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.
Last week i met another ES opening and worked LZ1ZP and LZ1ZX. I also heard the LZ2HV beacon and once again SV2JAO/B.
LZ1ZP was extremely strong. Here you can find a short video of his signal in SSB (29MHz = 70MHz with transverter):
Today i was lucky again. During lunch i worked LZ1AG and OK1VBN. Heard the beacons SV2JAO/B and 4O0BCG/B. Also 9A/S51DI/P came back to my CQ, but i did not manage to copy the complete call. Sorry! Unfortunately i did not have a 2m rig available since the band was also open on 144MHz.
Now finally i have my 4m rig ready. It consists of a DF2FQ transverter with some modification to power module mounting and RX amplifier stage.
Currently i use my FT-817 to drive it. I also added a separate drive input which i need for the SDR. With 1mW input on 29MHz it can achieve about 25W output on 70MHz.
So far i did not benefit from ES conditions. Seems it missed all the nice propagation from last weeks. Hopefully there will be another opening until end of August, when the permission ends here.
As antenna i use a Hentenna Quad with direct 50Ohm assymetric feed point. The antenna has some significant Null in the radiation pattern but is a good compomise for the fibre mast at the balcony.
My fist contact was with DK2EA in JO50UF in CW. Meanwhile i also worked DD1VD and DL2VPO locally.
4m band rig on the balcony
4m Hentenna Quad
[Edit 2017/07/23] meanwhile i worked EA1BFZ in IN81SS and today SV2JAO in KN10DN. ES propagation seems to be very short and spotty. You really need to look to the cluster and search the frequencies all the time. 5 minutes later all could be gone. 100km away the conditions can be significantly different.