A long time ago, sometime in 1980, I observed my friend Fritz Herbst near Hanover, DL3YBA, doing echo tests on 144 MHz over the moon with his huge antenna array. At that time, of course, there were no digital modes of operation, telegraphy was the way to go. I used a 16 element Yagi from Tonna (F9FT), that was state of the art. Of course I didn’t hear its echoes, but it got me interested in EME (Earth-Moon-Earth) experiments. Time passed and many unsuccessful attempts followed. Then on April 03, 1982, the moon was close to the western horizon, I suddenly heard the CW signals from Dave K1WHS – unbelievable!. At that time he had the largest 2m system in the world with 24 x 14 antennas. I called him in CW with my 500W into the 16 Element and .. whooow .. we made a QSO! Unfortunately, this was to remain my first and only EME contact for many years. In 1988 there was another EME contact with Dave, W5UN in Texas (holder of 2m DXCC #1). With his superstation of 32 x 17 element he made an incredible signal via the moon. But then the game of 2m EME was over for me. With just one antenna it was not possible to work others beside those two Superstations and there was no space for a group of four yagis on our property.
It was summer 2017 when I met my longtime radio friends OK1DIX, OK1VPZ and OK1TEH at a ham meeting in Poland. They raved about the possibilities of successfully doing EME with the JT65 digital operating mode. I got hooked again! When I got home, a new antenna was ordered, I decided on a 14 element Yagi from AnjoAntennen with a length of 6.7m and a gain of 13.5 dBi. A short steel pipe was concreted in the garden, the rotor was put on and the Yagi was fastened. Despite the short cable of about 15m, I mounted a preamplifier (HA8ET) near the feedpoint. When Beko’s SSPA arrived, things could get going. In the meantime, the EME world could not be imagined without the digital operating mode JT65 from K1JT and that was a quantum leap compared to telegraph operations.
On August 26, 2017, I finally got going with just one antenna into the new EME world. I had set myself the goal of working a total of 10 different stations. To anticipate, that was already done on the second day. The target was revised upwards and upwards, 100 stations, 250 stations, DXCC! Of course there were setbacks at the beginning and a lot of new things to learn. In the first few months things progressed quickly, many new DXCC countries entered the log. However, due to the Covid crisis, these stopped in 2020 and a long boring periode began. Then finally, on November 12, 2022, a QSO with ZC4RH succeeded and the long-cherished dream – my 144 MHz DXCC Award was completed!
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.
The Antarctic Treaty was signed in Washington on December 1, 1959 by the twelve Countries whose scientists had been active in and around Antarctica during the International Geophysical Year (IGY) of 1957-58. It entered into force in 1961 and has since been acceded by many other Nations. The total number of Parties to the Treaty is now 54. Among the signatories of the Treaty were seven countries – Argentina, Australia, Chile, France, New Zealand, Norway and the United Kingdom – with territorial claims.
In Honour of the 60th anniversary of the event, from October 1st to December 31st, 2021 W.A.P., Russian Robinson Club together with SRR, Hamlog and other Organizations conduct a special activity usingh different callsigns ending **60ANT, by the number of countries that originally signed the Antarctic Treaty. Colourful Awards are available.
Since I started as a shortwave listener back in the 1960s and from 1972 on as a licensed HAM, I have been interested hunting for the difficult to work Amateur Radio Awards. This includes, at least in the higher classes, the Russian District Award “RDA”.
The “RDA” (Russian District Award) is an International Award Program with the goal of attracting interest in Amateur Radio through the communication with various Districts in the Russian Federation. The “RDA” program is established to encourage confirmed contacts with the greatest variety of areas in Russia. The Awards includes entities designated by the Russian Federation. These include a total of 2.642 different districts inside 85 different Oblasts. There are currently 6 different certificate awards varying in difficulty and complexity, and two plaque awards available for “Honor Roll” and “#1 Honor Roll”. With it’s own modern Online confirmation system, similar to the american LotW, it is “state of the art” and made hunting a real smile.
The hunt for RDA districts has a very special charm, because 90% of it (estimated) takes place in CW! Today the RDA 2000 was finally in the mailbox and it will have a special place on the wall in my shack.
After 2016, the MRASZ – Hungarian Radio Amateur Society – offers again a nice short time award, commemorating the 230th anniversary of the birth of Samuel F.B. Morse, the creator of the Morse alphabet. The Award is free of charge and could be downloaded as pdf-file.
2021 will mark the 60th anniversary of the first manned flight into space, one of the most important milestones in the history of all mankind. The first manned flight took place on April 12, 1961. Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin made one complete turn in Earth orbit and returned safely to Earth.
For this anniversary the special call signs R1994YU, R1996VK, R2014NC, RG21DS, RU21DS, RA60YG – RZ60YG, R60MCC, R60CTC, R60YAG and several others are in the air and the Miller-DX-Club “M-DX-C” has developed an interesting Award program. The period is from April 12th to 25th, 2021.
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.
Another milestone in my 48 years of Ham Radio: After WAC 432 MHz (1983) and WAC 144 MHz (2018), the WAC 1296 MHz arrived today. Of all these it was the fastest and all Continents were in the log after just 2 months of activity.
Nice surprise: The ARRL DXCC Challenge Medallion 2500 was in the mailbox today. Just a small round sticker, but so much time and work went into it. Challenge 2500 means an average of 250 DXCC Entities on each of the 10 Bands from 160m to 6m. The next and final level is 3000, but I’m out of business now. Unfortunately it is more difficult nowadays to get the confirmation for a QSO than to make the contact itself. Not to mention the cost of requesting QSL cards or LotW confirmations. Now it has a dignified place on the wall and will remind me of so many nice contacts.
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.