I had the big pleasure to participate the last big multiband contest of the season with the DK0NA contest team in JO50TI. The results look good and we hope for good ranks in the final results.
Just returned from some vacation, I was surprised today by good 2m tropo conditions in SW directions with ODX > 1,500 km.
The good tropo ConDX continued thanks to the stable high pressure system covering large area in Europe. Even, the take off from my location is rather poor from north to east, I enjoyed QSO’s to LA (ODX LA9AKA in JP20mm, 1136km) as well as YL.
As usual, the best tropo conds are after the contest. The conditions during the IARU VHF contest were not bad at all but on Monday after the contest, the conditions were much better. Unfortunately, outside of contests, SSB is not used much anymore and all the activity is on FT8. For sure it makes sense since the more DX is possible in FT8.
I logged >20 UK stations, many QSO’s >800km and a few >1000km, all on 2m.
IARU VHF Contest is the top 2m contest event of the year. While all other contests are multi band events, this one is 2m only. Hence, the teams can focus on just one band resulting in much bigger equipment and results on 2m compared to multi band contests. In 2023, DL0GTH operators joined DK0NA team for the contest season and because there was no DL0GTH participation, we could use Schneekopf mountain in JO50JP with DK0NA/p. We started to setup all the 4 antenna systems on Friday, unfortunately in rainy weather conditions. After 5 hours or work, we are were quite wet.
Fortunately, the weather conditions improved a lot on Saturday and Sunday, no rain anymore, raising temperatures and even more important, raising tropo conditions.
At the end, we enjoyed the best ever results from JO50JP.
Svxlink has been becoming very popular in Germany thanks to the FM-Funknetz initiative. I have been using the DJSPOT hotspot for some time. Users can configure which channels (called Talk Group) are monitored and if any communication takes place and just talk in the opened talk group. But if a want to open a specific talk group the selection via DTMF control with the handheld radio is not very handy. There is a web interface for the DJSPOT available which supports control functions such as change of talk group. And you need to visit the server dashboard if you would like to see if any other communication takes place (of talk groups not monitored by DJSPOT).
There is a great solution for all these inconvenience problems, the SVXcube, a monitor device which provides all these information and enables really easy change of talk groups. I really like this gadget. It also helped me to learn some basics of the MQTT protocol which is widely used for IoT and home automation. My specials thanks go to Jens DJ1JAY for great help via chat to get it up and running.
The DK0NA Team enjyoyed great fun during the contest. The propagation conditions were not really good but we were still happy with the good results achieved. Most of us missed the Ham Radio at Friedrichshafen two weeks ago but Michael DB6NT volunteered to travel there to collect all the DL0GTH 2022 contest trophies. The DARC championship as well as the IARU Region 1 trophies. On top the overall winner trophy.
Just one day after the good Es opening two days ago, I enjoyed a short Es opening on 15th June. The QSO with EA9ABC in IM75IV was a new DXCC on 2m for me.
There has not been so much Es at my location yet this year or I just missed most of the openings. Yesterday, I just returned home from work when I received a short message from my friend DL2ALF that Es opened to CT and EA from JO50. So, I made some nice QSO’s to EA and CT too:
The DKØNA team enjoyed sunny warm weather during last week’s contest which was dedicated to >1 GHz amateur radio bands. First time, we used 3 antenna systems on 23cm which worked very well, especially the new quados antenna created a new contest feeling on 23cm. The results were almost perfect. Based on claimed scores, the team achieved 2nd place on 10 GHz but 1st place in Europe on all other bands. Please find the claimed scores: slovhf.net/claimed/
I lookedfor some Es openings but found very good tropo condx instead:
16 QSO’s >1000km
ODX on 2m with EI3KD 1.342 km
ODX on 70cm with G7RAU 1.159 km
After 25 years of operations w/o any problem, the 144 MHz 9 element Yagi antenna had very poor SWR. Either the antenna feed system or the coax cable was defective. So, I decided to replace both, the antenna and the feed cable. The bigger problem was to rent a car with lifting platform. With the help of my brother DL3AKA, the replacement was successfully done and I returned on 2m band again. Now I hope that it will run another 25 years…
Contest operating is always fun, especially with good friends in multi operator section. We used the new 23 cm quados antenna (made by DB6NT) as 2nd antenna first time. Exciting. Sure, we were also satisfied with the results on other bands.
I received this nice award plate by mail.
After a very successful 2022 contest season with DLØGTH, I joined the DKØNA contest team for the 2023 season. The location in JO5ØTI usually is not the best in Europe but in winter conditions it was an advantage to operate 700m a.s.l. Even there, we had problems with ice on 70cm antennas forcing us to install a backup antenna which worked well. The tropo conds were poor with a rather slow start into the contest. Even with some small technical problems we were more than satisfied at the end of the March subregional contest.
Applications for most of amateur radio awards can be done online meanwhile. Good for lazy OMs like me who always disliked manual handling of QSL cards and paper based application processes. Therefore I was happy that the DARC UKW Europa Diplom application is now also possible via DCL and I used the opportunity for an Trophy class application which was immediately approved.
The activities on VHF/UHF FM repeaters have been decreasing for some years, even with increasing number of repeaters. However, I realized that this changed in past two years. And I was wondering that quite distant stations were working via local repeaters. The reason for that are linked repeaters. Linking FM repeaters was not really new but limited to a few ones. Then a team of enthusiasts began to build a larger network using SM0VCX svxlink software. It moved from Thueringen-Link to FM-Funknetz with >200 stations online, including many stations using hotspots. Even, I can work about 50 repeaters from my location, it just triggered my interest to experiment. So, I bought a DJSPOT device (designed by Gabriel BV5DJ) running on Raspberry Pi Zero. Features well known in digital modes (DMR, DSTAR, YFS) are no available in FM too. And the device can be also run as Echolink node.
Thanks to Thomas’ (OV3T) initiative to setup ADS-B data servers fed by hams, DL2ALF made these servers available in his great Airscout software. All Europe is already well covered and we all can benefit from this independent data source in 2023 contest season and other DX. I am happy to help with my ADSB RX data from JO50.
Let’s hope for a peaceful year with less conflicts and more friendship.
The year 2022 closed with new records. Mean temperature at my home location was 10.8°C which is 2.4K above reference, the warmest year ever. April was the only month with relatively lower temperatures.
Even worse than temperature deviation was the precipitation of just 378mm which is 34% below the reference level. I could see the impact every day in my garden.
Still, some people doubt global warming. Unbelievable.
DX moved to the north. Today, I enjoyed some nice 144 MHz FT8 QSO’s to Scandinavia.
There has been some good tropo conDX around for some days. Howewer, better for stations north of my QTH. Today it was good to north-east. Unfortunately, I have poor takeoff in that direction with a hill 100m higher in just 1km distance. Nevertheless, I managed to get some Belarus stations in my log.
The Marconi Memorial Contest is the last major VHF contest of the year. And it is the only one CW only. This was the only contest I participated from home while I operated the other VHF/UHF/SHF/Microwave contests as member of the DLØGTH contest team. Unfortunately, another OM decided to operate just one 1 km distant to my location causing some QRM of S9+ across the whole band 😒
This resulted in some limitations for me. I was simply not able to operate when the other station called CQ. So, I looked for some time slots when QRM was not there or sufficiently reduced. Nevertheless, I managed to work 177 stations in about 10 hours effective time resulting in a (claimed) score of 56.000 points.
The conditions were below normal. Most activity from eastern Europe:
Today, VHF amateurs enjoyed some good tropo conds on 2m band. My ODX today was 1111 km, QSO with MM0ZBH.