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

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

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!

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:

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:

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 a bit around 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


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

 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

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˜‰

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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


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,

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 …

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:

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 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:

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


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

VP5 – Turks & Caicos Islands #143 on 6 m

After the VHF contest was finished this afternoon I still monitored 6 m for another while while starting to disassemble all the equipment. There was another multihop ES opening into North America extending as far south-west as W5 with EM50, EM51, EM52 to be seen in FT8. Unfortunately I couldn’t raise anyone, just transceiver output power was obviously not enough as well as probably too many callers, too. Also in & out on FT8 was VQ5Z from Providenciales Island, Turks & Caicos Islands. Pete, VE3IKV, is expeditioning the Caribbean again, something he likes to do almost every summer with a special focus on 6 m to hand out new ones. While I couldn’t catch him on FT8 he later switched to CW (which is far more efficient if you have a decent opening! good decision, Pete) and was an easy QSO there! Maybe because all of the 6 m DXers & square collectors only hanging around in/on FT8 nowadays? ๐Ÿ˜Ž Of course FL31 was a new square (#662), too. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Posted in DX, Propagation, Sporadic E, VHF | Comments Off on VP5 – Turks & Caicos Islands #143 on 6 m

DARC July VHF Contest ’18

Well, I’m not sure what to think of this one. Equipment played very well. I didn’t sleep more than 2 hours so plenty of BIC time (“butt in chair”), too. Conditions were quite okay also but still only a bit over 340 QSOs/140k points in the log – rather disappointing! ๐Ÿ™

I missed about 20-25 QSOs from JO30/31 and another 30+ QSOs from OK. There were no holidays yet in North Rhine-Westphalia (i.e. JO30/31) and as Germany was knocked out of the FIFA World Cup quite early it probably wasn’t due to people watching football all weekend long either. On the other hand we had quite good weather down there but even then people normally return to the radio during the evening or early Sunday morning to hand out a few points but not so this time. Strange!

There was some slight tropo condition enhancement during the contest, too. While it was not that pronounced overhere, i.e. I “only” worked a few more east coast Gs than usual, there was a good path from LA to western and southern DL as well as from the U.K. to OK/OM and southwestern DL. Some Gs even worked down into Hungary over 1.400 km during the night! But still activity was lacking quite a lot, really a pity! ๐Ÿ™

But lets wait and see what the result is good for! Tom, DG3FK/DR1H was on again from JN59OP and should have done over 700 QSOs so probably the clear winner again. With some luck my result should still be good enough for a TOP3 finish … we’ll see. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Contest Report from DH8BQA in JO73CE at 144 MHz

Contest : DARC JULY '18
Date    : 2018 Jul 07 to 2018 Jul 08
Section : 01 144MHz Single OP
QTH     : Woltersdorf

TX      : IC-7300, HA1YA-TRV + PA, 750 W
RX      : IC-7300, HA1YA-TRV
Antenna : 10 ele DK7ZB Yagi, 20 mAGL, 70 mASL
Log     : TACLog by OZ2M, 1,995,

QSOs    :  344
-invalid:    0                                       Points/QSO
-valid  :  344     QSO-points (*1) :    140063              407
WWLs    :   77     WWL bonus (0)   :         0                0
DXCCs   :   20     DXCC bonus (0)  :         0                0
                   ---------------------------           ------
                   Total score     :    140063              407

ODX     : G0FBB/P in JO01LD at 931 km

Worked World Wide Locators:
JN37:  2   JN77:  2   JO02:  4   JO44:  2   JO64:  2   JO90:  3
JN38:  2   JN78:  3   JO10:  1   JO46:  2   JO65:  7   JO91:  1
JN39:  2   JN79: 18   JO20:  3   JO50:  7   JO67:  1   JO94:  2
JN47:  4   JN86:  3   JO21:  1   JO51: 15   JO68:  1   KN08:  1
JN48:  6   JN87:  3   JO22:  1   JO52:  9   JO70: 22   KN09:  2
JN49:  5   JN88:  8   JO30:  4   JO53:  5   JO71:  8   KN18:  1
JN57:  1   JN89: 14   JO31:  9   JO55:  2   JO72:  4   KO04:  2
JN58:  2   JN95:  2   JO32:  3   JO57:  1   JO73:  6   KO12:  1
JN59:  4   JN96:  1   JO33:  2   JO59:  1   JO74:  2   KO13:  1
JN68:  2   JN97:  4   JO40:  5   JO60: 10   JO80:  6   KO14:  2
JN69:  6   JN98:  4   JO41:  8   JO61: 14   JO81:  1   KO15:  3
JN75:  1   JN99: 10   JO42:  4   JO62: 21   JO82:  1   KO25:  2
JN76:  3   JO01:  3   JO43:  6   JO63:  4   JO83:  3   

Worked DXCCs:
9A :   2   G  :   7   LY :   7   OM :  15   PA :   4   SP :  24
DL : 155   HA :   8   OE :   7   ON :   5   S5 :   5   UA2:   3
EU :   1   HB :   4   OK :  77   OZ :   9   SM :   6   UR :   1
F  :   3   LA :   1   

Top 20 QSO-points:
20180708 0145 G0FBB/P        559  217 599  258   JO01LD     931
20180708 1010 9A8D           519  298 599  200   JN95LM     919
20180708 0009 9A7D           559  211 599  208   JN95CI     918
20180707 2307 G5LK/P         51   200 51   370   JO01QD     903
20180707 1728 G4ZAP/P        52   109 57   166   JO01PU     886
20180707 2248 G3XDY          539  193 559  035   JO02OB     886
20180707 1926 G4SWX          55   147 55   004   JO02RF     865
20180707 2312 G6IPU/P        51   201 53   159   JO02QV     858
20180707 2249 G4CDN          599  194 599  022   JO02SS     849
20180707 2123 HG3X           599  171 599  186   JN96EE     834
20180707 2220 S59DEM         59   185 59   340   JN75DS     825
20180707 2355 HB9KAB         599  209 599  218   JN37WA     821
20180707 2342 HB9GF          55   206 59   247   JN47BC     803
20180707 2349 HB9RF          59   207 55   177   JN47FB     795
20180708 0445 LA0BY          539  225 559  006   JO59IX     785
20180708 1331 HB9PZQ         52   335 59   147   JN37XK     778
20180708 0127 UZ3I           559  216 599  289   KN18JT     773
20180707 2231 S50C           59   187 59   365   JN76JG     771
20180708 0650 ON4KHG         52   251 52   093   JO10XO     759
20180708 0724 F8KID          55   257 55   325   JN38AT     750
Posted in Contesting, Propagation, Tropo, VHF | Comments Off on DARC July VHF Contest ’18

Good 4 m ES and a bit of 6 m DX, too

Arrived at the station early afternoon today. Unpacked the IC-7300 to set up with the transverter for the 2 m contest this weekend when seeing 70 MHz was open! Had a great time working the band. Especially enjoy the openings into the U.K. as activity is quite high over there … 4 m has been a regular band in the U.K. for decades already! Lucky to get a call from IO93 providing square #171. ๐Ÿ˜Ž

Also switched “down” to 50 MHz a few times as I saw on the DX cluster there was some triple and quadruple hops Sporadic-E across the pond, too. Being QRP on 6 m I could only raise two souls but K7BV in North Carolina/FM04 provided a new one on 6 m, too, now #661. ๐Ÿ˜Ž

14:01  Gร˜BLB         IO81RI   +06   +14    4 m.   FT8   ES    1155
14:06  EA1YV         IN52OC   -15   -05    4 m.   FT8   ES    2102
14:08  GU8FBO        IN89QK   +17   +09    4 m.   FT8   ES    1238
14:14  G4BRK         IO91HP   -06   -15    4 m.   FT8   ES    1068
14:17  G8TTI         IO81WM   +07   -02    4 m.   FT8   ES    1122
14:19  G4SJH         IO91PI    55    57    4 m.   SSB   ES    1033
14:25  G3VXM         IO9ร˜LT    59    59    4 m.   SSB   ES    1074
14:26  Gร˜CHE         IO9ร˜PS    59    59    4 m.   SSB   ES    1054
14:26  Gร˜BLB         IO81RI    55    59    4 m.   SSB   ES    1155
14:31  G8WZT         IO82RQ    59    59    4 m.   SSB   ES    1121
14:32  G8HGN         JOร˜1FO    55    53    4 m.   SSB   ES     948
14:42  G4BRK         IO91HP    59    59    4 m.   SSB   ES    1068
14:44  G3TMG         IO9ร˜LU    59    59    4 m.   SSB   ES    1073
14:46  G3NPI         IO92MA    59    59    4 m.   SSB   ES    1030
14:52  EI4GNB        IO63WE    59    59    4 m.   SSB   ES    1350
14:53  EI7HBB        IO53SQ    52    53    4 m.   SSB   ES    1496
14:54  G4BWP         JOร˜2FH    59    59    4 m.   SSB   ES     929
14:55  G1EZF         IO93FT    59    59    4 m.   SSB   ES    1042
14:58  GD3YEO        IO74RD    59    59    4 m.   SSB   ES    1236
15:00  GW4ZHI        IO82AH    59    58    4 m.   SSB   ES    1223
15:02  G4AJC         IO91VJ    56    56    4 m.   SSB   ES     998
15:10  Mร˜LHS         IO81RL   -14   -18    4 m.   FT8   ES    1151
15:14  G4FVP         IO94FM   -05   +02    4 m.   FT8   ES    1041
15:17  GW3TKH        IO81JN   -18   -17    4 m.   FT8   ES    1193
15:22  G8EEM         IO93MX   +03   +14    4 m.   FT8   ES    1003
15:25  G4IJM         IO94IM   -02   -18    4 m.   FT8   ES    1025
15:27  YO8RAW        KN36UF   +09   +08    4 m.   FT8   ES    1238
15:29  G4VCJ         IO94JQ   -06   -07    4 m.   FT8   ES    1020
15:47  GM4VVX        IO78TA   +03   +01    4 m.   FT8   ES    1279
18:50  GU6EFB        IN89RK   +14   +18    4 m.   FT8   ES    1233
15:34  K7BV          FMร˜4XV   -11   -18    6 m.   FT8  4xES   7112
15:37  K1MS          FN42FM   +07   -12    6 m.   FT8  4xES   6112

Also set up the transverter afterwards and made a few test QSOs on 2 m, too. The combination works excellent so eager to start the contest tomorrow! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Posted in DX, Propagation, Sporadic E, VHF | Comments Off on Good 4 m ES and a bit of 6 m DX, too

Small tropo opening into the U.K. tonight

Tonight was the usual first Tuesday every month 2 m NAC (Nordic Activity Contest) which is accompanied by the UKAC (UK Activity Contest) as well as the IAC (Italian Activity Contest) as well as the SPAC (SP = Polish Activity Contest). That means the band usually sees quite a high activity level during these 4 hours events. While I was QRV in the NACs (which also have an Open Class for non-Scandinavian participants) regularly in my younger years I now try to hand out a few points at least whenever possible (which is unfortunately not that often nowadays). Did so this evening again but started falling asleep right in the middle. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Whenever waking up and quickly tuning the band I recognized there was some tropo condx between western Scandinavia and the United Kingdom. Also a few Germans like Tor, DJ8MS, located about 200 km west of here, could works lots of Gs but unfortunately nothing overhere. It was just after the end of the NAC that conditions picked up that much that some ducting started to reach over here, too! Luckily the UKAC only ends 30 minutes after the NAC thus there was still some activity on the band and I could grab a few nice DX contacts! ๐Ÿ˜Ž

21:05  G3CKR/P       IO93AD   55    59     2 m.   SSB   TR    1075
21:11  G8DMU/P       IO94CB   55    52     2 m.   SSB   TR    1057
21:16  G4CLA         IO92JL   52    59     2 m.   SSB   TR    1036
21:19  Mร˜GAV/P       IO93EH   59    59     2 m.   SSB   TR    1051
21:26  Mร˜MDY         IO93HH   59    59     2 m.   SSB   TR    1034
21:29  Mร˜HOM         IO93QO   52    57     2 m.   SSB   TR     983

The loudest of the crowd was Mร˜GAV/P with a real s9 signal over the 1.000 km path:

Posted in Audio recordings, Contesting, Propagation, Tropo, VHF | Comments Off on Small tropo opening into the U.K. tonight

A transverter interface for the ‘7300

After the quite good experience with the Icom IC-7300 during WPX-CW I thought it might be a nice idea to also try it out with a transverter on 2 m in the big VHF contest in two weeks. When searching around for information about the ‘7300 a few weeks (or was it month’?) ago I came across a few websites that described solutions how to interface transverters to the transceiver. The most intriguing one was the one by DB6NT (yes, he of Microwave transverter fame): Michael developed a small PCB that could be built into the transceiver instead of the external tuner interface providing low power output (around 0,3 mW) as well as receive input. It consists of only a few parts and is well designed, i.e. when you apply 12 V power to it small relays switch TX & RX to Cinch sockets while without power it all goes the normal way, i.e. taking the PA stages, etc.

A really clever design! And inexpensive, too! So I bought a kit at his booth during the HAMRADIO fair in Friedrichshafen early June and now finally got around to assemble it and build it into the IC-7300. The trickiest part certainly was soldering the small 0805 SMD parts to the PCB but with only a few of them widely spaced everybody should be able to do it. Unfortunately I didn’t take photos of inside the transceiver but Michael has a great step-by-step tutorial on his website which shows the innards, too, if you’re interested. I also built a dedicated set of cables for the combination, i.e. BNC-to-Cinch for the RF lines as well as 12 V to power the transverter board plus PTT out from the 7300’s 13 pin ACC socket. For a more permanent setup it would of course be more comfortable to have a way of switching the board’s power on & off, i.e. by a switch or the like …

Setting it all up and seeing how big the transverter (an HA1YA one) is compared to the transceiver (or the other way round: how small the ‘7300 is compared to the transverter) I was fascinated again how much technology and functionality you can squeeze into such a small box nowadays. ๐Ÿ˜Ž The only “drawback” of the combination is the ‘7300 does not support a transverter frequency display, i.e. you can’t set the display to show the end frequency like 144.300 MHz but will only see the IF frequency (28.300 MHz in this case). But that is really nitpicking taking the transceiver’s price into account. ๐Ÿ˜‰ What you can also see if you take a closer look at the spectrum display shown on the front photo is that my SPS is switching at around 38 Hz. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Band noise will probably cover it well enough else I can still switch over to a linear power supply. I tested it already and with that one the spectrum is perfectly clean, I was just too lazy to take a new photo. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Now I’m eager to see how the combination will perform during the contest! Will keep you posted, of course. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Posted in Contesting, Equipment, VHF | Comments Off on A transverter interface for the ‘7300

PJ4 – Bonaire #142 on 6 m

Returning from QRL today 6 m was closed. I left the RX on 50.313 MHz FT8 in monitoring mode while doing different things around the shack. Every now and then some signals from EI popped up and vanished again. Then suddenly the band opened into the Caribbean – 4 hop ES! Signals were in & out but eventually Peter, PJ4NX, popped up for a few minutes and I had the chance to grab him for a new one on 6 m. ๐Ÿ˜Ž That contact also brought back nice memories of our trip to Bonaire last November where we met Peter a few times. ๐Ÿ™‚ Besides Bonaire I could also work WP4G from Puerto Rico …

It was also good to catch the ESร˜UG guys on their way back home staying in KO17 for one night before taking the ferry back to Germany. Distance was now only 730 km so it took quite a while to work them on Meteor Scatter on both 6 m (YL/DL3BQA) & 4 m (YL/DGร˜LFF), reflections were sparse only, too. But it was a new square on 4 m so well worth the effort. This time it also worked on 2 m (YL/DH5FS) although the contact took almost half an hour on FT8 and I believe it was rather MS enhanced than troposcatter. But in the end it doesn’t matter as long as the QSO is in the log. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Posted in DX, Meteor Scatter, Propagation, Sporadic E, VHF | Comments Off on PJ4 – Bonaire #142 on 6 m

Weekend VHF activities

Unfortunately not that much to report. I had blocked the weekend for the IARU Region 1 50 MHz contest but conditions were basically non-existent. A few Meteor Scatter contacts every now and then, nothing else worth mentioning on Saturday. ๐Ÿ™ On the positive side it was easy to catch the ESร˜UG guys via Meteor Scatter now from KO19 on 6 & 4 m for a new one. ๐Ÿ˜Ž Despite showing a 6 m frequency the screenshot right was from our 4 m QSO, I had just switched back to 6 m FT8 for monitoring already when taking the screenshot. ๐Ÿ˜‰

What I had totally forgotten about was that the AGCW-DL VHF contest was on Saturday afternoon, too. So I did only spent the second half in the contest (really need to put a marker on the calendar …). This is a fine small 3 hours CW-only VHF (and another hour UHF) contest 4 times a year in which besides the “normal” exchange (i.e. RST, serial number & locator) also the power category is sent, i.e. A = max. 5 watts, B = max. 50 watts and C = more than 50 watts. So you get quite a good feeling what’s needed to bridge certain distances. It’s always astounding to see what works with small power using CW, my two most distant QSOs were with low power stations! These were the TOP 10 contacts by distance:

15:42  DK2RT       599 008  599 023  B  JN47IV    2 m.  CW     705
16:08  DJ7PR/P     599 021  599 013  B  JN47WO    2 m.  CW     693
15:27  F6HOK       599 001  599 034  C  JN39OC    2 m.  CW     667
15:37  DK2GZ       599 006  599 031  B  JN49GB    2 m.  CW     606
16:07  DJ2QV       599 020  559 001  C  JN58UA    2 m.  CW     601
15:29  DL6WT       599 002  599 036  C  JN39VV    2 m.  CW     575
15:30  DK0OG       599 003  599 040  C  JN68GI    2 m.  CW     551
15:52  DJ0QZ       599 015  599 036  B  JN49LM    2 m.  CW     547
16:17  DK6JU       599 023  599 024  C  JO31LD    2 m.  CW     544
16:05  DL2OM       599 019  599 044  C  JO30SN    2 m.  CW     543

Sunday was still rather bad conditions-wise, 50 MHz only really opened for the last hour of the contest into the Mediterranean with only sparse activity but great signals. Nevertheless with a good 15 minutes or so opening Sunday morning via double-hop ES to the Arabian Peninsula we had a highlight, too! It’s rare that we are in the middle of the propagation focus to hear such strong DX signals up here:

9K2HN on 6 m Sunday morning:

In general I find that this year’s Sporadic-E season is rather bad so far. Maybe I still have too good memories of last year when May & June were really brilliant! On the other handside July was a catastrophy with almost no openings at all so maybe it’s just the other way round this year? Hope is the last to die. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Posted in Audio recordings, Contesting, DX, Meteor Scatter, Propagation, Sporadic E, VHF | Comments Off on Weekend VHF activities

ESร˜UG & ESร˜UG/8 – IOTA & VHF DXpedition

Uwe, DL3BQA, co-owner of our station, is currently on an IOTA & VHF DXpedition to Estonia. He was joined by some guys from Dresden (DM7A contest club), i.e. Fred, DH5FS, Steffen, DH1DM, and Henrik, DGร˜LFF. You can see their schedule on the lefthand picture and their expedition blog at which also hosts a few more operating information.

I worked the guys yesterday evening on 6 m via Meteor Scatter and also heard/saw them for a short while on 2 m Tropo on FT8 but unfortunately no complete QSO although distance should not be that much of a problem at only 822 km. Maybe better luck next time and certainly not that important, I do have KO18 worked/confirmed on 2 m already. 4 m didn’t work yesterday, simply no “stones” around. Therefor stood up early this morning and caught them on 4 m MS for a new square around 5z before leaving for QRL. ๐Ÿ˜Ž

They will close down the station in KO18XD tomorrow morning and move on to KO19. Eager to work them from there, too, should be a new square on two bands at least …

Posted in Expeditions, Meteor Scatter, VHF | Comments Off on ESร˜UG & ESร˜UG/8 – IOTA & VHF DXpedition