During my trip across Western Australia this January – February 2020 I had the pleasure to meet some Ham-Radio friends I knew from Hf contacts and from the EME Group.
Stuart, VK6MK, and his wife Jennifer live in Australind, a beautiful small town south of Perth. I met Stuart several times on Hf and we spent some nice hours in his beautiful home. Thanks for your kind hospitality folks!
Alex, VK6KCC, is one of the 2m EME gang, living north of Perth. He is member of the NCRG, Northern Corridor Radio Group from Western Australia. This Group is located within Whiteman Park and is home of the Neil Penfold State Amateur Radio Centre (NPSARC) and antenna farm. VK6ANC, one of the club callsigns, is very active on the bands. VK6NC, the other callsign, now appears in most of the big contests. The Group is very well equipped and active from 1.8 MHz to 10 GHz. Thank you Alex for the nice discussions and explaining us your Clubstation!
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.
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.
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.