What a great day on VHF today …

Luckily Corpus Christi is a local holiday overhere so I had the day off. 😎 Waking up at 5:30z I was not sure if I should get up or turn around for some more sleep. Seems it was a good decision to get up … First there was a very early ES opening on 144 MHz. Although it lasted only about 2 minutes in JO73 it was good enough for a nice QSO. 😉 Later this morning we had some great double-hop Sporadic-E on 50 MHz to the east allowing me to work MN52 & MN62 for two new squares, now 640 in total on 6 m. :)

------------------------------------------------------------------
TIME   CALLSIGN      LOCATOR  TX    RX     BAND   MODE  PROP.  QRB
------------------------------------------------------------------
06:52  RA6C          KN94GT   59    59     2 m.   SSB   ES    1990
09:45  EX8M          MN62WT   599   599    6 m.   CW          4446
10:04  UN6T          MN52QV   599   599    6 m.   CW          4276
10:07  EX9T          MN82SD   599   599    6 m.   CW          4731
10:15  UK8OM         MN51UA   599   599    6 m.   CW          4423
10:16  EA8DBM        IL18OH   59    59     6 m.   SSB         3747
------------------------------------------------------------------

After that the MUF went down quickly but still 6 m was open all day long. I didn’t work anything else, was doing some QRL things meanwhile. Late afternoon 4 m started filling up with strong OIRT signals so I kept the beam dir East and threw an occasional CQ call on 2 m every now and then. At 16:33z Artur, UR3EE, answered my CQ starting another 1 hour ES opening on 144 MHz. 😎

------------------------------------------------------------------
TIME   CALLSIGN      LOCATOR  TX    RX     BAND   MODE  PROP.  QRB
------------------------------------------------------------------
16:33  UR3EE         KN88DC   59    59     2 m.   SSB   ES    1648
16:46  UR3VKE        KN69OA   59    59     2 m.   SSB   ES    1400
16:47  UR5VFJ        KN69OA   59    59     2 m.   SSB   ES    1400
16:56  UA6LJV        KN97LE   59    59     2 m.   SSB   ES    1872
16:56  RK6MF         KN97RC   59    59     2 m.   SSB   ES    1909
16:58  UR5EDN        KN78SH   59    59     2 m.   SSB   ES    1588
17:03  UZ2HZ         KN69RA   59    59     2 m.   SSB   ES    1416
17:12  UC7RAA        KN64SO   59    59     2 m.   SSB   ES    1696
18:27  FM5WD         FK94MP   559   599    6 m.   CW          7721
------------------------------------------------------------------

Signals were strong but never lasting very long, so pretty much all in & out after a few minutes. Nevertheless great fun! Then working the first Caribbean opening this year on 6 m via triple-hop ES later on was a nice end to a great DX day on VHF. 😎

UR3EE/KN88 booming in via Sporadic-E on 2 m (cut out white noise in-between):

Posted in Audio recordings, Propagation, Sporadic E, VHF | Comments Off on What a great day on VHF today …

Caught the first 2 m ES opening this year …

esFinally caught the first 2 m ES this year! :) 6 m had been hot all afternoon. Later also 4 m opened up nicely. It was kind of masochistic listening to all the activity on 70 MHz and not being able to join the fun. :( But it was a good indicator on how conditions would evolve. Around 16z OIRT started heavily on 4 m direction east so I kept an eye into that direction. Also 6 m was full of TV birdies which suddenly stopped while OIRT was still strong – a clear sign of rapidly rising MUF as with higher MUF skip zone shortens dramatically on 6 m meaning being in a distance to the ES cloud you just won’t receive the low VHF QRM anymore, you would need to move closer to it. But hey, then you would be too close for 2 m over the same cloud. 😉

144 MHz opened at 16:28z but it only lasted for about 1.5 minutes, just enough to complete a CW QSO with US6IEW. The band was more consistent further west, I was not in a perfect position in JO73 geometry-wise. Five minutes later US6IEW popped out of the noise again answering my CQ call, this time in SSB. Band closed again after 2 minutes or so. It then took another 10 minutes to open again, this time for about 8 minutes.

------------------------------------------------------------------
TIME   CALLSIGN      LOCATOR  TX    RX     BAND   MODE  PROP.  QRB
------------------------------------------------------------------
16:29  US6IEW        KN98FA   599   599    2 m.   CW    ES    1794
16:35  US6IEW        KN98FA   59    59     2 m.   SSB   ES    1794
16:48  UY1HY         KO6ØMA   59    59     2 m.   SSB   ES    1343
16:50  US4IEK        KN87UX   599   599    2 m.   CW    ES    1747
16:54  UX5UL         KO5ØFL   59    59     2 m.   SSB   ES    1153
16:55  US4IEK        KN87UX   59    59     2 m.   SSB   ES    1747
------------------------------------------------------------------

UY1HY and UX5UL were quite short distances on the same cloud that was used by West-DL and PA to work further into Russia and East Ukraine. Seems there were 2 active spots or one really big cloud with different active zones.  Here are a few audio recordings again:

US6IEW 144 MHz Sporadic-E:

UY1HY 144 MHz Sporadic-E:

UX5UL 144 MHz Sporadic-E:

US4IEK 144 MHz Sporadic-E:

The MUF dropped quite rapidly afterwards but 6 m stayed open until late into the night. Sporadic-E even linked into a good Caribbean opening around 11 pm local time … albeit not on 6 but on 10 m. 😉

Posted in Audio recordings, Propagation, Sporadic E, VHF | Comments Off on Caught the first 2 m ES opening this year …

Another world win: SARTG-NY 2016

It felt like ages until the SARTG contest committee finally released the results of SARTG New Year RTTY Contest 2016 now. I have been checking their website every now and then for the last 4 month’. 😉 Took part in that one for the first time ever so was even more astonished to having won it world-wide – wow! It didn’t even feel like a big deal operating back then. 😎 And it was a really pleasant experience and the duration of only 3 hours made for some leisurely contest activity on New Year’s day.

Posted in Awards, Contesting | Comments Off on Another world win: SARTG-NY 2016

P4ØFA took SOHP15 world win in CQ WPX RTTY 2016

It’s official now: Despite being quite antenna challenged I won world #1 as P4ØFA during our stay on Aruba earlier this year operating as SOHP15 during CQ WPX RTTY contest. 😎

p40fa-cert

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EA6/PA2CHR for square #530 on 2 m

Seasoned VHF Dxpeditioner Chris, PA2CHR, was on tour again, this time activating the rare squares on Menorca Island, i.e. JN10, JN20 & JM29. Unfortunately I could not be QRV when he was in JN10 & JN20 but had a chance to catch him this morning on Meteor Scatter from JM29 for square #530 on 2 m. Thanks Chris! 😎

Posted in Meteor Scatter, VHF | Comments Off on EA6/PA2CHR for square #530 on 2 m

WIA Awards

Applied for and got a few nice awards issued by WIA (Wireless Institue of Australia). They have a great online system to apply for the awards using ADIF uploads and getting the contacts confirmed through LotW and/or eQSLs. The awards are issued in PDF format nowadays so you have to print them yourself.

I was most interested in the WA-VK-CA-HF as it is really beautiful and demanding to work. I had to wait and catch the VKØEK expedition a few weeks ago and get them confirmed on LotW to finally be able to apply for it! 😉

wavkcahf_phone

Another one I really like is the Grid Square Award – looks great on the wall, too!

gsa2cw

They also offer a number of different DXCC awards for Single Band, Single Mode, 3-Band, 5-Band and 9-Band with mode combinations (see a few examples below) as well as a VHF Century Club Award, too …

   dxcccw   dxccphone

   dxccdigital   dxccopen

 dxcc10cw200   3bdxcc600

   5bdxcc900   vhfcc2cw

Posted in Awards, DX, VHF | Comments Off on WIA Awards

Aurora once more

After getting back from the hilltop and having unloaded all the contest equipment we enjoyed a nice medium strength Aurora opening this evening:

------------------------------------------------------------------
TIME   CALLSIGN      LOCATOR  TX    RX     BAND   MODE  PROP.  QRB
------------------------------------------------------------------
16:02  YL2FZ         KO37QI   59A   59A    2 m.   CW    AUR    952
16:03  OH4LA         KP2ØLG   57A   59A    2 m.   CW    AUR   1022
16:06  RM1A          KO59BU   55A   59A    2 m.   CW    AUR   1220
16:07  SM6V          JO57XK   55A   55A    2 m.   CW    AUR    493
16:16  RX1AS         KO59XW   57A   58A    2 m.   CW    AUR   1314
16:21  UA1ASA        KO48GH   57A   59A    2 m.   CW    AUR   1059
16:42  LA6OJ         JO38HH   57A   57A    2 m.   CW    AUR    740
16:46  RU1AA         KP4ØXD   59A   59A    2 m.   CW    AUR   1229
16:47  LAØBY         JO59FW   59A   59A    2 m.   CW    AUR    784
16:58  RK1AS         KP4ØUE   53A   53A    2 m.   CW    AUR   1220
17:02  SM4HFI        JP7ØTO   59A   59A    2 m.   CW    AUR    829
17:11  OH3LV         KP2ØUX   41A   55A    2 m.   CW    AUR   1107
17:12  SM6LPF        JO78CK   55A   55A    2 m.   CW    AUR    584
17:17  SF4J          JO79NC   59A   59A    2 m.   CW    AUR    660
17:20  G4KUX         IO94BP   55A   55A    2 m.   CW    AUR   1063
17:21  YL2PJ         KO36QM   59A   59A    2 m.   CW    AUR    919
17:32  OH2KW         KP2ØIJ   59A   59A    2 m.   CW    AUR   1023
17:35  G4IDR         IO93BP   54A   53A    2 m.   CW    AUR   1064
18:20  SM7GVF        JO77GA   57A   56A    2 m.   CW    AUR    427
------------------------------------------------------------------

Will there be any more good openings now heading down into sunspot minimum?

Posted in Aurora, Propagation, VHF | Comments Off on Aurora once more

DFØFA VHF May Contest ’16

Out again on the local hilltop in JO73CF. Ran short of operators, only DGØZB, DG1BHA, DH8BQA, DL3BQA & DL5CW active this time while DK7YY & DL9USA were prevented. Activity was quite bad, not happy with the result. Probably due to the fantastic weather, can imagine a lot of guys were bound in other activities. We got some nice sunburns! 😎

Mai-2016-DF0FA

Eager to learn how the competition finished. There was a nice Aurora opening Sunday evening (see above). Too late, could have used the points during the contest! 😉

Posted in Contesting, VHF | Comments Off on DFØFA VHF May Contest ’16

No 70 MHz permit in Germany this year :-(

The bad news is official now: For some (political) reasons there won’t be a temporary permit to use the 4 m band during this year’s Sporadic-E season in DL. What a shame. :-(

Let’s hope we will get a few good 2 m ES openings instead, first one was today, although more southerly, i.e. between France and Bulgaria.

Posted in Propagation, Sporadic E, VHF | Comments Off on No 70 MHz permit in Germany this year :-(

TY – Benin #138 on 6 m

TY2AC_end_front_finalHad the first 6 m ES opening of the season today. The band opened nicely from here into Southern Europe, i.e. 9H & IT9 around 15:30z with S9+ signals. Saw TY2AC spotting southern Europe stations himself on the cluster. He finally settled to call CQ but heard only a few MS reflections once in a while. Stayed tuned to his frequency while doing other things. Around 16z he finally came out of the noise but never strong enough to QSO, just got ??? in return to my calls. It took another quarter of an hour until he rised up to a nice 559 signal, albeit with QSB. Took just one call to work him then. Propagation seemed quite localized, he didn’t get much callers, it was mostly northwestern Poland and northeastern Germany working him with JO61 stations being the most southern (at least as long as I monitored).

TY2AC on 6 m:

Even 4 m opened up later, quite early in the season! 9H6A (guest op’d by PB8DX) was very strong on SSB for more than half an hour. 9H1PI CQing on CW was much weaker.

9H6A on 4 m:

It’s a pity 4 m is still not allowed again in Germany yet. Hope RegTP will offer a temporary permit for this summer again anytime soon!

Posted in Audio recordings, DX, Propagation, Sporadic E, VHF | Comments Off on TY – Benin #138 on 6 m

VK0h/Heard Island #309 & FR.j/Juan de Nova #310

Besides WPX-SSB almost no radio activity overhere since returning from Aruba. Lots of QRL and not really up for the hobby. So had to force myself to switch on the radio a few times at least not to miss the VKØEK and FT4JA expeditions for two ATNOs. Condx are rather poor but the guys have good ears. Pileups seem to be down a lot now compared to the first few days. Even heard them CQing a few times without any takers today …

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CQ WPX SSB 2016

No activity at all during the last 4 weeks. Just too much QRL and not really up for the hobby. But wanted to do a few QSOs during WPX-SSB at least. As you might know we’re sharing our station. This time Uwe, DL3BQA, had the choice of band and started as DMØY in the SOSB15 category. 10 m was a dead loss, condx just sucked. 20 m is really not my cup of tea for going single band in an SSB contest and for the lower bands it’s still just simple wires. Thus decided not to go single band but just do a few QSOs every now and then as SOAB(A) on the remaining bands. Goal was to put up 1 million points for the BCC club score. Well, that was already reached before going to bed Saturday evening so next goal then was 1111 and then 1234 QSOs for a nice number. 😉 But couldn’t stop it as I had a nice run going into North America late Sunday afternoon so set yet another new goal. 😉 That finally was 2 million points plus some 5% on top for the usual logging errors. And here we go, suddenly some 20 hours of BIC time gathered … 😉

Recorded all the QSOs again and uploaded them to http://qsorder-k3it.rhcloud.com/ if you want to take a listen. Wished more people would use it. Sharing contest recordings has never been so easy! 😎

                    CQWW WPX Contest, SSB

Call: DH8BQA

Class: SO(A)AB HP
QTH: JO73ce
Operating Time (hrs): 20

Summary:
 Band  QSOs
------------
  160:   62
   80:  330
   40:  421
   20:  535
   15:    2
   10:   11
------------
Total: 1361  Prefixes = 706  Total Score = 2,105,292

Club: Bavarian Contest Club

Comments:
Elecraft K3, PA + beams & wires
Posted in Audio recordings, Contesting | Comments Off on CQ WPX SSB 2016

P4ØFA QSL card variants

Finished the artwork for the P4ØFA QSL cards, too. Still undecided which one to use, somehow I like them all! 😉 Ordered a small batch of cards for every design to see how they look like in reality. It always makes a (small) difference having them full format on a screen versus having them printed on 14 x 9 cm cardboard. My favourite is the first one although the iguana on the coax cable has something special to it, too. 😉

p40fa-1aAruban iguana (photo courtesy of Paul, P4/DL5CW).

p40fa-2aTypical Aruban landscape (picture taken in Arikok National Park).

p40fa-4aThe P49V station iguana a.k.a. the coax cable inspector. 😉

p40fa-5aThe P49V station iguana sun-bathing on the coax lines. 😉

p40fa-1b-rahmenThe backside will certainly look like this (with variations depending on front side).

Posted in Expeditions, QSLs | Comments Off on P4ØFA QSL card variants

Aruba Contest QSLs

Finished the QSL design for our contest QSOs. Paul is using MS Publisher for his QSL artwork while I’m usually doing it with my (very old) copy of Paint Shop Pro. He was so enthusiastic about it when discussing the QSLing topic on Aruba I decided to give it a try, too (it’s included in my Microsoft Office Suite anyway). And indeed, it makes a few things much easier and has nice capabilities especially using WordArts for some nicer text designs. The learning curve was quite low as I’m used to the MS Office software anyway. So big thanks to Paul for the hint! 😎

We decided to use the same frontside for both the P4ØFA and P4ØXM contest QSOs. I analyzed the logs and among the > 10k QSOs done we only had about 300 guys who worked us in both contests, WPX-RTTY and ARRL-DX-CW. Assuming not everybody will QSL anyway, the number of guys who get the same card is really neglectable. So it was not worth the effort to design different front sides.

We *will* have different designs for all QSOs made outside of the contests. The overlap there is much bigger and of course we do not want to bore people getting the same card although they worked 3 different guys. 😉

p40fa-3aFront side of our Aruba contest QSLs showing the P49V antenna farm from a distance.

p40fa-3b-rahmenBackside for QSOs made in CQ WPX RTTY 2016 from Aruba.

p40xm-1b-rahmenBackside for QSOs made in ARRL DX CW 2016 from Aruba.

Posted in Antennas, Contesting, Expeditions, QSLs | Comments Off on Aruba Contest QSLs

P4/DL5CW QSL

Paul had a nice idea for his QSL card. I suggested to put a smiley behind the sentence as I’m sure there *will* be people who don’t get it’s intent. 😉

p4-dl5cw-1a

Posted in Expeditions, QSLs | Comments Off on P4/DL5CW QSL

P4ØFA logs are on Clublog now

Just uploaded the P4ØFA logs to Clublog and opened the OQRS system for QSL requests. Please feel free to use it to request a card if needed. Updated the qrz.com info page, too …

Posted in Expeditions, QSLs | Comments Off on P4ØFA logs are on Clublog now

P4ØFA logs on LotW now … bye bye Aruba

Eventually all good things come to an end and this holiday activity is no different. Really enjoyed it! We made about 20.000 QSOs in total with 2 contests and some leisurely activities inbetween. Team was great and a pleasure to work with!

Now sitting at the airport waiting for our flight back from Aruba to Amsterdam I used the time to directly upload the 6.500 P4ØFA contacts into ARRL’s LotW (and Clublog/OQRS to follow during the weekend). Judging from the emails and on-air comments received this should make a few guys happy. 😎 Let me know if there’s anything missing …

Posted in Expeditions | Comments Off on P4ØFA logs on LotW now … bye bye Aruba

Arubian visitors

J-P, P43A, and his wife Cris, P43C, paid us a visit today. Cris manages Ben’s rental station as the local contact and was very helpful getting our guest licenses – many thanks again!

DSC_3866_crLeft to right: Jean-Pierre, P43A, Cristina, P43C, and Olli, DH8BQA/P4ØFA

We had some nice talks about equipment, antennas (and Arubian climate’s influence on them), contesting & DX and learned a few new things about life on Aruba, too, and how Arubian bureaucracy works (or not 😉). Amazingly you cannot apply for an Arubian license exam anymore as there’s simply nobody to take the exams after the guy doing it went into pension. So all new Arubian ham’s need to obtain there licenses somewhere else, i.e. in the U.S., and then apply for a visitors license on Aruba although it’s their home country. And “new” amateur radio regulations are waiting for governmental approval since 15 years now! So some things are really slow overhere but that can also have advantages as we learnt, too. 😉

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P4ØXM ARRL DX CW M/2 results

A lot of effort was put into getting all antennas up and running again before the contest. Thanks to the whole team and especially John, W2GD, for all the hard work, it really paid off. :-)

Finished just short of the existing South America record. Condx proved worse than expected, especially on Sunday. A few very slow hours both mornings. Best rates after Europe closed which was to be expected. Best hour brought 380 QSOs! 😎 Even me as a rather average CWer enjoyed the pileups and rate immensly! Will be hard to beat when back in Germany. 😉

Now eager to learn how the competition finished. A pity they didn’t post to the online scoreboard. I’m sure they watched us all the time. 😉 Thanks for all the calls, guys!

                    ARRL DX Contest, CW

Call: P40XM
Operator(s): DH8BQA DL5CW DL5LYM DL6RAI
Station: P49V

Class: M/2 HP
QTH: FK42xn
Operating Time (hrs): 48

Summary:
 Band  QSOs  Mults
-------------------
  160:  351    51
   80:  887    58
   40: 1793    61
   20: 1653    60
   15: 1901    60
   10: 1586    60
-------------------
Total: 8171   350  Total Score = 8,545,950

Comments:
2 x FT-1000, kW amps, TH7's + dipoles
Posted in Contesting, Expeditions | Comments Off on P4ØXM ARRL DX CW M/2 results

P4ØXM in ARRL DX CW this weekend

All antenna work finished. 😎 Even built a small beverage today and renewed the 160 m dipole, too, so well prepared for doing M/2 in ARRL DX CW this weekend. Only have a bit of interstation interference between 80 and 40 m, but that’s managable. All other band combinations seem fine. We will be using P4ØXM in the contest as it has a “smoother” sound. So please look out for us and give us a call if you are in the US or Canada. Looking forward to work you all, guys! 😉

Posted in Contesting, Expeditions | Comments Off on P4ØXM in ARRL DX CW this weekend