2015-12-29

JT65 stations on 5 MHz (4)

The current UK 60m band plan, as published by the RSGB

A transatlantic JT65 signal this morning on 60m (5357 kHz): NJ8L from locator EN80 in Ohio, at 05:13 UTC (2090 Hz, -14 dB) and 05:14 (1261 Hz, -14 dB).

0513 -14  1.2 2090 # CQ NJ8L EN80   !U.S.A.
0514 -14  1.2 1261 # CQ NJ8L EN80   !U.S.A.


At 06:08 UTC, W8DPK from nearby EM89 (also Ohio) calling NJ8L, who had just finished a transatlantic QSO with PA9DD:

0608 -14 -1.8 1633 # NJ8L W8DPK EM89
0609 -11 -1.9 1634 # W8DPK NJ8L -03
0610 -15 -2.1 1634 # NJ8L W8DPK R-01
0611 -14 -2.1 1633 # W8DPK HNY 73



UPDATE 2015-12-29: 

60 m JT65 activity, December 28 to 29, 2015
According to an article on the website of ARRL, Spain Gets New 5 MHz Allocation for 2016, implementing the WRC-15 decision for 5351.5-5366.5 kHz. Within the last 24 hours I logged three spanish stations (EA7EDP, EA2US and EA5HJY) transmitting JT65 on 60m.

2015-12-25

JT65 stations on 5 MHz (3)

PSK reporter 60m map

A few stations received on 5 MHz using JT65 on Christmas Day 2015:
HA5CLF JN97 
M40ZV  IO70
5P1KZX JO57 
5P6MJ  JO54 
OZ1AXG JO65  
OZ7MHZ JO44
PA3BUD JO21
PA3EWP JO21
PA3FMP JO22 
PA7ZZ  JO22 

I hope that soon we shall be able to use this band in Greece as well.

2015-12-14

JT65 stations on 5 MHz (2)

Tonight I logged a 5 MHz QSO between G3SUY and HA4YF in JT65 mode. G3SUY transmitted in the lower part of the channel, 5357.5 - 5357.7 kHz, according to the British 60 m allocation and the recent warning of RSGB:

1920 -14  0.3  525 # CQ G3SUY JO01
1921  -6  0.2  525 # G3SUY HA4YF JN97
1922 -11  0.3  525 # HA4YF G3SUY R-08
1923  -4  0.1  525 # G3SUY HA4YF -07
1924 -12  0.3  526 # HA4YF G3SUY RRR
1926 -13  0.3  526 # HA4YF G3SUY 73


Also at 19:35 UTC I received beacon HB9AW in CW on 5291.0 kHz, confirming that it remains active.
 

Beacon HG7BHB QSY to 5352.5 kHz


20151214-0318-5352 5-HG7BHB-0007
Screen capture of beacon signal at ipernity.com
Yesterday afternoon I noticed that the Hungarian 60m beacon HG7BHB moved to a new frequency, 5352.5 kHz. It still transmites the same message as before:VVV DE HG7BHB QTH JN97LE 34SF PWR 50W. This morning at about 03:15 UTC (05:15 local time) I can hear it with very good signal strength and some occasional deep fading (QSB).

2015-12-11

JT65 stations on 5 MHz

This afternoon (2015-12-11) I left my receiver on 5357 kHz USB, where there is some European JT65 activity. I used the WSJT-X decoder version 1.5.0 by K1JT, with an internet connection to PSKreporter

When I came back I found that the receiver had logged CQ calls by five Dutch stations: 

15:06 PA3RIS JO31
15:19 PE1RNU JO32
15:20 PA9CC  JO32

15:49 PA3BUD JO21 
16:16 PE2HHN JO32

There were no actual QSOs between these stations or with anyone else. 

So 5 MHz activity is picking up, I hope we gain access to this band soon.


UPDATE: One minute after posting this message, at 1634 UTC, I also logged two CQ calls by A45XR from Oman on LL93.



2015-12-10

WSPR beacons on 5 MHz


After the promissing decision of WRC-15 about a 5 MHz allocation, I decided to spend some time investigating the propagation in this band more closely. In the past I monitored occasionally the British CW beacon chain on 5290.0 kHz using the GB3RAL software by Peter Martinez, G3PLX. Unfortunately beacon GB3RAL (IO91in), which was the most reliable signal of the chain at my location, is currently off the air, and signals from GB3WES (IO84qn) and GB3ORK (IO89ja) are much weaker. I also spent some time with aural reception of other European 5 MHz beacons during local nightime, like DRA5 (JO44vq) on 5190.0 kHz, HB9AW (JN43ba) on 5291.0 kHz and HG7BHB (JN97le) om 5357.0 kHz

Recently I started monitoring the WSPR (or "whisper") digital beacon network on the same frequency. I downloaded WSPR 2.12 from K1JT's site. It installed easily under Windows XP. It requires a soundcard and two serial ports (one for CAT and one for PTT via DSR or RTS). This information is set in the Setup->Station parameters menu and saved using File->Save user parameters. Also, as we have not yet access on 5 MHz, we must disable the transmitter. This is done by moving the "TX fraction (%)" slider on the main window to the left (zero). The receiver dial frequency is set to 5287.2 kHz by selecting Band->60 m and the mode is set to USB manually.

WSPR also requires very good computer clock accuracy, which I achieved by changing the SpecialPollInterval setting in the registry, which can be found under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\W32Time\TimeProviders\NtpClient (this seems to work only under Windows XP, some different approach is required for Vista, Windows 7 and later derivatives). See "Adjust Internet Time Synchronization" by Arie Slob for more detailed instructions. An alternative, recommended in Radio User, is the Dimension4 NTP program, available for free at http://www.thinkman.com/dimension4 .

There is an internet server at http://wsprnet.org/drupal/ where the WSPR program can upload spots for decoded beacons. This feature is activated by checking the "Upload spots" box in the main window. The WSPRnet site includes a WSPR spots database and a world map of uploaded reports. Unfortunately the map does not update automatically.

Until now I have received WPSR beacons from EA, G, GM, I, OZ, PA, DL and other European countries. I hope to receive beacons from North America, the best time being after local midnight, when the noise level decreases substantially.

2015-12-04

Flash and strobo tube data

During the last few days I tried in vain to locate online the base pinout of an octal xenon flash tube type STC150, like the one shown on the picture.  Finally I discovered a discared box of a related but physically different device, a Velleman S106A flash tube.
STC150

On the two sides of the card I discovered the pinouts of some flash tubes including the STC150, the associated trigger transformers, plus a small table with some technical data. I upload it here so they are available to anybody interested.

Connection diagrams for flash tubes and trigger transformers

 
Technical data for flash tubes.

The tubes included in this data sheet are the U-style S106A, S8538, S4668 and the octal base STC150.