It was a rainy and windy autumn day, no calm high pressure weather, no fog in the valleys, no sun on the mountains. No VHF amateur would expect good propagation today. But it turned out differently …
Already on the evening of the 24th of October, first G-stations were to be heard from the British southeast coast, which happens rather seldom in my to the west sloping hillside.
In the evening mostly FT8-mode-contacts with GU, GW and GI found their way into the logbook. ODX of the day was again Mark, EI3KD from IO51 over a distance of 1.287 km.
On the 25th of October the day started with very good signals towards France, as well as on the morning of the 26th of October. A nice end to this year’s tropo saison.
Today K1JT, Dr. Joe Taylor, Nobel Prize Winner and father of the WSJT Software Package, showed up on 17m in FT8 mode. It was just a short and “digital” contact but very glad to meet this great personality and Radio Amateur on the band.
Working towards the west is not so easy from this location. The terrain is steadily rising and signals on 2m from the UK are rare. Just the well-equipped contest stations on the British East Coast could be heard from time to time.
A first good band opening this autumn took place yesterday, on Monday the 08th of October. Already at noon, stations from Normandy and southern England were reported in the DX cluster. Unfortunately, there was little activity in SSB, nothing in CW, but good activity on the FT8 Mode frequency 144.174 MHz. I heard and worked some stations from southern England and France. F6DBI from IN88 called me over an distance of 1,021 km for todays ODX. As a very big surprise I got a reception report from EA1UR in IN53tf over a distance of 1,693 km via PSK reporter! Unfortunately, I did not receive any signal from him. Whether it was a duct connection or aircraft reflections remains open.
On Tuesday morning the opening continued, stations from the UK were louder as on Monday evening. Once again FT8 was the preferred mode. Surprisingly Mark, EI3KD from IO51vw popped in over a distance of 1,287 km and was logged at 08:31 UT.
After waiting for almost exactly 4 months, the postman has finally delivered the long-awaited parcel today: Mail from the ARRL Headquater in Newington, USA, my DXCC-Challenge-Plaque with Endorsement 2.000.
As the name says, this is plaque is a real challenge and a hardcore Award for the dedicated HF-Radio Amateur. The DXCC Challenge Award is given for worked and confirmed at least 1,000 DXCC band-entities on any amateur bands, 160 through 6 meters (except 60 meters). It’s a massive wooden plate with a blue-gold-etched plate on top. The Endorsement 2,000 means an average of 200 confirmed DXCC Entities on every of those 10 bands.
To reach all these band points countless hours in front of the station were required but it was no less tough to get the necessary confirmations. Thanks to the help of the Logbook Of The World, things have become a bit easier in recent years. It would be nice if all stations finally could use this opportunity.
Next stop wants to be 2,500 – that might take a while and it’s great to have a next step in DXing.
I have never been a fan of football before, so I did not pay any attention to all the activities and special stations during the period of this year’s World Cup in Russia. After about 2 weeks I worked one of the special stations on 50 MHz and decided to deal with the topic more closely.
As during other events, the National Radio-Amateur Organization named SRR (Soyuz Radiolyubitelei Rossii) is organizing a radio marathon during the Games called “Football 2018 – Russia”. Dozens of different special stations RC18xxx and R18xxx from Russia were active. In addition, there were also special stations in member countries of FIFA. The exact Award conditions are here. As always, all Awards are free of charge and can be downloaded as a PDF file.
To make it short: I did not reach the highest Award class with 500 contacts, but over 260 QSO’s are in the log. All in all, the activity was a lot of fun and it was worthwhile to work out these beautifully designed Awards.
Yesterday evening, May 28, the ES season 2018 for my QTH was started. Within a good hour, 2x CT and 5x EA stations found their way to the log. The signals were not very loud and could only be heard very briefly, usually not longer than a minute. Nevertheless, it was long enough for 4 new QTH Locator and an ODX of 2.098 km. More informations about this opening are here.
This event was followed by two further short ES openings on the 3rd and 4th of June.
The storm “Friederike” in mid-January 2018 had caused some serious damage to the antenna system. Unfortunately, there was no time to fix it all until now. Among other things, the rotors direction control for the VHF / UHF / SHF antennas failed and the 70cm and 23cm antennas as well as the Spiderbeam for Hf are damaged. As a result the dish for 10 GHz could also not be rotated.
So for 2m I had to use the 14 element EME antenna in the garden with only 3m height above ground and right in the middle between the noisy houses.
Despite all these problems stations from 12 Countries and 46 Squares found the way into the log. ODX with 831 km was IO2V from JN56 and the overall score some 50.000 points.
As early as 1968 I joined the DARC (Deutscher Amateur Radio Club) as a young boy together with my father. For this 50-year membership 1968 – 2018 I received a Certificate and a Golden Needle from the Head of our local Radio Club Karl-Heinz (DH8WG, left on picture) during our last club meeting end of April 2018.
The last months of the 2m EME activity were marked by problems with the SSPA’s antenna relay and a mechanical failure of the vertical rotor. Unfortunately I missed some very interesting EME-DXpeditions like PJ2T, TD9FYC and CR2EME.
After the problems could be solved (many thanks to my friend Karl-Heinz DH8WG for the great work on the rotor), the German DXpedition PJ6E could be logged on Monday April 23 as a new DXCC # 69. DF7KF and DM1AC had a great signal with only one 14 element XPol antenna.
Next was the first known activation from Kosovo on 2m, Z66EME. Uwe, DG8NCO, had several technical problems and with only an 8 element antenna on his side and with a bit of patience he was still good to work – DXCC # 70 for me.
On Friday evening, April 27, 2018, 7P8Z from Lesotho was next in line. Bernie, ZS4TX had travelled there for just 2 days and worked more than 100 stations via the moon on the first evening with his 2 x 18 element horizontally polarized antennas. DXCC # 71 could be celebrated.
Unfortunately, I missed the Italian DXpedition 3B8MS to Mauritius. The team had a lot of problems with noise all the time and so only very well equipped stations could be worked from there – no chance for my small single antenna EME station.
Beeing active on 2 m since 1973 with an interruption of more than 25 years I finally completed the “144 MHz WAC – Worked All Continents” last December and received the Award today.
Many thanks to 3V8ONU (Africa, CW-Meteor Scatter 1979), K1WHS (North America, CW-EME 1982), UG6AD (Asia, Sporadic E 1989), VK5APN (Oceania, JT65-EME 2017) and PY2GN (South America, JT65-EME 2017) for making this possible.
Back in 1983, that means 35 years ago, I completed the 432 MHz WAC just with CW-contacts. Now the question is: Which band is next for WAC?