[VHFcontesting] VHFcontesting Digest, Vol 158, Issue 6

Bill Schwantes bill4070 at gmail.com
Thu Feb 4 23:27:45 EST 2016

Subject: [VHFcontesting] IF Overload - Elecraft XV222

I've not had the problem you describe exactly but I have had similar
problems with Elecraft transverters.  I've built two XV222 transverters and
at least one of each of the others.

Here are some suggestions in no particular order:

Disassemble your XV222 and make absolutely certain the paint is removed
from the inside of each case panel where a 2-d block is located; top,
bottom, rear "u" shaped panel and side panels.  There must be a low
resistance electrical bond at each of these locations.  There must be a
complete Faraday cage formed by the XV enclosure.

Regardless of the source of your XV, make certain all design changes have
been incorporated and that your XV's configuration is up to date.  Some
changes were made are intended to address your susceptibility problem.

Add "clamp on" ferrite devices to the Aux bus control cables near each end.
Sometimes the problem you describe comes in on the Aux Bus cable

Experiment with changes in IF cable length.  Best bet is to keep them
short, but length changes can make a difference.

If you drive an amplifier with the XV, make the same experimental changes
in RF cable length between XV and amplifier.

Make a single point  RF ground between each element of your station; IF
radios, transverters, amplifiers and so on.  Simply connecting the DC
return together from all components is often not enough.  I use 1/2"
grounding braid, but smaller braid will work as well.  A good RF station
ground is important, especially in a multi component station.

Borrow a 222 bandpass filter and install it between the XV and amplifier or
antenna. Experiment and determine if that makes a difference.  If it
doesn't, give it back.  If it does, offer to buy it.  They're difficult to
find used and a bit expensive new.

This may or may not be germane to your issue  --  On several of my XVs I
bored holes in the top cover allowing access to make power and meter
adjustments without removing the top cover.  I found that adjustments made
with the cover removed *changed* when the cover was installed.  If you
object to defacing your XV then carefully work through the adjustments so
they are correct when the cover is installed.  It can be done.  If you
elect to bore holes, you can get replacement covers from Elecraft when it's
time to sell your XV.

Good Luck es 73
Bill W7QQ

On Thu, Feb 4, 2016 at 10:00 AM, <vhfcontesting-request at contesting.com>

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> Today's Topics:
>    1. Re: DEMI 432 transverter for sale / trade (Keith Morehouse)
>    2. Where should we focus first on our station? (James Duffey)
>    3. IF Overload - Elecraft XV222 (Jarred Jackson)
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> Message: 1
> Date: Wed, 3 Feb 2016 11:39:15 -0700
> From: Keith Morehouse <w9rm at calmesapartners.com>
> To: "vhfcontesting at contesting.com" <VHFcontesting at contesting.com>,
>         Reflector <vhf at w6yx.stanford.edu>
> Subject: Re: [VHFcontesting] DEMI 432 transverter for sale / trade
> Message-ID:
>         <
> CACCAnzVfhfMsBnR8ZGEo0_qUmXEju5RpYbMzDHihOrg+94sHKw at mail.gmail.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8
> The 432 MHz transverter has been sold.
> Jay W9RM
> Keith J Morehouse
> Managing Partner
> Calmesa Partners G.P.
> Olathe, CO
> ------------------------------
> Message: 2
> Date: Wed, 3 Feb 2016 20:15:53 -0700
> From: James Duffey <jamesduffey at comcast.net>
> To: waisean at gmail.com, VHF Contesting Reflector
>         <vhfcontesting at contesting.com>
> Cc: James Duffey <jamesduffey at comcast.net>
> Subject: [VHFcontesting] Where should we focus first on our station?
> Message-ID: <A982B006-4740-42B1-BF3C-AD7E75AB9925 at comcast.net>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=windows-1252
> Sean - Congratulations on your Limited Multi effort! It is not bad for
> January.
> You seem to be mainly pursuing hardware solutions. That is OK, but some
> simple operating techniques can help as well as new and different hardware
> at less cost.
> Be on when the contest starts. Activity is never higher.
> You realize that CW is important, so be sure to have that capability next
> time around. With a 10dB to 20dB advantage over SSB, it really pays off. If
> you call a station and get no answer, often they can make out your CW when
> you call again. If you hear some weak stations on SSB that you can?t make
> out, call on CW, often you can make the QSO that way. With the recent
> influx of HF operators to 6M, listening in the 50.90 to 50.100 CW portion
> of the band will often yield QSOes that are not available in the SSB
> portion of the band. Related to this, I keep PDF files of all my rigs on my
> cell phone so I can refer to them during the contest if I have problems
> with the rig. This may have helped when you were trying to figure out how
> to send CW with the mic buttons.
> Pass stations from band to band. It sounds like you did this, but there
> are some ways to make this more efficient. Pass to 432 first. That way if
> you lose track of each other station you will make the high point QSOes
> first. Then to 222MHz if they have it, and then to 50MHz and two, depending
> on where you started. Make it a point to work everyone on frequency before
> you QSY if you can. Be prepared to QSY multiple stations at once. Tell
> people to meet you back on two if you lose each other. Know who has what
> bands. A logging program can help with this.
> Use a logging program. It really helps in a lot of ways. You can track who
> you have worked on which bands. Try not to let a station go until you have
> worked them on all possible band combinations. The logging program can key
> the rig with both voice and CW. That will reduce fatigue. RoverLog, N1MM+,
> and VHFlog are all good programs with slightly different features.
> Interfacing the rig to the logging program will prevent mistakes in not
> logging the correct band. If you have two operating positions, it is
> possible to network two different computers at two different operating
> positions. This helps in passing stations from one band to another. N1MM+
> can be used in conjunction with the cluster to generate band maps of needed
> QSOes and mults. Plus, with a logging program, there are no problems trying
> to read that other guy?s hand writing when you prepare the log for
> submittal.
> Use assistance. Follow the rovers on APRS and your favorite clusters. Look
> for 6M openings on DXMAPs. Trade information with other ops on the air. It
> is straight forward to set up logging programs to identify who is on what
> band from a cluster. Some rovers will text when they get to a new grid, try
> to get on their text list or twitter. If a rover will give you a cell phone
> number you can text or call the rover. But try not to abuse this as rovers
> get pretty busy. Helmet fires are common among rover operators.
> Keep track of the rovers in your area and try to work them on all of the
> band combinations they have. Most rovers put out schedules of when they
> will be where. Print this out and post it by your station. When you work a
> rover, ask them when they will be in the next grid. About that time, point
> in that direction and call CQ. That way, the rover will hear you when they
> get to the new grid and you will get into his log early and not have to
> worry about working him before he leaves the grid. Plus, you may work other
> stations in that direction while waiting for the rover to show up. Offer to
> buy your friendly local rover a beer when you see him.
> Know who will be on the air from your area and what bands they will be on.
> As propagation changes throughout the day, if you can?t work them when you
> try, try again later. If there is local VHF group or e-mail reflector, join
> it. When you go to a hamfest or swap meet, seek out other VHF operators.
> Ask their advice. Tell them your plans. Return the favor when people ask
> you for advice. Try to go to one of the major VHF conferences and network
> with other VHF ops once every few years. Offer to give a talk on VHF
> contesting to your local club. May is a good time as it is just before the
> Es season. Know who you can work easily and who you will struggle to work.
> Radio Mobile online is good for that as is the section on VHF propagation
> in the ARRL Antenna Book. You may be surprised at who you can work that you
> think you can?t and who you can?t work that you think you can.
> Keep your butt in the chair. In the early morning hours when things are
> dead try meteor scatter with WSJT.
> Always use phonetics to eliminate confusion.
> Turn the beam. Listen. Tune the band. Call CQ. Repeat. No amount of
> hardware improvement can help as much as this.
> Submit your log at the end of the contest. Study the soapbox write-ups to
> find out what other people?s strategies are. Write your own soapbox entry
> so other people can see what you did. Look at the log checking reports when
> they come out to see if you can find hints in those to improve your
> contesting. Typos are common. So are band entry errors. Both of those can
> be improved with attention to details.
> Practice helps a lot in contesting. Work all the VHF/UHF contests,
> including the sprints. You get better the more you work at it. Don?t stop
> learning.
> Now to hardware suggestions.
> If you don?t use headphones get a good pair and use them at every
> position. They help reduce outside distractions and noise. I think
> headphones add 6dB to the signal to noise ratio over speakers. A headphone
> mounted boom mic will keep your hands free to do other things like logging,
> checking DX clusters, and drinking coffee. Use a foot switch for PTT. You
> will be surprised at how much these things help, and they are inexpensive
> to implement.
> It is no secret that one of the keys to success in VHF contesting is to be
> loud on two. Be loud on two. Most contacts are initiated on two and then
> moved to other bands. So being loud on two leverages the other bands. From
> your station description, I think you can get the best bang for your buck
> by going to a longer 2M beam, say 15 ft long, and raising it high enough to
> clear the house by 5 ft or more. Alternatively, you can get another M2 7
> element Yagi and stack it above the one you already have. The trees won?t
> hurt much until you get to 432MHz if they are not too close. The easiest
> and cheapest way to get more height is with fence top rail, available from
> fencing companies, or a Rohn push up mast. I am not sure exactly where your
> location is, but if you are not in a high RF environment, and are not
> experiencing desense or intermod, I don?t think a filter will help much. If
> you are getting interference between bands, simple coaxial cable stub
> filters at both positions are
>  a cost effective way of solving that problem.  If you are using short
> runs of LMR400 you probably don?t really need a mast mounted preamp either,
> at least on two. 50 Watts on 2M is a bit light, and used brick amplifiers
> in the 150 Watt range are pretty inexpensive. That will give you 5dB gain,
> which is significant. Some bricks include a preamp, which may or may not
> help. The 857 is a bit noisy on two and a preamp may help, but if you are
> using LMR400, on 2M at least, you won?t get much improvement, if any, by
> moving it to the antenna. If you are in a noisy urban environment, a preamp
> might not help at all. Be loud on two. In improving your contest station,
> give your first priority to what improves your capabilities on two. That
> includes receiving as well as transmitting. It will pay off.
> Similarly a brick amp for 432MHz will boost your signal on that band. They
> aren?t as cheap or plentiful as the 144MHz bricks, but they are not
> prohibitively expensive either. A 100 Watt brick will give you a 7dB
> improvement over a bare 857.  With LMR 400, the line loss is increased, so
> a mast mounted preamp may help, but depending on the length of LMR400 you
> have, a mast mounted preamp may not be worth the trouble.
> Lots of SSB/CW ops on 222 can also work FM with the same rig and antenna
> that they use for SSB/CW, so a good way to take advantage of that is to
> hook a horizontally polarized antenna to your handie-talkie. You don?t need
> to spend a bundle on an antenna; WA5VJB?s Cheap Yagis will get you 11dB of
> gain for less than $20. You can build two, one vertical and one horizontal
> to get those long haul FM QSOes with regular FM ops as well. You probably
> don?t need a preamp on those bands either, especially if you stick with FM.
> In the long run, a 222MHz transverter is a good idea. Used 222MHz bricks
> are harder to find, but worth the effort. 222MHz SSB and CW stations are
> few, so if you get operational on 222MHz, you will be very popular. 222MHz
> is a great band.
> I hope that this helps, sorry it is so long, but I didn?t have time make
> it shorter.
> Listen for the weak ones. - Duffey KK6MC
> ------------------------------
> Message: 3
> Date: Thu, 4 Feb 2016 11:36:20 +0000
> From: Jarred Jackson <Jarred.Jackson at hotmail.com>
> To: "vhfcontesting at contesting.com" <vhfcontesting at contesting.com>
> Subject: [VHFcontesting] IF Overload - Elecraft XV222
> Message-ID:
>         <
> BLUPR11MB008111ECF4EF2AD390552E569AD10 at BLUPR11MB0081.namprd11.prod.outlook.com
> >
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"
> I have been dealing with a problem with my Elecraft XV222 transverter in
> my rover setup. When operating on 6m, the transverter will sometimes go
> into an "IF Overload" condition and lockout. The manual states that this
> will occur if IF energy is received but the transverter is not in transmit
> (PTT). Its a 28 MHz IF transverter and I know for sure that the IF radio is
> connected to the 6m antenna and not the transverter. At first I thought
> this occurred due to inadequate isolation in the coax switch that would
> switch my IC-7000 between the transverter and the 6m antenna. But in this
> last contest I had the 222 transverter on a completely separate IF radio
> and the problem still occurred. For extra measure I had separated the head
> of the IC-7000 and put the body of the radio a few feet away from the
> transverter/IF radio. The 6m antenna coax was separated from the
> transverter IF input coax by at least 12" and the 6m antenna itself was at
> least 16' in the air. On the output side, non
>  e of the coax is separated as it is in one bundle going out to the
> antennas (with no reasonable way to separate them by more than an inch or
> two).
> If anyone has any experience with this transverter or a similar condition,
> I would appreciate your input and ideas. My workaround at this point is to
> configure the crystal heater to stay on when the power is off and simply
> turn off the transverter when not in use. OK, but it adds steps to an
> already complicated mess of things that need to be done when working
> through the bands with someone...
> Jarred - KF2MR
> ------------------------------
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> End of VHFcontesting Digest, Vol 158, Issue 6
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