IARU VHF Contest ’19

Took part in the VHF September contest a.k.a. the IARU VHF contest last weekend as a small team from the club station again. Equipment played well, lucky with the weather (just some drizzle Saturday evening) and good company, what else is needed? πŸ˜‰

Condx were quite okay and I had the impression that participation was quite good, too, at least on Saturday. Amazing to get number 807 from DA0FF at 02z Sunday morning already with still 12 hours to go, i.e. at half-time! Wonder how many QSOs they did in total …

YT4B and IQ5NN with 1.080 km are meanwhile almost regulars although the Italians really struggled this time to pull our signal out of the noise even when they were a solid 529 over here … seems our QRO plus 10 ele Yagi are not yet enough? 😐

Signal of IQ5NN, well over 1.000 km away:

Great to catch IQ4FD for a third one over the “magic” 1.000 km distance. 😎 A pity we didn’t catch YU7ACO this time (another one > 1.000 km). Never found them on the band and they didn’t react in the ON4KST chat, would usually have been another save QSO. πŸ™ But we worked YU7C as an all time new one instead with a great distance, too. Ukrainian UR7D was extremely loud! Did they do some power upgrade? πŸ˜€ Heard them quite often even beaming far away from direct path …

UR7D – “only” 773 km away but very loud:

SN7L was wide as hell again (like during July VHF contest), not good. πŸ™ Heard a few more different wide signals, too, but none of them as bad as SN7L.

All in all we are satisfied. Our claimed result is exactly the same as last year, amazing! 😎 But we made 9 QSOs less so the kilometers per QSO average is a bit higher this year. πŸ˜‰

Contest Report from DF0TEC in JO73CE at 144 MHz
===============================================

Contest : IARU-VHF-Contest '19
Date    : 2019 Sep 07 to 2019 Sep 08
Section : 02 144 MHz Multi-OP
QTH     : Woltersdorf

Co-OPs  : DG1BHA;DH8BQA;DL3BQA;DM5DX

TX      : IC-9700 + PA, 750 W
RX      : IC-9700 + MGF1302
Antenna : 10 ele DK7ZB Yagi, 20 mAGL, 70 mASL
Log     : TACLog by OZ2M, 1,995, http://www.qsl.net/oz2m

QSOs    :  442
-invalid:    1                                       Points/QSO
-valid  :  441     QSO-points (*1)    :    183430           416
WWLs    :   93     WWL bonus (0)      :         0             0
DXCCs   :   22     DXCC bonus (0)     :         0             0
                   ------------------------------        ------
                   Total score        :    183430           416

ODX     : YT4B in JN94SD at 1079 km

Worked World Wide Locators:
JN29:  1   JN76:  5   JO11:  1   JO54:  1   JO72:  8   JP70:  1   
JN38:  2   JN77:  3   JO20:  2   JO55:  2   JO73: 10   JP90:  1   
JN39:  5   JN78:  3   JO21:  2   JO57:  1   JO75:  1   KN06:  1   
JN47:  3   JN79: 17   JO30:  7   JO58:  1   JO76:  1   KN08:  1   
JN48:  7   JN85:  1   JO31: 20   JO59:  1   JO77:  1   KN09:  5   
JN49:  9   JN86:  4   JO32:  5   JO60: 12   JO79:  2   KN18:  1   
JN56:  1   JN87:  5   JO33:  2   JO61: 24   JO80:  6   KO02:  3   
JN57:  1   JN88:  8   JO40:  5   JO62: 24   JO81:  4   KO04:  1   
JN58:  4   JN89: 12   JO41:  9   JO63:  2   JO83:  2   KO05:  1   
JN59:  1   JN94:  1   JO42: 11   JO64:  3   JO84:  2   KO13:  1   
JN63:  2   JN95:  5   JO43:  8   JO65:  4   JO89:  1   KO14:  1   
JN65:  1   JN97:  2   JO46:  1   JO67:  2   JO90:  7   KO15:  1   
JN67:  1   JN98:  3   JO50: 18   JO68:  1   JO91:  1   KO20:  1   
JN68:  3   JN99: 13   JO51: 15   JO70: 18   JO93:  1   KO24:  1   
JN69:  8   JO01:  1   JO52: 11   JO71: 13   JO94:  6   KO25:  3   
JN75:  2   JO10:  1   JO53:  4   

Worked DXCCs:
9A :   7   G  :   1   LA :   1   OM :  15   S5 :   8   UA2:   1   
DL : 216   HA :   9   LY :   7   ON :   3   SM :  16   UR :   2   
EU :   1   HB :   2   OE :  11   OZ :   5   SP :  53   YU :   2   
F  :   5   I  :   3   OK :  68   PA :   5   

Top 10 QSO-points:
20190908 0139 YT4B           559  263 599  224    JN94SD   1079 
20190908 0252 IQ5NN          599  273 599  472    JN63GN   1078 
20190908 0259 IQ4FD          559  274 599  230    JN63AX   1037 
20190908 0341 9A0V           599  279 599  293    JN95PE    963 
20190908 0225 9A8D           519  268 599  187    JN95LM    919 
20190908 0327 9A7D           599  277 599  195    JN95CI    918 
20190908 1336 YU7C           559  437 599  310    JN95SS    910 
20190908 0318 G8P            599  276 599  541    JO01QD    903 
20190907 2159 9A6K           59   213 59   190    JN95GO    900 
20190907 2153 9A1N           59   210 59   269    JN85LI    894 
Posted in Audio recordings, Contesting, VHF | Comments Off on IARU VHF Contest ’19

Two world-wins confirmed :-)

My V37DX world-wins in this year’s CQ WPX RTTY as well as the ARRL DX CW I took part in from Belize are officially confirmed now. 😎

A few technical problems on the start but big fun and great victory. 😎

Hard competition with TM5Y/F8DBF and a new country record, too. 😎

Posted in Awards, Contesting, DX, Expeditions | Comments Off on Two world-wins confirmed :-)

Rebuilding the VHF shack

As you may have read we have two shacks at our station. One serves as the HF/6 m shack and is usually used by Uwe, DL3BQA. The other one we call the VHF shack which holds a permanent station for 2 m as well as my remote setup. Furthermore I use it for local HF contesting, too, setting up my K3 or IC-7300 additionally. Unfortunately the VHF shack is not that big and with our current installation there’s simply too much stuff and all quite cluttered, i.e. no space for a better monitor, laptop in front of the gear when set up for HF contesting, a.s.o. To be honest I got tired of it so decided to use some spare time this week to change it … for the better I hope! πŸ˜‰

Old VHF shack layout, all cluttered and little space only. Temporary HF setup normally at the right where the tools lay.

All equipment ripped out of the shack, temporarily parked in our outer room. Quite some stuff, isn’t it?

I constructed a new shack table and shelving system from scratch. Most of the wooden elements needed were already available so the total investment was less than 100 EUR. One major upgrade was eliminating the remote system shelves on the left-hand side thus providing a bit more space for the operating positions. All in all it took about 4 afternoons with most of the time needed to clear the shack and then recabling everything again. πŸ˜€ Maybe the following photos will give some inspiration for others wanting to do it themselves, too.

First home-made table legs are ready.

First side part done.

You can already imagine how it might look like finally.

A few planks for better stability and to mount monitors on.

Result of the first afternoon and evening of wood work.

Added two more planks for stability of the tabletop.

Last step of vacation of the shack was taking the remote system shelves apart.

The whole wood construction moved into the shack, thanks Uwe for the helping hand.

Extending the tabletop to 80 cm depth.

Tabletop mounted – looks great, doesn’t it?

Checking height of the first shelf with the metal feet to be mounted temporarily upside-down.

Final assembly of the metal feet. An extra plank is used for additional stability. There will be a bit of weight on the shelf.

Left work place with our IC-9700 finalized. 😎 2 m PA is below the table.

Used some spare wood for a littler higher placement of the rotator controllers.

Elecraft KPA500 amplifier, KAT500 tuner, power supply and homebrew 10×2 antenna controller for automatic antenna selection.

Next to the PS is the new Flex-6600. On top of it the network switch connecting all the remote stuff.

The Flex is connected through a BPF bank to the KPA500 and is also used as an IF rig for the 4 & 2 m bands.

SSPA for 2 m capable of 800 W and (just to the right of the PA) NETIOs for switching mains power on/off.

Final look. The right work place already got parts of it’s IT, too. Can use the Flex on the shelf or an additional local radio.Β  A second shelf above the remote station stuff added as well. The empty space (well, sort of, hi) on the right side of the lower shelf will be filled by another HF amp which first needs some service.

Some black & white art work. πŸ˜‰

Some colour artwork, too. 😎

Posted in Equipment, General stuff | Comments Off on Rebuilding the VHF shack

Perseids Meteor Scatter Report ’19

Moving QTH is basically finished, everything’s setup in the new flat … living room, kitchen, children’s room, a.s.o. all operational, just the shack/office needs a bit more work. πŸ˜€ Anyway, time to play some radio again in the Perseids meteor shower! 😎

Multiple stations in one reflection, nicely sorted on the screen – one of the advantages of the MSK144 mode.

Activity was quite nice, especially from Russia! Worked a lot of new callsigns and a lot I had only worked on HF before! While I had written last year that about 30% of the traffic was on MSK144 and 70% on FSK441 it was the other way round this year – 70% on MSK144 and 30% on FSK441, if at all! While I see the benefits of MSK144 – it’s quite convenient with no false decodes, no digging into the decodes to see what’s in there, all printed nicely on the screen, a.s.o. – it certainly doesn’t fit the bill for working the real DX.

What most people (especially the converts from HF FT8 to VHF MSK144) do not know is that MSK144 also has some (serious) drawbacks compared to FSK441! It’s about 2-3 dB less sensitive and due to it’s FEC (forward error correction) it needs reflections of at least 200 ms length to decode at all! So a reflection of 80/1 (80 ms seconds long, 1 dB over the noise, not uncommon) will not be decoded in MSK144 while in FSK441 it’s usually good for a (partial) call and report! Especially on long haul DX, i.e. over 2.000 or even 2.100 km, or with QRP, it can make all the difference between a complete QSO and an NC contact!

Another thing new guys didn’t know is that while 15 seconds periods are the standard on 6 & 4 m and the default in WSJT-X πŸ™ it’s usually 30 seconds periods on 2 m, at least on the calling frequencies! Reason is keeping it “compliant” to FSK441 which is 30 seconds. So besides the “usual” QRM by people using the wrong periods there was some additional chaos by people running 15 sec periods while everybody else was on 30 sec. Seems some elmering is needed which I did for a few people I had access to. They were all grateful to get the advice how to do it right as it were usually their first steps into the world of VHF digital. Just keep in mind they do not do it intentionally! We were all beginners at some time … πŸ˜‰

Highlight on the 8/8 was working RW3TJ, always thrilled to cross the line into the LOxx squares. πŸ˜‰ Not exactly VHF but working PZ5CO and FY5KE with good signals on 10 m late at night on the 9/8 was thrilling, too! The path works quite often even in sunspot minimum, worked them again during the weekend handing out some points in the WAE-CW contest on HF, too. πŸ˜‰ Did not expect to work (m)any new squares on 2 m during the shower but after almost an hour I completed with OY1R for a new one. It took that long because Regin is only running QRP (50 W to a 7 ele Yagi) so only very strong reflections will work.

Spent quite a while to work Mek, this time in Hungary (JN97) as HA/SP7VC, for a new one on 4 m on 10/8. These QSOs are extra difficult as I’m QRP only on 4 m and the distance is normally too short for MS so lots of patience needed – thanks mate! YO8SAO/KN36 and UT9NA/KN49 were much easier for additional new ones on 2 m. πŸ™‚ I was very excited when I decoded R9JBN with his CQ on 144.360 MHz MSK144 at 20.18z! Could it really be Asiatic Russia on 2 m? But his CQ message included LO13 as his locator which is definitely not UA9 but UA4 so I guess he was rather /4. Still a nice distance of +/- 1.900 km. Unfortunately that CQ burst was the only thing I heard from him …

A full period of reflections by the C37MS DXpedition during our QSO. The burst was indeed almost 1 min long. 😎

Very happy with another 4 new ones on 2 m on the 11/8, namely YO8TNB/KN37, RA1TL/KO67, UT3MD/KN99 and LA/SM5EPO/JP76. PeO had been traveling Scandinavia for 2 weeks activating rare grids for the MS community, thanks a lot, man, appreciated the opportunity!

Didn’t work much on 6 m as it’s usually the same guys over and over again on 6 m MS, not that much activity there. The band provides plenty of opportunities with Sporadic-E during the summer, that’s probably the reason why there’s a lot less interest in Meteor Scatter on Six. But when TA4SO/KM47 was spotted on the cluster I couldn’t resist to check if I would see some reflections, distance is well over 2.000 km. And there he was! As I could copy him almost consistently over quite some time (just an awful lot of QSB) I think it was rather ES than MS. But no matter what, he provided the only new one on 6 m. πŸ˜‰

The 12/8 saw our friends from Dresden (DH5FS & Co.) getting active from the Ukraine as EM44T activating rare square KN38! 😎 They had blown their 2 m pre-amp transistor right away so had to do some surgery in the field, i.e. ripping out the transistor of the 70 cm pre-amp to put it into the 2 m transverter pre-amp, luckily it was the same type! They produced excellent reflections on both 6 & 2 m although the distance is quite short already. But it seemed they had trouble hearing on 6 m, something to be checked when back home.

OH7TE was visiting some relatives and took his 4 m gear along and spent some time on the air, thanks for KP42 on that band, Yussi! UT7KF/KO21 took quite a while to complete on 2 m, again a very short distance for MS and only QRP there. On the contrary UA6LQZ/LN09 produced excellent reflections over quite some long distance! Wonder what equipment he was running! πŸ˜‰ R1OAK/LP05 was over 2.000 km so decided to try on FSK441. He has only 100 W and a long yagi so I expected it would take a while to complete (if at all) but surprisingly he produced some really nice reflections so we were done after 15 minutes already. 😎

Another contact to mention is certainly the one with UT8AL/KO61. I have worked Alex numerous times during past years, be it on HF in contests or on 6 m or on 2 m via ES, MS and even TR. Our first QSO (SSB-MS!) was on 12/8/1999, so exactly 20 years ago! 😎 What makes every 2 m QSO with him so special is knowing he’s only running a very old analogue FT-225RD from 1972, nominally putting out 20 watts which makes it just 16 watts at his antenna which is an almost as old 21 ele KLM yagi on a 12 m boom! Seems his antenna is doing all the work, he was really fireworking with this QRPPP setup!

A full period snapshot of my reflections during a 2 minutes mega burst as recorded by UT6EY.

The maximum was predicted to be early morning of the 13/8. Judging from length and number of reflections I think it was rather on the 12/8 around 22 o’clock. Stef, F4EZJ, asked to try SSB-MS as reflections were still quite good on 13/8. There was a biiiiig burst right away when he started calling me so we completed immediately and had a great one burst QSO. 😎 Pity neither of us had a recorder handy … Icing on the cake was the ES opening on 4 m in the afternoon. While it was very much in & out it was good enough to provide another two new squares. πŸ™‚

In total I made over 100 QSOs, the full log can be viewed here. All in all some fun time on VHF again and happy with the (unexpected) results (of working so many new squares). πŸ˜‰

Posted in Meteor Scatter, Propagation, Sporadic E, VHF | Comments Off on Perseids Meteor Scatter Report ’19

IOTA on EU-057

The big Optibeam sure makes for a good signal. Additonal temporary antennas for all bands (20 & 10 m to be seen in the background) are very helpful for the multiplier station, too.

I was invited to join the DK3R team on RΓΌgen Island, EU-057, during this year’s IOTA contest again – an invitation I happily accepted although it interfered a little with our move to Hamburg. πŸ˜€ But I somehow managed to organize both in parallel so was looking forward to the trip to RΓΌgen last weekend.

We were quite lucky with the weather on Saturday but had some rain early Sunday morning. Radio conditions were rather mixed, too. There was the occassional Sporadic-E opening on the higher HF bands useful to collect some multipliers but besides this we didn’t spend too much time on 15 & 10 m. Even with good openings it’s not very efficient as long as the band is not open to the UK. You need to work all the 15 pointers! So the “money bands” were 20 & 40 m once more.

Our QSO total lacked quite a bit behind last year’s result during Saturday, i.e. we had up to 140 QSOs less in the log. Still we were on par in total result meaning we could make up for the loss in QSOs by working more island stations and more multipliers. The night shift on 80 & 40 m did an extremely good job, i.e. worked many more QSOs and especially mults than we had hoped for, so we were not that much behind Sunday morning anymore. Interestingly the receive antennas for the low bands specifically set up in the field behind the property didn’t provide any advantage. Signals were equally loud (or even louder) on the transmit antennas. Guess it only means the location is quite quiet. πŸ˜‰

At the end there was still a 55 QSOs difference but the total result was way better than last year. In fact it’s the second highest result ever done by the team from this location!

Judging from the posted results on 3830scores.com it should be good enough for another world win after last year! 😎 This would be my 4th one this year this time being part of a great team of experienced contesters!

Interestingly our result is even a little better than the LZØI team’s who participated M/2 and made 1.600 QSOs more (i.e. more than 4.300 QSOs in total!) but 120 less multipliers as well as 25 % less points/QSO average although they operate in a much better location propagation-wise. Seems they concentrated a lot more on just running whom-ever called which is fun, of course, but probably not the best strategy. πŸ˜‰

What a great team! L-to-R: Falk – DK7YY, Burkhard – DL3KZA, Oliver – DL2ARD, Andreas – DL1KZA, Michael – DG1CMZ, Olli – DH8BQA, JΓΌrgen – DL7UVO, Oliver – DJ9AO

I think in the name of the whole team we can only say a big fat THANK YOU to Andreas (DL1KZA), Burkhard (DL3KZA) and families for their fantastic hospitality, the delicious food and care taken for us, as well as Oliver (DL2ARD) for being a great team leader taking care of all the needed stuff and spending his time already a week upfront the contest to set up antennas, station, a.s.o. Looking forward to next year already. 😎

Noel, OO4O, and Burkhard, DL3KZA, with their respective XYLs.

After the contest we were visited by Noel, OO4O, and his lovely wife. Noel participated from RΓΌgen, too. In fact his holiday rental house was just 5 km away from our location. πŸ˜‰ He took it quite leisure doing about 400 QSOs low power using a Spiderbeam and wire antennas. He has been visiting a new island during the IOTA contest every year for the last 10 years now, see some impressions on his qrz.com profile. It seems they liked RΓΌgen Island a lot. Indeed it is a big recommendation for visitors of Eastern-German beach locations as well as Usedom Island (EU-129), too. πŸ˜‰

Posted in Contesting, Expeditions | Comments Off on IOTA on EU-057

More new ones on 6 & 4 m :-)

I had left the IC-7300 switched on during the contest to monitor 4 m propagation as an indicator for possible 2 m ES. There was indeed an opening just not here. πŸ™ When I saw EI9E/P pop up on the bandscope with an S9++ signal I couldn’t resist to give him some points, too. πŸ˜‰

EI9E/P contesting via Sporadic-E on 4 m:

Also worked two new ones with 5T5PA and 9G2HO on 6 m. This is were digital works out nicely besides CW/SSB on another band in parallel. πŸ˜‰ KM15 was new square on 4 m and then there was another short 5 min opening on 4 m after the contest …

------------------------------------------------------------------
TIME   CALLSIGN      LOCATOR   TX    RX    BAND   MODE  PROP.  QRB
------------------------------------------------------------------
10:06 EI9E/P         IO62OM    59    59    4 m.   SSB   ES    1406
10:21 5T5PA          IL1ØLW   -02   +07    6 m.   FT8   ES    4461
10:21 9G2HO          JJØ6FO   -13   -06    6 m.   FT8   ES    5326
12:26 SV9/OV3T       KM15VM   -04   -14    4 m.   FT8   ES    2102
14:08 YO7BSN         KN15PB   -03   -09    4 m.   FT8   ES    1117
14:10 LZ1ZL          KN22JD   +02   -13    4 m.   FT8   ES    1457
------------------------------------------------------------------
Posted in Audio recordings, DX, Propagation, Sporadic E, VHF | Comments Off on More new ones on 6 & 4 m :-)

July VHF Contest ’19

Another July contest in the books. Condx were rather average most of the time. The night hours brought some nice DX so the average per QSO was 420 km which is unusually high. Around 400 km/QSO is quite normal for a July contest from up here but again as last year I missed lots of OK/OM stations that normally help to higher the QSO average so it was rather unexpected. On the other hand there were some really great tropo DX contacts to the west with good signals …

F8KGU – 923 km:

G5LK/P – 903 km:

G4ZAP/P – 886 km:

Not that nice was the signal quality of some of the participants. The worst example was probably SN7L who was up to 40 kHz wide even with antennas pointing into different directions. πŸ™

SN7LΒ  on 144.170 MHz using a big part of the spectrum alone due to his bad wide signal. πŸ™ And this was over a 285 km (!!!) path not even beaming at him! Won’t imagine how bad it must have been for stations nearby … πŸ™

Our new IC-9700 played quite well. I was really sastified with it’s perfomance. Of course the bandscope was/is a big plus as already experienced with the 7300 on other bands, too. If you search the band you stop at signals shown on the bandscope although there’s no signal currently audible as the station that was transmitting there was just listening himself, i.e. for a QSO exchange or the like. In former times you would have simply tuned further and probably missed that station. 😎

But of course the best radio can’t help overall activity which I found lacking again. Total result is on par with last year but that was not a good one either. Seems it will only be place 3 this year as besides Tom, DR1H, who can’t be beaten from up here, also Michael, DL6IAK/P, put in a very good result with over 200k points unchecked …

Contest Report from DH8BQA in JO73CE at 144 MHz
===============================================

Contest : DARC JULY '19
Date    : 2019 Jul 06 to 2019 Jul 07
Section : 01 144MHz Single OP
QTH     : Woltersdorf

TX      : IC-9700 + PA, 750 W
RX      : IC-9700 + ATF 54143
Antenna : 10 ele DK7ZB Yagi, 20 mAGL, 70 mASL
Log     : TACLog by OZ2M, 1,995, http://www.qsl.net/oz2m

QSOs    :  346
-invalid:    0                                       Points/QSO
-valid  :  346     QSO-points (*1)    :    145003           419
WWLs    :   79     WWL bonus (0)      :         0             0
DXCCs   :   21     DXCC bonus (0)     :         0             0
                   ------------------------------        ------
                   Total score        :    145003           419

ODX     : YT4B in JN94SD at 1079 km

Worked World Wide Locators:
JN19:  1   JN78:  2   JO01:  2   JO43: 10   JO64:  5   JO91:  1
JN37:  1   JN79: 17   JO02:  4   JO44:  2   JO65:  3   JO94:  1
JN38:  1   JN85:  2   JO11:  1   JO46:  1   JO67:  2   JP90:  1
JN39:  3   JN86:  3   JO20:  4   JO50:  9   JO70: 12   KN05:  1
JN47:  2   JN87:  2   JO21:  2   JO51: 14   JO71: 10   KN08:  1
JN48:  7   JN88:  7   JO22:  1   JO52:  7   JO72:  6   KN09:  2
JN49:  7   JN89: 10   JO30:  7   JO53:  6   JO73:  3   KN18:  1
JN58:  4   JN94:  1   JO31: 13   JO55:  1   JO74:  1   KO04:  2
JN59:  5   JN95:  2   JO32:  2   JO59:  1   JO77:  1   KO05:  1
JN68:  5   JN96:  1   JO33:  2   JO60: 11   JO80: 10   KO13:  1
JN69:  5   JN97:  4   JO40:  3   JO61: 12   JO82:  1   KO14:  1
JN75:  1   JN98:  4   JO41:  8   JO62: 22   JO83:  2   KO15:  2
JN76:  2   JN99: 11   JO42: 12   JO63:  1   JO90:  2   KO25:  3
JN77:  2   

Worked DXCCs:
9A :   4   G  :   6   LY :   6   ON :   3   S5 :   5   UA2:   4
DL : 183   HA :   8   OE :   6   OZ :   3   SM :   7   UR :   1
EU :   1   HB :   2   OK :  63   PA :   8   SP :  12   YU :   2
F  :   3   LA :   1   OM :  18   

Top 20 QSO-points:
20190707 0745 YT4B           559  262 599  280    JN94SD   1079
20190707 0507 YU7ACO         559  231 559  295    KN05RD   1037
20190706 2304 9A0V           559  212 599  251    JN95PE    963
20190707 0005 G3PYE/P        559  219 559  141    JO02CE    949
20190706 2104 F8KGU          59   188 59   342    JN19BQ    923
20190706 2258 9A8D           55   211 59   155    JN95LM    919
20190706 2158 G5LK/P         55   203 56   337    JO01QD    903
20190706 2316 9A1N           559  213 599  194    JN85LI    894
20190706 2051 G3XDY          559  183 599  038    JO02OB    886
20190706 2155 G4ZAP/P        59   202 57   329    JO01PU    886
20190707 0843 G4SWX          529  278 529  002    JO02RF    865
20190707 1100 9A1E           559  314 599  280    JN85QT    852
20190706 2336 G4CDN          579  217 589  011    JO02SS    849
20190706 1750 HG3X           59   123 59   083    JN96EE    834
20190706 2253 S59DEM         59   210 59   380    JN75DS    825
20190706 1908 HB9EWY         59   151 59   179    JN37WA    821
20190706 2011 SF40RO         529  179 559  001    JP90JA    810
20190707 0015 HB9GF          59   220 59   270    JN47BC    803
20190707 0439 LA0BY          419  225 519  002    JO59IX    785
20190706 2224 UZ3I           599  207 599  197    KN18JT    773
Posted in Audio recordings, Contesting, Equipment, Propagation, Tropo, VHF | Comments Off on July VHF Contest ’19

Massive JA opening on 6 m & WAS on 4 m ;-)

Had a big opening to Japan on 6 m this morning lasting well over 4 hours, wow! Up to 25 different JA calls per RX period in FT8 but rather difficult to do any QSOs at all. Either too big pileups or too QRP over here so only a limited number of contacts. Besides the JAs there were 8 different Korean stations copyable, too. But I needed 1,5 hours to raise at least one of them for a new DXCC. That was quite frustrating as some of them were really loud, think CW with split would have worked much better and easier. But in the end I catched one so a happy camper … and a few new squares, too. 😎

Was literally running between the HF/6 m shack and the VHF shack not to miss anything on 6 and 4 m as the latter opened nicely, too. So I was happy when Uwe came along and took over the JA opening on 6 m so I could concentrate on Four. πŸ˜‰ One open direction was to the east which could be expected with the great 6 m condx …

Three different OIRT stations on 70.040, 70.070 and 70.160 MHz respectively rendering the whole band unusable.

The 70.070 MHz OIRT radio station which is a frequent “visitor” is strong enough to wipe out half the band alone!

The other one was to Scotland! Think I can apply for the WAS 4 m now … not the usual Worked All States but Worked all Scotland. πŸ˜€ IO87 was a new one and the band was open almost 3 hours to Scotland but unfortunately no more active stations, what a pity.

------------------------------------------------------------------
TIME   CALLSIGN      LOCATOR   TX    RX    BAND   MODE  PROP.  QRB
------------------------------------------------------------------
06:50 JH7XRZ         QMØ9MV   -01   -04    6 m.   FT8   ES    8474
07:00 JF8QNF         QNØ2     -10   -18    6 m.   FT8   ES    8221
07:22 JO4GGN         PM75BB   -09   -17    6 m.   FT8   ES    8622
07:25 JH3VJV         PM74LP   -09   -19    6 m.   FT8   ES    8701
07:36 JA1ANR         PM96     -08   -17    6 m.   FT8   ES    8713
07:39 JM1IGJ         PM95RL   -06   -16    6 m.   FT8   ES    8832
07:55 JR1LZK         QMØ6FI   -10   -14    6 m.   FT8   ES    8792
08:02 JA7WSZ         QMØ7LP   -05   -14    6 m.   FT8   ES    8689
08:14 JH7RXU         QMØ9HM   -14   -13    6 m.   FT8   ES    8493
08:35 DS3CHK         PM36RP   -09   -12    6 m.   FT8   ES    8143
------------------------------------------------------------------
07:59 GM4VVX         IO78TA   +18   +13    4 m.   FT8   ES    1279
08:19 GM4FVM         IO85WU   +00   +09    4 m.   FT8   ES    1092
08:21 GM4ZMK         IO75TW   -05   -06    4 m.   FT8   ES    1232
08:39 GM7PKT         IO76JR   -04   +08    4 m.   FT8   ES    1295
08:44 GMØVGI         IO87TH   -01   +13    4 m.   FT8   ES    1143
08:47 GM4OBD         IO87XI    57    57    4 m.   SSB   ES    1125
08:57 GM8IEM         IO78HF   +03   +17    4 m.   FT8   ES    1342
09:21 GI4OWA         IO64IX   -02   -15    4 m.   FT8   ES    1410
09:51 GM4ZMK         IO75TW    59    59    4 m.   SSB   ES    1232
------------------------------------------------------------------
Posted in DX, Propagation, Sporadic E, VHF | Comments Off on Massive JA opening on 6 m & WAS on 4 m ;-)

A difficult new one on 6 m & OIRT on 4 m

A day off QRL so used the time to finally install our new IC-9700 at the club station. Eager to learn how it performs in heavy contest use on 2 m this weekend. πŸ˜‰

Also brought along the IC-7300 for 4 m, just in case. There was some nice Sporadic-E eastwards with big OIRT signals. Unfortunately no 4 m (and 6 m) licenses in Russia else it would probably have been a fun opening. πŸ˜‰ Propagation shortly shifted northwards to allow working Finland on 4 m which is quite rare from here as we’re usually too close!

Big OIRT signal centered on 70.190 MHz basically rendering the band useless!

Uwe was working intensively on 6 m again. I just had to interrupt him when JW7QIA popped up to work a new one. 😎 During the past years I was never lucky enough to catch him. The distance is quite difficult: 2.700 km is way too far for one hop ES and getting 2 hops perfectly aligned in those northern spheres is rare, too! So happy to have finally made it, one of the last needed countries on 6 m in Europe …

------------------------------------------------------------------
TIME   CALLSIGN      LOCATOR   TX    RX    BAND   MODE  PROP.  QRB
------------------------------------------------------------------
16:54 OH3CT          KP21GA   -03   +16    4 m.   FT8   ES    1069
17:07 OH6DX          KP32EQ   -05   +11    4 m.   FT8   ES    1272
18:06 JW7QIA         JQ68TB   +05   -01    6 m.   FT8   ES    2765
------------------------------------------------------------------
Posted in DX, Propagation, Sporadic E, VHF | Comments Off on A difficult new one on 6 m & OIRT on 4 m

Another 4 m ES, great 6 m NA opening & working Paul ;-)

The lower VHF bands were hot again today! 😎 Uwe, DL3BQA, was very busy working a great North America opening on 6 m with lots of new squares for him. Although it was again much better elsewhere no need to complain, this time JO73 got a good share of propagation, too. πŸ˜‰ I concentrated on packing stuff for our move to Hamburg which is more important currently but kept an eye on 4 m. The band opened rather late! EA1VM provided a new square with IN72 and Alex, EA8DBM, was in via double-hop, too. Heard another EA8 briefly on SSB but couldn’t make a QSO.

------------------------------------------------------------------
TIME   CALLSIGN      LOCATOR   TX    RX    BAND   MODE  PROP.  QRB
------------------------------------------------------------------
19:26 EA1VM          IN72RC   +04   +00    4 m.   FT8   ES    1858
19:34 EA1BNF         IN52OF   +00   +00    4 m.   FT8   ES    2093
19:35 EA1HRR         IN83JJ   -02   +07    4 m.   FT8   ES    1679
19:41 EA8DBM         IL18OH   +05   -08    4 m.   FT8   ES    3747
19:42 EA1CRK         IN73DM   -03   -09    4 m.   FT8   ES    1812
20:07 CT1EEB         IN5ØQR    52    55    4 m.   SSB   ES    2201
------------------------------------------------------------------

Also couldn’t resist to work my good friend Paul as TK/DL5CW. After we met in Friedrichshafen he moved on with his XYL down to Corsica for a 2 weeks holiday and did a few QSOs inbetween holiday activities, too. Worked him first on 40 m CW where he was around 559. Then saw 10 m wide open and TK4LS being 59 on SSB Paul then QSY’d to 10 m CW where he was a solid s9 signal, too. 😎 Finished off with another contact on 80 m CW before he closed down to prepare everything to go back to Germany. Tnx QSOs, mate! You’re indeed a True Blue DXer. πŸ˜‰

Posted in DX, Propagation, Sporadic E, VHF | Comments Off on Another 4 m ES, great 6 m NA opening & working Paul ;-)

Second 2 m ES opening this year over here

High MUF across Western Europe and several ES openings on 144 MHz … all at least 400 km west or 300 km south of me, so no joy. Even difficult to catch something on 4 m but finally had a great opening to EA6. Sorrily all EA6’s on FT8 only with s9++ signals, only EA6SA being an exception, tnx CW contact, Josep! Would not have expected to work him 1,5 hours later again on 2 m. 😎

Quite a late opening on 144 MHz mainly between the U.K. and Italy and me being too close to these new ES clouds. So MUF had to climb much higher to allow QSOs on shorter path’, i.e. 1.200 km in my case to Southern France. F6EGD was not complete, weak signal and only for 2 or 3 periods. Likewise with F1JG, heard (seen) for two periods and gone. He was in again half an hour later and just long enough to complete the QSO then. Guess I worked almost all active EA6 VHFers. πŸ˜‰

------------------------------------------------------------------
TIME   CALLSIGN      LOCATOR   TX    RX    BAND   MODE  PROP.  QRB
------------------------------------------------------------------
16:28 EA6VQ          JM19MP   +11   +05    4 m.   FT8   ES    1727
16:29 EA6SX          JM19IK   +09   +10    4 m.   FT8   ES    1760
16:38 EA6FB          JMØ8PW   +12   +12    4 m.   FT8   ES    1865
16:41 EA5TT          IM99SL   +07   -08    4 m.   FT8   ES    1887
16:44 EB5GC          IM97JX   -12   -18    4 m.   FT8   ES    2063
17:14 EA6SA          JM19LO   599   599    4 m.   CW    ES    1734
17:55 EA3BMU         JNØ1OC   -03   -18    4 m.   FT8   ES    1659
18:13 EA3EW          JNØ1OG   +08   +02    4 m.   FT8   ES    1643
------------------------------------------------------------------
18:35 F6EGD          JN24MA   -07    NC    2 m.   FT8   ES    1219
18:40 EA6VQ          JM19HN   +18   +06    2 m.   FT8   ES    1751
18:47 EA3BTZ         JN11BI    59    59    2 m.   SSB   ES    1596
18:49 EA6SA          JM19LO    59    59    2 m.   SSB   ES    1734
18:54 EA6XQ          JM19LH   +01   -07    2 m.   FT8   ES    1763
19:09 F1JG           JN23HQ   +13   -06    2 m.   FT8   ES    1268
19:11 EA3SI          JN11DN   -04   -16    2 m.   FT8   ES    1569
------------------------------------------------------------------

DK1FG & DL1NEO reported receiving (seeing) D41CV from Cap Verde on 2 m – that’s a 4.870 km path! I saw DK1FG calling him but no QSO was made. PE1CCM reported a QSO with 5T5PA on 144.174 FT8 (although I haven’t seen any confirmation of it yet). That’s a 4.000 km path, too. Probably a combination of ES + TR as there was strong tropo ducting along the West African coast line during the last days with regular QSOs between CT/EA and EA8/D4 so 5T5 would perfectly fit in. So much to still explore … 😎

Posted in Propagation, Sporadic E, VHF | Comments Off on Second 2 m ES opening this year over here

A small but unstable tropo opening

Was occasionally checking the F5LEN Tropo Forecast and saw there might be some lift yesterday but was stuck with other duties so couldn’t make it to the station. Indeed there were tropo contacts well above 1.500 km from eastern Poland to the U.K. and even this morning still a few good contacts reported. But tropo shifted fast so there was not much left in the afternoon, only locals to be heard when back from QRL. Conditions came up a bit again later today but still with lots of QSB and most signals weak and in & out fast, obviously not comparable to yesterday. Under these condx FT8 does have an advantage and I was lucky to make use of it. None of the QSOs would have been possible in CW & SSB except G4CDN but I can work Richard daily anyway, even in CW. πŸ˜‰

MØCGL was very loud at times, too, and I wondered why he had difficulties to pick up my signal and why he gave me such a bad signal strength report compared to his own signal, a difference of almost 20 db! Up to 10 dB difference is not unusual (assuming comparable equipment +/- a bit) depending on local circumstances like noise, QRM, (no) preamp, a.s.o. It took me a while to recognize I simply had forgotten to switch on the PA again after the condx break of 45 minutes. πŸ˜€ So the QSO was made with just 8 watts and the 9 ele GØKSC LFA Yagi over here. 😎

------------------------------------------------------------------
TIME   CALLSIGN      LOCATOR   TX    RX    BAND   MODE  PROP.  QRB
------------------------------------------------------------------
15:37 MØCVX          IO93RE   -04   -03    2 m.   FT8   TR     981
15:59 G4CDN          JOØ2SS   +15   +05    2 m.   FT8   TR     848
16:01 G4TRA          IO81WN   -18   -17    2 m.   FT8   TR    1120
16:12 G4HGI          IO83PL   -08   -13    2 m.   FT8   TR    1121
16:58 MØCGL          JOØ3BF   +05   -16    2 m.   FT8   TR     936
17:05 G4GFI          IO91VH   -15   -14    2 m.   FT8   TR    1001
17:06 PDØNUD         JO21NT   -16   -11    2 m.   FT8   TR     633
17:10 G4IJE          JOØ1HP   -10   -14    2 m.   FT8   TR     935
17:37 2EØWDX         IO94FW   -14   -09    2 m.   FT8   TR    1043
17:41 MØWGF          JOØ1JK   -10   -12    2 m.   FT8   TR     931
17:51 G4ATX          JOØ1MI   -16   -09    2 m.   FT8   TR     917
17:53 G4DHF          IO92UU   -14   -11    2 m.   FT8   TR     969
17:58 MØPYU          IO93SA   -14   -12    2 m.   FT8   TR     977
------------------------------------------------------------------
Posted in Propagation, Tropo, VHF | Comments Off on A small but unstable tropo opening

Another nice ES day …

Have been watching cluster spots and MUF map all morning during QRL but couldn’t leave, things for a living first. πŸ˜‰ As soon as I had a chance to leave early afternoon all the nice 4 m openings were already over. Band was still open a little to EI/GI but all else gone. But a big surprise on 6 m! The band was well open via triple and quadruple hop Sporadic E to the Caribbean and even Central America! No reason to grumble this time, lots of DX to be heard and worked even from JO73. 😎 There were at least four different stations from the Dominican Republic, the samer number of Puerto Ricans, two from Guadeloupe, a.s.o. I concentrated on working new ones and indeed was lucky enough to catch TI – Costa Rica as well as CO – Cuba for new countries! 😎 It never really opened to mainland North America, VE1PZ was in & out for a few minutes only. It all dematerialized around 16z over here (until then all the KP4’s were in as well as a few of the HI’s but I didn’t call them as I had worked most of them before already) and MUF went down quickly. I was not unhappy about it as I had an appointment at 16:30z anyway. πŸ˜‰

------------------------------------------------------------------
TIME   CALLSIGN      LOCATOR   TX    RX    BAND   MODE  PROP.  QRB
------------------------------------------------------------------
13:25 EI7HBB         IO53SQ    57    53    4 m.   SSB   ES    1496
------------------------------------------------------------------
13:38 HI8PAP         FK58AL   -17   -13    6 m.   FT8   ES    7987
13:42 HI3T           FK49TL   -08   -09    6 m.   FT8   ES    7928
13:45 TI5/N5BEK      EJ79TX   -19   -15    6 m.   FT8   ES    9682
14:03 CO8LY          FL2ØCA   -12   -18    6 m.   FT8   ES    8236
14:09 VE1PZ          FN85QR   -07   -11    6 m.   FT8   ES    5341
14:42 TO1T           FK96GH   +03   -06    6 m.   FT8   ES    7609
------------------------------------------------------------------

Before finally closing down the station to go back to the XYL I checked condx again and wow – as fast as the MUF went down before it now rose up again! There was an intense ionization cluster with a MUF around 100 MHz above Northwestern Germany which allowed to work a great series of QSOs into the U.K. I really love these openings, lots of stations QRV and great SSB activity (IO73 was even a new square). 😎 It could just happen more often. πŸ˜€ Eventually the ionization above Hamburg rose well above 150 MHz which allowed to work as short a distance as just 540 km into The Netherlands via ES … how cool’s that? 😎 No need to say 2 m was open at the time allowing QSOs from the U.K. to the Baltics as well as from France to Finland …

------------------------------------------------------------------
TIME   CALLSIGN      LOCATOR   TX    RX    BAND   MODE  PROP.  QRB
------------------------------------------------------------------
17:04 MIØOUT         IO65PE   +01   -09    4 m.   FT8   ES    1373
17:09 EI8IQ          IO62SF   +12   -13    4 m.   FT8   ES    1391
17:12 G3SHK          IO9ØDX   +14   -04    4 m.   FT8   ES    1112
17:14 G1PPA          IO93OJ   +12   -04    4 m.   FT8   ES     995
17:18 G4IOQ          IO82KT    59    59    4 m.   SSB   ES    1157
17:19 M1EOP          IO82XT    59    59    4 m.   SSB   ES    1086
17:20 G3LQR          JOØ2QF    59    59    4 m.   SSB   ES     870
17:21 GW4SHF         IO82HP    59    59    4 m.   SSB   ES    1177
17:21 GW4BZD         IO73WF    59    57    4 m.   SSB   ES    1217
17:23 GØPQF          JOØ1BU    59    57    4 m.   SSB   ES     962
17:25 G4CKH          JOØ2UK    59    59    4 m.   SSB   ES     843
17:27 G4YTL          IO92MB    59    59    4 m.   SSB   ES    1029
17:33 PA3DOL         JO22MT   +14   +14    4 m.   FT8   ES     614
17:35 G4CLA          IO92JL    59    59    4 m.   SSB   ES    1036
17:38 G6WRW          IO82UJ    55    59    4 m.   SSB   ES    1110
17:39 G3NPI          IO92MA    59    59    4 m.   SSB   ES    1030
17:41 PAØFEI         JO33BC    55    55    4 m.   SSB   ES     539
17:42 G6OHM          JOØ2AL    59    57    4 m.   SSB   ES     953
17:43 MWØCXH         IO71VQ    59    57    4 m.   SSB   ES    1256
17:44 G4BUD          IO92EG    59    59    4 m.   SSB   ES    1068
17:50 PE1CUL         JO22DB   -10   -18    4 m.   FT8   ES     680
18:11 GI4OWA         IO64IX   +15   +15    4 m.   FT8   ES    1410
------------------------------------------------------------------
Posted in DX, Propagation, Sporadic E, VHF | Comments Off on Another nice ES day …

First 2 m ES and new ones on 6 m

Finally the first 2 m Sporadic E this year that made it into JO73! 😎 Although we were almost too close to the clouds I managed to work a few QSOs. The opening started earlier to stations more west so kept monitoring 144.300 CW/SSB as well as 144.174 FT8. When suddenly strong ES signals from Russia popped up on .174 I quickly QSY’d to 144.300 SSB but … nobody there?! Calling CQ brought up RN3QR, tnx! Also Alex, UT8AL/EO10A, responded to my own CQs. Besides this all in & out for a few seconds each only … been too close to the clouds centered above KO21/22 and MUF not high enough to support a shorter distance path. Artur, UR3EE, was quite weak when I heard and worked him and sounded almost like Ionoscatter but it probably still was ES (scatter) as he was working OZ & SM7 at the same time handing out s9+ reports.

Switched back to FT8 only after the opening was over. RX3QFM popped up there for few minutes only. Signals were weak so that’s when FT8 makes sense! Else only stupid to stay on FT8 with big sigs … hope people stop being lazy and get back to more efficient modes! Yes, CW/SSB is way more effcient when the band is open with big fat signals and you want to provide as many QSOs as possible. We might still be lucky in JO73 as station density is much less than around the well populated activity centers of JO30/31 or JN49/JO40. There were a number of like-minded angry comments on MMMonVHF concerning the chaos on FT8 and I agree with most of the them … the problem is probably not the mode itself but the people using it wrongly. So as usual the problem is sitting in front of the computer (which much reminds me of some QRL episodes, hi).

Here’s my DX yield:

------------------------------------------------------------------
TIME   CALLSIGN      LOCATOR   TX    RX    BAND   MODE  PROP.  QRB
------------------------------------------------------------------
08:11 RN3QR          LOØØBK    59    59    2 m.   SSB   ES    1797
08:17 EO1ØA          KO61WP    59    59    2 m.   SSB   ES    1340
08:17 UT8AL          KO61WP    59    59    2 m.   SSB   ES    1340
08:40 UR3EE          KN88DC    52    57    2 m.   SSB   ES    1648
08:45 RX3QFM         KO91OO   -11   -10    2 m.   FT8   ES    1696
------------------------------------------------------------------

What drove me into the shack this weekend, too (besides the AGCW VHF contest yesterday), was the IARU 50/70 MHz Contest. German RegTP (our radio license regulation authority) just recently officially allowed contest operation for German radio amateurs on 6 m, at least during the summer month’. So made a few contest QSOs in CW & SSB. Great to see so much “analogue” activity, real fun! πŸ™‚ Condx were rather bad yesterday and still quite spotty today but we also had a few double and triple hop openings although once again JO73 was not very favoured propagationally compared to other regions in Germany and Europe. Most of the spotted DX was simply not audible. But it still was good enough (with a little patience) to work two new countries with VU and RA9 😎 although in FT8 only. Besides RD9D there was also RL9F (LO87) active and besides RK4PR a few other UA3/4, too. Not sure if there were some changes concerning license rules in Russia (most knowledgable people say no, 6 m still not allowed) or if the Russian guys just got impatient and simply started operating despite no official licenses. Cannot imagine that with current politics in Russia but we will probably learn more about it soon. Anyway, a clear case of WFWL – work first, worry later. πŸ˜‰

Here are the more interesting QSOs made on Six today:

------------------------------------------------------------------
TIME   CALLSIGN      LOCATOR   TX    RX    BAND   MODE  PROP.  QRB
------------------------------------------------------------------
06:45 TA9J           LN1ØMN   -03   +10    6 m.   FT8   ES    2575
07:22 EK7DX          LN2ØGE   599   599    6 m.   CW    ES    2697
07:26 EX8M           MN62WT   559   539    6 m.   CW    ES    4446
07:52 EK1KE          LN2ØGE   -13   -11    6 m.   FT8   ES    2697
07:55 VU2DED         ML88ON   -06   -11    6 m.   FT8   ES    5731
08:02 A41ZZ          LL93IF   -22   -03    6 m.   FT8   ES    4990
11:43 EA8/DM8MM/P    IL18AT    59    59    6 m.   SSB   ES    3765
11:44 EA8BPX         IL18SK    59    59    6 m.   SSB   ES    3717
16:19 EA8JK          IL18CP   +10   +04    6 m.   FT8   ES    3771
17:00 RD9D           LO99XS   -04   -18    6 m.   FT8   ES    2840
17:08 RK4PR          LO64FO   +07   -05    6 m.   FT8   ES    2479
------------------------------------------------------------------

There were 3 or 4 other EA8’s audible nicely over more than 2 hours but I concentrated on working a few tropo QSOs on 4 m for the contest inbetween. Furthest has been Dick, PA4VHF, over 530 km in CW (!) which was a real challenge and needed many repeats due to my QRP only signal but we finally made it. 😎 It was only after the contest’s end that 4 m also opened via Sporadic E to the Balkans. Nice to catch George, LZ1ZP, on CW. I could literally feel how excited he was to work somebody on CW although we had numerous QSOs before during past years, be it on 4 m or 2 m with our first contact dating back more than 20 years when besides HSCW (high speed CW, i.e. 1000+ lpm) even SSB Meteor Scatter was very popular … good old times. πŸ˜‰

------------------------------------------------------------------
TIME   CALLSIGN      LOCATOR   TX    RX    BAND   MODE  PROP.  QRB
------------------------------------------------------------------
14:39 LZ2NW          KN23TB   +14   +00    4 m.   FT8   ES    1405
14:42 SV2JAO         KN1ØDN   -17   -01    4 m.   FT8   ES    1530
15:04 LZ1ZP          KN22ID   599   599    4 m.   CW    ES    1454
------------------------------------------------------------------

There was some great double-hop to EA8 on 4 m, too, but only Alex, EA8DBM, was audible with up to s9+ signals and only on FT8. Wished I could have worked him in the contest but he was not participating and not willing to hand out just points, quite a pitty …

Now keeping fingers crossed for another chance to work some Sporadic E on 144 MHz. The season has been really bad so far (even on 6 & 4 m). Nevertheless happy as I try to catch one opening per season at least. Mission accomplished for this year. 😎 But of course more is better. πŸ˜€ πŸ˜‰

Posted in DX, Propagation, Sporadic E, VHF | Comments Off on First 2 m ES and new ones on 6 m

AGCW VHF June Contest ’19

When doing the AGCW VHF contest last year after stumbling across it by coincidence I had so much fun I put a marker on the calendar for this year’s date to participate again. Had a late start, i.e. 20 min into the contest only, but compared to last year found activity rather lacking. Condx were not good either, I was challenged by heavy thunderstorms around my QTH and according thunder crashes which made copy of weak signals a real challenge. Nevertheless made a few nice QSOs in the most analogue mode we have. πŸ˜‰

Contest Report from DH8BQA in JO73CE at 144 MHz
===============================================

Contest : AGCW VHF July '19
Date    : 2019 Jun 15
Section : 144MHz Single OP
QTH     : Woltersdorf

TX      : Elecraft K3, K144XV + PA, 600 W
RX      : Elecraft K3, K144XV
Antenna : 9 ele G0KSC LFA Yagi, 10 mAGL, 60 mASL
Log     : TACLog by OZ2M, 1,995, http://www.qsl.net/oz2m

QSOs    :   24
-invalid:    0                                       Points/QSO
-valid  :   24     QSO-points (*1)    :  10880              453
AGCWs   :    3     AGCW bonus (0)     :      0                0
WWLs    :   16     WWL bonus (0)      :      0                0
DXCCs   :    4     DXCC bonus (0)     :      0                0
                   ---------------------------           ------
                   Total score        :  10880              453

ODX     : G4SWX in JO02RF at 865 km

Worked AGCWs:
A     :   1   B     :  12   C     :  11

Worked World Wide Locators:
JN39:  2   JN59:  2   JO30:  1   JO41:  1   JO51:  2   JO63:  1
JN49:  2   JN99:  1   JO31:  4   JO42:  2   JO61:  1   JO72:  1
JN58:  1   JO02:  1   JO40:  1   JO50:  1   

Worked DXCCs:
DL  : 21   F   :  1   G   :  1   OK  :  1   

Top 10 QSO-points:
20190615 1647 G4SWX         559  024 559  003 C   JO02RF    865
20190615 1432 F6HOK         559  005 599  011 C   JN39OC    667
20190615 1445 DK2GZ         529  006 599  014 B   JN49GB    606
20190615 1427 DL3ASM/P      599  004 599  010 C   JO30FQ    600
20190615 1626 DJ2IT         599  023 599  029 C   JN58TD    590
20190615 1420 DL6WT         599  002 599  011 C   JN39VV    575
20190615 1500 DK9TF         599  011 599  022 B   JO31NF    530
20190615 1449 DH7FFE        419  008 599  006 A   JO40FC    525
20190615 1553 DK4EF         519  021 599  016 C   JN49KW    517
20190615 1529 OK2KW         559  017 599  006 C   JN99BL    494
Posted in Contesting, Propagation, VHF | Comments Off on AGCW VHF June Contest ’19

New toys

Heiko, DG1BHA, and I decided to buy an Icom IC-9700 for the club QTH to replace our old venerable IC-7400 that served as our main 2 m radio for quite some years. We did some modifications to the latter for better stability, i.e. adding an external oscillator reference and such. It will still be serving us in the future, either as a dedicated EME radio or in Heiko’s small garden QTH. Currently the ‘9700 is still with me but I will take it along to the club in early July when going there for the VHF contest to give it a real test drive. 😎

First function test of the IC-9700. Seems all’s okay. 😎

Second new toy is a Flex 6600 that I want to use at the remote station. I had tried out DO4DXA’s Flex 6400 remotely for a short while (Thanks Marc!) to get a feeling if I could imagine using one myself. As you might know I usually prefer “knob radios” but the spectrum display in the ‘7300 got me hooked and I’m really missing it on the remote station, especially when monitoring the VHF bands for openings. There are M versions with front panels of the Flex radios but the front panel is of no use remotely. I might buy a Flex Maestro Console one day which is a front panel for the Flex 6000 series that can be operated remotely (much like the K3/0 mini I currently use to operate my remote K3 but with the spectrum display included) but due to it’s price tag decided to try it without one first. πŸ˜‰ The Flex software is quite nice and after all it might just be a case of getting used to … will see and report back. πŸ˜‰

No knobs no nothing, entirely relying on “remote” software.

For a little while I was undecided between the 6400 and the 6600. The price difference is quite a bit! But I finally decided for the 6600 as it has 2 SCUs which will allow me to monitor 2 transverter bands in parallel, i.e. 4 & 2 m at once, as well as doing real SO2R on HF with just one radio.

A big thanks to Frank Dathe of Funktechnik Dathe who was again a pleasure to deal with and as usual delivered everything in a timely manner. I bought a lot of stuff from them in the past and can wholeheartedly recommend them!

Posted in Equipment | Comments Off on New toys

A little VHF propagation and activity

Bands were rather quiet during the week and QRL kept me busy anyway. A little more propagation today but still all very selective. Anyway, nice to see 4 m opening to Greece at least (also heard/saw two Maltese for about 2 minutes) with JM99 as a new square (now #186), too. 😎 Even 6 m provided a new one with KM29 (#663) today and even in SSB, who would have thought that? πŸ˜‰ I have to admit I lost interest in 6 m a little as I think things changed not for the good during the last two years or so operations-wise and besides JO73 being the 6 m blackhole anyway. No fun to listen to all the other guys working the DX while it never pops up over here. It seems we’re always half a hop too close or too far. There are typical spots that always get the good propagation even if people there are complaining, too. πŸ˜€

------------------------------------------------------------------
TIME   CALLSIGN      LOCATOR   TX    RX    BAND   MODE  PROP.  QRB
------------------------------------------------------------------
15:43 SV4AAQ         KM19LI   +12   +02    4 m.   FT8   ES    1675
15:51 SV2JAO         KN1ØDN   -04   -17    4 m.   FT8   ES    1530
15:56 SV8CS          KMØ7JS   +07   +03    4 m.   FT8   ES    1787
16:04 SV8PEX         JM99VR   +09   -03    4 m.   FT8   ES    1555
16:27 TA2AO/4        KM37QB   599   599    6 m.   CW    ES    2061
16:50 J48GEO         KM29WF    59    59    6 m.   SSB   ES    1787
------------------------------------------------------------------
Posted in Propagation, Sporadic E, VHF | Comments Off on A little VHF propagation and activity

My third world win this year? WPX-CW claimed scores :-)

Boy, that was fast! WPX-CW claimed scores have already been posted on the CQ WPX website. I never would have thought I could ever win the 10 m category from Germany! Usually it’s either the South American guys who take the win, profiting from propagation to Europe as well as North America, i.e. the two most densly populated regions, at least when it comes to amateur radio contest activity, or someone from the Balkans or Southern Europe with usually much better propagation than northern Germany, too. Seems this time the (Sporadic E) propagation god was with me. πŸ™‚ Not only that I’ve probably won the SOSB10(A) category (margin to second place is big enough to survive the log checking process) but also have posted the highest 10 m score overall. 😎

Posted in Contesting | Comments Off on My third world win this year? WPX-CW claimed scores :-)

Some normal VHF DX this weekend

Well, still no Sporadic-E on 4 & 2 m overhere. πŸ™ Peter was quite active on 6 m but even there only very patchy openings. Luckily there were a few smaller VHF contests this weekend that allowed to work some nice DX contacts nevertheless using good old troposcatter. Managed almost 100 QSOs quite leisurely and besides CW & SSB also did a few FT8 contacts inbetween. This is a mix I do like. πŸ˜‰

Here’s the listing of the “better ones”, i.e. QRB over 600 km. There were a lot of QSOs > 500 km, too, especially in CW/SSB in the contests, but that would have made the list just too long. πŸ˜‰

------------------------------------------------------------------
DATE       TIME  CALLSIGN      LOCATOR     BAND   MODE  PROP.  QRB
------------------------------------------------------------------
01/06/2019 09:56 EW3AA         KO12TC      2 m.   FT8   TR     646
01/06/2019 14:27 PE1ITR/P      JO21WF      2 m.   SSB   TR     608
01/06/2019 14:37 S57O          JN86DT      2 m.   SSB   TR     724
01/06/2019 16:15 F4KJP/P       JN29LN      2 m.   SSB   TR     757
01/06/2019 16:21 OM3RM         JN88QA      2 m.   SSB   TR     616
01/06/2019 17:00 F6KFH         JN39OC      2 m.   SSB   TR     666
01/06/2019 19:07 S57M          JN76PO      2 m.   CW    TR     736
01/06/2019 19:19 S59P          JN86AO      2 m.   SSB   TR     743
01/06/2019 19:54 DL1SMA        JN48GL      2 m.   FT8   TR     657
02/06/2019 08:43 HAØIL         KNØ7SU      2 m.   CW    TR     787
02/06/2019 08:47 OMØAS         KNØ9WC      2 m.   SSB   TR     701
02/06/2019 08:55 HG1DRD        JN86KU      2 m.   CW    TR     729
02/06/2019 09:01 HG6Z          JN97WV      2 m.   SSB   TR     711
02/06/2019 10:11 ON6NL         JO21UE      2 m.   FT8   TR     620
02/06/2019 10:12 DM7RM         JN48HD      2 m.   FT8   TR     684
02/06/2019 10:15 DJ2KUA        JN49FD      2 m.   FT8   TR     602
02/06/2019 14:06 EU3AI         KO22CE      2 m.   FT8   TR     682
02/06/2019 14:08 SP8NTP        KO12SA      2 m.   FT8   TR     643
02/06/2019 14:44 G4CDN         JOØ2SS      2 m.   FT8   TR     848
02/06/2019 14:46 SM6BFE        JO68DQ      2 m.   FT8   TR     623
02/06/2019 14:53 G4DML         JOØ2OJ      2 m.   FT8   TR     877
02/06/2019 15:26 PAØVHA/P      JO21BX      2 m.   FT8   TR     694
------------------------------------------------------------------

While scanning the band I also stumbled across YO2LEA in KN06 on CW who unfortunately couldn’t hear me. πŸ™ Quite a pity, that would have been 930 km and the ODX of the weekend. Maybe next time …

Posted in Contesting, Propagation, Tropo, VHF | Comments Off on Some normal VHF DX this weekend

Cleaning activities and antenna alignments

Another day without any interesting VHF propagation so we used the time for some cleaning activities long overdue. Heiko (DG1BHA), Uwe (DL3BQA), Peter (DM5DX) and myself had blocked the days after Father’s Day for several small to medium things that needed attention. We cleaned and emptied two complete material shelters and moved two loads of heavy stones as can be seen on the picture to the right. We had put them around the shack a few years ago for some nice stone walls etc. but meanwhile recognized they are more disturbing than helping (or pleasing the eye, hi) so decided to finally put them away. There are probably nicer spare time activities but what needs to be done needs to be done. πŸ˜‰

Another “needs to be done” was realigning some antennas. Our 20 m beam and the 17/12 m duoband Yagi above are mounted 90Β° twisted to minimize interference between both. They were misaligned by about 15Β° now so an easy fix. Much more disturbing was the 15/6 m antenna mast. While the 6 m beam had an offset of about 10Β° against 15 m, too, which is just not nice but otherwise no problem concerning functionality the whole set of antennas had moved about 100Β° against the rotator reading in one of the last storms. So getting it back to the correct heading was needed, too, making it much easier when trying to beam for certain DX. πŸ˜‰ We also made sure that such movements do not happen in the future anymore. Big thanks once more to Heiko who is our tower guy and always doing a great job!

Heiko on the 15/6 m tower to realign the rotator heading

His new climbing safety gear is much better than his old one as he admitted

 

Posted in Antennas, General stuff | Comments Off on Cleaning activities and antenna alignments