Phil, FR5DN, is running an experimental beacon on 144.245 MHz beaming to the eastern Mediterranean Sea. It is located on the island of Reunion in LG78qs. The antenna is a 13 dB yagi, horizontal polarized at 7 m above ground, running 80 W. He will operate it in CW, when he is at home, mainly from 16:00 to 18:30 UTC. The operation will be announced on DX Summit and in the ON4KST chat. As he transmits continuously, feedback may be sent in the chat or via his email address on QRZ.com.
He already tried years ago, but got inspired by the TEP events that happened recently in South America and hopes for monitors in Europe to gather some experience in this propagation mode.
As the Hepburn Tropo Index predicted some ducting over northern Germany and the Baltic Sea for todays morning, I checked the beacons on 23 cm. DB0VC, JO54if, 509 km, was strong on 23 cm as well as on 13 cm, but nothing on 3 cm. I went on with the OZ and LA beacons and found OZ5SHF, JO45vx, 685 km and LB2SHF, JO48ad,917 km, with booming signals. Unfortunately there was no one QRV in Scandinavia.
Then I called in FT8 on 2 m and got some response from Denmark and Northern Germany. Surprisingly I got called by UA2FBW, KO04ir, 1002 km and much more surprised I have been, when I saw in the DX cluster, that EA5GJ, JM97jw, spottet me as well at the time, I worked Igor. Might have received me by some Es or MS, while beaming northeast.
With the rising sun the beacon signals on 23 cm became weaker and weaker and disappereared at least. The same happened to the DX stations on 2 m.
QSOs on 2 m in green, all in FT8. Received beacons on 23 cm shown in red.
When going to Ireland in May, I went with a trailer and could take a pneumatic mast and some antenna stuff with me. So I setup a 2 x 7 elemt yagi for 2 m, a 15 element yagi for 70 cm and a 67 element yagi for 23 cm. The rotator is a Spid BIG-RAS/HR, so elevation is possible as well. There are SHF-Electronic LNAs at each antenna and Gemini linears with 200 to 300 W driven by an IC-9700.
On 2 m I could log a couple of QSOs in FT8 (blue) and SSB (green) so far and have been lucky to use some tropo to France on May 27th and 28th (F6DBI, IN88ij, 716 km and F8BON, IN86wv, 903 km) and Spain on May 28th (EC2BBS, IN93bi, 1262 km).
Last January the QSO BANAT Association added a 23 cm section to their VHF-UHF FT8 Activity contest, open to all digital modes. Tonight it was the 3rd round in this year and my second time in participating. In February I struggled with FT8 and some QSOs could have been much faster completed by using CW, as the one with Roberto, IK2OFO, whom I worked many times before in CW on 23 and 13 cm.
This time I tried FT4 in some skeds and was surprised by the excellent performance of this mode. Of cource I tried with Roberto and it was as fast as in CW. Later at the end of the contest I had QSOs with Andre, DL6AST, in FT4 on 23 cm and on 13 cm as well. After that we tried MSK144 and JT9f (my favourite so far) on the higher band, but without success so far.
It seems FT4 is more robust in handling the varying doppler shift and multipath propagation caused by airplane reflections compared to FT8.
Many thanks to the friends of the QSO BANAT Association for organizing this activity on 23 cm and not dedicating it to FT8 only. This opens space for experimentation, the heart of amateur radio!
After my visit to Berlin a fortnight ago, where Thomas, DC7YS, granted me massive support in assembling my 10/24 GHz duo band rig, I have been out today to give it a try in the BBT contest.
The selected location is a building in the vine yards just a little south of my home.
It has a terrace upstairs with a perfect view to the horizons.
Despite beeing an asolute newbie, I logged two QSOs. The first one I had with Martin, DL3SFB/p on the Hornisgrinde in the Black Forrest near Freiburg. Signals were just good enough to complete in SSB over 144 km. Second was Daniel, DL3IAE, near Landau, 70 km away.
Daniels signal was extremly distorted by windmills and even in CW very hard to copy.
A test with Ewald, DK2DB, in Karlsruhe was not successful, because of a pear tree obstructing him in my direction.
The grey box houses latest Kuhne transverters for 10 and 24 GHz, driven by an IC-705. Output after all the lossy semi rigid and relays is measured to 6 W on 10 GHz and 1 W on 24 GHz. The feed a dual band horn, made by Paul, W1GHZ. The size of the dish is 80 cm. Power sources are batteries of my Makita tools.
After the Test with Ewald I decided to leave, because some strong gusts came up and the dish has a quite a good wind load. As the stuff is very heavy, the tripod is too fragile to withstand the weight plus the wind.
Today I had a talk about Aircraft Scatter with Michael, OE1CMW, who recorded it to produce a podcast for his series “ON AIR – Amateurfunk D-A-CH“. As it´s in german language, I keep this post in german.
Heute habe ich mit Michael, OE1CMW, über Aircraft Scatter gesprochen. Michael hat das Gespräch für seine Podcast-Reihe “ON AIR – Amateurfunk D-A-CH” aufgezeichnet.
In meinem Blog finden sich viele Beispiele zu QSOs und Bakenbeobachtungen als Anregung für eigene Aktivitäten. Unter dem Menü-Punkt “Aircraft Scatter” habe ich die QSO-Prozedur ausführlich beschrieben. Das Programm AirScout von Frank, DL2ALF, gibt es als Download für das Betriebssystem Windows.
Wenn man Baken beobachten will, sollte man WideGraph von WSJT-X mitlaufen lassen, dann kann man auch schwächste Signalspuren sichtbar machen und auch die Doppler-Verschiebung sehr gut visualisieren.
F5ZNI on 13 cm in JN19BQ, 440 km away, is a good indicator for troposheric duting to the west. Drifting up and down, it is transmitting just a little below GPS locked DB0UX in JN48FX, just 105 km to the south.
This is, how it usually looks, when I monitor F5ZNI on about 2320.899 MHz. DB0UX to the right with space 800 Hz lower. F5ZNI about 1250 Hz lower with space 500 Hz up.
Tonight DB0UX appeared a little different, somehow screwing through the waterfall display.
Well, there is a windmill in 500 m from my QTH a little north of the path to F5ZNI and the wind raised to blow with 6 km/h from NE ……
As the long-awaited launch of JWST happened recently at Christmas and it is on the 1.5 million km journey to Lagrange Point L2, I found some time to collect information about the communication system. I was very pleased to see a frequency in the satellite band next to the 13 cm amateur radio band. It is being used for a telemetry downlink with 6 W into a pair of omni-directional antennas. Feed and LNA are not really designed for this part of the band, but still usable with some loss. Later the scientific traffic will happen in the 26 GHz Ka-band.
When looking for tracking data, I found a two line element data set at NORAD dating back to December 28, 2021 for JWSTs NORAD number 50463.
My tracking software accepted it and the calculated information looked very plausible, as the distance to the object was very close to the one published on the official JWST website and azimuth and elevation pointed roughly to L2. I am aware, that JWST must not fly on the direct line, as it will be in a wide orbit around.
As in the past, when I received signals from exotic sources like ISEE-3 and Longjiang-2, I used my 3 m dish with the ring feed and LNA for 2320 MHz. I tried to use one of my PLUTO SDRs instead of the 13 cm transverter, but these are far too deaf and the LNAs gain of 16 dB is not enough to show any change in the noise, when switching it on and off. So I used a similar configuration, as before and mounted the 13 cm band ATV converter, I used to receive TV signals from the ISS, to get a sufficient signal level on the IF for the PLUTO.
Last, but not least, I saw a trace in the waterfall diagram, a little below the operating frequency. I calculated the doppler of the moving probe to about -2 kHz, which has to be combined with the doppler effect resulting of the Earth rotation. I found the signal 1 kHz too low in the reading, but the PLUTO is stabilized just by an OCXO only and the converter is not locked at all, so I didn´t worry about the difference. Turning the dish away and back to JWST resulted in disappearing and reappearing of the signal. The observed doppler drift over 1.5 hours matched quite well the calculated drift caused by Earth rotation. The shift at the rise is about -400mHz and at the set -2900 Hz, -200 Hz per hour.
Well, I am pretty sure, I have received the signal of the James Webb Space Telescope in a distance of nearly one million kilometres!