On the annual service day of the DARC districts Saarland and Rhineland-Palatinate I had the pleasure to hold a lecture about EME basics and how to get into. Afterwards I invited the audience to try a live moon bounce QSO on 432 MHz from the parking lot outside. I had prepared some standard equipment of the kind, many might have in their shacks:
Transceiver Yaesu FT-897
15-Element Yagi (YU7EF )
PA Gemini 70, ca. 200 W
LNA SHF-Elektronik, 0,8 dB NF
Unfortunately it was rainy outside, the moon close to the sun and a G2 solar storm in progress. When swithing on the transceiver, I noticed some quite massive local QRM. Nevertheless I contacted Bernd, DL7APV, who had agreed in a sked, by phone, to tell him about the noise and that we were ready to go.
As the noise level went up and down and Bernd is one of the big guns on 70 cm, we were able to decode most of his transmissions despite all adversities. Finally we completed the QSO. That was a great job, Bernd!
I enjoyed to be in Saarbrücken and would like to say thank you to Eugen, DK8VR and his team for organising DST 2019!
Sometimes you hear words that hurt. Especially if they are true: Some years ago I tried 13 cm EME with Dan, HB9Q, and couldn´t copy anything of him. His comment after the test: “There is no way, not to hear me!” This is frustrating.
So I forgot Moon Bounce on this band and had fun with other activities, mainly on 23 cm. But the over 30 year old equipment caused more and more problems. So I started collecting parts and modules for a new transverter system covering 23 and 13 cm. It had been finished for the last VHF/UHF/SHF contest in March and was tested with good results. In the end of March I tried EME again after 2 years of absence. On 23 cm it worked fairly, but on 13 cm the drift was a serious problem. In a test with Alex, ZS6EME, I could decode his strong Signal, but not vice versa. So I added 10 MHz Double Oven Controlled Oscillators as references to stabilize the transverters.
PY2BS in WSJT-X Wide Graph
Today I tried with Bruce, PY2BS, and heard him strong in the speaker during his prior test with Toshio, JA6AHB: 1131 -6 2.5 2305 #* JA6AHB PY2BS GG66
At this time his elevation was -1.7° and the moon still under the horizon. After the moon set in Japan, we started:
As he switched his RX from 2304.070 MHz to my TX frequency 2320.070 MHz at about 12:14, we completed very fast. I am very pleased now with my first initial on 13 cm, a new grid square, a new ODX, a new DXCC and a new continent! After setting up a new Initials List for 2320 MHz and writing this blog entry, I enjoy my “Radio Operators High”!
Short talk about reception of space probe ISEE-3, moon bounce and radio astronomy with radio editor Udo Langenohl, DK5YA, on german radio station HR1 in a Sunday morning program “Lust am Hören” (fancy listening).
On July 24th, 2014 on 19:00 CEST I will talk about how to surmount the horizon on VHF and up at the local DARC Club in Bodenheim near Mainz.
After giving an overview over the classic propagation modes Es, Aurora, MS and Tropo, I will explain, how aircraft scatter and ISS bounce work. EME will be subjected too and the presentation will be completed by an introduction to “Visual Moonbounce” as performed by Daniela de Paulis.
Deutscher Amateur-Radio-Club e.V.
Haus der Vereine
Laubenheimer Str. 22
The admission is free, but please register via email to
DK2FQ wolfgang.beer (at) gmx.net or to me dj5ar (at) darc.de
The italian-dutch artist Daniela de Paulis is the inventor of visual moonbouce. Slow scan television is used to send pictures towards the moon. When the bounced signals will be received and visualized, the pictues are a kind of distorted and win a very special charm.
The pictures shown below are screenshots, I took during a performance on April 13th, 2014.
I am very proud, that Daniela has choosen one of my pictures for her performance. It shows the moon resting on clouds and has been bounced at the moon.
Nando, I1NDP, transmitted a selection of pictures in SSTV, to be received by PI9CAM with the radiotelescope at Dwingeloo. Using a “GOOGLE Hangout”, an audience from all over the world watched live, how Daniela and her team (Nando, I1NDP, Jan, PA3FXB, and many more) were bouncing all the pictures at the moon.
A video recording of the session can be found here.
April 5th, 2014 After an extensive restoration by ASTRON and the CAMRAS foundation, the 25m dish of the radiotelescope in Dwingeloo has been reopened by astrononomer, radio amateur and Nobel laureate Prof. Dr. Joseph Taylor, K1JT, on April 5th, 2014.
In future it will be used by radio amateurs, amateur astronomers and artists for certain projects.
Despite all the discussions about using digital modes in moonbounce I want to gather own experiences. After installing WSJT last Xmas I could decode a couple of stations on EME without any problems. First TX tests resulted in an intolerable frequency drift, which could be limited with the installation of a crystal heater. Then I started with real tests, but in all skeds no one could decode me! I had no clue what went wrong. So I changed – quick and dirty – the PC producing the audio stream. Now OK1CS, HB9Q and G4CCH could be worked in JT65C. Last sunday morning I saw a big signal in the waterfall diagram of my SDR. It was JA6AHB and it was a question of a few minutes to put him to the log. All stations worked so far, have been audible in my headphones.
I think, in general it is nice to use digital modes to work others via EME. But there is much more skill in involving the ears to have success in completing an QSO. It´s always great to HEAR the final rogers. Despite that I will not deny the use of digital modes. Why not working someone digital and then, maybe after some improvements, top it in working him in CW again? As long as all information like callsigns, reports and rogers, necessary for a complete QSO, have passed the radio channel, it will be a valid QSO. This is my position.
I will continue to explore digital modes:
The TX signal will be processed on my FT-987 with a seperate PC. RX is done with my SDR and another PC. By not typing in the other callsign or using call3.txt on the RX side I am quite sure in ‘really’ receiving the callsigns.
Tonight I had a sked with Howard, G4CCH. He was there on the tick. We met in the HB9Q chat to arrange the details. What shall I say: Within a few minutes he became my first initial on 23 cm EME! As he told me later in the chat, I have been his #365 on CW (wow). After the completion of our QSO Nando, I1NDP called me to be the #2 in my just created initial list.
Tonight I added about 3 dB of power and – of course – directed the antenna to the moon to perform an echotest. I did not really expect to hear something but – what a surprise – there seemed to be a sound in the noise. I continued and after a couple of “dah-dah-dahs” it was sure, that there were my first echoes on 23 cm!
Unfortunatly the moon is setting now and so it´s too late for a QSO. I will have a whiskey and go to bed, looking forward to tomorrow.