VHF/UHF/SHF Contest July 2015

When having a look on the claimed scores list, published today, I was really surprised by my preliminary result in the category 23 cm single operator. I did not expect at all to be No. 1.

It had been very hot that weekend and the activity in the ON4KST Microwave chat was extremly high. So I slowed down, made only little use of the chat and tried to find calling stations on the 23 cm band. There were a lot of signals from the east and when going to bed at midnight I counted 29 QSOs with an average of 524 km/QSO. Top DXCC count was OK (11) followed by DL (5), OM (4) and G (3).

QSOs on 23 cm. Saturday in red and Sunday in green

On Sunday morning I continued, but it was still very hot and not much fun. When the temperature in my shack exceeded 40°C at around 10:00 UTC, I decided to go QRT.

Finally I logged 45 Stations from 12 DXCCs in 27 squares with an average of 483 km per QSO.  17 stations were worked in CW, the rest (28) in SSB. 10 QSOs had a QRB > 700 km (7 x JN99) and the ODX was HG7F with 817 km. The total time of operation was less than 15 hours.


SM7FWZ finally worked via ISS Bounce

While yesterdays try for an ISS Bounce QSO failed by Ronny, SM7FWZ, missing my rogers, we tried again this morning. As this orbit culminated near the zenith for me, I decided to catch up the ISS on the descending part of the pass.

2015-07-13 09_50_40-Satellite Window Finder by DJ5ARSo I could avoid the singularity in the azimuth angle and we heard us right from the beginning with strong signals. As Ronny couldn´t copy any rogers yesterday, we had plenty of them today, as well as 73s!

Ground Track of the ISS versus the direct path between SM7FWZ and DJ5AR

It is remarkable, that Ronnys signal was audible on backscatter off the ISS, even when my elevation became less than 2 degrees. The slantranges to the ISS were about 2100 km for me and 1700 km for Ronny: A total distance of 3800 km!

This is the result of many tests and discussion before. Ronny transmitted and received on 1296.300 MHz during the whole pass and automatic Doppler compensation was done on my side for both of us.

It is funny, that we had a Moon Bounce QSO a couple of days ago, just to compensate some frustrating tests. EME is sooo easy!

Thank you, Ronny, for this fast and efficient QSO and enjoy your very special day!




Welcome Ronny, SM7FWZ, to the ISS Bounce community!

After many previous attempts Ronny, SM7FWZ and Jan, PA3FXB, managed to complete an ISS Bounce QSO on 23 cm today. The rigs used, were a 3 m mesh dish with 375 W on the dutch and a 4 m solid dish with 300 W on the swedish side.

Ground track of the ISS versus the direct path between SM7FWZ and PA3FXB

The window opened from 2015-07-13 08:07 to 08:17 UTC. While the antenna tracking was done automatically by both stations, only Jan could perform Doppler compensation. So they used a kind of mixed mode in tracking the frequencies.

25544 2015-07-12-08-07 SM7FW  PA3FXB ISS(ZARYA) (25544) DopplerRonny transmitted on 1296.300 MHz and tried to catch Jans signal manually. So I monitored the frequency, Ronny should be heard on my side. It is nice to see in the video, how Jan appeared on the very left, getting closer and closer to the frequency, Ronny could be heard.

Congratulations to this success!

DL65DARC will be QRV on 23 and 13 cm

From Monday, June 22nd to Wednesday, June 24th I will be QRV during the evenings on 23 cm and 13 cm using the special event callsign DL65DARC.
Skeds (aircraft scatter, tropo) are welcome via ON4KST, Facebook or email.

Rig will be a 3 m dish with 150 W on 23 cm and 75 W on 13 cm. The QTH locator is JN49CV. SSB, CW and WSJT modes are suitable. Operation on relays is not intended.

If I find some spare time, I will be QRV on June 25th, 26th and 28th as well.

On Saturday, June 27th, you can meet me in Friedrichshafen.


10 GHz up and running!

DSC_2010bWith assistance from Franz, DF9ZT, I got my 10 GHz rig repaired and mounted it yesterday evening. Hope for the first QSOs soon with the 50 cm dish and 1.5 W. Beacons heard so far are DB0MOT (41 km), DB0MMO (90 km), DB0AJA (132 km), DB0ZDF (6 km), DB0FGB (263 km) and DB0ANU (182 km).

Thank you very much, Franz!

Asymmetrical Reflections on Aircraft Scatter

A long time monitoring of the beacon F1ZMT in JN07CX via Aircraft Scatter on 1296.872 MHz shows asymmetrical reflections on most of the crossing planes.

As the distance to the beacon is 624 km and it´s ERP of just 10 W (a panel antenna to the south combined with an omnidirectional big wheel) is rather QRP, only weak reflections can be detected from time to time. This ensures, that received signals were reflected on single airplanes. In this example can be seen, that the reception starts shortly before the plane crosses the path between DJ5AR in Mainz and F1ZMT in LeMans. Unexpectetly the signal can be seen for quite a while after crossing. There is a continuous variation of the doppler shift and no spread of the signal, as is usual for a moving solid reflector.


Monitoring DX Beacons via Aircraft Scatter

The monitoring of distant beacons can be a boring job, even when using the waterfall diagram of a SDR. I prefer SpecJT of the WSJT package in JT65c mode. It is much more sensitive and even at slow speed faint refections can be seen clearly.

2015-05-05 12_07_28 F1ZMT

The example shows F1ZMT in JN07CX, 624 km from Mainz. The beacon operates 10 W into an omnidirectional antenna on 1296.872 MHz. The reflections in the screenshot were caused by 3 airplanes crossing the path one after the other.



A day on Rocket Bodies

On April 7th the PI9CAM team hosted some students, working on a film project. So there was some spare time to schedule more tests in our space debris project. The objects, selected to try on, were some rocket bodies. Many of the larger objects in low earth orbits are of this type. The operation style, as usual, was a center frequency of 1,296.300 MHz, 15 seconds periods with DJ5AR transmitting first. This time we wanted to try FSK441 mode, to compare it with the experiences, we had with ISCAT-B.

On two objects, NORAD #39679 (SL-4 R/B) and #39771 (H-2A R/B) we registered faint but continuous reflections. Only partial decodes were possible. It seems, that ISCAT-B is the better choice.

2015-04-07 12_02_30-SpecJTReflections of DJ5AR in FSK441 recorded at PI9CAM

On SL-4, a russian rocket body, lauched on April 16th, 2014, a modulation of the reflections with a period of 2.8 seconds could be observed. It looks like, as the object is tumbling.


TNX to Jan, PA3FXB and the CAMRAS team!