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.


2017-06-23

From Mexico to Kazakhstan...


5 MHz activity on June 22-23, 2017
From Mexico to Kazakhstan and from Iceland to Argentina... many JT65 stations on 5 MHz this evening. Notable exceptions: France, Italy, and, of course, Russia. Notable DX are C6ADX and 9Z4S. 





 

2017-06-21

More 5 MHz digital activity

5 MHz activity on June 20-21,, 2017

Last night there was again considerable JT65 activity on 5 MHz (5357-5360 kHz), including South American stations (CX5RZ, ZP4KFX), USA including PR (WP3UX), Canada, Kenya and unidentified station 3Y4GOV (shown in Antractica), possibly a decoding error.



2017-06-20

5 MHz digital activity increasing

5 MHz activity on June 19-20, 2017

Last night there was considerable JT65 activity on 5 MHz (60 m) and specifically within the segment 5357-5360 kHz. I received many transatlantic signals, including TG9ANF, plus 5Z4/DL2RMC from Kenya. 

Unfortunately Greece (SV, SV9, SV5) still has no 60 m amateur radio allocationm despite having signed the WRC-15 decisions.

2017-06-18

Makers' stand in RAAG Hamfest 2017

20170611-LSF-II-rocket
Assembled LSF II model rocket

20170611-LSF-II-rocket
LSF-II model rocket with diassembled payload

AZ-EL rotator
AZ-EL antenna rotator


Last week RAAG organized the 2017 Athens Hamfest in Peristeri Exhibition Centre. Between many commercial and boot sale stands, I noticed the following interesting exhibitions:

1. A stand by the Greek CB group "ΠΑΣΥΧΕΡΑ" (18SV000), now fully active after the recent liberalization of CB radio in Greece.

2. A nice stand by a makers group, with LSF-II model rockets, home-made 2 axis antenna rotators using 3d printed components, and other goodies.

2017-06-10

Ham awards -6: DXCC on 80m

DXCC-80m
Although issued a week before the 5 Band DXCC, my certificate for DXCC on 80m (3.5 MHz) arrived one day later. They mysteries of the Post Office...

Slow progress towards my next target, DXCC on 6 m: MI6GTY and TA1BM have already confirmed the 50 MHz QSOs and a paper QSL card from 4O6AH was submitted in the latest batch, for 93 confirmed entities.


2017-06-06

Ham awards -5: 5 Band DXCC


5B-DXCC
5 Band DXCC certificate no 8803
Today I found in my mailbox a cylinder from the ARRL awards department. It contained the 5 Band DXCC award, no 8803, issued on May 16, 2017 and signed by the President K5UR. It took an intensive effort to earn this one, especially because I have a very modest station on 80 m (3.5 MHz). I operate with some 100 W on a NVIS dipole from a flat in downtown Athens. By late 2015 I had collected over the years 92-93 confirmations on 80 m, but then my antenna support collapsed and it took many months to fix it, finally doing so in April 2017. 

The award became possible only after I started operating in JT65 mode, developed by Joe Taylor, K1JT. JT65 allows operation in the presence of  interference. However a critical factor was the variety of DXCC entities that show up daily on the JT65 band segments, especially in the early morning houts (03:00-05:00 local time). Within a few days I managed to log and confirm using LoTW eight entities: PY, ZS, YB, LU, TG, RI1ANO, CU and 5Z4. I also worked TF but I have only a paper QSL card.

Next target: DXCC on 50 MHz (6 m). In the past few days during a series of good sporadic openings I worked TA and GI, geting my total to 93 entities (92 confirmed).

2017-06-04

ROS network on 27635 kHz

ROS software window

The recent Sporadic E (Es) openning in Europe, very prominent on 50 MHz, allowed also extensive freeband digital operations on 11 m, 27635 kHz. The freebanders use exclusively the ROS protocol, which is designed and implemented by Jose Alberto Nieto Ros EA5HVK. They use callsigns like 13RF441 or 14OCF77, where the first numerical digits indicate the country of the stations, according to the Alfa-Tango Prefix and divisional QSL list. The stations follow procedures very similar to ham radio, especially like the ones used on PSK31 frequencies.

Freebander ROS activity on PSK Reporter

The freebander ROS activity is also supported by the on-line real time map logger PSK reporter, most operators and some listeners upload regular reports.

ROS is a very efficient MFSK protocol, suitable for low S/N ratios, which is also used in the amateur radio bands, especially on 14103, 28140 and 50245 kHz.  

The current version of the program is 7.4.0 and it is available for free on https://rosmodem.wordpress.com/ along with OPERA beacon software, also developed by EA5HVK. Instructions for system and software setup by G0HDI are available on the Welcome to GoHDI's ROS mode page. Technical information about the ROS protocol is described in the SIGID Wiki. Genenally setup is very easy with automatic tranceiver discovery and identification over serial port CAT links. It allows the definition of multiple system profiles, in order to support multiple radios etc, similarly to WSJT-X.

2017-05-30

50 MHz Sporadic E season

Locator squares worked (yellow) and confirmed (orange) on 50 MHz in 2017
On May 30, 2017 we had one of the best Es openings on 50 MHz and 70 MHz. I spent a few hours on 50 MHz using JT65 and managed to log a few new locator squares for VUCC. A few were confirmed within the day using the ARRL LoTW system: KN37 (YO8RSL), KN99 (UR0MC) and JO11 (ON5UN).


I also managed to have a couple of test QSOs in MSK144, the new mode best suited for MS contacts.

2017-04-07

JT65 stations on 5 MHz (5)

PSKreporter display of 60m JT65 signals
PSKreporter display of 60m JT65 signals
Lots of JT65 signals this evening, April 7, 2017, on 60m (5357 kHz). European activity on the band is constantly increasing, however SV (Grecce) remains silent.

2017-04-03

WSPR beacons on 474 kHz

Map display of WSPR beacons heard on 630 m, from wsprnet.org
Early this morning I switched my radio on 475.6 - 475.8 kHz in the 630 m WSPR band for the first time. I conencted my HF vertical antenna directly to the Icom IC-706 MkII radio, without any matching, filtering or tuning. Only one station showed up, IW4DXW JN64 (1147 km).

2017-04-02

CQ WPX award update

The WPX program (page 89)

The previous issue of CQ-Amateur-Radio (March 2017) lists my updated score for CQ WPX Mixed (1450)  and Digital (950) awards.

2017-04-01

WSPR beacons on 1.8 MHz

Map display of WSPR beacons heard from wsprnet.org


Last night I left my radio on 1838.0 - 1838.2 kHz in the 160 m WSPR band. I conencted my HF vertical antenna directly to the Icom IC-706 MkII radio, without any matching or tuning. I received a number of European WSPR beacons, the most distant being G3ZJG in IO92 (2497 km) and RX3DHR in KO94KS (2187 km).

2017-03-28

1η Ημερίδα Ψηφιακών Επικοινωνιών DMR (φωτογραφίες)

Ο Πρόεδρος της RSF Hellas, SV1GFH



Ο Δημήτρης SV1EDZ και ο Νίκος παρουσιάζουν τον προγραμματισμό του HYTERA


Ο Γιάννης SV1EEZ στην παρουσίαση του Freebytes


Δυο αναλογικές αλεπούδες στο ψηφιακό παζάρι: SV1TN & SV1MO







2017-03-26

1η Ημερίδα Ψηφιακών Επικοινωνιών DMR


Με μεγάλη συμμετοχή διεξήχθη η ημερίδα του Συλλόγου RSF Hellas για τις ψηφιακές επικοινωνίες VHF-UHF Digital Voice, με έμφαση στο DMR. Η διοργάνωση ήταν άψογη και αξίζουν συγχαρητήρια στον Δημήτρη SV1EDZ, τον Ανδρέα-Νικόλαο SV1GFH και τους λοιπούς συντελεστές. Η εκδήλωση υποστηρήχθηκε από τέσσερες αντιπροσωπείες πομποδεκτών (Helecom, Cobra, Freebytes, Δρυς) οι οποιοι παρουσίασαν σχετικά προϊόντα σε περίπτερα. 

Είχα την χαρά να συναντήσω αρκετούς συναδέλφους (SV1VN, SV1MO, SV1RD, SV1TN, SV1ZJ, SV1EML κ.α.).

Ιδιαίτερα αξιόλογη ήταν η παρουσίαση του τρέχοντος ελληνικού δικτύου επαναληπτών UHF DMR (SW1F, SW1G, SV4O, SV6G), της διασύνδεσης μέσω του BrandMeister, και της διαδικασίας προγραμματισμού των πομποδεκτών HYTERA για ραδιοερασιτεχνική χρήση. 

Δυο ακόμα αναμεταδότες παραδόθηκαν προς εγκατάσταση στον Χορτιάτη και στην Ιεράπετρα.

Κλείνοντας ο SV1EDZ ευχαρίστησε τον SV1RD για την συνεχή ενημέρωση μας σε θέματα ψηφιακών επικοινωνιών μέσω του γνωστού site DigitalMode. και υποσχέθηκε ότι θα ακολουθήσουν και άλλες ημερίδες με ανάλογα θέματα.