Recently, when getting the WAC Award for 23 cm, I outed myself, not really being an awards collector. The other day some HAMs proudly presented the first WAE awards for FT8 only contacts on Facebook. So the question was, how far would I come with VHF and up. Surprisingly I found QSLs for 42 WAE countries and 100 band points, when checking my shoe boxes and the QSL systems in the Internet.
2018: WAE III, 100 of the 106 Band Points on 144 MHz to 2320 MHz
As electronic QSLs were involved, these had at least to be imported to the German “DARC Community Logbook”, short DCL, for the award application. It´s not my favourite, because there are problems to enter and store QSOs on the GHz bands. I asked the developer about and he mentioned, that it isn´t intended for. So I decided to interpret DCL as “Direct Current Log”. No wonder, there also was no way to delete the six embarassing shortwave QSLs, it had imported automatically.
It´s one of the rare moments in the life of a Radio Amateur, when his shack is cleared up. Beyond believe, everything was up and running 2 hours (!) before contest time. Being a kind of bewildered, I sorted the stuff on my desk. The amazing result can be admired in the photo I took hereafter.
Starting with a nice QSO with M1CRO in SSB on 23 cm, I tried the new 3 cm Equipment, mounted on the VHF/UHF pole. 1 W into a 50 cm dish should be enough to collect first experiences. Two QSOs over 100 km were entered to the log. Quite nice, but further tests showed, that the topography is not ideal to cover larger distances, without the help of e.g. tropo, aircraft or rain scatter.
QSOs on 23 cm in blue, on 13 cm in red
Then I had my focus on 1296 and 2320 MHz, as usual. At least 58 QSOs, 36 squares and 14 DXCCs on 23 cm and 32 QSOs, 25 squares and 10 DXCCs on 13 cm have been logged. ODX, as last year, was HG7F in JN97KR over 817 km on both bands. Having an easy exchange on 1296 MHz, it took us nearly 20 minutes of hard work to puzzle a QSO on 13 cm as well. I remeber, last year it was vice versa.
Tonight I monitored OZ7IGY on 2,320.930 MHz via aircraft scatter. It was nice to see other beacons appearing shortly in the waterfall diagram.
OZ7IGY and friends in time lapse
From left to right:
2.320.900: DB0UX, JN48FX, 105 km, tropo
2,320.910: DB0XY, JN51EU, 263 km, aircraft scatter
2.320.920: DB0VC, JN54IF, 509 km, aircraft scatter
2,320.930: OZ7IGY, JN55WM, 670 km, aircraft scatter
The dish was bearing 20° to OZ7IGY. The -3 dB beamwidth is just 3.2° on 13 cm.
Tonight ESA astronaut Paolo Nespoli, IZ0JPA, aboard the International Space Station tested the amateur radio equipment in the Columbus Module.
Signal quality was better than expected, as it was a pass with quite low culmination at 48° elevation only. He could be heard well on 145.8 MHz FM as well.
Groundtrack of the ISS
The following pass at 20:44 UTC was more convenient and culminated at 62° elevation in the north. But Paolo could only be seen in the very first seconds, before he switched HamTV to blank transmission.
As the weather forecast promised heavy thunderstorms for today, I was looking out for scatter points on 13 cm. Pointing to eastern France, I found a heavily scattered signal of DB0UX in JN48FX in 204°.
But the sound was quite strange and rhythmic. When taking a look out of the window, I saw the dish pointing at two windmills in 1 km distance.
This kind of scatter is not very helpful, but a nice experience anyway.
Another ARISS contact with an YOTA event in England was scheduled. HAMTV should be operated by Paolo Nespoli, IZ0JPA. As some nice video sequences could be received on 13 cm, nothing was heard on the 2 m downlink on 145.800 MHz in FM.
After the unexpected good result in March on 13 cm, I had a special focus on this band in May contest. Last year I marked my new record in the number of stations worked on 23 cm, this year I improved the new record from March in worked stations on 13 cm. Particularly in the last hour I had the ambition to log at least 40 Stations. So I had QSO #40 in the last 5 minutes with Detlef, DJ3AK, in JO52GJ, 322 km, using aircraft reflections on planes just 50 km from my location, elevating the dish up to 10°: Power Aircraft Scatter 😉
QSOs on 13 cm
With QSOs to Poland, Hungary and Belgium three new countries could be added to the 13 cm list. HG7F (817 km) is my new aircraft scatter ODX. Also some new grid squares could be logged.
And again: After the contest is before the contest! A lot of ideas are in my mind, what has to be improved for the next competitions!
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”!
The other day I had a look on Dominiques QRZ.COM page and saw, he claimed to have a beacon on 13 cm as well. The frequency seemed to be quite strange: 2308.037 MHz
It´s because the situation in Switzerland is different, than in other european countries:
2300 – 2308 MHz with special permission only
2308 – 2312 MHz License classes 1, 2 and CEPT
2312 – 2400 MHz with special permission only
My new Kuhne MKU 23 G4 transverter covers certain segements of the band. so I switched to 2304 – 2306 MHz and tried to listen on an IF around 148.037 MHz and was disappointed: nil. I expected a strong signal as the same beacon on 1296.050 MHz ist up to 40 dB above noise under normal conditions.
A weak trace can be seen at the IF of 1392.032 MHz (LO 916 MHz)
I contacted Dominique and he assured, the beacon should be on air. So I tried with the setup, I received ISEE-3 quite a time ago and monitored the path for airplanes. So after a short while, there was a trace to be seen on 2308.032 MHz. Even the keyed carrier could be heard deep in the noise, when larger aircrafts crossed or flew along the path.
Characteristic “hook” at the begin of the carrier after keying the call
So I proudly added beacon #23 to my 13 cm list.
HB9BBD/B: 2308.032 MHz, JN47GA, 1662 m. asl, PWR 8W, ERP 100W beaming north
March 23rd, 2017, Update
I had a second try with the MKU 23 G4 this morning and was able to receive the beacon with this gear as well on 2308.032 MHz.