HF installed - should I be able to hear the skeds on VKS from in town?

Submitted: Monday, May 28, 2007 at 09:58
ThreadID: 45973 Views:2388 Replies:13 FollowUps:23
This Thread has been Archived
Howdy. Just had a HF installed by local Auto Elec (not the supplier of the radio). While not the most ideal arrangement, the testing etc has been left to me. Unfortunately there were no local suppliers of HF and so I decided to go down the path of sourcing the radio and having it fitted locally.

Have been fiddling over the last few days - mainly in my driveway in Moe (Victoria) and one drive a km or so out of town. In summary -

1. I can hear the Marine Weather out of Charliville on 8176.00kHz and less clearly on their neighbouring frequencies. I have also been able to pick up some relatively faint transmissions of ABC in the NT, and VOLMET (Sydney) aviation weather.

2. I cannot hear traffic on any of the VKS channels. I have been checking skeds from various bases on various frequencies - morning and night. Some extremely faint traffic during sked times - but mostly fuzz. On one occassion outside of sked time I could hear one part of a two way conversation clearly - which gave me a bit more sense of what a clear transmission would sound like. I suspect it was from a base as the operator was giving feedback on signal strength from the other party (who I couldn't hear).

3. I have used selcall to the beacon number of the Newcastle base and heard the revertative tones - but this has been a little hit and miss (ie. not repeatable). I have not been able to achieve this from other bases.

I guess my questions is, what should I expect? Should I be able to hear traffic during skeds from my driveway? Do I have to get out of town? If so how far?

If it doesnt sound like things are working as they should, is there anyone around in the Latrobe Valley who can give me a demo so I know what to expect?

Tim
Back Expand Un-Read 0 Moderator

Reply By: samsgoneagain - Monday, May 28, 2007 at 10:08

Monday, May 28, 2007 at 10:08
how has the spare aerial and control cord been ' storred'. i made the mistake of coiling mine up and put it near the hf set. but after talking to vks tech. i put the spare cable at the aerial end and it made a big difference. p.s recieving is the easiest thing for a radio. its transmission where everything has to be spot on.
AnswerID: 242847

Follow Up By: Tim Owen - Monday, May 28, 2007 at 10:15

Monday, May 28, 2007 at 10:15
Thanks samsgoneagain. There is some spare cable, and it is double over itself down the length of the wagon - not coiled up near the radio. I'll see if thic can be re-positioned a bit.
0
FollowupID: 503881

Reply By: pepper2 - Monday, May 28, 2007 at 10:21

Monday, May 28, 2007 at 10:21
Are you listening at the published times to the skeds,have you tried sellcall to someone or the vks bases ,not much traffic outside of sked times.Do you have radio/telephone eg radtel or other ???
I would have thought you could send and receive skeds from home but with some local interferance ..
AnswerID: 242848

Follow Up By: Tim Owen - Monday, May 28, 2007 at 11:17

Monday, May 28, 2007 at 11:17
Hi Pepper2, yes have been listening at the published times. I haven't tried to sellcall anyone other than the Beacons at various bases. I've just been out in the backyard, and managed to get revertive tones from St Marys on VKS Ch 5, Newcastle (continues to be the strongest tones) on Ch 2 and 3, and Adelaide (very weak) and Charters Towers (also very weak). From my test calls, it seems communicating easier North-South and harder East-West.

I'm a newly signed up VKS member, but not Radtel.
0
FollowupID: 503894

Reply By: Member -Signman - Monday, May 28, 2007 at 10:37

Monday, May 28, 2007 at 10:37
G'day Tim
I am the Sunday evening operator on Adelaide (VKS737) Base.
Last night- for example- I spoke to DougT in WA, also Casino NSW/ Tanami Track/ Rig Rd Simpson Desert/ Cairns Qld and a few others around the paddock.
Some sigs. were good- others very low. Conditions are a bit iffy at the moment.
You can look on the VKS website to get the Sched times and have a listen around.
What type of antenna are you using??? Is it 'tuned' to the frequency??
AnswerID: 242852

Follow Up By: Tim Owen - Monday, May 28, 2007 at 11:25

Monday, May 28, 2007 at 11:25
Hi signman - its a Barrett autotune, and seems to be tuning OK. I'll continue listening at the scheduled times. If I can hear you on Sunday evening, I'll check in. Based on experiences to date, I doubt youll be hearing from me!
0
FollowupID: 503895

Follow Up By: Member- Rox (WA) - Thursday, May 31, 2007 at 00:37

Thursday, May 31, 2007 at 00:37
Try also pointing the 4WD in the direction of the base to get the signal bouncing off the roof. I have called Adelaide in Perth very weak then turned East & got them better. If your aerial is at the rear try pointing your front to the base, If it's on the front try pointing the rear to the base. I'll listen out for you 1800 WST tomorrow till Sat night. PS what's your call sign?
0
FollowupID: 504549

Follow Up By: Tim Owen - Thursday, May 31, 2007 at 09:03

Thursday, May 31, 2007 at 09:03
victor 2065
0
FollowupID: 504572

Follow Up By: Member - Davoe (Nullagine) - Friday, Jun 01, 2007 at 00:12

Friday, Jun 01, 2007 at 00:12
Signman, from experience Adelaide Booms in 5x5 in WA but is very hard to reach with the return.
0
FollowupID: 504776

Reply By: Peter McG (Member, Melbourne) - Monday, May 28, 2007 at 11:31

Monday, May 28, 2007 at 11:31
Tim,

I've also just has a Codan installed and gone through the same checks.

Have you joined VKS and/or Radtel? If you have then you can call during sked time and ask for a radio check and/or make test phone call.

Remember to choose the optimal frequency for the time of day and distance.
If you call VKS during a sked then ask them for feedback on your radio performance

I had good reception away from the city after dusk and just ok in the city at other times.

Peter
Peter
VKS Mobile 1906

Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

AnswerID: 242864

Follow Up By: Tim Owen - Monday, May 28, 2007 at 11:47

Monday, May 28, 2007 at 11:47
G'day Peter. Yes, I've joined VKS. I'd be happy to call during the sked time, but at the moment, I'm hearing nothing - so I'm a little reluctant to call as I'm sure there is voice traffic out there - I just can't hear it!

Assuming city means capital city - I shouldn't have any more local interference in a country town. What does OK reception mean? Can you hear the conversations between mobile and base at sked times?
0
FollowupID: 503899

Follow Up By: Peter McG (Member, Melbourne) - Monday, May 28, 2007 at 11:52

Monday, May 28, 2007 at 11:52
Talking to Alice Springs base the other night and radio checked at 4/5 and he was coming in very clear to me. Could also hear some but not all other callers. Efven better ABC Brisbane was 5/5 so I could hear the footy.

Peter
Peter
VKS Mobile 1906

Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 503902

Follow Up By: Tim Owen - Monday, May 28, 2007 at 11:56

Monday, May 28, 2007 at 11:56
Hmmm. Moe aint too far from Melbourne. Based on that sounds like something is wrong with install. Bloody hell.
0
FollowupID: 503904

Follow Up By: Member- Rox (WA) - Thursday, May 31, 2007 at 00:44

Thursday, May 31, 2007 at 00:44
Doesn't sound too bad, if you have earthed your antenna to the body of 4wd & you can hear the auto tune tuning up it sounds like it's working OK. You may just have the wrong freq. Try a beacon call before a sked on Ch 2 & Ch1 to see which Ch is better. just don't send one over another conversation. Grab a beer or a cuppa & have a listen to 1/2 of two skeds to see if you can hear 1 better.
Kevin
0
FollowupID: 504551

Reply By: Member -Signman - Monday, May 28, 2007 at 11:42

Monday, May 28, 2007 at 11:42
Tim
Interesting you have the autotune antenna.
I am in the process of organising a back-to-back comparison with an Autotone Codan, a tapped whip and a tuned longwire.
It will be interesting- as I do believe a good tapped whip performs better than an autotune.
I'll be using the same radio (a Codan 8528)- with the both antennas on the vehicle. I have a few contacts at various locations, and will be using different frequencies at different times.
Stay tuned for the results !!!!
AnswerID: 242866

Follow Up By: Tim Owen - Monday, May 28, 2007 at 11:48

Monday, May 28, 2007 at 11:48
Too late for that conversation signman! Already done the dough.
0
FollowupID: 503901

Reply By: DarrynJ - Monday, May 28, 2007 at 12:46

Monday, May 28, 2007 at 12:46
Hi Tim, HF is a funny thing at times. I have had some experience with HF and I will be in Moe at various times over the next two weeks if you would like another opinion.
Regd's Darryn
AnswerID: 242877

Follow Up By: Tim Owen - Monday, May 28, 2007 at 12:56

Monday, May 28, 2007 at 12:56
G'day Darryn,

I'd appreciate any help I can get. It's hard to know what is 'normal' when you haven't experienced the form of communication before. If you are willing to give of some of your time, I'd be very greatful - perhaps you could email me at tim_owen at optusnet dot com dot au to arrange something?

Tim
0
FollowupID: 503917

Reply By: Robin Miller - Monday, May 28, 2007 at 12:51

Monday, May 28, 2007 at 12:51
Hi Tim

You should be able to hear sked stations on bit of wire (20ft or so) just plugged into your radio instead of the autotune - when they are operating- and and increase in noise when they are not and your wire is plugged in.

You should be able to then put in the autotune and they should be stronger, which will be an indication that your antenna is working at least in part. Then its on to TX.

A catch is that even at sked times there are often many times that there is no transmissions. I listen quite a lot on a handheld sw radio in melbourne city , and noise is always present , but stations are readable (mainly base operator).

P.S. What have you done with Moe High School - went there in sixtes and when went back last year it was gone !

Robin Miller

Robin Miller

Member
My Profile  Send Message

AnswerID: 242878

Follow Up By: Tim Owen - Monday, May 28, 2007 at 13:01

Monday, May 28, 2007 at 13:01
The thing that I don't understand is my ability to hear the Marine Weather, and various other bits and pieces, and my ability to TX selcalls to various bases and get revertive tones, but yet nothing on VKS at sked times?
0
FollowupID: 503920

Follow Up By: Footloose - Monday, May 28, 2007 at 17:37

Monday, May 28, 2007 at 17:37
Marine weather is much more high power. If you get revertive then you should be able to hear any voice transmissions at that time. Yes, in many cases you should be able to hear both sides of the conversation during skeds, depending upon conditions. In many cases it will be as plain as day, in others it will be scratchy.
0
FollowupID: 503975

Follow Up By: Tim Owen - Thursday, May 31, 2007 at 14:50

Thursday, May 31, 2007 at 14:50
Latrobe City Council developed the site as an estate. A terrible design - you cant get out the other side! One way in, one way out. At least they left some open space.
0
FollowupID: 504636

Reply By: Gob & Denny - Monday, May 28, 2007 at 19:23

Monday, May 28, 2007 at 19:23
goodday tim
was in the valley on the weekend on saturday evening travelling from moe to won wron and back was listening to vks charters towers and alice springs i will be back in 4 weeks if you are still having problems can sit 2 vehicles side by side and see what happens
we go to visit inlaws down the bottom of moe normally come up friday night band return to melb on sunday we will be reurjng a bit earlier that sunday as we willl be bringing our van back to melb
but in answer to your question you should be able to hear some vks although i find adelaide a bit iffy

steve
AnswerID: 242961

Follow Up By: Tim Owen - Thursday, May 31, 2007 at 11:05

Thursday, May 31, 2007 at 11:05
Thanks Steve. I don't seem to be getting anywhere, so I think the idea of having the vehicles side by side and comparing performance is going to be an excellent indicator - particularly if there is a VKS sked going somewhere. I'll continue to try to get this resolved, but if you are still coming this way, it would be great to catch you. If you are willing perhaps you could email me at tim_owen at optusnet dot com dot au and we can arrange something?
0
FollowupID: 504595

Reply By: Tim Owen - Monday, May 28, 2007 at 19:52

Monday, May 28, 2007 at 19:52
OK, an update.

Firstly, thanks to a few EO members, I'll be doing a test run involving mobile setups in Adelaide and Sydney in 45 mins. Peoples willingness to share knowledge, experience and give their time is just fantastic. I've also had an offer from someone local to swing by and give a second opinion.

I sat in the backyard this afternoon and was able to hear most of the sked from charters towers and part of the sked from alice springs. I managed to get a radio check in to Alice Springs, but I think I cut accross some other traffic that I couldn't hear! Oops. Not the time to speak with the operator about signal strength etc. The strongest signal seemed to come from someone near Mudgee.

Others don't seem to be having difficulty making out what the operator is saying, and they don't seem to report too much difficulty in hearing the mobiles. Makes me wonder whether my Receiveing could be improved somehow.

Maybe i'd better just get a hearing aid. Tim
AnswerID: 242969

Follow Up By: Tim Owen - Monday, May 28, 2007 at 21:22

Monday, May 28, 2007 at 21:22
Test failed. No selcalls, no voice calls to either Adelaide or Sydney, on either VKS ch 1 or 2. Where to start with trouble shooting.
0
FollowupID: 504021

Follow Up By: Member- Rox (WA) - Thursday, May 31, 2007 at 01:02

Thursday, May 31, 2007 at 01:02
Tim your time stamp said 1952 + 45 mins = aprox 2040 EST. I was on in Perth till 1835 WST or 2035 so you just missed all the skeds by 15 mins on Ch2 if you used it. I switched from Ch2 to Ch1 @ 1825WST. Its also getting very long that time of night, I hear aisa very well.
0
FollowupID: 504552

Follow Up By: Tim Owen - Thursday, May 31, 2007 at 09:02

Thursday, May 31, 2007 at 09:02
G'day Rox. We set the time as 2035 so as to not interfere with the VKS skeds. I was scanning Ch 1 and Ch 2 for a good 20 mins before that also and certainly couldn't hear anything out of Perth from the middle of the Moe racetrack.
0
FollowupID: 504570

Reply By: Member - Mark E (VIC) - Monday, May 28, 2007 at 23:06

Monday, May 28, 2007 at 23:06
Tim,

I'm an ex Valley boy and will be heading up into the mountains tommorrow and will be there for a couple of days....heading back to Melbourne on Thursday....please feel free to give me a selcall at any time to give the set a test. I'll be scanning the VKS chans and selected Radtel chans. Probably either Ch 1,2 or 5 on VKS would be the best.

Vic 3531
Sel 3531

Cheers,

Mark
AnswerID: 243043

Follow Up By: Tim Owen - Wednesday, May 30, 2007 at 21:15

Wednesday, May 30, 2007 at 21:15
Thanks Mark. I tried to sellcall you at 8.30pm on Wednesday night - no luck. Tried the three VKS channels as you suggested. I can definitely receive some transmissions (seemingly only very strong ones (eg. marine weather)) and I can also transmit (as proven by selcals to VKS base beacon 99 numbers). So the radio works, but I'm finding it very hard to assess performance. It seems to me that performance is sub-optimal. At the moment all I have to compare it to is others reports - and everyone else seems to be able to hear the skeds from multiple bases most of the time. I can only hear them very rarely. Any ideas.
0
FollowupID: 504503

Follow Up By: Member- Rox (WA) - Thursday, May 31, 2007 at 01:06

Thursday, May 31, 2007 at 01:06
Tim if it was you, I heard a sellcal & reverbitone in Perth tonight but no voice calling.
0
FollowupID: 504553

Reply By: Member- Rox (WA) - Thursday, May 31, 2007 at 00:30

Thursday, May 31, 2007 at 00:30
Tim I am on Perth Base 1800WST till Sat Night should be able to hear you. I got 1 caller from Finke SA (Furtherest East tonight)
If you can't hear two people talking the the one you cant hear is probly 100-800kms from you & going over your head. adelaide base is noisy Try Alice springs Ch2 or St Marys Ch1 see sked times.

The noise could be just conditions, tonight 1825 Ch1 soundedlike a puring cat!!!
Ch 2 OK. Hope this helps. kevin
AnswerID: 243657

Reply By: Member -Signman - Thursday, May 31, 2007 at 09:07

Thursday, May 31, 2007 at 09:07
Hey Tim
Have you got your HF probs. sorted yet????
AnswerID: 243689

Follow Up By: Tim Owen - Thursday, May 31, 2007 at 10:33

Thursday, May 31, 2007 at 10:33
Nope. I've just come inside from trying to listen to the Derby and Perth skeds. I was able to hear that there was some voice traffic (and a number of selcalls), but nothing that could be understood. I had Darryn swing by and have a look at the install - his only real comment was that the earthing needs to be done with thicker cabling. It has been done using the cable from the autotune and is earthed to the chassis (via the rear wheel carrier) with everthing scraped back to bare metal etc. so I personally dont think this is the issue. I'm not sure what to do now.
0
FollowupID: 504585

Reply By: Tim Owen - Thursday, May 31, 2007 at 21:29

Thursday, May 31, 2007 at 21:29
A big thank you to Rox for taking the time to help out tonight. He kindly selcalled me from the perth base successfully and had a quick chat before the sked. Once the sked began, it became progressively harder to hear. I picked up a little of the backend of the sked on Ch 1. He followed this up with a phone call, and then dialed in to the St Mary's base so I could experience what a clear transmission is like. All this has certainly given me more confidence in the radio. I'm looking forward to getting out in the bush and see how we go then. Thanks to everyone who has helped out. The responsiveness of the EO membership has been fantastic.
AnswerID: 243854

Follow Up By: Tim Owen - Friday, Jun 01, 2007 at 17:47

Friday, Jun 01, 2007 at 17:47
Not sure how significant this will be but i have identified 2 issues to follow up
1. The earth is currently to the chassis, not the body, and the earth is done in 2 sections antenna-real wheel carrier and rear wheel carrier-chassis. Advice is replace with 1 long earth cable from antenna-body.
2. There is no earth on the transceiver.

That said I was able to hear Ron out of Charleville this afternoon, and checked in with him OK. I think I need to work on my expectations a bit too!

0
FollowupID: 504936

Sponsored Links

Popular Products (13)