VHF/UHF - AN EXPANDING WORLD
Eric Jamieson VK5LP PO Box 169 Meningie South Australia 5264
Fax: 08 8575 1777
All times are UTC
Andy Thomas VK5MIR
Peter Ellis VK1KEPreports the following: I created something of a media story here in Canberra after I talked to Andy VK5MIR on Saturday morning 5/6 at about 5.40 am local (1938-1947 UTC).
Andy said I was the first VK1 he'd talked to. I decided to see whether amateur radio could make a story on a slow-news long-weekend and made up a news release and sent it to several radio, TV, and print outlets. Nothing happened on Sunday, except for putting the tape of the conversation on the local Amateur Radio Club weekly broadcast.
Then in quick succession, on the public holiday, Monday 6/6:
I was interviewed by the local station of the National Broadcast Network, station 2CN 666 AM, ABC - Australian Broadcasting Corporation, for 5 minutes just before their 9 am news, including a play over the phone of some of my taped conversation with Andy.
I was contacted by the Canberra Times for an article and photo. The article was on page 1, and ABOVE the fold!
As a result of that, a local commercial radio station MIX 106.3 FM, did an interview for about 3 minutes leading off after the 7 am news. I managed to get a mention in of the AMSAT web site, so it might get a few hits as a result.
Late news: I've been called for a TV interview with a local commercial station for the evening news!
So, the lesson is to have a quirky news story on a slow news day and put out a release. Amateur radio got some good publicity, for which I am glad. That was the point.
And ... Thanks Andy, for a great conversation. Goodonya, mate. (Decode of Aussie-speak: Good on you mate. Thanks, friend.)
In response to the above, Chris VK6BIK e-mailed: Very well done indeed Peter! I just heard (at about 6:35 am local) your story and recording on the ABC radio morning news program. They gave your story a real fair go with what seemed like 8 - 10 minutes of prime air time after the news, and the announcer's genuine interest was obvious. Well done also on the plug for amateur satellites, and amateur clubs in general. I liked your description of the term "amateur" only referring to the amount of fun we have!
I had no idea the ACT (almost) missed out on all the fun - we did pretty well in VK6, since the passes mainly came up over the SW first - for once on VHF, an advantage to be living in the Far West. Good work and thanks for the superb positive exposure.
Yes, its good to see amateur radio being recognised as such in media outlets. So often we are referred to as CB-ers because those concerned never bother to discover the difference. Thanks Peter. ... VK5LP.
Steve VK3OTreports six metres has been very quiet.
On 2/6 I had the JA2IGY beacon for several hours but despite many calls was unable to raise any contacts. I also had VK8VF/b from Darwin at the same time. JAs have been very elusive.
Apart from that and the ZL3SIX beacon a few weeks later, I have had no E layer of any significance.
By comparison, had I been in KL7 I would have made many 3500 mile QSOs, according to Steve KL7FZ, who has been working down in to the US states.
On 4/7 I spoke with Phil YB9/YB0ARA and he is up and running on six with high power and should be a contender in to VK in December.
Mike ZL3TIC reports a short six metre opening on 11/6: 0430: 45.240,250,260, 55.240,250,260 5/9+, also 55.250 American Samoa 5/9+ NTSC; 0523: ZL2AGI 5/5 w/QSB; 0530: ZL2TPY 5/9; 0535: ZL1WTT 5/9 running 1/4 wave vertical and 551; 0540: 49.750 5/8; 0540: 46.170,240 57.250 5/9; 0540: VK7RAE/b 5/9. No VKs worked.
UK and Europe
Ted Collins G4UPSin his report for May says: The first really widespread and intense Es opening took place on 29/5 in the morning to 4X1IF and later I worked 23 different countries including SV9, ZB, 5B4, RA6 and EH9.
Since 1/1/98 I have worked 39 different countries on six metres, which is below the number for the same time last year. Although I have worked 39 different countries, I have in fact heard 48 countries, including CT1, V51, TT8, OY9, GU, GJ, UY and Z32.
In response to my suggestion that it appeared the Northern Hemisphere was going well with Es contacts, Geoff GJ4ICD said they were having fun. A total of 71 countries so far in 1998 including 3C5I.
0830: Band open again to Middle East: OD5RAK/5B4/EU1AA into G/GJ.
1130: KP4EIT and WP4O worked CT1DNF. KP4EIT also worked OZ station and another CT station ... Ed W4PO.
1242: VE1PZ worked CT1CAD.
1400: KP4EIT into G4UPS/G3KOX/GJ/GU.
1800: Short skip - GJ to EI 600 km.
2000: Fs in. F2 plus Es brought PY5CC into I/GJ/SM/OK/DL/F/ON/PA.
GJ7SLU and I heard him S6 working F6HRP/IN88. Peter PY5CC worked 50 stations in Europe. Best DX today goes to Max DL4MDQ to PY5CC at 10,500 km via E's on top end of F2. ... Geoff GJ4ICD.
Geoff GJ4ICD in Six News reports that: 7/6 was probably one of the best E's days ever on 6 in Europe; conditions were fantastic for the contest during the weekend (some stations had over 750 QSOs!). Alan 3C5I reports adding six new countries as far as Moldova. Early today saw an opening from G/GJ to TR8CA/TR8XX, with TR8CA S9+ on SSB into GJ4ICD at 0756: 9G/TR8 on SSB was then into G3WOS/MD8V, 3C5I also into ON/OZ shortly after.
So much DX was heard today - here are the highlights. Reported in to G/GJ were: EK6AD to G3IBI (hrd), 0800: TR8XX to G0JHC/IO83 (wkd with 100w and a total E's path), LZ1KWT/KN32, 5B4, LZs galore!, TR8s, 9G1BJ, YL, EH9, PM; OZ1DJJ to 3C5I, ER3R/KN47, lots of ERs, loads of YOs, OD5RAK/S9+ into GJ/G1IOV etc. 1515: 3C video (48.250.4 zero beat USB) into GJ4ICD (UK alerted); 1644: 3C5I/JJ43 559 into GJ4ICD and country #163; 1800 3C video gone, but EH9IB and 9G into GJ/F; 5B4CY (50.498MHz) heard most of day in GJ/G.
A mass of information
I recently downloaded <http://user.super.net.uk/~equinox/> and was amazed to find so much information available. There are 270 different headings for that information. Its worth a long look!
Some of the headings are: Worldwide Amateur Radio Information - Yaesu, Aesu, Icom, Kenwood, Tax free radio sales.
The works on Amateur Radio, including: EME, MS, IOTA, SSTV, ATV, Packet, Beacon News, VHF News, HF News, DX Cluster, Beacon lists, WWV, Satellite News, SWL information, etc, in fact everything on Radio!
Holiday in Jersey? All about Jersey.
And "Here" is a full listing of everything to do with Amateur Radio on the Internet. Quicklooks. RSGB News Extra. ... Copyright de GJ4ICD.
It never ceases to amaze me that Geoff can find the time to provide such a mass of up-to-date information. ... VK5LP.
New beacon band
A new Slovenian Beacon Band on 40.660 to 40.700 MHz came on air as of June 13. The beacons must use narrow-band FSK, with a power limit of 10 dBW erp. This by the way, is part of an IARU Region 1 initiative to obtain spectrum at 40 MHz for DX beacons as an aid to propagation investigation. This information was supplied by David G4ASR via Six News on The Internet.
Cycle Update from ARLP/ARRL
Dr. Dick Altrockof the USAF released a statement in conjunction with the National Solar Observatory about the peak of this solar cycle. He is looking at long-term variation of solar emission features that move toward the solar poles prior to solar c maximum. Since this emission feature already appeared over a year ago at 55 degrees north latitude and is continuing to move toward the poles, the solar maximum earlier believed to be stated for 2000 is now predicted for next year.
Reprinted from the ARLP/ARRL Propagation Bulletin and forwarded by Scott VK4JSR.
A letter comes from Ray VK4BLK (ex VK3LK) who now lives at Yeppoon in North Queensland. I overlooked the letter last month but the news is still relevant.
Ray sent a 50 MHz band report for April 1998 as follows:
11/4: 0951-1044 JAs and JD1 Minami Torishima.
12/4: 0000-0256 35 MHz pagers from USA; KH6HME/b and KH6HI/b.
13/4: 0311-0412 KH6VP, KH7R, KH6AFS, WH6BY, KH6YK, KH6RM, 0655-1026 JAs and Okinawa.
14/4: 0324 JA8; 0953-0957 JAs.
15/4: 0351-0407 and 1006-1025 JAs.
18/4: 0930 JAs. 19/4: 0730 JA2IGY/b.
20/4: 0652-0658 JAs; 0726 N9KX/KH4 Midway Is; 0737-1130 JAs.
24/4: 2328-2352 FO5DR/b 559.
Ray says he has now settled in at Yeppoon and hopes to send regular 50 MHz reports. Thanks Ray.
Wally VK4DO from Proserpine also sent a letter with an equinox report, on 6/5, which I missed (I must be getting old!) and he asks for a correction to Page 42 May AR - KH7R was in Hawaii not Kure Island - KH7 stations are now appearing in Hawaii.
Wally reports: Two of the strong TV stations on 49.750 are from Vladivostok, USSR and Harbin in China. They both have spuries on 50.110 and now I am able to tell which one is there if only one carrier is on 49.750. On two occasions this year I have had a noise free picture from each station for a period of one or two minutes always around 0500. In both cases I was able to clearly read the Cyrillic Script or the Chinese characters.
Japanese stations are by far the most on the air, but HL1LTC and KF4GMH/HL were there on many occasions. Others worked were FK1TK, P29KFS, V73AT, 7J6CCU Okinawa, KH7R and YJ8UU. Heard a VR2 under a pile of JAs on 50.110 and, on 29/3 at 0530 NH2C on CW.
The first opening here was on 14/2 at 0533 to JA1VOK. Since then the band has been open every day. It was only type 1 TEP at first, but this changed to types 1 and 2 on 19/3. Since then there has been more type 2 TEP. The peak ranges around 0500 but can start from 0130 and last until 1200.
Ten metres over the equinox gave more openings into the Caribbean area as well as Florida. Some confusion erupted after having a contact on an FM repeater in Florida. After the contact I left two amateurs arguing as to whether I came direct or through The Internet! Thanks Wal.
The VK6 report
Wally VK6KZreports a generally quiet month, the usual for mid-winter.
Al Edgar VK6ZAY has moved QTH to a much better take off for microwaves. He has worked a number of the Perth stations on 2.4 GHz, also Terry Grummer VK6TRG and Wally Howse VK6KZ on 3.5 and 5.7 GHz, plus VK6KZ on 10 GHz. The paths are all short ones of less than 10 km.
A number of VHFers have been overseas - Alan Woods VK6ZWZ, Jack Borthen VK6KDX and Terry Grummer VK6TRG went to Europe and Phil Casper VK6ZKO went to the USA. Alan gave an interesting insight into the Rutherford-Appleton Laboratories Microwave Round Table in the UK. One of the talks about research going on at those labs referred to the use of 20-60 GHz as IF frequencies! Phil is to talk to the WA VHF Group about the Dayton Hamfest and his visit to see the the Phase IIID team.
The 144.120 MHz skeds between Perth/Albany and Esperance continue each weekday morning at 2315-2345 with signals always being detectable. Wally Green VK6WG has two stacked long yagis which have improved his signal dramatically. He has now received his 600 mm dish and is using it for his 5.7 GHz station.
The 50 MHz band has been tantalizing with some TV carriers both from the north and the east being heard from time to time but no amateur signals.
"The WA VHF Group scramble on June 21 provided some intense activity on bands between 50 and 1296 MHz for a 30 minute period. Alan Woods VK6ZWZ was the winner. A Field Day is planned for September and will focus on the use of simplex FM for long distance contacts and, is intended to encourage greater interest in non-repeater contacts and perhaps lead to more SSB interest.
A further communique from Allan VK4KAZ advises that he has not had a great deal of joy on the EME front lately with only another two to add to the list. On 17/5 he worked K5JL (O/M) #6 and on 22/5, W7CNK (M/M) for #7 off the moon. There have been half-a-dozen other skeds but these have been unsuccessful due to a variety of factors, bad weather, blown preamps (their end), poor conditions and `no shows'.
My yagis are K1FO 22 elements, soon to become 24 elements. The 24 has better rear lobe suppression than the 22, I'm hoping for a better G/T ratio. Incidently, the yagis are homebrew but not by myself, a couple of years back I purchased Clive VK2DNDs EME system consisting of yagis and K2RIW amplifier.
The pre-amp is homebrew also. A single stage MGF1302 GaAs FET. This is the area in most need of upgrading. The station mentioned above, W7CNK, is a four yagi station, 4 x FO33. Now if he copied me as well as I copied him and he's running 10 dB more power ... need I say more? I've started building a two stage preamp with a HEMT front-end followed by a MGF1302 post-amp. Hopefully this will make a big improvement.
Speaking of which, Trevor VK4AFL, about 20 km from me, had his first EME QSO on 3/6 with Frank NC1I. Trevor has a slightly larger system than mine, 4 x DL6WU 28 element yagis and 100 watts.
Going back in time
Alan VK3ALfrom South Melbourne, wrote me an interesting letter and sent copies of an article he published in the August and September 1959 issues of AR with the title Tropospheric Propagation at VHF.
This was prompted following the interesting article published by John Martin VK3KWA in AR for January 1998, concerning Ross Hull and his important discovery in 1935 that the bending of VHF signals was related to the lapse rate of temperature and moisture content.
Alan's article is well researched and written, and relates to work he did about 40 years ago in correlating temperature inversion and moisture gradient (as given by radiosonde readings obtained from the meteorological bureau) with enhanced propagation in south east Australia. He says: To my knowledge this is the only published work of this nature covering conditions in Australia.
Alan says that things have moved on since the article was written and the concept of what constitutes DX has changed but the same principles apply. I recommend the article for reading if you can locate it.
In the letter Alan says that: On the two metre band in the 1950s advanced stations were running about 60 watts plate modulated AM to an 829B or a QQEO6/40 and a five over five yagi antenna. All crystal controlled of course and everyone had his "own" frequency. Receivers were mostly converters with 6J6 cascode RF amplifiers. With the influx of Z calls activity was high - higher than today in fact. He tries to be active on 144, 432 and 1296 MHz on the low end of each band, when time permits.
The One Metre Days
I received an interesting letter from Malcolm Haskard VK5BA, in response to my 1997 series on Six Metres 50 years ago. Thanks for writing Malcolm.
In the 1950s Malcolm worked on 1, 5 and 6 metres and sent me copies of early log book pages. On 5 and 6 metres he used a crystal controlled 6V6 oscillator driving push-pull 807s with a 6F6 push-pull modulator, preceded by two 6J7 stages. The modulation transformer was a 240 volt to 385 volt centre tapped secondary mains tranformer used in reverse. Crystal microphone. Receiver was a crystal controlled converter with RL18 grounded grid RF amplifier, 6AK5 converter into an AMR300 Navy communications receiver. The converter HT was switched to operate the aerial change over relay. Antenna a 3 element beam on a length of water pipe.
The one metre gear was the usual self oscillating triodes with lecher lines. The valves were not 7193s but types of similar construction having higher power - he could not recall their numbers but they ran with 12 watts input. The same modulator was used. Receiver a 955 super regen into a 6C5 and then 6V6 output. Antenna was a 12 element array mounted on the same water pipe above the 5/6 metre beam.
Most one metre activity was in 1957/58 with callsigns noted in the log: VK5s BI, ES, FP/p, FT, FZ, JI, JR, JS, KY, OL, QZ, UA, ZAL, ZAN, ZAQ, ZBH, ZBI, ZBM, ZBN, ZBR, ZBX, ZBY, ZBZ, ZCD, ZCR, ZCX, ZCZ, ZDF, ZDH, ZDO, ZDS, ZDU, ZDX, ZGA, ZGK, ZGS, ZJ, ZK, ZOA, ZT, ZXL. These will bring back memories to the OTs. Its interesting to note the high number of Z calls, many of whom were responsible for hastening the opening up of the various VHF bands throughout the 1960s. Being limited to those bands, they used their skills to build equipment and populate the bands.
Stuck deep in the Adelaide Hills I (VK5LP) didn't work any of those stations with my one metre gear, spending my time with a few close-by stations.
Using weather charts to predict propagation
Russell VK3ZQB,with some concern, has sent the following information.
All the AXM charts have a reference at the top of the picture, to read their special notice. The MET may cease transmissions of AXM and AXI in the next few years. This service is the only free-to-air weather fax broadcast that we have available to us. If they close the service then we will have to pay for the information from Infofax or as a registered user of the METs web site.
I have written to the MET to put my reasons for the MET to consider continuing the service and I urge all amateurs to do the same. Without the MET service we will find it extremely hard to get information that will allow us to predict troposheric propagation. I am interested in any comments.
The questionnaire can be found on the web site <www.bom.gov.au> under AXM schedule.
Australian Radio Facsimile - Future of AXM and AXI Services
The AXM/AXI Services
The Bureau of Meteorology has for many years been providing the marine community with weather information in the form of charts broadcast via its AXM/AXI radiofacsimile services. The radio transmitters for AXM and AXI are operated by the Royal Australian Navy.
The Navy is developing its radio broadcast systems, and is planning to commission a new communications facility in the next few years. HF radio transmissions for the purpose of AXM/AXI are not currently included in plans for the new defence communications facilities.
This survey - Your input highly valued.
This survey will help the Bureau of Meteorology assess how you use the AXM/AXI radiofacsimile services and the impact for you and your activities if they ceased at some future stage. Please take the time to fill in your responses to our questions following. Your input will be an important factor shaping the future of Australian marine weather services to shipping and other activities taking place on the high seas.
Q1. Please provide your name, office/rank, name of company/vessel, and address.
Q2. What class of user are you? (merchant ship/fishing vessel/transport/yacht/hobby/ other.)
Q3. What routes/regions do you operate in, or, what country/state/province/city do you operate from?
Q4. What AXM/AXI charts are of most importance to your activities?
Q5. Do you use other marine radio services, eg. VHF, HF voice, for your activities? Please specify.
Q6. Do you have Satcoms available eg. Inmarsat A, B, C, M? Please specify.
Q7. If AXM/AXI services are no longer available to you, what alternative means for obtaining weather charts would you use?
Q8. Overall, please describe the impact of the service ceasing.
Please send your survey responses no later than 31 December 1998 marked for attention of SRRT, to the Bureau of Meteorology by either of the following methods:
Mail: SRRT, National Meteorological Operations Centre, Bureau of Meteorology, GPO Box 1298K, Melbourne Victoria 3001. Fax: +61396621223.
Unless you download the information yourself, you will need to copy the above questions and attach your answers in your submission. Those interested in long distance VHF/UHF propagation are urged to respond - if you leave it until later you will forget! ... VK5LP.
ACA Discussion Paper on proposed Spectrum Sale 3.410-3.600 GHz
David VK5KKadvises that it is worthwhile reading about the latest threat to the 3.4 GHz band due to a proposed spectrum sale.
Please read the ACAs latest <http://18.104.22.168/3_4GHz/lastpap.pdf> of 25 pages examining the possible auction of this segment, over and above the existing WLL services that Telstra has in place in ALL States. At least the WLL services straddle our narrow-band segment with a satisfactory guard band.
The situation with this band is not good. Internationally, Region 1 has lost part/all of the band already. Australian usage is minimal, like a lot of our microwave bands. I know that 3 GHz is perhaps used for ATV repeater linking in VK2 (comments please). Other than that about half a dozen VK3, 5, 6s use the narrowband segment along the Southern Bight tropo path and we have one beacon, VK5VF. We have till 24/7/98 to submit comments.
Wally VK6KZreports the Albany two metre beacon is off air with Aub VK6XY and Tom VK6TR looking for a new site for it.
The Augusta beacons are ready but waiting for a site. I have written to local government and hope to have answer soon.
As is evident from these notes, activity has assumed its winter all time low. Two metres from VK5 seldom extends beyond 400 km and six metres has gone quiet. It should improve at the next equinox.
There is quite a degree of construction activity for equipment on the microwave bands, 2.3, 3.5, 5.6, 10 GHz and now a few are looking at 24 GHz.
Closing with two thoughts for the month:
1. At a dinner party we should eat wisely, but not too well, and talk well, but not too wisely, and
2. It might be a good idea if the various countries of the world would occasionally swap history books, just to see what other people are doing with the same facts.
73 from The Voice by the Lake.
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