After a break of a few years, I took again part in my favorite contest, the “Marconi Contest VHF” this last weekend. In just a few hours on Saturday evening and Sunday morning, a total of 120 QSOs and a total of abt. 43,000 points with an average of 363 km/QSO were made. And it was a lot of fun working old friends and pounding the brass again!
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.
50 MHz: Seasonally 6m was open every day within Europe. In addition, there were very long openings to Asia and North America. Towards the US and Canada, the terrain of my QTH rises to 10 degrees elevation, so at all again only a few stations from the west have been heard and worked.
In total, six new DXCC entities could be worked in May: 4S7VG (Sri Lanka), BU2EL (Taiwan), DU1IST (Philippines), HL2ZN (South Korea), JT1CO (Mongolia) and VR2XYL (Hong Kong).
144 MHz: Regarding Sporadic E, this June was a real disappointment. Only on June 21st there was a brief opening to the east and just two contacts could be logged. RU3GX, R3KBF, UA3QHF were heard only.
50 MHz: After a few short band openings in April within Europe, things really got going in May. The first intercontinental opening for me took place this year on May 18 towards Asia, especially Japan and China. On May 25th XV1X suddenly appeared out of nowhere and brought the first new DXCC of the season. Since this QTH is unfortunately not working so well to the west, only a few contacts were made into the Caribbean on May 29th. The pileup around various stations from Jamaica was huge and luckily 9Z4Y could be logged as another new country. For the first time ever Saudi Arabia showed up on 6m and 7X1SJ was the first one I got among others.
In total, three new DXCC entities could be worked in May: 7X1SJ (Saudi Arabia), 9Y4D (Trinidad & Tobago) and XV1X (Vietnam).
144 MHz: The first very short band opening 2020 at 144 MHz from here to TA and SV took place on May 25th. Just two stations could be heard and worked. The next day the band opened towards east into UA4 and UA6. As the center of reflection was very far to the east, stations from the Saxony area were, as so often, clearly preferred. Nevertheless UA4ALQ was worked over a distance of 2.437 km. The best ES opening of the month took place on May 29th. Spanish stations could be heard in CW, SSB and FT8 for hours. The 2m band sounded like shortwave. This time I focused in particular on new squares and DXCC and with CN8LI in Morocco DXCC # 95 came into the log. What a great day!
Also the month of July brought some nice Es openings to Asia as well to North America. Unfortunately, due to geographical reasons, the midwest of the USA could not be reached again from here. On July 24 at around 8:00 am my signal was heard from a VK3 station. Unfortunately, there was no 2-way-QSO this time.
In total, another three new DXCC entities could be added on 50 MHz in July: 4L/DL7ZM (Georgia), BA4MY (China) and JW7QIA (Svalbard). Thanks to David, DL7ZM and Peter, LA7QIA for their great DX-Peditions!
The day was quiet on 6m as the band opened up to Africa in the afternoon, July 23, 2019. I was busy watching for a TU2 station from Ivory Coast and a look to the MUF showed some red spots in southern France, means the MUF was above 140 MHz!
Time to switch to 144 MHz. Not too late and after some CQ-calls CT1FJW popped in, followed by other stations from Portugal. And there was another caller in between – could I trust my eyes? I thought my heart stopped beating. D41CV from Cape Verde was calling me! 15 second periodes for FT8-mode could be sooo long, would the propagations be stable enough to finish? Yes they were and then it was done: D41CV was worked on 144 MHz via Sporadic E plus Tropo Extension over an unbelievable distance of 4.966 km (3,086 mi), also setting a new Region I Distance Record! The signal of D41CV war copied for about less than 5 minutes.
If we have a closer look at the Hepburn Tropo Index, we can find the highest value of 10+ for the area west of Africa just between the Canary and Cape Verde Islands. This maritime tropospheric ducting widens the range of the massive Sporadic E Opening between Germany and EA8. What a lucky constellation today!
Thanks Monteverde Contest Team Club for calling and for this incredible QSO and Record!
Thanks to EI7GL who made a very nice analysis about this remarkable contact, see here.
Heard but not worked were CT1BYM -9, EA1HRR -6 and EA8TJ -7.
Seasonally 50 MHz was open every day within Europe. In addition, there were some very short band openings to Africa, Asia and North America. Towards the US and Canada, the terrain of my QTH rises to 10 degrees elevation, so at all only two stations from Canada have been heard and worked.
In total, five new DXCC entities could be added on 50 MHz in June: 9G2HO (Ghana), 9M2TO (West Malaysia), J69DS (St. Lucia), SU1SK (Egypt) and VU2NKS (India).
New ones received on FT8-Mode while I was not in shack were 4S7AB (Sri Lanka), YI6ATT (Iraq) and BA7IO (China) – what a pitty! Hope to get them soon!
144 MHz ES was a big disappointment, just one opening from here on June 16. Unfortunately, all activity apparently concentrated on 144,174 MHz and FT8-Mode, what a waste of time! In such short openings it would have been easy to work many stations in SSB or CW, but FT8 is definately the wrong mode. Unfortunately, no station was heard in CW or SSB. Just heard in FT8-Mode, mostly for only one periode: RA3EL (KO82), UR3UK KN59), RX3QFM (KO91) and UA3QC (KO91).
Having been licensed for over 45 years now, I thought it would be time to apply for the 5-Band DXCC with several Stickers, alltogether 160m to 6m. Well, most of the required DXCC’s were already confirmed via the Logbook of the World. The last missing cards were requested by letter and received in most cases sooner or later. These were then, together with the Application, sent to a German ARRL Field Checker in April 2018. He checked fast, the cards came back quickly and he forwarded the paperwork to the ARRL in Newington USA. There everything was then processed in May 2018 and the 5-Band DXCC and Stickers for 160/30/17/12 and 6m were marked as issued. So far – so good.
Time goes by .. Beginning of September 2018 I asked ARRL about my application. Yes, it was there but ARRL planning a new Design for the 5B-DXCC and nobody could say how long that would take. And it took until February 09, 2019 when the parcel arrived – 10 long month after I sent my Application to the Field Checker. If you think the story is over now, unfortunately not.
The new 5B-DXCC consists of a modern designed acrylic plate, to which a golden stripe with callsign and name is affixed, as well as the round band Stickers, which are also affixed to it. No date, no number anymore – incredible! Unfortunately, all the stickers were loveless oblique and crooked glued, such as price tags on goods. I did not want to accept this, sent some photos to the ARRL and they assured me a new plaque. This came in early May – and – oh no – the sticker for 6m was missing again. So another email and last but not least, this arrived in early June.
Now, 14 month after the application, the 10-band DXCC with all the stickers hangs on the wall and waits for the last, the 144 MHz sticker to finally finish it.
After some first shorter ES openings on 50 MHz in April, the May of course was seasonally better. Several very long and very wide band openings across Europe were the result. On 24.05.2019 my signal was heard from JR6FC (Okinawa) and DS4EIO (South Korea) in FT8, unfortunately both were not on the radios.
In total, six new DXCC entities could be worked in May: E31A (Eritrea), FG8OJ (Guadeloupe), TR8CA (Gabon), TY2AC (Benin), TZ4AM (Mali) and UN7AM (Kazakhstan).
On May 24, 2019 was the first opening on 144 MHz to the east from here. Unfortunately, only RA6C was heard and worked for about two minutes. Stations from the Ruhr area and southern Germany had a big advantage and a longer opening. Another opening on 144 MHz was on May 29, 2019. Again, unfortunately only two stations were heard and worked. And again, stations in the Ruhr area and southern Germany had a big advantage and contacts to EA8, CN and 7X.