Monday, December 26, 2011

HS0ZEE multipath echo on 10m CW

This is Don, HS0ZEE in Thailand, on 10 metres (28 Mhz) CW. His signal is coming from multiple paths, hence the echo. I had just worked him a few minutes previous to making this video. I had also worked him on 80 metres as a new country overnight.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Two nice presents for Christmas

I have received a nice Christmas present from the ARRL. Santa has come early. I have achieved confirmation of 100 DXCCs on 40 metres and 101 on 12 metres through Logbook of the World.

That makes a total of three bands (including 20m) on which I have passed or equalled the required 100 countries to claim DXCC. I also have DXCC on mixed, CW and phone. So I am eligible to apply for six awards in total.

Another Christmas present came two mornings ago when I worked ZL3NB on 80 metres. To be honest I never thought I would work ZL on that band from my current QTH. I am using my old Butternut HFV6 and just a 12 metre random wire for listening. We were both on the grey line at the time which helped and exchanged 449 reports either way. The operator, Bill, has since confirmed our QSO via LoTW. He says the following in an email:

"Thanks for the Qso and what a rare occasion to work two Irishmen one after the other on 80 meters...Actually that's rare to do that on any band so now feeling lucky and should buy me a Lotto Ticket. Hi"

Bill had just worked EI7AU before me. So a great thrill for him and indeed a great thrill for me.

Happy Christmas to all amateurs and listeners!!

Friday, December 16, 2011

EI2KC being worked from a field in Ukraine!

Interesting video showing some Ukranian hams working 10 metres with 5 watts from a field! They worked me also, at around 16:36 in this video. I was running 100 watts into an Antron 99 at the time. Just shows how great conditions on 28Mhz have been.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Chipping away slowly at 80 metres

The ground-mounted Butternut.
Recently I took it upon myself to have another look at the old Butternut HFV6, which has been a major performer for me here at the shack over the past two years. It had snapped for a second time during a wind storm and this time I had written it off, but something told me I should try to get it back up and running again, especially as it might be helpful to me on 80m.

So I ground-mounted it this time. Previously it had been bolted to a garden wall about 5ft off the ground. I put in a good ground spike and also ran a couple of radials, one of which was approximately one quarter wave on 80m. After a session of RTFM (Reading The Feckin Manual!) I discovered that I was able to tune the Butternut quite flat in the middle of the 80m band. 3.650 is not a great frequency to be resonant on. If there were going to be new countries to be worked, they would either be on the CW portion just above 3.500 or at the DX end of the band near 3.800.

After some experimenting with the 80m coil, plus the Q coil, I found I was able to get a 1.5:1 SWR around 3.515. This was fantastic. I could tune up the Acom 1000 and managed to get 400 watts out. So over the past week or so since I finally got back up and running on 80m, I have increased my tally of countries worked from 87 to 95. Eight new ones in a week!!

Now,  tonight, I have discovered the exact right settings for the 80m coil for both the CW end and the DX end. I nabbed SV9IOM just a few moments ago on the top end of the band with 400 watts for a new one. It's not the most practical thing in the world to have to adjust a nut on a coil in the dark every time I want to jump from CW to SSB, but it's a solution nonetheless and allows me 80m action whether I'm in the mood for CW or SSB. All I need is a torch and a small pair of pliers!!

I am thrilled to be back up and running finally on 80m. I hope to work DXCC on that band and maybe get my total number of confirmations up from the current 55, which is quite low. We'll see how it goes. I need some solution for listening though. At just 26ft tall, the Butternut HFV6 is not very sufficient for picking up weak DX on 80 so I will maybe have to put up a long listening wire or make some sort of loop. Suggestions welcome. Bear in mind that my garden is 35ft long x 25ft wide!!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Nice morning time conditions on 10 metres

After a bit of a lull this week when it seemed like the sun might be just ogoing back to sleep, I hit the radio this morning at around 10am to find that 10 metres was nicely open. There were mornings during the week when hardly anything could be heard, as reported by other EIs. But today there were VKs and other Pacific and Asian calls on the cluster. So I hit 10m sidebands and gave a CQ with 400 watts, asking for "Asia and Pacific",

My DXCC worked and confirmed status
First caller in the log was Max, UK7AL in Uzbekistan, a new band slot for me. He was followed by VK5PAS, Paul, near Adelaide in South Australia, who was 5 and 8 on the S-meter. A65EE Adil in Dubai was bombing in using his Optibeam with a solid 59 signal. UN7QF, Genna in Almaty, Kazakhstan, gave me a new band slot with a 5 and 9 signal report each way. 9K2VO, Mohammed in Kuwait, also gave me a new band slot with a 59 signal each way. VU2HOT, Jag in India, was difficult to pick out, although after a couple of minutes trying and a slight turn of the beam, I got him in the log with a 4 by 3 signal for another new band slot.

BG0ARQ, Lu in the People's Hospital, Kelamayi City, Xinjiang, China, was 5 and 8 and gave me 59. Thanks Lu. HS0ZIN, Paul in Thailand, also gave me a new band slot. He was 5 and 8 here on my FT-1000MP, while I was 5 and 7 with him. He was the last contact on 10m before I went QRT.

A92IO, Dave (also EI3IO), gave me a new country on 15m when I worked him on USB with a 57 exchange. Thanks Dave!

5Z4HW was a brand new DXCC for me, never worked before, when I put him into the log on 40m LSB at 19.30 this evening. I was running 350 watts from the Acom 1000 linear into a homebrew inverted V. And another nice one was 9V1YC on 40m CW. Singapore was a new country for me on 40m. It's been a good while since I gave my DXCC worked and confirmed totals, so here goes.

Total DXCC Worked: 243 Confirmed: 191
160m: Worked 63 Confirmed 39
80m: Worked 87 Confirmed 59
40m: Worked 157 Confirmed 99
30m: Worked 153 Confirmed 98
20m: Worked 203 Confirmed 129
17m: Worked 173 Confirmed 96
15m: Worked 166 Confirmed 87
12m: Worked 162 Confirmed 96
10m: Worked 167 Confirmed 80
6m: Worked 55 Confirmed 35

Interesting that at the turn of 2011 I had only 35 countries worked on 10m and now have 167. That's my third best band now!! No progress yet this winter on 80m but I'm hoping to get a dipole up for that band because my Butternut is sadly out of action - it won't tune on 80m now.