Market Reef (OJ0DX) – 2m Meteor Scatter

Market Reef in the evening dusk (Picture courtesy of DL3DXX)

Dietmar, DL3DXX, and his team activated the small Island of Market Reef several times over the last few years under the call sign OJ0DX (Loc. JP90nh). This trip he was attended by Sebastian, DG5CST. And with him equipment for 2m and 70cm, EME and Meteor Scatter. It was the opportunity for me to finally work OJ0 on 2m as a new DXCC entity. And it was really just a formality: Within 5 minutes the Meteor Scatter QSO was complete and DXCC #98 on 2m in my book! Thanks to Sebastian for the effort and the nice contact!

2021 ARRL EME-Contest

A few days ago, the ARRL published the results of the “ARRL International EME Contest 2021”. Although I only took part in a total of 10.2 hours, I finished 20th out of a total of 50 participants in the “Single Operator, All Mode, 1.2 GHz” category.

This is a gratifying result for me as I only have a small 1.75m dish and a limited moon window. A total of 60 contacts were logged, 12 of them in CW. Highlights beside many others are the CW contacts with DU3T and KL6M, two new DXCC on 23cm.

Detailed results are available here https://contests.arrl.org/scores.php

Meteor Scatter: Perseides 2021

Sometimes one QSO is enough, if it is the right one.

Last year I had already watched Kev from Gibraltar, ZB2GI, during his meteor scatter tests and got short reflections from him. Unfortunately, there was not enough time for a test and a long year passed.

During the Perseid shower ZB2GI (IM76hd) resides on Top of the Gibraltar Rock with a free Takeoff into Europe. With his small station, a 5 element Yagi antenna and 50 watt output power, he has already had many successful meteor scatter contacts in the past. But would that be enough this year for a QSO over the distance of 2,130 km?

For a long, very long time I watched Kev’s frequency as he tested with southern European stations. And there were reflections, not many, not loud and not long. But it was enough for decoding.

When he was free I started a call. Hopefully the reflections will continue and we will hear each other. To make a long story short: Finally, after almost 90 minutes and my pulse near a heart attack, he got my final RRR and the QSO was finished with 26 reports on both sides.

Contacts above 2,000 km via meteor scatter are usually difficult with few reflections. So I’m all the more happy about this special contact and a new DXCC # 97 for me on 2m. Many thanks Kevin for your patience and perseverance!

144 MHz: International Space Station on SSTV

From January 28, 2021 to January 29 2021 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. A nice Tracker could be find here.

Meteor Scatter: Perseides 2020

The Perseids come around once a year in mid-August, when the Earth passes through a trail of comet dust on its way around the sun. The dust burns up in the Earth’s atmosphere and ionizes the E-layer. The Perseids are caused by debris from comet 109P / Swift-Tuttle, which loops around the sun on a 133-year orbit.

This year they should peak on Wednesday, Aug. 12 between 0800 and 2100 UTC. The Perseids typically deliver up to 110 meteors per hour at their peak. According to scientific predictions, the reflection numbers should start to rise again in 2027.

After a two-year absence, I decided to be active on 144 MHz this year for the Perseids Meteor shower. At the end a total of 44 QSOs could be logged, including 13 new QTH locators. In retrospect, I have to say that the shower had significantly worse reflections this year compared to previous years.

144 MHz // worked Squares

This picture shows my signal, recorded by Nick US8AR in KO60RR and Andy UT4UEP in KN49WV. It is the same burst with a duration of over 30 seconds, recorded by both on August 11, 2020 at 10:45:30 UT. Thanks to Nick and Andy for these interresting screenshots.

144 MHz: International Space Station on SSTV

From August 04, 2020 until August 05 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.

July 2020 – Sporadic E 6m/2m

50 MHz: Also the month of July brought some nice Es openings to Japan and minor openings to Florida and, after a very long time, again to Brazil. No new DXCC could be worked in July.

Overall the year 2020 ended up with 9 new DXCC Entities. Particularly worth mentioning are those 82 stations from Japan, never worked that much before on the Magic Band.

Stations worked on 50 MHz – July 2020
Top 10 distances on 50 MHz – July 2020

144 MHz: Regarding Sporadic E July was also a disappointed month. Only OH7RJ was heard and worked during a very short opening on July 3rd.

June 2020 – Sporadic E 6m/2m

50 MHz: Seasonally 6m was open every day within Europe. In addition, there were very long openings to Asia and North America. Towards the US and Canada, the terrain of my QTH rises to 10 degrees elevation, so at all again only a few stations from the west have been heard and worked.

In total, six new DXCC entities could be worked in May: 4S7VG (Sri Lanka), BU2EL (Taiwan), DU1IST (Philippines), HL2ZN (South Korea), JT1CO (Mongolia) and VR2XYL (Hong Kong).

Stations worked on 50 MHz – June 2020
Top 10 distances on 50 MHz – June 2020

144 MHz: Regarding Sporadic E, this June was a real disappointment. Only on June 21st there was a brief opening to the east and just two contacts could be logged. RU3GX, R3KBF, UA3QHF were heard only.

Finally – 23cm EME running

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.

See you off the moon!