The 50/70 MHz duo-band Yagi and the 2m Quad have been taken down for routine maintenance. In the interim, I was interested to see if the Wellbrook Loop (Model ALA100LN) – which is used for LF/MF/HF reception – could pick up any signals on VHF.
After a number of weeks of observations, it became clear that the Wellbrook Loop was quite sensitive to 50 MHz signals, and was effective enough to be useful for routine monitoring on the band. An output was taken from the antenna splitter, sent through the 6m preamp, and fed to the SDRPlay RSP1A.
Tests were performed on 4m and above but no signals were received, which was to be expected. The size of the Wellbrook loop has been increased to as much as practical within a small garden, and the received signal levels have increased. The Red Pitayas (probably due to the impedance mismatch on their inputs) don’t overload, but the KiwiSDRs require 10db of attenuation on their inputs to stop ADC overload at night. Emphasis is now on receiving on the LF and MF bands as summer recedes and the nights grow longer. Already, there is considerable activity for August on 630m.
Finally, this morning I heard of software released by KN4CRD, FT8Call. This promises to allow operators access to the sensitivity of FT8 combined with the ability to converse in a meaningful manner. You need to join a groups.io group to download, but there is no waiting for membership approval. I am monitoring 20m at the moment, and there is some activity which I’m sure will increase.