2 Sep 2014

2m UKAC contest this evening

At the moment I am 114th out of 182 stations in the AL (low power) section (annual) of the 2m UKAC contests that take place on the first Tuesday of the month.

Operating SSB is very hard work with my poor voice (because of my brain bleed last September), so I usually stop after about 1 hour. Even that 1 hour is hard work. I am quite pleased with these results considering I have only entered 2 contests so far this year, for well below half the operating time allowed and with just 5W SSB and a 3 el hand-rotated beam up not very high.

All being well, I shall be on 2m SSB for the contest this evening.

UPDATE 2115z:  A good contest this evening with 13 QSOs in just under an hour before my voice gave in. It really was very very hard on my voice. Best DX MM0GPZ/P in IO85AK way up in Scotland. All QSOs were SSB at 5W.  My best contest yet with 5W from the new QTH with the hand rotated 3 el beam. Interestingly not a single QSO with stations in IO92 square . Last time I worked loads.
2m QSOs this evening. 5W and 3el from home

10m WSPR - GDX

With no Es on 10m this afternoon, GDX was the only excitement. M0EMM (192km) was copied by a mix of tropo and aircraft reflections. I spotted him and he spotted me. I am still hopeful of some Es and F2 propagation on 10m before the day is out.

UPDATE 1855z:  G8JNJ/A (184km) was spotted at 1848z on 10m WSPR.

No 10m Es here this afternoon

Since CT1JTQ (1843km) at lunchtime there has been no Es here on 10m, just exchanging spots with G0LRD (25km) who suffers from an intermittent high noise floor.  At this QTH, so far, I have been very lucky with local noise. I know this may not last.

Antennas

At the moment, I can cover 6m, 2m and 70cm vertical with the V2000, 2m omni-horizontal with the 2m halo, 2m and 70cms SSB/CW/digital with the small, hand rotated beam (3el/5ele) and 10m, 20m and 40m with the end-fed PAR wire antenna strung up to a tree. I can get on 630m by loading up the coax cables to various antennas or using the earth electrodes in the ground. I can get on other bands too by tuning various coax feeders.
V2000, 2m halo, and 2m/70cm beam (hand-rotated).
PAR end-fed is not visible but goes to a tree.
I will probably take down the V2000 and 2m halo later and replace them with a 10m halo (Homebase-10) for the months until next spring. I think the 10m halo will be a more effective antenna for 10m than the PAR. It will certainly be higher. Main problem at present is my mobility: climbing ladders is not a good idea in my present state, so antenna work is all but impossible.

Despite the low power (5W or less) and lowish elevation, I am able to work out to around 200km on 2m and 70cm SSB in contests.

10m WSPR - Sept 2nd 2014

Yet another good morning on 10m with lots of Spanish and Portuguese Es seen and local G0LRD (25km),
10m WSPR this morning
Best spot of my 2W WSPR so far today is by 4X1RF (3519km). I think this is multi-hop Es, but it could be F2.

20m - real DX at breakfast time!

20m WSPR was running overnight and lots of Ws seen last night. Breakfast time on 20m WSPR was excellent with ZL3DMH (18887km) in RE66im square (Christchurch,NZ) and several VKs spotting me. It was a very good start, especially as my 20m antenna is so low and so poor (PAR 10/20/40m end-fed at about 3-4m AGL).

Sunspot count today is 94 and 20-30MHz propagation "fair". A QSY to 10m is now called for to check for F2 and Es propagation.

I am still in awe of the pure magic of radio: 2W into a very indifferent antenna and this can be detected on the far side of the planet. I know others have done far better, but it still sends shivers down my spine!

1 Sep 2014

20m activity

I called CQ on 20m in JT9-1 and then JT65 just before tea without success. Since switching to 20m WSPR I was met with immediate success.  VK5MR was copied and now there are plenty of Canadian and USA stations being spotted or spotting me.  WSPR really is a good mode.

UPDATE 1856z:  OX3XR (3206km) was a new country on 20m WSPR just now. 12 reports received in a single WSPR 2 minute transmission!

10m - still good Es and GDX , but no F2 seen here yet

PT2WWV stopped coming through late last evening but this morning Es has been good from southern Europe since before breakfast. Overnight  a couple of new G stations were seen G3ZTU (144km) and G7EOB (76km).

Sunspot count today is 90 and 20-30MHz propagation "fair". F2? Any ones guess.

UPDATE 1507z: Spanish stations have been coming in by 10m Es all day. So far,no F2 propagation has been seen here,

UPDATE 1525z:  QSYing to 20m for some JT9-1 2-way QSOs I hope,

31 Aug 2014

73 magazine online

Just received this from Martin Mann in Cambridge. For some years Martin ran Cambridge Kits although I think he is now retired. When looking for a particular edition of 73, be sure to replace the year and month with the one you need. The year has to be changed in two places in the link!
"Roger, 
Have you heard of Bill Hoisington, K1CLL, now sadly a silent key?  He was a prolific contributor on UHF to 73 Magazine in the '60s and 70s and is still a good read today, at least for a dabbler like me.  No expensive ICs, ha.  There is a list of his articles at http://mikeyancey.com/73mag/listauthor.php?Author=K1CLL and you can download complete copies of each issue of 73 Magazine as at http://library.vss.pl/lib/mag73/1967/73%20Magazine%20-%201967-07.pdf .  The files are about 30MB and take about 5 min to download, the 73 server being rather slow.  For something a bit meatier the HICKMAN, I. (2002). Practical Radio-Frequency Handbook (3rd ed.) at http://worldtracker.org/media/library/Electronics%20and%20Communications/Electronics%20ebook%20collection%20II/HICKMAN,%20I.%20(2002).%20Practical%20Radio-Frequency%20Handbook%20(3rd%20ed.).pdfis pretty good and only 2 MB.  Do you know any other magazines with back issues on pdf ?  Hoping talking is easier for you now,  
Martin"

Sunspots and 10m

Sunspot count today is 64 (modest) and 20-30MHz propagation "normal". 10m F2 is possible. Es and GDX are still quite likely, although so far on 10m WSPR it has been quiet with just local G4KPX (14km) spotted strongly at -7dB S/N.

There are a couple of signals coming through for much less than 2 minutes that may be Es or even MS. So far, these have not decoded.

G0LRD (25km) has spotted me now at -13dB S/N.

UPDATE 1538z:   PT2WWV (8873km) has been spotted by F2 this afternoon. Earlier in the afternoon,there was Es from Spain.

UPDATE 1835z: Italians now being spotted by 10m Es - IK1WVQ (1084km) and IK3NLK (1136km).

UPDATE 1900z: PT2WWV (8873km) is again being spotted. Not sure if this pure F2 or a combination of F2 and Es. So far, the Brazilian has been spotted 5 times.
UPDATE 2025z:  PT2WWV has been spotted 11 times so far today.

UPDATE 2200z: PT2WWV  has been spotted 19 times on 10m WSPR today so far. I shall leave WSPR running overnight to see when this F2 opening finally ends. 8873km is a decent distance on 10m this long into the evening and darkness here.