WPX-SSB raw scores published!

cqThe WPX-SSB raw scores (i.e. before log checking) where published today. Seems my NT3S entry @N2MM will not only win the SOSB10(A) category for USA but is also good enough for a new NA record. :) Of course I will loose some points due to the log checking process (nobody’s perfect) but the difference to the guys behind me should be big enough to stay #1 in W2, USA & NA. ;)

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Strange 10 m opening

During Sunday in CQMM we experienced a very strange but welcome 10 m opening to North America. The band was quite bad during the last few days. Southern lines like Europe to South America worked (although I’ve seen better condx into that direction, too) but no North America at all. Even on 20 m signals were so weak I struggled to work this week’s W1AW portable centennial stations. It got a little better Sunday, could at least work a few of the bigger US stations on skewed path, i.e. beaming to South America. At the same time we had a nice longpath opening to Japan on 10 m. Around 16z all of a sudden there were very strong signals from North America so I could add a bunch to the CQMM log. It was like somebody switched propagation on. What made it really strange was that I had to constantly change antenna direction for max. signal strength. Some W7′s were strongest beaming West (Caribbean), the mid-west was best beaming direct path and some W6′s (normally 325° from here) were strongest beaming 360° straight over the Northpole. Signals peaked 599+20 and I could even work a number of US QRP stations, some of them with real S9 signals. What made it especially interesting is that we could hear SK4MPI beacon on 2 m via Aurora at the same time! I do not remember which US station it was but at least one was audible via Aurora on 10 m, too. He had a clear tone when beaming 300° and got the raspy Aurora scatter sound when beaming North! So both openings must have been connected in some way. Seems the old saying stays true: There aint no meters like ten meters! ;-)

The opening was good to work W1AW/5 in MS & W1AW/0 in ND on a few more slots, too. Thinking back how difficult it was on the lower bands on Saturday and how easy now on 10 & 12 m made this opening even more appreciable. Sorrily today condx are back to what they were during the last few days: very bad. :(

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CQMM – The CQ Manchester Mineira DX Contest

CWMM DX ContestWhile waiting today for Heiko, DG1BHA, to arrive for the 15 m rotator care I made a few more QSOs in CQMM. Seems to be an interesting contest although activity was not too high. Did 50 QSOs yesterday, 100 while waiting for Heiko and finally another 100 after the 15 m rotator was fixed and before leaving the station to go back into town. We had a surprise opening on 10 m late afternoon with very strange path’ and amazing signal strength’ but more on that in a separate blog entry, maybe tomorrow when back in Cologne.

                   CQ Manchester Mineira DX Contest

Call: DH8BQA

Class: SOSB/10 HP
QTH: JO73ce
Operating Time (hrs): 8

Summary:
 Band  QSOs  Prefixes
----------------------
   20:  (1)     (1)
   10:  263      47
----------------------
Total:  252      47  Countries = 51  Total Score = 107,118

Comments:
Elecraft K3, PA + 6 ele OWA Yagi

Couldn’t resist to do one QSO on 20 m to give Carol, N2MM, who hosted me during WPX-SSB, some points. ;-)

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KH8 American Samoa wkd as an ATNO

Was lucky enough to catch KH8/DL2AWG on 20 m SSB today. They were just above the noise and big QRM but have been lucky enough to do a good QSO. If you wonder what ATNO stands for: all time new one – a DXCC never worked before. That’s been #291. :)

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Holyland DX contest & Happy Easter!

Happy Easter to everybody! Well, it’s not that happy overhere. My aunt passed away on Wednesday. So I drove 900 km to visit my grandma (87) and tell her the bad news. :( Then took her with me to my mom’s place and she will stay with us over the Easter weekend. It’s her second child she lost now within short time (my father passed away just one and half years ago) and I had fear she would not stand it (she had severe health problems after my dad died). So we will take special care of her. It’s always bad if parents outlive their children. :(

On radio matters we met at the contest QTH today. Made a few QSOs in the Holyland DX contest (see below) and another few in CQMM that is lasting until tomorrow. Had some nice discussions, cake & coffee and will meet again tomorrow to take care of the aberration of the 15 m rotator. Condx are quite bad, was really tough to get W1AW/5 and /0 into the log today (yes, I’m trying to work them from every state). Keeping fingers crossed they will get better again during the next days.

                    Holyland DX Contest

Call: DH8BQA

Class: SO Mixed HP
QTH: JO73ce
Operating Time (hrs): 1:20

Summary:
 Band  CW Qs  Ph Qs  Dig Qs  Mults
-----------------------------------
   20:           2              2
   15:    6      6             12
   10:    7     15             18
-----------------------------------
Total:   13     23      0      32  Total Score = 1,152 
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JIDX-CW & (bad) 10 m condx

jidx2011ssbThought it might be a good idea to participate in this weekend’s JIDX-CW contest. I participated in the SSB leg in 2011 and had quite some fun. They make some nice contest certificates, too, see left. But condx are awful right now so no fun at all. 10 m was pretty much dead the whole Saturday, nothing heard at all during the morning and only a few weak South American stations in the afternoon. Sunday morning was a bit better, at least I could hear & work a dozen JA’s although most signals were just above the noise and despite 600 W and a 4 ele Yagi the JA’s were struggling to hear me – ouch! :( Only worked 3′s, 4′s & 6′s call areas. Heard a very weak JA1BPA but he was not able to dig me out. Later on the Russians working the Gagarin Cup got stronger but I was only looking for JA’s. Now in the afternoon the band is dead again, only signal audible is FR4NT on SSB, nothing else. Well, this is how it will feel daily in no more than a year, I suppose. Maybe we will be lucky to see 10 m condx return this autumn again before the final decline. I have my doubts but let’s try not to loose optimism. ;-)

                    JIDX CW Contest

Call: DH8BQA

Class: SOSB/10 HP
QTH: JO73ce
Operating Time (hrs): 2

Summary:
 Band  QSOs  Mults
-------------------
   10:  13     9
-------------------
Total:  13     9  Total Score = 234

Comments:
IC-7100, KPA500 + 4 ele Yagi
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RUSDX 2012 certificates received

Russian-DX-2012-10m Russian-DX-2012-80m

Today I had a letter from the famous Box 88 Moscow in the post box containing my 2 certificates for winning RUSDX 2012 on 80 & 10 m in Germany. As already mentioned you can do 2 single band entries in the Russian DX contest in parallel. ;) As I heard the certificates for 2013 were received by others today, too, so it seems they mailed out for 2 years at once.

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SP-DX contest 2014

SPDX-DH8BQA-2007Was playing around a bit in SP-DX-C during the weekend. Due to my location right at the German-Polish border there is no skip into Poland on the higher bands so all contacts were entirely made via Backscatter. Most signals were weak and I’m sure my signal was too, but Polish operators usually have good ears so worked almost all I heard. ;-)

It’s a pity there’s only either CW or SSB in the single band categories nowadays. Mixed mode would have provided much more fun, i.e. more QSOs. Not shure why that was abolished as the category existed a few years ago. Although being SOSB 10m CW I handed out a few QSOs on SSB, too. Will see what the result is good for, PZK issues some nice contest awards, see left. ;-)

 

                   SP DX Contest

Call: DH8BQA

Class: SOSB/10CW HP
QTH: JO73ce
Operating Time (hrs): 6:30

Summary:
 Band  CW Qs  Ph Qs  Mults
---------------------------
   10:   70    (6)     16
---------------------------
Total:   70    (6)     16  Total Score = 3,360

Comments:
Icom IC-7100 + KPA500 + 4 ele Yagi
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NT3S WPX-SSB contest audio recording

Sandro, DD3SP, provided the following 10 min audio snippet of me operating NT3S during WPX-SSB – many thanks! Always nice to hear how you sound on the other side. ;-)

QSOs in the recording: OZ1ZD, OK1VDJ, DL4CF, CT7AEQ, SP9MZH, PD1RO, G0UGO, G4FJK, 9A3VM, DL5LYM, IZ3QDC (bust), DC1LEX, DF2KK, MS0OXE, MW1MDH, F8KKH, DL8AX, I5NZH, DO1AUS, SE5N, DL9HD, PG1R, 7S5S, I3ZSX, YQ6A, YO7FB, LZ5PL

Also put my SH5 analysis online, if you are interested in …

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NT3S claimed WPX-SSB result

IMG-20140329-00064Just a quick note re my WPX-SSB entry. Will try to write a more detailed report during the next few days, time permitting …

Many many thanks to Carol, N2MM, for inviting me to use her station during WPX-SSB after I had spent a week on business in Boston, MA (and my first visit to a foreign dentist, but that’s another story :-(). So flew down Friday afternoon to Philadelphia, PA, where Carol picked me up for transport to her QTH in NJ.

Another big thank you to Norm, W3IZ, for lending the club call NT3S for use during the contest. It sure helped to keep the rate a little up at times. ;-)

                    CQWW WPX Contest, SSB

Call: NT3S
Operator(s): DH8BQA
Station: N2MM

Class: SO(A)SB10 HP
QTH: NJ / FM29
Operating Time (hrs): 24

Summary:
 Band  QSOs
------------
  160:     
   80:  (4)
   40: (34)
   20: (47)
   15: (22)
   10: 1649
------------
Total: 1618  Prefixes = 881  Total Score = 3,950,404

Club: Bavarian Contest Club

I really had a very enjoyable time, great to experience contesting from the other side of the pond. Conditions were very nice Friday evening with a few JA’s right after the contest started and before the band faded. Saturday still good but a bit distorted later on and no JA opening. Sunday better again but sorrily had to leave at 18z already to catch my flight back to Germany (btw. also nice to experience the grey-line from above the sky ;-)). Had I known before that I would be through check-in, baggage drop and TSA in under 10 minutes I certainly would have operated at least an hour longer. ;-) As I heard later from Carol 10 m had still been open 21.30z into all continents in parallel … wow!

Thanks again Carol! You were a great host!

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NT3S & W2/DH8BQA next weekend

Everything’s packed and if nothing strange happens anymore I will be off to Boston, MA, for a week of QRL tomorrow morning. Next weekend Carol, N2MM, is going to host me in NJ during WPX-SSB – many thanks in advance! Will have the chance to use the club call NT3S during the contest. Not decided yet concerning strategy and category. Thinking about doing a 10 m SB effort although I would loose half a day as I have to head back to the airport Sunday afternoon. Could also hand out a few points as W2/DH8BQA on the other bands then. On the other hand an SOAB entry would certainly be a better fit for the available time. Will see how fit I am after a heavy week of QRL and a possible jet lag. ;-) Anyway, hope to hear you during the contest, much success to everybody participating!

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All project pages moved

With moving the FT-817 microwave display and GPS display pages tonight I finally finished the migration of my old website into the new WordPress layout. Phew! ;)

Tried to cluster the projects into three categories:

Not sure if I like it that way exactly. Might change again in the future. ;)

Also put links and redirection html’s into the old places to guide people to the new pages. Now just need to find some time to add content, i.e. our latest projects realized. We will see …

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Almost all PIC project pages moved

Was very busy moving almost all PIC project pages into the new website design during the last few nights. Made sub-pages for the different voice keyer projects as well as the sequencers projects. Now just the FT-817 microwave display and GPS display pages are left over, puh. ;-) Afterwards I might start to put all my latest projects that were published in FUNKAMATEUR magazine during the last 3 years onto the web, too. Still quite some work waiting. ;-)

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FA-SM and sequencer pages added

fa-smMaking some progress in adding content to this new website. Managed to transfer the pages for the FA-SM as well as the sequencer tonight. The FA-SM aka FUNKAMATEUR Station Manager is a versatile station accessory uniting a 4 memories voice keyer, 4 memories CW keyer and 4 channel sequencer into one single neat box. Take a look at it especially if you are into VHF operations.

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Russian DX Contest

Back again from my 2 x 700 km roundtrip to the contest station to participate in the Russian DX contest last weekend. Was not sure what to do, I did not feel fit enough for an Allband entry, QRL and the many hours on the highway simply took their toll. Not getting younger. ;-) Furthermore 10 m conditions had deteriorated quite a bit during the last few days. But I simply love that band so it should be a 10 m single band entry and taking conditions into account another single band entry on 80 m. Yes, in RDXC it is possible to enter 2 single band entries! This contest is quite unique in several ways. ;-)

Luckily condx went up again during Saturday. Ten almost sounded like going to close at 17:30z but opened up again nicely about half an hour later. I then had a pipeline into California having a really nice run into the U.S. west coast and nothing else. :) About an hour later the band changed completely, west coast vanished and the east coast got in again so I could run for another hour. The band finally closed Saturday night 21z. One of the highlights was being called by K2MFR/m who was just using 3 watts into a small mobile whip and was a solid S7 on my K3′s calibrated meter. Great!

Battled again with Tom, DK3EE, manning DK3T (not sure if it’s a battle for him, too, hihi). When he shut down Saturday evening (heard him last time around 17:30z so he might have thought the band went dead or maybe had other commitments) he had about 650 QSOs while I was just over 400. Ouch! But I could make good use of the mentioned opening and finally surpassed his QSO number and put some “reserve” into it before the band died on Saturday. :)

Sunday morning I got up at 5z. The band was already in full swing, had not expected that (and certainly lost some 40-50 QSOs)! So not even time for a coffee but just going ahead. Didn’t hear DK3T for the first 2 hours (or so) so could gain another few QSOs. But Tom easily ran past me later on. Well, he’s got 3 antenna systems in parallel while I’m just dabbling with one single yagi so after all I think I did hold up against him quite well this time. ;-)

Working to the east has not been a pleasure during the last few month’. We have some new noise of about s3-4 into direction JA/UA0 which we could not locate yet. At least it’s nothing on our property but the strange thing is there is *nothing* into that direction for a few kilometers! So difficult to find out what the source is. :( Due to that I could certainly not hear all of the usually weak JA callers, sorry guys. Russian’s were all really strong, a real pleasure. But as the case in all other contests, too, not too much going on in the morning, QSO rates not up to what we can do in the afternoons. Would have also thought that CW would be the better choice into Russia but not the case this time, constantly lower rates!

After all I am quite happy with the result:

                   Russian DX Contest

Call: DH8BQA

Class: SOSB/10 HP
QTH: JO73ce
Operating Time (hrs): 15

Summary:
 Band  CW Qs  Ph Qs  Countries  Oblasts
----------------------------------------
  160:  (4)                             
   80:  (7)    (1)                      
   40:  (7)                             
   20:                               
   15:                               
   10:  440    646       71        54                             
----------------------------------------
Total:  440    646       71        54  Total Score = 778,000

Club: Bavarian Contest Club

Handed out a few QSOs to friends on the other bands, too.

You might ask what about the 80 m entry? Well, after 10 m was open that long and I had to help a mate who called me with a computer problem after the band had closed I finally skipped that idea and took a good night’s sleep. Did I mention not getting younger? Or maybe it was just laziness, might as well have been the case. ;)

Now looking forward to WPX-SSB in 2 weeks. I will be attending a conference in Boston, MA for QRL the week prior to WPX. Carol, N2MM, was kind enough to invite me  to participate in the contest from her place in NJ afterwards. Many thanks in advance! Reserved the club call NT3S for participation, so look out for me, please! :)

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BX-184 – voice keyer in MH-31 microphone enclosure

ssp-mh31-4Just added the description of my MH-31 microphone integrated voice keyer into this website’s WordPress design. All other content is still available on the old pages. To convert everything and make it fit, i.e. good looking, takes a bit of time but I will try to move all pages within reasonable time now that the start was made. ;-)

Back to the BX-184: Over 800 kits have been sold world-wide by Box73 so far (even to such remote locations like FP, St. Pierre & Michelon Islands) so it indeed seems to be an useful station accessory. ;-) User reviews are available on eHam.net, it’s got at 5.0 rating.

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Certificate for winning ARRL-10M 2012 in Germany

arrl10_2012A nice surprise in the mailbox today – ARRL HQ mailed out the certificates for ARRL-10M 2012 which I had won in Germany in the Mixed Mode High Power category. Also 9th place World is not too bad either, I suppose. ;-) I’m especially proud on that one as the contest was really tough, lot’s of hard work and persistence needed to do any QSOs at all as conditions really sucked. It sure did not feel like in the middle of a sun spot maximum. You can read my full contest report here.

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Excellent condx & French Polynesia as an all time new one

fo4bmConditions have been excellent during the last few days. It’s really cool to get home from work at 18z and find 10 m still wide open. :) US west coast booming in all evenings. Haven’t done too many QSOs myself, rather listening to several interesting conversations and simply enjoying the fine conditions. Heard NH6Y yesterday on short path, that’s been a first, only heard & worked Hawaii from here via long path in the past. Sorrily it was not his frequency but anyway, it clearly speaks for the condx. While scanning the band tonight I stumbled across FO4BM in French Polynesia on 28.520 MHz. Luckily he was not spotted on packet yet so I could easily work him with 55 signals both ways, a very difficult and rarely usable path on 10 m from here. So many thanks for an all time new one, Phil, much appreciated! As you can see guys, it really pays off to spin the dial yourself and not just rely on the packet cluster. My DXCC total is up to 288 now, 270 of them on 10 m. :)

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Japan – Germany on 500 mW

jq2uoz_qrpppUsually I don’t care much about eQSL.cc. Occasionally I upload my logs there, too, for all those who like these “cards”. While doing it I fly over the inbox and mark the “cards” received for archiving. This time one comment line entry caught my eye, you can see it on the QSL pictured at the right: JQ2UOZ confirmed our QSO on 15 m CW during last year’s WAG contest when he was using just 500 mW and a dipole! That’s not too bad! I am sure the 6 ele OWA yagi on our side as well as the superb condx we had helped quite a bit to make that contact possible, too. ;-) Aki-san has now worked over 180 DXCC countries on 500 mW – that’s quite an achievement! More details are on his qrz.com website. He’s got a nice blog, too.

Back when I was a QRP only guy myself (yes, I had such a phase when money was too tight, hi) I sometimes put my FT-817′s power down from 5 watts to 500 mW, too, just to see if a QSO would work. My personal best was from Germany down to ZS, South Africa, on 10 m CW in the middle of the last sunspot minimum. Sure the old 3 ele Yagi we had up on the tower back then helped with that contact, too. Although to work ZS is certainly nothing special it is the circumstances that make these contacts memorable.

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Ten at night – VE8EV’s analysis

After my posting re the ARRL-DX-SSB I got an email from John, VE8EV, concerning his night time 10 m propagation. Interesting experiences on his side, but read for yourself (reposted with John’s kind permission):

ve8evHello Olli,

Thank you for the 10m contact during the
contest.  I enjoyed the write-up on your web
page and was especially interested in the
Ovation auroral image you captured at that
moment.  I do not believe our contact was via
auroral-E, just the regular F2 skip.  From my
QTH at CP38di I can frequently make a good opening on the high
bands to Europe in the 0600z-1000z hours.  As you can see from the
image attached, the aurora was mostly to my south and it is only
about 2000km from here to the sunlight side of the earth.  This
path is quite common on 20m and 15m but thanks to the high SFI
numbers it was open this day on 10m as well.

73
John VE8EV

Don’t miss to also read John’s contest write-up. Besides this he has some very interesting propagation analysis on his blog, too.

He is certainly right, as we have that kind of 10 m night time openings in Europe, too. But it is only usable at high latitudes, i.e. LA, SM, OH can enjoy those openings while propagation stops about 500 km north of my location. His grid square CP38 is equivalent in latitude to the JP & KP locators of SM & OH. I already noticed these openings in the past giving our friends in Scandinavia a small advantage. Sorrily these openings never extend to us in “southern northern Europe”. Well, Scandinavia is otherwise propagationally challenged due to the Aurora, so we’ll let them enjoy this advantage. ;-)

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