How to Build a Quiet Station

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Here’s a link to PowerPoint “How to Build a Quiet Station V2.pptx” in my Dropbox for a talk I gave at the San Diego DX ca club in July. I included a lot of material I got directly from talks by Steve and Greg of Flex.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/d2yturid60n...

Here’s a link to PDF “How to Build a Quiet Station V2.PDF” in my Dropbox:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/kffp92esffo...

Here is an interesting video on the presentation at Friedrichshafen about
Adaptive Predistortion

http://video.openhpsdr.org/HRF2014/Pu...
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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Posted 5 years ago

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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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For Clarification

I do NOT recommend bonding anything to the Lightning Protection System UNLESS it is allowed by local building codes. 

As far as I know, most building codes do NOT allow you to bond anything to the lightning protection system UNLESS you are installing something above the Cone of Protection – in which case that structure becomes the lightning rod and needs to be mechanically secured to the other lightning protection systems.

BTW... there is virtually no lightning in La Jolla, CA.. last occurrence of even thunder was 20 years ago...

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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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SteppIR Controller.

Short Answer.. I put a Faraday Cage around the power supply and put lots of ferrites on the power input and power output

LONG ANSWER:

I bought SteppIR MonstIR Serial #1 10 years ago....My buddy Dennis N6KI bought MonstIR Serial #3... we quickly discovered that there were 2 major problems with the Power System.

First - the 33V Wall Wart Brick was incredibly noisy
Second - When tuning the Motors generated Hash (Cracklies)

Dennis and I spent considerable amount of time trying to solve both problems.  If you want to read about our various attempts over during 2005 and 2006, we did document our efforts extensively on the SteppIR Yahoo Group.. Search Cracklies..

To solve #1   We tried ferrites on the power input and power output... some noise reduction but since it is a plastic case there was still significant noise... the real solution was to rebuild the power brick into a Metal Box (Faraday Cage) then connect the cage to the RF Ground bus.  By using BOTH Ferrites and the Faraday Cage, we were able to quiet down the 33V brick sufficiently that it was no longer a significant problem

#2 - was a much more complicated issue... the cracklies only appeared when tuning the motors... we found that part of the cause was corrosion on the tapes.. fixed by replacing tapes - but not fixed enough to let us autotune during a contest... so we built a number of different filter boxes of ever increasing complexity.. again we documented this on the SteppIR Yahoo Group...we were able to reduce the Cracklies somewhat but never nearly enough to satisfy Dennis.. But then nothing is ever good enough for Dennis....

Then I stepped back to reconsider what we were doing and came to the conclusion that I could live with the Cracklies even in a contest...

Dennis' solution was to disable Autotune during contests..no cracklies.. the antenna works well all over the bands...

My solution was to live with the 1-3 seconds of cracklies when changing frequencies as I do not use a tuner anywhere in my system so I appreciate the added perfect SWR performance of the SteppIR
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Bill Roberts

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Wow...  Just installed 29 (of 30 purchased recently) little split beads all over my 6300 / 5000 based shack.  I've only been listening for about two hours but it does seem to make a difference.  I've always had a lot of 31 mix cores and split beads on power, speaker, mic and misc. other cables in and out of my Flex radios.  Amazon has a nice assortment of split beads and holders at $5 for ten 5 mm and 7 mm ID sizes and $7.50 for ten 9 mm ID sizes.  Placed these beads on CAT 5 cables (both ends), router power, every wall wart/monitor power supply (in and out where possible), amp keying and ALC lines, basically wherever possible. 

Aside from lightning crashes and signals, 40 on the waterfall is a nice dark blue.  80 between roughly 3700 and 3850 has gone from green/orange to green/blue.  Sorry, never wrote down before and after noise levels.  This looks like the best $18 I've spent in a long time!

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Alan - KA4B

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Bill I see these on Amazon, and I found the manufacturer in China, but I do not see any indication of what material specification these conform to.  Do you know that they are type 31?
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Al / NN4ZZ

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Hi Bill,
That is a very good price but like Alan I wonder if they are of the same quality and mix.  The ones I buy from DX Engineering are much more expensive.   ($3 to $6 each) but may be worth it.  It would be interesting to know how they compare. 

I used quite a few ferrites in my setup.  The RFI and Grounding notes on my web page here:

http://www.nn4zz.com/FLEX6700.htm#RF_issues_and_solutions

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ  
al (at) nn4zz (dot) com
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Alan - KA4B

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Al, have you compared the Ferrite Beads at Palomar Engineering?  The specs look as good or better than DX Engineering and the price in general is much better (see their table).  I haven't bought any yet but am looking for the most reasonable source.
(Edited)
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Al / NN4ZZ

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Hi Alan,
I haven't used the Palomar ferrites.  I've been dealing with DX Engineering for my TiltPlate business for about 10 years.  They have been excellent to work with and the products are good quality so I generally use them by default.  I expect other major vendors like Palomar, Fair-Rite or Mouser, etc are just as good.

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ  
al (at) nn4zz (dot) com
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Jon - KF2E

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The best place to start with ferrites is at the feed point of your antenna. I put about 16 inches worth of 31 mix ferrites at my feed point and didn't have to do anything in the shack. If you keep the RF out you don't need to spend a lot of time chasing cables that have turned into antennas.

Jon...kf2e
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Alan - KA4B

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Jon, I presume by the feed point you are referring the point where the feed line joins the antenna, where the balun would typically be.  Are you using the 16 inches of 31 mix beads as your balun or in addition to it?
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Al / NN4ZZ

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Hi Jon,
Agree with your feed point comment as the starting point and like you said it may be the only place needed in some cases.  There is another place to consider if you have several towers/antennas and many runs of coax coming to the shack.    RF can be picked up on one of the antennas or coax from an antenna you aren't transmitting on.  I've found that ferrites just outside the shack is another good spot.  In my case I have an antenna switch (array solutions ratpack) outside the shack and only one coax cable coming in.  This is a good place to add ferrites also.

You can never have too many ferrites -- the only downside is the cost.  

Pictures here:  

http://www.nn4zz.com/FLEX6700.htm#RF_issues_and_solutions

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ  
al (at) nn4zz (dot) com
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Jon - KF2E

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Alan,

Yes, at the feed point of the antenna and yes, it is in addition to the balun.

Here is the best deal I have found for 31 mix snap on cores.

http://www.mouser.com/ProductDetail/Fair-Rite/0431164181/?qs=%2fha2pyFadui9i7OfS7yC6UQqC3M9yLQhKcwDW...

If you go in with a buddy they are less than $3 each.

I used one piece cores and just removed the connector to install them. They are even less.


Jon...kf2e
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Bill Roberts

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My comment about them being 31 mix was based comments of other hams reviewing them on Amazon.  I know some people complained about some of these Chinese beads being broken on arrival.  All 30 of mine were intact.  They have eliminated a detectable amount of noise around the shack.

BTW, I run "line isolators" on my HF feedllines which in and of themselves, have a lot of cores placed along about 12 inches of high temp coax.

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DrTeeth

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A UK source for the type 31 cores to which Jon - KF2E refers is http://www.rapidonline.com/electronic-components/snap-on-ferrite-cores-68048 . That is not the only page on which they are listed IIRC. Many sites are very shy at listing the type of ferrite used.
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Mike KM4LQP

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Thanks for the article on Building a Quiet Station. 
I'm just building up my station for soon to arrive 6300 and this document provides great direction and answers lots of my questions.
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Moose

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Do the file links not work anymore?

73 Chris AK4SK
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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Moose

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Thanks. I have a Dropbox account so I'm good there. I asked because earlier the links weren't showing up. I could see partial links in the text but  they were incomplete and there were no hyperlinks for some reason. I guess my browser was going something funny.

73 Chris AK4SK
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Rich McCabe

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I read this about every 6 months as a refresher :)

Couple questions.

I have a copper bus in the shack and all my equipment attaches to it with 5/8" braid. The inside bus is connected to a copper bus outside with surge protectors using 1" braid for the RF and #6  stranded.

I have three 8' ground rods spaced 3' to 4' apart and all are interconnected with #6 wire. My outside copper ground bus is connected to those ground rods by two #6 wires.  See pictures.

I am wondering if I would benefit from adding an additional 1" braided strap from the ground bus to a ground rod for a lower impedance path?

Rich

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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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It depends on the length f the strap and whether it's ndoors or outdoors

Braided strap is not good outdoors. As it is very susceptible to corrosion

A short run will help. A long run of even 1/4 wave will hurt.
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Rich McCabe

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It is outdoors.

I wonder if there is anything that you can use to protect braid outdoors as I have about 10" exposed. Thinking some spray on chemical to saturate the braid.

Come to think about it my BigIR is connected to my DX engineering radial plate via ground strap braid.

And my #6 wires to the ground rods is only about 4 ' long each.

Thanks Howard.

Rich
(Edited)
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Justin - KL2D

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Try CorrosionX

http://www.corrosionx.com/corrosionx....

I use it a lot on my boat, I learned about it from my commercial fisherman friends and family here in Alaska. It works really well. If your braid is in a location where it gets a lot of wet weather you might have to reapply it every few months. They make a variety of products, and have a heavy duty version that is pretty thick and would probably last really well in exposed applications like that.

I don't believe it has any effect on the electrical properties of the braid, but someone else might know better. I use it on electrical (12V) connections all the time with no ill effect.

PS - I also regularly review Howard's "quiet shack guide". ;-)

Justin
KL2D
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Rich McCabe

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I am hoping the fact my braid is tinned helps.

I will take a look at that link.

Rich
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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For my outside connections I use1/2"copper pipe instead of braid
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Rich McCabe

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I saw that. How do you connect your copper pipe to a ground rod? Flatten it?
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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I soldered a 90 degree or TFitting 1/2" copper fitting to the top ofground rod and connected it with copper pipe

CAUTION. This is NOT FOR LIGHTNING PROTECTION. I have a separate lightning protection grounding system that is Cadwelded
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Dan -- KC4GO

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You told me you didn't have lighting in Southern Cal... :)
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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We don't. We also rarely get rain. But building codes and fire insurance compliance forces lightning protection upon us.
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Rich McCabe

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Well the government knows best.....

Not !