Originally i planned to join some contest operation on the hill. On short notice i had to withdraw because my time did not allow. So i used some time in the night (when the kids are sleeping) and a little time Sunday noon to make some QSO from home. This time i operated a DK7ZB dual band yagi for 2m and 70cm. It is a 4ele on 2m and a 5ele on 70cm. The next highlight was that i was able to turn the antenna automatically and completely do remote operation from anywhere in the flat (at least for 2m). Many thanks to the guys from IQ5NN which where so patient to complete the ODX QSO with my tiny 50W. I also heard IO2V and another I station but was not able to do the QSO. In the end it was 37QSO and almost 10k points of cherry picking. 10 QSO on 70cm were done with the 20W from my good old FT-857D. 23cm i did not plan to do but the antenna was still on screwed to the mast, so i did 5 QSO. One fast local QSO on 13cm finally. 9, 6 and 3 cm were not activated because of no time.
I have to say that i cannot install fixed antennas. So its always a portable like style with small antennas that fit through the roof window or just point out there. And this kind of operation is only possible if it does not rain and it is not too cold.
Today i managed to catch a tiny bit of the 2m sporadic E opening. Although i only have a tiny setup with 50W into a mobile antenna on the rooftop i was able to work 3 stations in soutch EA. The cloud was above HB9 and gave some good signals from EA.
EA3DBJ SSB JN00
EC5CIA FT8 IM99
EB5AL FT8 JN00
This was how the MUF map from dxmaps.com did look like:
2m sporadic E map (dxmaps) 20190702
And in those locations i was heard during the evening:
German BNetzA released notifications 414/2018 and 415/2018. Those extend the permission for class E operators to work in the 13 and 6cm band as well give a new permission for 4m band access in DL. On 4m class A will be allowed from now on to Dec.31 2019 to work between .150 and .200 with 25W ERP max.
Recent days showed some more sporadic E conditions. I worked EA and LZ. Monday evening i went away from the PC and when i returned i saw a CQ from 9K2YM. Unfortunately it was too late. Later on i also catched a CQ from S01WS. PSKReporter showed some really interesting spots by DK2EA. He received stations from the Carribean sea and others received transmissions from Japan and eastern China.
CQ of 9K2YM
4m ES condition on July22 2018.
BTW: the very nice and useful DXMaps page has changed to openstreetmap. Now its possible to show screenshots which was not possible because of license restrictions before. Thank you very much!
This week some people from here work from Estonia under the call ES0UG (and ES0UG/8). Since there are no good ES conditions currently we tried MSK144 meteor scatter. I did not think there will be a lot success since i can only run 25W ERP. But finally i god some of their CQ.
ES0UG/8 calling CQ in MSK144 from KO18
During my lunch break i did not have success. In the evening we tried again and were able to complete the QSO to KO18 field within about 1.5h.
Since yesterday evening the crew is qrv from the next island in KO19. We tried again in MSK144 and this time we had bursts rather early. It still took more than an hour to complete the QSO and this time i have a nice screenshot.
ES0UG in KO19
Since i did not expect that it will work at all i am quite happy with my first two QSO via MS. I also got some spots from G3SHK. Many thanks!
This evening great ES opening to EI and G. And a surprise in between with S01WS.
It started in CW with EI4DQ in IO51WU and then i worked:
In the screenshots 23cm is displayed as QRG. This is because i use a wrong transverter setting in my SDR software which is taken over by WSJT via hamlib.
This evening pretty good ES opening into several area of Europe. Also the 4m band was in quite interesting condition.
I worked some EA station + OH + SP all in FT8. Seems most of the stations are in this mode now.
Signal were pretty amazing strong. Also heard G and several times the OY6BEC beacon in IP62 as well as a LA beacon.
I was searching for a small driver for 2m in order to have enough power for my microwave transverters. I usually drive them with about 500mW. Since i have a transverter block with about 0dBm output it needs some gain. Again i found something from China. The advertisement told something about 1.5W, the pictures showed a PCB with a print 35dB/3.2W. However, i thought it could be good enough to get 0.5W out of it.
A small VHF/UHF amplifier
When the device arrived i noticed that the manufacturer milled the top of the two amplifier IC. Very funny that the guys there try to save their designs from unwanted copy ;)
At the input there is a 6dB attenuation pad which are followed by two amplifier stages of unknown type. The first stage is supplied via a 5V regulator, the second one is connected to the supply input directly. I used 12V to do some measurements.
The first action was to know the gain of the circuit. I wanted to see if it is really working from 1 to 700MHz.
In the picture you see the little noisy measurement. The drive from the analyzer was set very low.
Gain of small VHF/UHF PA
From the gain curve it can be seen that the device is probably not working that well at the lowest end of the shortwave. But at least from 30MHz on it should be usable. Towards upper frequencies the gain is decreasing a lot but still 27dB at 700MHz. For the 2m band roughly 43dB gain is achieved and about 33dB in the 70cm band.
Finally i wanted to know which output power can be achieved in the amateur radio bands.
VHF/UHF PA output power
At about 1W output the output always gets compressed. You might add about 0.4dB on 70cm and 0.3dB on 2m to my measurements since the graph does not include the attenuation of the output cable. For me it means that the amplifier should work well for my purpose.
Since i use Quisk for my HiQSDR i found it interesting to experiment with FreeDV again. Quisk can directly support using the FreeDV API and work in this digital mode without building lots of cables. Since i wanted to try the latest mode 700C i had to compile the library from the scratch and add the mode to the configuration of quisk. Below you can find recordings of my CQ call in the modes 1600 and 700C which were made loopback.
Now i search for a QSO partner preferably on 2m somewhere in the area around JO61. I can work relatively well direction southeast. So east OK might be good.
Please remember the 700C mode uses only 1kHz of bandwidth.
If you are interested in some tests just send me a email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Yesterday the 4m TX permission in DL ended for this year. Hopefully we get another one next year. For me it was the first time and it was rather interesting to compare real band opening with the propagation prediction on dxmaps. Unfortunately i missed the big ES in June. I was on vacation and also my transverter was not ready that time. But still i made some QSO.
A frequent “beacon” on the band was DK2EA. We had several short qso and it was always a stable connection although we both used low power and small antennas.
During the ES openings i worked EA, EI, SV and LZ. I also worked some OK stations and some local stations as well.
While i was using my FT-817 as IF TRX last days i hooked up my HiQSDR to the transverter.
The day before yesterday i noticed some band opening to G. I heard the beacons GB3ANG and GM8RBR. You can see the screenshot below. While GB3ANG was rather stable over a long time GM8RBR more in the north was fading in and out all the time.
4m ES 2017-08-30
I also heard GM4ZMK calling CQ. Unfortunately outside the frequency range allowed for TX in Germany. The opening to him was only few minutes.
Find the audio files here:
GM4ZMK 20170830 calling CQ
DG3LSM 20170830 local
Now i will disassemble my 4m station and switch to other activities. Hope to hear you on this nice band next year.