Total posts : 45366
I finished my SSTRAN base loaded antenna construction this morning, and preliminary testing is very promising. The base loading coil is 14 feet from the ground. My mast pole descends another 3 feet into the (cement filled) post hole.
I drove two 8 feet copper grounding rods using a post driver. I would highly recommend to anyone wanting to drive grounding rods to use a post driver. It’s a $20 tool that you’ll rarely use, but will save so much time and trouble over trying to hammer them in with a sledge hammer. I plan to put in more rods, perhaps up to a total of eight. The ground is very dry against the house and under the eaves. I wonder if I should “water” my antenna.
With my SSTRAN Tuned to 1680, I took a drive to some points north, south, east and west of my transmitter. The signal was very solid at least to 1/2 mile out. In many cases, it was quite listenable at one mile. To the west I was able to pick up the signal mixed with crosstalk (from the noisy 1620 station) at 3 miles. 1-2 miles to the east. I only went 1 mile north and 1 mile south and was able to hear it fairly well at some points.
When I got back home, I retuned to 1690 to try to get farther away from the 1620 splatter.
Right now I’ve got my MP3 player in the box on the mast looping one of my wife’s songs (http://www.roxanneredd.com/), which is probably driving nuts anyone who might happen on the signal. When the audio signal is quiet, I hear a hum that concerns me. I wouldn’t think it would be ground loop, since the audio device is battery powered and connected directly to the transmitter. Maybe I need to tweak the gain, modulation and compression controls or output level on the MP3 player.
I’ll do some more range testing over this week and let you all know my experiences.
In summary, the SSTRAN coupled with the SSTRAN antenna (following the instructions to the letter) seems to produce an excellent signal easily heard throughout my neighborhood, and a moderatly large part of central Omaha.