A question in a Facebook group about a GPDSO for an IC-9700 to be used on 23 cm for FT8 inspired me for a quick test. As I use my IC-9700 for 2 m and 70 cm only from home, I connected a dummy load to the 23 cm antenna socket. Next was to tune it to 1,296.174 MHz (of course) and to call in FT8.
The result in brief: No problem to decode, a moderate drift and the signal appeared about 100 Hz too low. Nothing to worry about.
But never the less, I prefer JT9f on 23 cm, as FT8 is useless on aircraft scatter.
When looking for EA2TZ/B during a beacon check a couple of days ago, I mentioned a signal with strong doppler shift about a khz below. As I like the challenge to identify new beacons, I started monitoring it. It became a kind of a nightmare, trying to to catch the beacons callsign. It seems to be very chatty, transmitting a whole bunch of unuseful text. despite the fact I got a lot of good quality fragments via aircraft scatter, it took me hours to identify it as F1ZBK. At least I am pretty sure it is, as there is a second callsign in the end of the text: F1DND, maybe it´s the keepers call.
The text decoded so far is: —— beacon f1zbk jn38bp nancy … 854 khz … 5 watt … f1dnd … orange KA … ——- Where the “…” represent gaps and KA is the prosign for “Attention” or “New Message” (not to be used at the end of a message, like AR).
There are many beacons running in bad modes like reversed F2A or keying the subcarrier of F2A, but transmitting such a lot of stuff is worse.
After I noticed some spots for SR1KOL in JO74SE on 1296.960 MHz, I monitored the frequency using WSJT-X Wide Graph. About 400 Hz below the nominal frequency traces of a F1 signal can be seen, when airplanes cross the path to the beacon. The signal is not audible, but I am pretty sure, it is SR1KOL.
Traces of SR1KOL in JO74SE, “1000” = 1296.960 MHz. The strong signal at the very left is a birdie.
Some information can be found on the website of Polski Klub UKF: It is located on a high rise building in Kołobrzeg, 40 m above ground. The power is 3 W into a slot antenna. Beacon keeper is Andrzej, SQ1GU.
The video shows an A380 crossing the path between DJ5AR and SR1KOL. At minute 2:00 the plane crosses the first time and at minute 4:00 after a turn it crosses a second time. Mind the traces at 580 Hz in the waterfall diagram. The 1000 Hz mark corresponds to 1296.960 MHz.
Irek, SP5MX, who was involved in building the beacon and who repaired it recently, told me, the beacons reference is an OCXO withtout any GPS-lock. So possibly the beacon may transmit 400 Hz lower than defined.
At least in the morning of July 31st audible reflections could be heard via an Airbus A330. This time the 1000 Hz mark correspondents to 1296.9596 MHz.
After 10 seconds the noise becomes a kind of ‘musical’. Another 10 seconds later experienced ears can hear the tone.
As can be noticed now, the fears, many Microwavers would prefer to go to the HAM RADIO fair in Friedrichshafen, were overdone. It was a nice contest and in the 23 and 13 cm sections I worked more stations than in the last contests in May and March, as well as in all previous microwave contests I participated in June before. As can be seen in the maps, my honey pot is the east.
QSOs on 23 cm in Microwave Contest June 2018
The signal levels were very strong and I managed to work HA5KDQ on 23 cm in SSB over a distance of 830 km via Aircraft Scatter (ODX). To be honest: I am sure, we would have been faster in using CW 😉
QSOs on 13 cm in Microwave Contest June 2018
Working on 13 cm was big fun and ODX was HG7F over 817 km in a quick QSO in CW (as usual). When I went to bed at night, I already had 22 QSOs on this band with an average of 457 km per QSO.
Hannes, OE3JPC, was so kind, to send an audio record of my signal on 13 cm.
First steps have been done on 3 cm. But there is a lot of potential for improvements.
So it was not really a problem to quit two hours earlier to attend a barbecue with the family.
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.
The french beacon F5ZBM is on air again. I found it accidentally, when looking for other french beacons. It is at a new location in JN18MN near Paris transmitting on 1,296.8475 MHz. Nice to monitor it in Mainz via aircraft scatter over a distance of 406 km!
The keying is in F1 with a very narrow spacing. Power is 10 W ERP into a slot antenna, as can be seeen at BEACONSPOT.eu