OZ5E/P IOTA 2017

When thinking about where to spend this year’s family holiday I thought it might be a good idea to combine it with some island activation as it conincided with the yearly IOTA contest last weekend of July. It’s been a few years since I last activated an IOTA reference.

Paul, DL5CW, had been active during July’s IOTA contest from Hjarnø Island, EU-172, for a few years in a row. So the idea arose to do the contest together. I booked one of the wooden huts on the Hjarnø Campsite for the family while Paul booked his usual hut near the campsite’s field as the radio shack.

Our fiberglass pole with the youth campers in the background – luckily no interference 😉

Arrived with the family Thursday before the contest and Paul joined on Friday. Antenna and station setup didn’t take too long. Paul had prepared everything quite well. We tried out one of the new Arial-51 OCF (off-center fed) dipoles for 80-6 m (Model 807-L) on a DX-Wire 15 m GRP “EXTRA” heavy-duty fiberglass pole. Weather was fine, almost no wind, so work was finished in about 1,5 hours. While the field is usually empty there was a youth group camping this time. The landlord had separated them from the rest of the campers. Obviously they were there for some party time. 😀 Of course our activities attracted their interest so a small group of girls came by after a while to ask what we were doing there. A good chance to explain what amateur radio is all about. They had never heard about it but easily understood it’s the same basics of radio for their mobile phones, too. 😉 An interesting conversation about the island and it’s history evolved, it turned out the family of one of the girls originated from Hjarnø. The whole group met there for party after finishing college and now meet up every year to keep in touch. Nice tradition! 😉

Antenna mast in wind – not good!

Weather changed rapidly on Saturday. Paul started the contest and wondered why QSO rates were so poor after about an hour. See reason on the picture left – antenna ends on the ground and feedpoint not much higher either! 🙁 Although we used 2 sets of guy wires they were probably too far apart so the mast bent dramatically. Luckily we used the HD mast version which probably saved the contest! Can’t imagine a “normal” glassfiber pole would have survived in that wind conditions. So we took it down hastily and reset the guy wires and also lowered the OCF’s balun position a bit to be on the save side. No problems afterwards and rates much better again. 😎

Conditions were quite okay being aware we’re almost in sunspot minimum. 40 & 20 m were the day-time “money bands” with 80 m close to them during the night. Even worked a good share of DX although we were only running 100 watts from an Elecraft K3.

There were a few small Sporadic E openings but activity was not very high thus not too many QSOs made on 15 & 10 m, a real pity! Certainly could have worked much more but as the bands were not very productive we QSY’d down soon again not to miss too much.

Yours truly checking condx before the contest.

Sunday brought a heavy thunderstorm late morning. It was difficult to still work somebody as the bands were full of static crashes and noise so we probably lost another good number of QSOs. Luckily it got much better after about an hour so we were able to run again.

All in all we’re quite happy with the result. We had expected to do some 1.000+ QSOs and finished with almost 1.300 – not too bad for just a hundred watts and a small wire antenna. 😎 The result will probably not be good enough for one of the leading positions because even in the low power class the competition is using better antennas (and more operators to errect them!) but we sure had lots of fun! Having the XYL cooking was certainly a small plus point, too. 😉

Contest         : IOTA Contest
Callsign        : OZ5E/P
Mode            : MIXED
Category        : Multi Operator - Single Transmitter (MS)
Overlay         : Dxpedition
Band(s)         : All bands (AB)
Class           : Low Power (LP)
Zone/State/...  : EU172
Locator         : JO55AT
Operating time  : 24h00

   80  232   37   94   26    2980  9.14 
   40  348   46  146   27    4130  8.36 
   20  318   31   62   13    2650  6.97 
   15   40   12   25    8     585  9.00 
   10   14    9    5    4     215 11.32 
TOTAL  952  135  332   78   10560  8.22 
        TOTAL SCORE : 2 249 280

Operators       : DH8BQA, DL5CW
Soapbox         : 2O1R1A = 2 Operators, 1 radio, 1 antenna ;-)

Many thanks to Andrew, OZ1XJ/OZ5E, for lending the short contest call! Made life much easier than operating CEPT style … Of course we do have lots of ideas what could be made better next time and also discussed where to go next year. If only these contests wouldn’t come so “surprisingly soon” all the time. 😉

Posted in Antennas, Contesting, Expeditions | Comments Off on OZ5E/P IOTA 2017

July VHF contest – claimed scores

Seems I do not need to grieve too much over my oversleeping Sunday morning in the July VHF contest. 😉 The points missed would not have changed anything in the standings. It’s just not possible to win from our northeastern-most location as long as somebody is on the hilltops in JN59/JO50 which is almost exactly in the middle of Germany! We’re simply too far away from the main activity centers … Nevertheless, always big fun! Especially enjoying our high kilometer averages with almost every QSO being DX. 😉

Posted in Contesting, VHF | Comments Off on July VHF contest – claimed scores

IM86 square #653 on 6 m

No QSOs sofar this week, QRL taking it’s toll. Small opening on 6 m tonight to Spain. Not expecting much, just tuning the band and only hearing 2 stations. Quite happy to see EA7CD was in IM86qs providing another new square on 50 MHz. 😎

Posted in Propagation, Sporadic E, VHF | Comments Off on IM86 square #653 on 6 m

Aurora & ES – just returned from HAMRADIO fair

Just returned from the HAMRADIO fair in Friedrichshafen. Good show and great to meet some old friends again like Enrico, I5WBE. Have worked him several times on 2 m Meteor Scatter some 20 years ago in HSCW (high speed CW, i.e. 1.000 lpm). Always nice to remember “the good old times” together although I like today’s world, too. 😉

After returning home this afternoon I was very astonished to see Aurora QSOs reported on the DX cluster! Switched on the radio and immediately worked GM4ZUK/P for my first ever Aurora QSO on 4 m! 😎 Concentrated on 4 & 6 m this time as Heiko, DG1BHA, was at the station, too, trying his luck on 2 m. So only two contacts on 144 MHz this time but with R3CT some really good DX included!

6 m opened very selectively via Sporadic-E afterwards, too, even on double hop to EA8! Good to hear some signals again, July has been rather disappointing sofar after the great ES openings in June …

15:28 GM4ZUK/P       IO86RW  55A    55A    4 m.   CW   AUR    1141
15:43 LA2QM          JO59HN  55A    59A    6 m.   CW   AUR     742
15:46 YL2JZ          KO26AW  59A    57A    6 m.   CW   AUR     751
15:50 SA5K           JO78LH  59A    59A    6 m.   CW   AUR     572
15:52 SM7FJE         JO65ML  59A    55A    6 m.   CW   AUR     266
16:06 R3CT           KO86QF  53A    57A    2 m.   CW   AUR    1518
16:22 SMØLPO         JO89TE  55A    55A    6 m.   CW   AUR     699
16:25 SM5EPO         JP8ØMC  59A    56A    6 m.   CW   AUR     788
16:32 SM6CVX         JO78FM  59A    55A    6 m.   SSB  AUR     593
16:38 YL2FZ          KO37QI  53A    59A    2 m.   CW   AUR     952
16:46 SM6CMU         JO57XK  55A    55A    6 m.   CW   AUR     493
16:49 SM6OEF         JO68KI  52A    55A    6 m.   CW   AUR     580
17:01 AM625VQ        JM19HN  599    599    6 m.   CW   ES     1751
17:03 EA4AA          IN8ØBK  59     59     6 m.   SSB  ES     1964
17:04 EA8DBM         IL18OH  59     59     6 m.   SSB  ES     3747
17:07 EA4DE          IN8ØLL  59     59     6 m.   SSB  ES     1918
17:09 EA8AQV         IL28ED  59     59     6 m.   SSB  ES     3700
17:11 EA1ASC         IN7ØDX  59     59     6 m.   SSB  ES     2016
Posted in Aurora, Meteor Scatter, Propagation, Sporadic E, VHF | Comments Off on Aurora & ES – just returned from HAMRADIO fair

July VHF contest … stupid me!

Well, not very satisfied! Reason is I completely overslept Sunday morning! Seems I either didn’t hear the alarm clock (had even set 2 different times to be safe!) or set it wrong, not sure. Just wanted to take a break of 3 hours but woke up only 6,5 hours later! Oh boy, this could easily have been a 200k points contest if it wasn’t for that stupidity. Certainly missed some 50+ QSOs and 20k+ points which would have brought me above the “magic” 200k points mark easily. 🙁

Despite that condx were not too good, lots of QSB due to the bad weather all over Europe. Working the DX was struggling but still caught most of the regulars. Total result is also better than last year, think it might even be the second best July result ever from this location, will check that later.

At least I got up just in time for the short 2 m ES opening! While SP1’s just 40 km north of me worked into UA4 it was NIL overhere. 🙁 But that’s the nature of Sporadic-E, I even experienced openings in the past were there were stations 5 km away to be worked and nil here and then vice versa a few minutes later. After all that’s what’s fascinating about ES openings, too, isn’t it? 😉 Let’s see what this so far very good (although I missed a number of openings due to QRL) ES season will bring during the next few days/weeks.

Fidel, EA1HRR, reported hearing me for 30 seconds on a really good MS burst but couldn’t make it through the DL pile-up with his QRP setup, pity! Normally July is good for 1-2 MS (enhanced) QSOs, too, but not lucky this time (you know all has to fit perfectly then) …

Contest Report from DH8BQA in JO73CE at 144 MHz

Contest : DARC-JULY-CONTEST 2017
Date    : 2017 Jul 01 - 02
Section : 01 144MHz Single OP
QTH     : Woltersdorf

TX      : IC-7400 + PA, 750 W
RX      : IC-7400 + MGF1302
Antenna : 10 ele DK7ZB Yagi, 20 mAGL, 70 mASL
Log     : TACLog by OZ2M, 1,995, http://www.qsl.net/oz2m

QSOs    :  437
-invalid:    0                                        points/QSO
-valid  :  437     QSO-points (*1)    :    184844            423
WWLs    :   86     WWL bonus (0)      :         0              0
DXCCs   :   20     DXCC bonus (0)     :         0              0
                   ------------------------------         ------
                   Total score        :    184844            423

ODX     : 9A4V in JN95KI at 935 km

Worked World Wide Locators:
JN37:   2  JN78:   4  JO20:   1  JO47:   1  JO68:   1  KN08:   1
JN38:   2  JN79:  18  JO21:   1  JO50:  19  JO70:  24  KN09:   3
JN39:   6  JN85:   1  JO22:   2  JO51:  16  JO71:  11  KN18:   2
JN47:   5  JN86:   3  JO30:   4  JO52:  13  JO72:   4  KO00:   1
JN48:  14  JN87:   3  JO31:  13  JO53:   4  JO73:   9  KO02:   2
JN49:  10  JN88:  12  JO32:   3  JO54:   1  JO80:   7  KO10:   1
JN57:   2  JN89:  11  JO33:   2  JO55:   1  JO81:   2  KO12:   1
JN58:   5  JN95:   4  JO40:   8  JO59:   1  JO82:   2  KO13:   2
JN59:   5  JN96:   1  JO41:  10  JO60:  17  JO83:   2  KO14:   2
JN67:   1  JN97:   2  JO42:   9  JO61:  18  JO90:   4  KO15:   3
JN68:   6  JN98:   4  JO43:   7  JO62:  14  JO91:   1  KO22:   1
JN69:   9  JN99:  14  JO44:   3  JO63:   1  JO92:   1  KO24:   1
JN75:   1  JO02:   1  JO45:   1  JO64:   5  JO94:   4  KO25:   2
JN76:   4  JO10:   1  JO46:   1  JO65:   8  JO96:   2  KO33:   1
JN77:   4  JO11:   1   

Worked DXCCs:
9A  :   5  G   :   1  LY  :   8  OM  :  16  PA  :   7  SP  :  30
DL  : 227  HA  :   7  OE  :  14  ON  :   2  S5  :   7  UA2 :   1
EU  :   4  HB  :   4  OK  :  83  OZ  :   9  SM  :   7  UR  :   2
F   :   2  LA  :   1   

Top 10 QSO-points:
20170702 0007 9A4V       559  264    599  203     JN95KI     935
20170702 0005 9A8D       559  263    599  213     JN95LM     919
20170701 2353 9A7D       51   261    59   171     JN95CI     918
20170702 0754 EV4R       51   273    59   030     KO33VI     903
20170701 2355 9A1CRS     51   262    59   249     JN95IT     882
20170702 0913 G4SWX      559  317    559  003     JO02RF     865
20170701 2311 9A9R       559  252    599  220     JN85OQ     862
20170702 1032 HG3X       59   338    59   197     JN96EE     834
20170701 2249 S59DEM     59   246    59   426     JN75DS     825
20170701 1542 HB9KAB     57   081    59   070     JN37WA     821
Posted in Contesting, Propagation, Sporadic E, VHF | Comments Off on July VHF contest … stupid me!

SV5 – Dodecanese, DXCC #34 on 4 m and square #652 on 6 m

Not even a handful of QSOs today but all very special! First of all I caught TZ4AM on 6 m!  It didn’t take long to find out his split listening tactics so I didn’t need more than 2 calls to nail him. 😎 While I had worked Mali on 6 m before (TZ6EI/IK62 in 2009) IK51 was a new square, now up to #652 … Then I finally caught Mike, SV5BYR, on 4 m. 😎 I had been chasing him through the whole season of 2015 as well as this year! I had heard him a few times but signals were never strong enough for my tiny 4 m QRP signal to be heard on his end. But now we made it. Now only SV9 missing from that region so keeping fingers crossed I’ll be able to work some of the Crete guys on 4 m, too, before our special permit ceases end of August.

16:58  TZ4AM         IK51XH  599    579    6 m.   CW    ES    5058
17:16  SV5BYR        KM46CK  599    599    4 m.   CW    ES    2156
17:22  9H1PI         JM75FW  599    599    4 m.   CW    ES    1918
Posted in DX, Propagation, Sporadic E, VHF | Comments Off on SV5 – Dodecanese, DXCC #34 on 4 m and square #652 on 6 m

Another evening ES & square #651 on 6 m

4 m continues to open in the evenings which is great for guys like me who spend their day time at work. 😉 Tonight it was open to Finland again. As usual with these openings I was almost too close meaning I need a higher MUF than the rest of Germany to work somebody, therefor “only” 4 QSOs in the log … Also great to work Ulli, DK2BJ, expeditioning in Norway activating JP44 which was a new square on 6 m. 😎 He was also QRV on 4 m but unfortunately the skip was not right for us there …

17:45  OH6CT         KP24WV   599   579    4 m.   CW    ES    1457
17:47  OH1TM         KPØ1VJ   55    59     4 m.   SSB   ES    1018
17:48  OH1LEU        KPØ1VF   55    59     4 m.   SSB   ES    1002
17:52  OH8WW         KP24HP   599   599    4 m.   CW    ES    1403
18:21  LA/DK2BJ/P    JP44XA   59    59     6 m.   SSB   ES    1228
Posted in Propagation, Sporadic E, VHF | Comments Off on Another evening ES & square #651 on 6 m

TF – Iceland, DXCC #33 on 4 m :-)

Another great ES to be caught after finishing QRL, love these evening openings! 😉 Especially glad to work TF3ML for another new 4 m DXCC country. 😎 Distance is at the very edge of what’s possible with one hop and indeed I had to wait for quite a while until his signal came up to workable levels!

16:48  EI8IQ         IO62SF   59    59     4 m.   SSB   ES    1391
16:49  G3XDY         JOØ2OB   59    59     4 m.   SSB   ES     885
16:50  G4TVR         IO92BI   59    59     4 m.   SSB   ES    1083
16:50  G8GFF         JOØ1FS   59    59     4 m.   SSB   ES     943
16:51  GW6KLQ        IO82IT   59    59     4 m.   SSB   ES    1169
16:58  EI3GYB        IO53OT   59    59     4 m.   SSB   ES    1516
16:59  G4GFD         IO83RL   59    59     4 m.   SSB   ES    1110
17:01  GW4HBK        IO81KP   59    55     4 m.   SSB   ES    1185
17:02  MØAJJ         IO83NN   59    59     4 m.   SSB   ES    1131
17:03  GD3YEO        IO74RD   59    59     4 m.   SSB   ES    1236
17:06  GM4ZMK        IO75TW   59    59     4 m.   SSB   ES    1232
17:07  GØJHC         IO83PQ   59    59     4 m.   SSB   ES    1119
17:11  EC1AJL        IN73CI   59    59     4 m.   SSB   ES    1829
18:30  TF3ML/P       HP93KU   59    59     4 m.   SSB   ES    2325
18:47  CT1FFU        IM59KK   599   599    4 m.   CW    ES    2336
19:10  EA1HRR        IN83JJ   59    59     4 m.   SSB   ES    1679
19:50  G4VCJ         IO94JQ   59    59     4 m.   SSB   ES    1020
20:03  G6TGO         IO83UJ   57    56     4 m.   SSB   ES    1094
Posted in Propagation, Sporadic E, VHF | Comments Off on TF – Iceland, DXCC #33 on 4 m :-)

More ES on 4 m tonight …

After the great 2 m opening early afternoon 4 m saw a nice opening during the evening, too, this time into the UK allowing a few more QSOs than usual:

13:05  S51DI         JN76VL   59    59     4 m.   SSB   ES     754
13:11  EA2BCJ        IN91MP   59    59     4 m.   SSB   ES    1710
19:13  G4ASR         IO81MX   59    59     4 m.   SSB   ES    1164
19:18  G8XYJ         IO82PJ   59    59     4 m.   SSB   ES    1138
19:19  G4IOQ         IO82KT   59    59     4 m.   SSB   ES    1157
19:20  G4PEO         IO91UB   59    59     4 m.   SSB   ES    1015
19:20  EI4GNB        IO63WE   59    59     4 m.   SSB   ES    1350
19:20  GW4ZHI        IO82AH   59    59     4 m.   SSB   ES    1223
19:22  MWØGOV        IO71LS   59    59     4 m.   SSB   ES    1309
19:23  EI8IQ         IO62SF   59    59     4 m.   SSB   ES    1391
19:26  GØJHC         IO83PQ   59    59     4 m.   SSB   ES    1119
19:27  G7RAU         IO9ØIR   59    59     4 m.   SSB   ES    1094
19:30  GU6EFB        IN89RK   59    59     4 m.   SSB   ES    1233
20:43  GØGMB         IO92NB   59    59     4 m.   SSB   ES    1023
20:44  G3NPI         IO92MA   59    59     4 m.   SSB   ES    1030
20:44  G3TA          IO81XS   59    59     4 m.   SSB   ES    1109
20:47  G8CMU         IO81RW   59    59     4 m.   SSB   ES    1138
20:54  2EØNEY        IO81VK   59    59     4 m.   SSB   ES    1130
Posted in Propagation, Sporadic E, VHF | Comments Off on More ES on 4 m tonight …

Fantastic Sporadic-E opening!

Wow, what a great 2 m ES opening today! Already when driving between two of our QRL locations around 8z this morning I had this gut feeling. Checked dxmaps.com around 8:30z and saw things evolving. Unfortunately I had to be back in the office for another meeting but when done around 10z and looking at the MUF map again I saw those big red colored squares all over the place! Luckily no other meetings scheduled for today so I rushed into the car to drive home and was QRV by 12:30 local time. And my first QSO was already a new one! 😎

Worked a number of Russian and Ukrainian stations. Had the feeling activity was not that high but that might have been due to the fact we were not optimally located, it was even better further south west. As you can see on the map (big thanks to Gabriel, EA6VQ, for his great service!) there were at least 3 different clusters of high MUF E-clouds. So it was not astounding that around 12z while 2m was still wide open into UA4 it also opened into south-west France. But only one station hrd/wrkd here (again much better about 100 km south). Although no additional QSOs in the log the band was still open until about 12:30z overhere, the usual UA4’s from LN29/LO20 were still pounding in but no fresh meat anymore … Speaking of UA4’s: RX4CQ provided a new square, too. Had tried with him on MS in the past without luck so even more happy to catch him on ES now. 🙂

Also worth mentioning is the QSO with UT3BW at under 1.000 km which is a sign for an extremely high MUF, must have been in the 170 MHz’s or so …

10:30  UA6LNS        LNØ7KM # 59    59     2 m.   SSB   ES    1980
10:37  UA4AQL        LO2ØQB   599   599    2 m.   CW    ES    2161
10:38  RA4A          LO2ØQC   59    59     2 m.   SSB   ES    2159
10:41  UA4ALU        LN29LA   55    59     2 m.   SSB   ES    2178
10:54  UR5LX         KO7ØWK   59    59     2 m.   SSB   ES    1514
10:55  UR4LSK        KO8ØCA   59    59     2 m.   SSB   ES    1552
11:05  UT3BW         KN29UA   59    59     2 m.   SSB   ES     925
11:09  RN3ZU         KO7ØTA   59    59     2 m.   FM    ES    1514
11:11  UW5EDK        KN78MH   59    59     2 m.   FM    ES    1555
11:13  R3WW          KO81DF   59    59     2 m.   SSB   ES    1514
11:14  RL3QDD        KO91OQ   59    59     2 m.   SSB   ES    1694
11:19  UA3QIN        KO91NP   599   599    2 m.   CW    ES    1689
11:21  RX4CQ         LO3ØLV # 59    59     2 m.   SSB   ES    2234
11:25  UR5GKD        KN66RU   55    59     2 m.   SSB   ES    1538
11:30  UR3GS         KN66QR   59    59     2 m.   FM    ES    1541
11:31  UR5GKD        KN66RU   59    59     2 m.   FM    ES    1538
11:31  US1GCH        KN66RU   59    59     2 m.   FM    ES    1538
11:33  UA4ALU        LN29LA   599   599    2 m.   CW    ES    2178
11:35  URØGE         KN66RT   59    59     2 m.   SSB   ES    1541
11:38  UR3GS         KN66QR   59    59     2 m.   SSB   ES    1541
11:39  UR8GZ         KN66RT   59    59     2 m.   FM    ES    1541
12:04  F4ARU         JNØ3QL   55    55     2 m.   SSB   ES    1432

After the band had closed here, meaning we were too close to the clouds then, F2CT worked far into Russia on double hop ES with distances > 3.800 km! I’m quite sure he opened a bottle afterwards … 😉

All in all 2 m was open for 4,5 hours continously! Glad I at least caught 2 hours of it. Doesn’t happen very often. And it really sounded like 20 m at times. 😎

Posted in Propagation, Sporadic E, VHF | Comments Off on Fantastic Sporadic-E opening!

4O – Montenegro, DXCC #32 on 4 m

Not much worked recently, missed most of the fun due to QRL and other commitments. But good to catch this late night opening today and even work a new one with Dule, 4O6AH. 😎

19:28  9H1PI         JM75FW   599   599    4 m.   CW    ES    1918
19:36  SV2JAO        KN1ØDN   599   599    4 m.   CW    ES    1530
19:51  9A6R          JN83FM   599   599    4 m.   CW    ES    1087
20:11  4O6AH         JN92PL   559   559    4 m.   CW    ES    1249
Posted in Propagation, Sporadic E, VHF | Comments Off on 4O – Montenegro, DXCC #32 on 4 m

Double hop on 4m, triple hop on 6 m

Good to see 4 m open via double hop today. Unfortunately EA8ACW didn’t know that DLs are only allowed between 70.150 and 70.180 MHz and despite a few hints on the DX cluster he didn’t QSY away from 70.200 MHz. A real pity, so still no IL28 wkd. 🙁 Unfortunately I was once again too close to the E-clouds into Finland thus only 2 contacts made. Much more was possible a little further south … but was lucky enough to catch TY2AC on triple hop ES on 6 m later on. Had worked him on CW in the past already and wouldn’t have called him now again if he would have had any callers …

10:37  EA1UR         IN53TF   59    55     4 m.   SSB   ES    1993
10:38  EA8DBM        IL18OH   59    59     4 m.   SSB   2xES  3747
10:39  EA1BFZ        IN81SS   59    59     4 m.   SSB   ES    1774
10:54  EA2BCJ        IN91MP   59    59     4 m.   SSB   ES    1710
13:23  LZ2WO         KN23AL   599   599    4 m.   CW    ES    1298
13:24  OF1XT         KPØ1UK   57    59     4 m.   SSB   ES    1020
13:27  OH1TM         KPØ1VJ   57    59     4 m.   SSB   ES    1018
13:32  DL7PV         JO62NL   569   559    4 m.   CW    TR     107
14:21  OK1DIG        JO6ØXJ   579   579    4 m.   CW    TR     311
16:07  TY2AC         JJ16EI   55    55     6 m.   SSB   3xES  5316
Posted in DX, Propagation, Sporadic E, VHF | Comments Off on Double hop on 4m, triple hop on 6 m

Japan on 6 m

Before packing everything this morning (yes, my yearly “ES holiday” is over again, sigh) I took advantage of a quadruple hop ES opening into Japan. CW sigs were all too weak but there was plenty of activity on JT65! Unfortunately only one QSO made as I’m currently only QRP on 6 m. Saw decodes from about a dozen different Japanese but couldn’t make it through the JT65 pileups. 🙁 Nevertheless glad to catch my only 2nd ever JA opening on 6 m and to at least have worked another new square. 😉

07:39  JHØRNN        PM97OV  -03   -05     6 m.   JT65  4xES  8588
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Two new squares on 6 m …

Not much VHF propagation today in JO73. Although there were a few openings and even 2 m Sporadic-E again it was all too far away from here. Only made a handful of 4 m QSOs in the late morning. But it was great to catch two new squares on 6 m in the afternoon. 😎

Also tried with OJØJR via Meteor Scatter on 4 m in the evening but reflections were sparse. While I heard him okay he didn’t copy anything from me despite only a 3 dB power difference. Well, he’ll be back on Market Reef in August so maybe better luck then. Just for fun I caught him afterwards on 60 m CW (matching our 80 m dipole, hi) for a new one which is not that difficult as I didn’t do a lot of ops on 60 m yet. 😉

08:52  EA1SI         IN73DM   59    55     4 m.   SSB   ES    1812
09:44  EA6VQ         JM19HN   59    59     4 m.   SSB   ES    1751
10:15  EA3AQJ        JN11BI   59    59     4 m.   SSB   ES    1596
10:26  EB5YF         IM99SL   59    59     4 m.   SSB   ES    1887
15:04  7YØA          JM16MT   59    59     6 m.   SSB   ES    2015
15:08  7X2KF         JMØ6PM # 57    57     6 m.   SSB   ES    2106
15:40  TF3ML/P       HP93KU # 59    59     6 m.   SSB   ES    2325
20:44  OJØJR         JP90NH   599   599    60 m.  CW           846
Posted in DX, Meteor Scatter, Propagation, Sporadic E, VHF | Comments Off on Two new squares on 6 m …

Another great evening on the VHF bands …

Who would have believed that? 6, 4 & 2 m were completely closed all day. It was just late afternoon that the bands opened in western Europe (G to EA) and early evening finally overhere, too. This time into the south-west, starting with EA6 on 4 m, then moving over to EA mainland. After 17z the MUF rose quickly above 100 MHz and reached 144 MHz an hour later. Clouds were once again too far west from here but the reflection zone moved a bit then allowing QSOs between southern DL and EI. As common with these openings our reflections from the E-clouds then land between northern Spain and the Normandy in the big blue ocean as can be seen on the left hand picture (blue line). But this time the luck was with us as UT1FG/mm was sailing exactly over there! Can you imagine how surprised I was when he answered my CQ call? 😀 IN54 was of course another new square and that one QSO really made my day. 😎 Looking at the path and the to be expected symmetry it certainly also included some 3-400 km tropo extension on his end …

I made a small recording of Yuri afterwards when his signal had already dropped again:

4 m was still hot afterwards but again between south DL and the UK. We were simply to far north to take advantage of that opening (DJ5MN made over 200 QSOs on 4 m today!). But it was very interesting to hear a few G stations on sidescatter beaming into the ES reflection zone! Later 4 m opened slightly into the UK & Ireland direct path but all very spotty. While writing this blog entry (almost 21z) EA1HRR is still audible on 4 m so the MUF is still high. This might be an indication for another great day on VHF tomorrow … keeping fingers crossed! 😉

16:36  EA6VQ         JM19HN   59    59     4 m.   SSB   ES    1751
16:45  EA5/GØKSC     IM97PX   57    53     4 m.   SSB   ES    2042
16:47  EA5TT         IM99SL   559   559    4 m.   CW    ES    1887
17:06  EA3WD         JNØ1XK   59    55     4 m.   SSB   ES    1595
17:10  EB5YF         IM99SL   55    59     4 m.   SSB   ES    1887
17:27  EA2BCJ        IN91MP   59    59     4 m.   SSB   ES    1710
18:11  CT1HZE        IM57NH   579   559    4 m.   CW    ES    2504
18:20  UT1FG/MM      IN54   # 59    59     2 m.   SSB   ES    1936
18:44  G3SHK         IO9ØDX   59    57     4 m.   SSB   ES    1112
18:47  G7RAU         IO9ØIR   55    57     4 m.   SSB   ES    1094
18:49  EI4DQ         IO51WU   599   599    4 m.   CW    ES    1512
19:11  G8BCG         IO7ØRK   59    59     4 m.   SSB   ES    1320
19:40  EA1HRR        IN83JJ   529   559    4 m.   CW    ES    1679

Posted in Audio recordings, Propagation, Sporadic E, VHF | Comments Off on Another great evening on the VHF bands …

More 4 & 2 m Sporadic-E :-)

Another great day on the VHF bands! 😎 MUF was high all morning already. Lots of 6 m activity and cluster spots from Russia hearing Europe. Won’t imagine what happens if Russia is ever allowed to transmit on 6 m … 😉 2 m opened again via Sporadic-E between SP8 and UA6 as well as YU and UA4 but clouds were to far away to be usable from here. Had strong OIRT signals on 4 m from UR and UA6. The band was open in parallel also to SV as well as EA6. Good to catch EA6SA on 4 m after having worked him on 2 & 6 m in the past. 😉 Was not sure where to point the 2 m antenna to. Would the clouds enabling the QSOs in Southeastern Europe move westwards and be reachable from JO73? Or would the MUF direction south rise any further? Decided to keep it straight south …

Luckily I did as a quarter past 11z the following happened: 😎

I quickly QSY’d a few kHz up and called CQ myself and was very lucky to be called by Chris, expeditioning as IK8/PA2CHR in South Italy making my day providing square #545 on 2 m with JM79! 😎 Great stuff after I had missed him in JM87 the days before.

It seemed the MUF would rise up to 2 m again during the afternoon. Indeed it did but once more not reachable from here. While monitoring 144.300 MHz for additional openings I had some more fun on 4 m, too …

09:45  EA6SA         JM19LO   59    59     4 m.   SSB   ES    1734
09:50  EA6FB         JMØ8PW   599   559    4 m.   CW    ES    1865
11:13  IK8XLD        JN7ØVO   59    59     2 m.   SSB   ES    1404
11:19  IT9BDM        JM77NE   59    59     2 m.   SSB   ES    1780
11:21  IK8/PA2CHR    JM79VQ # 59    59     2 m.   SSB   ES    1505
14:49  SW8YA         KN2ØHS   59    59     4 m.   SSB   ES    1587
15:14  SV1DH         KM18VA   59    51     4 m.   SSB   ES    1839
15:24  SV8CS         KMØ7JS   59    59     4 m.   SSB   ES    1787
15:32  SV1QT         KM17UW   59    58     4 m.   SSB   ES    1846
15:43  9H1FL         JM75GT   59    59     4 m.   SSB   ES    1932
15:59  9H1PI         JM75FW   59    59     4 m.   SSB   ES    1918
17:38  9H1ES         JM75FV   59    59     4 m.   SSB   ES    1922

Also heard were SV5BYR (too weak) and SV9GPV who took too long to recognize the band was open to DL and to QSY into our “sub-band”. A pity, both would have been new ones on 4 m, too. Also monitored Henri, OH3JR, who’s currently active as OJØJR from Market Reef via Meteor Scatter but reflections were not very favourable. Keeping fingers crossed I can catch him maybe tomorrow or on Friday. Chances are low that there will be additional 4 m activities from that small island in the middle of the northern Baltic Sea anytime soon …

Posted in Audio recordings, Meteor Scatter, Propagation, Sporadic E, VHF | Comments Off on More 4 & 2 m Sporadic-E :-)

First 2 m Sporadic-E this year and 4 m thoughts

After the bad condx last weekend things got much much better this morning. 😎 Had a nice start on 4 m into Greece after arriving at the QTH and it did not take long until also the 2 m band opened via Sporadic-E into southern Italy for the first time this year:

09:59  IT9ZVL        JM68SA   59    59     2 m.   SSB   ES    1687
10:00  IKØWGF        JN52VC   55    59     2 m.   SSB   ES    1245
10:01  IUØFNL        JN61FU   59    59     2 m.   SSB   ES    1267
10:03  IWØBJP        JN62CK   59    59     2 m.   SSB   ES    1204
10:04  IW9BJU        JM77IA   52    59     2 m.   SSB   ES    1798

Four meters was hot late afternoon, too, so I could work some additional fine QSOs there:

09:20  SW8YA         KN2ØHS   59    59     4 m.   SSB   ES    1587
16:17  YO9HP         KN35BA   59    59     4 m.   SSB   ES    1252
16:33  LZ1ZP         KN22ID   57    57     4 m.   SSB   ES    1454
16:52  SV2DCD        KNØØPL   59    59     4 m.   SSB   ES    1510
17:08  SV2JAO        KN1ØDN   599   599    4 m.   CW    ES    1530
17:18  YO7BSN        KN15PB   599   599    4 m.   CW    ES    1117
17:27  LZ1AG         KN22ID   599   599    4 m.   CW    ES    1454
17:42  SV7GBR        KN2ØIX   59    59     4 m.   SSB   ES    1569

Also heard Z35Z (which would have been a new country) quite nicely but condx were gone until we could coordinate “QSX” via the DXcluster. Macedonia may only transmit on 70.275 MHz while Germany has it’s temporary allocation from 70.150 – 70.180 MHz. That means a QSO is only possible using “split”, i.e. listening on .275 but transmitting on .155 and vice versa. A pity, hope to have better luck next time!

Seems I was the first guy, too, to hear the Kuwait beacon on 4 m! I was stumbling across a weak CW beacon signal on 70.169,6 MHz in the middle of our allocation around 16:45z which turned out to be 9K2YM/B on double-hop Sporadic-E! A pity that Yaser was not at the station that time so to QSO over these 3.800 km will have to wait a little longer … 😉

As you can see the total number of QSOs is not that high on 4 m. “Four” is definitely not a band for big runs, at least not from Germany (it’s probably different if you’re sitting in one of the ES hotspots in the Mediterranean). 😉 The regions you can reach from here all only have limited 4 m activity (except the UK which is historically “the” 4 m country). So it is more about all the fascinating propagation modes and openings to explore, even if it means you’re going to work the same guys over and over again. But it was fun listening to the guys down south working all the new DL stations on the band. Seems activity from Germany is very high this year. The availability of commercial radios including the band like the IC-7100 or the the IC-7300 certainly helped it quite a lot to have a go on this very interesting band.

It used to be the same fascination with 6 m some 10 to 20 years ago when it still was “the gentlemen’s band”. Things have changed dramatically, take a listen to some DX pileups on 6 m yourself … it’s just awful, no discipline at all anymore, just like on HF. Thus I enjoy operating on 4 m even more nowadays. To me “four is the new six” … 😉

Posted in Propagation, Sporadic E, VHF | Comments Off on First 2 m Sporadic-E this year and 4 m thoughts

CQ WPX CW 2017 with some interesting propagation

My decision to start SOSB10(A) was made a few days ago already. Last year I did indeed set a new DL record although I would not have expected my result to stay above the record after the log check. Obviously my logging accuracy was not as bad as expected. 😉

It was also good enough for a World #4 finish! 😎 Usually there’s a 50/50 chance at the end of May to get some good Sporadic-E openings and have lots of fun on 10 m as was the case last year. Seems I was rather unlucky last weekend. 🙁 But read on …

While we had some good openings during the week Friday already saw the band closed most of the day. Got up early Saturday morning to check for any early openings. Nothing on 10 m yet so had a quick scan through 40 m to hand out a few points. Seems low band condx were quite nice, ufb signals from the U.S. (even a few West Coast hrd/wkd) and also P44X, our BCC guys on Aruba, had quite a nice signal. Up on 20 m conditions were even better! Was looking for some longpath openings into the Pacific but there were none … but shortpath instead! Great signals from the U.S. West Coast and a few KH6s booming in at 59+ signals as well as KL7 – ufb! E51DWC was a very good catch, too. 😎

But I was there for 10 m, wasn’t I? Band opened around 6:30z into UA6 via ES. It later shifted more south enabling QSOs into most of the Mediterranean countries including North Africa. Around 8z it opened into Spain. That E-clouds were also strong enough to allow a number of backscatter QSOs into almost all of Europe providing the needed multipliers. I was also heard by the J68HZ-# skimmer for quite a while but nobody worked from the Caribbean, seems propagation was very spotlight over 3 ES hops. Ten closed around 10:45z over here.

It took almost 4 hours to open again, so plenty of time to get some lunch and hand out a few more points on 15 and 20 m inbetween. 10 m opened literally over the same clouds again into Spain and got linked into South America for about 20 minutes. So I was lucky to catch a few PYs as 3 pointers, too. Unfortunately activity was very low that time thus only 20 QSOs worked during that 1,5 hours opening. A single EA2 answered my CQs about an hour later but that was it for Saturday, just 135 contacts worked. Repaired the 20 m rotator interface during the evening and handed out a few more points on the lower bands.

Getting up Sunday morning found the bands in very bad shape. While P44X was a reasonable 539 on 80 m (but didn’t hear me) there was no stateside to be heard, neither on 80 nor on 40 m. Didn’t sound good, bands were also very noisy. A quick check of the propagation websites revealed the reason … Aurora! Lots of spots on the DXcluster already from Scandinavia working AU on VHF. I could also hear the SK4MPI/B Aurora warning beacon on 2 m at 51A. Thus gave it a try on 10 m, too, beaming North and was glad to be called by LA3BO at 7:26z for an interesting Aurora contest QSO with it’s typical sound. I had worked Svein numerous times on 2 m via Aurora before so was glad there were two experienced VHF OPs on both sides of that contact to make it work. 😎

Unfortunately nobody else on Aurora but a few troposcatter and groundwave contacts as well as some Meteor Scatter, i.e. with PA3AAV (took a few minutes to complete the number exchange, thanks for your patience, Gert). As is almost common on 6 m there was some Aurora-E after the Aurora on 10 m, too, providing big sigs from Finland but only 2 stations worked.

A small ES opening to Romania followed with two strong YOs in the log. Besides this there was at least some weak backscatter zones, mostly beaming East, that allowed for a number of additional QSOs across Europe (interestingly mostly Germany). But activity was still very low. I can certainly understand the people who are participating all bands to skip 10 m with such bad propagation and rather spend their time on the lower bands with high(er) QSO rates. Last QSO was at 12:30z, number 178 to be exact.

10 m stayed closed all afternoon. Likewise 15 m, almost no signals at all! Even 20 m had no DX signals, only a few Europeans. Must have been very frustrating for all the Allband guys, too. But I didn’t want to give up that easily. After completing 6 bands with 9A1A and DF0WRTC I decided to start CQing on 10 m again. And if it was just for another 2 or 3 troposcatter or groundwave contacts (although I had probably worked all of the “locals” already). Suddenly I got weak skimmer spots from UA4 and OH so it seemed there would be another opening. And yes, it was. Starting to Northern Scandinavia and Baltic states around 17z with 40 to 60+ dB skimmer spots then from SM2 & OH6. 😎 About 18:30z there was a strong Sporadic-E opening from Western Europe to Northern Scandinavia on 6 m, too, so I decided to beam straight into that E-cloud cluster. Glad I did, it provided lots of ES backscatter QSOs across all of Europe as well as direct path to the UK and even PA & ON confirming the high MUF of that clouds. This time there was plenty of activity, it seemed everybody was trying to grab that last chance. 🙂

At 19:42z the PJ2A-# skimmer started spotting me, seems there was another 3-hop opening into the Caribbean! At 20:18z also the J68HZ-# skimmer heard me again! But it took until 20:28z for the first Caribbean contact when John, P40W, called me being very weak. Knowing he is only running low power that certainly explained his weak signal. But then it should be possible to work “our guys” at P44X as well. Found them a few minutes later CQing higher in the band and made it into their log after a few calls, too. 🙂 Band was good enough for another half a dozen QSOs until it finally closed at 21:30z …

That 4,5 hours opening certainly made up for all the boredom during Sunday afternoon. Glad I didn’t call it a day earlier. But that’s something I have learned during the last 28 years being a radio amateur with a special addiction to 10 m. 😉

Even if the total QSO amount and final points are way below earlier results this weekend yielded in some interesting propagation studies again. We had Groundwave, Troposcatter, Meteor Scatter, Sporadic-E, Backscatter, triple-hop ES, Aurora, Aurora-E and who knows if the South America contacts didn’t involve some F2 or TEP after the first hop with ES. That’s something only 10 m can provide. But you have to be there not to miss any of these openings … 😉

                    CQWW WPX Contest, CW

Call: DH8BQA

Class: SO(A)SB10 HP
QTH: JO73ce
Operating Time (hrs): 18

 Band  QSOs
  160: (21)
   80: (36)
   40: (84)
   20: (87)
   15: (17)
   10:  320
Total:  320  Prefixes = 212  Total Score = 73,776

Club: Bavarian Contest Club

Elecraft K3, PA + 6 ele OWA Yagi @60ft.
Posted in Aurora, Contesting, Meteor Scatter, Propagation, Sporadic E | Comments Off on CQ WPX CW 2017 with some interesting propagation

Caught the first 4 m ES today

Have caught the first 4m Sporadic E today since our special permit. Big signals but very spotty … Also made a few tropo contacts … feels good to be back on the band. 😎

11:19  GW6TEO        IO71LP   59    59     4 m.   SSB   ES    1312
11:21  GU6EFB        IN89RK   59    59     4 m.   SSB   ES    1233
11:37  GØCHE         IO9ØPS   59    59     4 m.   SSB   ES    1054
11:41  OZ8ZS         JO55RT   559   559    4 m.   CW    TR     341
11:51  G8BFV         IO81QE   59    59     4 m.   SSB   ES    1166
11:58  DL7DF         JO62TM   559   589    4 m.   CW    TR      84
11:59  DL7ULM        JO62MS   559   599    4 m.   CW    TR      91
Posted in Propagation, Sporadic E, VHF | Comments Off on Caught the first 4 m ES today

4 m allowed again in DL :-)

As of today we do have a special permit again to use 4 m in Germany! 😎 Same conditions as in 2015 apply, i.e. only 70.150 to 70.180 MHz, limited until 31.08. this year, a.s.o. Looking forward to a lot of nice QSOs during this summer’s Sporadic E season again … 🙂

Posted in Propagation, VHF | Comments Off on 4 m allowed again in DL :-)