Tag Archives: Microwaves

Presentation “Let´s Bounce”

June 22nd, 2014

On July 24th, 2014 on 19:00 CEST I will talk about how to surmount the horizon on VHF and up at the local DARC Club in Bodenheim near Mainz.

After giving an overview over the classic propagation modes Es, Aurora, MS and Tropo, I will explain, how aircraft scatter and ISS bounce work. EME will be subjected too and the presentation will be completed by an introduction to “Visual Moonbounce” as performed by Daniela de Paulis.

Deutscher Amateur-Radio-Club e.V.
Ortsverband Bodenheim
Haus der Vereine
Laubenheimer Str. 22
55294 Bodenheim

The admission is free, but please register via email to
DK2FQ   wolfgang.beer (at) gmx.net   or to me   dj5ar (at) darc.de

Article in “Funkamateur” magazine July 2014

June 22nd, 2014

German Funkamateur mgazine has published my article “Abenteuer Bakenbeobachtung von 144 MHz bis 10 GHz” in its recent issue July 2014. As many topics are related to posts on this website, some of them are compiled here. Links to certain other websites can be found in the link list to the right.

Weather, rainscatter:

Rainscatter on 23 and 13 cm
Impressive Thunderstorm

Weather, troposheric ducting:

Another strange constellation (Update)
Strange Conditions
Opening September 21st 2013

Aircraft scatter (video):

PI7ALK via Aircraft Scatter

List of beacons, heard by DJ5AR in Mainz, JN49CV

My new beacon list

Impressive Thunderstorm

June 10th, 2014

2014-06-09 db0aja RS
The destructive thunderstorm in the Köln/Düsseldorf area last night was intense enough to provide rainscatter even on 1.3 GHz. DB0AJA near Würzburg in JN59AS could be heard with the typical rainscatter sound when the dish was heading 325°. An awful lot of water must have been in the air. The total distance of the signal path was about 400 km (150 + 250).
2014-06-09 21_18_29-PowerSDR-DB0AJA RS

The waterfall shows the spread of the signal. DB0AJA runs 20 W output into a 16 element Flexa yagi beaming northwest.

PI7ALK via Aircraft Scatter

March 17th, 2014

One of my favourite beacons to be watched via aircraft scatter is PI7ALK in JO22IP.  The beacon is running 4 W to a 4 times stacked omnidirectional antenna as described in DJ9HOs “UHF Unterlage V” on page 1001. The design of the antenna is by DC0BV. More details and the history of the beacon can be found here.

After about a minute first reflexions can be seen. The signal is increasing in strength, until the plane reaches the midpoint of the path. While other planes join, the signal will be spread by the doppler effect.

VHF-UHF-SHF Contest March 2014

March 3rd, 2014

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.

QSOs on 1296 MHz

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.

QSOs on 2320 MHz

Another strange constellation (Update)

February 6th, 2014

While performing my beacon check on December 16th, 2013 at 8:30 UTC, I stated that all beacons seemed to be at a normal level. Except, when looking for DB0FGB (JO50WB) with the dish heading 85°. There was a constant carrier of about 20 dB 15 kHz up, keying F1ZBK (JN38BP). Expecting a big signal, I turned the dish to France. But the beacon was only 15 dB with QSB, when beaming directly to it at 228°. Then I turned the dish back to 85° and noticed, that HB9EME (JN37KB) joined the party.

2013-12-16 09_30 F1ZBK HB9EME 85deg

DB0FGB, F1ZBK and HB9EME with dish heading 85°

The rain radar didn´t show anything unusual and the F5LEN Refractive index forecast for Europe promised only marginal tropo conditions for this area. Only DL7QYs Condition Index for south Germany has been on a level of 7 (1 = poor; 10 = extreme).

2013-12-16 09_00 F5LEN index

F5LEN Refractive Index

DB0FGB was a bit above normal at about 15 db with little QSB up and down. F1ZBK was constantly at 20 dB, when beaming 85° and around 15 dB with QSB heading 228° (direct). HB9EME was up to 20 dB in 85° and peaking 15 dB in fast QSB when beaming 198° (direct).

Green: Paths from Mainz to the beacons
Orange: Paths of the beacons to the area of the supposed reflection point

I checked HB9BBD, F5ZBS, F1ZBI and others, but couldn´t see any similar effects. The angle was very small. When turning the 3 m dish 5° left or right, the signals disappeared. These conditions lasted for about one hour.

Path DJ5AR to DB0FGB (by AirScout)

Topographic profile between DJ5AR and DB0FGB

The horizon in 85° is about 80 to 90 km off. A plausible explanation could be a strong troposheric duct between the beacons and a reflecting topographic formation.


In issue 2/14 the german magazine “Funkamateur” published an article by Matthias Hornsteiner, DG4MHM “Prognosekarten für troposphärische Überreichweiten” (Prediction maps for troposheric ducting). Matthias explains the basics of ducting and analyses the models, the well known refractive index maps of F5LEN and W. Hepburn are basing on.

So I had the intention, to ask him about a possibility for a reconstruction of the wheater constellation of that day. I have to thank him very much for his comprehensive answer.

As Matthias explained, the situation, shown on the map, was quite common for this, as he describes it, “anti-winter”. But it holds the possibility, that warm air might glide onto cold air at ground level. And indeed, when he reviewed the data of weather balloons launched at Stuttgart on that day, he found indications for a strong inversion in an estimated level of 400 to 600 m over south Germany. That matches!

In a distance of 200 km from here, the the topographic profile shows a formation, high enough to reach the level of this duct, as well as the mountains of the Fichtelgebirge do, where DB0FGB is located. The distances from Mainz to the area of the supposed reflection point is between 200 and 250 km. From F1ZBK and HB9EME it varies between 400 and 500 km. So the total path should have been between 600 and 750 km.


Opening September 21st 2013

September 21st, 2013

While performing a last beacon check before going to bed and all local beacons were quite normal, I took notice of a weak carrier 1 kHz up of F1ZBK on 1296.855 MHz. After optimizing the antenna and using a narrow filter I heard EA2TZ in IN93BF over 1073 km for the first time ever.

2013-09-21 20-50 EA2TZ

Left signal: F1ZBK/B, right signal: EA2TZ/B

 EA2TZ/B as received by DJ5AR over 1073 km on 23 cm

After posting this information in the ON4KST chat, Matej, OK1TEH sent the phone number of EA2TO and told me that Javier is currently QRV on 23 cm from IN83. After exchange of a few SMS he came back on my CQs and we could complete a QSO: A new DXCC, a new square and a new tropo ODX of 1173 km on 23 cm!
When closing down the station I had a quick look on 70 cm. There he was again: EA2TO in SSB. We had a nice chat and for me: A new DXCC, a new square and a new ODX of 1173 km on 70 cm!

Only 2 QSOs tonight, but I am very happy with it.

Back on air again!

January 19th, 2012

After being qrt by family and business reasons for nearly twenty years, I started in July 2011 in activating my irish call sign EI8HH on 50 MHz. Since January 2012 I am qrv again as DJ5AR from my QTH in Mainz.

The way working on the microwave bands has changed. No more CQs for hours and hours, but a fine chat at ON4KSTs server to make skeds on the bands wich provides much more efficiency than the way, we tried to make QSOs twenty years ago. A SDR makes it possible to display a spectrum of the band on the screen in a waterfall diagram. What a huge comfort compared to the old times. So it is no problem anymore to find somebody for a sked on 23 or 13 cm. Soon after setting up the old equipment for 1296 MHz I managed to work a couple of new squares and had my first QSO ever over the alps to Italy. It was amazing to hear the strong signal of IK3GHY with my 1.2 m dish.