Friday, 9 December 2016

#28MHz high hopes monitoring

This blogpost is about monitoring 28MHz just before the ARRL 10m contest this weekend. It will be updated regulary till the weekend. It is not only my own monitoring but I keep track of others on 28MHz as well. A excellent station to follow for instance is PG0DX Henry who is also here in the northern part of the Netherlands and a avid 10m explorer. Besides that G3XBM Roger does monitor the 10m band on JT65 quite often and reports on his blog.

Friday 9-Dec-2016

Propagation: SFI:73 SN:14 A:23 K:4

Looking at the propagation index again (why should we do that actually?) it's getting worse. Even a small HF radio black out is expected. Is there still something 10m? Yes, you better believe that. 10m is interesting although not in excellent shape. For the average 10m user the band might be dead but if you take the time to listen you will encounter DX paths you almost cannot believe. This will be my last update before the ARRL 10m contest. I do not expect to make much QSO's during the contest although you'll never know.

Best contest times for us in the Netherlands will be the greyline in the morning starting around 6:34 UTC and just after sunrise according to the VK spots by PG0DX. In the afternoon best time is 15:00 UTC till darkness. Or according to the latest info even after sunset.

Henry PG0DX did write me a mail to explain he has the antenna to the west and so missed the Italian spot yesterday. Of course the beam width of a 6 element is very tight. Henry was not interested in that Italian spot at all. He also told me that he's monitoring 11m quite often and finds Australian stations on 27.355 LSB when no WSPR spot is made. Same count for US stations on 27.385 LSB. Indonesian statios can be heard on 27.305 USB. Does this sound ridiculous, you better think again. We know of a Thai station on 11m that made long path QSOs to Europe last week. A distance of 35000km.

So what happened today on the 10m band? SP4KA spotted VK2GGC at 8:09 UTC on SSB a good sign! A hour later PG0DX was spotted by VK6XT and VK2XN, this shows the band is open almost everyday to Australia. OZ9QV spotted 5B4CY in CW at 9:01 UTC. Then the usual everyday spots from Germany and some from the Netherlands till 15:00 when FY5KE came on again. Henry PG0DX text messaged me that he turned the beam to the east and got a incredible +15dB report. I received FY5KE as well but my antenna was pointed south. Not so unfortunate as it seems some sporadic-E was on when my own callsign was suddenly spotted at the DX cluster by HA9AL, I received his 2W signal with -17dB. Here is my list of unique stations spotted on WSPR today:

Of course there is more activity with the upcoming ARRL 10m contest and it might be my postings about the propagation on 10m these days. At least at 16:00 UTC there was a amount of sporadic-E I hope to see that as well tomorrow in the contest. My not so impressive list of stations that received my 1W signal:

I shure hope that propagation will be lifting, we still have high hopes.
For who participates in the 10m contest this weekend I wish you all a big success!

Thursday 8-Dec-2016

Propagation: SFI:74 SN:18 A:11 K:4

If you read the above it seems propagation gets worse. It's just a indication, I am not believing those indexes. Today I had a day off the job, excellent as besides some work in the house I had the chance to turn the antenna and try some other modes. A occasional 10m listener would say the band is dead and only noise could be heard way!

I learned one today when searching for anything to do besides what my own system did receive, don't use only one DX cluster or reporting site, use as many as possible. I was active with WSPR and JT65 today. WSPR TX was no success but RX was great:
7 unique calls spotted and IK1WVQ was missed by others. What did others hear or see? The day started early when G4HZW spotted PG0DX already at 5:34 inside the greyline. PG0DX and G4HZW were spotted by VK2KRR around 8:30 UTC. G4HZW was spotted by FY5KE at 13:12 UTC and later FY5KE spotted PG0DX and PA4O around 14:30 UTC. I didn't get my 1W spot through to French Guyana however some stations from Scandinavia did come through with less power on WSPR! FY5KE was active on 28030 CW around 15 UTC and got lots of DX cluster spots from europe. G0GGG and F6KBF spotted ZS6AI on JT65 around 15:10 UTC. I decided to call on JT65 a half hour later with 50W with my antenna to the south-west I was heard at OH1CO/QRP (15:40 UTC) and DG0OPK (15:50 UTC). No QSOs were made, no SSB stations were heard. It shows a dead 10m can be busy at times! I monitored some DX clusters later on and saw north-south propagation in America is great.

Wednesday 7-Dec-2016:

Propagation: SFI:79 SN:24 A:7 K:3

I started with WSPR again this morning, HB9CV pointed south. A quick look at the results and reports from yesterday revealed a opening to South and North America. That's promising! See PG0DX results from yesterday on the PE1ITR WSPR challenge page:

Today LA6LU reported 5B4CY/B on CW at 08:19 UTC, a early opening.  PE0JBE spotted EA8GF at 12:13 UTC a good sign! G3XBM has been spotted by EA8GF on JT65 at 13:40 UTC. I was only heard in the Netherlands and I only heard stations from the Netherlands and Germany. PG0DX was spotted in the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany and UK although he was using 100W for a moment combined with his excellent antenna situation it has to be equivalent to several kilowatts output. He heard the same countries as well. According to the 10m DX cluster it seems better in the Americas were the north-south path seems to be open sometimes.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

#28MHz Warming up for the 10m ARRL contest

10 meters or 28 MHz can be a great DX band. If propagation is right you can work the world with low power and a small antenna. Remember my sudden great DX with QRP to Malaysia in 2014? Or my mobile efforts in 2013 I worked Puerto Rico, Haiti and UAE with only 5W and a quarter wave 10m antenna on the car. But this band can also be very difficult when there are less to no propagations. For those who don't understand, there are certain layers around the world that get more or less ionized and reflect radiosignals which is called propagation. Propagation because your radio signal is getting a step, or more if lucky, further away as normal. Unfortunately propagation on the 10m band is not too good lately and after years of good DX it will be probabely a real pain to get some stations in the log. That's were things are getting interesting for me. My worst year in the 10m ARRL contest was 2010 with only 5 QSOs. But back then I was using my multiband vertical. I was using a Avanti PDL2 before in 2008 when just moving into the house were we live now and remember it did reasonable in the 2008 10m ARRL contest. It confirms at least a small directional antenna is needed under bad circumstances. So I assembled the HB9CV which is using the boom of the PDL2 by the way. My first 10m contest was in 2006 under bad circumstances but with a excellent antenna, a 6 element logcell yagi on 12m agl. It is already 10 years ago but I still remember I really made nice contacts although propagation was completely rubbish. Best DX was Brazil and only 21 QSOs were made 10 years ago without much contest experience.

Some ARRL 10m results from 2006-2015 (Rank is in Netherlands):

2006 PE4BAS Score: 640 QSO: 21 Mult: 16 (1st place)
2007 PA25HSG Score: 660 QSO: 30 Mult: 11
2008 PE4BAS Score: 228 QSO: 19 Mult: 6
2009 PE4BAS Score: 378 QSO: 21 Mult: 9
2010 PE4BAS Score: 60 QSO: 5 Mult: 5
2011 PE4BAS Score: 27792 QSO: 193 Mult: 72
2012 PE4BAS Score: 126 QSO: 10 Mult: 7
2013 PE4BAS Score: 13786 QSO: 117 Mult: 61
2014 PE4BAS Score: 24674 QSO: 173 Mult: 73
Various antennas @PE4BAS in 2007
2015 PE4BAS Unknown

Unfortenately the ARRL database is not able to display the rank inside a section outside America. Why my score is not displayed in the 2015 results is not known? I'm shure that my log has been received.

I only had this setup on the photo for about 2 years it seems so long ago. I shure hope I will get the mast up again next year. Till then I have to do with the HB9CV which is a excellent antenna as well of course but with 6m agl just too low to get the DX when things are getting difficult. Still it is a lot better as the vertical.

So what times are best to be on the band for the contest?
The best way to warm up of course is to be at 10m WSPR or JT65 and take an eye on the DX cluster to see what contacts are made. Unfortunately time is always a issue and I just started today. I will keep you informed over the next few days about what I think is interesting about 10m.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

#cqww cw 2016 raw scores

The CQWW CW 2016 raw scores are available now. So far I think I will have that new Dutch record on 160m. I was the only participant in that section. A good choice!

I didn't even end at the last place worldwide and this region. Actually I think I did do well with my not so efficient antenna and low power.