New Region 1 144MHz DX Records
Tim Kirby G4VXE has news of some impressive DX worked on the 2m band.
Tim Kirby G4VXE has news of some impressive DX worked on the 2m band.
It’s always interesting and inspiring to be able to report on new DX records and this month, there are two! On August 5th, Mark Turner EI3KD worked D4Z on the Cape Verde Islands on 144MHz over a distance of 4163km, which stretched the record by about 30km. For those that think all DX is worked on FT8, you’ll be delighted to know that this was a CW contact. On SSB, Tim G4LOH also worked D4Z along with Dave G7RAU, both in Cornwall. The conditions had been up and down for quite some time with the D4 beacon being heard from Cornwall to Northern Ireland and Scotland where GM4ZJI logged it at a distance of 4739km. The D4 beacon runs a modest 14W into a stacked dipole array.
The path was also open from the western UK to the Canary Islands (EA8) with some excellent contacts being made. Tim Hague M0AFJ (Helston) reported working more than ten EA8 stations on 2m SSB. Richard Brooks GW1JFV (Haverfordwest) was delighted to work EA8 on FT8, using 50W to a vertical antenna. Jim Edgar GM4FVM (Alnmouth) also worked EA8 although, as he says, it nearly didn’t happen. Jim’s rotator was 180° out of synch and he wondered why he couldn’t hear anything at all from the DX. Once that had been established, Jim says it was all straightforward. All in all, it was an incredible few hours!
The sea path to EA8 and D4 from the western UK is a fascinating one and would probably support the higher bands as well. As John Worsnop G4BAO said on Twitter, “a 23cm QSO from North Cornwall or Ireland to D4 would break the world record on the band”. That would be very exciting indeed.
The following day on August 6th, Dieter DJ6AG worked EA8TX, breaking the Region 1 144MHz meteor scatter record over a distance of 3428km. This exceeds the previous record held by EA8TJ and S50C by 51km. In reality this was very probably a combination of tropospheric and meteor scatter propagation but a truly remarkable contact in itself.
Remote Operation – an Update on Teamviewer
I mentioned in a recent column that my usual program for remotely operating my station, Teamviewer, had stopped working, citing that I was using the program commercially, which is not under the terms of the licence. I wrote to the software vendor explaining the situation and after some weeks, I had an e-mail back saying that they had looked into the circumstances and they had reinstated my free licence. I mentioned this to Peter Taylor G8BCG who I knew had also experienced the problem and he said that the same had happened to him. So, if you got the same message, it will be worth writing to Teamviewer support and explaining your situation – hopefully you will be back on line in due course.
Transatlantic Reception on 88MHz
Although the remit of PW is amateur bands and this item concerns reception on the Band II broadcast band, I feel it will be of great interest to those of us who have an eye on possible 70 and 144MHz contacts across the Atlantic. On July 8th, Paul Logan in Lisnaskea, Fermanagh, Northern Ireland managed to catch CBC Radio 1 from Newfoundland, Canada on 88.5MHz at 2135UTC.
Paul was using a 5-element beam and an SDR receiver. You can see a video of the reception on the EI7GL blog (which is well worth a read anyway) at:
Paul has a website of his own too, which is of interest but looks as if it may not have been updated in a while:
Paul’s reception is a great encouragement for those looking at a 70MHz path and indeed for a 144MHz path but as students of Es know, there is a world of difference between Band II being open and the 2m amateur band being open – particularly for multi-hop propagation.
The 6m Band
John Wood G3YQC (Hereford) just missed the last deadline but had worked lots of interesting 6m (50MHz) DX during June, mainly on FT8. John had noticed a number of stations generally from Spain working or calling Japan. John didn’t hear any Japanese stations although he did see one BF (China) and one VU (India) briefly but not for long enough to attempt a QSO. The month got off to a good start with 9K2HS on June 10th and a good opening on the 12th when John worked FM5AN, HI3T, WP4JCF and HI8PLE. On June 14th John worked 5T2AI and PZ5RA and then the following days included ZF1EJ, VP5DR, VP9NM, CO8LY and VO1SO, with SU1SK worked on June 18th. John heard a station signing ZL2IFB on June 18th at around 1015. Was it Gary? It would be pretty remarkable if it was! On June 24th, John worked five Icelandic stations. John says for the rest of the period through to July 7th he worked a steady stream of DX, much of which was in Central America.
John found July a little less lively but nevertheless found some nice ones: July 7th, A71EM; July 8th TF3JB and WP4G. On July 21st, John heard SP9HPA working VK8AW but could hear nothing from the VK. VK8AW was also being called by some UK stations on July 24th. On July 23rd, John worked CT3HY, which was a new country for him as was HB0WR on the 24th. On July 30th there was a nice Caribbean opening with WP4G, FG8OJ, HI8PLE and KP4EIT along with a good number of US stations. As John says, don’t assume the season is ending yet – you will be sure to miss some good DX. John is up to 85 countries worked on 6m FT8 and the best distance in July was K5RK at 7624km.
Dave Hobro G4IDF (Worcester) says that the start of July was good for Es openings. On July 6th, Dave worked OE6END (JN77), UW8SM (KN28), OK2DIK (JN99), HA4FB (JN96), DG0DRF (JO71), HG60KCI (KN06), DG3RAP (JN69) and OK1ICQ (JN79), all on SSB.
Jef Van Raepenbusch ON8NT (Aalter) operated a mix of SSB, CW and FT8 contacts during the month, with the highlights being July 6th Z68M (KN02) and 9H1TX (JM75) on CW; July 7th C31CT (JN02) on CW; July 12th LX1JX (JO30) on FT8; July 15th EA8CNR (IL28) and EA9ABC (IM75) on FT8; July 18th EA8ACW (IL28), EA8JK (IL18), ZB2GI (IM76) on FT8, July 21st TF3JB (HP94) on FT8; July 22nd CN8KD (IM63) on CW, EI5HV (IO51), EJ0DXG (IO42), EA8DBM (IL18), EA9ACR (IM75) on FT8; July 23rd VE1PZ (FN85), EI7IX (IO53), 9K2HS (LL39) all on FT8 – wow, nice one Jef!. Jef runs 10W to a V2000 vertical.
Kevin Hewitt ZB2GI (Gibraltar) is another one with some remarkable contacts from a simple setup. Kev runs a Yaesu FT-450 and a dipole. The highlights of his FT8 operating during the month are 5A1AL (JM62), ZF1EJ (EK99), T77C (JN63), C37MS (JN02), WB4HIE (EM95), K4PI (EM73), WB4YDM (EM84), K4OY (EM74), AA4SC (DM13), K9RX (EM84) and R6KA (KN75) along with plenty of East Coast USA and European stations. On SSB, Kev worked EA2IA, G3SVD, EA1BUB, F6EZV, F8GQO, EA1DHB and F5SRH. Operating as ZB2GI/P from the top of Signal Hill, Kev worked a good number of European stations on SSB with the highlights being GM8IEM (IO78) and EA8DBM (IL18).
Roger Lapthorn G3XBM (Cambridgeshire) writes a very welcome e-mail and says, “Like quite a few, I am trying 6m FT8 this season to see how it compares with 6m JT65. Although I have quite a small station, results have been encouraging. I use a V2000 vertical fed with CB coax yet have spotted USA, Canada, Caribbean, South America, Africa, Israel and the Gulf. Last year I spotted Japan several times on 6m JT65 but no luck this Es season on 6m FT8. Although FT8 is pretty good, the few dBs down on JT65 is noticeable on my small station. Most times I am on 6m FT8 receive, although I have had several spots from southern Europe on 6m FT8 when using my usual 2.5W QRP”.
Mark Marment CT1FJC sent me a log with all his contacts over 2500km – and there are still a lot of them! So, the highlights of the highlights are: July 6th K5XI (DM43); July 16th W5ADD (EM40); July 17th EK7DX (LN20) and July 20th K5QE (EM31). W0FK (EM48) gave Mark square 954. On July 19th, Mark heard BH4IGO for one period but never copied him again. Mark had tried to work several JAs but without success. One of the loudest was JH6VXP (PM53).
Derek Brown G8ECI (Louth) says he has been picking off new squares and countries on FT8 when he is in the shack (which has been like an oven!). Derek says some of the openings have been a bit frustrating, seeing what Europeans and stations further south and west from him are working, but even so Derek managed some contacts into Georgia and Florida. Derek says that the level of activity has been amazing and imagines what it will be like if the F2 conditions get back to the 1988/1989 levels.
Phil Oakley G0BVD (Great Torrington) got on the band during the UK Activity Contest, working EI9E/P, G3TXF and G3WAG/P.
Peter Taylor G8BCG (Liskeard) says the main focus this month has been 50MHz Es. Peter says he was particularly pleased to get Thailand in the log on the only weekend in the year that they are allowed on the band. He says that this year he heard many Thai stations, mostly on FT8 but also on CW. Peter worked HS3LSE and HS5LYK. The contact with HS3LSE (OK14) was Peter’s best terrestrial distance on the band for the year so far at 9960km, just pipping OA4TT who is 9957km. During 2018, Peter has worked 111 countries as at July 31st, including 101 on FT8! Looking at QSOs by mode in the year is interesting too: CW 11, SSB 164, JT65A 6, JT6M 4, FT8 1738 (including 726 from the US).
The 4m Band
On the 4m (70MHz) band Jef ON8NT runs 10W to a halo antenna on his balcony. During the VHF NFD weekend he worked a number of stations with the best being G2LO/P (IO92), G3SVJ/P (IO91) and the most distant G4RFR/P (IO80) at 415km. Jef found G4SGX, G3SHK and G4FUF on FT8.
Mark CT1FJC reports some success on FT8 getting people to QSY (move frequency) to a part of the band that CTs are able to use. Mark worked: July 7th G0CHE (IO90), G4FUF (JO01); July 17th DJ5MN (JN58), G3SHK, DK5EW (JN48), G3YDY (JO01), EA8DBM (IL18) and DN5JD and on August 7th, GD0TEP (IO74).
I managed to give the wrong details for Derek G8ECI’s 70MHz station in the last column – sorry Derek. Derek is using an IC-756 to a G3WPO transverter that drives a 4CX250B amplifier.
Robert van der Zaal PA9RZ, Fig. 1, was active during the Field Day weekend on July 7th and 8th and says that in the Netherlands it’s not a dedicated Field Day contest. Robert worked G0FBB/P, G0VHF/P and G5LK/P, all in JO01, which were easy for him to work running 10W from the IC-7300 into his log periodic.
The 2m Band
On the 2m (144MHz) band, Dave M0TAZ operated with the Suffolk RED field weekend on July 14th and 15th, Fig. 2. The idea was to try something new. Dave decided to try to work as many European stations as possible on both phone and FT8. With a good take-off into Europe, Dave was soon working into France, Germany, Denmark and Belgium. He says that over the course of the weekend, he completed 50 contacts in 25 squares. Some of the highlights were DL3GAK at 662km, F4VYH (673km), OZ1BEF (693km) and OZ1BP (698km).
Jef ON8NT had a good time during the UK Activity Contest (UKAC) on July 3rd, with the highlights being G0EHV/P (IO84), G8PNN/P (IO95), G4KUX (IO94), G8DMU/P (IO94), G8KPD/P (IO85) and G8SFI/P ((IO94). During the VHF Field Day weekend, the highlights were GW3ZTT/P (IO82) and DK0FW (JO51).
Simon Evans G6AHX (Twyning, Gloucestershire) says that his house has been full of visitors so there has been limited time for radio. However, during the UKAC on August 8th, Simon made 26 contacts in 15 squares, with the best DX being GI4SNA (IO64). On August 5th, Simon says he had a really enjoyable contact with Keith GU6EFB with 59 reports both ways. Simon also says that he would like to welcome Lyn, now G8JLY to the Midlands having moved from Cardiff.
During the course of an e-mail conversation about (unexpectedly good) 2m FT8 results on verticals, Roger G3XBM said, “Quite a while back someone local suggested I compare 2m FT8 on the big-wheel horizontal omni and the V2000 vertical omni. There was very little difference, suggesting that polarisation was not important, so probably aircraft reflections”. If you haven’t tried FT8 on 2m and you are holding off because you don’t have a beam but have a vertical, for example, give it a go. I think you will be surprised at what you can hear and work!
Robert PA9RZ operated during the VHF Field Day weekend and made some nice contacts, including M0NFD/P (IO94), and says it was good to hear a northern accent again. Other highlights were OZ1ALS (JO44), DA0FF (JO40), GW3SRT/P IO82) – on CW. Robert was using his IC-202 to a 5-element Yagi.
Roger Daniel G4RUW (Newbury) says that the Es season has been a bit hit and miss for him but made a couple of contacts: June 9th YU1EV (KN04) and June 11th CT1CAD (IM67) and then nothing until July 27th when he worked SV8PEX for a new country and square. On August 9th, Roger listened during the D4 opening and heard some brief CW a couple of times, which sounded typical of meteor bursts. Roger is pleased with his new 8-element LFA Yagi.
It was great to hear from Lyn Leach G8JLY (Droitwich). I’d seen Lyn on FT8 recently so I knew he’d wasted no time in getting active. Lyn says of his new location, “I am now QRV again from my new QTH in IO82WG, Droitwich Spa, Worcestershire but with a much smaller setup than I used at my previous QTH in Cardiff. The good thing though is that this seems to be a very good QTH for VHF and up. In this new location I am using just a small 6-element Yagi with a 1.7m boom at only 25ft above ground level mounted on the north-facing wall of my house. I have noticed that signals via tropo from all directions are much stronger than those I would have received at my Cardiff location. My take-off to the north and north-east is particularly good and it’s now very easy to work stations in those directions. I am an avid locator and countries chaser on the 2m band and have been busy working as many new locators and countries as I can from here using both SSB tropo and meteor scatter. In just a week or two, I have worked 48 new locators and 14 new countries, with these totals increasing daily”.
The 70cm band
Highlights for Jef ON8NT on the 70cm (432MHz) band were G4CLA (IO92) and G4ODA (IO92) during the VHF Field Day weekend. Robert PA9RZ made several contacts over 400km, including M0NFD/P, DA0FF, OZ1ALS and M0HRF/P (IO91). Robert was running his IC-402 and IC-30L linear with a 12-element Yagi.
The 23cm Band
On the 23cm (1296MHz) band Robert PA9RZ worked a number of Gs, PA, DL and ONs during VHF Field Day with the best DX being G0OLE/P. Robert was running around 8W from his IC-910 to a 21-element Yagi.
Jef ON8NT monitored the ARISS contact from the International Space Station to a school in Bonn, Germany on July 3rd. On July 18th, sitting on his balcony, he received SSTV signals on his ID-51 and rubber-duck antenna although signals were too weak to give high quality pictures. On July 30th and 31st, Jef received nice signals from the ARISS Russia MAI SSTV experiment using his Icom ID-51 and a 5-element LPDA.
Kevin ZB2GI, operating as ZB2RAF worked EA8TJ, G4BXD, G0IIQ, MI6GTY and EB5YF through AO-91. Kev writes of the SSTV activity on July 30th/31st, “I received nine full images with four duplicates and two partial images during four passes varying from 16° to 41°. My setup comprised a Yaesu FT-817 connected via a data interface to a Win7 Notebook PC running MMSSTV and a manually tracked 2m/70cm Log Periodic. ISS Detector Pro, an Android App, provided pass predictions and the azimuth/elevation to point the Log Periodic”.
Patrick Stoddard WD9EWK (Phoenix) writes, “Lots of stations going all over the US and Canada working satellites this summer. It has been a good time to work rare grid locators. I did my part just after the Independence Day holiday in early July, when I drove to southern California for a few days. I put five different grids on the air during that drive, including one grid using AO-92’s L/V mode.
“Sad news from over here this week, with the passing of Bill Tynan W3XO. Bill was a founding member of AMSAT, served as a member of AMSAT’s Board of Directors as well as its President and, in the 1980s, was the editor of the World Above 50 MHz column in QST. It was in that column that Bill lobbied for use of the Maidenhead grid-locator system in North America, once it started being used in Europe. This was followed by ARRL creating the VUCC awards for VHF/UHF and satellite operating”.
It’s been a very busy column this month. Thanks to everyone who has been in touch. There’s always room for more though. If you have been thinking about getting in touch and haven’t done so yet, please do – it would be great to hear from you.
This article was featured in the October 2018 issue of Practical Wireless