Friday, October 31, 2014

FT4TA Tromelin logged on 10 metres SSB - DXCC #309!

This is FT4TA Tromelin on 10 metres SSB a few minutes after I logged them as an ATNO (All-Time New One). This is my 309th DXCC logged. It was very pleasing to get them on the first morning of operations, especially with the pile-up being so huge. I used 400 watts into my Antron 99 vertical antenna. After a short while calling on various splits, I decided to pick 28.524 (39 Khz up) and sat there for about seven or eight minutes before I heard the magic words:

"Echo India Two Kilo Charlie five nine".

I didn't believe it was me. I paused. It came again.

"Echo India Two Kilo Charlie five nine".

I went back to him and gave him "roger, roger, Echo India Two Kilo Charlie, five nine, five nine, QSL".

And I was in the log! 

The pile-ups on 10 SSB, 12 SSB, 15 RTTY and 17 CW are humongous. The CW callers on 17 metres are way up as far as 18.108 and beyond, completely obliterating the digital portion of the band. I will try for some more slots when things calm down a little bit!

Update: Just now at 18:50 after returning from trick or treating with the kids, I've worked FT4TA Tromelin on 17 metres SSB. I got them on 18.155, with their QRG on 18.130.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Tromelin - let the games begin!!!

The Tromelin island (FT4TA) dxpedition has officially begun. Unfortunately conditions have not been favourable this evening for Ireland, so I will have to wait to see what tomorrow brings in terms of hearing this rare DXCC. Tromelin is the 10th-most-wanted DXCC and hasn't been activated in 14 years. Good luck to all the DX hunters trying to get FT4TA into their log!

I haven't been doing much blogging lately, but I have been reasonably active on the bands. Here's a very brief update about what I've been working:

VK9DLX Lord Howe Island - dxpedition prolonged and continuing - 8 slots.
VK9XSP Christmas Island - Polish dxpedition to VK9/X - 12 slots.
5R8M - excellent dxpedition to Madagascar - 13 slots so far.
ZK3E/ZK3Q - two-man Polish dxpedition to Tokelau - three slots so far, which is brilliant because there are only two of them and signals are very, very light most of the time.
XX9R Macau - very difficult to hear most of the time. Managed 12m CW so far.
KG4WV/KG4DY Guantanamo Bay - managed two slots so far. Easy to work from here.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

S01WS worked again as I receive their QSL card!

My QSL cards received from S01WS Western Sahara.
I managed another new band slot with S01WS in Western Sahara today. I worked them on 12 metres CW with my trusty Antron 99 vertical antenna. This brings to eight the total number of slots I have them worked on. Only a couple of days ago I received QSL cards confirming six slots. I have worked them twice again since requesting the card!! I would be very glad of confirmations on Logbook of the World, but I'm not sure if that's going to happen. Although I didn't have much time in the shack today, I did manage to work the following:

E51XIW South Cook Islands - 20 metres RTTY (new one on digi modes)
9N7CJ Nepal - 20 metres SSB (new slot)
TR8CA Gabon - 10 metres SSB (new slot)
T30D Western Kiribati - 20 metres CW (new slot)
C21GC Nauru - 17 metres CW (new band)
3D2YA Fiji - 20 metres CW

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Interesting signal reports from my mobile setup

Yesterday, at lunchtime, I decided to test out the HF setup in the car, which I have recently reinstalled. I gave out a CQ on 14.005 with 100 watts through my roof-mounted Watson Multi-ranger antenna. I didn't actually want to make any contacts. I was happy enough just to look at the signal reports on the Reverse Beacon Network. And that's when it got really interesting!

As you can see from the photo on right, I was parked against a wall with a fence on it, and behind that is a big factory unit that it perhaps 30 feet tall. The front of my car is facing roughly east-southeast, so the factory is pretty much blocking me to the west-northwest. And what was my best signal report on the Reverse Beacon Network? VE2WU in Canada, which is where my signal should have been worst. Perhaps the fence was reflecting my signal strongly onto the long path? I had good reports from Belgium and Germany too, which should not be so surprising. But 54 dB snr from Canada is a damn good report, the sort of thing I mightn't even see with my hexbeam and 400 watts pointing directly to Canada!

Perhaps one of my readers can shed some light on what might have made my signal to Canada so strong?