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!
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.
Alain, TR8CA, from Libreville / Gabon, has been active via EME for quite some time with a single Yagi and 500 W output on 144 MHz. Several times I had received him in the past, but due to propagation and the small EME equipment on both sides, we never completed. On May 10, 2019 everything fit together and also Faraday was cooperative. With reports -23 dB send / -25 dB received another single Yagi – single Yagi QSO and of course a new DXCC #85 on 2m could be logged.
May 16, 2019 was another day with good sporadic E on 6m. It is just the beginning of this year’s season and already in the early afternoon stations from 9K2, A41 and EK could be worked. At 17:21 the signal from TR8CA popped in at 50 MHz. The QSO over a distance of 5,640 km (3 Hop Es) was easy and a new country #108 also on 6m. Great fun and many thanks to Alain for the quick confirmation via LotW!
Today K1JT, Prof. 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.
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.
The weather before Christmas was quiet and suitable for maintaining antennas. So I improved the matching of my 160m inverted L-antenna to get some more DXCC entities during the days off. Conditions on Top-Band were very good at a K-index of 1 and the signals, especially from Asia, were very loud in times. The following 6 new countries have been logged: Mozambique (C93PA), Azores (CU3EQ), Mongolia (JT1CO), South Korea (HL5IVL), Taiwan (BV1AP), Mexico (XE1TD). Also four new Zones for 160m WAZ (03 / 06 / 23 / 37) and seven new US-States for the 160m WAS were worked: Arkansas (K5GO), California (K6RW), Colorado (K0RF), Michigan (K8TLC), Minnesota (K0TT), Montana (KM7W) and Utah (WA7LNW). It was interesting to see how the terminus of the greyline correlated with the higher signal strengths (see picture).
Talking about 2m I concentrated to EME during the days between Christmas and New Year. The moon was in good position with low degradation and finally 43 initial callsigns, several new WW-locator and two new DXCC entities found the way into the log. After several tries I was very happy to work Ricardo, LU7FA, on Dec. 27 for DXCC #67 and Bing, YC2MDU, on Dec. 31, 2017 for DXCC #68. It is interesting to mention that LU7FA has just 2 antennas and YC2MDU using just 400 W output. Two great belated Christmas gifts and a happy ending 2017.