More European MF Action...

For many years people in the UK have joined up Christmas with the New Year to make a very nice long break, many Factories and Offices close down so there are a few more Hams around than normal. Some of them have taken the opportunity to join in the MF WSPR activity over the holiday period. So there are quite a few new people to welcome to MF WSPR.

So my 4' wire Rx loops have been treated to even more spots than normal. Today was 25 MF uniques, the furthest was SV3DVO at 2277Km with 50mW of RF! Now although you can easily spot 25 stations at greater distances on the higher HF bands in half an hour, MF is below Medium Wave and WSPR ERP's are very rarely above 1W. In addition very few people can use full-size antennae so in many ways MF is a really good example of how to maximize real amateur radio activity on a shoestring budget. As there is very little commercial gear you have to DIY!

Some may think that they don't have the space for a MF set-up, well at present I'm RX only, back garden is about 30' x 30' and the RX antennae are inside shrubs, the only visible bit is the stainless whip for the E-field antenna so almost total stealth. It works quite well, the G8LCO spots are around as good as most but come from a very small garden in a large and busy town. If there is a "secret" it is to put the loops in the quietest places as far from habitation as possible. There is a lot to be gained in using two loops to survey your site by switching between them to find the best placements. I now use two crossed loops with bandpass filters and high gain pre-amps so that the signal back to the house is much more able to compete with house hash. In addition there are ferrite chokes on the feeders at the shack end, these filters make all of the difference between DX and only just down the road reception.

There is a great deal of misleading stuff about active antennae, quite simply if you don't decouple the antenna from the RX connected to the PC you won't hear low level signals because the feeder will take noise back to the antenna. The filter can be a few LOPT (flybacks) cores, ferrite rings or a "braid breaker", what you need is a way of greatly increasing the impedance of the whole feeder to common mode signals, it can make a whole new radio world available.

Happy New DX Year!!
Alan G8LCO