Category Archives: Propagation

Activity as EI8HH is over now

October 21st, 2020

QSOs in October 2020: MS in red, FT8 in green and SSB in blue

While refurbishing our irish home, I found some time in the mornings and the evenings to be active on 2 m. At least I worked 31 squares. Even on 23 cm I got 3 Calls to the log. The rig so far is an IC-9700 with a 7 element yagi and a linear amplifier with 200 W on 2 m and a 69 element yagi on 23 cm,

Now I have to close the station and take the antennas down. It has been a lot of fun and I hopefully will be back next year, if pandemic allows. Many ideas are in my mind now, how to improve the station over here.

Many thanks to Joe, EI3IX, his N adapter female-female allowed me, to run 2 m and 23 cm simultaneously 😉 .

EI8HH on Air

October 2nd, 2020

As some work at our families house in Ireland has to be done, I am spending 3 weeks over here in IO53HN. I got my new IC-9700 with me and have antennas for 2 m and 23 cm. As I have to restrict my movements by government order, no portable activites are possible in the first two weeks. So I will try to work in the UHF/SHF Contest on 23 cm from the southern lake shore of Lough Mask. My favourite direction is to GI/GM. Maybe I can go to a better QTH later in the 23 cm UKAC. On 144 MHz I will focus on meteor scatter in the morning hours.

In a first test on 2 m I worked GI and GM in FT8. GM7PKT came back on my very first CQ. Later I tried meteor scatter with my german neighbour Mathias, DH4FAJ. As he has massive QRM, he couldn´t hear anything, but I copied him twice with +4 dB. So better to try in the morning again.

Tropo to Belarus this Morning on 144 MHz

September 9th, 2020

A nice inversion could be seen out of the window of my shack this morning, promising good conditions. In fact I have been a little too far south for the duct, but at least I had two QSOs to Belarus in FT8.

Green: worked – Red: heard via tropo – Blue: heard via meteor scatter

The stations worked and heard via tropo have been in distances up to 1300 km. Occasionally signals appeared from more distant stations, 1500 and more km away. These could be decoded in one or two periods, then disappeared. Some reappeared later in the same manner, so it´s very likely, it has been meteor scatter, as it happened in the early morning, when conditions are good for sporadic meteors.

Worked Hrd Tropo Hrd MS 
SP6URZJO71mdSP6EJO71kkUT4UEPKN49wv
SP1MVGJO74jaSQ6POMJO71vqUT2EMKN67qv
SP6CVBJO80veHF1JJO73fiUS4IEKKN87ux
SQ5ESMKO02hcSP1NENJO73fiUR7IMMKN88tr
EU3CZKO12JBSP1WSRJO73gjUS3ITUKN88wa
EU3AIKO22CESP6LTMJO80fuUT6LXKN89cj
SP3NJO81xkUS8ARKO60sr
SO3ZJO82kkR3LQKO64hk
SQ2SATJO83xg
SP1FJZJO84ee
SP9BCVJO90wb
SP7CKHJO92qf
SP2CHYJO94go
SP8NFOKN09ps
YL2IVKO06lm
EW3AAKO12TC
EU3ACKO12wd
SP4MPHKO14lc
UR4WWTKO20ec
LY1LRKO24ph

New Bands down to DC

May 7th, 2020

Yesterday I added a logarithmic periodic antenna for the range 28 to 150 MHz to my little antenna farm. So I am QRV now on the amateur bands from the highest DC band 28 MHz up to 2400 MHz.

Antennas at DJ5AR

Recently I got an IC-7300 with extended frequency range to cover the 50 MHz and 70 MHz, as well as the new Irish bands 80 MHz and 60 MHz.

So I am looking forward to have some cross band QSOs to Ireland soon!

I took down the 3 cm dish for some work on the rig. And I know, the 70 cm yagi is much too close to the new antenna, but I have been too lazy to dismount it.

Addendum May 18th, 2020

First PI4 decodes of EI1KNH in IO63VE on 40 MHz.

AirScout V1.3.3.0 released

May 3rd, 2020

The VHF/UHF/SHF contest on 2nd to 3rd of May was a good opportunity to spend a few hours trying the new AirScout version 1.3.3.0 released by Frank, DL2ALF. In principle it works like it´s predecessors, but is more stable in collecting the aircraft data. My favourite in this case is planefinder.net.

Most impressed I am by the new feature to monitor a number of paths to certain stations simultaneously! This provides more efficiency in arranging skeds, particularly in times like these, when there are a few planes only are available.

Find more details on the AirScout Site.

Strange Conditions Today

January 1st, 2020

I got up quite early today and decided to check the beacons on 23 cm. When beaming to LA1UHG, there was a noticeable signal in F1 about 1 kHz above its frequency. It was easy to read it as DB0LB from the back of the dish. But it seemed, there was another faint signal right beside the spacing carrier. With the help of my SDR radio I could set very narrow filters and after a while of listening, I identified it as LA1UHG, JO59FB, 1028 km. Wow!

But the signal faded out more and more and at least it disappeared.

LA1UHG just 140 Hz below the space carrier of DB0LB

Later this morning, the dish still pointing north, I heard Kurt, OE5XBL, chatting in SSB with Rudi, OE5VRL/5, both with very strong signals on 23 cm. Expecting a huge signal, I turned the antenna to Kurt, but there was no significant increase in signal strength. I called in and the three of us were talking about the conditions and to meet for a beer at the GHz convention in Dorsten next February, when Kurt was called by Dave, G4RQI. I had tried with him earlier without any success, and so, to be honest, I was a little annoyed by this. Even, when turning the dish to the UK, I couldn´t copy anything of Dave’s transmissions, while he was working Kurt and Rudi. These were enough indications, that the inversion was at a too high altitude for me, to enter it. So I went for a long walk with my XYL in the nearby vineyards.

The inversion is at an altitude of about 1000 m (Courtesy DWD)

In the evening I performed another beacon check. It was funny to see beacons, the dish was pointing to, as well as others from the back of the dish

Dish pointing southeast: DB0UX, DB0VC, DB0AAT (from left to right)

Turning the dish, confirmed the experience I had in the the morning: Pointing southeast I saw DB0VC, JO54IF, next to DB0AAT, JN67HU. Turning the dish towards Kiel in the north, the signal of DB0VC increased just a little. Maybe, it has been reflected by a mountain range about 50 km southeast of me.

Dish pointing north: DB0UX, DB0XY, DB0VC, OZ7IGY (from left to right)

F5ZNI: Beacon #34 on 13 cm

December 29th, 2019

By performing my daily beacon check, I noticed a weak keyed carrier in between the spacing of the F1 signal of DB0UX on 2320.900 MHz. I assumed to see F6DWG/B, which I monitored around the .900 before. But it didn´t take long to find out, that the real signal (mark) was the lower carrier and after a while I learned, it was F5ZNI using reverse F1 keying. Later in the evening the signal increased due to good tropo conditions, as can be seen in the pictures. F5ZNI is the 34th beacon I received in the 13 cm (S) Band

F5ZNI and DB0UX in PowerSDR

I am always happy about new beacons, but this case is an example, why beacon coordination and using standards is most important. First of all, reverse F1 keying is always bad, as you are used to listen to the upper carrier of the signal. In case there is an unkeyed carrier in between the text, you can easily identify the mark, where to listen. But if there is text keyed nearly all the time, as F5ZNI does, it is rather time consuming until the mark is identified.

The DB0UX signal was strong and the frequency is locked to a reference, while F5ZNI is drifting a little. So it was obvious, that there was a second signal in place. If the french beacon would have been locked to 2320.900 MHz too and would use the standard A1 or F1 keying, there would have been no chance for me to monitor or even to take notice of it.

An excerpt from BEACONSPOT.UK shows the situation on 2320.900 MHz:

BeaconNominal FrequencyLocatorLast SpottedLast FrequencyStatus
F6DWG2320.900JN19BQ2019-05-312320.898Dead/lost
HG3BUC2320.900JN96CC2019-10-112320.897Operational
OZ5SHF2320.900JO45VX2019-08-242320.900Operational on spot date
DB0MJ2320.900JO31UB2019-12-292320.905Operational
ON0TB2320.900JO30BM2019-09-202320.897Dead/lost
DB0UX2320.900JN48FX2019-12-292320.900Operational on spot date
F1ZCC2320.900JN08XSUncertain - new spot required
SR1SHS2320.900JO73PG2019-12-302320.900Operational
IQ5FI2320.903JN53SR2019-12-282320.901Operational
F5ZNI2320.904JN19BQ2019-12-302320.899Operational on spot date


Depending on the location and the conditions, there will be more or less interference on 230.900 MHz

So I am urging all beacon keepers to make use of the service provided by the
IARU R1 VHF/UHF/MW Beacon Coordinator. When designing a beacon, please respect chapter 11 “Beacon Requirements” in the IARU-R1 VHF Handbook.

DB0XY back on Air

December 17th, 2019

As the beacon keeper Thomas, DL4EAU, wrote me, the DB0XY beacons in JO51EU are back on air. The frequencies are 1296.912, 2320.912 and 10368.912 MHz. All are locked to a GPS reference now.

DB0XY on 1296.912 MHz in JN49CV: A weak tropo trace, but many nice reflections on airplanes
DB0XY on 2320.912 MHz: No trace via tropo, but many reflections on planes

Moon Bounce out of the Boot

September 28th, 2019

On the annual service day of the DARC districts Saarland and Rhineland-Palatinate I had the pleasure to hold a lecture about EME basics and how to get into. Afterwards I invited the audience to try a live moon bounce QSO on 432 MHz from the parking lot outside. I had prepared some standard equipment of the kind, many might have in their shacks:

  • Transceiver Yaesu FT-897
  • 15-Element Yagi (YU7EF )
  • PA Gemini 70, ca. 200 W
  • LNA SHF-Elektronik, 0,8 dB NF
EME rig in the boot, Photo by courtesy of Klaus, DF6WN

Unfortunately it was rainy outside, the moon close to the sun and a G2 solar storm in progress. When swithing on the transceiver, I noticed some quite massive local QRM. Nevertheless I contacted Bernd, DL7APV, who had agreed in a sked, by phone, to tell him about the noise and that we were ready to go.

Bernd´s array of 128 x 11 elemnt yagis during a barbeque last June

As the noise level went up and down and Bernd is one of the big guns on 70 cm, we were able to decode most of his transmissions despite all adversities. Finally we completed the QSO. That was a great job, Bernd!

I enjoyed to be in Saarbrücken and would like to say thank you to Eugen, DK8VR and his team for organising DST 2019!

F1ZBK in JN38BP back on air on 1296.854 MHz

June 7th, 2019
Doppler shifted traces (1000 Hz = 1296.854 MHz)

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.

It would be a great advantage, if all beacon keepers will respect the beacon requirements as published in the VHF Handbook of IARU R1.