Presentation “Reflections on Air- and Spacecrafts”

Banner GHz-Tagung 2015On February 21st, 2015 Jan, PA3FXB, and I will give a lecture in Dorsten at the GHz convention. It will be held in german and partly in english and is basing on the former lectures “Let´s Bounce”.

We will talk about unusual use of Aircraft Scatter and our experiences using ISCAT. Two years ago the idea, to try ISS Bounce, was born and discussed in Dorsten. We will show what we have done in the meantime in practising this propagation mode.

A big Dish, a big Bird and a big Signal

Jan, PA3FXB, and I skeduled a very special ISCAT test on 23 cm for today. The CAMRAS team had planned to operate PI9CAM with the 25 m radiotelescope in Dwingeloo for some astronomical experiments this afternoon. Before starting with that, we used an ISS pass with low elevation to try ISS bounce with the big dish. Such a pass ensures slow variation of azimuth end elevation angles, which is essential to track moving object like the ISS (or other spacecrafts in low orbits) with an antenna of a weight of 120 tons.

DSC_0384aWe had very strong reflections right from the beginning, but no decodes. Maybe the signal level was to high? This has to be investigated. Then we changed to aircraft scatter, although the dish had to be kept elevated at 10° by safety reasons, I got strong reflections from airplanes quite close to PI9CAM. Not as strong as from the ISS, but decodable now and it was possible to work in CW too.

Despite the fact, we had no QSO via ISS bounce, we learnt, that it is possible to track objects in low orbits with the 25 m radiotelescope, as long as the elevation keeps low. This opens up a perspective to make use of other spacecrafts as reflectors.

ISS Bounce again: now in ISCAT

Jan, PA3FXB, and I were discussing the use of digimodes on ISS bounce for quite a while. Today we tried it with ISCAT-B and were successful with the first shot. As in the tests with Ronald, ON7FLY, on AS, we used 15 seconds periods.


From the moment on, traces could be seen in the waterfall diagram, decodes were possible.

2015-01-04 12_14_58-

When the ISS culmiated and the variation of the dopplershift was fastest, the frequency correction came to its limits. But while I am used to ISCAT in the meantime, I needed no decodes to hear, that Jan was transmitting RRRRs.


At least I decoded a 73 from him. The experiences with ISCAT in ISS bounce are very promising, although the 15 seconds periods are too long. So we have to discuss it and try with shorter ones.2015-01-04 ISCAT QSO

ISCAT – a new experience

Inspired by an article, published by Rex, VK7MO, and David, VK3HZ, in the latest DUBUS [1], Ronald, ON7FLY, and I performed a first test in using ISCAT-B mode (by K1JT) for aircraft scatter on 23 cm. When looking on AirScout it doesn´t seem to be very challenging to have an QSO. But Ronald is obstructed by a hill in eastern directions and he didn´t expect to have an opportunity to work eastwards on 23 cm at all.

2014-12-27 16_37_03-AirScout - ON7FLYRonald is located in JO10LT and the distance is just 388 km. He uses a 44 element yagi with only 2 W at the feedpoint. On my side a 3 m dish and 150 W are in use. First of all we tried in SSB and were able to complete a QSO after a while. I could copy ON7FLY very weak, but readable. Then we tried in ISCAT-B with 30 seconds periods and it was amazing to see, that Ronald´s signal could be decoded even when only traces appeared in the spectrum.

2015-01-02 15_28_46-His signal can be seen in the center section (The drop outs are reactions of the AGC on radar noise). The above sequence could be decoded to:

2015-01-02 15_29_22-Since the periods of 30 seconds were far too long, we needed certain airplanes to complete. then we tried FSK441 with no decodes and switched to JT6M and completed the third QSO. In the meantime I found a hint in the above mentioned article, how to reduce the T/R periods to 15 seconds. So we completed a fourth QSO in ISCAT-B again in shortest time: 2015-01-02 18_02_00-


[1] Rex Moncur, VK7MO, David Smith, VK3HZ, Aircraft Scatter on 10 and 24 GHz using ISCAT: DUBUS Vol. 43 4/2014

Chaos on 1296.942 MHz!

2014-11-28 10_13_55-OK0el vs DB0AJA

There are good tropo conditions to the east from here for quite a while. I worked OK1MAC on November, 26th with an outstanding signal. OK0EA, SR6LHZ can be monitored constantly. I missed OK0EL on 1296.940, but solved the miracle today. The frequency shifted to .942 and the signal has been covered by DB0AJA. It´s nice to listen, how OK0EL in 526 km distance is battling against nearby DB0AJA,131 km away. As can be seen, DB0AJAs signal is accompanied by several dopplershifted reflections on airplanes.


It is interesting to see, that F5LENs refractive index as well as Hepburns tropo index don´t really illustrate the real conditions today. The conclusions is: Always perform a beacon check before switching off! The result may be surprising.

2014-11-29 09-00 F5LEN DJ5AR OK0EL

Presentation “Let´s Bounce” IIa

Last night, when I was going to switch off all the stuff in my shack, I saw an email from Malte, DE7LMS. I opened it and found a link to a video he recorded of my recent presentation in Weinheim.

Presentation “Let´s Bounce” III

My presentation “Let´s Bounce” will be given on two more dates:

October 25th, 2014 on the 4th Hessian GHz Meeting in Fernwald

Short version of the lecture with focus on aircraft scatter and ISS bounce.
We meet at 15:00 MEST on the car park at the town hall. There will be a flee market for GHz stuff and the opportunity to test own equipment or to have QSOs with other participants.

Gaststätte “Ratsschänke”
Oppenröder Strasse 1, 35463 Fernwald-Steinbach
Locator: JO40JN33VG

November 7th, 2014, 20:00 MET on the monthly meeting of DARC OV Miltenberg, B24

Full Version with overview of propagation modes, aircraft scatter, ISS bounce and visual moonbounce.

Deutscher Amateur Radio Club e.V.
Ortsverband Miltenberg, B24
Gasthaus “Goldenes Faß”
Kirchstraße 13, 63920 Großheubach
Locator: JN49OR64JJ

If you like to attend or need further information, just send an email to dj5ar (at)

IARU-Region-1 UHF/Microwaves Contest 2014

After my complainments about using the ON4KST chat in March Contest and the response I received from Claus, OZ1FDH, and Kjeld, OZ1FF, recommending the KST2ME tool, I added my homebrew prototype of a selective ON4KST client extension to my station control software. It communicates via telnet with the server. While working satisfactorily under normal circumstances, it was a desaster under contest load. When the software didn´t crash, it at least slowed down, by computing hundreds of posts in shortest time. Between 300 and 400 users have been logged to the microwave chat during contest time. During the first contest hours I tried to solve the problems with certain bug fixes, resulting in a huge loss of contest time. So I had to return to the classic style in using the web client of the chat.

QSOs on 23 cm

In total I logged 73 QSOs on 23 cm to 12 DXCC countries, spread over 39 grid squares (results). ODX was HG7F over 817 km. The use of the AirScout software, written by Frank, DL2ALF, has been essential. Most of the QSOs have been completed by assistance of aircraft scatter.

A nice example is the one with DJ5BV in JO30KI. The distance isn´t really far enough to do it via aircraft sctatter, but it seems, both antennas were pointing west and that resulted in effects of aircraft backscatter with significant dopplershifted reflections.

2014-10-05 11_59_34-Backscatter dj5bv innerDopplershifted reflections of Gerd, DJ5BV, caused by backscatter of aircrafts.