While performing my daily beacon check, a strange constellation around 1296.850 MHz appeared on the display of my SDR. The dish was turned to 254° at that time, to look for F5XBK.
From left to right: F5XBK, F1ZBK, ON0NR, HB9EME
Combined with strong QRN and radar noise I could copy F5XBK in JN18JS quite normal via tropo but also F1ZBK in JN38BP, ON0NR in JO20KJ and HB9EME in JN37KB via a rain scatter point in JN39LP. Later DB0GP in JN48WQ and DB0AJA in JN59AS could be heard too.
Then I continued to have a look on 2320 MHz where DB0UX in JN48FX, DB0FGB in JO50WB and DB0MJ in JO31UB could be copied via a scatter point in JN39JR.
Beacons heard via rain scatter on 23 and 13 cm
The map shows the location of DJ5AR in Mainz (green marker) in relation to the scatterpoints (blue markers). The paths to the beacons on 1296 MHz are in light blue and on 2320 MHz in dark blue. For that time heavy thunderstorms with flooded roads and cellars were reported for the area of Hermeskeil in JN39.
It was big fun working in contest for a whole week. I felt a bit like Phil Connors in the movie “Groundhog Day” (german: “Und täglich grüßt das Murmeltier”), in meeting most of the stations again day by day. My main activity was in the evenings on 23 and 13 cm, using 2 m, 70 cm and the ON4KST chat to arrange skeds. The conditions were slightly over normal but increasing on monday with a small opening to France. During the seven days I could work one new square on 2 m (JN15), two on 23 cm (JN09, JN15) and three on 13 cm (JN09, JO42, JO44). There were only two 4-band QSOs with DL7QY and DC1UR.
My top 5 of the most worked stations in this contest are:
DF8PR 16 QSOs on 3 bands (2 m, 70 cm, 23 cm)
DC8WPA 15 QSOs on 3 bands (2 m, 70 cm, 23 cm)
DK7UP 13 QSOs on 3 bands (2 m, 70 cm, 23 cm)
DL7QY 12 QSOs on 4 bands (2 m, 70 cm, 23 cm, 13 cm)
G3XDY 8 QSOs on 2 bands (23 cm, 13 cm)
Thank you all for your support and your patience!
total District K DL ex K France I,OE,G,LX Squares
Band QSO Stn QSO Stn DOK QSO Stn QSO Stn QSO Stn total new
144 100 58 72 31 18 25 24 3 3 0 0 11 1
432 65 31 54 22 15 11 9 0 0 0 0 6 0
1296 73 34 27 9 8 21 11 14 10 11 4 21 2
2320 28 15 2 2 2 14 8 5 3 7 2 12 3
The beacon check in the morning of October 19th gave me the impression of a strong inversion over southeast Germany. When looking for Stations on 23 cm on the SDR I noticed a big signal in CW: OE5VRL/5 calling to Hungary. I gave him a meep in the chat to tell him how strong his signal was here in Mainz, despite the fact that I was in the back of his 3 m dish. After turning the antenna to me he was stronger than many locals.
In the following days a lot of DX stations from OK, SP, HA, S5, OE, HB9, F, LX, G, PA, I and OZ filled the log while the inversion moved from east to west. All of the four OK beacons could be heard on 23 cm. Sometimes it was a little bit confusing when I was looking for new DX beacons and DB0AAT, DB0AJA, DB0GP, DB0LB, DB0FGB, DF0ANN, HB9EME and others could be heard in nearly any direction the dish was pointing to.
QSOs on 23 cm > 400 km
QSOs on 13 cm > 400 km
QSOs on 13 cm > 400 kmI am happy with a couple of new squares on 23 and 13 cm. Two new countries on 13 cm made it perfect: S51ZO in Slovenia and I1KFH in Italy. But I fear that it was more aircraft scatter than tropo.
“Bad weather and bad conditions” that is, what most comments say about this contest. The weather here in Mainz was bad too, but I cannot compare the conditions with the contests in the last years, because my last participation in this contest was in 1990. This year it ended up in 50 QSOs on 23 cm and 19 on 13 cm. I am quite satisfied with these results.
QSOs on 23 cm
QSOs on 13 cm
My new ODX on 13 cm is OL9W in JN99CL over 720 km. A lot of new squares could be worked too. Many DX stations were nearly as strong as they were on 23 cm.
Because the NAC on the fourth Tuesday each month promises good activity on 13 cm, I installed the new 75 W solid state linear and turned the dish to Scandinavia. Despite the QRM on 13 cm around here (may be from WLANs) and the Taunus mountains about 25 to 30 km north of Mainz, I was very pleased to work DL1SUZ in JO53 (471 km), G3XDY in JO02 (547 km), OZ3ZW in JO54 (583 km), DL0VV in JO64 (538 km) and OZ1FF in JO45 (633 km) on 2320 MHz.
After mounting the dish last evening, I was very impatient to see how it works. So I installed the controls for the rotator, fixed some meters of ECOFLEX 15 cable in the morning and started checking the beacons on 23 and 13 cm. It was no surprise but very satisfying that all of them were much stronger compared to the old 1.2 m dish. In the afternoon I had the initial QSO with the new antenna on 23 cm with Giorgio, IK3GHY in JN65DM. As I now know, I only had 5 W but Giorgio heard me with 539 anyway. My report for him was 559 and at the end of the QSO I could copy him in SSB too. Later I had a sked with 9A1Z in JN86DL. The signals weren’t strong enough to complete a QSO but we were able to detect them in the noise. So we will have another attempt when the preamp will be installed and my linear is finished.