Expert 1k amp & new antenna

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Two new additions to the shack... well one is outside...

Before the snow comes tomorrow I got my kid to hurl a rock over the tallest cotton wood tree just on the edge of our property.  From the top of this I now have a 130' end fed antenna sloping from about 55 feet at the high end to about 15 feet at the feet point.  

Below this antenna is nothing but empty land and some water channels. I managed to get everything connected and wow... what a difference in receive noise...

My vertical jpole which had allowed me to work pretty well doesn't hear anywhere near as well as this wire.  Noise went way down and to be sure I added an ANC4 which trims out the rest of the noise.  Now I can hear just about everything.  Well maybe not everything but much more than I did before.
 
After getting it rigged my first contact on USB 20m was WP4 in Puerto Rico who gave me a 57 on about 100w.  After that I went to JT65 and racked up China, Russia, Cuba, Italy, France, England, Czech and a few others.  I was running about 35w and with a long feed line I figure about 25w getting to the wire.

Anyway I'm pleased.  It's no log periodic nor it is a beam on 200 foot tower.  But for little me in my HOA it is a huge improvement both in receive and transmit performance.

Then as if to make my day I was contacted by a guy wanting to sell his expert 1k-FA.  A recent model.  So that will be cool.  I won't get that until early December but I already have it's place setup and ready with 220V.

I'm not a huge amp guy but having more than 100w will be nice at times.  Plus for me personally I'd rather run the Flex at like 20w and have the amp doing the hard work say at 400w or so. 

So I need to review the hookups here on the forums but I'm excited.  The amp will be a very cool addition.  Combined with the new antenna maybe I won't be in the noise all the time!
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Mark - WS7M

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Posted 4 years ago

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Photo of EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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You don't need to run it on 220v. All you need to do is open it up, change a fuse inside to a 120v rated one and change the location of two cables on the transformer. All you need is a Phillips head screwdriver.
The manual of the amp has the detail instructions.
Enjoy the amp and let me know if you struggle getting it to run with ddutil. While you are at it, get a good qualitie usb to serial converter cable if you don't have a serial rs232 port available in your pc.
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Walt - KZ1F

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Very cool Mark!

I, for the longest time, like early 80's when I first licensed, I too was not an amp guy. My feeling was the hobby would be far better off if everyone, like in UK, was limited to 200w or whatever it was. About a year ago that, begrudgingly, changed. I bought a KPA-500, which can be driver to 700. Now I am a convert of sorts. In part because it is about 35 years later, split is generally the norm for dx and 'everybody is running power'. It does make a difference, not huge, as the biggest thing to spend your money on is antenna and height, but power has its place.
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Mark - WS7M

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Thanks Walt, Salvador,

Walt, I'm with you.  I have done lots of CW and digital modes with less than 35w.  My very first DX contact as a novice was CW to France on 20w with a vertical.  So certainly it can be done.

I can't say I will use the amp all the time.  But once in a while it will be nice to have.  For example right now I'm hanging out on JT65 which is an intriguing mode and I'm doing it all with about 25w ERP I would guess using only the Flex6500.  My ALS600 amp is sitting idle.

For grins I connected to a WebSDR and listened to my code both with the amp and without the amp and the difference was about 2 S units which is what I would expect.  One thing I will say is without the amp QSB was more noticeable.  I setup my rig to send a small sentence of text and listened to it on the SDR and without the amp it was S5 dipping to S3 at time.   As soon as I put the amp in it was S7 dipping to S6 at worst so there was a difference.

I think I am much more of the kind of guy that will try barefoot and if that isn't working then add in a little power to finish the QSO.  One reason I wanted the expert was it is quiet and also can be fully automated.  

As a software engineer by trade I have all the tools to talk to these cool devices and I'm finding I can set up stairs with my laptop and run JT65 even while watching TV if desired.  Having the ability to remotely control the amp is cool too.

I've ordered a Maestro and I'm wondering how that will work with respect to controlling the amp.  I guess once configured the band following should work ok and I can control the power using the maestro by just changing the drive.  But it makes me wonder if the maestro will have options for controlling things connected to the radio?

I mean you would think that to make the maestro completely cool you'd eventually need rotor control, amp control etc. right?

Salvador, thanks for the vote of confidence.  I do have USB to serial adapters, several of them so I can/will get that going.  I do appreciate the offer of help and I will probably take you up on it at some point!
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Mark - WS7M

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If you head over to

https://pskreporter.info/pskmap.html

And type in my call WS7M you can see the stuff the new antenna has heard on both 20m and 40m so far.
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Ned K1NJ

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Mark,
             Give a listen on 160 at night and see what's there.  You may discover a whole
new band to work.  You might need an antenna tuner to load it well, though.

         Good Luck,
           Ned,  K1NJ
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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Mark''
CONGRATUALTIONS

BTW. You also proved that verticals here equally poorly in all directions
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Mark - WS7M

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Ok I received my 1K-FA amp tonight.  I have it hooked up and using DDUTIL to control the drive and set the band.  It seems to be reasonably happy.

I do have a question.  What exactly should happen when I press tune?  Nothing at all happens either through DDUTIL or via the front of the amp.

Is there a setting I need to enable for the ATU to work?

Thanks!
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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Which TUNE'

Tune on the radio or the Amp?
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Mark - WS7M

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Amp.  I've tried pressing tune on the amp and also pressing tune under the DDUTIL amp area for the 1K.  Nothing happens.  No relays click etc.

My ant right now has very good VSWR on most bands so not too much problem but I am hoping the tuner is not busted.
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Mark - WS7M

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Ok never mind.  It was disabled in a couple of sub bands.  Once I got around that it is clicking away just fine.