A long time ago, sometime in 1980, I observed my friend Fritz Herbst near Hanover, DL3YBA, doing echo tests on 144 MHz via 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 His 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! Nevertheless, EME with only one antenna is a hard way and in a pileup you are always the very last in the long line of callers. 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!
Back in 2019 Lee, WW2DX, and Team activated the rare DXCC St. Paul Island on 144 MHz via EME under the callsign CY9C. This year Sable Island was his destination, CY0S the callsign. With the proven equipment of 2 x 9 Element Hpol and Amplifier, Lee was in the air for a few days. The moon was not in a favourable position but after the first rush of callers was over, I managed to get a contact and my DXCC #101 on 144 MHz was in the book. Thanks Lee for another great QSO!
After a break of a few years, I took again part in my favorite contest, the “Marconi Contest VHF” this last weekend. In just a few hours on Saturday evening and Sunday morning, a total of 120 QSOs and a total of abt. 43,000 points with an average of 363 km/QSO were made. And it was a lot of fun working old friends and pounding the brass again!
Bernie (ZS4TX), known for his previous activations of A21EME, 7P8Z, 3DA0MB, 3B8/ZS4TX, started another “One Man” DX-Pedition in late August 2022. The goal this time was the Cuando-Cubango Province in Angola. This was Angola’s first 2m EME activation to date and a nearly 7,000 km round trip for ZS4TX. Bernie’s Equipment for 2m were 2x 2M18XXX and IC-9700. Due to difficult weather conditions, Bernie had to stop activity after only 4 days. Nevertheless, I managed to complete a nice QSO and that’s DXCC #99 in the log.
Thanks to Bernie for another contact and the great activation!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.