WPX-CW ’21 ending in hospital

Good ES condx on Saturday last weekend, worked about 700 QSOs on day 1. A lot worse on Sunday, needed 6+ hours for another 100 QSOs. Then around 12z I went QRT as I suddenly had severe chest pain feeling like a heart attack. Thought it might be better to visit a doctor immediately (next hospital 20 km away). Emergency department didn’t recognize any coronary symptoms on the ECG and also a first blood analysis didn’t show any abnormalities. Well, the second blood analysis another 3 hours later suddenly had all the measurements that usually point to a cardiac infarction deep in the red. 🙁 Moved into the hospital immediately Sunday afternoon while the contest was still running. Further tests on Monday morning luckily didn’t confirm a heart attack. But it was kinda cool to follow one’s own heart catherization live on the screen. 😎 Not so cool was they needed another 4 days to find the root cause of my heart attack symptoms: I’m suffering from a myocarditis that started destroying heart tissue already (which led to the coronary symptoms). 🙁 That means getting different medication now that shall relieve some load from the heart (i.e. blood thinner) so the heart has a chance to repair itself (there’s no medication for the disease itself). At least I’m out of hospital again a week later now and can drive back home to Hamburg and be back with the family …

                    CQWW WPX Contest, CW - 2020

Call: DH8BQA

Class: SO(A)SB10 HP
QTH: JO73ce
Operating Time (hrs): 22

Summary:
 Band  QSOs
------------
  10:   822
------------
Total:  822  Prefixes = 459  Total Score = 447,98

Club: Bavarian Contest Club

Comments:
Flexradio FLEX-6600, PA + 6 ele G0KSC OWA-Yagi @60ft.

Posted in Contesting, General stuff | Comments Off on WPX-CW ’21 ending in hospital

Great ES condx

Great openings today! Four was hot all day long, made about 60 QSOs in total including several low distance ES contacts around 500 km to Southern Germany enabled by high MUF ES clouds (which at the same time allowed 2 m contacts over bigger distances) as well as double-hop ES contacts to EA8 again (3.700+ km) as well as catching 9K2YM/LL48 at 3.900 km on another double-hop for a new country on 4 m. 😎 Two opened up several times over here as well, providing some nice DX contacts, too:

------------------------------------------------------------------
TIME   CALLSIGN      LOCATOR   TX    RX    BAND  MODE   PROP.  QRB
------------------------------------------------------------------
07:30  TA1BM         KN4ØLX   +03   -03    2 m.  FT8     ES   1750
------------------------------------------------------------------
11:00  EA6SX         JM19IK   -10   -11    2 m.  FT8     ES   1760
11:00  EA6XQ         JM19LH   +12   -08    2 m.  FT8     ES   1763
11:08  EA6VQ         JM19MP   -08   -23    2 m.  FT8     ES   1727
11:10  EA6FB         JMØ8PW   -13   -10    2 m.  FT8     ES   1865
11:17  EA6AAU        JM19JK    59    59    2 m.  SSB     ES   1757
11:17  EA6SX         JM19IK    59    59    2 m.  SSB     ES   1760
11:28  EA3BTZ        JN11BI    59    59    2 m.  SSB     ES   1596
11:39  EA5ZJ         IM98TU    59    59    2 m.  SSB     ES   1943
11:47  EA5IEA        IM97JV   -12   +06    2 m.  FT8     ES   2071
11:53  EC5WR         IM99VP   -01   -03    2 m.  FT8     ES   1860
12:36  EA5AQB        IM98MK   -03   +10    2 m.  FT8     ES   2008
12:46  EA5WU         IM99WU   -13   -08    2 m.  FT8     ES   1836
------------------------------------------------------------------
17:19  UD3T          LO15GK   +14   -16    2 m.  FT8     ES   1841
------------------------------------------------------------------
Posted in Propagation, Sporadic E, VHF | Comments Off on Great ES condx

Chasing down 2 m QRM

Heiko, DG1BHA, ready for QRM hunting. 😉

Occasionally we have some annoying QRM on 2 m over here making working to the south quite hard. 🙁 Tick, tick, tick. Ticks about a second apart, sometimes just s2, sometimes as loud as s7. It’s driving the transceiver’s AGC nuts and our ears, too! As it is not there permanently we didn’t have a chance so far to really track it down. It’s nothing on our own property, that was checked already. As it’s been there today again and Heiko, DG1BHA, and me were at the QTH anyway, we quickly grabbed half of an old yagi and started walking through the village. Must have been an interesting sight. 😀 But, we were successful, found the culprit! 😎

Trying to repair the faulty pasture fence.

It turned out to be a pasture fence about 300 m (!) away with a rotten installation. Owners were very cooperative and let us onto their property to check and try to repair it, too. Our attempts did cure a bit of it but it seemed it would need a lot more work. As it should be a temporary installation only (the owner wants to build a real lattice fence) we agreed he will just turn it of whenever we are going to do serious activities on the 2 m band (i.e. contesting) and we will live with the temporary QRM on “normal” days until he’s done with the lattice fence. So keeping fingers crossed it will not take too long. 😉

These cute alpacas are kept …

… in control by the pasture fence.

Posted in Equipment, VHF | Comments Off on Chasing down 2 m QRM

Another good ES day?

Statistically May 23 is not the worst date to expect some good Sporadic-E openings, even on 2 m. And indeed, I was lucky this morning:

------------------------------------------------------------------
TIME   CALLSIGN      LOCATOR   TX    RX    BAND  MODE   PROP.  QRB
------------------------------------------------------------------
08:07  R3KBF         KO91PO   +14   +08    2 m.  FT8     ES   1702
------------------------------------------------------------------

The opening was short and patchy, heard a few more but could not complete. 4 m was open literally all day long with a strong Balcanese opening in the morning and good ES to the west in the afternoon providing double-hop QSOs to CU and EA8 again. 6 m opened to the Caribbean once more with KP2, KP4, HI worked (I concentrated more on 4 m).

Posted in DX, Propagation, Sporadic E, VHF | Comments Off on Another good ES day?

A new 4 m Band Pass Filter

Having changed the 4 m antenna to a single band one there’s no need to use my trusty coax diplexer anymore (one half of it was described here). It served very well eliminating all the interstation interference between 6 & 4 m. But being a notch filter it did not attenuate any HF signals, of course. Depending on many factors I still had a bit of interference at times when some HF bands were used around the station. Not much and certainly nothing I couldn’t live with but aren’t we radio amateurs always trying to perfect things? 😉 After the good experience with our 2 m helical BPFs I ordered another band pass filter for 4 m, this time from Serbia’s Antenna Amplifiers.

Measurements showed a very good performance in attenuating HF signals but 6 m as the neighbouring band could certainly use some more attenuation. Therefor I combined the filter with the other half of the diplexer (i.e. a 6 m coax notch filter) to get the best out of both. Now even the smallest kind of interference is gone, mission accomplished. 😎

Measurement results of the single YU1CF band pass filter (green), the single coax noth for 6 m (blue) and both combined (red), which is the final configuration.

Posted in Equipment, Stubs & filters | Comments Off on A new 4 m Band Pass Filter

Good 6 m transatlantic opening

A second post same day usually means something special. And indeed, caught a good opening tonight on 6 m. It started to the Caribbean and I was able to work Bonairian friends Bert, PJ4KY, and Steve, PJ4DX. 😎 KP2BH and VP2EIH added new ones to the list and afterwards I could work a few U.S. station, too. The band is still open writing this (just before midnight UTC) so we might see another good day tomorrow …

Posted in DX, Propagation, Sporadic E | Comments Off on Good 6 m transatlantic opening

First 2 m Sporadic-E this year

During the last few month’ I’ve been doing most of my QRL work from home. But today I had to visit my current customer in town and guess what? Of course, 2 m opened via Sporadic-E! Luckily I had my tablet with me and could use the lunch break to remote back into the station and at least do a few digital contacts that way before I had to proceed … 😎

------------------------------------------------------------------
TIME   CALLSIGN      LOCATOR   TX    RX    BAND  MODE   PROP.  QRB
------------------------------------------------------------------
10:47  EC5V          IM98OL   +07   +02    2 m.  FT8     ES   1997
10:48  EA3GLE        JN11BH   -10   -04    2 m.  FT8     ES   1600
10:49  EA3CJ         JNØ1SE   +17   +14    2 m.  FT8     ES   1636
10:54  EA3GLE        JN11BH   -13   +00    2 m.  FT8     ES   1600
10:56  EB5GC         IM97JX   -13   -11    2 m.  FT8     ES   2063
11:06  EA5GJ         IM97JW   -01   +02    2 m.  FT8     ES   2067
------------------------------------------------------------------

Did a few 4 m QSOs that way, too, also catching CU3EQ/HM68 via double-hop.

Posted in Propagation, Sporadic E, VHF | Comments Off on First 2 m Sporadic-E this year

Go west …

More 4 m openings today, this time propagation concentrating to the west with extremely strong signals from EI/GI/GW as well as EA. And the first double-hop opening bringing up S01WS/IL46 as well as EA8TX/IL18 (3.740 km), the latter even in SSB (besides a few other voice contacts, too). Nice. 😎

Posted in Propagation, Sporadic E, VHF | Comments Off on Go west …

4 m ES – new antenna seems to work

The new antenna seems to work. 😉 Caught the first 70 MHz ES opening to Greece on 7/5/21, another one on 8/5/21 to Spain with EA9IB/IM85 as the highlight and a new country. Four has been open this afternoon as well, although very spotty, with QSOs into 4O, 9A, E7, 9H, LA, EA6 & GI. Averaging the standard tropo signals it seems the new antenna is providing about 2-3 dB more gain compared to the old duoband beam. 😎 Had a good run into the UK on 10 m FM this evening as well, always fun and nice to hear some real voices again. 😉

Posted in Antennas, Propagation, Sporadic E, VHF | Comments Off on 4 m ES – new antenna seems to work

Antenna work during VHF contest May ’21

We had planned to do a multi op entry in May’s VHF contest last weekend again. Besides this I also wanted to do some antenna work. It turned out antennas were more interesting 😉 and we were not in the mood to really contest much so only a handful of QSOs were made on 2 m, 70 & 23 cm.

Re antennas I had bought a new 4 m LFA so took down the 6/4 m duoband beam and put that up instead. It should provide for a bit more gain on Four which is appreciated running QRP power only. The old duoband antenna will find a new home at DL3BQA’s house so he will be able to work on 6 & 4 m with his newly aquired IC-7300 from home, too, not just from the club QTH.

Posted in Antennas, Equipment | Comments Off on Antenna work during VHF contest May ’21

CQMM ’21

Good memories about my first and only entry in CQMM 2014. Been thinking about entering it again for a few years already but never found the time. Well, different this year, at least some time available but the band (10 meters again, what else?) was basically closed all weekend long except for a few few-minutes-openings. Difficult to generate QSOs at all, most of them were locals which will probably be deleted from the log anyway as per the organizer’s rules on uniques. A small ES opening to UA6 Sunday morning with about a dozen stations on air but no one in the log, they were busy running another contest (“WSW”) and not interested in working anybody else, what a pity. 🙁 Another good opening to YO/LZ (LZ4TX pounding in with s9+++ for over an hour) but again no activity. Only South America heard was PS2T at max. 419 signal level Sunday evening for about 10 minutes. So at least managed to get a few other things around the shack done.

                    CQMM DX Contest - 2021

Call: DH8BQA

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

Summary:
 Band  QSOs  Prefixes
----------------------
   10:  40       0
----------------------
Total:  40       0  Countries = 14  Total Score = 2,184

Club: Bavarian Contest Club

Comments:
FLEX-6600, Elecraft KPA500 @600W output, 6 ele OWA Yagi @60ft.
Posted in Contesting | Comments Off on CQMM ’21

CQ WPX SSB ’21

Used almost all of Saturday to identify & fix some station interference issues. Uwe, DL3BQA, was doing a serious SOSB15 effort while I “only” wanted to hand out some QSOs and gain points for the BCC’s “Frequent Contester” program again. Re-routed a number of coax cables in the shack, put what felt like at least 100 ferrite cores onto various cables, a.s.o. Many thanks to Heiko, DG1BHA, for his assistance. Not yet everything cured 100% but much better already. Still puzzling over all the interstation interference we had during the last month’. The station has been up and running for over 10 years now without any big troubles but we also changed a number of things recently. So still some more analysis and work needed I guess.

A little more active on Sunday then and even able to hold a run frequency on 20 m for a little longer than a few minutes, wow! That’s really rare over here. 😉 Running on 80 m is usually fun in WPX providing excellent rates. But it also always (!) brings up all kinds of howlers: someone playing music on one’s run frequency, recording one’s CQ call and playing it on the same frequency for a few minutes (at least I had a nice small pileup afterwards, hi), or recording and playing back only single syllables in a repeat loop. Or the ragchewers (nothing against ragchewing in general, it’s one facette of our hobby) and net controls who think they own frequencies even if you were already using it for over an hour (well, their net just started now and I was on *their* frequency … they probably paid for it, right?). Or the guys who felt disturbed working each other across town being 3 kHz away but having their filters open for 4 kHz for some more fidelity (well, I didn’t hear them at all with my 2,8 kHz SSB filter bandwidth and they were very strong, too). And most of them not even able to tell you their callsigns … All a bit nerving but I had already experienced it much worse and the fun of running rate finally outweighed it. 😉

It should have been leisurely 1 million points. Then 1.000 QSOs, then 1.500, then 2 million points, then 2.5 million, then 1.616 QSOs for a nice number, but as there was still some time left it was finally reaching 2.8 million points just 3 minutes before the contest was over. These always readjusted goals and next steps really help to keep your butt in the chair! 😎 It was great until the end, not even a suggestion of fatigue. Probably the result of having a good night’s sleep both nights before and only getting up at 7z. 😉

                    CQWW WPX Contest, SSB - 2021

Call: DH8BQA

Class: SOAB HP
QTH: JO73ce
Operating Time (hrs): 24

Summary:
 Band  QSOs
------------
  160:   58
   80:  580
   40:  405
   20:  560
   15:   28
   10:    5
------------
Total: 1636  Prefixes = 783  Total Score = 2,805,489

Club: Bavarian Contest Club

Comments:
FLEX-6600, PA + beams & dipoles
Posted in Contesting | Comments Off on CQ WPX SSB ’21

ARRL DX CW ’21

Below are the results of my entry in this year’s ARRL DX CW Contest, this time on 80 m as our GP antenna was still up and I felt fit enough for the nightshifts. The “fit enough” has been confirmed, no signs of weakness at all during the weekend. 😎

I had laid down before the start of the contest and set the alarm clock for half an hour before the “show” should begin. Got up in time, made some coffee, started on time, found a good frequency, had a nice rate, all fine! All too good to be true? At some point looked at the clock and thought “wow, these first 1,5 hours went really fast”. Wait, can that really be? It didn’t feel that long, right? Looked again, checked the alarm clock and grrrr, what an idiot I am! 🙁 Instead of 0:30 local (contest starts at 1:00 local time) it was set to 1:30 local, i.e. 0:30 UTC. Damn, wasted the first hour and probably lost some 40-50 QSOs as it was really good at the beginning!

Mults worked

Apropos how it was: The first night was amazingly good with 270 QSOs, albeit no further west than W9 and 2x WØ and a single W7 (Southern Arizona). Saturday we got hit by Aurora condx. 🙁 Propagation completely down, only a few on CQ, even less new ones to be found on S&P and of course nothing further west again. The 3 or 4 additional WØ’s were in the eastern of the Midwest states and really weak, i.e. difficult to copy, and also just one additional W7 from AZ who made it into the log. A real pity having that great antenna available, but it is like it is. The third night = maybe one additional useful hour to operate … well, under these condx I simply skipped it. 😉

                   ARRL DX Contest, CW - 2021

Call: DH8BQA

Class: SOSB/80 HP
QTH: JO73ce
Operating Time (hrs): 27

Summary:
 Band  QSOs  Mults
-------------------
   80:  464    39      (including dupes)
-------------------
Total:  439    39   Total Score = 51,363


Comments:
FLEX-6600, PA + 80 m GP
Posted in Contesting, Propagation | Comments Off on ARRL DX CW ’21

CQ WPX RTTY ’21

Well, no radio activity after ARRL-10M in mid-December until last weekend when entering the WPX-RTTY. There’s a simple reason: We were moving house again. So lots of other priorities (besides some heavy QRL as well) during the last few weeks/month’. And still not done. Due to another Covid lockdown I’m not able to shop some basic furnitures for the new office & shack room so even my work place is a temporary solution only. 😐

Temporary shack setup for last weekend’s WPX-RTTY contest.

The screen was “borrowed” from the children’s room for the weekend, some protest included. 😛 Being a 40″ TV with only HD resolution and just 60 cm distance when sitting in front of it was … well, no good solution. Pixels could be clearly seen and eyes got exhausted quite soon. But I liked the size in general so will have to look for something that size but 4K resolution then whenever I will finally be finshed with the room …

Uwe, DL3BQA, was going for a serious SOSB80 entry from our station so I had the remaining contest bands to play with remotely. Every now and then for an hour or so, depending on other duties as well as my mood. 10 m was a complete failure, 15 m only a few QSOs (and Saturday better than Sunday). 20 m was difficult, you’re simply not able to hold a run frequency with 500 watts and a 4 ele Yagi, even high in the band. 40 m was “like a bag of mosquitos”, definitely the money band and the most fun. Well, and on 80 m just 1 local QSO for the reason mentioned above. 😉 After 777 for a nice number of QSOs it was enough for me …

                    CQ WPX RTTY Contest - 2021

Call: DH8BQA

Class: SOAB HP
QTH: JO73ce
Operating Time (hrs): 22

Summary:
 Band  QSOs
------------
   80:    1
   40:  469
   20:  252
   15:   55
   10:    0
------------
Total:  777  Prefixes = 504  Total Score = 1,415,736

Club: Bavarian Contest Club

Comments:
FLEX-6600 + Elecraft KPA500 + beams & dipoles

Just a few hours for the fun of it. Temporary shack setup only
(1x1 m wooden plate for computer & monitor) after moving house.

See you in the next one!
Posted in Contesting, General stuff | Comments Off on CQ WPX RTTY ’21

World Win in ARRL-10M last year!

It was just by coincidence after uploading my contest log from last weekend yesterday that I looked around the ARRL contest webpages seeing some new contest awards for download and got excited quite fast:

Now how cool’s that? My 5th world win in 2019 … indeed it’s been a really great contest year! 😎 And it shows once again that keeping your butt in the chair really pays off!

Posted in Awards, Contesting | Comments Off on World Win in ARRL-10M last year!

ARRL-10M & trying out some MacOS software

No big entry in this year’s ARRL 10m contest. Besides other commitments over the weekend I used the chance to play a bit with the new MacOS version of SmartSDR released by Marcus, DL8MRE. Compared to the free-of-charge Windows version it does cost some bucks but to my mind is worth every penny. I was already used to his iOS version so basically no problem in using the MacOS version now. It’s quite feature-rich with added functionalities like a built-in digital mode interface, support for a CW paddle (something I still have to try, i.e. solder a suiting adapter) and local CW sidetone (! … Flex users will understand, hi), simple logbook, a.s.o. A more detailed description is available on his website.

SmartSDR for MacOS among many other nice features includes a DX cluster client and shows (clickable) spots directly in the spectrum display – neat! 😉

For logging I used RumlogNG which includes a superb contest module and is really easy to use. I did already migrate all my personal logbook data into RumlogNG but still keep data in VQLog on Windows, too. While VQLog has many (special) features for VHF enthusiasts that will certainly never make it into the more common general purpose loggers, there’s just one feature I really miss in RumlogNG when doing QSL management: just send a card to new band/mode contacts! Doing lots of contesting that really saves a lot of paper! Maybe I didn’t find it yet or it would really be a worthwhile feature request to Tom, DL2RUM, as that’s probably something a lot of people might desire …

RumlogNG’s contest module – a neat clean user interface!

Only problem in using the combination FlexRadio with RumlogNG is there’s no native support for Flex’s CAT interface in RumlogNG. A real pity! 🙁 There’s a workaround using Kenwood CAT over network which indeed worked … but only once! Never got the two to communicate again. 🙁 So will have to dig deeper into this topic before I can use RumlogNG for more serious contesting. Until then the excellent N1MMLogger+ will still serve me well (installed on a dedicated Windows machine as well as virtualized in MacOS).

So with all this stuff tried out I did make a few contest contacts, too. 😉 Condx were not good at all. Although there’s quite a good chance to catch some winter ES in mid-December it was not much this year. Geminids meteors helped a bit, too. Noteworthy DX worked included FR, PY, LU, CE, D4, ZF, V5, FY, HC, YV, KP2. Very patchy openings, lots of times no signals at all. Called it a day on Sunday afternoon after handing out nice number 123 … 😀

(PS: Screenshot including QSO data added after the log deadline only!)
Posted in Contesting, Software | Comments Off on ARRL-10M & trying out some MacOS software

CQ WWDX CW ’20

Another World Wide DX Contest in the books, this time Single Band on 15 m. Quite unhappy on Saturday. Couldn’t get much going, no good runs, best hour was 90 QSOs and that was not even running but search & pouncing! Band closed around 16z. A few signals popped up every now and then afterwards but all down in the noise, i.e. non-workable. A bit over 500 QSOs on day 1.

Sunday was a little better including some nice runs into North America in the afternoon but even that included my best hour was just 130 QSOs. The band stayed open an hour longer than on Saturday and it felt like condx were better, too.

Concerning the signal quality of certain stations: A picture is worth a thousand words.

I had purposely decided to go for 15 instead of 10 m. The latter would probably have been more interesting propagation-wise but I still had to earn the missing points for our BCC internal “Frequent Contester” program. Now I’ve got a good “reserve” of about a million points … 😉

                 CQ Worldwide DX Contest, CW - 2020

Call: DH8BQA

Class: SO(A)SB15 HP
QTH: JO73ce
Operating Time (hrs): 21

Summary:
 Band  QSOs  Zones  Countries
------------------------------
   10: 1182    36      123          (incl. dupes)
------------------------------
Total: 1165    36      123          Total Score = 428,505

Club: Bavarian Contest Club

Comments:
FLEX-6600, PA + 6 ele G0KSC OWA Yagi @40ft
Posted in Contesting | Comments Off on CQ WWDX CW ’20

IARU VHF CW aka Marconi Memorial Contest ’20

It’s been a few years since I last participated seriously in the Marconi Memorial Contest on 2 m. I tried to be QRV for some hours and hand out some points at least during the last few years. It’s always been fun so it was overdue to do a serious entry again. 😉

Condx looked promising, tropo was already enhanced a little on Friday and the F5LEN Tropo Forcast showed there might be good conditions to the east on Saturday evening. And so it was, all the Lithuanians worked (6-700 km) were solid S9 signals while they are usually S3 only in other VHF contests. Unfortunately there were only three of them QRV (LY2WR, LY2R, LY2FN). When they have their VHF Fieldday in July you can easily work 10-12 of them and a few Latvians and sometimes even Estonians, too, but not so this time, just no activity. Really a pity with these nice condx! Anyway, conditions into the other directions were not bad either, although not enhanced. But it helped to have stable signals from the South this time (compared to July contest) resulting in a good number of contacts with HA, 9A, S5 and two times YU again! YT3AAA was single op’ing from the YT4B location and could be worked Saturday evening. YU7ACO is a regular, too (although it didn’t work in July), logged Sunday morning and with over 1.000 km as well no slouch either. 😉

But the real highlight(s) came from the West this time. There was a small tropo zone evolving during the night across the North Sea. I had tried with the bigger GM stations a few times during the night but could never hear them (and vice versa). But on Sunday morning we finally had a stable duct enabling three very fine DX contacts into Scotland! 😎 Keith, GM4YXI, was the strongest of the crowd with a real S9 signal. Signals were stable for almost 4 hours until it all vanished again.

GM4YXI (IO87wk) tropo ducting over 1133 km Sunday morning:

Stewart, GM4AFF, was a nice signal with about S6, too, another easy QSO. Getting Chris, GM3WOJ, into the log needed a little more work. He’s another 130 km further away than the other two and the path is crossing a bit over land (although he has a coastal location as well) so signals were quite weak but we made it. 😎 His location probably helped, too. Tests with other Scottish stations further inland (i.e. MMØC) were all negative, it seemed the duct ended right at the coast line.

All in all lots of fun and great activity. I did not expect to log over 400 QSOs! If my memory doesn’t let me down I think my personal best in the past was something around 300 or maybe 330 QSOs in the Marconi. Would have to look it up in the archives. 😀

Good activity even 20 minutes before contest end.

I worked a bunch of Czech stations never heard before, all individual callsigns. I can only guess they are usually operating from the big(ger) multi-op stations but due to all the Covid-19 restrictions they now popped up from their little home stations. But no matter what reason it was much appreciated! Here’s a visual overview of all stations logged:

All contacts made in this year’s Marconi Memorial CW contest on 144 MHz.

And finally here are my total results. I logged with N1MMLogger+ this time taking advantage of rig control, bandmap, cluster spots, a.s.o. While it is not as flexible on VHF as TACLog (especially concerning reporting) which I’ve been using for the last 25 years it has all the modern advantages mentioned above which are missing in TL. And, I always have to run circles to make these old DOS applications like TL work under modern Windows versions (although DOSBox as an emulator does a good job but who knows how long it will last). So it was about time to do the move. 😉

                 VHFREG1 Summary Sheet

       Start Date : 2020-11-07

    CallSign Used : DH8BQA
      Operator(s) : DH8BQA

Operator Category : SINGLE-OP
Assisted Category : ASSISTED
             Band : 2M
            Power : HIGH
             Mode : CW
 Default Exchange : #
       Gridsquare : JO73CE

         Software : N1MM Logger+ 1.0.8714.0

        Band   Mode  QSOs     Pts   Pt/Q
         144   CW    412                    (incl. dupes)
       Total   Both  406   163260  402,1

            Score : 163.260

              Rig : IC-9700 + PA
         Antennas : 10 ele DK7ZB Yagi


QSOs > 800 km:
08/11  0849   GM3WOJ         IO77WS      1258
08/11  0832   GM4YXI         IO87WK      1133
08/11  1034   GM4AFF         IO86TS      1128
07/11  2021   YT3AAA         JN94SD      1079
08/11  0804   YU7ACO         KN05RD      1037
07/11  1754   9A0V           JN95PE       963
07/11  2319   F6DWG/P        JN19BQ       923
07/11  1759   9A8D           JN95LM       919
07/11  1752   9A1N           JN85LI       894
08/11  0052   HB9IAB/P       JN36GU       892
07/11  1553   9A4M           JN85EI       886
08/11  0642   G4PIQ          JO02OD       884
07/11  1807   9A1P           JN65VG       881
07/11  2338   F1UVN          JO10HE       865
08/11  0646   9A9R           JN85OQ       862
07/11  1924   G4CDN          JO02SS       849 
Posted in Contesting, Propagation, Tropo, VHF | Comments Off on IARU VHF CW aka Marconi Memorial Contest ’20

Slightly enhanced tropo conditions

Arrived at the station here in JO73 this afternoon to prepare for the contest this weekend. Tropo condx are slightly enhanced again and predictions look good for the weekend, there might be a few surprises (hopefully). 😉 Worked these DX QSOs:

------------------------------------------------------------------
TIME   CALLSIGN      LOCATOR   TX    RX    BAND  MODE   PROP.  QRB
------------------------------------------------------------------
23:10  G4LPP         JOØ2SS   -18   -14    2 m.  FT8     TR    848
23:19  G4KUX         IO94BP   -11   -16    2 m.  FT8     TR   1063
11:29  LA1KUA        JP5ØTW   -20   -14    2 m.  FT8     TR    875
11:32  SM4CHK        JO69TH   +07   +14    2 m.  FT8     TR    682
11:33  LA4YGA        JO48BE   -11   -12    2 m.  FT8     TR    673
11:37  SM4GGC        JO69RK   +00   +03    2 m.  FT8     TR    696
12:38  LA5FGA        JO58TW   -17   +09    2 m.  FT8     TR    659
------------------------------------------------------------------

A number of additional QSOs could be logged with OZ, SM6, SM7 but the two SM4’s mentioned above were really pounding in and worked much further south into Eastern Germany at least. Think they had a blast. 😉

Posted in Propagation, Tropo, VHF | Comments Off on Slightly enhanced tropo conditions

CQ WWDX SSB 2020

Initially this was meant to be a rather quiet weekend. I wanted to escape all the QRL stress and also be on site again instead of only remote. My remote station works excellent but has the smaller power amp connected only and the distractions at home are always bigger than desired. And of course the motivational factor is probably different, too, when you drive an extra 400 km.

Anyway, the goal was to clear my mind again and play a little radio. I didn’t feel like doing the night shift and Uwe, DL3BQA, who actually wanted to do 80 m (we rebuilt the GP for the winter season), still had a cold to fight and asked to operate a day band, too. So there we were: two times a day band but 20 m basically excluded because even with our 4 ele Yagi and some power, in the north of DL (and probably in other parts as well, hi) no frequency can be hold. So there were only 15 and 10 m left. Our station actually works quite well on these two bands and we are relatively satisfied taking our northern location into account. Since the days before the weekend there were already quite good condx on 15 m and also on 10 m at least to South America, a few QSOs should be possible. From our experience during the last 20 years with the condx like these we had expected about +/- 500 QSOs on 15 m and maybe 200 on 10 m migt be possible.

Saturday morning started as usual: In the first two hours with the band still closed two dozen QSOs were made via scatter (tropo and meteors) with the large stations in the south and southeast, then it was quiet. So I laid down again without really sleeping. When I heard Uwe suddenly working rows of Ukrainians on 15 m I went back to the 10 m radio and lo and behold, the band was open via Sporadic-E to the east. Half an hour later fitting ES clouds to the West developed and the “Worked All Britain Contest-in-a-Contest” began. 😀 Very good activity on the islands, lots of fun! Every now and then the ES also linked into other propagation path’ thus a number of South Americans could be worked, too, but even more exciting about two dozen W/VE made it into the log on Saturday! 😎 At the same time 6 m was open from NA to EU thus triple-hop ES can/must be assumed as the MUF for F2 propagation was not that high (in my opinion it just scratched 25 MHz). This theory is supported by the fact that there was no DX heading east, not even the first hop into the nearby UA9, etc. At the end of the day there were 450 QSOs in the log, half of them with the U.K. 😉

Band starting to open to the South Sunday morning.

Sunday began similarly to Saturday: Started early but apart from the usual suspects via scatter I couldn’t hear anything else. Thus started calling CQ and hoping. 😉 And indeed I was able to open the band to the east again and a couple of UA3s got into the log. From 8z the “party” turned south with strong Sicilians first, then thanks to rather strong ES clouds with a high MUF (6 m was open again, too) I was able to work most parts of Europe via backscatter without having to turn the antenna. 😉 The ES cloud cluster was quite stable to the south and southwest of us (always very nice to follow on DXmaps). This enabled good rates this time in the “Work all Italy Sub-Contest” 😉 and thanks to the high MUF also a number of short distance QSOs around 5-600 km could be made (= “fresh food”) but unfortunately no DX. Guys in south and west DL had better luck and suitable entry points to North America again (and 6 m was again open via triple hop, quite rare at the end of October). During the last hour the band was open here at least some more South Americans and Caribbeans could be worked but all very selective and without large QSO numbers.

On Saturday evening I was still ahead a bit of the German competition (Ulli/DD2ML, Matthias/DL5L) in terms of total points (I had 100 QSOs more but already fewer mults, they were simply not audible up here). Then on Sunday with more 3 pointers to be worked from the South at least DL5L passed by.

                 CQ Worldwide DX Contest, SSB - 2020

Call: DH8BQA

Class: SO(A)SB10 HP
QTH: JO73ce
Operating Time (hrs): 21

Summary:
 Band  QSOs  Zones  Countries
------------------------------
   10: 1212    18       69          (incl. dupes)
------------------------------
Total: 1175    18       69  Total Score = 119,799

Club: Bavarian Contest Club

Comments:
FLEX-6600, PA + 6 ele G0KSC OWA Yagi @60ft

For those who hope for a repeat during WWDX-CW in 4 weeks: I wouldn’t bet on it, at least not for 10 m. 15 m will certainly be usable again if the sun behaves but the F2-relevant MUF isn’t high enough for 10 m yet. And without Sporadic-E it will be difficult except for a few QSOs on the southern path’. But let’s wait & see. 😉

Posted in Contesting, DX, Propagation, Sporadic E | Comments Off on CQ WWDX SSB 2020