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. 



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.


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.


Makers' stand in RAAG Hamfest 2017

Assembled LSF II model 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.


Ham radio awards -6: DXCC on 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.


Ham awards -5: 5 Band 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).


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.