Just a little Perseids activity

Only a few QSOs during the Perseids Meteor shower this year, but at least over five times more than last year. πŸ˜€ Kidding aside, just too much QRL again so only QRV every now and then for short time periods. Although most of the stations have been worked before I always enjoy every single MS contact, it really has something special to it!

10/08/2022 07:38 RA3LX       KO65RE     2 m.   MSK144   MS    1267
11/08/2022 08:46 RA6DE       KN96DQ     2 m.   MSK144   MS    1857
11/08/2022 09:11 F6APE       IN97PI     2 m.   MSK144   MS    1239
11/08/2022 21:11 YO3YKT      KN34CI     2 m.   MSK144   MS    1315
11/08/2022 21:55 IU4FKR      JN63GV     2 m.   MSK144   MS    1040
12/08/2022 09:40 F6EBF       JN24KD     2 m.   MSK144   MS    1214
12/08/2022 09:56 IQ5MS       JN54AA     2 m.   MSK144   MS    1064
12/08/2022 10:41 EA3BTZ      JN11BI     2 m.   MSK144   MS    1596
12/08/2022 21:00 RK3AF       KO75WO     2 m.   MSK144   MS    1422
12/08/2022 21:10 YO5CRI      KN16TS     2 m.   MSK144   MS     979
12/08/2022 21:34 YO9HP       KN35BA     2 m.   MSK144   MS    1252
Posted in Meteor Scatter, Propagation, VHF | Comments Off on Just a little Perseids activity

MM/DH8BQA: 6 m opening from IO75kk

Marc, DO4DXA from JN58, asked during the contest if I could come to 6 m as it was open to Scotland. Did so after the contest was finished and easily worked him on CW with the KX3 matching the ZS6BKW with it’s built-in tuner. 😎 A few more CW-QSOs followed (10 in total) but activity was very limited. I then switched over to the IC-705 again (no noise on 6 m from the USB connection!), put the Elecraft T1 antenna tuner in line and matched the ZS6BKW on 6 m again. Astonishingly it worked quite well! Could then do a few more digital QSOs (15) and even worked DL3BQA and DL3BUA from home! 😎 All very spotty but nice to do some VHF contacts from abroad, too. Finally started disassembling the station after about 14z …

Working digital on 6 m … just 10 watts and an HF dipole!

Contacts worked from IO75kk including two “locals” … can you spot them? πŸ˜‰

Posted in Expeditions, Propagation, QRP, Sporadic E | Comments Off on MM/DH8BQA: 6 m opening from IO75kk

MM/DH8BQA: IOTA Test from EU-123, Isle of Arran

Actually, the IOTA contest would have been a non-event for me this year. Since my wife and daughter only got vacation for the last 2 weeks of July, I had already written off the contest in my mind. The plan was a week of holidays in London and then another week with friends in Edinburgh. The return flight would have been right during the contest.

At some point my lovely wife asked if I was aware that the UK was an island and if I could do radio from there? After all, at the end of July there is always this β€œstrange island contest” where I go away. Good wife! πŸ˜€ So we rescheduled a bit and I took the girls to the airport on Friday, then Mr. BQA had time for himself. 😎

Equipment carried along: An Icom IC-705 & Elecraft KX3 with aΒ  ZS6BKW antenna on a 10 m Spiderbeam mast, the small one suitable for flight luggage with a pack size of just 70 cm. The whole stuff with accessories already weighed 15 kg, but it must not be more than 23 kg in total for checked luggage and I also needed some clothes for 2 weeks (don’t ask: the girls’ suitcases were as heavy even without radio equipment, rearranging was no option, hi). So only QRP. Why is that important? Well, if QRP then maybe seriously fight for the trophy which is also available for QRP for UK Islands Expeditions, unclaimed last year. I had selected a few good looking QTHs in Scotland, some of them really nice locations, but it would all have been EU-005 “only”. A quick inquiry to the organizer revealed that I could take part in the DXpedition class, despite EU-005 which is home to thousands of “fixed” stations, if I transported everything there myself. That was a given. After all quite an interesting idea and yes, compliant with the rules. So it would have worked. πŸ˜‰

But: With low power operation the QSO potential is mainly concentrated on Europe anyway. And with only a 10 m high wire as inverted V far away contacts on the low bands would certainly be out of reach, too, but probably quite a lot of UK on 80 & 40 m. But as “same island” stations they would only count 5 points while from another island it would be 15 points! Strategically much smarter! So I researched a bit further (AirBnB is your friend!) and found what I was looking for on the Isle of Arran, EU-123: a small caravan (with a camping toilet and without running water, for the purists, hi), on top of a cliff right on the Sea, clear take-off from north-east over south to west. It should also fit with travelling there (once across Scotland), ferry, the booked return flight, etc. And it did, ufb!

Isle of Arran, EU-123, in sight

Approaching Adrossan harbour

QTH for the weekend in Kildonan

Will have to look up the LH reference πŸ˜‰

Station setup on Friday afternoon went smooth. Weather was fine, mast and antenna went up quickly. Happy camper. 😎 A few transceiver issues though, see below.

Mast and antenna installed Friday afternoon

Ladderline from antenna to transceiver, no coax this time!

It was quite stormy during the night from Friday to Saturday with heavy rain. Hoped the antenna installation would hold up to it but unfortunately it didn’t! Luckily it was an easy fix.

Mast collapsed during storm Friday night, ouch!

All set up again Saturday morning, luckily it was calm through the contest.

GM7M always works the IOTA from Arran, too. According to the last reports and maps on their website I had mentally located them in the middle of the island on top of the mountains. The QRM by them on the low bands was extreme. The KX3 lived up to its name, as a direct mixer it pretty much mixed every signal with that of GM7M. πŸ™

It got cold during the night.

It worked ok’ish when running myself, I could minimize the problem by clever frequency selection. On the high bands it was less bad, but still quite obvious. I had expected more from the KX3, at 15km distance it shouldn’t be an issue at all. The sideband nulling procedure will probably also have to be carried out again.

Sunday morning Zabdi, my landlady, came and said that there were 3 masts like mine at the campsite 600 m down the road, and if that might be radio amateurs like myself, too? As it turned out GM7M with high power was right next door, not even a kilometer away! Wow, then the KX3 did really well in these circumstances! It’s all a question of perspective. πŸ˜€ When I went to the campsite in the evening to take a shower after dismantling the station there were no signs of GM7M anymore, seems they qickly took down everything, too. Pity, could have been another interesting talk. πŸ˜‰

It would have been exciting to see how the 705 would have performed in these conditions. I had tested the setup with a USB cable for rig control at home on a dummy load and configured everything and all worked fine. But then in the field noise with S9 on the HF bands with the USB cable connected?! Damn … The ferrites I brought along didn’t help. Communication via WiFi and/or Bluetooth with the computer is no problem for CAT, audio, etc. I had that configured easily. But CW doesn’t work with it (or I haven’t figured out how yet, if anyone has any tips, I would be grateful). Oh well. πŸ™ Good thing was I had the KX3 as a spare (tnx Heiko, DG1BHA, for the loan, I wasn’t sure if the 705 would be delivered in time for the trip) as I didn’t want to leave anything to chance with the goal of “winning a trophy”. Seems I was perfectly right doing so. πŸ˜‰

Night setup. πŸ˜‰ Caravan was just big enough to keep the station installed. Or was it the transceiver and laptop just small enough? πŸ˜€

Overall I’m very satisfied with the result. Various mults slipped through my fingers due to the QRM issue, so it could have been even a bit better. With QRP as a mult you can also do running which works quite well (though not as well as as a high power station, hi).

At some point on Sunday morning I needed a little break (sleeping, peeing, making coffee … 2 hours).

Condx have been mixed, the start on Saturday was really slow, later things got a little better, high bands only really usable on Sunday thanks to a bit of Sporadic-E, had some decent rates in that time frame. Tnx to all callers!

When handing out number 666 there was still too much contest time left (almost 8 minutes). Thus I continued. πŸ˜‰ At number 670 the net counter stood at 666 and I saved myself the last 50 seconds. πŸ˜‰ Made a handful of SSB QSOs, too (which are in the log, of course, but counted out below), but I entered CW-only. Now let’s see if it was good enough for the trophy. Even if not: great weekend, lot’s of fun, recommended for imitation. πŸ˜‰

                    IOTA Contest - 2022

Operator(s): DH8BQA

Class: SO(A)24CW QRP
QTH: IO75kk
Operating Time (hrs): 21,5

 Band  CW Qs  CW Mults  Ph Qs  Ph Mults
   80:  102       28                
   40:  208       43     (2)        
   20:  184       35     (4)        
   15:   98       21                
   10:   68        8                
Total:  660      135       0       0  Total Score = 726,300

Elecraft KX3, 5W + ZS6BKW on 10 m Spiderbeam fiberpole

View from the coast up the cliff where the carravan is.

Lovely landscape on Arran. Very calm and enjoyable.

Posted in Antennas, Contesting, Equipment, Expeditions, QRP | Comments Off on MM/DH8BQA: IOTA Test from EU-123, Isle of Arran

MM/DH8BQA: Visiting Jim – GM4FVM in Scotland

Summer time = holiday time! This year the three of us decided to spend a week in London, then move on to Edinburgh for another week together with a few friends making it a group of seven. Had a very enjoyable time although we nailed it with walking a few kilometers through London on the hottest day ever recorded in British weather history! Oh well … πŸ˜‰

When deciding to visit Edinburgh I also looked up a few of the well known VHF DXers in Scotland to see how far they are away. I do like to meet the locals if time permits (which is sometimes rather tricky when travelling in a group). As it turned out Jim, GM4FVM, whom I had already dozens of QSOs with (see QSL below as an example … everybody active on 4 m will certainly have QSO’d him already 😉), is just an hour’s drive away so I asked him if he was okay with a short visit. And he was! 😎

We had a very pleasant afternoon with him and his lovely wife Sue. Thanks for the awesome tea and original scones, very delicious! πŸ˜‰ While the girls had a walk through their fantastic garden exploring all the “green stuff” I’m not as interested in πŸ˜‰ Jim and I, after visiting his small efficient antenna farm, made it to the shack and discussed a lot of things. We are very like-minded on so many topics and interested in the same stuff I often had the feeling I was sitting there with one of my best long-time friends! Really great and after all one of the many things that make Amateur Radio stand out as a hobby: finding friends over the air and maybe even meeting in person like in this case.

Many thanks Jim & Sue for the very enjoyable time! Will sure meet you on the bands again but hope to meet in person in the future again, too, maybe next time in Germany. πŸ˜‰

VHF DXers Jim, GM4FVM, and Olli, DH8BQA, in Jim’s shack.

Posted in Expeditions, General stuff, QSLs, UHF, VHF | Comments Off on MM/DH8BQA: Visiting Jim – GM4FVM in Scotland

Double-hop on 4 m & the Balkans on 2m

Caught another Sporadic-E opening to the Balkans on 2 m early afternoon:

11:55  LZ1AG         KN22ID   +02   -06   2 m.   FT8    ES    1454
11:58  LZ2CM         KN13OJ   +01   -06   2 m.   FT8    ES    1274
11:59  YO7FWS        KN24EK   -01   +01   2 m.   FT8    ES    1222

4 m was open into the South, too, and even opened nicely via double-hop ES to the Canaries with EA8AVI (IL28) and EA8BFK as well as EA8JF (both IL38) making it into the log. Like these 3.500 km+ openings! 😎

Posted in Propagation, Sporadic E, VHF | Comments Off on Double-hop on 4 m & the Balkans on 2m

Some Tropo for a change!

Sporadic-E, Aurora, now some Tropo for a change! Love the summer month’ as there are so many different possibilities to catch different propagation modes on VHF, it’s just amazing! Certainly one of the reasons why I fell in love with VHF DXing many many years ago. πŸ˜‰

There was some good tropo from Western Central Europe and the U.K. down to Southern France and Spain. We were way too far away from all of it but once in a while signals popped up enabling the following two contacts: 😎

08:27  F1NZC         JN15MR   -17   -15   2 m.   FT8    TR    1154
09:17  F4BKV         IN95PP   -18   -13   2 m.   FT8    TR    1362
Posted in Propagation, Tropo, VHF | Comments Off on Some Tropo for a change!

Sporadic-E on 4 m & Aurora on 2 m

Interesting day today! Four was open this morning via ES to the UK & Ireland as well as EA & EA6. It closed at 12z and never opened again, MUF down. Thus nothing to expect on 2 m either, right? Well, I almost missed the Aurora in the evening which caught me by surprise. πŸ˜‰ Managed the following QSOs before it was all over again:

16:43  SM6BFE        JO68DQ   59A   59A   2 m.   CW     AUR    623
16:44  SM6VTZ        JO58UJ   55A   55A   2 m.   CW     AUR    600
16:54  SMØWXV        JO89VL   55A   55A   2 m.   CW     AUR    733
16:58  GM4YXI        IO87WK   57A   59A   2 m.   CW     AUR   1132
17:33  SM6CEN        JO67AJ   57A   59A   2 m.   CW     AUR    487
17:36  YL2KO         KO37RI   51A   55A   2 m.   CW     AUR    956
17:38  SMØIJS        JO89VG   59A   59A   2 m.   CW     AUR    711
17:40  OZ1FDH        JO65CS   59A   55A   2 m.   CW     AUR    315
Posted in Aurora, Propagation, Sporadic E, VHF | Comments Off on Sporadic-E on 4 m & Aurora on 2 m

July VHF Contest ’22

July VHF contest is usually the VHF contest I participate as a single operator. Again so this year. Result is on par with those of the last few entries. It’s been a few years since breaking the 400 QSOs barrier from up here.

                 VHFREG1 Summary Sheet

    CallSign Used : DH8BQA

Operator Category : SINGLE-OP
             Band : 2M
            Power : HIGH
       Gridsquare : JO73CE

        Band   Mode  QSOs      Pts   Pt/Q
         144   CW      78    38172   489,4
         144   USB    288   109595   380,5
       Total   Both   366   147767   403,7

            Score : 147.767

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

Should be good enough for a Top 3 finish. No specialties, you could call it business as usual. A good number of CW in the mix and almost 100 x OK/OM wkd. Activity in SP was quite good as well (20 stations) and besides the usual 2 x YU I even managed to work a YO again (and two more heard!).

On the other hand just one LY in the log which was disappointing as they normally have their national VHF fieldday that weekend, too, and you can easily work 8-10 stations at least. Not sure why there was nobody on this time, maybe they changed something or even skipped the contest for some political reasons? Who knows.

These were the QSOs above 800 km:

20220702 2158   144 MHz    CW     YT4B            JN94SD      1079
20220702 2309   144 MHz    CW     IQ5NN           JN63GN      1078
20220702 2234   144 MHz    CW     YU7ACO          KN05RD      1037
20220702 2154   144 MHz    CW     9A0V            JN95PE       963
20220702 2321   144 MHz    CW     YR5C            KN16JS       940
20220703 0650   144 MHz   USB     TM5R            JN19BQ       923
20220702 2327   144 MHz    CW     9A7D            JN95CI       918
20220702 2311   144 MHz    CW     9A1N            JN85LI       894
20220703 1329   144 MHz    CW     9A1E            JN85QT       852
20220702 1710   144 MHz   USB     HG3X            JN96EE       834
20220702 2120   144 MHz   USB     S59DEM          JN75DS       825
Posted in Contesting, VHF | Comments Off on July VHF Contest ’22

More ES, even on SSB ;-)

Following yesterday’s openings 2 m was hot again all day long. At times we had two or three different path’ open (Greece, Italy, Spain) in parallel. And there was some good SSB activity, too! Not to miss anything I went SO2R (Single Operator, 2 Radios): while I used my usual remote setup with the Flex plus transverter and SSPA into the 9 ele LFA for digital I also had our IC-9700 with the tube amp into the 10 ele DK7ZB connected for SSB. It certainly paid off! 😎 Not sure about G4LOH. There was some ES around at that time but it might as well have been Ionoscatter.

10:28  G4LOH         IO7ØJC   -14   -05   2 m.   FT8    ES    1378
15:46  SV1ELI        KM17XX   +08   +15   2 m.   FT8    ES    1849
15:48  IZ7UMS        JN81GD   +27   +03   2 m.   FT8    ES    1350
15:53  EA3BS         JNØ1XK   -01   +01   2 m.   FT8    ES    1595
16:05  IK7LMX        JN8ØXP    59    59   2 m.   SSB    ES    1422
16:08  ZA/IW2JOP     KMØ9AU   -01   +02   2 m.   FT8    ES    1547
16:10  SV8PEX        JM99WO   +21   +07   2 m.   FT8    ES    1570
16:16  SV8PEX        JM99WO    59    59   2 m.   SSB    ES    1570
16:28  SV8CS         KMØ7JS   -02   -12   2 m.   FT8    ES    1787
17:32  SV1BEE        KM17WX   -14   +11   2 m.   FT8    ES    1846
17:34  SV1JDY        KM18VA   +14   +27   2 m.   FT8    ES    1839
17:36  SV2JAO        KN1ØDN    59    59   2 m.   SSB    ES    1530
17:39  SV9IOQ        KM25AL    59    59   2 m.   SSB    ES    2113
17:43  SV9CVY        KM25KA    59    59   2 m.   SSB    ES    2186
17:44  Z33TI         KNØ1SI   -04   -01   2 m.   FT8    ES    1425
18:47  TA7OM         KN8ØXX   -10   -11   2 m.   FT8    ES    2235
18:50  R7RBE         KN64SM   -04   -02   2 m.   FT8    ES    1702
19:41  IT9HTV        JM76MX   -17   +14   2 m.   FT8    ES    1803

I entirely concentrated on 2 m so didn’t work much on 4 m. But from the few QSOs made 5B4AIF (KM64) and SV9CJO (KM25) are certainly worth mention. After all the spook was over it openend again late evening to GM with the usual suspects.

Posted in Propagation, Sporadic E, VHF | Comments Off on More ES, even on SSB ;-)

Plenty of Sporadic-E again

More Sporadic-E today with very high MUF, contacts around 1.000 km on 2 m!

10:40  F6DBI         IN88IJ   -07   -11   2 m.   FT8    ES    1336
10:46  F6CIS         IN94WL   -09   -09   2 m.   FT8    ES    1422
10:52  F6EGD         IN88IT   -17   -13   2 m.   FT8    ES    1313
10:55  G4FUF         JOØ1GN   -07   -18   2 m.   FT8    ES     943
10:57  G4AEP         IO91NJ   -11   +02   2 m.   FT8    ES    1043
11:06  F8DBF         IN78RI   -11   -16   2 m.   FT8    ES    1418
11:08  F4JVG         JN16UM   -10   -08   2 m.   FT8    ES    1054
11:38  F4EZJ         JNØ5DK   -14   -12   2 m.   FT8    ES    1322

Four saw a great late afternoon opening to the North with several OHs (KP10/20/21/23/24/34/41) as well as ES2AEE (KO29) in the log. 😎

Posted in Propagation, Sporadic E, VHF | Comments Off on Plenty of Sporadic-E again

Bands hot again

Another great day! Started with a JA opening on 6 m although only 3 stations wkd (all JA8 from QN03/23). Once again I had the feeling being much too weak although running 400 watts into an 8 ele longyagi. πŸ™

4 m opened 8:30z and was open literally all day long into different directions (9A, 9H, G, GM, EA, SV, YO, S5 wkd). Icing on the cake was working IZØAXF/JN61, probably still illegal. Hope Italy will get a permit to operate on 4 m again soon, there are so many potential new squares to be worked. πŸ˜‰ MUF got higher and higher during the day enabling inner-DL contacts on 4 m with as low as 600 km distance to JN48! So it was just a question of time for 2 m to open and it did although we were not well postioned thus all very patchy. But a few good QSOs were made:

14:46  EA2Z          IN91MP   +02   +09   2 m.   FT8    ES    1710
16:01  EA6SX         JM19IK   +09   +11   2 m.   FT8    ES    1760
17:38  EA4T          IN7ØXK   -04   -04   2 m.   FT8    ES    1973
17:52  EA2CDY        IN82VI   -07   -06   2 m.   FT8    ES    1711
Posted in DX, Propagation, Sporadic E, VHF | Comments Off on Bands hot again

Nice openings on 6, 4 & 2 m with new ones

Early start this morning with the first QSO on 4 m at 7:30z into the Balkans. Beaming East 6 m provided interesting QSOs and new squares with UN7DAT/NO00 and RD6AK/KN85. I doubt that the latter is legal but as always: WFWL – work first, worry later. πŸ˜‰

Two opened to Greece around 9:30z and I was very lucky to catch Erwin, DK5EW, on his DXpedition for a rare new square (unfortunately I missed him in the other ones). A bit later we had another brief opening, this time to UA6:

09:27  SV1CEV        KM17UW   -09   +02   2 m.   FT8    ES    1846
09:29  SV9/DK5EW     KM15WL   -17   +02   2 m.   FT8    ES    2109
09:35  SV9CJO        KM25FI   +05   +09   2 m.   FT8    ES    2139
09:37  SV1DNU        KM18VB   -15   -10   2 m.   FT8    ES    1835
11:02  UC6A          KN84PV   +08   +06   2 m.   FT8    ES    1906
11:04  R6AS          KN85TC   +17   +04   2 m.   FT8    ES    1913
11:07  R6BY          KN84PV   -04   +10   2 m.   FT8    ES    1906

Have been heard in UA3 and IT9, too! While the latter might well have been ES (the band was open to the South) I suppose the first was rather MS.

Carribean on 6 m with ZF1EJ as a new one around 13:30z, plus HI8 (FK58) added to the mix. Some more 4 m in between (EI, GM, OH) and a short 6 m opening to the U.S. around 15:30z providing EN91, FM17, FM19 squares.

Posted in DX, Propagation, Sporadic E, VHF | Comments Off on Nice openings on 6, 4 & 2 m with new ones

First 2 m ES for me this year

Four was open all afternoon. Two opened just briefly over here, good enough to work EA5BY (whom I had just worked on 4 m, too,Β  half an hour ago):

14:50  EA5BY         IM98PG   +17   +17   2 m.   FT8    ES    2013
Posted in Propagation, Sporadic E, VHF | Comments Off on First 2 m ES for me this year


Another WPX-CW is in the books … 10 m of course, what else? πŸ˜‰ Condx worse than during the last few years, just not as much Sporadic-E this time. Thus also not that much DX although we had some multi-hop ES (or maybe ES + F2) to North America Sunday evening. But all very spotty. Else the typical southern path’ which all needed some ES to link in, too.

                 CQWPXCW Summary Sheet

    CallSign Used : DH8BQA

Operator Category : SINGLE-OP
Assisted Category : ASSISTED
             Band : 10M
            Power : HIGH
             Mode : CW
       Gridsquare : JO73CE

        Club/Team : Bavarian Contest Club
         Software : N1MM Logger+ 1.0.9546.0

        Band     QSOs     Pts  WPX  Pt/Q
          28     477     859  324   1,8
       Total     477     859  324   1,8

            Score : 278.316

              Rig : Flex-6600 + PA
         Antennas : 6 ele OWA Yagi @ 60 ft.
Posted in Contesting | Comments Off on CQ WPX CW ’22

3D2R – Rotuma as ATNO & a good 6 m opening

Worked DPØGVN, the German Antarctica base station, on 10 m today. Also caught the Rotuma expedition 3D2RRR as an All Time New One on a few HF slots. 6 m opened via multi-hop ES this afternoon, too, providing several stations from 5B4 (KM64/65), 9K2 (LL48/49), A71 (LL55) and HZ (LL25). But the icing on the cake was finally working 7Q7CT (KH66) for a new one! 😎

Posted in DX, Propagation, Sporadic E | Comments Off on 3D2R – Rotuma as ATNO & a good 6 m opening

First 4 m ES opening this year

Seems like a late start on 4 m this year, at least for me. While I usually work the first 4 m Sporadic-E opening early May, sometimes even at the end of April already, it’s been the end of May this year. Band has been open to EA2 (IN82/83) shortly around 18z today.

Posted in Propagation, Sporadic E, VHF | Comments Off on First 4 m ES opening this year

Midnight Longpath on 10 m

Upper band HF condx have been quite good recently. I was able to catch DPØPOL/mm off the coast of South America on 10 m CW late this afternoon. But the real surprise was seeing a late night long path opening to VK/ZL during the last 1,5 hours (it’s just midnight local time over here), probably enhanced by some Sporadic-E. Great to work a bunch of VKs plus ZL4TT and had a nice chat with VK4DO on SSB with 59 signals both ways. 😎

Posted in DX, Propagation | Comments Off on Midnight Longpath on 10 m

May VHF & a few NODERED dashboards

Another VHF contest. Again not too motivated to operate but brought the special event call DM60UEA (60 years of Amateur Radio in AngermΓΌnde) onto the air on 2 m & 70 cm. Made about 250 QSOs, people had difficulties with the call even if we were CQing. Oh well …

I spent most of the time not on the radio but rather programming NODERED. I had set up a Raspberry Pi as a NODERED server and now programmed a few dashboards to make it possible to remotely rotate all our antennas just using a web browser. We’ve been able to rotate computer-based using the superb PSTRotator software for over 10 years already. Drawback was: only one connection at a time making coordinating between operators almost impossible and inconvenient (starting/stopping software, trying to avoid blocking each other). Furthermore PSTRotator only works on Windows and my approach to the remote setup is to make it OS independent, i.e. being able to control everything no matter if using a Windows computer, a Mac, a tablet or even a smartphone.

Available stuff from other hams was a useful start (there’s a very active NODERED Ham Radio group on the groups.io forums). I had to reverse engineer a few things as there were no existing flows for our use case (our rotators are network connected and use TCP/IP instead of the more common serial interface for remote control). But after I recognized how all that stuff works it was no problem to implement. Likewise for our NETIO power controllers. I found flows to control the Elecraft KPA500 and KAT500 as well so connected both with their serial interfaces to the RPi, too. The KPA500 flow still has some potential for optimization (a few ideas in my head already, hi) but it will do as is for the moment.

As always lots more ideas for additional stuff, lets see when I’ll have time again to dig a little deeper. πŸ˜‰ Here are a few screenshots of the dashboards available now:

Dashboard for our VHF rotator. As we have a 2 m yagi as well as a 10 m beam on the same mast I implemented two different azimuth maps to make it easier to turn to the right direction. Both are linked, of course. Rotator can be switched on & off from the dashboard and besides remote operation is used from the HF shack now. The rotator is in the VHF shack so no need to change between the rooms to rotate the antenna anymore. πŸ˜‰

Another dashboard for the smaller remote mast with 2 & 4 m antennas.

Dashboard for our AZ/EL rotator (which used to have the antenna group for EME). Besides there are power on/off buttons for a few things accessed remotely.

A combined dashboard for the HF rotators. The right one shows beamwidth as well but currently no rotator connected as we have to repair the control unit. They can be power controlled from the dashboard, too.

My remote dashboard to switch stuff on & off and see what the amp and tuner are doing, here just transmitting on 10 m.

Posted in Contesting, Equipment, Software, VHF | Comments Off on May VHF & a few NODERED dashboards


Handing out a few QSOs remotely every now and then while Uwe, DL3BQA, was going for a serious SOSB80 entry as DM60UEA from our station … Mir/Peace/Frieden to *everybody* on earth!

                    CQWW WPX Contest, SSB - 2022

Call: DH8BQA

Class: SOAB HP
Class Overlay: Unassisted Classic 
QTH: JO73ce
Operating Time (hrs): 19:30
Remote Operation

 Band  QSOs
  160:    8
   80:    1
   40:  176
   20:   52
   15:  343
   10:   86
Total:  666  Prefixes = 451  Total Score = 731,973

Club: Bavarian Contest Club

Flex-6600, Elecraft KPA500, dipoles & yagis
Posted in Contesting | Comments Off on CQ WPX SSB ’22

March VHF Contest ’22

This must have been one of our worst March VHF results. πŸ™ Very low activity, bad condx … but still a respectable placement coming in as #7 Multi OP which is not bad for our remote location. Finished a few smaller things around the shack and most important: had fun being together! πŸ˜€

                VHFREG1 Summary Sheet

       Start Date : 2022-03-04

    CallSign Used : DF0UM
      Operator(s) : DG1BHA, DH8BQA, DL3BQA, DM5DX

Operator Category : MULTI-OP
             Band : 2M
            Power : HIGH
       Gridsquare : JO73CE

         Software : N1MM Logger+ 1.0.9466.0

        Band   Mode  QSOs     Pts  Pt/Q
         144  CW      44   18025 409,7
         144  USB    221   70575 319,3
       Total  Both   265   88600 334,3

            Score : 88.600

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