First 2m Sporadic E in 2018

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.
2018-06-04_144_ES

VHF Contest May 2018

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.
2018-05-06_MayContestVHF

Another Great Week on 144 MHz EME – 3 new DXCC’s

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.

Worked All Continents – WAC 144 MHz

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.

2018-04-22_wac144

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?

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.

2017-12-08_iss3a 2017-12-08_iss4
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 pileup.

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

2017_sp00

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 …