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 entered 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 single Yagi stations, which is 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 it 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 small elevation angles. So bad conditions at all.
The moon was in a favorable position on this holy evening, moonrise was around 19 o’clock and a very little activity from european stations. Watching the N0UK-EME-chat I saw that ZL2MQ from RF80kl 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 18.302 km also a new ODX. What a nice Christmas present and an evening to remember!
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.
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.
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?
Yesterday the 1296 MHz EME-Project reached a new milestone: After mounting a waterprooved box with preamp and protection relais close to the Septum feed during the past days I tried to listen off the moon for the first time. I asked Dan, HB9Q, if he could transmit some minutes for me with his 10m dish. And so he did. Holding the feed out of the basements window, pointing to the moon and HB9Q was copied easily with -26 dB in JT65c mode. Whow, what a feeling! Now I’m waiting for better weather for further setups.
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.
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.
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.