PJ4 QSL designs

As usual I do have some difficulties choosing the “right” QSL front side! ๐Ÿ˜€ I spent a few hours last evening designing them (and the back sides with small scene explanations, too). So now decided to order batches of 100 each from the four designs below and then decide on the final one (they usually look & “feel” a bit different “in hand” anyway). Means I will have about 400 cards available next week to answer all the QSL requests already received through OQRS and people will get their cards fast. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Posted in Expeditions, QSLs | Comments Off on PJ4 QSL designs

ARRL-10M 2017

Another interesting contest in the books! Although (of course!) not comparable to results of past years during sunspot maximum it was way more fun than last year. ๐Ÿ˜Ž

Due to other commitments I had a late start on Saturday, first QSO was at 11z. The band was open to UR & UA3 via Sporadic-E but activity was low. RT9S, UA9BA, P3X & 4Z5LY were worked as the only “DX” during the first few hours. DX isn’t a real advantage (besides higher QSO totals, of course) as in ARRL-10 all QSOs are worth the same points. The band continued to open every now and then to the east with a swing over to YO & LZ in the afternoon. Starting around 16z there was an in&out ES opening into Spain also linking into (probably) TEP to South America providing a small bunch of new multipliers. But even there activity was quite low. While I could still work loud EAs and Fs on e-skip there were no South Americans anymore after 17:30z. Last QSO Saturday was at 18:32z into France, finished the day with 162 contacts in the log, already much much better than last year.

Sunday morning (first QSO at 7:55z) seemd like a repeat from the previous day: Band was open to UR, UA6, EW, then adding the Balkans to the mix an hour later. Another short opening to the northeast added some more mults from the Baltic region to the log. After 12z the band was closed completely, only worked a few locals. At 14:44z I found V51YJ CQing as the only signal on the band – nice catch. ๐Ÿ˜Ž After 3 hours of noise it seemed that a number of competitors had already given up. So I could gain more points when the band suddenly opened quite strongly into South America after 15:30z again, this time with really loud signals! Very strong EAs & Fs at the same time lead to the conclusion of another ES+TEP link. The Sporadic-E got so strong later on I could work shorter distances within Europe (i.e. ON, PA) and even made a few QSOs within Germany via ES (about 500 km to western and southern Germany), nice! ๐Ÿ˜Ž The band was also open to the UK and I had hope to maybe work a few Caribbean mults but it did not happen, no double/triple hop ES westwards. But the e-skip was so strong I could work quite a number of European stations on ES-backscatter providing more welcome mults. ๐Ÿ™‚ Unfortunately I had to QRT at 19z. There were still a few (now much weaker) South Americans to be heard but the band had already dried down a lot so hopefully I didn’t miss too much afterwards.

Judging from the 3830 reports it seems that we were quite lucky in Europe this year with all these Sporadic-E openings (although there could have been much more activity). The USA only had a good ES opening at the start of the contest and then nothing anymore for the whole weekend, that’s probably very frustrating. Unfortunately it will not be #1 in Germany for me this time. Good friend Oliver, DL2ARD, who is an avid SSB contester, decided to do Mixed this year, too (and I recognized that too late else I could have started in another categoryย 😉). He had to QRT Sunday afternoon already due to heavy snow storms on his hill-top QTH and missed the South America opening but it was not enough for me to catch up. Less aluminium, less power and a much worse QTH overhere … good to have excuses! ๐Ÿ˜€

                    ARRL 10-Meter Contest

Call: DH8BQA

Class: SO Mixed Unlimited HP
QTH: JO73ce
Operating Time (hrs): 16:30

 Band  QSOs  Mults
   CW:  257    45
  SSB:   86    26
Total:  343    71  Total Score = 85,200

Elecraft K3, KPA500 + 6 ele OWA Yagi @ 60 ft.
Posted in Contesting, Propagation, Sporadic E | Comments Off on ARRL-10M 2017

Time to say good bye …

Well, time’s flying by so fast it’s amazing! We’ve dismantled both stations this morning and took down all of our (additional) antennas yesterday, too. Our two weeks trip (for Paul & Tom even three weeks!) is over already, what a pity! ๐Ÿ™ Will fly back to Europe later tonight.

We’ve done about 18.000 QSOs in total and enjoyed all the pileups. I’ve just uploaded my PJ4/DH8BQA log (4.200+ QSOs) to Clublog and LoTW. If you need a paper card please feel free to OQRS on my qrz.com site. Our PJ4Y log is online, too, and OQRS is up and running as well.

We really enjoyed our stay and can only recommend to visit Bonaire! It’s a great place with awsome snorkling sites, very friendly people and a very small but very helpful Amateur Radio community! Thanks to all our new PJ4 friends for all the meetings, dinners, beers, and nice talks, really much appreciated! Looking forward to meet all of you again … ๐Ÿ˜Ž

Our last sunset on Bonaire as seen from the Kas Iguana swimming pool …

Posted in Expeditions | Comments Off on Time to say good bye …

More “weird” feelings … ;-)

Well, actually I like that X-Mas decoration a lot! But it just does not feel right at 32ยฐC! ๐Ÿ˜€

Posted in Expeditions | Comments Off on More “weird” feelings … ;-)

After contest dinner tonight

Met with all the locals (PJ4DX, PJ4KY, PJ4NX) as well as the American guys being active from the PJ4G stationย (AD4ES, KU8E, K9ES) this evening to swap notes on our contest experiences and enjoy a nice dinner at Cuba Compagnie – absolutely recommended if you ever visit Bonaire! By chance Paul, PAร˜GMV, and his XYL were visiting Bonaire, too, after having spent Saturday on Curacao joining PJ2T, and were welcome guests as well …

And “our Paul” made a few more fantastic photos! See hisย great galleryย here

Posted in Expeditions | Comments Off on After contest dinner tonight

PJ4Y in CQ WWDX CW ’17

Lots of fun!ย Thanks to Peter, PJ4NX, for joining us as the 4th operator to make M/2 possible. Thanks to Scott, W4PA, and Steve, PJ4DX, for leaving up the Hexbeamย as a second high band antenna after WWDX SSB a month ago. And thanks to Paul & Tom for all the hard work installing the switchable beverages! They sure made the difference on 160 & 80 m!

Condx were quite good on the low bands but rather poor on 15 m, especially on Sunday. 10 m not worth talking about … Eager to learn how the competition did! But it should be good for a Top 10 spot worldwide, maybe even Top 6, will see …

                    CQ Worldwide DX Contest, CW

Call: PJ4Y
Operator(s): DH8BQA DL5CW DL5LYM PJ4NX
Station: PJ4Y

Class: M/2 HP
QTH: FK52ud
Operating Time (hrs): 48

 Band  QSOs  Zones  Countries
  160:  377    18       70
   80: 1383    28      108
   40: 2343    27      106
   20: 2968    35      121
   15: 2005    29      101
   10:   99    14       22
Total: 9175   151      528  Total Score = 18,411,085

Club: Bavarian Contest Club

2 x Elecraft K3, Acom 1500/Alpha 9500 + wire antennas only
(Spiderbeam & Hexbeam for the high bands, Phased Array on 40m,
GP on 80 m, Inverted-L on 160 m, switchable BOGs for 160/80 m)

Greatings on behalf of the whole team and thanks for all the QSOs! Hpe cuagn sn! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Paul, PJ4/DL5CW


Olli, PJ4/DH8BQA

Peter, PJ4NX

Posted in Contesting, Expeditions | Comments Off on PJ4Y in CQ WWDX CW ’17

Half-time on Bonaire

Being on the island for a week now I thought it might be nice to give a short update. We’re really enjoying ourselves. Usually doing a few contacts every morning (so far 3.000 QSOs in the log myself) then exploring the island.

Found some great places for swimming, snorkling or just relaxing. Bonaire is a great place to snorkle! Besides lots of colourful fish you can even find sea turtles overhere! Had a chance to swim with them already! A really great experience! And the water seems even more clear and clean than good German piped water! It’s a real pity we didn’t bring an underwater camera along …

Also having fun in the mornings feeding the local garden “residents” … seems they like bananas and papayas most. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Besides the video here are a few more photo impressions, most of them taken by Paul, DL5CW, who’s a fantastic photographer!

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PJ4/DH8BQA on the air :-)

Indeed worked both Paul as well as Tom last weekend before I left! ๐Ÿ˜Ž

Now arrived safely on Bonaire. Great weather, great people, great food … already like it lot! Also did the first QSOs, feels good to be on the other side of the pileups again. ๐Ÿ˜Ž Brought a second K3 along as Steve’s FT-2000 has no CW filters so using 2 x K3’s should be more suitable for the contest later this month.

Below just a first photo impression, too. It really feels weird to find X-Mas chocolate in the local supermarket while it’s 33 ยฐC outside at 8 am! ๐Ÿ˜€

Posted in Expeditions | Comments Off on PJ4/DH8BQA on the air :-)

Active from PJ4 soon! :-)

This year we decided to visit Bonaire, PJ4, in the Dutch Caribbean for some holiday style DXpedition as well as participating in CQ WWDX CW at the end of the month. Paul, DL5CW, and Tom, DL5LYM, will travel to Bonaire on Thursday and stay for 3 weeks while my YL and I will join them end of next week and stay for 2 weeks. So expect some activity from PJ4/DL5CW, PJ4/DL5LYM and PJ4/DH8BQA during the next few days until the contest. ๐Ÿ˜Ž

For the contest we have been granted PJ4Y as contest callsign. Not decided yet which category we will participate in but taking the low operator count into account it will most probably be M/S. We’ve rented from Peter, PJ4NX’s sister at Bokamba Apartments. Steve, PJ4DX, is our direct neighbour and was quite helpful in all preparations, i.e. arranging for the PJ4Y license, antennas, station availability, a.s.o. Thanks mate!

So looking forward to my travel next week. Maybe I will have a chance to work Paul & Tom myself upfront during the weekend. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Posted in Contesting, DX, Expeditions | Comments Off on Active from PJ4 soon! :-)


Well, this one was a real mixed experience! Got to the station Friday evening. Peter, DM5DX, was already there having some fun chasing all the different DXpeditions. After I had installed all of my stuff I turned on my K3 switching around the bands and suddenly poof, no RX anymore! We do have bandpass filters installed for the classical contest bands but none for the WARC bands. While moving bands up & down I switched across 30 m while Peter was transmitting high power on 40 m. Our dipoles for both bands are just 2 m away from each other and obviously the K3’s COR (carrier operated relay) which normally pulls the RX antenna connection to ground if detecting too much RF wasn’t fast enough this time! So I had almost no receive anymore. ๐Ÿ™

Looking across the Elecraft mailing list archive there were several posts mentioning similar faults. Most of them pointed to PIN diode D5 on the KXV3 sub-board. But it seemed to be intact after ripping the whole K3 apart. Further analysis resulted in PIN diode D25 on the main RX board to be defective. It is the double PIN diode that switches RX/TX and the RX diode had gone south. Of course there was no spare available so even knowing what was wrong (and having ordered spare parts now) it was no solution for the contest! Luckily Heiko, DG1BHA, owns a K3, too, and was kind enough to loan me his one for the contest. He even brought along his P3 to see if it is of any value during contest ops. Thanks mate, that’s real ham spirit! ๐Ÿ˜Ž

Decided to go for 15 m as conditions were quite nice the weekend before during WAG. Uwe, DL3BQA, wanted to go for 80 m but the weather was just awful so no joy to build up the 80 m groundplane. He then switched to 20 m … Condx were quite nice on Saturday and I was astonished to work a couple of JA’s wit strong signals although not comparable to the hours-long runs a few years ago during sunspot maximum.

Had a second failure Saturday morning when a brand new headset failed after just 2 hours of operation. I suddenly had hum on my transmit signal. Luckily I had a spare hand-mic with me and took that then for the remaining contest time just laying in front of me and still operating PTT with the foot switch. Saturday afternoon saw quite a nice W/VE opening and I was lucky enough to find a not too crowded spot to run. Indeed this was rather challenging most of the time as the band was quite crammed (everybody wanted their share of the cake with these good conditions) and splatters all around. Have the impression it gets worse contest by contest. To be honest I start loosing enthusiasm for SSB contests alone due to these ignorant idiots! How can it be they feel comfortable producing these kinds of signals? Here’s just one example (I do have a few more) of one station wiping out 20+ kHz of the band QRMing at least 8 surrounding QSOs (see spectrum display below):

I had hopes to do about 600 QSOs during the whole contest after comparing results from last sunspot minimum. I went to bed with exactly 600 Saturday night. ๐Ÿ˜Ž So I set my new goal to 1.000 QSOs which should have been reasonable even knowing that Sunday is the slower day of the two. Unfortunately condx seemed a little worse Sunday morning with no real JA opening. There were a few more zone 3 stations in the afternoon than Saturday but I was unlucky with CQ’ing, just couldn’t hold any frequency for too long. ๐Ÿ™ Also lost about 30 minutes while opening DL3BQA’s PA to change a fuse. It started producing interference after a few hours of operation on Sunday which was QRM’ing me on 15 m (in fact it was/is broadband across all HF bands). It had that fault in the past already but went away after a few minutes normally. Not so this time. ๐Ÿ™ Will need to talk to the manufacturer now to sort out what the problem is (all operating parameters are in the normal range, if it wasn’t for a second station nearby one would probably not even recognize it).

So all in all it was quite an interesting weekend with some failures but still lots of fun on the bands! Besides missing my new goal I was quite happy with 38 zones and 140 country multipliers! And I even heard a few more that I didn’t reach so I think 150+ might have been possible from central Europe …

                    CQ Worldwide DX Contest, SSB

Call: DH8BQA

Class: SOSB(A)/15 HP
QTH: JO73ce
Operating Time (hrs): 24:30

 Band  QSOs  Zones  Countries
   15:  909    38      140
   10:  (2)               
Total:  903    38      140  Total Score = 384,124

Club: Bavarian Contest Club

Elecraft K3, PA + 6 ele OWA Yagi

Next “stop” will be CQ WWDX CW at the end of November. Will participate in that one from abroad, stay tuned for further info … ๐Ÿ˜‰

Posted in Audio recordings, Contesting, Equipment | Comments Off on CQ WWDX SSB 2017

WAG 2017

Handing out a few points taking it rather leisurely. Like last year CW-only as I still haven’t managed to cobble some voicekeyer solution together for the remote end. And that being the designer of the FA-SM and BX-184 voicekeyer kits, shame on me! ๐Ÿ˜€

Condx were much better than expected! We had some nice stateside openings on 15 m but very low activity from North America, what a pity. There were even a few short openings on 10 m on the southern lines (V55A & 5H3EE being well over s9!) but of course you won’t win anything with these as there’s simply not enough activity in Africa.

I took a night break for 4 hours (I’m not up for 24 hours straight with all the QRL stress currently). Getting up, having coffee, trying to work stations … rate was so low around 4z that I fell asleep waiting for callers. No rate, no adrenaline! So decided to spend another hour on the couch until the alarm clock rang again. Was much better afterwards. ๐Ÿ˜‰

                    Worked All Germany Contest

Call: DH8BQA

Class: SO CW HP
QTH: JO73ce
Operating Time (hrs): 18:30

 Band  CW Qs  SSB Qs  Mults
   80:   404            41
   40:   337            51
   20:   270            55
   15:   181            42
   10:    43            22
Total:  1235     0     211  Total Score = 721,409

Elecraft K3, KPA500, 600 W, 80/40 m: dipoles,
20 m: 4 ele YU7EF, 15/10 m: 6 ele G0KSC Yagis
Posted in Contesting | Comments Off on WAG 2017

ARRL 10M 2016 certificate surprise :-)

Unexpected letter from ARRL in the mail box today! ๐Ÿ˜Ž I have to admit I didn’t look for the results of last year’s ARRL 10 m contest on the ARRL contest website during the past month’, I had simply forgotten about it. Maybe because the QSO total was rather low and I didn’t expect any good placement anyway. But tenth place World (Non-W/VE) isn’t that bad, is it? ๐Ÿ˜‰ So quite happy about it. And I think the 10 m contest certificates are some of the best looking, too!

Posted in Awards, Contesting | Comments Off on ARRL 10M 2016 certificate surprise :-)

No luck after SCC RTTY log check :-(

Checking the SCC website today for updates on the results of August’s SCC RTTY Championship. It seems I made a few more errors in logging than LY5W as he’s now on 1st place while I was it when the claimed scores were still online. ๐Ÿ™ Always wonder how that can happen on RTTY where you have everything on your screen and just click onto the received information. I usually pay much attention to receive/read serial numbers and such twice to be sure to log it correctly but it seems a few slipped through. Pity, no #1 World anymore … ๐Ÿ™

Posted in Awards, Contesting | Comments Off on No luck after SCC RTTY log check :-(


Uwe, DL3BQA, was going to attack the German SOSB20 record once more. So no other choice than doing 15 m for me, 80 & 40 m are still producing some QRM to 20 m, although the bandpass filters take quite good care of it. But the antennas being that close means Uwe’s PA is always seeing the 80/40 m forward power as reflected power on 20 m which triggers it’s SWR protection even when just using 100 watts on the low bands. Seems we need to find another location for the 20 m beam which would also help separation between 10 & 20 m a bit more.

Condx were rather bad I guess (okay, we’re heading down into sunspot minimum but expectations are always a little higher 😉). Signals on the southern lines were quite nice and we even had small stateside openings both days reaching as far west as W8/9 but of course only the very big guns were audible and could be worked. All in all no runs thus not that much fun …

                    CQ Worldwide DX Contest, RTTY

Call: DH8BQA

Class: SO(A)SB15 HP
QTH: JO73ce
Operating Time (hrs): 16

 Band  QSOs  State/Prov  DX  Zones
   80:    2
   40:    0
   20:    1
   15:  300
   10:    7
Total:  300      29      77    32  Total Score = 109,710

Club: Bavarian Contest Club

Elecraft K3, KPA500 + 6 ele OWA Yagi
Posted in Contesting | Comments Off on CQ WW RTTY 2017

Major X9 solar flare – Aurora all around!

Wednesday saw a massive sun eruption not expected (especially that strong) being so far down the solar cycle already. In fact it has been the strongest solar flare in Cycle 24! spaceweatherlive.com has an interesting article about it.

After hearing about it on Wednesday evening and knowing most of it would be earth directed it was clear there would be some radio Aurora around about 48 hours later. That’s the time it needs to travel from sun to earth to then hit ourย  planet’s magnetic field (which is protecting us from the rays’s effects mostly) and produce Aurora. I took care to be able to get home from QRL today a little earlier than usual at the moment, i.e. not working 11-13 hours a day. When I saw the first Aurora spots appearing on the DXcluster I called it a day at QRL and went home to join the fun.

It’s been a great opening lasting about 6 hours in total overhere. I was able to do over 100 QSOs. ๐Ÿ˜Ž Also worked a lot of southerly located stations which really needs a very big opening. Normally even with good Auroras you can work as far south as the JOx0 squares, sometimes down to JNx8 as well. But working as far south as Croatia, Austria, Hungary and even Italy is really rare. This time it even reached down to Serbia (KN04) and even Bulgaria (KN13), amazing! ๐Ÿ˜Ž The reflection zone got that far south at the end (around 18z) that I was north of itย  (!) meaning I could not hear any signals anymore while UK stations did work down into Croatia and Italy at the same time! Peter, SM2CEW (KP15), did a number of Aurora forward scatter QSOs into the UK which is also very rare! It did not work further “south”, i.e. at Lasse, SM0KAK, around the Stockholm region …

These very southern stations were worked, most of them with me beaming around 80ยฐ:

14:30  LZ2FO         KN13KX   52A   55A    2 m.   CW    AUR   1204
14:34  9A1UN         JN65VG   59A   59A    2 m.   CW    AUR    881
15:50  S51ZO         JN86DR   55A   55A    2 m.   CW    AUR    733
15:52  IK3VZO        JN55XA   55A   55A    2 m.   CW    AUR    922
15:54  YU1EV         KNร˜4CN   53A   55A    2 m.   CW    AUR   1053
15:57  9A6DDA        JN85OK   55A   55A    2 m.   CW    AUR    888
16:00  9A9C          JN85LI   57A   57A    2 m.   CW    AUR    893
16:04  9A2AE         JN86HF   59A   59A    2 m.   CW    AUR    793
16:10  S5ร˜C          JN76JG   59A   59A    2 m.   CW    AUR    770

Of course distances are not that big for the QSOs mentioned above, it’s more about their rare nature. You can do much bigger distances into west and east. But even there distances bigger than 1.400 km are something special not happening too often. Keep in mind I’m only running about 600 watts and a single 9 ele LFA Yagi! Of course running a kilowatt or more and a group of 4 antennas or more you can certainly do much better. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I was very happy and excited being called by Serge, RD3FD. Not only was our QSO a great distance but also a new square,ย  too, #556. And I was his only contact into Germany! ๐Ÿ˜Ž Also the QSO with Andy, RV3IG, in LO17 was quite remarkable …

Here are the QSOs over 1.000 km distance:

13:22  GM3WOJ        IO77WS   59A   59A    2 m.   SSB   AUR   1257
13:33  R3DX          KO85OG   55A   59A    2 m.   CW    AUR   1505
14:01  RD3FD         LOร˜5UT   55A   55A    2 m.   CW    AUR   1787
14:06  RK2P          KO93AD   59A   59A    2 m.   CW    AUR   1581
14:07  RV3IG         LO17FJ   55A   55A    2 m.   CW    AUR   1834
14:09  R3IS          KO76WU   59A   59A    2 m.   CW    AUR   1433
14:30  LZ2FO         KN13KX   52A   55A    2 m.   CW    AUR   1204
15:04  G4RRA         IO8ร˜BS   59A   59A    2 m.   CW    AUR   1263
15:07  F8DBF         IN78RI   56A   52A    2 m.   CW    AUR   1418
15:42  EW8W          KO42TO   51A   55A    2 m.   CW    AUR   1034
15:54  YU1EV         KNร˜4CN   53A   55A    2 m.   CW    AUR   1053
17:34  G4KUX         IO94BP   57A   55A    2 m.   CW    AUR   1063
17:55  RX1AS         KO59XW   59A   57A    2 m.   CW    AUR   1314

You can find my full log here. As you can see I concentrated on 2 m. There was simply nothing very interesting to be worked on 6 m and our 4 m special permit sorrily expired a week ago. ๐Ÿ™ Also nicely visible: just a very small number of SSB contacts! With all the spread understanding voice reflected by Aurora is really difficult. I tried CQing myself on sideband a few times but mostly couldn’t make out the callers … CW rulez! ๐Ÿ™‚

Posted in Aurora, Propagation, VHF | Comments Off on Major X9 solar flare – Aurora all around!


After a very busy week of QRL in the Netherlands and (for a change) no other plans this weekend (summer weekends are usually quite crammed with activities) I decided to give the SCC-RTTY organized by the Slovenian Contest Club a go again. Luckily the SCC sent out a reminder a few days ago. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I took it rather leisurely doing a few QSOs every now and then. Waking up after a late afternoon nap I even found 10 m open via Sporadic-E early Saturday evening but unfortunately not much activity, just a hand full of QSOs made. Enjoyed a great 20 m run later that night before testing out condx on 40 & 80 m. Went into bed 23z with about 250 QSOs in the log.

Got up early Sunday morning (5z) and while activity was not too high yet 15 m opened slightly into the Far East even allowing a few QSOs with South Korea and Japan. A few Japanese were real s9 signal strength but it all seemed quite localized. Suppose there was some Sporadic-E involved along the path as current sun activity would probably not allow any direct F2 openings on 21 MHz. Speaking of Sporadic-E 10 m was open Sunday morning, too. Not very consistently, i.e. changing open directions randomly, and again not too much activity but still good enough to keep me going most the time. Thus decided to continue on 10 m only and put in a single band entry. Who knows, maybe the result will be good enough for a world win. ๐Ÿ˜Ž After all there was just one 10 m entry last year with 17 QSOs that took the world win. But Dusan, YT8A, was active this year, too (although on different bands but that does not indicate what category he sends his log in, as with myself 😉), and the South usually has much better ES condx … so we’ll wait and see. At least my result is about 50% higher than the current European 10 m record. ๐Ÿ˜Ž

                    SCC RTTY Championship

Call: DH8BQA

Class: SOSB/10 HP
QTH: JO73ce
Operating Time (hrs): 12 h (all bands)

 Band   QSOs  Mults
   80:  (40)       
   40:  (74)
   20: (101)      
   15:  (54)      
   10:  141    54   
Total:  141    54  Total Score = 14,256

Elecraft K3, KPA500, 550 W + 6 ele OWA Yagi @60ft.
Posted in Contesting, Propagation, Sporadic E | Comments Off on SCC-RTTY 2017


Sorrily I couldn’t make it to the annual BBQ at DP9A last year so was glad to make it this year. Only drawback was the traffic. ๐Ÿ™ Was going the 550 km trip with the YL on Friday afternoon but traffic was tremendous with traffic jams all around so the way there took us over 8 hours. ๐Ÿ™ Going back today on Sunday was just a tad faster with 6,5 hours (normally it takes just 4,5 to 5 hours). Anyway, had an enjoyable time Saturday morning visiting the famous Lutherstadt Wittenberg which is celebrating 500 years of the Reformation this year. While I’m not church-related at all it’s been an interesting visit from an historical perspective nonetheless.

In the afternoon we visited the DP9A club & contest station. Their yearly BBQ is always a nice gathering of good friends with coffee and cakes in the afternoon and a great BBQ in the evening. Lots of interesting talks and lectures, this time by Paul, DL5CW, about the XX9D expedition, as well as Siggi, DL7DF, about their recent VP2E trip, while Chris, DL1MGB, gave a status about the WRTC preparations. All in all a great day and evening again and perfectly suited to free up my mind from all the current QRL stuff. ๐Ÿ˜Ž And, it was great to see DP9A’s new 40+ m high tower with a 40 m 3 ele fullsize beam on top! Wish we could install something like that at our station, too. ๐Ÿ˜‰


Posted in Antennas, Contesting, DX, General stuff | Comments Off on BBQ @DP9A

Perseids Meteor Shower

Unfortunately I didn’t have much time this year so most of my Perseids activities concentrated on the weekend when the peak was forseen to happen the night from 12th to 13th of August. But I didn’t recognize any distinct peak this time. And all in all I found conditions much worse than last year

I took the chance to try out the new MSK144 mode for Meteor Scatter. It has some real advantages over JT6M, i.e. no rubbish decoding anymore, shorter tx/rx periods for faster QSOs, real-time decoding, a.s.o. Almost all traffic has already changed to MSK144 on 6 m! Amazing how fast new modes take over. It is less common on 4 & 2 m but a few use it there, too. In it’s latest version MSHV 1.42 has support for MSK144 as well but it felt like decoding worse on FSK441 than with older versions and compared to WSJT. Meanwhile (i.e. when writing this report) LZ2HV has released v1.43 but I didn’t try it out yet. Overall I like MSHV much better than WSJT as it neatly integrates everything into one window …

The guys of EI9E were activating a rare one again. While I had already worked IO61 on 6 m in the past it was a new one on 4 & 2 m. Also Mek, SP7VC, was very busy activating rare squares on 4 m, this time in Latvia. Glad to catch him in KO35 and KO36 at least, all of his other square activations were sorrily not fitting into my QRL schedules … Dirk, ON5GS, deserves a big thank you, too. He has been activating rare ones during the last few years as well and IO54 was indeed still a new one on 2 m overhere. LB8DC (ex LA9DFA) was worked from his family’s hut in JP60 on 6 &ย  2 m for another new square. Unfortunately he had some equipment trouble on 4 m so no luck on this band. It took several tries before finally succeeding with 9A4ZM on 4 m, thanks for your persistence, Maki.

Although no new ones other interesting QSOs included short distance ones with PA2M & PA3ECU direct path on 4 m, DH6DAO direct path on 6 m, and SP3CFM on 6 m and DL4ALI on 4 m both using backscatter reflections. Made around 60 QSOs in total, full log can be viewed here

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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.ย It’s been a few years since I last activated an IOTA reference.

Paul, DL5CW, had been active during July’s IOTA contest from Hjarnรธ 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 theย Hjarnรธ 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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

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. ๐Ÿ˜€ 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. ๐Ÿ˜‰ An interesting conversation about the island and it’s history evolved, it turned out the family of one of the girls originated fromย Hjarnรธ. The whole group met there for party after finishing college and now meet up every year to keep in touch. Nice tradition! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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! ๐Ÿ™ 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. ๐Ÿ˜Ž

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. ๐Ÿ˜Ž 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. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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 Julyย VHF contest. ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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