VHF/UHF - AN EXPANDING WORLD
Eric Jamieson VK5LP PO Box 169 Meningie South Australia 5264
Fax: 08 8575 1777
All times are UTC
E-mail address change
Please note that my e-mail address is now changed to <email@example.com>. This allows me to have local call access fees instead of STD charges.
With the emergence of increased F2 activity, the following stations are useful pointers to a rising MUF. Keep a copy by your transceiver.
35.574 Pager system believed to be from California
35.639 VOA harmonic believed to be from Hawaii
40.679 Local pager Australia wide FMn low power
40.695 Meteor Data Inc M/S burst system Alaska
40.749 Local pager Australia wide FMn low power
42.999 TEP Asia 43.649 Phillippines M/S system 20 kW
43.579 Pager system believed to be from California
43.849 TEP Asia believed to be radio link system
47.749.3 Asian or Middle East video unknown source
48.000-49.000 Asian radio telephone repeater
48.239 EU Asian and Middle East video
48.249 EU Asian and Middle East video
48.259 EU Asian and Middle East video
49.500 49.900 Asian cordless telephones
49.639 Alaskan DARN radar
49.739 EU Asian and Middle East video
49.749 EU Asian and Middle East video
49.7499 Kharbarovsk Video outlet 67 kW
49.759 EU Asian and Middle East video
50.100 Worldwide CW DX only calling frequency
50.110 Worldwide SSB\CW DX only calling frequency
50.125 American Primary local calling frequency
50.200 Australian Primary local calling frequency
55.2498 - Pago Pago Alava American Samoa 67.5 kW NTSC
55.250+/- US, Mexico, Canada and NZ CH 2 video
Details courtesy of Neville VK2QF and the two Steve's KL7FZ and VK3SIX.
Rex VK8RH reports: Returned from a trip to Thursday Island on the top of Cape York. Mike VK8ZMA is working there for a few months and we set up a beacon on 52.200 (carrier frequency listen on 52.199 USB) with the ident of VK8ZMA/b. Power is 5 watts and vertical antenna. Would appreciate any reports.
February was a very busy month with the type of activities which point towards the appearance of long distance contacts via F2 as just being around the corner. There is so much to report, repeating day after day, that it is impossible to give a blow-by-blow description of events. The following summarises what has occurred.
On almost every day during February, signals were heard between 35 and 50 MHz from Asia, in a general area north of Australia. Signals have been prominent into VK4, VK2 and VK3 in particular, and to ZL. Steve VK3SIX supplies the bulk of reports, supported by information from ZL and the JA 50 MHz Cluster.
Loggings usually commence from around 2300 and extend through to 0300, although there have been days when the reception of signals continues through to 0700. Then there may be a lull of an hour or two after which the evening reception commences, and signals are heard to 1200 and beyond.
Other out-of-band signals can be found between 55 and 60 MHz and usually comprise sound channels of various TV stations, from New Zealand, American Samoa and other places.
Then there are the multitude of TEP contacts between VK, ZL and JA, in addition to these, the JAs have the advantage of being able to work a number of other countries situated around them, including HL, VR2, V73, KH6, 9M2, P29, W and XE. Noted also is that as of 3/3 KH4/IV3NVN (Midway) was still being worked, mainly by JAs.
VK to VK and VK to ZL contacts have been common, plus the continuing availability of VK beacon signals, with VK8RAS/b at Alice Springs featuring prominently. From the VK5 viewpoint VK4BRG/b and VK4RGG/b are heard on a regular basis. It surprises me the number of contacts between ZL and JA, they appear almost as easy to achieve as between VK and JA. In addition, ZL has reached as far as the US and Mexico.
V73AT seems to be in a prime spot judging by the stations worked, with JA and KH6 high on the list.
So it is all looking very good for some exciting happenings during April. Nev VK2QF says: The 27 day rotation will see activity around the 8th to 14th March and, the classic eqinoxial period 28th March until the 15th April.
Following are a sample of the signals heard or worked in VK or ZL:
42.500 Los Angeles police FM
43.650 Burst transmitter, Philippines
43.850 FM radio telephone link
45.2500 ZL TV 46.261 VK2 TV video
49.7499 UA0 TV video
50.062 KH6HME/b 50.110 KH7R
50.125 NK7J SSB heard
50.750 ZL2 TV FM
55.2396 ZL1 TV video
Stations heard working JAs: VKs 1VP, 2BA, 2BUE, 2DN, 2FC, 2FHN, 2QF, 2YO, 3AMK, 3SIX, 4ABP, 4ABW, 4APG, 4BIT, 4BLK, 4BRG, 4DB, 4DMI, 4DUG, 4GPS, 4ID, 4JH, 4KHQ, 4KJL, 4KK, 4LR, 4PU, 4VV, 4WTN, 4YPM, 5BC, 5GN and others. ZLs 2AGI, 2TPY and 3TIC.
JA - all districts worked except JA5. (Strange, no JA5s). Many JA8s at 8000+ km. JAs into some part of VK almost every day during February and continuing into March.
Other interesting contacts:
15/2: 0220 XE1/SM0KAK to LW5DX; XE2UZL/b, XE1KK and WA5LIG/6 into ZL. 15/2: 0230 VK3SIX to JA8QX SSB via F2, distance 9000+ km.
15/2: 0335 JR2HCB to HL1 and HL5.
17/2: 0623 JA1RJU to 9M2JKL 559.
20/2: 0130 7J1AEJ/7 worked VK0YQS/9 Lord Howe Is.
20/2: 0555 VK4KK to JO1SKU (3 watts) 5x9+.
20/2: 1137 V73AT to VR2XMT 5x7.
20/2: 2305 ZL3NW heard XE2UZL/b, 2313 worked N6XQ SSB.
21/1: 1142 JH0BQX to P29PL; 1251 JM1IGJ to P29KFS and P29PL.
21/1: 0144 XE1/SM0KAK to LU9MA 5x7.
27/2: 0046 XE1/SM0KAK to PY5CC 5x5, HC5X, also many LUs.
02/3: VK2QF reports many US utilities between 35 and 42 MHz.
03/3: 0200 VK2QF to HL5XF. (HL5XF reported LW4BHN* and PP5HOT).
03/3: 0248 JR2HCB heard LW4HBN 5x5.
03/3: 0400 49.751 Russian TV, weak to VK3SIX.
08/3: 1506 4S7YSG to YC1EHR SSB.
08/3: 1535 VR2ZGK to 4S7YSG SSB.
08/3: 1600 9M2NK to VQ9DX CW heard.
08/3: 1717 4S7YSG to A61AH SSB.
08/3: 2130 P29KFS to BG7OH 5x9.
08/3: 1200 P29KFS heard V63CV 5x6.
* Neville VK2QF advises the HL5XF/LW4BHN contact as being near antipodean, "which augers well for VK/ZLs to see some good propagation when it stretches sideways a bit!"
Also of note is the appearance of 4S7YSG from Sri Lanka. I think the last time a station appeared from there was in 1982! ... VK5LP.
Thanks to Waiwai Ham Life, Japan 50 MHz Cluster, VK3SIX, VK2QF and ZL3TIC for various excerpts from their news information. Also to the VK-VHF Reflector and Pacific Rim DX Reflector.
Peter VK3KAI reports that he worked Doug VK0YQS/9 Lord Howe Island 50.120 MHz at 1205-1230 on 1/3. Ralph VK3WRE joined in the contact, only running a vertical. Doug was peaking S9+20. I could hear Doug (weak) working VK3XLD and VK3BRZ as the propagation shifted after 1230. Doug is expecting a VK9 call to be issued soon, and will be on LHI for two years.
Ron VK4BRG reports that on 3/3 he worked at 0159 NH6YK Hawaii, 0240 KH4/IV3NVN Midway, who was working JAs at the time. 0507 V73AT. General JA openings most days.
From Wally VK4DO via VK4ZZ: On 6/3 between 0150-0230 XE2UZL beacon was heard by Wally VK4DO QG49 and Ron VK4BRG QG48 at S1-2 with medium QSB. Other signals identified at the same time were VK4KK and VK4ABW on backscatter. The beacon appeared again very weak on 7/3 from 0500-0510.
A hint of things to come ...
Information from VK8MS states that he worked a station signing A61AH on 7/3 at 1120. Believed located at Dubai in the United Arab Emirates in the Persian Gulf region. Name Almur and running an IC706 into dipole antenna. A second QSO at 1145 was better at 5x9 on 50.145.
Also, intelligence gathered shows we finally have the frequency of the Trade Centre high power CH3 outlet - it is 55.3205 MHz. Also strong into Darwin on 7/3 the South Asian offset on 48.2396 plus other strong signals. ... Steve VK3SIX.
Adrian VK2FZ/4 in Grid QG63kf sent details of his activities during the Geminids meteor showers on 12-13 December 1998. Although now somewhat dated it is still relevant information for future research purposes and should be included in these columns.
Adrian monitored the Geelong beacon VK3RGL on 144.530 MHz in QF22. The beacon runs 8 watts to an 7 (?) element yagi and is 1494 km distant. All dates and times UTC with any local dates and times in brackets.
My 1997 log reads - Geminids best 12/12/97 1500-1900 (13/12 0100-0500 EAST). Peak 1600-1700 but longer burns later 1830-1900.
For 1998 I began monitoring VK3RGL on 9/12 and noted quite a few 5 second bursts around 1830 (10/12 0430). I planned to be on over the weekend 11-12/12 between 1700-1900 (12-13/12 0300-0500) calling on 144.200 MHz SSB whenever a good burst occurred. I was on both mornings but longer bursts were few. I heard Ron VK3AFW work Glen VK4TZL between 1830-1900 with a couple of reasonable 5 second bursts around 1830-1835. I worked no one.
I was disappointed thinking that Sunday morning local was the peak. I did not plan to rise on 13/12 (Monday morning local) but was awakened by loud long (10 second) bursts around 1630 (0230). There were many good 5-10 second bursts between 1630-1700.
14/12 (Tuesday local) again awakened by loud bursts at 1630. Clocked VK3RGL/b from 1700 (0300) onwards. I called with no reply on each of the bursts listed. Many shorter bursts of about one second and pings not logged. 1724 (05/3) means at 1724 there was a 5 second burst of maximum signal strength S3.
1701(05/2), 1710(05/2), 1713(03/3), 1714(03/3), 1716(03/8), 1718(03/3), 1723(10/9), 1723(05/5), 1724(05/3), 1725(01/8), 1729(10/9), 1730 (10/3), 1733(03/3), 1735(10/3), 1736(15/9), 1736(10/7), 1737(05/3), 1737(05/9), 1738(05/3), 1738(10/9), 1744(01/3), 1747(03/3), 1750 (03/8), 1752(10/9), 175305/3), 1755(05/3), 1804(05/3), 1810(05/9), 1813(02/3), 1820(05/8), virtually nil until 1843 (05/5) Mount Gambier, 1930(07/7) Geelong, 1932(10/7) Geelong. All called with no result.
15/12/98: Wednesday morning local, bad QRN with thunderstorms - no serious clocking.
So, for the record it is my view that the Geminids 1998 for this Melbourne - Brisbane path peaked 13-14/12 between 1600 and 1800 (14-15/12 0200-0400 EAST). It is not surprising that no one is operating at these times! My thanks to the Geelong VHF Group for maintenance of a truly superb meteor scatter beacon.
I think the November Field Day is a great idea, and if it is scheduled as close as possible to the Leonids meteors, 16-17-18-19/11 even better, but please make the exchange required as short as possible - trying to swap a five digit serial number and a grid square is too much. How about a three digit number consisting of a signal report (RS) and a single digit (0-9) QSO number - start with 590 say and after 599 is reached revert to 590 again. Grid squares can be worked out later and need not be part of the exchange. Your thoughts please.
Grid Square Standings at 22/12/1998 by Guy VK2KU
VK2ZAB Gordon 56
VK3CY Des 45 (+3 EME)
VK2KU Guy 42
VK3CAT Tony 23
VK3BJM Barry 17
VK6KZ Wally 17
VK6KZ/p Wally 16
VK2TZ Dale 14
VK2ZAB Gordon 30
VK3CY Des 23
VK2KU Guy 11
VK6KZ Wally 10
VK3BJM Barry 8
VK6KZ/p Wally 8
VK2TZ Dale 3
VK2ZAB Gordon 8
VK6KZ/p Wally 5
VK6KZ Wally 4
VK2KU Guy 3
VK2TZ Dale 1
Additional rule inadvertently omitted: Contacts made via active satellite, or repeater do not count. Cross-band contacts should not be counted either.
Additions, updates and requests for the guidelines to Guy VK2KU, firstname.lastname@example.org, or by mail (QTHR 99).
Two metres and above
Rick VK6XLR Geraldton made contact with Bill VK6AS Esperance at 2356 1/3 on 144.120 MHz 5x5 both ways and up to 5x7. Distance 900 km over land.
Ron VK3AFW report: The poor tropo weather has made DX very rare on two metres and above and no Es opening to VK4 has occurred this year, so that's probably one reason why there's not a lot of reports about.
I continue to work Andrew VK7XR on 144.080 MHz in the mornings on CW, although now I am restricted to 30 watts we don't make it two-ways all the time. I also work Ian VK1BG via aircraft enhancement most Sunday mornings on 144.250 MHz. On 20/2 I managed a QSO on 144.200 MHz with Chris VK1DO, using CW from here.
Des VK3CY at Wedderburn, is making progress with a 4 bay EME array. On 28/2 he worked W5UN on 144.028 MHz using one yagi only.
Russell VK3ZQB writes: Conditions have been very poor. The only glimmer of hope was a brief 5x5 opening to VK6AS on 11/2 at 1327. Just prior to that contact Col VK5DK worked VK6KDC 5x5. I could not hear VK6KDC.
On 12/2 I worked Bill VK6AS again with 5x9 signals. Nothing further west was heard and the opening may well have been associated with a front that was moving through.
On the 22/2 there was a super refractive duct existing between Mount Gambier and Port Fairy. Col VK5DK heard me on 144 and 1296 at 5x9+. I turned my 1296 antenna toward Melbourne to see what Allan VK3XPDs beacon was like, and Col could hear me 5x9 on 1296 off the back of my yagi. I had a contact with Allan on 1296 5x5 but the duct was not as good as toward the west.
Col set up his 10 GHz gear outside his shack door and I did the same. We did not expect to make a contact as both stations were looking into trees and houses. Surprisingly, Col heard my signal at 5x3 when pointing toward me and 5x5 when he pointed south and received a reflection from the Mount, an indication of the strength of the duct.
Wally VK6KZ reports: During the National VHF/UHF Field Day on 9/1, Terry Grammer VK6TRG operated portable on all bands to 5760 MHz, Alan Woods VK6ZWZ/p worked from 50 to 5760 MHz except for 3456 MHz, Bruce Douglas VK6BMD/p 50 to 2403 MHz, Al Edgar VK6ZAY from 50 to 1296 MHz from home and then went portable on 10 GHz and Wally Howse VK6KZ/p worked on all bands from 50 to 10368 MHz. Four locators were activated by the latter.
At 2157 on 15/1 phones ran hot with Daryl Church VK6KDC in Manjimup alerting Bob Blinco VK6KRC in Perth who then rang Don Graham VK6HK who rang Wally Howse VK6KZ who rang ... and so on. All this was for an opening to Mount Gambier on 144, 432 and 1296 MHz. Worked from Perth on 144 and 432 were Col Hutchesson VK5DK and Trevor Niven VK5NC in Mount Gambier. John Drew VK5DJ, Phil Helbig VK5AKK and Roger Bowman VK5NY were worked on 144 MHz. 1296 MHz was a little frustrating with Cec Andrews VK6AO being heard by Col VK5DK, and VK5NC being heard by Cec and by VK6KZ but no two-way contacts made.
VK3VSW in Colac was heard by VK6KZ via the VK6RMS repeater and then direct on 146.325 MHz at 4x1 but no contact was made. Lee VK6AL in Perth did work VK3VSW.
The following morning at 2250 VK6KZ worked Max Pickering VK3TMP and VK5DK on 144 MHz. Others in Perth alerted by phone had no success.
From 18-21/1, Wally VK6KZ operated portable from Torbay. For the first time in 20 years his prognosis of good conditions failed and no signals were heard from the east across the Bight despite a promising high in the Bight. Upper level disturbances were blamed for the poor conditions. The only plus from the trip was working Don VK6HK on 144 MHz from three locators new to Don including the rare OF94. Certainly the long east-west path has been most frustrating this year.
Bill Hockley VK6AS reappeared on 144 MHz with his new 8 bays of 10 metre boom long yagis on 14/2 and daily contacts with him continue.
A welcome addition to the early morning skeds on 144 MHz SSB is Rick Kowalewski VK6XLR who has moved from Exmouth to Geraldton. On 28/2 Rick was 5x9+ on 144 and 5x7 on 50 MHz (tropo) in Perth when he worked VK6KZ at 0945. The following (WA) morning at 2200 a number of contacts were made among David Lloyd VK6AOM at Buntine, Bill VK6AS in Esperance, Wally VK6WG in Albany, Rick VK6XLR in Geraldton, Wally VK6KZ, Glen Hufner VK6IQ, Cec VK6AO and Don VK6HK.
On 1/3 at 2350 Rick VK6XLR worked Bill VK6AS over a 888 km land path on 144 MHz. The next morning at about the same time Wally VK6WG worked Rick VK6XLR over a land path again, of 757 km.
Al VK6ZAY has had his first contact on 24 GHz SSB with Wally VK6KZ over a 1000 wavelength path with time preventing a longer distance trial. Al designed his own circuitry and continues his construction of all the necessary PCBs with stick-on copper tape on to the teflon board. His design is most ingenious with a double conversion system on transmit and receive.
Starting with an IC202 on 144 MHz he generates SSB at about 3 GHz and this 3.3 GHz SSB is then mixed again with a further multiple of the oscillator chain at about 21 GHz to produce the 24 GHz signal. A MGF1302 is used as an active mixer and provided the output for the tests (1000 wavelengths = approx 10 metres). A separate MGF1302 mixer is used on receive. An SMA relay is used to switch the antenna. The actual feed is a shepherd's crook-shaped-waveguide (made from a corrugated wall tube - formerly a water pipe!) with an open end into a 600 mm dish. Provision has been made for amplifiers for both transmit and receive.
Alan VK3XPD says that there has been nothing heard from the west since early January when (among other things) he had his first 23 cm contact to Wally Green VK6WG. With the present weather pattern continuing, there seems little prospect for any improvement for now.
It seems strange that ...
Adrian VK2FZ/4 from Maleny asks that amateurs be alerted to a set of circumstances which have occurred near his location, about which he has written to the Queensland Technical Advisory Council.
It seems that a few months ago Adrian began receiving severe interference on the International EME Frequency Segment of the 432 MHz band, 432.000-432.100 MHz, in fact, the interference continues at least to 434.000 MHz.
It appears that the interference emanates from an ATV repeater, the output frequency of which is 426.250 MHz (video) and 431.750 MHz (sound). At present it has output 24 hours a day and has ruined all Adrian's operation on 432 MHz.
His concerns are:
1. Why is a repeater transmitting continually? One would expect it to transmit when triggered and have time-out control.
2. The Band Plan recommends that 426 MHz be the repeater input, not output as is now the case.
3. He finds the operation of the repeater particularly objectionable as it is a case of amateurs interfering with amateurs on a continuing basis and not in accordance with the spirit of the Amateur Code.
The above is included in these notes as a warning to others who may find themselves being led into a similar situation. But I do query why 426 MHz is being used as the output frequency.
By the time you read these columns, you will be noting whether this equinox is living up to the various projections that it should produce six metre F2 contacts over long distances, or whether frustrations will set in with reception of signals in the 35 to 45 MHz area and not far beyond.
Those working the higher bands will have observed any enhanced conditions on the east-west path, which has been poor this year. It seems the good conditions have been confined to the east coast, with particular emphasis on the range of conditions presented to Gordon VK2ZAB living in his palace at Berowra Heights.
Closing with two thoughts for the month:
1. People who give up smoking usually substitute something for it - like bragging, and
2. The best safety device in a car is a rear-vision mirror with a policeman in it.
73 from The Voice by the Lake.