Last weekend i was able to participate in the Marconi Memorial VHF Contest. First of all many thanks to DL4DTU and DL3DTS for giving the possibility to use their great QTH in JO60TR together with the antenna group 4x9ele + the amplifier !

I used my HiQSDR already few contests before. Now i wanted to try on 2m as well. I decided to purchase a ME2HT-Pro transverter which perfectly fits the transverter input/output of the transverter. You can see the setup on the picture below.



The SDR is controlled from the Quisk software. I usually use 196kHz bandwidth setting. This time i tried the CWSkimmer software. Quisk can forward the received baseband samples to a audio loopback device which is fed into the skimmer running under Wine.

The first time i used the very powerful Tucnak log from OK1ZIA. The log got the skimmer spots. In addition also Quisk connects to the skimmer. If the center frequency shifts Quisk tells the skimmer the new center frequency. This is required to always get correct spots. From the bandmap and the cluster window of Tucnak its directly possible to control Quisk like a hardware transceiver. In addition Quisk has a 2nd RX that can be used  to listen to other frequencies in between the CQ loops. The picture shows the SDR PC on the right side and log PC on the left side. On request of some OM i also fed the skimmer spots into the reversebeacon network. Sometimes i had the impression that this caused sometimes other stations beeing faster than me ;)

Log and SDR PC in JO60TR

Log and SDR PC in JO60TR

The big advantage of the skimmer connected to the local system was that i immediately noticed when DX stations were heading their antennas in my direction. Looking through the skimmer spots i noticed that i still missed quite some station from DX.

To avoid turning the antenna array all the time i decided to use a second antenna system. In addition to the 4x9ele of Norbert i mounted my DK7ZB-Oblong to one of the other masts at the QTH. The array ran with about 400wtts and the omni antenna with about 200wtts. Reception was selectable from either the one or the other antenna.

Overall the setup was working quite well. The only part that really caused a lot of trouble was the sequencer required to switch the various relais in the correct order. The microcontroller in the setup had problems to keep the PTT. Impulses from the switching relais caused the PTT input of the sequencer to raise for a short moment and afterwards the PTT was not detected anymore. Sporadically my transmissions got interrupted by that effect. Sorry for that. In addition i had some minor trouble configuring all the software correctly since the IP network setup was quite different than at home. I also had to extend my wireless internet access 2 times. One time because the Windows VM with the aggregator software wanted to download a Windows10 update ;)

In the next picture you see the map of the worked stations. The result was about 250QSO and a bit over 80000 points raw score with a average of about 300km per QSO.

QSO map mmc2015 from JO60TR

QSO map mmc2015 from JO60TR

Last but not least i want to show some spectrum screenshots from the contest.

The Erzgebirge is known to have a high density of VHF contest stations from OK and DL. Therefore the band is very full.

waterfall mmc15

waterfall mmc15

Within the waterfall history its a lot easier to find a free frequency than with a normal transceiver. You also see in which direction you need to move if one of the other close high power stations comes too close. For the close high power stations you can also see the problems of the different transmitters that can cause wideband interference.

Example 1: Phasenoise of the transmitter

poor TX phasenoise

poor TX phasenoise

This is really a poor example since the noise is less than 70dB below the carrier.

Example 2: Keying clicks causing splatters

keying clicks

keying clicks

In that example the spectrum of the oscillator is a lot better. But the hard keying of the TX causes leakage to other frequencies about 85dB below the carrier. The level was rather low but remember the proximity and the high antenna gain and TX power.

I wonder if someone can give me honest feedback about my own TX signal…?

73 de Mario, DH5YM

Tucnak, Quisk, HiQSDR, skimmer

In preparation for the Marconi memorial contest i tried to improve my setup. I use my HiQSDR with Quisk. Since a few versions Quisk has a built in DX Cluster client. Quisk forwards its baseband samples up to 192kHz bandwith to the skimmer and i managed to send the skimmer/lo_freq command if the center frequency of my hardware changes. The nice thing is that all decoded calls are printed right below the waterfall. The rest is reading the skimmer into the very nice and powerfull Tucnak log of OK1ZIA. The software mainly is a log for VHF/UHF/SHF contest operation. Lada also implemented a nice new feature. Now its possible to zap through the calls in the bandmap with ctrl-arrow and Quisk is automatically controlled via Hamlib. Further features of Tucnak are integration of ON4KST chat, airplane scatter prediction, cw keyer, ssb keyer, recording of all contest audio and a lot more. It can also work in environments with multiple stations connecting several Tucnak logs together. Available for Linux, Windows and Android.

Tucnak + Quisk


UHF/SHF contest JO60LK

QRV from JO60LK on 23cm. The picture shows the setup. The HiQSDR was connected to the 23cm to 29MHz transverter. The Quisk software runs on my i7 notebook. On the same machine i ran Airscout and a client for the ON4KST chat. The notebook below runs the VUSC log under Linux in Wine. The log features a CW keyer which connects to the transceiver via the interface box in the middle. The rotator control at the left side can be controlled from VUSC as well and direct the antenna towards the locator entered.

The output power was 2x100W with 1.5m dish and Quados 8.



Two recordings:

PI4Z – 648km

PA6NL – 639km

IARU Reg1 VHF (qrp)

Only a few QSO just for fun from Hirtstein JO60OM. I just wanted to try the DK7ZB Oblong at this location in parallel to our fieldday operation. Therefore i just had my FT-817 with me and annoyed a few people with my QRP signal. Because of the stormy weather it was not possible to use the full length of the mast most of the time.


DK7ZB Oblong in stormy weather at JO60OM


DH5YM in operation ;)

V/U/SHF Contest from JO60OM

23cm setup with HiQSDR…

HiQSDR 23cm

HiQSDR 23cm transverter setup

Contest from Hirtstein. Qrv mainly on 23cm. Setup was composed new. The old 10m-23cm TRV, 2x100W PA, 1.5m dish, backside Quados-8. Changed the Transceiver to my HiQSDR. Seeing the complete Band at once is pretty nice. CW was done completely by keyboard out of VUSC. SSB voicekeyer also worked via a small audio switchbox made for that purpose. Problems upfront were dynamic microphone headsets not working properly with the soundcard input. In addition Murphy made my linear powersupply fail during testing the equipment which lead to a damage of the transverter. Luckily it was not too terrible ;)

Marconi Memorial Contest 2014

Another contest from my home location in the Elbe valley this year. Again i used the 2m DK7ZB Quadlong antenna. Its doing surprisingly well. But this time i had 200W of output. Direction southeast was pretty good again. Now ODX was 9A4V. Thanks for the good ears down there ! Also other directions (except east) were working okay. That was mainly due to the fact that i used the reversebeacon network to gather spots generated by DJ3AK. Many thanks for that as well. Also DJ5AM (very close to my location) ran a skimmer which generated a few useful spots for me. My original plan was to run my own skimmer but that was not working due to setup issues. But the receiver of DJ3AK was really useful. Getting spot into the log-window, click to the call which tunes the TRX to the frequency and takes the call over. The macro and keyboard keyer functionality did the rest ;) East direction does not work because i am located at the east side of the Elbe valley and the hill is going up too high to get over there.



The map nicely shows the directions of the valley i can operate through with some exceptions of other stations from different directions.
A nice one was F8KID and HB9FAB, HB9TYU as well as PA4VHF and OZ6OL.

VHF contest from home

Due i was not able to join the DM7A activity from JO60LK this time i decided to try a few contacts from home in JO61VB. My location is in the Elbe valley at the eastern slope. I mounted a DK7ZB Quadlong antenna to my fibre mast installed to the balcony. Find some report on the antenna here:
Only 50W were available from my FT-857D transceiver because the PA was in JO60LK serving as spare.
Surprisingly even with this tiny setup from a that bad location it was possible to make some DX contacts. I just operated about 4.5hours and got 57QSO with about 190km average.
In the map the directions of the Elbe valley are clearly visible. Especially direction of Poland i was not able to work anyone. I had the impression that relatively few stations were calling CQ. Maybe that was just related to my poor RX but possibly that trend continues to move from the microwave bands to VHF as well. Using ON4KST chat it was possible to arrange for some nice contacts in addition to a few random QSO.
ODX was PA1T with 535km. Others in top 5 are S59P, HA2U, DL0LN and OM3CPF.
Many thanks to all who had the patience to copy my qrp signal.

Sept 14 QSOs from JO61VB

Sept 2014: QSOs from JO61VB

2014 May DUR Activity

This time a completely different setup again.
23cm 15W with Quados, 13cm 1W with double quad element (i had nothing better, sri), 9cm 5W with Wimax-Patch antenna, 6cm with dish (the green one) borrowed from DL4DTU (TNX !), 10GHz/24GHz 5W/130mW with 6cm offset dish (transverters borrowed from DL4DTU).
This time Harald, DG3UH joined and we did a number of QSO on almost all bands. Only 24GHz did not work well with DL4DTU and there was no other station activa on that band.
If i remember correct: 23cm 9QSO, 13cm 5QSO, 9cm 1QSO, 6cm 3QSO, 3cm 1QSO, 1.2cm 0QSO.