The next step in my moonbounce activities has been reached: 23cm!
Many years ago I got this beautiful 1.8m full-size dish and it was lying around uselessly. Hey, 1.8m diameter is a bit small for EME, but why not give it a try? 1296 MHz would be nice and at least the big guns should be heard. To make the long story short: After a few setbacks, measurements and optimizations, the time had finally come and on May 26, 2020, the first contact with UA3PTW was complete. Now, after a week there are 32 different stations in the log, 5 continents have been reached and even two nice QSO’s in CW. My expectations were more than exceeded and now it is time to optimize further details.
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!
Actually, I hadn’t expected much when the moon rose on March 30, 2020 and I turned my 2m antenna towards it. The moonrise to the east is difficult from this location, mountains and also man made noise make it difficult to hear weak signals at low elevation.
But Faraday played along and suddenly Rod, ZL3NW (RE66ho), could be heard with his 4 x 12 Element Yagi antennas. What a surprise! Luckily he came back to me immediately because there wasn’t much time until his moonset. And so the QSO was in the log and with 18,390 km also a new ODX on 144 MHz for me.
After several tries at low moon and high degradation Alex, 5B0EME (KM64tv), was worked today on 2m via Moonbounce. Alex is working with 2 x 10 Element Hpol Yagis. Report received -29 dB, sent -26 dB. Cyprus is DXCC # 94 on 144 MHz.
After a longer absence Carsten HS0ZIL (OK16bq) showed up on 2m EME with a big signal. He runs 4 x 8 El. Yagi and was worked easily for a new DXCC # 93 on 2m on January 11. Hopefully a good start for 2020.
A massive high pressure zone across Western Europe caused extreme DX conditions at the end of the year 2019. For the first time, Spanish stations could be worked from here via Tropo on 144 MHz. The first signals from Spain were heard in the evening of December 28, the last on December 30 in the morning. All contacts were made in FT8, no one were heard in any other mode. A special surprise apart from that was a Tropo contact with T77NM in San Marino. Not a new DXCC, but a nice one at the end of this years DX season.
From December 28, 2019 until January 01, 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.
First two pictures were received on December 30, 2019, no. 3 and 4 on December 31 (Expedition 61 – ARISS Series 15 Leonov). It looks like the last two were probably disturbed by unknown RF radiation.
It was a little cold that did not let me sleep. When I took a look at LiveCQ in the middle of the night I saw VP8EME (GD18bh) just calling CQ on 2m EME. The station was switched on quickly and the antenna turned to the moon. After 5 minutes the QSO was in the book. Thanks Mario for DXCC # 91 on 2m!
Just three days later on December 13, Kari OH2BC showed up on 2m from Madeira Island (IM12mm) using the callsign CR3EME. He uses 2x 9 Element Yagi and was received here with -28 dB in the peak. Kari was fighten against the noise produced by thousands of Christmas Lights but luckily he fished out my signal. DXCC # 92 on 144 for me could be celebrated.
The beautiful Zanzibar Island in Tanzania (AF-032 / KI93rv) was the destinationof Alex K2BB, Pavel UU0JR, Serg RT5D, Sasha UT7UV and Oleg US7UX. Under the call sign 5H3UN they were active on the Hf-bands, also using 5H3EME for 6m and 2m Moonbounce. For 2m EME they had two 10 element cross-yagi antennas with elevation, a Javornik II 144-28 transverter with dual channel RX – LNA, Odyssey II SDR transceiver and finally a 1kW solid state amplifier. After along night waiting for a signal at 01:10 UT 5H3EME came out of the noise and after two calls the QSO was in the log – DXCC # 90 on 2m. The goal is approaching …
Next step on the way to the 2m DXCC was the QSO with A21EME in Botswana (KG25wk) this morning October 21, 2019 on 2m via EME. The Team – Lins PA3CMC, John ZS6JON, Chris PA2CHR, Paul ZS6NK, Andrew ZS6AVH, Bernie ZS4TX, Sam HB9COG and Dan HB9CRQ activated 6m up to 10 GHz. The signal peaked up to -21 dB on my single 14 Element Yagi.