As I write these notes, Andy Thomas VK5MIR on the Russian space station MIR, is waiting for the arrival of the Space Shuttle Endeavour to bring him back to earth.
Many stations were able to make contact with Andy via 145.985 MHz FM. I was one of those fortunates and worked him in March when his signals were 40 dB over S9.
Unfortunately though, many other VK5s missed the opportunity because the channel was monopolised, on many of the five minute passes, by Packet Radio and voice constantly emanating from one VK5 station, effectively preventing others from having any chance of contacting Andy, much to their disappointment and probably that of Andy too. Such operating practices would never be tolerated on 20 metres.
The view of others, with which I agree, is that when time is very limited in which contacts can be made, then we have a responsibility to share any orbiting object, whatever it may be, with others desirous of making a contact. Only then can we say that the true spirit of amateur radio has prevailed. In this case self prevailed.
Scott VK4JSR offers this plea: It seems that the band plan for 50 MHz is being totally ignored. During the incredible E and Aurora opening on 4/5, the number of VK operators using 50.110 for a domestic calling frequency was unbelievable.
More surprising was the northern VK2 who asked the VK3s calling on 110 to stand by, and I quote, "I'll get to the breakers soon". (You have to feel sorry for his next door neighbour, who was a six metre DXer, and who can no longer operate!)
I know that most of you operate within the terms of the band plan, however I am at a loss to work out what we can do to further educate those who still insist on using the DX window as their domestic chat zone. Suggestions?
Sorry Scott, over a long period of time I have done my best. UK/EU stations do it, JAs do it and so do others. To their credit, the W and VE stations seem to be the most disciplined at the moment.
Ted Collins G4UPS reports that Tony Selmes A45ZN has been operational in the middle east country of Oman since 25/3/98.
His first six metre QSO was with Dudley Z22JE on 28/3 at 1410 and 5x9 signals. His next opening was 5/4 when he worked five VR2 stations in Hong Kong! On 10/4 he worked JS6CDB followed by another seven Okinawa stations, all on CW. On 11/4 the band opened at 0954 with SSB contacts to a pile of VR2 stations. At 1016 he worked V73AT on CW, then more VR2 stations until 1158.
On 12/4 from 1132 to 1213 Tony worked four VR2s and on 13/4 from 0800 until 1000 he worked a mixture of JR6 and VR2 contacts on SSB and CW for a total of 22 stations. On 18/4 he worked three more VR2 stations.
In all, Tony has worked four countries, Z2, JR, VR2 and V73 for a total of 69 six metre QSOs. His QSL Manager is Ted Collins, G4UPS, 27 Parklands, Hemyock, Cullompton, Devon, EX15 3RY, U.K.
I bring you the above information because A45ZN should soon be within range of VK if the same conditions can prevail across the equator. Keep Tony in mind for the next equinox.
Countries worked by Ted G4UPS for April include SM, I, EH7, SP2, YU, S57, 9A4, 9H1, IS0, for very few contacts. Beacons heard GB3MCB, GB3NHQ, GB3RMK, SK3SIX, S55ZRS, YU1SIX and 7Q7SIX. Rather lean pickings for Ted!
Japan, Australia, and the South Pacific
Hatsuo Yoshida JA1VOK, also reported on the excitement generated by A45ZN and other interesting DX. Hatsuo noted that the first Japan-to-Africa contacts of Cycle 23 were made on April 12, when 5R8EE worked 7J6CCU and seven other stations on Okinawa, including JA1VOK/6.
Other calls that appeared in Japanese logs during April included numerous 9M2s (West Malaysia), 9M6s (Sabah), and BVs (Taiwan), FK1TK (New Caledonia), P29KFS (Papua-New Guinea), T88IY (Belau), V63AO (Micronesia), YC8UVO and YB8FEX (Indonesia), and YJ8UU (Vanuatu).
Australians and New Zealanders also worked several of these countries, along with three 3D2s (Fiji), P40AM (Solomon Islands), HL1LTC (Korea), and V73AT (Marshall Islands). K6QXY heard FO5DR (French Polynesia) on April 7. KH2JU (Guam) worked VR2XMT, and several Hawaiians worked both east and west across the Pacific, including 3D2 and V73AT. ... W3EP.
Winter Es to VK
Bob ZL3TY (RE57om) reports that on 28/5 at 0517 VKTV video 46.24 MHz and at 0725 VK2BHO on 50.140. 29/5: 0125 VKTV 46.24, 0405 VK7RAE/b, 0537 VK2BHO, 0540 VK3AJN, 0545 VK3ANP. TV still strong at 0745.
Emil Pocock W3EP in QSTs The World Above 50 MHz reports: Six-meter DX activity around the world picked up during April. Contacts were still almost exclusively limited to north-south paths that crossed the equator and longer east-west paths at low latitudes. DX activity in the US was restricted primarily from the southern states to South America. Even so, there was an astonishing amount of activity.
A mixture of transequatorial (TE) and regular F-layer propagation made north-south contacts over equatorial regions possible nearly every day of April. The largest portion of all contacts were made from south Texas to Argentina, but US stations across the entire southern tier of states, from Florida to southern California, also worked Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil.
DX from Europe and Africa
Southern European and Mediterranean stations were favored for most of the intercontinental contacts, primarily to Africa and selected parts of South America, but stations as far north as England and Germany got a taste of the DX. Among the interesting calls logged by Europeans in April were 3C5I (Equatorial Guinea), 5R8EE (Madagascar), 7Q7JL and 7Q7RM (Malawi), 9G1BJ (Ghana), A45ZN (Oman), D21AI (Angola), FR1GZ (Reunion), TR8CA and TR8XX (Gabon), TT8JE and TT8SD (Chad), V51E and V51KC (Namibia), Z21JE and Z21KA (Zimbabwe), and numerous South Africans. ZS6AXT also heard VQ9RU (Chagos) on April 1 and 6.
The transatlantic path from South America was active during April. Doug Woolley, ZP6CW (Paraguay) found 6 meters open to Europe and Africa on several days. He worked TT8JE for a new country on April 1, 4Z5JA on April 9 (for what may have been his best DX of the month), and added 3C5I, EH6, and EH8 for new countries, bringing his total to 109. PY5CC also worked 3C5I and many Europeans, including SP6GZZ and SP6ASD, on at least 8 days. Rarer European and Mediterranean stations mentioned among the reports included 4X1RF and 4Z5JA (Israel), 5B4/EU1AA (Cyprus), CN8LI (Morocco), EK6AD (Armenia), JY9QJ (Jordan), LZ1DP (Bulgaria), OD5RAK and OD5SK (Lebanon), SU3AM (Egypt), SV9ANK (Crete), YO7VJ (Romania), and UA1WR (Russia). Those are some pretty attractive calls for Americans, who have yet to work most of those countries on 6 meters.
From Steve VK3OT: I am considering an offer to fly myself to Timiri airstrip Irian Jaya at the invitation of Phil David YB0ARA. He has offered the use of the equipment; all I have to do is fly to Thursday Island then across the Timor Sea and on to Irian.
It would be YB9 call area and I would try to do it at a time when both E and F2 is available, Maybe next Feb 1999. The location is Alun Alun Village, Irian Jaya, Grid square PI85ko.
Steve VK3SIX/KL7SIX/VK3OT will return to KL7 on 17/9. While there, he will make an effort to work VK between 21/9 and 21/12/98. He says to keep in mind the frequencies he mentioned previously, including DARN radar on 49.635 MHz, which was heard in VK3 last April.
Scott VK4JSR and Steve VK3OT report, courtesy V73AT, that a new beacon V73SIX now operates on 50.006 MHz from Kwajelin Atoll. Power 10 watts, antenna PAR LOOP, Grid RJ38.
Six metre report from Japan
02/5: 7J6CCU/JR6VSP (PL36) to 9M2NK at 1548-1550. 03/5: 7J6CCU (PL36) to 9M2KT at 0843. 05/5: 0722-0819 JA1VOK (QM05) to VK4/VK2YHN/VK7GUN. 17/5: JK7IKU (QM09) to 9M2TO at 1025. 19/5: JE1TGN (PM95) to UA0ZBK/0 (PN78) at 0820. 22/5: JK7IKU (QM09) to XX9TSS at 1205. 22/5: JA8TMP (QN12) to XX9TSS at 1311. 22/5: JR6VSP/7J6CCU (PL36) to XX9TSS at 1318. 22/5: JA1VOK (QM05) to XX9TSS at 1344. 23/5: JH2COZ (PM94) to JD1BIY(M) on 2m at 0823. 29/5: JH7LLE (QM08) to N6XQ (DM12) at 0712 for first trans-Pacific multi-hop Es this year. 30/5: JA1VOK (QM05) to UA0DX (PN68) at 1019. Note: XX9TSS (Op: VR2SS/JK2PNY) was XX9AS in 1994. Result: 3 countries: UA0, W and XX9, are added this May for total of 28 countries in JA this year as of May 30. Best regards ... Hatsuo JA1VOK.
Several reports have again been received from ZS/Z21/5R8/FR1 stations re QRM from Italian stations; please DON'T work the same ZS stations every day if you hear them, otherwise they will just delete you from the log and no QSL cards will be sent; they ask you please to stop the ego problem! ZS6 stations are now running a bad list (I omitted BLACK LIST). Continue to cause QRM and you will not receive a card or confirmation! BE WARNED THEY SAY! (Their request, not my view ...... give them the chance of working a new one! Furthermore, move up the band please when working Europe) ... de GJ4ICD.
Two metres to Japan
Steve VK2KFJ says that if you are interested in trying two metres from VK4 to JA, then contact Shirow JF6DEA via e-mail <email@example.com> and he will advise you of a station near Tokyo who is anxious to try.
Ron Cook VK3AFW reports that Max VK3TMP is working Gordon VK2ZAB most weekday mornings on 144 MHz around 2145, with signals usually 5x1.
On 20/5 at 1031 I worked Barry VK3TBM/p2, Mungo National Park, 5x1 both ways. The local weather was cool and showery. Signals were just detectable in the noise for 15 minutes before and were copiable for several minutes before sliding back into the noise. This leads me to speculate that there was some aircraft enhancement involved although short term troppo scatter enhancement is still a possibility. Distance is between 450 and 500 km. Barry was running 80 watts to a 10 el DL6WU yagi; I was running 160 watts to a 16 el DL6WU yagi.
On 21/5 at 2310, Andrew VK7XR was peaking 5x8 on 144.080. Weather at both ends was cool but sunny and little wind. Andrew also worked John VK3ATQ, on 50.120 phone around 2230.
Barry Miller VK3TBM reports on his recent operating trip through portions of VK3, VK5 and VK2.
I left home at 1950 UTC 12/5 and travelled on the Western/Dukes Highway from Melbourne to Adelaide. Equipment consisted of my FT290R Mk1, the newly-modified DSE 80 watt amplifier, and the halo. Contacts on the way to Adelaide were as follows:
Time Call RS My Location Distance
2045 VK3CAT 5x9 Bacchus Marsh 63-86 km
2100 VK3CY 5x3 Cardigan 125 km
2200 VK3AXH 5x7 10 km SE of Ararat 80 km
2220 VK3CY 5x9 5 km NW of Ararat 115 km
2236 VK3TMP 5x1 5 km W of Stawell 245 km
2255 VK3CY 5x3 25 km E of Horsham 119 km
2300 VK3TMP 4x1 20 km E of Horsham 295 km
2305 VK3AXH 5x2, 10k E of Horsham 170km
2320 VK3TMP 5x1-3 5k W of Horsham 320 km
2335 VK3AXH 5x1 Dimboola 210 km
0001 VK3CY 5x1 Nhill 178 km
0010 VK3CY 5x1 Lawloit 195 km
0039 VK3CY 5x1 Lilimur 220 km
0111 VK3CY 4x1 20k E of Keith, SA 280 km
Unfortunately, no more activity after my last contact with Des VK3CY. In SA, continued north through Clare, on to Hawker and finally Blinman in the Flinders Ranges. I last heard the Mt Lofty 2m beacon just south of Clare. Sadly, I couldn't raise a contact on the Adelaide 6m repeater!
I pulled the halo off the car roof the next morning 13/5, and that was the end of two metres until I arrived at Lake Mungo National Park, NSW. On the way (19/5) I visited Randall VK2EFA, in Broken Hill.
On 20/5 I arrived at Mungo, and was on air from 1000 to 1145. Antenna was a 10el DL6WU yagi, on a 4m mast. I was set-up both evenings in the "Main Camp" QF16mg, which has no elevation benefit, and encircled by much tall plant life. My only contact was with Ron VK3AFW, at 1032. Signals were 5x1 both ways, with long and deep fades between the two peaks that allowed the contact. Distance about 498 km. I hadn't been expecting much activity on Wednesday; most responses received when I advised of my plans were for attempts on Thursday. But after half an hour of calling with absolutely nothing heard, I cannot describe how good it was to suddenly hear Ron's voice!
Thursday night 20/5, as hoped, was busier and more successful.
1006 VK3CY 5x1/5x3 305 km
1012 VK3RGL/b 419
1019 VK3XLD 4x1 sent, no response
1023 VK3TMP 4x1 sent, no response, distance 536 km
1044 VK3AXH 5x1/5x2 436 km
1050 VK5RMG/b 419
1058 VK3ZGL/b 529 95 km
1059 VK3FGN 5x3/5x3 95 km
1108 VK2EFA 5x1/5x4 254 km
1153 VK3RGL/b 519
1205 VK3XLD 4x1/4x1 490 km
1210 VK3BRZ 4x1/4x1 490 km
Fading was noticeable again on Thursday night, but perhaps not as deep as Wednesday, or as slow; it was more obvious with the Melbourne/Lara stations than with 3CY, 3AXH, 2EFA, or the Mildura stations. I think both David VK3XLD, and Max VK3TMP, were pretty unlucky not to be successful on the first attempt. Both called as signals were rising from a trough, but the peak wasn't long enough for me to confirm that they had my RS report, or to get theirs. After those attempts nothing more was heard from the Melbourne area until David and I were successful at 1205. Sadly, I was unable to hear Les VK3ZLS, who attempted to work me after Chas VK3BRZ.
From Emil W3EP: JH4JPO reported a 144-MHz transequatorial (TE) contact with VK8VF on April 15 at 1059, according to JA1VOK. This was the first Japan-to-Australia 2-meter contact of Cycle 23. Previous 144-MHz TE contacts had been reported from Argentina to Puerto Rico and Venezuela. [Something not quite right here as VK8VF is a beacon! ... VK5LP.]
2304 MHz EME Record
Charlie Justinak, W7GBI (DM43am), reported a 2304 MHz EME with ZS6AXT (KG33vv) on March 14. The 16,076 km distance easily breaks the listed world DX record for the band of 11,029 km held by W4HHK and JA4BLC since September 1994. ZS6AXT ran 70W from a YD 1304 tube, a .5 dB preamp, and a 5-meter dish. W7GBI generated 500W from his 802B Varian klystron to a 8-meter dish and also had a preamp with a .5 dB noise figure. ..... W3EP.
VK4 EME activity
Allan Downie VK4KAZ QG62mp writes to advise of 70 cm EME activity in Queensland. He presently runs 100 watts to a bay of 4 x FO22 yagis and MGF1302 preamp.
On 4/4 I worked NC1I (O/M) for my #1. 1/5: VE1ALQ #2 (O/M), K1FO #3 (O/M), 2/5: PA3CSG #4 (O/M), DL9KR #5 (O,O and 539). Since then conditions have not been good. No luck with my skeds to DL9NDD and W5ZN, having heard nothing from either of them. However, there has been steady overseas interest and I have a number of skeds for the end of May activity weekend.
Brian Justin, WA1ZMS/4, claimed a new North American 47 GHz DX record for a contact he made with K2AD/4 on April 5. The pair chose a 109.8 km line-of-site path between FM07te and FM07fm in the Virginia mountains. They used 100 mW Gunn diode oscillators, with high stability frequency multipliers, and ICOM R-7000s as tunable IFs. The antennas were 1- and 2-foot dishes. After initial contact was made, the pair carried on a 35 minute ragchew using wide-band FM. This contact exceeds by just 5 km a tropospheric scatter record made 10 years ago in Oregon. They extended the record distance to 114 km on May 8/9. ... W3EP.
Alan VK3XPD reports another milestone for VK3. Max VK3TMP is now on 10 GHz! He came to my QTH early May for a few final checks and tweaks - these "minor adjustments" took about a half a day to complete, but at the end of it we had a QSO up/down my street. The distance I hear you ask - about 100 metres! Further next time?
On 27/5 we finally made it. Max went to Arthurs Seat on the Mornington Peninsula near Dromana and I went to a Lookout at the back of the Dandenongs near Olinda. Initially, our QSO was established with some difficulty. Max could hear me over the 60 km+ path but I could not hear him. The problem was finally resolved and the obligatory numbers swapped.
I ran a signal for Max to search around for so as to get a better feel of this new (for him) mode of operation. Between us we found that it did not matter where I pointed my dish (even vertically up behind a big rock) Max had no problem finding me "20 over 9".
Later we will try a non line-of-site shot from home QTHs by aiming into the clouds. Once again the distance will be about 60 km. I'm really looking forward to doing a bit of "cloud bouncing" down to Somerville.
Not many reports of local activity this month. Six metres continues to be a source of interest as contacts are made over extended distances with the approach of Cycle 23.
Closing with two thoughts for the month:
1. One small boy to another: "Of course I know the facts of life. Eat your vegetables and wash your hands." and
2. Doctor to women's-libber: "Did you suffer from chests colds before you burned your bra?"
73 from The Voice by the Lake.