Contesting on 160m from Indonesia by Jo, YC0LOW (taken from CQ Contest Magazine, March 1999, p. 31-32)

Since 1997 I have always been in front of my radio listening 160 meters when the CQ WW Contest is on. When the band is open, then I make a lot of calls.

I am 45 years old, married and have two children (a 17-year-old boy and a 5-year-old girl). My formal education background is in Film and TV Studies. I graduated in England in 1980. Until 1993 I worked as a documentary filmmaker in Indonesia. Since 1994, however, I have been manager of an FM radio station in Jakarta. I am lucky, because all I do is radio (at work and at home, hi!).

No one in my house is a ham but me. I have been a ham since 1993. In January 1997, when I upgraded to Technician, I fell in love with Topband (160 meters). I have worked 69 countries and confirmed 57 on 160. Being in the equatorial zone, I must say it's very difficult to be an Indonesian Topbander due to the high noise all year! Based on info from Mike, VK6HD, there are only 15 YB/YC stations he has logged on 160 since 1984! This past August (1998) I participated in the YE1ZI special station as a 160 meter specialist. I am now in the process of taking a small survey about 160meter activities from YB/YC land.

Basically, my homemade antenna is a G5RV design. The length of the radiator wire is 88 meters (enameled, diameter 2.5 mm). The feed line is 100 feet of ladder-line (450 Ohm-type, made by RadioWorks). The antenna is connected to an FT-1000MP via the balance output of an MFJ 989-C tuner. In my shack there is also a linear amplifier - a Tokyo Hy-Power HL-2K that uses a pair of 3-500Z's. Usually, I use only 400 to 500 watts of power.

The antenna installation is far from perfect. The height of the feedpoint is 24 meters. One end is about 15 meters high and the other is only 7 meters. The apex angle is around 125 degrees. Sometimes I also call it "the inverted-Vee fed with ladder-line." Elevation of my QTH is 60 meters above sea level. The coordinates are S 6 degrees 20'/E 106 degrees 46' (measured with GPS Taiyo TGN-200). Locator: OI33JQ. Fig. 1 shows the antenna setup (note that the installation is not flattop as in the drawing).

Fig. 1

--------------------o--------------------- 44 m. length of wire at each end

|| 100ft, ladder-line, 450 Ohms


The 160 meter longest path ever made by me (with 'only' 300 watts) was on April 8, 1997 with Jack, VE1ZZ (2250Z). I gave him 569 and he gave 559. Also, another QSO happened almost a week later with Ron, PY1BVY, on April 13, 1997 (2257Z). I gave him 449 and he gave 589.

I finished my QSO for 160 Worked All Continents in April 1997. There were three SSB QSOs on 160 that I made in 1997 --i.e., VK6APZ (100 watts) and OH3ES and OH3TI (300 watts). During this season (1997-1998) I worked many US and VE (West Coast) stations on 160 only with 100 watts. NI6T was my first US station on Topband! 

-----------------------------public street--------------------------------------

------------Post #1-------------------------------------Post #2--------------

I've tried the shortened sloper from my 24 meter high tower. It works, but when using high power (300-500 watts) the MFJ gets hot quickly and it sometimes arcs. Also, due to the space limitations, the receiving direction (also transmitting?) favors VK/ZL rather than EU. Heat and arcing in the tuner, although a high power phenomenon, are happens when using a shortened (133 ft.) Carolina Windom 160 even though the horizontal wire radiator was hung flattop, 22 meters above ground (approximately). Now I have my full- size (256-ft.) Carolina Windom at hand, but I haven't had time to put it up yet.

With my existing antenna (dipole fed with ladder-line) I feel more comfortable. Maybe it's because I have no other experience with other antennas. I know it's not easy to put a decent signal out on 160meters. I believe there must be a better antenna for me, but I'll take my time. At least I've already kept the existing antenna for this season with only minor maintenance. The other antenna I have at hand is a KLM 160-V, but I can't find the space for its ground radials. If I put it up, maybe I'll use elevated radials.

My QTH lot is only 250 meter square. Fortunately, I can hang all the wire above the public street in front of my house. Of course, I have permission from my neighbors and/or the housing company. Fig. 2 is the sketch of my setup. When I experimented with a sloper, I used Post #2 to my house because it is taller than Post #1. Cinere (my QTH) is in a hilly and urban area. I am lucky because my QTH is on the highest terrain. The rest of the location tends to be lower to the west (Europe direction). I hope to see more friends on 160!

73 de Jo, YC0LOW