2017-08-20

International Lighthouse Lightship Weekend 2017

This weekend is the annual International Lighthouse Lightship Weekend, held on the 3rd weekend in August since 1998. 

I tried to participate, but propagation was really very poor, especially on Saturday. I managed to work very few stations, as shown in the extract of my log:

2017-08-19 15:12  14131.0  USB  GB2LBN   UK0034
2017-08-19 18:24   7149.0  LSB  DA2017LH DE0008
2017-08-20 06:16  14270.0  USB  TC1LHW   TR0002
2017-08-20 08:33  18153.0  USB  3Z2LS    ARLH POL017
2017-08-20 09:16  18163.0  USB  HB9ILLW  CH0004
2017-08-20 14:32  14260.0  USB  GB2BH    UK0180
2017-08-20 14:57  14205.0  USB  IQ3TS/LH IT0011
2017-08-20 16:27  14226.1  USB  IT9OPR   ARLH ITA153
2017-08-20 16:55  14265.0  USB  GB1OL    UK0195
2017-08-20 17:00  14192.0  USB  DA2017LH DE0008

I noticed that some stations had not registered with ILLW and were passing only their ARLHS world list number. 

I also noticed that many participants still append "/LH" or "/LGT" to their callsigns. This practice is not really compatible with electronic logbooks and, especially, with on-line logs like LoTW and ClubLog.

I hope that I receive a few nice QSL cards via the bureau and that propagation is better in the ILLW 2018.

2017-08-05

SW Radiogram, August 5, 2017

Today at 16:00 UTC I received, once again, this weekend's Shortwave Radiogram on 9400 kHz AM. The transmission by Radio Miami International used the transmitters of Space Line in Bulgaria.

An indoor TV antenna
The digital modes transmitted in the TX audio were MFSK32 and MFSK16, and included 5 images. 

I used my Icom IC-706 MkII with a dipole antenna tuned for 3.5 and 7.0 MHz and a MFJ-969 antenna tuner. Decoding software is FL-digi 4.0.9.8 under Windows XP. 

Text reception was good, but not 100%, with occasional garbled charaters due to QRM. Mode switching between MFSK32/16 was done automatically. 


BBC future logo


Tiny Sprite ham radio satellite

Alligator gar fish capured in the USA



The images were also received successfully with some deterioration due to co-channel voice interference.

I sent an email with my reception reports to radiogram@verizon.net  right after the transmission.

2017-07-31

Arecibo Observatory Ionospheric Heating Campaign


Reception on 5125 kHz using Icom IC-706 Mk II and Spectran at 04:23 UTC
 In the morning hours of July 31, 2017, I finally managed to receive the signals from Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico on 5125 kHz. The signal at my location peaked at S5-S6 using a vertical HF antenna, not tuned to the frequency.

 
Reception on 5125 kHz using Perseus SDR at 05:28 UTC

These signals, transmitted during the past week on 8175 and 5125 kHz, were a HAARP-line experiment, using the huge Arecibo spherical reflector. The TX power was 600 kW and the estimated ERP was 100-200 MW ! The current setup is described in a paper titled "The New Arecibo HF Facility Dual Array Cassegrain Antenna" by J. K. Breakall of Penn State University (available on-line).


Waterfall of Perseus SDR at 05:28 UTC

In parallel to direct off-air reception, I cross-checked with the WebSDR receiver at the University of Twente, to ensure that I did not receive a spurious signal.  On July 25, 2017, starting at 16:15 UTC I received an unidentified steady carrier on 8175 kHz, which was not reported by anyone else and I could not hear on the WebSDR site.


Possibly Arecibo transmission on 8175 kHz, on July 25, 2017, 16:39 UTC

The experiment was advertized in many on-line resources, like the ARRL web site, the Ham Radio Science Citizen Investigation (HamSCI) site, the UDXF mailing list and numerous twitter posts. Accordig to other listeners, at the end of the experiment Arecibo transmitted a SSTV signal in AM mode; unfortunately I could not remain in the shack this late. Other stations in Europe, however, reported good reception of the SSTV signal.

According to ARRL, reception reports shall be confirmed with QSL cards direct via W3HNK.

2017-07-29

SW Radiogram, July 29, 2017

Today I received this weekend's Shortwave Radiogram on 9400 kHz AM. The transmission by Radio Miami International was using the transmitters of Space Line in Bulgaria.

The digital modes transmitted in the TX audio were MFSK32 and Olivia 64/2k, and included 5 images. 


I used my Icom IC-706 with a dipole antenna tuned for 3.5 and 7.0 MHz and a MFJ-969 antenna tuner. Decoding software is FL-digi 4.0.4 under Windows XP. 

Text reception was 100% without errors and mode switching between MFSK and Olivia was done automatically. 

Iran's Simorgh rocket...



China Unicom's company logo...

Radio Prague logo...

The images were also received successfully with some deterioration due to co-channel voice interference.

I sent an email with my reception reports to radiogram@verizon.net  right after the transmission.

2017-07-24

Ham awards 7: 5 Band DXCC plaque


5B-DXCC plaque


Today I received from the ARRL the 5 Band DXCC plaque with endorsements for 12, 17 and 30 m for a  total of 8 bands, award no 8803. 

I hope to add sometime soon the endorsement for 6 m as well.