Tuesday, September 16, 2014

VK9NT Norfolk Island in the log on 15m CW (short path)

Norfolk Island is a very small island off eastern Australia.
A short time ago, I managed to work the VK9NT Norfolk Island dxpedition on 15 metres CW. He is very light here on the short path, and inaudible on the long path. He is working everything from EU to Africa to Japan, so I really didn't think I had a chance. But I heard a couple of stations working him just one KC up, so I knew that he didn't have a huge pile-up. I had the hexbeam pointed at around 10 degrees and gave him a shot. Within a short time, I heard (with flutter and fast QSB) what I thought was 2KC 5NN so I gave "EI2KC EI2KC ?" and he came back and gave me "EI2KC EI2KC 5NN 5NN" and then I confirmed with "RRR EI2KC 5NN 5NN 73 TU".

Fabulous. That's only my second ever QSO with this DX entity. I worked VK9NT in May 2013 on 12m CW, my only other QSO with Norfolk. I'm glad now that I recently repaired the 15m wire of my hexbeam, which had been broken for some time!

Here's a short video I made shortly after my QSO showing just how weak VK9NT was. As you can see, he is not moving the needle at all:

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Video - full CW QSO with VK7VR in Tasmania

This is what I love doing in the mornings! I love to find the VK and ZL stations on the long path and have a chat with them, usually on CW. This is Phil VK7VR in Ulverstone, Tasmania, with a good 579 signal on the longpath (beaming 260 degrees). As you can hear, he's in flying form on the key, and a great operator. It was lovely to get a ragchew with him before heading to work. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

CY0C one-day dxpedition worked on two slots!

The CY0C one-day expedition to Sable Island was thankfully relatively easy to work last night on both 20m SSB and 17m CW, providing two new band slots for me. Unfortunately due to QRM, my callsign was logged as EI3KC on 20m SSB, despite me attempting to correct it. However, my QSO on 17 CW was good. I will send an email to have the 20m SSB call corrected.

This morning, NZ4Z was absolutely booming in from Kentucky on 20 metres SSB. As you can see from this video, he was 20dB over s9:

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Unusual (if completely accurate) cluster spot

I just worked VU2NKS on 17 metres RTTY a few minutes ago. He gave me a new band slot. I had worked him on 20m RTTY yesterday with about 80 watts. But just after my 17m QSO today, I saw the following information on the cluster:

I presume this is some station auto-spotting my QSO? I'm not sure I like this type of spotting, even if it is accurate. He spotted me, even though it was not my frequency. And he spotted me twice. Anyone else see this type of cluster spot lately?

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

FT5ZM Amsterdam Island confirmed on LoTW

Today I received confirmation of ten band slots from the FT5ZM Amsterdam Island dxpedition which took place in the spring of this year. I'm delighted to see a 40m CW slot in there too. And in among all the FT5ZM QSLs there is also a confirmation from FR4NT, Cyril on Reunion Island, for our 80m SSB QSO last week. Delighted with that.

The FT5ZM QSLs brings my total number of countries confirmed on Logbook of the World to 292, out of 306 worked.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Reunion Island on 80m SSB with 100 watts!!!

Ham radio, and DXing in particular, never ceases to throw up surprises. I've just worked Cyril FR4NT in Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean on 80 metres SSB with my severely dog-legged inverted v with its apex at just 25 feet high!! I had been listening on his frequency (3.792) for some time, and he never had more than a few European stations calling him at any time. But then he went quiet and I thought he was gone.
Reunion Island, worked tonight on 80 metres SSB.

All of a sudden I heard him again and an LA2 station was rag chewing with him. I was able to get my 80m inverted v tuned on the top end of the band (not on his QRG of course!), which is quite surprising because it is only resonant at the very bottom of the band.

So, with who knows how much of my rig's 100 watts actually radiating from the antenna, I called him just as the LA2 said good night to him. Immediately he came back and said "who is the kilo charlie?" I couldn't believe it. It wasn't easy to get into his log, because I was in his noise, but he persisted with the attempt which I was very glad about. After a number of times trying, I could eventually here "I think it's echo india two kilo charlie, is that right", to which I gave "roger roger roger, you are five and five, five and five, QSL".

He said "you are five and seven in my noise level, roger" and soon the QSO was complete. Cyril gave me country #144 worked on 80 metres. I never would have made it through with any sort of a pile-up, but it goes to show what a combination of good conditions and a lack of QRM can do when you have low power and a seriously compromised antenna!

I look forward to trying to get a few more new countries into the log on 80 metres over the winter time.