November 17th, 2016
I have been very short in time for this activity evening, but managed to work 10 Stations within one hour. The first three were the three Johns from UK: G4BAO, G3XDY and G4ZTR.
Despite a late start and easy going operation, at least 63 QSOs filled the log for the 23 cm band. HA5KDQ from Budapest (JN97LN) became my new contest-ODX with 829 km. As can be seen in the map, the eastern directions are my favourite ones.
It´s nice to see me as #2 in IAC. To meet the lads from Italy on 23 cm every 3rd Tuesday in month is always big fun. Unfortunately I missed the August event due to my dismantled rotor. Instead I met Giorgio, IK3GHY, at the EME Conference in Venice. Also big fun to see his new amplifier for 23 cm there, wow!
And another Contest is over. Again I learned a lot and I am happy with the results: With a count of 82 QSOs I broke my personal record in claimed QSOs in a 23 cm contest. Since October1990 the number has been as high as 78 QSOs.
The claimed score is a little more than 30.000 points and a new personal record as well. The 82 Stations, worked on 1296 MHz, are from 12 DXCC countries and located in 41 different grid squares. Countries worked were 40 x DL, 1 x F, 3 x G, 2 x HB9, 1 x HA, 5 x I, 6 x OE, 14 x OK, 1 x OM, 1 x ON, 5 x PA and 3 x S5. In most of the QSOs aircraft scatter was an important factor. 35 contacts were done in CW. ODX, as usual, was HG7F over 817 km, still my ODX via AS. Nice was to work 3 OE5-stations around local midnight within 10 minutes: OE5VRL/5, OE5JFL and OE5RBO.
The contest is over and there are new ideas in my mind, how to improve for the next one. Even though I am using a homebrew KST-client beside the browser based one, arranging skeds in the ON4KST chat is still the bottleneck in operating the contest. I fear, many requests will disappear from the screens of many operators, before they can take notice. No reason to argue for me, instead I will continue working on my KST-client projekt.
I had much fun in using Aircraft Scatter on 1296 MHz for most of the 58 QSOs, logged on this band. The average was 372 km/QSO and I worked 37 grids in 12 countries. And again HG7F became the ODX with a distance of 817 km. Weather was very bad and many of the contest teams weren´t able to go to their usual locations. So this time only one Station could be worked from JN99, compared to seven in July 2015.
When having a look on the claimed scores list, published today, I was really surprised by my preliminary result in the category 23 cm single operator. I did not expect at all to be No. 1.
It had been very hot that weekend and the activity in the ON4KST Microwave chat was extremly high. So I slowed down, made only little use of the chat and tried to find calling stations on the 23 cm band. There were a lot of signals from the east and when going to bed at midnight I counted 29 QSOs with an average of 524 km/QSO. Top DXCC count was OK (11) followed by DL (5), OM (4) and G (3).
On Sunday morning I continued, but it was still very hot and not much fun. When the temperature in my shack exceeded 40°C at around 10:00 UTC, I decided to go QRT.
Finally I logged 45 Stations from 12 DXCCs in 27 squares with an average of 483 km per QSO. 17 stations were worked in CW, the rest (28) in SSB. 10 QSOs had a QRB > 700 km (7 x JN99) and the ODX was HG7F with 817 km. The total time of operation was less than 15 hours.
After my complainments about using the ON4KST chat in March Contest and the response I received from Claus, OZ1FDH, and Kjeld, OZ1FF, recommending the KST2ME tool, I added my homebrew prototype of a selective ON4KST client extension to my station control software. It communicates via telnet with the server. While working satisfactorily under normal circumstances, it was a desaster under contest load. When the software didn´t crash, it at least slowed down, by computing hundreds of posts in shortest time. Between 300 and 400 users have been logged to the microwave chat during contest time. During the first contest hours I tried to solve the problems with certain bug fixes, resulting in a huge loss of contest time. So I had to return to the classic style in using the web client of the chat.
In total I logged 73 QSOs on 23 cm to 12 DXCC countries, spread over 39 grid squares (results). ODX was HG7F over 817 km. The use of the AirScout software, written by Frank, DL2ALF, has been essential. Most of the QSOs have been completed by assistance of aircraft scatter.
A nice example is the one with DJ5BV in JO30KI. The distance isn´t really far enough to do it via aircraft sctatter, but it seems, both antennas were pointing west and that resulted in effects of aircraft backscatter with significant dopplershifted reflections.
Last night I have been active in the Nordic and Italian Activity Contests on 13 cm. The conditions were awesome. Just four QSOs with IK2OFO (JN45), IZ4BEH (JN54, new #), DL0VV (JO64) and OZ3ZW (JO54) were written to the log, very weak Signals and rare airplane reflections most of the time. So it needed much patience and certain aircrafts to complete the QSOs as the audio record of my QSO with Roberto, IZ4BEH, shows.
It demonstrates my style of operation in aircraft scatter QSOs. I keep the transmissions short and listen in between. Only relevant information will be sent, because the duration of a reflection is typically very short. Fixed periods in aircraft scatter tests are not required at all. The first signals, received from Roberto, included the callsigns and fractions of a report. So I could be sure, that both calls were exchanged and only the report was needed. The locator was sent too, because IZ4BEH has been working in the Italian Activity Contest. It took quite a while, until a second airplane passed by near the midpoint of the path, giving us the chance to complete the QSO.
After my recent complainment about the challenge of the chat in March Contest, I got emails from Claus, OZ1FDH, and Kjeld, OZ1FF, with information about KST2ME, a tool to manage the ON4KST chat. I made use of it in the activity contests and it is a real improvement compared to the pure webclient. Thank you, Claus and Kjeld, for the feedback! KST2ME can be downloaded from Bo´s, OZ2M, homepage.
Many thanks to all enthusiasts on 23 and 13 cm, who spent up to 20 minutes to complete a QSO with me. Tropo conditions were not too good this time and especially 2320 MHz it seemed to have an additional attenuation on all signals. But never the less, quite a lot of QSOs filled the log. More stations than I could handle, requested skeds via the ON4KST chat. I have to apologize for all my replies like “pse qrx, meep u when free”, I forgot about. So, all I can say is:
Please excuse me for forgetting to meep you!
Indeed, this chat is a great tool, I don´t want to miss it. But in times of contest it can be a challenge, like the contest itself. I will not apply for to do without, it is rather a question, how to use it. The amount of information, flowing over the screen, is immense. On saturday afternoon or on sunday morning, relevant entries might disappear within less than a minute. So I have to think about optimizing my software tools.
Skilled VHF Operators may smile, when I tell them, 58 QSOs on 23 cm and 19 QSOs on 13 cm are hard work. The sum of that is the number they work within the first hour of their contest section. But in fact, the world above 1 GHz is a different one. The beams of the antennas are much narrower compared to VHF and UHF. The dense of stations is much less, since it is not like plug and play to become QRV up there. The attenuation increases GHz by GHz and all that results in real work for most of the QSOs. There are only a few big guns on 23 cm to be heard from any antenna direction. So the band seems to be empty, even at contest time. But the chat is an oppotunity for all kind of stations to arrange skeds and to have QSOs over distances of several hundred kilometers. And, especially when using aircraft scatter, patience could be needed to complete.
The battle is over. I had my last QSO with Patrick, DH2PA on 70 cm just before the contest closed after seven days. There was a big regional activity on VHF, UHF and SHF, much more than last year. Finally I logged 414 QSOs on the four bands I have been active, compared to 266 in 2013. It is remarkable that there were many locals with improvised equipment on 23 cm. Just one new square on 2320 MHz could be worked during the activityweek: IK3GHY in JN65DM via aircraft scatter. But collecting new squares is getting harder and harder, the more are already worked. The tropo conditions remained normal during the seven days, so there was less DX than last year. This time I found four partners for 4-band-QSOs: DL7QY, DL8YG, DF5AY and DB6NT.
The top five of the most worked stations in this contest: 1. DL7QY 24 QSOs on 4 bands (2 m, 70 cm, 23 cm, 13 cm) 2. DC8WPA 18 QSOs on 3 bands (2 m, 70 cm, 23 cm) DJ1FZ 18 QSOs on 3 bands (2 m, 70 cm, 23 cm) DK0RLP 18 QSOs on 3 bands (2 m, 70 cm, 23 cm) DK7UP 18 QSOs on 3 bands (2 m, 70 cm, 23 cm) Thank you all for your support and your patience!
Statistics: total District K DL ex K F,I,OK,OZ,SM Squares BAND QSO Stn QSO Stn DOK QSO Stn QSO Stn total new 144 183 94 99 43 26 82 48 3 3 15 432 134 66 69 31 20 65 35 0 0 10 1296 79 37 36 14 12 34 16 9 7 16 2320 19 11 1 1 1 15 7 3 3 10 1