The new DX year started pretty well on 2m: At the end of March, EF9LZ from Ceuta & Melilla (IM75hv) was activated by the “X-Team” Bernd DF2ZC and Frank DH7FB. Due to many commercial broadcasters close to the site, they had to deal with interference and problems on the receiving side. Nevertheless, I succeeded on 18.03.2019 with a QSO via EME and thus DXCC # 81 on 2m.
Just two days later, on March 20, another new DXCC, # 82, came into the 2m log with TO2MB from Martinique (FK94). Peter DL1RPL and his team did an excellent job and so the QSO could already be celebrated on the first day of the DXpedition.
Also in 2018 there were again some outstanding EME-DXpeditions on 144 MHz which made the heart beat faster. Due to technical problems in the first months of the year and vacations later, unfortunately I missed several of them such as PJ2T, TD9FYC, CR2EME, 3B8MB, 4L/RM8A and 9N7AP – what a pitty. What does not make it easier is the fact that with just one antenna, you are always one of the last stations in the long long line of callers.
Nevertheless, at the end of the year a total of 12 new countries were in the logbook, and the overall standing is now up to 80 DXCC on 2m. These new were PJ6E, Z66EME, 7P8Z, C8T, BX4AP, WP4G, CX2SC, 4Z5CP, ZA5V, TI2SW, BA4SI and finally ZL2MQ.
Talking about stations worked for the first time (“Initials”) there were 124 new ones in 2018 and totally 302 via EME within 12 active moonphases since my start in 2017.
I do not want to forget the QSO’s with other single Yagi stations, which has always a special charm of minimalism. In 2018 these were: R3PA (17 el.), R7IV (14 el.), DL1VPL (12 el.), ND0B (12 el.), R1AY (15 el.) and UA6IE (14 el.).
It would be nice if the EME-business would continue in 2019 in the same way.
For many months I had been watching for stations from Oceania via EME. From Germany contacts to New Zealand for example are possible only in a small time window in which the moon is visible from both locations simultaneously. At my location mountains and buildings to the east reduce this window even further to a possible slot of abt. 20 minutes. In addition there is much groundnoise noise at those low elevation angles at moonrise. So bad conditions at all.
The moon was in a favorable position on this holy evening, December 24. Moonrise was around 19 o’clock and a very little activity from european stations. Watching the N0UK-EME-chat I saw that ZL2MQ from RF80km called CQ on 144.133 MHz. Let’s see if he could be copied with my single 14 element antenna. And yes, today everything fits: no big guns from Europe were on, low ground noise and also Faraday played along. To make the story short: Five minutes later the QSO with Dave was in the log and thus not only a new DXCC on 2m, but with 18.298 km also a new ODX. What a nice Christmas present and an evening to remember!
Amateur Radio On the International Space Station (ARISS) has organized another Slow Scan TV event scheduled to start October 27 about 10:00 UTC and end October 29 around 19:30 UTC with a series of 12 pictures.
The following images were decoded on October 29, 2018 with the MMSSTV software on 145.800 MHz, Mode PD120. More information about amateur radio on the ISS can be found on the ARISS website.
The ARISS team in Poland has made available a special reception certificate for radio enthusiasts that participant in this ARISS SSTV Event. Directions on how to receive the certificate can be found here.
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, 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.
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.
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.
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.