carolina 10 dB better in NC, now in daylight there.
630 12:02z N4JF   Alabama      10 db better on the vertical.
632 12:04z K5OE   Texas        Vertical slightly better.
633 12:05z W3UHP  Pennsylvania 10 dB better on the vertical.
637 12:12z W8RCM  Michigan     Vertical is 2 S units better. Now in daylight.
646 12:35z KG8HD  Michigan     Vertical better copy.  Now in daylight.
647 12:36z WA0MHB Minnesota    Vertical 3 S units better.
654 13:06z KB5ITH Oklahoma     Vertical 20 over & dipole is 10 over 9.

I hope this report is of some interest and contains helpful information for
the many Topband operators around the world.  

                                        73 de Milt, N5IA, operator at N7GP

P.S.  De W4ZV...I edited out some additional info on rates/hour, Q's/mult,
etc that are probably of interest only to contesters.  If interested, you
can read the full report at

P.P.S.  De W4ZV...Milt's report agrees with what I saw from Colorado
where I used an elevated Ground Plane and high (145') dipole.  99% of the
time the vertical was ~10 dB better.  The exceptions were:

1.  Relatively local stations (200-500 miles).

2.  Long haul DX (VK, YB, etc.) AT and up to 30 minutes AFTER sunrise.

This tells me that propagation on 160 is predominately low angle, with
the exception of high angle skywave for "local" stations and with
the exception of some unusual things that happen at sunrise.  I seldom
saw any other times (e.g sunset) when the dipole was better.  Thanks to
Milt for a very interesting report!


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