CQ WWDX CW 2018

This time a part time participation only. While driving the 700 km to the station Thursday night I somehow caught a painful tonsilitis. ๐Ÿ™ Waking up Friday morning I already had a sore throat. Fever and shivers added during the day so I went to bed 6pm local time Friday evening already at the contest station. After 11 hours of sleep I woke up Saturday morning and started into the contest. But motivation was quite low due to the ongoing pains so it was rather search & pouncing the bands, catching some mults, a.s.o. And I was sure happy this was not an SSB contest. ๐Ÿ˜€

Low band condx seemed to be quite good, caught some nice DX multipliers. During the day I got more or less used to the pains so also started some running on 20 m and enjoyed great runs (for an average German guy, hi) on 40 m later on. 15 m opened shortly to the U.S., too, but activity could have been a little better. 10 m provided more QSOs than anticipated, there were a few smaller ES openings but also a good number of contacts made through Meteor reflections. Went to bed with 1.000 QSOs under the belt at 2z Sunday morning.

Continued operating later Sunday morning and also enjoyed some nice runs on 20 m later on when the band started to open to North America. When seeing 1.5 million points were in reach I kept pressing. After reaching that goal it was only 80 more QSOs to the 1.500 QSOs mark so I again kept my butt in the chair a little longer. ๐Ÿ˜‰ But afterwards called it a day, packed up and went back to town to join my mother’s birthday party …

                    CQ Worldwide DX Contest, CW

Call: DH8BQA

Class: SO(A)AB HP
QTH: JO73ce
Operating Time (hrs): 25

Summary:
 Band  QSOs  Zones  Countries
------------------------------
  160:  142     9       49
   80:  220    14       62
   40:  452    33      112
   20:  452    27      107
   15:  184    28       82
   10:   52     5       23
------------------------------
Total: 1502   116      435  Total Score = 1,581,370

Club: Bavarian Contest Club

Comments:
IC-7300, PA + our usual antenna farm:
160m lazy loop, 80/40m dipoles, 20m 4L, 15/10m 6L yagis each

Was using the IC-7300 again. The bandscope was a real benefit on 15 & 10 m. I could immediately see when new signals popped up – great value! On the other hand I had the gut feeling it’s RX was desensed a few times on the low bands, especially on 160 m. Something to keep an eye on. All in all I still prefer the K3 for Contesting simply because you have the more important controls directly at hand, i.e. filter bandwidth, speed control, etc. Being able to set the drive power per band is another big plus, too. I needed to fiddle with the power adjustment regularly as I need different drive powers with my PA depending on band and antenna (SWR). A ‘homemade’ challenge was switching all the stuff around the shack manually. We have a high degree of station automation but it’s all centered around Elecraft & Kenwood radios, I still have to implement Icoms somehow. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Nevertheless the ‘7300 coped quite well in general and is really good value for the money! It’s big plus compared to the K3 certainly is the single USB connection to have all set for CAT control, audio, etc. The K3S has the same functionality and I was already thinking about buying the new KIO3B board to add that functionality to my old model K3, too. Or maybe buy a new K3S and put the current K3 into (additional) service at the remote station? Or maybe I should also take a look into the Flex Radio series … ๐Ÿ˜‰

Posted in Contesting, Equipment | Comments Off on CQ WWDX CW 2018

Weekend (VHF) activities … some tropo again

As the YL was working weekend shifts in QRL I had some more spare time than usual this weekend. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Decided to spend the time in the shack and finally start working on a new project idea I’ve been thinking about for a few month’ already. Whenever I drive those 700 km between JO30 and JO73 back and forth to visit my mom and do some contests from our contest station up there I have plenty of time to think stuff through. Most of my project ideas really come to maturity on the German highways. ๐Ÿ˜€

Already Thursday morning when driving to QRL the weather forecast reported about foggy mornings in the valleys and considerably higher temperatures on the mountains. That immediately caught my attentation! If that wasn’t calling for a temperature inversion I would not know what else … there was to be Tropo in the air! Checking the F5LEN tropo forecast it backed my assumption, see right side prediction map for Friday evening. So immediately when back from QRL Friday evening I switched on the remote. Nothing to be heard in JO73 yet but already plenty of contacts in the western part of Europe. You would expect that from the predictions, right? The eastern costline stations in the United Kingdom were already busy working into Scandinavia …

I started working on my project, i.e. drawing a double-sided PCB (which actually took a few hours over the whole weekend). I will not release too many details yet, just teasing my readers a bit. ๐Ÿ˜‰ But it will probably be something handy and supportive if using Icom radios … ’nuff said. ๐Ÿ˜€

Around 21z the band started to open over here, too. G4KUX was producing splendid signals but he was the only one. It seemed it was only open to IO94, very localized. A little later I caught M1GSM (also from IO94) on SSB, he was running just 30 watts into a small 5 ele Yagi, great contact! At the same time G4KUX started working up deep into Finland at distances > 1.800 km, amazing! Later on propagation shifted a little north bringing three GMs into the log, all located directly at the Northumberland coast line in south-east Scotland. And all weak enough that only FT8 worked. Nice to catch Jim, GM4FVM, again, he’s got a nice blog, too. Kept watching the game but no more new stations to be worked, it was much better further west and north, seems I was just at the very edge.

------------------------------------------------------------------
TIME   CALLSIGN      LOCATOR   TX    RX    BAND   MODE  PROP.  QRB
------------------------------------------------------------------
20:53  G4KUX         IO94BP   +11   +06    2 m.   FT8   TR    1063
21:07  G4KUX         IO94BP   579   559    2 m.   CW    TR    1063
21:19  M1GSM         IO94DR    52    53    2 m.   SSB   TR    1053
21:26  M1BXF         JOร˜2FE   -16   -14    2 m.   FT8   TR     932
21:48  MM3LSO        IO85WU   -17   -21    2 m.   FT8   TR    1092
22:12  MMร˜GZZ        IO85UU   -21   -09    2 m.   FT8   TR    1102
22:33  GM4FVM        IO85WU   -18   -19    2 m.   FT8   TR    1092
------------------------------------------------------------------

Saturday morning I could still hear (although “see” might be the better term with FT8, hi) some of the same guys of Friday evening, i.e. G4KUX and MM3LSO, but didn’t call them again. Instead I caught some long distance QSOs eastwards which was unexpected, nice surprise! G4CDN to the west was some nice DX, too, but I can work Richard basically daily if conditions are not too bad.

------------------------------------------------------------------
TIME   CALLSIGN      LOCATOR   TX    RX    BAND   MODE  PROP.  QRB
------------------------------------------------------------------
10:36  LY2J          KO14QL   -03   -05    2 m.   FT8   TR     618
10:39  EW6X          KO45IM   -18   -16    2 m.   FT8   TR     972
11:05  G4CDN         JOร˜2SS   -11   -06    2 m.   FT8   TR     848
------------------------------------------------------------------

I also faintly heard the Farรถer beacon OY6BEC/B from IP62mb over 1.588 km! But it was not more than a 319 report at best. The band went dead after 11:30z over here, only locals to be heard anymore.

I kept an eye on the radio while carrying on the project work. Around 16z I started hearing the OY6BEC/B Farรถer beacon again, now with a solid 529. And lo and behold there were stations QRV on Farรถer! OY1OF from IP62 was reported working into Europe on FM with a vertical. Unfortunately nothing over here. Later on he switched over to SSB but still nothing. The 20 dB cross-polarity loss between horizontal and vertical polarization prevented it. Damn!

In the course of the evening I could do a few more DX contacts. It was great to hear the voice of Chris, GM3WOJ, again! We’ve been working each other every now and then over the years during a number of VHF openings, be it via Tropo, Sporadic-E or Aurora. He’s also a great DXpeditioner on HF …

------------------------------------------------------------------
TIME   CALLSIGN      LOCATOR   TX    RX    BAND   MODE  PROP.  QRB
------------------------------------------------------------------
16:25  MMร˜GYX        IO87IP   -10   -13    2 m.   FT8   TR    1206
17:52  GM3WOJ        IO77WS    55    59    2 m.   SSB   TR    1257
18:32  G4GSB         IO82XM   -18   -20    2 m.   FT8   TR    1091
18:39  GMร˜HLV        IO88ED    51    52    2 m.   SSB   TR    1241
22:09  G4NBS         JOร˜2AF   -21   -19    2 m.   FT8   TR     958
22:11  Mร˜NPT         IO92KX   -05   +03    2 m.   FT8   TR    1022
22:35  G1MHU         IO93GO   -17   -20    2 m.   FT8   TR    1037
23:02  G4KWQ         IO92AQ   -15   -16    2 m.   FT8   TR    1082
------------------------------------------------------------------

The Farรถer beacon was peaking 549 around 19z but then started to vanish quickly and not heard after 20z anymore. A real pity as later on OY1R from IP61 was QRV in SSB, too, albeit with just 50 watts and a vertical. He was even worked from JO63 (DJ4TC) & JO64 (DG0KW)! DJ4TC is just 60 km away from me but while he worked him I coud neither hear OY1R nor OY6BEC/B, all propagation gone. OY4TN from IP62 was reported on FT8 around 20z in JO64 (about 100 km north of me), too, but no copy either. Seems it was not my turn with OY this time …

No VHF-DX on Sunday here so I could concentrate on finishing the PCB work, writing down the project BOM (bill of materials) and order both, parts not in my junk box as well as 2 prototype PCBs. They will arrive in 2 weeks. Let’s see when I can find some time to assemble the first prototype then, hopefully before Christmas. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Also need to do some PIC programming before it all works together. ๐Ÿ˜Ž For next weekend I’ll have another of these 700 km trips. I’m sure there will be some more ideas on the road again … ๐Ÿ˜‰

Posted in Equipment, PIC projects, Propagation, Tropo, VHF | Comments Off on Weekend (VHF) activities … some tropo again

WAE-RTTY 2018

It’s been a while since I last participated in WAE-RTTY. I wanted to just hand out a few points remotely on Saturday and then on Sunday again. But you know … first goal was 250 QSOs, when reaching that it was 300, then 400 QSOs and 400 QTCs, then 500 QSOs Sunday afternoon … and after I had these in the log it was making half a million points before I finally really switched off. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Conditions were quite okay for where we are in the solar cycle. 15 m opened nicely Saturday afternoon to North America but unfortunately not much activity. Instead 10 m opened a few times via Sporadic-E, most times quite spotty, but hey, better than nothing. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Being allowed to work Europeans, too (which is quite unique, in the CW/SSB parts it’s only allowed to work stations outside Europe), made for enough QSO potential.

QTCs were fun, too! They are what makes the WAE special. Unfortunately there are still a lot of stations simply denying QTC traffic although this is an integral part of the WAE. Interestingly most rejections came from the U.S. One of the guys seemed to be so annoyed about QTC questions that he already put his negative reply into his exchange: “599 xxx xxx (no QTC please)”. Oh well …

                    WAE DX Contest, RTTY

Call: DH8BQA

Class: Single Op HP
QTH: JO73ce
Operating Time (hrs): 16
Remote Operation

Summary:
 Band  QSOs  Pts  QTCs  Mults
------------------------------
   80:  152  152     0   156
   40:  141  201    60   153
   20:  138  468   330   114
   15:   51  121    70    56
   10:   36   36     0    34
------------------------------
Total:  521  978   460   513  Total Score = 501,714

Club: Bavarian Contest Club

Comments:
Elecraft K3, KPA500 + 80/40m dipoles, 20m 4L, 15/10m 6L Yagis each
Posted in Contesting | Comments Off on WAE-RTTY 2018

CQ WWDX SSB 2018

Another WWDX-SSB is in the books. I decided to do SOSB15(A) as condx before the contest were surprisingly good and hoped it would stay like this during the weekend. I was indeed very astonished when working a bunch of JAs on Saturday morning! ๐Ÿ˜Ž I had expected to work some US East Cost during the afternoon but the path to Japan is quite a bit more northerly so this was rather unexpected and a very positive experience. ๐Ÿ™‚ Not so positive was that the North America opening Saturday afternoon only lasted for about an hour before the band closed into that direction. It was open a little longer to South America but you soon run out of station to work into that direction. Last QSO was at 17:11z, only very weak SA stations audible afterwards until the band closed completely.

Imagine how surprised I was when seeing cluster spots of FY5KE making it into Europe on 10 m. Curious as I am ๐Ÿ˜‰ I switched to 28 Mhz (as 21 MHz was already closed) and lo and behold there he really was! Not stronger than a 4/1 report but with his good ears it did not take much effort to work him. ๐Ÿ˜Ž Immediately afterwards I went back to 15 m and checked the band again but it was still as before, no useful signals on the band anymore. Sometimes propagation is really strange … ๐Ÿ˜€ Went to bed with 400 QSOs in the log. Not too bad as my overall goal was something between 400 and 500 taking results from previous sunspot minima into account …

Sunday morning brought an even earlier opening to Japan with even stronger signals than Saturday! I was really amazed and happy about it. Working 74 x JA is definitely much more than expected this low in the sunspot cycle! Actually I did not expect to work any JA at all! So this gave hope for a better opening to NA in the afternoon, too. Unfortunately it did not materialize as wished for, the opening was almost non-existent, only two dozen stations worked, all very weak with heavy QSB and the band closing around 15z again, not a single NA station audible anymore. To my big surprise it opened once more half an hour later now with splendid signals and a good run thanks to two cluster spots. This second opening lasted for about 1,5 hours even extending deep into Wร˜ land … that was fun, indeed! ๐Ÿ˜Ž Nevertheless 214 x USA speaks a language about condx to the West (the JA to USA ratio is usually 1:5 or even more in good years, not just 1:3 as now). After the band had closed I saw DL5RBW from Bavaria being spotted on the West Coast. Oh boy, I did not even hear a zone 3 station … this is the propagation difference within Germany, he’s located about 500 km south of our QTH. But we don’t want to complain too much, it was still lots of fun and muuuch better than expected … if I did not mention it before. ๐Ÿ˜€

An unpleasant surprise was some new intereference noise beaming 300ยฐ (which is exactly USA) that popped up for about an hour Sunday afternoon/evening and then for a few shorter periods of time later again. There’s just one house into that direction about 100 m away. Suppose it might be a new heating control system (judging from the times and duration) or something like this. Interestingly it’s only a problem on 15 m (noise up to s6 then), there were no signs of it on the other bands when I checked. Definitely something to keep an eye on …

So here is my summary report. After quite some time I also updated my SH5 version and put the SH5 analysis of this contest online here.

                    CQ Worldwide DX Contest, SSB

Call: DH8BQA

Class: SO(A)SB15 HP
QTH: JO73ce
Operating Time (hrs): 23

Summary:
 Band  QSOs  Zones  Countries
------------------------------
  160:                    
   80:                    
   40:                    
   20:                    
   15:  861    32      126
   10:  (1)               
------------------------------
Total:  853    32      126  Total Score = 312,524

Club: Bavarian Contest Club

Comments:
Elecraft K3, PA + 6 ele OWA Yagi @40ft.
Posted in Contesting, Propagation | Comments Off on CQ WWDX SSB 2018

Tropo vanished …

Still a bit of tropo when arriving at the station this afternoon (seems it was better this morning), but all very unstable, signals readible only a few times then vanishing again.

------------------------------------------------------------------
TIME   CALLSIGN      LOCATOR   TX    RX    BAND   MODE  PROP.  QRB
------------------------------------------------------------------
12:52  F6GNR         IN97FD   -11   -15    2 m.   FT8   TR    1303
13:32  F6EAS         IN98LV   -16    NC    2 m.   FT8   TR    1165
------------------------------------------------------------------

A pity F6EAS was not complete, only saw him two times shortly. Afterwards now all condx are gone, only “locals” to be seen, bad & ugly autumn weather & condx are back. Maybeย  this is not too bad so I can concentrate on the WWDX-SSB this weekend now. ๐Ÿ˜‰

EDIT: Around 18z Stef, F4EZJ, reported seeing me on FT8 and asked for a short SSB test. Indeed we completed easily, he was not strong but solid! While South-DL is still working DX it seems I’m out of the game nevertheless, EZJ was the only signal audible overhere.

------------------------------------------------------------------
TIME   CALLSIGN      LOCATOR   TX    RX    BAND   MODE  PROP.  QRB
------------------------------------------------------------------
18:05  F4EZJ         JN05DK    52    55    2 m.   SSB   TR    1322
18:58  F6BYJ         JN05DR   -19   -12    2 m.   FT8   TR    1300
------------------------------------------------------------------

Jep, F6BYJ, called half an hour later on FT8 but we also needed almost half an hour, conditions really not stable. Anyway, another good contact. ๐Ÿ˜Ž

EDIT2: F4EZJ popped in & out a few times during the evening again. Later tried with Jerome, F8GGD, on CW and while there was lots of QSB and me having some local QRM from a neighbour’s TV ๐Ÿ™ into that direction we easily made it: ๐Ÿ˜Ž

------------------------------------------------------------------
TIME   CALLSIGN      LOCATOR   TX    RX    BAND   MODE  PROP.  QRB
------------------------------------------------------------------
20:31  F4EZJ         JN05DK    -05   -09   2 m.   FT8   TR    1322
20:58  F8GGD         IN95UQ    419   559   2 m.   CW    TR    1335
------------------------------------------------------------------

Nevertheless it’s all quite unstable. Will call it a day now and go back into town …

Posted in Propagation, Tropo, VHF | Comments Off on Tropo vanished …

Totally unexpected tropo!

Two blog posts on the same day always mean something special! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Well, after all the hard antenna work today I spent the evening at the contest station, working a few DX stations on HF here and there, working my friends DL5CW & DL9USA who are currently QRV from Crete as SW9CW and SW9AG respectively, and also playing around a bit on 60 m to grab some new band points (well, almost every QSO is a new one on 60 m, hi).

While doing so I saw a few DX spots on the cluster of western Germany working into France and the UK on 2 m. The F5LEN tropo forecast showed something like that would probably happen. Condx overhere were rather horrible. We’re currently sitting right below a big low pressure system, wind and rain, ugly autumn weather and the 2 m beacon signals are all down from normal. So I didn’t expect anything but with all the spots I decided to wire the local VHF station for digimodes, too, and see what’s around. I was simply curious. Imagine how astonished and excited I was suddenly seeing stations from 1.400 km away! Guess it was some good tropo ducting until around JO30/31 and then some “normal” troposcatter up to JO73 coupling into it. Dave, G7RAU, reported s9+50 signals from JO30 so that probably backs up my theory.

Signals overhere were not strong and FT8 really shined again, most if not all QSOs would not have been possible on CW or SSB! This is my tonight’s VHF-DX log:

------------------------------------------------------------------
TIME   CALLSIGN      LOCATOR   TX    RX    BAND   MODE  PROP.  QRB
------------------------------------------------------------------
20:12  G7RAU         IN79JX   -03   -07    2 m.   FT8   TR    1383
20:16  F8DBF         IN78RI   -17   -13    2 m.   FT8   TR    1418
20:23  G4RRA         IO8ร˜BS   -04   -07    2 m.   FT8   TR    1263
20:37  F6DBI         IN88IJ   -14   -24    2 m.   FT8   TR    1336
21:19  F1NZR         IN88HM   -16    NC    2 m.   FT8   TR    1335
------------------------------------------------------------------

Unfortunately the QSO with F1NZR was not complete, I lost him when signals dropped, quite a pity. Worked a few other stations, too, but all in normal troposcatter distance range. While there was a lot of traffic between F & G & DL & PA on SSB, too, none of it made it overhere, just noise to be heard. So this kind of propagation is where I really see a benefit through FT8 but also good to see all the SSB activity in the west. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Posted in Propagation, Tropo, VHF | Comments Off on Totally unexpected tropo!

Groundplane for 80 m set up

Arrived in JO73 Monday evening, have a week of holidays now. ๐Ÿ™‚ Was busy yesterday helping my mom with some paperwork as she’s in pension now. Good to be inside as the weather was really ugly, heavy winds and rain. Altough it was around 10ยฐC it rather felt like 0ยฐC, brrr. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Today’s the only day of the week predicted with no rain so I meet early with Uwe, DL3BQA, at the contest station. We sorted a few things and grabbed all the stuff for our 80 m groundplane antenna which we set up from time to time for contests. Uwe’s going to do an 80 m SO entry in the WWDX-SSB contest next weekend so good to have a better antenna than our trusty dipole and also good to have a little more antenna separation to the 40 & 20 m antennas. I’m not sure yet which band I will be operating on. Sorrily the good 15 m condx from last weekend vanished completely. ๐Ÿ™ Not sure they will be back soon enough but keeping fingers crossed, of course. But 40 & 20 m would also be more than tough with our little setup. So I’m really undecided yet …

Setting up the 18 m high fiber mast was challenging with just two guys but we finally made it without any damage to persons or material. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Need to re-work the guying wires some time to 4 instead of 3, that will ease the setup process enormously …

Posted in Antennas, Contesting | Comments Off on Groundplane for 80 m set up

WAG ’18

Only a small contribution this year. Had a good night’s sleep of 6 hours and stopped a little earlier, too, as I had visiting guests (my birthday today รฐยŸย˜ยŽ). Anyway, always big fun to operate in the Worked All Germany contest. Nowhere else are you able to run good rates as an average German station on HF. ๐Ÿ˜‰ And once again CW only as I still haven’t found the time to assemble a voicekeyer for the remote … oh boy. ๐Ÿ™ ๐Ÿ˜€

Conditions were surprisingly good, 15 m opened well into North America, some really loud Mid-West stations as well as a few South-West W7’s on the band! Let’s keep our fingers crossed condx will hold until next weekend’s WWDX-SSB, might be fun then! ๐Ÿ˜Ž

                    Worked All Germany Contest

Call: DH8BQA

Class: SO CW HP
QTH: JO73ce
Operating Time (hrs): 15

Summary:
 Band  CW Qs  SSB Qs  Mults
----------------------------
   80:   330            38
   40:   230            45
   20:   300            48
   15:   123            35
   10:    27             7
----------------------------
Total:  1010     0     173  Total Score = 503,084

Comments:
Elecraft K3, KPA500 + 80/40 dipoles, 20m 4L, 15m 6L, 10m 6L yagis
Posted in Contesting | Comments Off on WAG ’18

Makrothen RTTY Contest ’18

Ever since I coincidentallyย stumbled across the TMC (The Makrothen Contest) back in 2014 I wanted to do a full time entry in that contest one time. I really like the format: It’s 8 hours operating, 8 hours off, 8 on, 8 off, 8 on & 8 off again for a full 48 hours. So you can manage a few things between shifts, be it sleeping, walking the dog, or getting some honey-do’s done. ๐Ÿ˜‰ It’s QSO exchange is grid locators (VHFers heaven รฐยŸย˜ย€) and scoring is purely distance based – the further away the more points, reflecting the original meaning of DX, i.e. distance!

This year all underlying circumstances fit so I could do it. The first 8 hour shift was very slow. Not much activity, MUF below 7 MHz during the night. Boring. So I went to bed again for about 1,5 hours in-between. Early morning was a bit better but still slow. Finshed the first shift with 135 QSOs in the log.

Second shift started with 15 m open to the U.S. (!) but again no acitivity. 20 m was a bit better but I soon switched to 40 m. Less kilometer average but more QSOs = more fun and even more points in total. Added another 200 QSOs to the log. Still no high rates (well, it’s RTTY, rates are always much lower than on CW or SSB anyway), but more fun than the first shift.

Third shift brought another 230 QSOs. Again 15 m opened nicely into the U.S., even a few Wร˜’s were loud, but again too low activity, nobody recognized the band was open. There was even some Sporadic-E on 10 m but I first needed to convince an EA1 on 15 m to QSY with me to 10 m to have one QSO in the log at least. Shame …

20 m was the most productive band during the afternoon. More QSOs = more fun. Nicely open to North America = more kilometers! Shift #3 brought exactly as many points as shift #1 and #2 together. DX IS!

                   Makrothen RTTY Contest

Call: DH8BQA

Class: SO/Single Xcvr HP
QTH: JO73ce
Operating Time (hrs): 22

Summary:
 Band  QSOs
------------
   80:  143
   40:  134
   20:  251
   15:   36
   10:    1
------------
Total:  565  Total Score = 2,123,710

Comments:
Elecraft K3, KPA500 + 80/40 m dipoles, 20 m 4L, 15/10 m 6L yagis

Looking at previous results the 565 QSOs seem to be okay and should be good enough for a nice placement. Of course it is rather low compared to the big RTTY contests. Or even to my result in 2014 when I made 140 QSOs in just 2,5 hours on 10 m (under much better condx, of course). I’d really wish the TMC would see more participation, the format should probably be attractive to many more people. Maybe it just needs some more marketing. The PL259 Contest Club already did a good job after taking over the contest’s organization a few years ago.

As I can’t get rid of my VHF genes ๐Ÿ˜€ I made some locator maps again like in 2014 showing what was worked. This time the European map is filled a lot more, of course, as half of my QSOs were done on the low bands …

Posted in Contesting, Propagation | Comments Off on Makrothen RTTY Contest ’18

Golden October

Germany has been experiencing a great indian summer during the last few days. Nice high pressure zone, clear blue sky, warm temperatures … we usually call it a “Golden October”. As a VHF guy this kinda “smells” like Tropo is in the air. Suffering from a flue I was at home today so checked the greatย F5LEN tropo forecast and indeed it confirmed my gutt feeling, there should be a bit of tropo to the west, i.e. England. Therefor I kept the 2 m antenna beaming west this afternoon and was not too astonished when I suddenly heard G1XWX calling CQ. A few more Gs followed but no big distances, seems it was just extending a bit to UK’s east coast. Anyway, it’s always nice to add some new calls to the log and/or meet old friends again!

------------------------------------------------------------------
TIME   CALLSIGN      LOCATOR   TX    RX    BAND   MODE  PROP.  QRB
------------------------------------------------------------------
13:57  G1XWX         JOร˜2TI   52    52     2 m.   SSB   TR     850
14:13  G4PLZ         JOร˜2PT   54    57     2 m.   SSB   TR     864
14:25  G4CDN         JOร˜2SS   599   599    2 m.   CW    TR     848
15:57  G4DDK         JOร˜2PA   -06   -01    2 m.   FT8   TR     880
16:44  G4KUX         IO94BP   -13   -09    2 m.   FT8   TR    1063
------------------------------------------------------------------

Gave it a quick check on 10 m in-between, happy to see the band open to the South at least. Besides working the SW8DX IOTA expedition I could also catch 9Xร˜T on CW. They were extremely weak, no more than 419 at best, but had good ears and after repeating my call a few times they finally got me. ๐Ÿ˜Ž

Then I saw a few cluster spots about Polish guys working VHF-DX to the east thus swung the beam eastwards, too. There was plenty of activity on 144.174 MHz, the designated FT8 frequency on 2 m. Besides lots of SP2/3/9 the following QSOs were made:

------------------------------------------------------------------
TIME   CALLSIGN      LOCATOR   TX    RX    BAND   MODE  PROP.  QRB
------------------------------------------------------------------
15:38  R5WM          KO72QI   -08   -15    2 m.   FT8   TR    1421
15:41  LY3BRA        KO14WU   +05   +06    2 m.   FT8   TR     657
16:12  SP8NTL        KO11CJ   -15   +12    2 m.   FT8   TR     579
16:16  SQ8AQX        KOร˜ร˜RH   -10   -11    2 m.   FT8   TR     592
16:30  UT8AL         KO61WP   -17   -16    2 m.   FT8   TR    1340
16:54  EU4AX         KO13VP   -21   -19    2 m.   FT8   TR     636
17:00  LY2SA         KO14UG   -18   -13    2 m.   FT8   TR     636
17:05  EU3AI         KO22CE   -02   +02    2 m.   FT8   TR     682
17:07  SP7THR        KO1ร˜AN   -15   -16    2 m.   FT8   TR     611
------------------------------------------------------------------

While I can work the SP7/8, LY & EU guys almost every day the QSOs with R5WM/KO72 and UT8AL/KO61 were unexpected! Seems there was some tropo ducting into that area, too, although not reflected on the forecast. That once again confirms you have to keep an ear/eye on the band and not just trust any forecasts. ๐Ÿ˜‰ But there was really lots of fading, no stable duct, so maybe that’s why.

Alex, UT8AL, was using just 20 watts, so FT8 shined again, according to the signal strength’ the QSO would not have been possible in CW/SSB. Signals of R5WM became as loud as +0 dB from time to time so it would have worked at least on CW, too. But he was too busy with FT8 …

Before I had to shut down and change QTH back to the YL’s one I gave a few CQs in CW on 144.300 MHz which led to the following fine contacts:

------------------------------------------------------------------
TIME   CALLSIGN      LOCATOR   TX    RX    BAND   MODE  PROP.  QRB
------------------------------------------------------------------
17:17  LY2LE         KO24OQ   579   599    2 m.   CW    TR     738
17:20  EW6EM         KO54EM   529   549    2 m.   CW    TR    1068
17:23  UA2FY         KOร˜4FS   559   599    2 m.   CW    TR     445
------------------------------------------------------------------

To be honest these were the more satisfactory QSOs of the day … you call yourself, no computer, you hear some whispers in the noise, try optimizing the antenna, getting it out of the noise, decoding one letter after the other to form a full callsign in your own head then realizing which fine DX just called and lay back with a big fat smile in your face! ๐Ÿ˜Ž

So far FT8 could not deliver that feeling. While I see it’s advantages and therefor use it, too, I really hope it will not be FT8-only in the future because people are just too lazy and make it easy by just clicking around a bit on the computer screen (if at all and not automating things, automated QSOs are just machine to machine, this has nothing to do with amateur radio anymore). As long as it is just complementary I’m fine with it. If it ever turns to FT8-only (yes, there are signs of itย รฐยŸย™ย) I’ll certainly need to search for another hobby. And that’s from someone who is burning for our hobby … but let’s think positive. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Posted in Propagation, Tropo, VHF | Comments Off on Golden October

CQ WWDX RTTY 2018

Uwe, DL3BQA, who has historically the choice of band in RTTY contests at our station, was going to do an SOSB20 entry in this weekend’s CQ WWDX RTTY contest. As 15 m does not open much these days there was not much I could do without interfering too much with him. Our 80 & 40 m dipoles are just a few meters away from the 20 m beam. While the RF interference between 80 & 20 m is tolerable Uwe’s PA has the problem that it measures my 80 m forward power as return power on 20 m so it regularly trips the protection, i.e. reduces power. ๐Ÿ™ 40 m of course gives a bit more interference (2nd harmonic). So it was just a few hours when I could operate a bit. Besides this Chris, DL1MGB, and Paul, DL5CW, were visiting this weekend, too. They attended the Photokina fair in Cologne and it was my pleasure to host them. ๐Ÿ™‚

                    CQ Worldwide DX Contest, RTTY

Call: DH8BQA

Class: SO(A)SB80 HP
QTH: JO73ce
Operating Time (hrs): 5:40 h

Summary:
 Band  QSOs  State/Prov  DX  Zones
-----------------------------------
   80:  321       8      56    12
   15: (60)                      
   10:  (2)                      
-----------------------------------
Total:  321       8      56    12  Total Score = 46,816

Club: Bavarian Contest Club

Comments:
Elecraft K3, KPA500 + Inv-V dipole @50ft.
Just handing out a few points ...
Posted in Contesting | Comments Off on CQ WWDX RTTY 2018

IOTA World Winner :-)

Just got a mail from Oliver, DL2ARD, that we made it #1 world-wide in this year’s IOTA contest! ๐Ÿ˜Ž It was great to have been part of the team! Let’s see how it fits next year. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Posted in Awards, Contesting | Comments Off on IOTA World Winner :-)

IARU-VHF 2018 & Antenna Repairs

Before being able to do the IARU-VHF contest last weekend we had to do some serious antenna repair work. It was just 2 weeks ago when Uwe called to tell me something was broken, he could not tune the 2 m antenna anymore. So we already started Friday afternoon at the club station. The 10 ele DK7ZB Yagi is our highest antenna and to take it down means all else needs to come down, too: HF dipoles, 10 m beam, 10 GHz beacon antenna, 70 cm repeater antenna, etc. So it took Heiko, DG1BHA, almost 4 hours before we finally had the antenna on the ground and could check what was wrong (of course we had checked all else including cables upfront). Repair took all Saturday morning and getting it all up again took another 3 hours. We were finished just 1 hour before the contest so starting on Friday was the right decision. ๐Ÿ˜‰ The old dipole box held up for over 5 years. The new one is much more stable so we hope it will now last even longer. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Broken feeder – the outer solder connection broke probably due to all the vibration produced by birds sitting, starting & landing on the dipole arms

Our outside “repair center” ๐Ÿ˜‰ We really needed two soldering irons in parallel to warm up the copper sufficiently for a solid solder connection

New dipole box with probably a little more solid solder connections ๐Ÿ˜‰

Heiko up on the chimney re-mounting everything – tough job!

Concerning the contest all went exceptionally fine until we finished the night shift. We were really convinced we would make it over the 500 QSOs “barrier” easily this time. We worked a lot of great DX during the night although conditions were not really enhanced. I had worked the 3 most distant stations already several times before during the July contests I usually do single OP in from the club QTH. Normally we’re up on the hill during May and September and direction YU is not a very good one from JO73CF but much better from JO73CE although about 30 m lower (which is a lot in our region, hi). But then on Sunday things slowed down quite dramatically! ๐Ÿ™ While we had worked 310 QSOs during the first 12 hours we only worked another 140 during the second half of the contest. It’s not unusual that Sunday is slower than Saturday but the difference was very pronounced this time and we really had to motivate ourselves to keep going … Nevertheless it was probably one of the best results we ever did from the lower club QTH. ๐Ÿ˜Ž

A nice surprise was the very high activity from Poland! While we usually work about 20-30 SP stations only (being directly at the German-Polish border!) working 62 this time was a new all-time high! We even worked more SPs than OKs which is very unusal, too.

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

Contest : IARU-VHF-Contest 2018
Date    : 2018 Sep 01 to 2018 Sep 02
Section : 02 144MHz Multi-OP
QTH     : Woltersdorf

Co-OPs  : DG1BHA;DH8BQA;DL3BQA

TX      : IC-7400 + PA, 750 W
RX      : IC-7400 + MGF1302
Antenna : 10 ele DK7ZB Yagi, 20 mAGL, 70 mASL
Log     : TACLog by OZ2M, 1,995, http://www.qsl.net/oz2m

QSOs    :  450
-invalid:    0                                       Points/QSO
-valid  :  450     QSO-points (*1) :    183469              408
WWLs    :   95     WWL bonus (0)   :         0                0
DXCCs   :   23     DXCC bonus (0)  :         0                0
                   ---------------------------           ------
                   Total score     :    183469              408

ODX     : YT4B in JN94SD at 1079 km

Worked World Wide Locators:
JN36:  1   JN76:  3   JO11:  1   JO53:  6   JO73:  9   JO99:  1
JN37:  3   JN77:  2   JO20:  3   JO55:  2   JO74:  6   KN05:  1
JN38:  3   JN78:  2   JO21:  4   JO56:  1   JO76:  1   KN08:  1
JN39:  8   JN79:  7   JO30:  5   JO57:  1   JO77:  1   KN09:  6
JN47:  4   JN85:  1   JO31: 19   JO59:  1   JO80:  7   KN18:  1
JN48:  8   JN86:  4   JO32:  6   JO60: 15   JO81:  3   KO00:  1
JN49: 10   JN87:  1   JO33:  4   JO61: 18   JO82:  3   KO02:  1
JN56:  1   JN88:  7   JO40:  7   JO62: 26   JO83:  4   KO03:  1
JN57:  1   JN89: 12   JO41:  9   JO63:  4   JO84:  2   KO05:  1
JN58:  2   JN94:  1   JO42:  9   JO64:  5   JO86:  1   KO06:  1
JN59:  5   JN95:  4   JO43:  7   JO65:  6   JO88:  1   KO13:  1
JN63:  1   JN98:  3   JO44:  1   JO67:  2   JO90:  4   KO14:  2
JN67:  2   JN99:  8   JO46:  2   JO68:  1   JO91:  3   KO15:  1
JN68:  7   JO01:  3   JO50: 16   JO70: 16   JO92:  1   KO22:  1
JN69: 11   JO02:  1   JO51: 17   JO71: 10   JO93:  2   KO25:  2
JN75:  2   JO10:  2   JO52: 12   JO72:  7   JO94:  7   

Worked DXCCs:
9A :   4   G  :   4   LA :   1   OK  : 55   PA :   9   UR :   1
DL : 229   HA :   2   LX :   1   OM  : 14   S5 :   7   YL :   1
EU :   2   HB :   5   LY :   6   ON  :  5   SM :  14   YU :   4
F  :   4   I  :   2   OE :  11   OZ  :  7   SP :  62   

Top 20 QSO-points:
20180901 2303 YT4B           559  283 599  397   JN94SD    1079
20180902 0017 IQ5NN          559  290 599  441   JN63GN    1078
20180902 0125 YU7ACO         559  308 599  151   KN05RD    1037
20180902 0116 YU7W           599  305 599  205   JN95RD     972
20180902 0046 9A0V           559  297 599  299   JN95PE     963
20180902 0139 TM0W           599  309 599  367   JN36BP     929
20180901 2342 G8T            55   284 53   454   JO01KJ     928
20180901 2223 9A8D           559  271 599  152   JN95LM     919
20180901 2241 YU7C           559  279 599  153   JN95SS     910
20180901 2354 G8P            599  288 599  615   JO01QD     903
20180901 2141 G3XDY          559  253 559  166   JO02OB     886
20180901 2350 G0VHF/P        55   287 57   433   JO01PU     886
20180902 0105 9A1E           559  300 599  149   JN85OT     849
20180902 0024 S59DEM         599  291 599  430   JN75DS     825
20180902 0058 S50L           419  298 599  261   JN75ES     825
20180902 0219 HB9GF          59   312 59   294   JN37WB     817
20180901 1614 HB9SO          55   110 53   031   JN37SG     811
20180902 0634 SK0EN          59   346 56   011   JO99JX     806
20180902 0745 HB9QT          59   364 59   148   JN47BC     803
20180901 1419 HB9RF          59   016 59   011   JN47FB     795
Posted in Antennas, Contesting, VHF | Comments Off on IARU-VHF 2018 & Antenna Repairs

Perseids Meteor Shower ’18

Not much time this year for the Perseids Meteor Shower. At least managed to be QRV for a few hours during the weekend … Not many expeditions QRV this year and overall activity not as high as I was used to, but also less reflections from the shower than usual. Sunday afternoon really showed a low meteor count so I was already of the opinion the shower maximum was early Sunday morning but meteor rate as well as duration (see screenshot of a typical long Perseids burst I generated at RZ3RZ over 1.800 km with 500 W & 9 ele G0KSC LFA) suddenly picked up late evening so the maximum was probably during the night to Monday as predicted …

Good to work 2 new squares on 2 m, didn’t expect that with no big expeditions on. ๐Ÿ™‚ But nothing interesting on 6 m at all so concentrated on 4 & 2 m again. EI9E was quite busy on all 3 bands, i.e. 6/4/2 m but they’ve been to IO61 last year already. They took it leisurely this time and made some EME experiments on 23 cm as they said …

Sweden (or at least a few guys there) have a temporary 4 m permit until 31.12.2018! Two stations are currently QRV, namely SM7CAD/JO77 and SM4KYN/JO69. I was glad to work at least the latter one for a new country (and square, of course) after many attempts. The distance is almost too close to work MS especially with QRP both sides but it finally worked – thanks Anders!

E76C was QRV, too, Bosnia & Herzegovina are allowed to use 70 MHz since 26.07.2018 as well. Unfortunately we didn’t manage to QSO although we tried several times, too.

Concerning digital Meteor Scatter modes 50 & 70 MHz are now completely dominated by MSK144, JT6M has vanished completely. On 2 m it seems that a lot of Russian guys prefer MSK144 over FSK441 although the latter has some gain advantages over the first. My gut feeling is it’s currently about 30% MSK144 and 70% FSK441. You won’t see that reflected in my log below but this is rather due to myself concentrating on QSOs dir East and also some lazyness, i.e. keeping the transceiver listening on the (in-) official MSK144 “meeting” frequency of 144.360 MHz and then just jumping in when something interesting popped up …

------------------------------------------------------------------
 DATE      TIME  CALLSIGN    LOCATOR    BAND   MODE     PRO.   QRB
------------------------------------------------------------------
11/08/2018 08:17 E77ร˜D       JN93JM     2 m.   FSK441   MS    1126
11/08/2018 08:38 LZ1JH       KN12PQ     2 m.   FSK441   MS    1347
11/08/2018 08:49 R1AY        KP5ร˜BS     2 m.   MSK144   MS    1275
11/08/2018 09:03 G8JLY       IO82WG     2 m.   FSK441   MS    1102
11/08/2018 10:07 9A/S54O     JN74EN     2 m.   FSK441   MS     959
11/08/2018 15:00 EI9E        IO61AX     4 m.   MSK144   MS    1497
11/08/2018 17:37 SV8PEX      JM99VR  #  2 m.   FSK441   MS    1555
11/08/2018 18:57 SM4KYN      JO69XH  #  4 m.   MSK144   MS     681
11/08/2018 19:24 LA1BFA      JP43GK  #  2 m.   FSK441   MS    1185
11/08/2018 19:53 IV3KKW      JN66IE     6 m.   MSK144   MS     786
11/08/2018 20:02 IK1FJI      JN44LL     6 m.   MSK144   MS    1041
11/08/2018 22:09 R3PA        KO93JV     2 m.   MSK144   MS    1618
11/08/2018 22:21 UA3AVY      KO95BI     2 m.   MSK144   MS    1563
11/08/2018 22:28 UR3ABM      KO7ร˜JU     2 m.   MSK144   MS    1426
11/08/2018 23:02 R3LW        KO54MQ     2 m.   MSK144   MS    1111
12/08/2018 05:19 SQ5JUP      KOร˜2KF     2 m.   MSK144   TR     461
12/08/2018 05:41 ON5CD       JO2ร˜GX     4 m.   MSK144   MS     704
12/08/2018 05:55 MJ/SP7VC    IN89XF     4 m.   MSK144   MS    1211
12/08/2018 07:01 OH7RJ       KP33QK  #  4 m.   MSK144   MS    1369
12/08/2018 07:19 EI4DQ       IO51WU     4 m.   MSK144   MS    1512
12/08/2018 07:55 EW3AA       KO12TC     2 m.   MSK144   TR     646
12/08/2018 09:20 RA3EL       KO82AX     2 m.   MSK144   MS    1452
12/08/2018 09:32 UA3QHF      KO91PQ     2 m.   MSK144   MS    1699
12/08/2018 10:18 SQ3DHO      JO82II  #  4 m.   FT8      TR     192
12/08/2018 10:45 G8ECI       JOร˜3AI  #  4 m.   MSK144   MS     940
12/08/2018 11:10 S57TW       JN75EX     4 m.   MSK144   MS     801
12/08/2018 11:38 G4IJE       JOร˜1HP     4 m.   MSK144   MS     935
12/08/2018 12:25 UA3WM       KO72QI     2 m.   MSK144   MS    1421
12/08/2018 12:37 UT2EM       KN67QV     2 m.   MSK144   MS    1470
12/08/2018 13:04 DL2GPK      JN47MX  #  4 m.   MSK144   MS     684
12/08/2018 13:54 R3KBF       KO91PO     2 m.   MSK144   MS    1702
12/08/2018 14:27 OZ1DLD      JO45RL     4 m.   FT8      TR     399
12/08/2018 15:12 HB9SHD      JN37VJ     6 m.   MSK144   MS     788
12/08/2018 15:22 EI9E        IO61AX     6 m.   MSK144   MS    1497
12/08/2018 15:57 OY9JD       IP62OA     2 m.   MSK144   MS    1578
12/08/2018 19:10 SM7MMQ      JO65MO     2 m.   MSK144   TR     279
12/08/2018 20:36 YL3AJT      KO36QM     2 m.   MSK144   MS     919
12/08/2018 21:45 RV3IG       LO17FJ     2 m.   MSK144   MS    1834
12/08/2018 22:10 UT9IR       KN87WX     2 m.   MSK144   MS    1758
12/08/2018 22:19 UT8LE       KN79WW     2 m.   MSK144   MS    1534
12/08/2018 22:23 UT4LA       KN89CW     2 m.   MSK144   MS    1556
12/08/2018 22:44 RZ3RZ       LOร˜2RR     2 m.   FSK441   MS    1814
12/08/2018 22:55 UA3XAC      KO85HC     2 m.   FSK441   MS    1468
12/08/2018 23:02 IK1FJI      JN44LL     2 m.   FSK441   MS    1041
12/08/2018 23:31 MI6XZZ      IO74CU     2 m.   MSK144   MS    1315
12/08/2018 23:50 R6CS        KN95BW     2 m.   FSK441   MS    1891
12/08/2018 23:58 UA3LID      KO64CN     2 m.   FSK441   MS    1186
------------------------------------------------------------------
Posted in Meteor Scatter, Propagation, VHF | Comments Off on Perseids Meteor Shower ’18

ARRL certificates now online

ARRL decided to put their contest certificates online (as most other organizations are doing, too). That means that everybody can now generate & download certificates for their contest participations in ARRL contests no matter the result. Earlier they just sent out paper certificates to the top scorers. It looks like the ARRL-DX contests are still missing but all else seems to be online already: http://contests.arrl.org/certificates.php

This way I could also see how nice a few other certificates are I’ve never received myself in the past as I did not put in any competitive scores, i.e. for the ARRL-RTTY-Roundup or the ARRL-160M contest. I really like them, ARRL does have a great designer it seems. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Posted in Awards, Contesting | Comments Off on ARRL certificates now online

Results of July VHF contest :-)

Claimed scores for the July VHF contest are out, see right side screenshot. It seems I was spot on with my assumptions. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’m sure I’ll loose a few points after logchecking but the margin to 3rd place is big enough so I do not expect any changes in placement anymore. ๐Ÿ˜Ž Still I would have wished activity would have been higher … now let’s see what will be possible in September contest in 4 weeks. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Posted in Contesting, VHF | Comments Off on Results of July VHF contest :-)

DK3R – EU-057 – IOTA 2018

A few month’ ago I received a phone call by Oliver, DL2ARD, asking if I would like to join their team during this year’s IOTA contest as they were still looking for another good operator. I’ve known Oliver for over 25 years now, we’ve meet probably a thousand times on the bands and also eye-balled numerous times during the years at ham fairs, BBQs, a.s.o. You can also find quite a few references about him here in the blog for contest experiences. But we never managed to be active together so far. He’s a great guy so I felt honored to be asked to join and said yes, of course. ๐Ÿ˜Ž

Oliver arrived a week before the contest on Rรผgen Island already and installed a lot of additional antennas, all the equipment, etc. Their yearly IOTA activity is hosted by Andreas, DL1KZA, and his father Burkhard, DL3KZA, plus families on the property of DL1KZA. During the years they’ve installed a number of towers which either hold permanent antennas like the big Optibeam or can be used for additional antennas like the 3 ele 20 m, 6 ele 15 m and 4 ele 10 m that Oliver, Andreas & Burkhard errected before the contest. A rotatable dipole for 40 m and a dipole for 80 m SSB (besides the 80 m CW groundplane permanently there) rounded off the great antenna setup.

L-t-R: 3 ele 20 m, 4 ele 10 m, biiiig Optibeam for 40-10 m, background 6 ele 15 m

I arrived late Friday evening and met the whole team for the first time at Burkhard’s after they had finished barbequeing. Besides Oliver, Andreas & Burkhard team members were Falk, DK7YY, whom I’ve been knowing for ages, too, as well as another Oliver, DJ9AO, and Jรผrgen, DL7UVO. The team placed #1 World M/S HP from that location in 2014, 2016 & 2017 so expectations were quite high! This year we were going to use DK3R as a new club/contest call with IOTA reference EU-057.

Yours truly operating with DL2ARD in the background.

Yours truly operating with DL2ARD in the background. Yes, it was hot! ๐Ÿ˜‰

The contest itself was great. Our set up consisted of a running as well as a multiplier station which were manned continously. This way we managed 600 QSOs during the first 3 hours already. ๐Ÿ˜Ž We were also lucky to have a bit of Sporadic-E every now and then gaining at least the needed multipliers on 10 m. Of course 20 & 40 m proved to be the money bands at this point of the sunspot cycle. Unfortunately 20 m closed quite early within Europe (you need to work all the EU-005’s, eh?) but also provided a highlight with working FK4QX via long path on 20 m in the middle of the night. Sunday morning was a bit slow when 80 m was already closed but 20 m not yet open so we could only use 40 m for a while. Running with such a superb setup was a great experience but also chasing multipliers was lots of fun! We tried to make sure that all OPs got their share of both. ๐Ÿ˜‰ This resulted in almost 2.800 QSOs:

Overall we were quite happy with the result. It’s about 1.5 million points higher than last year and 1.5 million points lower than the all time high of 2016. Keeping fingers crossed it will be enough to win the World again. ๐Ÿ˜‰

The obligatory team photo. ๐Ÿ˜‰ L-t-R: Jรผrgen – DL7UVO, Oliver – DJ9AO, Burkhard – DL3KZA, Oliver – DL2ARD, Olli – DH8BQA, Falk – DK7YY, Andreas – DL1KZA (photo by courtesy of DL3KZA)

Thanks for the great experience, guys! It was a pleasure to operate with you and I’m already looking forward to the next opportunity. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Posted in Contesting, Expeditions | Comments Off on DK3R – EU-057 – IOTA 2018

ARRL-10M 2017 results

A real pity DL2ARD decided not to go for SSB-only in this one as he usually does but also go for mixed mode else this would have been my first world win in ARRL-10M! ๐Ÿ™ ๐Ÿ˜‰

Posted in Awards, Contesting | Comments Off on ARRL-10M 2017 results

Second 2 m ES for me this year & a new one on 4 m

After getting up this morning I saw things evolving on dxmaps.com and LiveMUF so decided to drive from my girlfriend’s place to my home and get the station ready. 2 m opened about half an hour after my arrival but no QSOs made yet. Heard UA4ALU from LN29 as well as RN6MA/LN08 but both were just above the noise – enough for me to hear them but obviously not the other way round, my 700 watts + 9 ele Yagi were not enough to raise them. Yet another half an hour later the band opened for about 3 minutes overhere, enough to work UA4ALU on CW. ๐Ÿ˜Ž

2 m was open for almost 2 hours in total but all the fun was further east, i.e. I was about 2-300 km too far west, just at the very edge. Pity but on the other hand glad to catch another opening at all after quite a bad season (at least for me) this year. 6 m also opened to the East, i.e. BY, BV & HS could be worked from Central Europe. Again I was not lucky enough, I could not raise a single of all the DX stations. Wonder how much power everybody else is running to make it through the pileups … kinda frustrating again and taking away the joy of the Magic Band I used to have years ago. So I concentrated once more on 4 m and made some nice QSOs there via Sporadic-E and tropo, too. Even worked a new one with ER1SS for DXCC #38 and a new square of course, too. OH2FNR provided another new square later on, now at #173. ๐Ÿ˜Ž

A new one on 70 MHz:

------------------------------------------------------------------
TIME   CALLSIGN      LOCATOR   TX    RX    BAND   MODE  PROP.  QRB
------------------------------------------------------------------
09:09  UA4ALU        LN29LA   559   599    2 m.   CW    ES    2178
------------------------------------------------------------------
09:52  ER1SS         KN46JX    55    57    4 m.   SSB   ES    1245
11:08  DG8RAN        JN69CU   -12   -11    4 m.   FT8   TR     395
11:36  EA6SX         JM19IK   +11   +11    4 m.   FT8   ES    1760
11:38  EA6VQ         JM19MP   -01   -12    4 m.   FT8   ES    1727
11:44  EA3AQJ        JN11BI   +08   +01    4 m.   FT8   ES    1596
12:03  DK2GOX        JN49WS   -18   -11    4 m.   FT8   TR     484
12:06  OZ1BP         JO55GA   -03   -11    4 m.   FT8   TR     314
12:12  OZ6GH         JO65BM   -11   -17    4 m.   FT8   TR     292
12:15  EA5IOG        IM98PD   -02   -04    4 m.   FT8   ES    2025
12:21  OH2FNR        KP2ร˜IL   -03   +06    4 m.   FT8   ES    1029
12:27  OH7TE         KP3ร˜JS   -02   -16    4 m.   FT8   ES    1133
12:50  EA8DBM        IL18OH   -19   -14    4 m.   FT8   ES    3747
13:11  DF3XZ         JO53AP   -12   -06    4 m.   FT8   TR     281
------------------------------------------------------------------

As you can see basically all the activity concentrated on FT8. While it has quite some advantages when signals are weak (i.e. neither all the tropo QSOs above would have been possible on CW or SSB nor the double hop ES to EA8 although we worked that path on sideband during previous openings, too) I’m not sure what to think about it when everybody only just hangs around FT8 as a general trend but no activity in CW/SSB anymore. For me it just does not feel right … ๐Ÿ™

Posted in Audio recordings, Propagation, Sporadic E, VHF | Comments Off on Second 2 m ES for me this year & a new one on 4 m

IARU-HF & WRTC 2018

It’s a pity I couldn’t join the fun in Jessen/Wittenberg with all the WRTC happenings. I did help a tiny bit during the last years with some PR work, i.e. writing articles, but QRL took it’s toll and didn’t allow for any bigger contributions. ๐Ÿ™ It was also planned to be on a family leave Friday to Saturday to northern Germany so another reason not being able to join. Of course it sounds like excuses but believe me, I would have loved to be there!

On the other hand our family leave had to be cancelled on short notice. That at least gave me a chance to work all the Y8 calls that were issued for WRTC on Saturday! ๐Ÿ˜Ž It tookย  me about 6 hours to log them all remotely. It might have been faster but Uwe, DL3BQA/DMร˜Y, had the IARU-HF contest slot this year so I could only use the “second best bands” and had to take care not to disturb him with too much interference. It didn’t work out all the time so thank you Uwe for your patience with me QRMing you at times. ๐Ÿ™‚ The spreadsheet provided on the WRTC website was of great help keeping track of my status working them all at least once (yellow coloured callsigns) and which bandslots!

It seems the teams had a lot of fun and even set new records. I.e. never before did a WRTC team manage to break the 5.000 QSOs barrier. The winning team of LY9A/LY4L did – with just a hundred watts and wire antennas (which includes a Spiderbeam). Great work!

The community also needs to thank all the people organizing the WRTC 2018 and especially all the 350 volunteers helping out locally, setting up sites, tents, stations, antennas, etc.pp. Must have been a fun week/weekend for sure!

I followed the race closely using the scoreboard on Sunday and took the screenshot shown left just after the contest. I think place 1 and 2 are fix, logchecking will not change that much. But the race for place 3 is quite close, will be interesting to see who’ll make it or if the defending champions N6MJ/KL9A will keep their place on the podium.

Posted in Contesting | Comments Off on IARU-HF & WRTC 2018