Topband: XW4ZW Update

Ken Claerbout k4zw at
Tue Jan 19 19:38:35 EST 2016

I see now why my original post, from the 18th, didn't show up.  I sent it to the wrong address.  It's below.

I can report that the beverage is working very well!  Only thing I can figure is that it fills in a gap to the south, where the 4 square pattern falls off.  Last night the band was rather noisy to the south.  The guys in Bangkok told me this morning they had rain so that may explain it.

Nothing left to do but keep plugging away.  I really hope things pick up on Topband but I know XW is very rare on 80 as well.  I have 330 plus countries on 80 from home and still need it.

Hi Gang - quick update on things from Laos. Yesterday I added a few more radials to the TX antenna. It's a trapped wire vertical for 80 & 160, full size. It now has 32 quarter wave 160 meter radials. As most of you have observed, when propagation allows, it's working fine.

I continue to be a little confounded on the receive side of things. For example on 80 meters the TX signal is fine into the US but it's real work pulling out stations calling. Some of them with big arrays and full power. I don't have a high noise problem and there have been no storms in the area. I'm using a completely refurbished, by DX Engineering, W8JI 4 square array on receive. Maybe more of an RX system than some of the guys hearing me. The F/B on it is excellent, on the signals I can hear. That wasn't necessarily the case last year. Today I added a second ground rod at each element, not being sure what condition the existing ones were in. When I arrived I replaced ALL of the coax and control lines. We in effect have a new system now. 

Today I installed a beverage to the south. It's a little short for 160, about 450'. But it will be interesting to compare it to the 4 square. The rig by the way is a Yaesu FT 5000 so I have good hardware. In fact there is a new one available and I guess I can always try swapping radios.

All I can say is if you hear me, keep plugging away. At times it feels like I'm in a big RF RX hole but one of these days things will break loose. I do have a favor to ask. If you worked me last year, please don't make a duplicate QSO. Too many people need XW. Sit back, listen, and enjoy knowing you already made it into the log. There is a log checker on my page. Logs are uploaded daily to K1SE and ARRL LOTW.

As of now, I'm scheduled to fly back to Bangkok on the 23rd. I do have some flexibility. Let's see how things go.

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