RDA – Hunting Russian Districts

Since I started as a shortwave listener back in the 1960s and from 1972 on as a licensed HAM, I have been interested hunting for the difficult to work Amateur Radio Awards. This includes, at least in the higher classes, the Russian District Award “RDA”.

The “RDA” (Russian District Award) is an International Award Program with the goal of attracting interest in Amateur Radio through the communication with various Districts in the Russian Federation. The “RDA” program is established to encourage confirmed contacts with the greatest variety of areas in Russia. The Awards includes entities designated by the Russian Federation. These include a total of 2.642 different districts inside 85 different Oblasts. There are currently 6 different certificate awards varying in difficulty and complexity, and two plaque awards available for “Honor Roll” and “#1 Honor Roll”. With it’s own modern Online confirmation system, similar to the american LotW, it is “state of the art” and made hunting a real smile.


The hunt for RDA districts has a very special charm, because 90% of it (estimated) takes place in CW! Today the RDA 2000 was finally in the mailbox and it will have a special place on the wall in my shack.

Meteor Scatter: Perseides 2021

Sometimes one QSO is enough, if it is the right one.

Last year I had already watched Kev from Gibraltar, ZB2GI, during his meteor scatter tests and got short reflections from him. Unfortunately, there was not enough time for a test and a long year passed.

During the Perseid shower ZB2GI (IM76hd) resides on Top of the Gibraltar Rock with a free Takeoff into Europe. With his small station, a 5 element Yagi antenna and 50 watt output power, he has already had many successful meteor scatter contacts in the past. But would that be enough this year for a QSO over the distance of 2,130 km?

For a long, very long time I watched Kev’s frequency as he tested with southern European stations. And there were reflections, not many, not loud and not long. But it was enough for decoding.

When he was free I started a call. Hopefully the reflections will continue and we will hear each other. To make a long story short: Finally, after almost 90 minutes and my pulse near a heart attack, he got my final RRR and the QSO was finished with 26 reports on both sides.

Contacts above 2,000 km via meteor scatter are usually difficult with few reflections. So I’m all the more happy about this special contact and a new DXCC # 97 for me on 2m. Many thanks Kevin for your patience and perseverance!

60 Years manned Space Flight

2021 will mark the 60th anniversary of the first manned flight into space, one of the most important milestones in the history of all mankind. The first manned flight took place on April 12, 1961. Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin made one complete turn in Earth orbit and returned safely to Earth.

For this anniversary the special call signs R1994YU, R1996VK, R2014NC, RG21DS, RU21DS, RA60YG – RZ60YG, R60MCC, R60CTC, R60YAG and several others are in the air and the Miller-DX-Club “M-DX-C” has developed an interesting Award program. The period is from April 12th to 25th, 2021.

Detailed information on the projects can be found on the “M-DX-C” website.

144 MHz: International Space Station on SSTV

From January 28, 2021 to January 29 2021 the ISS send again pictures in Slow Scan Television. The images are always transmitted in Mode PD 120 on 145.800 MHz in Frequency Modulation. The following images were received with a 14 Element Yagi and decoded with MMSSTV software. More information about Amateur Radio on the ISS can be found on the ARISS website and the ARISS Blogspot. A nice Tracker could be find here.

ARRL DXCC Challenge Award – Sticker 2500 arrived

Nice surprise: The ARRL DXCC Challenge Medallion 2500 was in the mailbox today. Just a small round sticker, but so much time and work went into it. Challenge 2500 means an average of 250 DXCC Entities on each of the 10 Bands from 160m to 6m. The next and final level is 3000, but I’m out of business now. Unfortunately it is more difficult nowadays to get the confirmation for a QSO than to make the contact itself. Not to mention the cost of requesting QSL cards or LotW confirmations. Now it has a dignified place on the wall and will remind me of so many nice contacts.

Meteor Scatter: Perseides 2020

The Perseids come around once a year in mid-August, when the Earth passes through a trail of comet dust on its way around the sun. The dust burns up in the Earth’s atmosphere and ionizes the E-layer. The Perseids are caused by debris from comet 109P / Swift-Tuttle, which loops around the sun on a 133-year orbit.

This year they should peak on Wednesday, Aug. 12 between 0800 and 2100 UTC. The Perseids typically deliver up to 110 meteors per hour at their peak. According to scientific predictions, the reflection numbers should start to rise again in 2027.

After a two-year absence, I decided to be active on 144 MHz this year for the Perseids Meteor shower. At the end a total of 44 QSOs could be logged, including 13 new QTH locators. In retrospect, I have to say that the shower had significantly worse reflections this year compared to previous years.

144 MHz // worked Squares

This picture shows my signal, recorded by Nick US8AR in KO60RR and Andy UT4UEP in KN49WV. It is the same burst with a duration of over 30 seconds, recorded by both on August 11, 2020 at 10:45:30 UT. Thanks to Nick and Andy for these interresting screenshots.

144 MHz: International Space Station on SSTV

From August 04, 2020 until August 05 2020 the ISS send again pictures in Slow Scan Television. The images are always transmitted in Mode PD 120 on 145.800 MHz in Frequency Modulation. The following images were received with a 14 Element Yagi and decoded with MMSSTV software. More information about Amateur Radio on the ISS can be found on the ARISS website and the ARISS Blogspot.