WPX-CW ’19 World Win Plaque

Nice surprise when getting back home today. The plaque for winning the world on 10 m in WPX-CW last year [1][2][3] (a once in a lifetime event from here) was finally received. ๐Ÿ˜Ž Doug, K1DG, managing the plaque program of the CQ WW WPX Contest, had already sent one in February but it never arrived over here. ๐Ÿ™ After a few month’ we finally declared it lost and Doug was kind enough to make a new one and send it over. This one now arrived within 3 weeks as expected. Many thanks Doug, appreciate your efforts!

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Perseids final

My final day being active in this year’s Perseids. Seems there was a second peak (or THE peak?) of meteor activity this morning. My gut feeling is the shower is still not on par with recent years. There were very few reflections today (better in the morning with a sharp decline around noon) but the ones that were there were all very long, typical for after the maximum.

Did work UA3TCF/LO26 for another new square making it 7 in total. Wow, would not have expected that many! Maybe 2 or 3 but definitely not more than half a dozen. Great. ๐Ÿ˜Ž

06:28  UR7IMM        KN88TR   +01   +00    2 m.  MSK144  MS   1704
06:52  RA1AW         KO59DU   +17   +09    2 m.  MSK144  MS   1228
07:00  F4VPC         IN87VV   +04   +07    2 m.  MSK144  MS   1296
07:11  F5DYD/P       JNร˜3KG   +17   +08    2 m.  MSK144  MS   1475
07:28  Gร˜HVQ         IO81UX   +14   +12    2 m.  MSK144  MS   1120
07:52  EB5EEO        IM98PG   +03   +00    2 m.  MSK144  MS   2013
08:06  Gร˜SYP         IO83TK   +06   +07    2 m.  MSK144  MS   1099
08:30  EA2BFM        IN83MG   +04   +01    2 m.  MSK144  MS   1675
09:52  UA3QC         KO91PR   +18   +16    2 m.  MSK144  MS   1698
10:07  UA3TCF        LO26IU   +05   +11    2 m.  MSK144  MS   1968
11:59  UT7EW         KN78MM   +11   +11    2 m.  MSK144  MS   1545
12:42  RG4D          LO31AM   +09   +00    2 m.  MSK144  MS   2151
13:45  RM5P          KO84VH   +19   +01    2 m.  MSK144  MS   1548
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More new ones thanks to the meteors

Did we see the Perseids maximum already? Predictions suggested it would be early morning 12 August. The screenshot right (click to enlarge) seems to confirm it. If the maximum is over already it has indeed been the worst Perseids I every experienced …

Better luck on the “low bands” (of the VHF ones at least, hi) today. After several attempts I finally finished with LA7QIA/JO29 for a new locator on 4 m. ๐Ÿ™‚ Four also opened shortly via Sporadic-E into the Mediterranean. Worked GW8ASA during that time, too, but due to the nature of the QSO, i.e. no constant signal compared to the EA’s,ย  I think it was rather Meteor Scatter with some good bursts. Also made a short appearance on 6 m to grab SM3LBN/JP62 as a new one. ๐Ÿ™‚

07:03  LA7QIA        JO29TA   +06   -01    4 m.  MSK144  MS    837
11:43  EA4T          IN7ร˜XK   +06   -11    4 m.  FT8     ES   1973
11:45  EA6SA         JM19LO   +05   +03    4 m.  FT8     ES   1734
11:55  GW8ASA        IO81AP   -12   -16    4 m.  FT8     MS   1240
14:50  MMร˜CEZ        IO75XU   +06   +04    4 m.  MSK144  MS   1210
12:45  EA4T          IN7ร˜XK   +01   -08    6 m.  MSK144  MS   1973
12:45  SM3LBN/P      JP62XA   +04   +00    6 m.  MSK144  MS    982

A bunch of nice QSOs were made on 2 m, too. UA3LAZ/KO65 provided another new square. ๐Ÿ˜Ž I was wondering why people who had worked UA6LQZ yesterday (as I did, too) were calling him again today. It did not take long to recognize from his CQs that he moved on from LN19 to LN18 so I quickly QSO’d him for another new square, too. Was using the smaller remote setup (Flex-6600, ME2HT-PRO transverter by HA1YA, 800 W SSPA + 9 ele G0KSC LFA-Yagi @12 m) to catch him as I was busy with the main local rig (IC-9700, GS35 + 10 ele DK7ZB Yagi @21 m) in parallel working RU4NG/LO48 for another new square. ๐Ÿ˜Ž RU4NG heard me on MSK144 over 2.250 km while I was beaming 40ยฐ off! We switched to FSK441 (which has a gain advantage of about 2-3 dB over MSK144 and also decodes smaller pings up to 200 ms) and started a dedicated sked away from the crowd. Patience was needed, it took 1:15 hours to complete but it was certainly worth it. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Luckily it is common standard to use 30 seconds periods for both, FSK441 and MSK144, on 2 m in Europe else I would not have been able to run two rigs in parallel without QRM’ing myself. ๐Ÿ™‚

06:41  IV3MUR/P      JN65VP    26    26    2 m.  FSK441  MS    839
07:26  RA1AEP        KP40RE   +11   +14    2 m.  MSK144  MS   1209
07:38  LZ5GM         KN32RM   +12   -01    2 m.  MSK144  MS   1539
07:59  OH5ELO        KP41CA   +19   +10    2 m.  MSK144  MS   1209
10:24  ES4RM         KO49AL   +11   +10    2 m.  MSK144  MS   1099
11:26  RW3TJ         LO16XG   +07   +06    2 m.  MSK144  MS   1924
11:33  UT8AL         KO61WP   +07   +17    2 m.  MSK144  MS   1340
11:38  UA3XAC        KO85HC   +21   +11    2 m.  MSK144  MS   1468
12:15  R3MW          LOร˜7DL   +13   +08    2 m.  MSK144  MS   1705
12:30  UA3LAZ        KO65OC   +15   +03    2 m.  MSK144  MS   1251
13:11  SM2A          KPร˜4NP   +09   +07    2 m.  MSK144  MS   1332
13:23  TK5JJ         JN42QF   +08   -02    2 m.  MSK144  MS   1270
14:05  UR7HLL        KN69LX   +15   +24    2 m.  MSK144  MS   1339
14:12  R6CS          KN95BW   +18   +00    2 m.  MSK144  MS   1891
14:33  UR3VKC        KN68NT   +03   +04    2 m.  MSK144  MS   1405
14:48  UR4LSK        KO8ร˜CA   +00   +07    2 m.  MSK144  MS   1552
18:23  ER1AN         KN46KX   +11   +06    2 m.  MSK144  MS   1250
18:42  RD3B          LOร˜1NV   +14   +06    2 m.  MSK144  MS   1815
19:00  LZ1JH         KN12PQ   +05   +07    2 m.  MSK144  MS   1347
19:54  UA6LQZ        LN18BW   +10   +04    2 m.  MSK144  MS   1993
20:44  RU4NG         LO48RR    26    26    2 m.  FSK441  MS   2249
21:04  UR5HVR        KN69TA   +06   +01    2 m.  MSK144  MS   1427
21:11  UA3QIN        KO91IN   +12   +11    2 m.  MSK144  MS   1664
21:37  YU7MS         KNร˜5FG   +17   +05    2 m.  MSK144  MS    989
22:38  9A5RJ         JN86EL   +17   -02    2 m.  MSK144  TR    762

Kept the 4 m antenna pointing towards east tonight. Quite interesting meteor reflections visualization on the spectrum display with all the strong OIRT broadcast stations from Russia …

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MS condx slowly improving

Besides playing with the satellites MS conditions improved a bit, too. Still way below usual for Perseids but at least three QSOs above 2.000 km already and three new squares with LO31, LN19 and IM79. ๐Ÿ˜Ž

Tried a little on 4 m, too, but except GW6TEO no QSOs completed. Seems my QRP setup (20 watts + 5 ele Yagi) struggles much more on MS than ever before. ๐Ÿ™

06:17  UA1AJY        KO49VV   +11   +04    2 m.  MSK144  MS   1207
06:30  UA6LJV        KN97LE   +21   +12    2 m.  MSK144  MS   1872
06:45  RK3AF         KO75WO   +08   +11    2 m.  MSK144  MS   1422
07:17  OH6UW         KP22WI   +06   +16    2 m.  MSK144  MS   1227
07:26  GW6TEO        IO71LP   -02   +02    4 m.  MSK144  MS   1312
07:30  YL2IV         KOร˜6OL   +03   +17    2 m.  MSK144  TR    578
08:28  UA1MC         KP4ร˜QJ   +12   +20    2 m.  MSK144  MS   1217
08:35  RC3UE         LOร˜7NG   +03   +04    2 m.  MSK144  MS   1753
11:35  RQ7R          KN64SO   +08   -02    2 m.  MSK144  MS   1696
11:49  R7BN          LNร˜5BU   +13   +05    2 m.  MSK144  MS   2026
12:16  UR7IMM        KN88TR   +09   -04    2 m.  MSK144  MS   1704
12:40  RG4D          LO31AM   +04   +08    2 m.  MSK144  MS   2151
12:49  R3QN          LOร˜ร˜BK   +13   +10    2 m.  MSK144  MS   1797
13:18  UA6LQZ        LN19AN   +13   +06    2 m.  MSK144  MS   1960
13:29  RJ7M          KN97KE   +03   +04    2 m.  MSK144  MS   1867
14:22  YO5LD         KN17WW   +19   +02    2 m.  MSK144  MS    897
19:35  R2PA          KO84TF   +14   +07    2 m.  MSK144  MS   1538
20:21  RA3LBK        KO64PW   -01   +08    2 m.  MSK144  MS   1256
20:38  US8AR         KO6ร˜RR   +02   +12    2 m.  MSK144  MS   1342
20:46  RA3LJ         KO64AS   +09   +00    2 m.  MSK144  MS   1176
23:18  EG4MS         IM79HL    28    26    2 m.  FSK441  MS   2127
Posted in Meteor Scatter, Propagation, VHF | Comments Off on MS condx slowly improving

Working the birds …

Started playing with the satellite function of our IC-9700 during the last few days to escape the boredom of too few MS reflections. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I made my first satellite QSOs back in 1992 not much later than getting my first VHF license. Back then it meant the world to me being able to work biiig distances with my small equipment. My favourite sat was the Russian RS-10/11 which was very sensitive so 20 watts into a half-wave vertical on the 2 m uplink produced a loud and clear signal on the 10 m downlink with just a simple wire antenna. Due to it’s height in orbit QSOs could easily be made up to about 4.000 km. ๐Ÿ˜Ž A few portable activities a few years later gave access to AO-13 with it’s “world-wide” foot print and much more DX, too. Was active until about 1997 then starting QRL and being hundreds of kilometers away from home with no own station I was not very active anymore and when I had a chance to operate I rather concentrated on contesting on HF and VHF. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Nowadays there’s quite a number of Amateur Radio LEO (Low Earth Orbiting) Statellites in spaces that allow communication without too much effort. A few FM-only birds (AO-91, AO-92, PO-101) but also a number of sats with linear transponders (XW-2A, XW-2B, XW-2C, CAS-4A, CAS-4B, RS-44). Unfortunately it seems activity on the linear sats has vanished over the years, too. Most of the time I was the only guy on the transponder, quite a pity. Activity there seems to concentrate on the weekends or evening hours.


The contrary on the FM birds, always much activity and people QRM’ing each other more often than needed. Of course this happens, it’s a single channel only, no different to terestrial repeaters. The linear sats would offer much more space for everybody …

I was using the ‘9700 barefoot with a horizontal 10 ele DK7ZB Yagi on 2 m and just a 6 x 5/8 lambda vertical on 70 cm. Not the best setup as both antennas work best at low elevations due to their vertical patterns and both linear polarized. So I had difficulties at times hearing the birds or accessing them but after all still made about 70 QSOs during the last few days with the most enjoyable probably being W2RDJ/FN32 in SSB with over 6.200 km distance through the good old and still sometimes working AO-7. Other good DX included R9LR/MO27 at 3.200 km and EA8/EA4NF from IL39 at 3.400 km on the FM birds.

R9LR on AO-92:

Unfortunately CN8JQ and OX3AH, which would have been new satellite DXCCs for me, could only be heard …

OX3AH on AO-92 just when ‘loosing’ the satellite here:

More information about Amateur Radio Satellites can be found on the websites of AMSAT, AMSAT-UK, AMSAT-DL and many others (Google’s your friend). Here are a few more sound snippets if all this is new to you. Stereo audio, left channel is satellite RX, right channel local audio.

AO-92/Fox-1D ID’ing itself (whenever it crosses from light into darkness?):

Quite a good pass of AO-91/Fox-1C:

UT5EDU worked on PO-101 (a rather difficult bird):

RS-44 CW ID on 70 cm being 3.500 km away:

Posted in Audio recordings, Satellite, UHF, VHF | Comments Off on Working the birds …

Quite a slow start

Not many reflections yet. A few long and strong ones as I produced at RQ3P (see screenshot) but still much less than we’re used to from earlier years. Usually spending most of my time on MS beaming East. Activity by the friends in Russia has been rising constantly during the last few years so chances are much higher to work new stations or even new squares from that direction. And it’s possible to work higher distances i.e. better DX to the East, too. It’s difficult to the West as there’s only water (Atlantic Ocean) “behind” G/EI as seen from here in JO73 wich limits distances to about 1.500 km max. (if there’s no maritime mobile activities, hi). Same to the South, not much to work in the Mediterranean. So only 3 QSOs on MS today:

08:02  RT3G          KO92UP   +06   +13    2 m.  MSK144  MS   1701
08:19  RQ3P          KO84UF   +17   +00    2 m.  MSK144  MS   1543
09:51  SM/DG5CST     JP73JB   +15   +06    2 m.  MSK144  MS   1098
Posted in Meteor Scatter, Propagation, VHF | Comments Off on Quite a slow start

Perseids have started

It was quite quiet on the blog here during the last few days and weeks. Not much time to play radio but as one of the most intense Meteor Showers of the year is approaching I decided to take a week off QRL and spend the time at the contest QTH. Arrived today, set up the station and did the first MS QSOs already …

13:36  UA3MBJ        KO87QV   +14   +08    2 m.  MSK144  MS   1539
20:44  R6CS          KN95BW   +09   -04    2 m.  MSK144  MS   1891
20:57  UA6LJV        KN97LE   +05   +14    2 m.  MSK144  MS   1872
Posted in Meteor Scatter, Propagation, VHF | Comments Off on Perseids have started

DARC July VHF Contest ’20

Oh boy. Seems this is the third year in a row to complain. ๐Ÿ˜€ Indeed conditions have been even worse than during the last few years. Saturday had such bad condx I could not even hear the big guns from Slovenia which are 700+ kilometers away and usually S5-7 at least. Nothing, nada, zilch, … no copy! ๐Ÿ™ No Croatia and no Hungary either! Even signals on the shorter path’, i.e. like 250 km, went from S5 or sometimes even S9 down into the noise unreadible within seconds! Was it the bad condx or just bad participation, too? I really struggled to make QSOs on Saturday, no fun!

It only got better late in the evening with condx stabilizing a bit and at least a few of the big ones from Slovenia and Hungary finally popping out of the noise. Still lots of QSB but rising activity from the OK/OM guys on CW helped a bit (although QSO totals with them still way below what we were used to a few years ago). “Luckily” everybody else I talked to complained as well so I was sure it really was the condx, not the equipment. ๐Ÿ˜€ Interestingly the contacts to the east, i.e. Poland & Lithuania, were much less QSB affected.

Slept about 3 hours. Sunday morning was much better, conditions as well as my mood. Seems they are linearly linked to each other! ๐Ÿ˜€ Activity was higher now and more DX could be worked, too (although much less than usual). While I still struggled with some of the big distances Croatians the QSO with YT4B over 1.074 km was an easy one and worked right away! ๐Ÿ˜Ž Always amazing, the guys must use a really great location and equipment!

In the end I still made over 350 QSOs, on par with the last two years. But the kilometer average was way down this year thus missing about 10-15k points compared to last and second-last year …

Contest Report from DH8BQA in JO73CE at 144 MHz

Date    : 2020 Jul 04 to 2020 Jul 05
Section : 01 144MHz Single OP
QTH     : Woltersdorf

TX      : IC-9700 + PA, 750 W
RX      : IC-9700 + ATF51389 pre-amp
Antenna : 10 ele DK7ZB Yagi, 20 mAGL, 70 mASL
Log     : TACLog by OZ2M, 1,995, http://www.qsl.net/oz2m

QSOs    :  354
-invalid:    0                                       Points/QSO
-valid  :  354     QSO-points (*1) :    129541              366
WWLs    :   70     WWL bonus (0)   :         0                0
DXCCs   :   21     DXCC bonus (0)  :         0                0
                   ---------------------------           ------
                   Total score     :    129541              366

ODX     : YT4B in JN94SE at 1074 km

Worked World Wide Locators:
JN38:  1   JN77:  1   JN99:  7   JO44:  1   JO65:  5   JO84:  3
JN39:  2   JN78:  2   JO10:  1   JO50: 14   JO67:  1   JO90:  1
JN47:  4   JN79: 19   JO20:  1   JO51: 20   JO68:  1   KN08:  1
JN48:  3   JN85:  2   JO21:  1   JO52:  9   JO70: 13   KN18:  1
JN49:  6   JN86:  3   JO30:  6   JO53:  9   JO71: 14   KO04:  3
JN58:  4   JN87:  3   JO31:  9   JO55:  1   JO72:  6   KO13:  1
JN59:  6   JN88:  7   JO32:  4   JO59:  1   JO73:  6   KO14:  2
JN65:  1   JN89: 11   JO33:  1   JO60: 11   JO74:  1   KO15:  1
JN68:  3   JN94:  1   JO40:  3   JO61: 17   JO75:  1   KO16:  1
JN69:  8   JN95:  1   JO41:  9   JO62: 30   JO80:  6   KO24:  1
JN75:  1   JN97:  1   JO42: 14   JO63:  7   JO83:  2   KO25:  1
JN76:  2   JN98:  5   JO43:  7   JO64:  2   

Worked DXCCs:
9A :   4   HA :   6   OE :   3   OZ :   6   SM :   4   UR :   1
DL : 211   HB :   2   OK :  66   PA :   3   SP :  16   YL :   1
EU :   1   LA :   1   OM :  12   S5 :   5   UA2:   3   YU :   1
F  :   1   LY :   5   ON :   2   

Top 20 QSO-points:
20200705 0520 YT4B           559  200 599  284   JN94SE    1074
20200705 0916 9A0V           599  269 599  349   JN95PE     963
20200705 0934 9A0BB          519  271 599  366   JN85EI     886
20200705 0955 9A1P           559  273 599  456   JN65VG     881
20200705 0945 9A1E           599  272 599  193   JN85QT     852
20200705 0002 S59DEM         599  195 599  467   JN75DS     825
20200705 1050 HB9GF          55   299 59   378   JN47BC     803
20200704 1833 LA0BY          519  118 559  001   JO59IX     785
20200705 0906 UT4YWA         519  267 599  115   KN18LV     775
20200704 2357 S50C           599  194 599  465   JN76JG     771
20200705 1032 ON4KHG         57   293 59   083   JO10XO     759
20200705 0839 S59P           59   262 59   410   JN86AO     744
20200705 0658 S59ABC         55   223 59   244   JN76TO     740
20200704 2322 HG1Z           599  185 599  289   JN86KU     730
20200705 0845 S57O           59   263 59   351   JN86DT     725
20200705 0551 HA6W           599  206 599  427   KN08FB     720
20200705 0707 HB9CXK         59   227 59   049   JN47PM     720
20200704 2037 YL2AJ          559  143 559  020   KO16OX     711
20200705 0541 HA7NK          599  205 599  172   JN97WW     708
20200704 2052 DJ5MW          599  148 599  099   JN47WN     697
Posted in Contesting, VHF | Comments Off on DARC July VHF Contest ’20

A band-pass filter for 144 MHz

To cure our severe RFI issue described in one of my recent blog posts I decided to order an 144 MHz BPF. Found it on Ebay first but finally ordered from the seller’s Italian web shop directly and saved another 10%. ๐Ÿ˜‰ What sold me on this one is the 3 cell helical design promising excellent attenuation data. It arrived within 4 days, ufb service!

The JG-BPF2M atop of my FA-NWT ready to be swept

Before installing it in the station today I made a few measurements with my FA-NWT network analyzer (an improved version FA-NWT2 is for sale by BOX73 if you ever need one). It does not quite meet the promised -100 dB @ 98 MHz but still is very good. It surpresses all of the amateur radio HF bands by at least 65 dB (at some frequencies even more than 80 dB).

Full sweep from 0 to 200 MHz

Zoomed into the HF spectrum only – at least -65 dB on all amateur bands ๐Ÿ˜Ž

Flat passband across the whole 2 m band

The measured insertion loss is still acceptable although it could certainly be further optimized as the filter’s low of 0,2 dB loss is just below the 2 m amateur band

Integration into the station went smooth. Nothing to take care of, it works both ways. ๐Ÿ˜€ It’s now connected between my trusty HA1YA transverter and the 2 m amplifier. Extensive structured testing confimed that all RFI from high power on the HF bands is gone now. ๐Ÿ˜Ž

Posted in Equipment, Stubs & filters, VHF | Comments Off on A band-pass filter for 144 MHz

Rare 2 m ES to the Northeast

Arrived early afternoon at the station today. Wanted to prepare a few things for the VHF contest this weekend and was monitoring the bands, of course. Thus no surprise I caught another short 2 m ES opening, this time to the Northeast which is very rare, ES on 144 MHz usually to the South (plus East/West) only from here. RX1AS was very weak (about a 51 report) calling on 144.300 MHz SSB but unfortunately I could not raise him with just 100 watts (knowing his ‘working conditions’ I don’t wonder why, hi). Until the amp had warmed he was down to 31/41 at best so even with high power no QSO possible, pity. This time no signals on FT8, imagine that! ๐Ÿ˜€ Seems the opening was much better further west (and with longer distances).

We also had quite an intense opening on 4 m to the Balkans again in the afternoon but just a few QSOs, there are simply not enough stations QRV. But at least LZ3AD was a new callsign in the log. ๐Ÿ˜Ž

11:37  RX1AS         KO59XW    51   HRD    2 m.   SSB   ES    1315
12:14  YO3DAC        KN34CK   -14   -16    4 m.   FT8   ES    1307
12:27  YO9IE         KN34AW   +14   -04    4 m.   FT8   ES    1255
13:15  YO7LGI        KN14XO   -12   +04    4 m.   FT8   ES    1189
13:28  YO9HP         KN35BA   +07   -05    4 m.   FT8   ES    1252
13:30  LZ2WO         KN23AL   -03   -02    4 m.   FT8   ES    1298
13:49  LZ3AD         KN32EQ   -09   -06    4 m.   FT8   ES    1473
Posted in Propagation, Sporadic E, VHF | Comments Off on Rare 2 m ES to the Northeast

New squares on 4 m

A few single QSOs during the last few days only. A little longer opening to the Balkans today on 70 MHz providing two new squares with JN85 and KN06! ๐Ÿ˜Ž Both are well under 1.000 km so needing a higher MUF to work (at the same time there was a short 2 m ES opening between PA and YO utilizing the same clouds).

13:52  9A3TN         JN85UH   -07   -14    4 m.   FT8   ES     911
14:21  HG2DX         KNร˜6CQ   -16   -10    4 m.   FT8   ES     840
14:24  LZ2HM         KN12QP   +12   +03    4 m.   FT8   ES    1354
14:29  SV2AEL        KN1ร˜LM   -05   -13    4 m.   FT8   ES    1555
14:31  YO7BSN        KN15PB   +00   +09    4 m.   FT8   ES    1117
14:46  YO9HP         KN35BA   -07   -03    4 m.   FT8   ES    1252
14:48  YO9IE         KN34AW   +05   -03    4 m.   FT8   ES    1255
Posted in Propagation, Sporadic E, VHF | Comments Off on New squares on 4 m

Sporadic-E on 2 m again

Not very active during the last 2 weeks. Either no condx or me being too busy with QRL stuff. Just caught two smaller 4 m openings last Sunday (June 14) to Finland in the morning and Greece in the afternoon but didn’t bother to report separately. ๐Ÿ˜‰

More luck today! 2 m opened to UA4 in the morning. All in & out, not well positioned here but good enough to make a few QSOs. ๐Ÿ˜Ž Later on it suddenly opened to Greece, too! Imagine how surprised I was when SV2HNH called me while still beaming to Russia. ๐Ÿ˜€ Propagation to SV was not stable either but good to catch two openings in a row. A few QSOs on 4 m afterwards, but it all remained quite patchy …

09:45  UA4AQL        LO2ร˜QB   -09   +04    2 m.   FT8   ES    2161
09:56  RG4A          LO2ร˜OD   -14   -09    2 m.   FT8   ES    2146
10:11  UA3QHF        KO91PQ   -06   +19    2 m.   FT8   ES    1699
10:34  SV2HNH        KN1ร˜LP   -07   -18    2 m.   FT8   ES    1542
10:48  SV1ELI        KM17XX   -05   +07    2 m.   FT8   ES    1849
10:51  SV1CNS        KM18WA   -10   -13    2 m.   FT8   ES    1842
11:23  SV2JAO        KN1ร˜DN   +08   +04    4 m.   FT8   ES    1530
11:27  EA6VQ         JM19MP   +12   +00    4 m.   FT8   ES    1727
11:48  SV8RV         KMร˜7KS   -07   -14    4 m.   FT8   ES    1789
12:11  EA5FQS        IM99TL   +02   -09    4 m.   FT8   ES    1883
Posted in Propagation, Sporadic E, VHF | Comments Off on Sporadic-E on 2 m again

A new square on 6 m & some thoughts

Only one QSO today: TA7OM from KN80 providing square #690 on 50 MHz.

Despite this I haven’t done much on 6 m this season yet. Seems I somehow lost interest in the band as almost all activity has shifted to FT8 only. While I use FT8 myself and see it’s advantages for weak signals it doesn’t make much sense when signals are strong. And for working the real DX (despite JO73 being a 6 m blackhole or me just always being impeded when there are condx) my 400 watts and 6 or 8 ele Yagi usually don’t cut it on FT8, there are simply too many stations calling in limited space (and QRMing each other). How much easier is it all on CW where you can make up for less signal strength by good operating practice? Best example has been 7Z1SJ a few days ago: while I called him endlessly on FT8 without success he was an easy catch on CW when he changed mode …

No, I’m not going to buy a bigger PA … at least not for that reason. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’m rather thinking of taking down the dualband yagi and putting up a (bigger) dedicated 4 m only beam instead. I can still use our 8 ele long-boom yagi for 6 m then but parallel operation (i.e. Uwe on the 8L and me on the 6L from the duo yagi) wouldn’t work anymore. Guess I can live with that …

Posted in Propagation, Sporadic E, VHF | Comments Off on A new square on 6 m & some thoughts

Finland on 4 m

A short opening to Finland this morning, doesn’t happen too often. KP13 for a new square, now #206. All references for OH8JGG show KP24AE as his locator but he was clearly sending KP23 himself so will probably have to wait for his QSL card to be sure (didn’t find an email address either).

10:09  OH8MGK        KP23PQ   +08   +00    4 m.   FT8   ES    1329
10:13  OH6GKW        KP13NT   +06   +09    4 m.   FT8   ES    1287
10:16  OH8JGG        KP23     +12   +01    4 m.   FT8   ES    1330
Posted in Propagation, Sporadic E, VHF | Comments Off on Finland on 4 m

Chasing down our RFI issue – success!

Spent some time with Heiko, DG1BHA, and Uwe, DL3BQA, chasing down our RFI issue this afternoon that I had reported about in my WPX-SSB blog post. Some systematic testing revealed that it’s worse with a modified TS-590 transmitting on 15 m than with an unmodified 590. But the difference was only about 7-8 dB, still no explaination for s9 QRM from unrelated frequencies! And it did not make any difference if transmitting with or without PA!

Started with bonding almost everything in our two shacks: transceivers, PAs, bandpass filters, network switches, computers, a.s.o. Something long overdue! Unfortunately it didn’t help anything! ๐Ÿ™ But of course it does not hurt either and might prevent other issues. Than started to dismantle everything possible from the FLEX-6600 I’m using and suddenly there was silence, no interference anymore! I couldn’t believe it but afterwards it all makes sense. ๐Ÿ˜‰

The culprit was/is my HA1YA 2 m transverter! It’s a great transverter with lots of gain, very sensitive, a.s.o. But, when the 15 m beam is pointing to the shack and Uwe’s transmitting with high power it’s coupling into the 2 m antenna (which is located on the roof above the shack) connected to the transverter and due to it’s overall gain it’s somehow overdriving the 10 m RX in the Flex. Obviously the transverter ports in the Flex are not disconnected when not using a transverter band and, probably even more important, the transverter signal is coupled into the RX behind the 7th order preselector on 10 m. We confirmed that the interference is gone switching in a 2 m (receive-only) bandpass filter before the transverter, it can then stay connected and be switched on all the time (switching it off cured the problem, too). So it’s about time to order a transmit-capable 2 m BPF and the problem is history. ๐Ÿ˜Ž

We still have some minor RFI issues that need to be solved but with curing this one nothing that will prevent us from doing parallel operations again. So for now quite happy!

Posted in Equipment, Stubs & filters | Comments Off on Chasing down our RFI issue – success!

OY – Farรถer Islands #45 on 70 MHz

Another new country in the log on 4 m and square #205! ๐Ÿ˜Ž Glad to catch him this morning, had heard him a few days ago already but no luck back then. This time skip fitted perfectly so easy going. A few additional patchy openings during the day, in the afternoon concentrating on chasing down our RFI issues …

09:31  OY1OF         IP62OA   -07   -06    4 m.   FT8   ES    1578
09:33  GM7PKT        IO76JR   +07   +15    4 m.   FT8   ES    1295
10:37  EA3IAA        JNร˜1XK   +10   +01    4 m.   FT8   ES    1595
10:47  EA3HUI        JNร˜1MM   -06   -09    4 m.   FT8   ES    1627
11:01  OH6DX         KP32EQ   -02   +17    4 m.   FT8   ES    1272
11:04  OH1LT         KPร˜ร˜XO   -16   +02    4 m.   FT8   ES     948
11:05  OH1IU         KPร˜1XK   -17   -01    4 m.   FT8   ES    1027
11:07  OH1KH         KPร˜1TN   -06   +00    4 m.   FT8   ES    1030
11:11  OH1MLZ        KP23CL   +07   -08    4 m.   FT8   ES    1281
11:19  EA1DA         IN82SK   -12   -04    4 m.   FT8   ES    1717
12:08  GW8ASA        IO81EM   +10   +14    4 m.   FT8   ES    1222
Posted in Propagation, Sporadic E, VHF | Comments Off on OY – Farรถer Islands #45 on 70 MHz


Well, I felt a bit uneasy before this one. There was a small tipps & tricks section in last week’s BCC newsletter about the upcoming WPX-CW contest and being interviewed I said there’s a 70% chance of good Sporadic-E conditions that would help during the contest on the highbands. But, the (VHF) bands have been open quite nicely for 10 days already and that might become a problem. Why? Well, usually Sporadic-E follows a pattern like 1 week of excellent condx and openings up to 2 m, then 2 weeks of silence more or less. So the “silence phase” was rather overdue! It would still mean some patchy ES openings here and there but nothing for big QSO numbers, rather a kind of propagation studies. ๐Ÿ˜‰ But it seems this year is a little different and with such a massive opening on Friday and even 70 MHz still open well after midnight I was really wondering what would happen on 10 m during the weekend.

I got up the first time around 4z. The band was still silent and I was still tired so I decided to lay down for another hour. Getting up again there were plenty of signals on the spectrum display already and M2L greeted me with QSO #72. So I certainly missed at least half an hour! It was the same reflection area as on Friday so against all odds it all started westwards. But in the end it doesn’t matter. With the high ionisation present (MUF went quickly up above 70 MHz) you just point the antenna into the ES clouds center and it will work all around: forward, backward, side scatter. ๐Ÿ˜‰ The first 5 hours brought 500 QSOs into the log! Afterwards it slowed down quite a bit …

Highlight Saturday morning and the lowlight at the same time (at least concerning number of QSOs): the band was open to the U.S. East Coast after 6:30z for half an hour! But besides several skimmer spots not a single QSO. Sure, nobody’s sitting and watching for 10 m openings in North America at 2:30 o’clock local time! Really a pity, but quite interesting from a propagation study perspective as the MUF must have been quite high with most of the path in complete darkness! Certainly still some of the VHF capable ES clouds from Friday night moving around … It was of course much easier to the East, people were awake there. ๐Ÿ˜‰ We need about 4 perfectly aligned ES hops from here to Japan. The likelihood shrinks with every additional hop needed. And with that kind of propagation it’s all “spotlight”, too, meaning there has to be somebody in a very small footprint reflection area with suitable equipment! Well, it did fit, 4 x JA made it into the log and E2A from Thailand called in, too. ๐Ÿ˜Ž

For UA9/UN it’s only 2 hops needed, UA0 needs 3. That worked quite well several times so over 40 made it into the log over the weekend. Between 11 und 12:30z I was again spotted by US skimmers randomly but only N4XD made it into the log.

The band opened into South America every now and then Saturday afternoon and evening. It was again quite spotlight, barely 20 x PYs worked but just 1 x LU and that quite late. TO1A from French Guyana could be copied loudly again and again, the path is open regularly even during sunspot minimum. 8P5A was another Caribbean station but that was all into that direction on Saturday. ZD7BG from St. Helena was ufb loud late in the evening, too. Stopped operation around 21z with 880 QSOs under the belt, band was empty.

Sunday morning (half an hour earlier this time) started with 4 x BY but also 4J/UA9/UN were easily workable again. Beaming towards Spain I was later copied “backwards” by the VU skimmer so turned the antenna to the East and was rewarded with 4 x India in the log. ๐Ÿ˜Ž

The MUF went up and up and up late in the morning and finally 144 MHz opened again between West and South-East Europe. We were too close to take advantage on 2 m but made a virtue out of necessity: if it’s too close for VHF it’s perfect for shorter distances on HF! So I was able to do lots of great short-skip QSOs within Germany with propagation focussing on West and South-DL.

Between 13 and 15z the band opened randomly to North America via triple hop ES. Worked 14 x W and 3 x VE. ๐Ÿ˜Ž Around 15:30z I was a bit unconcentrated for about 10 minutes as 2 m opened to EA6 from here. ๐Ÿ˜‰ The evening brought the Caribbean again, this time with HH, KP2 and KP4. Unfortunately except CE3CT nothing from South America on Sunday although the PT7ZZ skimmer spotted me with good signals for a few hours! Did I mention spotlight propagation already? ๐Ÿ˜‰

After 19z it became really slow. The band was still workable but the masses had already moved to the lower bands. I kept my butt in the chair until local midnight, every point counts! The last hour QRV it opened again to the East with quite strong signals from UA3/4. Unfortunately only one QSO, everybody else already in the log. I wondered why RT4F who were about s3 did not copy me. When they started calling W/VE it dawned on me! I was hearing their second harmonic! A quick check on 20 m confirmed it, they were there with an extremely strong signal. Half an hour later their harmonic was gone on 10 m again. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Made almost 1.500 QSOs in total. Net 50 contacts less so quite some dupes! I was spotted as BH8 and think a number logged me as DS8 instead of DH8, too. For our little bit of equipment, compared to others at least (one transceiver, one amp, one antenna), I am quite satisfied. I increased the (my) current German record quite a bit. ๐Ÿ˜Ž Will see what the result is good for, the competition was quite strong! IB9T, LZ3ND, UW5U all made much more. But also Mac, SN2M/SP2XF, to whom comparison makes much more sense than to compare with Sicily, did a great job. He does have more aluminium in the air and his location 300 km more easterly certainly gave him a big advantage, too, as his skip distances to the west where all the big QSO potential is located (DL, PA, F, G, …) were much better. And then there’s the people who were not on your radar. ๐Ÿ˜€ Thus let’s see, but I think the Top10 should be okay.

Optimization potential? Clearly with the operator! ๐Ÿ˜€ I’m sure I was not the only one “fuzzy-headed” when trying to sort it out when stations like 4U9STAYHOME called me. ๐Ÿ˜€ But I also had one or another phase of weakness and difficulties concentrating and had to ask for repeats more than I cared for. And with (too) few callers I was a victim of microsleep, too. ๐Ÿ˜

So all in all a great contest weekend with lots of fun to be remembered for a long time!

                    CQWW WPX Contest, CW - 2020

Call: DH8BQA

Class: SO(A)SB10 HP
QTH: JO73ce
Operating Time (hrs): 33

 Band  QSOs
   10: 1489
Total: 1439  Prefixes = 656  Total Score = 1,092,240

Club: Bavarian Contest Club

Flexradio FLEX-6600, PA + 6 ele G0KSC OWA-Yagi @60ft.
Posted in Contesting, Propagation, Sporadic E | Comments Off on CQ WPX CW ’20

Another 2 m Sporadic-E …

Being active in the WPX-CW contest this weekend (report to follow) I monitored 2 m in parallel and caught another ES opening. ๐Ÿ˜Ž

15:25  EA6VQ         JM19MP   -08   -02    2 m.   FT8   ES    1727
15:30  EA6XQ         JM19LH   -15   +06    2 m.   FT8   ES    1763

Copied EA6 from JM08 on FT8 and an F station from JN33 on SSB, too, but was trying to concentrate on the contest. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Later on I couldn’t resist to switch to 4 m (something I avoided all weekend long as the 4 m transverter is connected to the Flexradio contest radio) to work TF3ML in HP94 for a new square. It took a while until signals were strong enough to allow a QSO with my QRP power but it worked. ๐Ÿ˜Ž

18:25  TF3ML         HP94NA    57    55    4 m.   SSB   ES    2318
Posted in Propagation, Sporadic E, VHF | Comments Off on Another 2 m Sporadic-E …

Best VHF-DX day ever!

I’ve been active on the VHF bands for almost 30 years now and certainly experienced one or another great VHF-DX day. But what we experienced today certainly deserves the definition as “Best VHF-DX day ever”! The 6, 4 & 2 m bands were virtually open all day long! While it happens every now and then on 6 m it is an absolute exception to see 144 MHz open almost continously between 9 and 24 o’clock UTC! For my German readers Bernd, DF2ZC, wrote quite a nice summary for the FUNKAMATEUR news pages.

I’m really glad I decided to go the 400+ km from Hamburg to Schwedt on Thursday evening after QRL already. Spent the night at my mom’s, went shopping for the weekend (groceries for the WPX-CW contest) Friday in the late morning and then went the 20 km to our station out of town to prepare for the weekend, i.e. install a separate PC for the Flexradio, a.s.o.

4 m opened nicely into Spain up here just when I was done. I had seen the 2 m ES openings around Europe, of course, so was monitoring 144.174 FT8 as well as 144.300 SSB in parallel. While the main direction was to the South-West, i.e. Iberia, 4 m opened occasionally into other directions, too. EA3AGB was a new square while E76BV and ZA/IW2JOP even provided two new countries! ๐Ÿ˜Ž The band stayed open all day long. I’m justing forcing myself to go to bed now (23z = 1 o’clock local time!) and there are still signals on the band! Simply amazing …

2 m opened around 14z up here. Plenty of activity from Spain and particularly pleasing lots of SSB activity, too! With such a big opening it’s just much more efficient on SSB. I called CQ myself several times when running out of stations to work and really enjoyed the small pileups. ๐Ÿ˜Ž Of course FT8 makes sense when signals are weak, i.e. you’re out of reflection focus or working double hop. I did so every now and then hoping I would catch one of the two 7X stations from Algeria for a new country. Unfortunately never heard them but instead I caught CN8LI from IM63nx – wow! An amazing 2.706 km and probably a double hop QSO looking at the map above. Distance is much too far for one single hop and there were no tropo enhancements along the path but ES clouds quite favourable for a double reflection.

While monitoring FT8 I was secretly hoping to maybe catch D4VHF, too. Yes, that’s the Cape Verde Islands deep in the Atlantic Ocean, 5.300 km away! Oh well, good ol’ BQA is going crazy now, you might think. But hey, there was double hop, best ES conditions ever, and D4VHF already working into Southern and Western Europe! So clouds just needed to be aligned favourably and we would have a chance! And indeed, he was worked in South-DL and copied in Poland not too far from here! Unfortunately nothing overhere but it was only just after the opening I got to notice he was not on .174 but on another frequency aligned in the ON4KST chat trying with the big guns from Europe. Oh well, I was not logged in so couldn’t know, I would sure have monitored for such a once in a lifetime chance! But anyway, still the best ES opening ever! 4 hours on 2 m continously up here, then again for a few minutes half an hour later. Imagine to have such an opening during July contest! ๐Ÿ˜Ž

Now what about 6 m? To be honest I completely ignored it. Uwe, DL3BQA, was quite active from our station. Lots of double hop DX there, too. Lots of new squares possibilities, but I kept concentrating on 4 & 2 m. It was only when I saw good friend Steve, PJ4DX, spotted on 6 m SSB that I switched over and indeed, could copy him clearly with 5/3. Unfortunately I couldn’t raise him with 100 watts. I had already rebuilt my station for the contest so no amp capable of 6 m available without too much hassle. So went over to the other shack and started Uwe’s (who had left earlier) TRX and PA again but until the amp had warmed Steve’s signal had vanished. What a pity! Kept the gear running but decided half an hour later to switch it all off as I was still busy on 4 m. Well, VO1FOG was CQing on 50.110 SSB with a great signal and of course I couldn’t resist to give him a call. So I did one QSO on 6 m, too. ๐Ÿ˜‰

To sum it up: Besides the new ones already mentioned above I even worked five new squares on 2 m: IN81, IM97, IM63, IM68, IN92 (#592). Great distances worked. Great experience I’ll surely remember for the rest of my life (and I think many others, too).

Here’s the list of worked stations sorted by band:

21:17  VO1FOG        GN37IO    59    56    6 m.   SSB   ES    4643
12:57  EA5FQS        IM99TL   -05   -18    4 m.   FT8   ES    1883
12:59  EA3HUI        JNร˜1MM   -07   -09    4 m.   FT8   ES    1627
13:48  EA2CCG        IN92AO   +07   -06    4 m.   FT8   ES    1677
13:54  EA4ESM        IN8ร˜DK   -09   -16    4 m.   FT8   ES    1956
13:56  EA3GP         JNร˜1SF   +06   -04    4 m.   FT8   ES    1632
13:58  EA3WD         JNร˜1XK   -06   -23    4 m.   FT8   ES    1595
14:03  EC5W          IM98QG    59    59    4 m.   FT8   ES    2010
14:54  EA1W          IN73EM    55    53    4 m.   SSB   ES    1807
16:51  ZA/IW2JOP     KMร˜9AU   +12   +02    4 m.   FT8   ES    1547
17:14  GJ6WRI        IN89VF   +03   -05    4 m.   FT8   ES    1222
17:38  E76BV         JN83VG   -04   -03    4 m.   FT8   ES    1133
17:55  EB3JT         JNร˜1UI   -24   -20    4 m.   FT8   ES    1613
18:07  EA5TT         IM99SL    59    59    4 m.   SSB   ES    1887
19:15  CT1EEB        IN5ร˜QR    59    59    4 m.   SSB   ES    2201
20:58  EA6SX         JM19IK   +12   +04    4 m.   FT8   ES    1760
21:35  EA1GCN        IN73DN    55    55    4 m.   SSB   ES    1809
21:36  EA1W          IN73EM    55    55    4 m.   SSB   ES    1807
21:57  EA3AGB        JNร˜ร˜GQ   +06   -14    4 m.   FT8   ES    1728
21:59  EA5WO         IM99SK   +05   -08    4 m.   FT8   ES    1891
22:07  EA2BFM        IN83MG   -08   -18    4 m.   FT8   ES    1675
22:21  CT1BXT        IM59PF    55    52    4 m.   SSB   ES    2330
22:25  EC1AJL        IN73CI    59    59    4 m.   SSB   ES    1829
14:06  EA7KZ         IM87CS   -03   +03    2 m.   FT8   ES    2202
14:07  EA1BFZ        IN81SS    59    59    2 m.   SSB   ES    1774
14:08  EA4CZV        IN8ร˜DL    59    59    2 m.   SSB   ES    1952
14:08  EA3DHR/1      IN81JS    51    59    2 m.   SSB   ES    1814
14:09  EA1BFZ        IN81SS    59    59    2 m.   SSB   ES    1774
14:13  EA7BHO        IM87DD   +08   -02    2 m.   FT8   ES    2256
14:30  EA5IEA        IM97JV   +07   +16    2 m.   FT8   ES    2071
14:35  EA5AJX        IM98KU    59    59    2 m.   SSB   ES    1976
14:37  EC5W          IM98QG    59    59    2 m.   SSB   ES    2010
14:55  EA5IEA        IM97JV   -05   -09    2 m.   FT8   ES    2071
14:59  EA5IDZ        IM97JW   +04   -01    2 m.   FT8   ES    2067
15:03  EA5WU         IM99WU   +12   -07    2 m.   FT8   ES    1836
15:03  EA3EVL        JNร˜ร˜HR    59    59    2 m.   SSB   ES    1720
15:07  EA3ABK        JNร˜1OK    59    59    2 m.   SSB   ES    1627
15:08  EA3AGB        JNร˜ร˜GQ    59    59    2 m.   SSB   ES    1728
15:09  EA5EF         IM99SM    55    55    2 m.   SSB   ES    1883
15:12  EA3GPK        JNร˜1PD    55    59    2 m.   SSB   ES    1651
15:16  EA7HLB        IM76OP   -16   -12    2 m.   FT8   ES    2355
15:19  EB5GC         IM97JX   -01   +05    2 m.   FT8   ES    2063
15:31  EA7KI         IM77OV   +06   -12    2 m.   FT8   ES    2239
15:35  EA5DIT        IM99CD    59    59    2 m.   SSB   ES    1979
15:43  CN8LI         IM63NX   +04   -07    2 m.   FT8   ES    2706
15:59  ISร˜ANY        JN4ร˜GR    59    59    2 m.   SSB   ES    1449
16:01  EA6AAU        JM19JK    59    59    2 m.   SSB   ES    1757
16:02  EA6SX         JM19IK    59    59    2 m.   SSB   ES    1760
16:07  EA5IPM        IM98QG    59    59    2 m.   SSB   ES    2010
16:14  EB5BQC        IM98OL   -22   -04    2 m.   FT8   ES    1997
16:23  EA5EY         IM98OL    59    59    2 m.   SSB   ES    1997
16:24  EA5DF         IM99RM    59    59    2 m.   SSB   ES    1886
16:27  EA3KE         JNร˜ร˜IR    59    59    2 m.   SSB   ES    1716
16:29  EA3CAZ        JNร˜1SE    59    59    2 m.   SSB   ES    1636
16:33  EA3NG         JNร˜1OC   -05   -06    2 m.   FT8   ES    1659
16:36  EA5W          IM97KX   -04   -12    2 m.   FT8   ES    2060
16:40  EA5NB         IM99TL   +02   +02    2 m.   FT8   ES    1883
16:51  EB5HRX        IM99TL    59    59    2 m.   SSB   ES    1883
17:13  EA4C          IM68MU   -04   -19    2 m.   FT8   ES    2266
17:16  EC1KR         IN7ร˜OQ    59    59    2 m.   SSB   ES    1991
17:17  EA3DHR/1      IN81JS    59    59    2 m.   SSB   ES    1814
17:18  F2CT          IN93GJ    59    59    2 m.   SSB   ES    1583
17:21  EA1BYA        IN7ร˜WW    59    59    2 m.   SSB   ES    1934
17:23  EA4BPO        IN8ร˜EJ    59    59    2 m.   SSB   ES    1955
17:26  EA2BD         IN92ET    59    59    2 m.   SSB   ES    1641
17:31  EA2LU         IN92ET    59    59    2 m.   SSB   ES    1641
17:31  EA4LO         IN8ร˜JM    59    59    2 m.   SSB   ES    1923
17:32  EA4BU         IN8ร˜CF    59    59    2 m.   SSB   ES    1978
17:32  EA4BFK        IN8ร˜AM    59    59    2 m.   SSB   ES    1961
17:33  EA4BVW        IN7ร˜XF    59    59    2 m.   SSB   ES    1991
17:34  EA4JJ         IN8ร˜AK    59    59    2 m.   SSB   ES    1969
17:36  EA4EWJ        IN8ร˜BM    59    59    2 m.   SSB   ES    1957
17:37  EA4ESH        IN8ร˜SG    59    59    2 m.   SSB   ES    1907
17:41  EA4BX         IN8ร˜HI    59    59    2 m.   SSB   ES    1946
17:42  EA4GAX        IN8ร˜CP    59    59    2 m.   SSB   ES    1942
18:20  EB1DJ         IN52MO   +02   +10    2 m.   FT8   ES    2074
Posted in Propagation, Sporadic E, VHF | Comments Off on Best VHF-DX day ever!

Another 2 m ES opening

Another short ES opening this morning! Not positioned favourably, signals very much in & out, but some QSOs made at least:

08:49  UA4ALU        LN29LA   -17   -05    2 m.   FT8   ES    2178
09:00  UA6LQZ        LNร˜8FW   +06   +00    2 m.   FT8   ES    1882
Posted in Propagation, Sporadic E, VHF | Comments Off on Another 2 m ES opening