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.
Today another ARISS contact has been established between Thomas Pesquet, FX0ISS aboard the Intenational Space Station and Collège André Malraux, Chatelaillon-Plage, France. As expected, the onboard DATV transmitter (HamTV) was in operation.
Blank transmissions have been received earlier, but today I could receive the TV pictures for my very first time. There was a lot of fading, but I managed to record a couple of sequences.
As the pass went overhead, I lost the signal, when the ISS approached the zenith, because the rotor had to turn 180° and it is too slow to catch up the bird again (full length video here best quality from 2:50 to 4:50).
The frequency used was 2.395 GHz. The equipment installed for reception is a 3 m dish with linear polarisation, a Kuhne MKU LNC 23 converter and a TT S2-3200 DVB-S receiver card in my PC with Tutioune3200 DVB-S software by F6DZP.
Today I configured the MKU 23 G4, I ordered from Michael in Friedrichshafen to perform a RX test. Via aircraft scatter it was no problem to receive the beacons OZ7IGY in JO55WM over 670 km and OK0EK in JN89VJ over 689 km. The sun noise is at a level of 6 dB.
Beacons regulary receivable on 13 cm (green: TR / blue: AS)
The motivation is high now to configure the TX line as well 😉
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.