CQ WPX CW: good advice by Randy, WB9LUR

The CQ World Wide WPX CW contest this weekend - ATNO's?

Besides testing your operating skills, the WPX (and other big contests) can provide unique opportunities for you to work "all time new ones" as well. The contest itself often sees DX ops from exotic places that are normally not very active and this may be your best shot at an entity that's only QRV a few times a year.

Many high power big gun DXer types (and a ton of little pistols too) will be working the CW contest, causing reduced activity on all of the SSB bands and also on the WARC CW segments. When a rare or semi rare DXCC does pop up on those non-contest frequencies there will be a lot less competition and QRM to deal with. Pileups will be much easier to bust.


For those of you really new to DXing - participating in the bigger contests can fill your log with ATNO's quickly. With very modest rigs, some hams have even worked DXCC in just one weekend!

Finally, by the end of the contest almost everyone is struggling to run their score up. The loud stations have all worked the rarer ones so now the DX will be aggressively trying to hear and work the weaker signals for additional points and multipliers. If you run QRP, mobile or just have less-than-optimum working conditions this may be your best chance to snare some of these DX entities. Good luck this weekend! 

See also : CQ WPX CW Announced Operations: 2015 by NG3K for a number of unusual contest participants.


New 40 MHz (8 m) ham band in S. Africa

According to a RSGB bulletin, radio amateurs in the Republic of South Africa shall get a new low VHF frequency allocation for radio propagation experiments. The band is called the "8 meters band" and covers 40.675 to 40.685MHz (it is only 10 kHz wide) with power up to 400 W. The new allocation was published in the RSA Government Gazette (Volume 597, issue 38641, pp. 93).

I expect that a CW of F1A beacon shall operate in this new allocation to check transequatorial propagation.


SV2/YL7A Mount Athos dxpedition update (2)

From Ohio/Penn DX Bulletin #1215 

SV/A, MOUNT ATHOS (Update). If you have not heard, the SV2/YL7A operation is not going to take place. Kostas, SV1DPI, who talked with SV2ASP/A reported on May 19th: "Monk Apollo is outside MountAthos, working with the olives, but he offered himself to ask Holy Council and inform us about the operation. The official news is that Holy Council prohibited the entrance of the YL guys in Mount Athos because they announced a Ham Radio operation without a license from Holy Council. The YL guys have a visa to enter Mount Athos this morning as pilgrims but NOT a license to operate. After this they can not enter in Mount Athos either as pilgrims." The latest news is that the team was on their way home on May 21st.  

The complete details are now online at: http://www.lral.lv/exped/sv2/yl7a 

UPDATE: Unfortunately the YL7A team deleted this web page, where they published their version of the events relating to their attempted unlicensed Mount Athos operation and their virtual deportation. According to rumors circulating in Greece, there was much more behind the scenes activity, as well as involvement of a Greek radio amateurs. And they accused me of "publishing speculation"...


50 MHz Sporadic E season

Map with 50 MHz QSOs for the 2015 Es season (updated 2015-05-30)

 In recent days I had a few sporadic E QSOs on 50 MHz. Signals are not very strong and propagation is unstable.
I have already three new locator squares confirmed using the Logbook of The World: JN42, JN46 and KN99. So by now my VUCC 50 MHz total on LoTW is 120 and I hope to apply for the 125 locator squares sticker within 2015.


SV2/YL7A Mount Athos dxpedition update

A number of internet posts, mostly on facebook, indicate that the YL7A team has not obtained permission from the Iera Epistasia (the Management Council) to operate within the borders of the Holly Community. Therefore there are three options:
  1. The DXpedition operates outside of the borders of Mt Athos but at a nearby location, or
  2. The DXpedition operates within Mt Athos without official permission, hoping that the ARRL DXCC desk accepts it as legal, or
  3. Possibly it is an act of activism, wishing to provoke the ARRL (and others) to either delete the entity or accept operations without the special permit.
So, the advice for now is: Work'em first, worry later don't bother - operation cancelled.

BTW, the web site they promised has not been activated yet.

UPDATE 2015-05-19: According to a DX cluster spot by G0KIK at 08:23 UTC today, the DXpedition was cancelled as the team did not have the required permission to cross into Mt Athos. More information by SV1DPI on the DX-world webpage. According to SV1DPI the YL7A team had visas to enter as visitors but not the special license for a ham radio operation. I'm afraid that their motive is/was related to the third option as stated above, as they are certainly aware of the situation.

UPDATE 2015-05-23: There are many discussions on local and international amateur radio sites, forums and blogs about the possibility that inquiries to the Iera Epistasia by Greek radio amateurs were the cause of the cancellation. My personal view is that the cancellation was the result of these enquiries. However, please keep in mind that Presidential Decree 271/1976 was never repealed, although it has fallen de facto into disuse. Therefore the requirement of article 6, paragraph 1.λα remains in force and dictates written approval by the Iera Epistasia. So any operation based on verbal authorisation by individual abbots & monks (much like the infamous operation of DJ6SI), or a commando-style covert operation should not be accepted as valid by the ARRL DXCC desk. 

See also : SV2/YL7A web site

UPDATE 2015-05-23: Because the YL7A team accuse me for "publishing speculation": What do they expect when:
  1. They announce a DXpedition to an entity with well known licensing problems
  2. They promise a website which does not appear until after their failure and virtual deportation
  3. They don't even publish a short entry in QRZ.COM
  4. We learn from independent sources that they are not properly licensed
If they behave like that, I don't see why I am not allowed to publish speculations. If they don't like it, and if their operation is legal, it's up to them to provide timely information to the amateur radio community.

At the end they admitted that their commando-style operation was not properly licensed, they had just the word of mouth a couple of high-ranking (sic) monks. I still suspect that their so-called DXpedition was just an act of provocation.




Σεμινάριο SSTV

Σήμερα είχα την ευκαιρία να παρακολουθήσω το σεμινάριο SSTV (Slow Scan TV - τηλεόραση βραδείας σαρώσεως) που ετοίμασε και παρουσίασε ο εκλεκτός συνάδελφος SV1NK στα εντευκτήρια της Ε.Ε.Ρ. Οι συνάδελφοι που ενδιαφέρθηκαν ενημερώθηκαν για την ιστορία και τα τεχνικά στοιχεία του SSTV καθώς και για τα προγράμματα MMSSTV για Windows και Robot για Android. Επίσης υπήρχε επίδειξη μετάδοσης εικόνας μεταξύ φορητών πομποδεκτών στην συχνότητα 144500 kHz.

Σε επόμενη ημερομηνία θα ακολουθήσει workshop όπου οι ενδιαφερόμενοι θα μπορούν να φέρουν τους φορητούς υπολογιστές ή τις συσκευές android για να εγκαταστήσουν και παραμετροποιήσουν τις σχετικές εφαρμογές.


Mount Athos dxpedition next week ?

According to a twitter posting by DX-coffee (@dxcoffee), a group of Latvian radio amateurs shall operate briefly from Mount Athos in late May 2015 (May 19-25). The operators are YL2GM, YL2GD, YL3CW and YL2KA and shall use a collective callsign SV2/YL7A. 

No further information is available for the time being, but a press release is expected tommorrow or the day after.

UPDATE 2015-05-16 12:30 UTC: According to a post on DX-world.net by SV1DPI, who is usually well informed about Mount Athos, the SV2/YL7A team don't have the required permit from the Holly Community Council. I wonder how the ARRL shall react when they apply for DXCC acceptance.

UPDATE 2015-05-16 13:30 UTC: The following DX web sites have published relevant information:

  1. DX coffee
  2. DX-world
  3. DX-news
Check the above sites for up-to-date information and for possible press releases by the YL7A team.