FT8-Awards by FT8-DMC

Normally CW is my favourite mode, but but from time to time I use digital modes on Hf like PSK31/PSK64 for example to complete the white spots for my DXCC-Award. Talking about HF-bands I never saw any use of JT65-modes here because for me it is much too slow compared to a nice CW contact. With the availability of the new mode FT8 things changed. The software based on a FSK 8 tone code, an occupied bandwidth of 47 Hz and a 15 second tournaround! This increased the activity dramatically and even rare DX-stations appeared and uses FT8 mode.

These days Joe, OE4VIE, has initiated the FT8-DMC Club and offer some very nice and colourful, free of charge pdf-Awards. They pushed the activity right again, not to say there is a real FT8 hype now. The WAC Award (Worked all Continents) is not a challenge at all, because it could be worked within an hour by a well equipped station. The DXCC Award is even more difficult and issued for contacts with 100 DXCC entities, like the original by ARRL.

2017_FT8_WAC 2017_FT8_DXCC100

144 MHz: International Space Station on SSTV

From December 06-08 the ISS again send SSTV pictures. The images are always transmitted in SSTV mode PD 120 on the frequency 145.800 MHz in frequency modulation. The images were decoded with the MMSSTV software. More information about amateur radio on the ISS can be found on the ARISS website.

Pictures received Dec. 07, 2017 between 17:27 – 17:32 UT

2017-12-07_iss1 2017-12-07_iss2

Pictures received Dec. 08, 2017 between 16:32 – 16:42 UT
Last picture was received while ISS was between Crimea Peninsula and Caspian Sea, abt. 2.500 km away.

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2017-12-08_iss5  

Great Weekend on 144 MHz EME

Since I was not active on 144 MHz EME over the last 2 months due to vacations and other commitments, this weekend was a real goal. Conditions were excellent all weekend and Faraday was mostly cooperative.

At moonrise on Friday evening I completed a QSO with Australia, a very problematic direction from my location because of manmade noise at low elevation angels. Wayne, VK5APN, gave a new DXCC, new ODX with 15.528 km and finally the last missing continent Oceania. The second new DXCC this night was RA9CHL in the asian part of Russia.

On early Sunday morning, a QSO with the German one-man DXpedition V31EME and another new country, DXCC # 65, succeeded. Not easy to fight against so many well equipped multi-antenna-stations. Uwe, DG8NCO, did a really very good job and catched also weak signals out of the pilup.

Another highlight was a QSO with IK1FJI, Walter, who also works with only one Yagi. This completed my first 1 Yagi – 1 Yagi Moonbounce contact.

A total of more than 40 QSO’s and 38 initials were logged, a really great EME weekend. Listed details are here.
2017-12_v31eme

144 MHz EME: Back in business


There was a lot of work to be done in the garden during the last weeks: No, not only mowing gras, but also a larger hole had to be excavated and filled with concrete. Then mounting a stable metal pole on it, a rotor and, of course, another antenna. An 8m long 12 element DK7ZB Yagi was the choice, 14.1 dBd gain. Not much at all for a 2m EME system, but we’ll see what’s possible. 

On Saturday afternoon everything was ready to go for the first test. The automatic tracking system worked perfect and turned the antenna exactly to the moon, who was almost in the south. Just only 30 degrees elevation and almost 2 dB additional pathloss – not very promising. Will this be enough to hear someone?

It was enough! UA4AQL was easily detected in the waterfall, calling cq in JT65 mode. One periode calling and he came back to me – whow, what a good feeling! After this initial contact, four more QSO’s followed with LZ2FO, RX1AS, OH4LA and F4DJK.

Listed details are here

2107-08-26_eme_ua4aql

2017_09-01_144ant

19th SP VHF/UHF/SHF EME Meeting 2017

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SP8XXN, SP6JLW, SP5QWB, SP5XMU, SP9CP, SP2IPT, SP5CCC, SQ2LX, SP2IQW, SP8UFT, SP1CNV, Kosma-son of SP6LB (left to right)

On August 18 – 20, 2017, the 19th Technical Convention and Meeting of the EME + Microwave Amateur Radio Group Poland was held in the new Hotel Morawa (JO80KG64LV) near the small town Stronie Slatskie. Stanislaw SP6ASD, SP6JLW and SP6OPN and Team organized a perfect meeting with interesting lectures and more than 100 guests.

Presentations by OK1DFC (“1 kW SSPA for 23cm”), OK1UFL/OK1FPC (“47 GHz Transvertrers”) and OK1AIY (“24 GHz Transverter”) were only some of them. Practically Zdenek, OK1DFC, shows very impressive live 10 GHz EME activity with his portable 1.8m dish setup. A Flea market and Gala dinner were also important parts of this meeting. It was a great pleasure for me to meet old and new friends. Thanks for organizing this very nice weekend!

Some more pictures and impressions are here.

Perseides 2017

Doing Meteor Scatter was always very interresting and fascinating for me. With my comeback to 2m I tried this years Perseides Meteor Shower to practice with the FSK441 software. Really fascinating to use those very short reflections with length of milliseconds. A dream compared to my first tests in the good old days back in the 70’s, using high speed cw with some 200 lpm and “brain decoding”, later HSCW (high speed cw) up to 1.000 lpm and slowdown with multispeed taperecorder.

After some confusion with split operating procedure at the beginning, 17 QSO’s and 13 new squares were logged. 2017-08_perseides-qso2017-08_perseides-map

144 MHz / 12 Element DK7ZB-Yagi by “VPA-Systems”

After more than 4 month (!!!) I received the ordered 12 element Yagi for 144 MHz (see the full story here). It’s a DK7ZB design, manufactured by “VPA-Systems” in Poland.

Transportation from Poland to Germany by DPD was within 2 days, the parcel was abt. 2m long, good wrapped and received without any damage.

At first look the antenna seems well made. Boom and support are of square-aluminium 20 x 20 x 2 mm, dipole 12 x 1 mm and elements of aluminium 10 x 2 mm. Mastclamp is for 50 mm tubes, no options. All holes are drilled correct and elements and boom parts are numbered. The box for balun and N-connector is made of hard plastic. Screws, nuts (self locked) and bolts seems V2A but not sure – we will see. Two packs with mounting material are included and assembling could be done within less than one hour.

The balun is made of two 75 Ohm teflon cables Type RG 187 (diameter 2.6 mm). The cable is specified for a power handling of 1.400 W at 400 MHz.

2017-08-06_VPA-Yagi_2To be continued …

2017 Alpe Adria Contest

Beside some other commitments I found time to give some points during todays 144 MHz Alpe Adria Contest. Conditions seems quite normal and beside others, several S5 stations were worked. Just missing all the OK2/OK3 stations, not worked one!

The final results are 31 QSO’s with abt. 15.700 points, average 491 km/QSO and todays ODX HG6Z (787 km).

2017-08-06_AlpeAdria