VHF/UHF - AN EXPANDING WORLD
Eric Jamieson VK5LP PO Box 169 Meningie South Australia 5264
Fax: 08 8575 1777
All times are UTC
Those One Metre days
Ken Pincott VK3AFJ writes: I was pleased to see the material from Max VK3ATK, in the January issue of AR. It inspired me to go looking for my old log books, and it saddened me to see just how many old friends have joined the silent keys.
To add to Max's list, and my logs are nowhere near as neat or complete as his, I can add the following call signs: all VK3s. PO, AAP, ED, TI, AMD, ALY, ZAF, AHN, ZBN, ZDJ, ZDO, ZDU, BU, ZEK and TV. I was not very active during 1956/57, so there could well be others with whom I made no contact.
It has certainly brought back many memories of 288 MHz days, one or two of which are not suitable for publication, but if and when I catch up with the parties concerned, will give them a reminder.
As well as Max, Bert VK3AAF and myself were using 16 element phased arrays. For mobile and portable work I used a 3 element yagi which I poked through the sunroof of the car. It is to be hoped that other states will be inspired to add their "pioneers" to the list.
Steve VK2KFJ forwards these details from Shirow JF6DEA concerning 6m FM activity in Japan.
The FM segment is 51.000 to 53.999 MHz in 20 KHz steps. No 6m or 2m FM repeaters - only repeaters on 10m and 70cm and above. The 6m FM calling frequency is 51.000 and most FM is from JA to HL.
Shirow has operated the 6m beacon JA6YBR on 50.017 since 1985.
JA beacon changes: JF6DEA advises that the callsign of JA7ZMA on 50.027 has been changed to JE7YNQ. Location and equipment as previously. The beacon also operates on 28.187 MHz.
On 2/2 between 0630 and 1220 the beacons VK8RAS, VK8VF, VK6RSX, VK4ABP and VK7RAE were heard in Japan by JR2HCB, JI1UHZ and JA1RJU. So it seems signals are still crossing the equator.
Rex VK8RH reports having just returned from a trip to Thursday Island on the top of Cape York. Mike VK8ZMA is working there for a few months and they 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. He would appreciate any reports.
The Christchurch VHF DX Group 28.228 MHz beacon has changed its callsign from ZL3SIX to ZL3TEN. Power is 10w, antenna halfwave vertical. ... Mike ZL3TIC.
11/01/99 was a good day for 50 MHz:
0105 W5UWB 5x9 into Christchurch 50.105.
0115 WA5UFH 5x7 50.105. Backscatter into ZL3 from ZL2, ZL4, VK2 and VK3. 0120 55.250 and .260 to 5x9 with NTSC frame buzz. No audio on 59.750. Very strong 45.170 and .240 also 57.240,250 and 260.
0230 VK4DO worked ZL9CI on CW, followed by Ron VK4BRG. At 0303 again worked, this time 5x5. Ron could hear ZL9CI working VK2, VK3 and VK7. 0323 Phil VK5AKK worked ZL9CI on 50.110 5x9.
0324 Bernie VK3YTT and Peter VK3KAI worked ZL9CI.
12/01: A wide-coverage report from Mike ZL3TIC:
0005 very strong VKs 46.170,240,57.240,250,260 all 5x9.
0200 ZL9CI 50.110 5x9.
0230 49.750 up to 5x5.
0255 JR2HCB 50.110 5x9.
0400 JF2MBF 50.110 5x9.
0430 49.750 very weak.
0500 VK TV very strong.
0600 JR1RJU 50.130 5x9.
0630 JR6NKZ 50.140 5x9.
0631 JA2IYH 50.110 5x9.
0719 JA4DLP 50.140 5x9.
0730 VK TV 57.240,250,260 69.670,750, 86.250 all 5x9.
0745 FM broadcast band wide open, many Melbourne and Sydney stations 0840 to 1030 6m still wide open, many VKs, mainly VK1,2,3,4.
14/01: from ZL3TIC 2216 Worked ZL1ADP. 2230 Very strong VKs. 2330 XE1KK/b 5x8. 2345 49.750 up to 5x9. 2355 ZL3NW worked N6XQ.
15/01: 0105 W6JKB/5 5x5 50.105. 0130 other weak Ws on 50.110 but too weak to copy. 0135 55.260 NTSC video up to 5x9 but no audio on 59.750. 0200 W6JKB/5 still in on CW.
Jack N6XQ will be active from CP (Bolivia) with 500 watts and a medium sized beam antenna from March 17-29. Six metre operating is included. 28.885 will be used for liaison. ... JA1VOK.
Steve VK2KFJ supplies more information regarding six metre repeaters:
53.550 VK2RAY Albury, still in the planning/construction stage.
53.550 VK3RMH Melbourne, operational.
53.575 VK3RDD Dandenong, operational.
53.675 VK2RMB Sydney North, off air with a receiver fault.
53.675 VK3RAD Melbourne, planning stages.
53.700 VK2RGN Goulburn, now completed and operational.
53.750 VK5RDX Adelaide South, operational.
53.900 VK3RMS Melbourne East, operational.
53.750 - input 52.750 Wellington NZ, under construction.
Rob VK3EK/DEM reported good VHF propagation from Bairnsdale across Bass Strait on the night of 3/1. He worked Andrew VK7XR on 144, 432 and 1296 MHz all 5x9. Andrew went mobile with his HT and they worked 5x5 on low power (250 mW) so the band was really open. On Thursday night (4/1) the VK7 144 and 432 MHz beacons were 5x9.
On 6/1: ZL3TY worked VK2ATO 0936 146.550 FM, VK2IJM 1017 144.600 SSB.
New Zealand had a great day on 12/1. Bob ZL3TY reports that 148 MHz pagers audible 0710 then VK1ZQR worked at 0734 on 144.100 MHz, followed by VK3DUT, VK1VP, VK3TET, VK1MP, VK1ZQR, VK3KEG, VK3BRZ, VK2XVJ, VK2EM, VK2ZAB, VK2KU. Pagers faded out 0900.
Mike ZL3TIC provided the following for 12/1:
0745 148.183 MHz pagers 5x9
0752 VK2NWF 146.5 FM 5x9
0753 VK3DUT 144.1 5x9
0810 VK3SF 146.5 5x9
0811 VK3EK 146.5 5x9
0822 VK3DMW 146.8 Very strong repeater, could be heard on reverse
0823 VK3EK 144.1 5x9
0830 VK2KU 144.1 5x9
0833 VK2ZAB 144.1 5x9
0835 VK2CH 146.5 5x9 also about 15 repeaters all 5x9.
Mike said: This 2m opening would be one of the best in ten years. Quite amazing as this season has been so poor up to now!
12/1: Ron VK3AFW: Rob VK3EK worked ZL3TIC and ZL3ADZ on 146.500 FM followed by ZL3TIC, ZL3AIC, ZL2TAL on 144.1 and ZL2TAL on 432 4x1.
DX on 432 via E's is pretty rare, but not unknown. Andrew VK7XR, copied transmissions from Adrian VK2FZ/4, on 432 via E's a year or two back.
Many other VK3 stations heard ZL stations and responded but missed out, partly through QRM, partly the fickle E's footprint and perhaps insufficient ERP. Let's hope its not another ten years before we get a similar opening again.
Bruce VK2EM advises that on 12/1 at 0800 he was scanning the local repeaters when he heard the Greatlakes repeater key up and a voice say "This is ZL3TY QSYing to 144.100 MHz". Switching his FT-290RII to sideband and 144.100 he found Bob ZL3TY working a VK3. He rang Frank VK2XVJ and both worked Bob for a 5x2 both ways, Frank with 100 watts into a Diamond vertical and Bruce with 3 watts into 30 metres of RG-58 coax and a 6 element vertically polarised yagi. Five minutes later Bruce worked ZL3AIC for a 4x4 to his 5x5 and then the band died.
13/1: Gordon VK2ZAB - At about 0140 the VK5 two metre beacon on Mount Lofty was audible in Sydney area. Liaison with John VK5PO on six metres ensured that calls were made on two metres from both ends but no contact was made.
At 0800 ZL3s were heard on 2m. I had 2m SSB contacts running 25 watts pep with ZL3TY in Greymouth and ZL3TIB, ZL3AIC, ZL3TJZ, ZL3TIC, ZL3ADT and ZL3NW all in the Christchurch area. Signals were S5 to S9 both ways. Guy VK2KU worked all these stations plus ZL2VAL in New Plymouth.
The 2m beacon near Wellington was audible in Sydney but no contacts are known to have been made to the Wellington area.
14/1: Roger VK5NY - At 2336 worked VK6KDC at Manjimup 5x5 on 2m. Darrel runs a continuous keyer with 18 watts on 432.105, worth noting, I could not hear the keyer.
15/1: Phil VK5AKK - Some very short 2m openings between VK5 and VK4. Worked Des VK4DMI at 0310 5x7 on 144.100. At 0344 contacted Adrian VK2FZ/4 on 144.100, gave him 5x3 but did not receive my report back.
15/1: Eric VK5LP - On 144.140 from 2328 worked Darrel VK6KDC at Manjimup 5x8, Wally VK6WG 5x5. 16/1: 0949 VK6WG 5x9 on 144 and 432, 5x3 on 1296. 1030 to 1139 - 144: VK3AEF, VK3WRE/p, VK3ZL, VK3TMP, VK3FIQ. From 2216 VK3XPD, VK3AEF, VK3ATN. All at various signal levels but mostly good signals. On 432 VK3ZL 5x5, VK3AXH 5x9; 1296 VK5NC 5x5.
16/1: Wally VK6KZ - At 2157 worked VK5DK in Mount Gambier on 144 and 432 MHz from Perth and VK5AKK in Adelaide on 144 MHz at 4x1 - hard copy.
Mount Gambier beacons on 144.550 and 432.550 strong. Adelaide beacons not audible. No signs of Geelong beacon or any VK3s.
16/1: Don VK6HK - VK5RSE/b 144.550 faded out at 0100 here in Wembley Downs in the Northern suburbs of Perth. Wally VK6KZ and Cec VK6AO also copied Trevor VK5NC on CW on 1296 during the opening but no QSO. Nil heard here.
16/1: Steve VK5SFA - worked Wally VK6WG on 144.100 MHz at 0250 5x7. Tried 70cm and 23cm ... no go!
16/1: Phil VK5AKK - worked VK6WG 2400 on 144.100, 432.100 and 1296.100.
Ron VK3AFW reports that the weekend of 16-17/1 saw good tropo on 2m and above, covering many points east of Perth, but apparently not getting much further north. A number of VK3s worked various VK6 stations.
Max VK3TMP worked VK6KDC at Manjimup on 2m on Saturday morning 16/1 and Wally VK6WG and also VK6KZ on Sunday morning.
VK3ZL, VK3FIQ and other VK3s also heard working Wally VK6WG on 2m Saturday night. Best contact was Alan VK3XPD to Wally VK6WG on 1296 at 0930. Wally's 10 w was 4x1, Alan's 70 w 5x5 I believe. Congratulations. A few km short of the VK record but a long time since this path was worked on 1296.
Ron's modest log for 14/1 reads as follows:
1142 VK5DK 5x9
2106 VK3BMY 5x6-9
1026 VK5DK 5x9
1129 VK6WG 5x7
1137 VK6WG 5x9
1207 VK5NY 5x9
1226 VK5DJ 5x9
1247 VK5NC 5x9
2131 VK5NY 5x9
2145 VK1BG 5x4
2155 VK7JG 5x9
2110 VK7XR 5x9
VK5LP was heard (5x2) working several stations but did not have his beam in my direction while I was listening.
The VK5RSE beacon in Mount Gambier on 2m was very strong for the whole weekend. The VK7RNE beacon was also strong.
Alan VK3AL in South Melbourne shared the excellent tropospheric conditions on 16/1. He was particularly pleased to work Wally VK6WG on 432 MHz for his best DX on that band. His QSO on 2 metres came with signals up to S9. However, tests with VK6WG on 1296 were not successful.
Contacts with Trevor VK5NC and Colin VK5DK, both in Mount Gambier, on 1296 were also very pleasing. He said it was a most exciting evening with very good signals, despite some QSB.
Alan VK3XPD: On 16/1 at 0930 Wally VK6WG and I gave the current National Record for 23cm a bit of a scare. I was pleased to make it to Wally as he is now nearly 90 years of age and still active.
I had just completed building a "water-cooled" 2C39 valve amplifier for 23cm. It was delivering about 80-90 watts during tests but the sealed cooling system using distilled water had not been completed so the coolant was normal tap water in a 4 gallon bucket sitting on a chair - a little risky since the water was "live" at 1300 volts - but only temporarily!
Propagation had been open to VK6 on the mornings of 15-16/1 and several VK3s had worked Darrel VK6KDC at Manjimup but Saturday evening was to be a real propagation "feast".
As the evening progressed and propagation improved, the number of VK3, 5, 6 and 7 stations being heard at my QTH on 2m grew rapidly. There were many VK3 and VK5 contacts on 2m and 70cm into VK6 to Wally at Albany and I believe others. The VK5 boys also worked Wally on 23cm.
Meanwhile, I had been running the 23cm beacon VK3RXX on 1296.530 MHz on the amplifier and beaming west. Trevor VK5NC had commented that the signal was bending his "S" meter from the back of his beam and Joe VK7JG from Launceston also mentioned it was 559 and this was with the beam "side-on" to him in Tassie!
At 0930 Wally VK6WG came on 2m calling CQ and he was 5x9 in Burwood. I responded and suggested he take a look for the VK3RXX 23cm beacon and he played it back to me on 144.150 MHz. A QSO on 1296.150 MHz gave me 5x2 and after a struggle I gave him the disappointing report of 4x1. We had just completed a QSO on 23cm of around 2450 kms - about 3 km short of the current National Record set by Wally with Les VK3ZBJ. Close but not close enough!
Alan VK5AR sends a list of his "better contacts" for the field day. He was portable near Kuitpo Forest about 400 meters asl.
0522 144 VK3FIQ 5x5 QF12
0524 144 VK3CY 5x7 QF13
0528 144 VK3AEF 5x5 QF03
0530 432 VK3AEF 3x3 QF03
0623 146 VK5NWH 5x5 PF75
0629 146 VK5KOP 3x3 PF75
0638 439 VK5NWH 5x5 PF75
0642 439 VK5KOP 5x5 PF75
0720 50 VK5XE 5x5 PF96
0722 50 VK6AOM 5x5 OG80
0820 144 VK5NC 5x9 QF02
0837 50 VK4FNQ 5x2 QG39
1014 144 VK3CY 5x9 QF13
1200 432 VK5MC 5x9 QF02
1959 144 VK3WRE 5x8 QF32
2008 144 VK3AEF 5x9 QF03
2011 432 VK3AEF 5x2 QF03
2014 432 VK3WRE 4x1 QF32
2024 144 VK3AXH 5x9 QF12
2025 432 VK3AXH 5x5 QF12
2027 50 VK3AXH 5x5 QF12
2028 50 VK5NC 5x7 QF02
2029 50 VK3WRE 5x3 QF32
2035 50 VK3ATQ 5x2 QF22
2037 144 VK3ATQ 5x3 QF22
2041 144 VK3BJM 4x3 QF33
2048 144 VK3AUU 5x3 QF21
2050 144 VK3XPD 5x5 QF22
2052 144 VK5NC 5x9 QF02
2158 146 VK3SWD 5x9 QF03
2213 144 VK3AL 5x5 QF22
2215 144 VK7JG 5x3 QE38
2221 144 VK3DQW 4x3 QF12
2225 50 VK3DQW 3x3 QF12
2227 144 VK3AFW 5x5 QF22
2240 144 VK3CY 5x9 QF13
2254 144 VK3ATL 5x5 QF21
2259 144 VK3ATN 5x7 QF14
2300 50 VK3ATN 5x7 QF14
2301 50 VK3NA 5x7 QF14
2302 144 VK3NA 5x3 QF14
2309 50 VK3ATL 4x1 QF21
He said: I believe that there is no advantage in trying to work these stations during the field day. Two contacts in the SAME locator square on 10 GHz, nearly doubled the score of 39 (mainly) difficult contacts on 50 MHz. I am going to think seriously whether I will operate in this contest again with the current rules.
Alan VK3XPD reported that with the arrival of the Field Day contest on 8-9/1 came some good weather.
On the evening of Saturday 9/1, Trevor VK5NC, Colin VK5DK with Tom VK5EE providing "support services", all travelled to a point about 30 km west of Mount Gambier while Alan VK3XPD went to his usual spot at Olinda, about 30 km east of Melbourne.
Also participating on 2.4 GHz (as part of the Field Day) were Ralph VK3WRE and Mark VK3TLW who were "perched" near the summit of Mount Skene about 100 km to the north-east. At 1118 they successfully contacted Alan VK3XPD at 5x2 both ways.
While these 2.4 GHz contacts were being conducted, Trevor VK5NC and David VK3XLD (part of the Geelong contingent operating at Anglesea under the callsign VK3ATL) were attempting a 5.7 GHz contact over about 300 km. David was a welcome newcomer to 5.7 GHz but with only 5 milliwatts available from his recently completed "No Tune Transverter", this QSO was always going to be tough. David did hear Trevor (with his 6 watts) but unfortunately Trevor could not hear David. David will be building an amplifier very soon.
Later, Colin, Trevor and Tom had a series of QSOs with Alan on 3.4, 5.7 and 10 GHz over an "all land" path of some 420 km.
Initial signals at 1200 were marginal with QSB but built up progressively to a peak of 5x9 as the evening passed and the early morning arrived. These series of QSOs were recorded for the Ross Hull Contest between the hours of 1240 and 1352.
David VK5KK reports: With the slow start to the tropo season, the National Field Day Contest on 9-10/1 was a golden opportunity to test all the microwave gear. In the end I had 50, 144, 432, 3456 and 10,368. I forgot to take the 1296 transverter and 5760 was found to be non-operational. Out of practise! I did however have my new fold out tripod tower that will hold two 600 mm dishes plus 144, 432 and 1296 MHz antennas. This was a resounding success (i.e. it didn't blow over!). The whole arrangement including antennas packs down so it can be carried in the car boot. Everything successfully ran from one 40 Ah 12 volt battery.
Arrangements had been made to team up with Alan VK5AR who was near Mount Magnificent, about 60 km south east of Adelaide, as part of the exercise. In the South East, VK5DK, VK5EE and VK5NC were taking microwave gear to Mount Graham. At least some-one else was going to have gear within earshot, about 350km!
As I arrived around dusk, the first problem was finding Alan VK5AR. My map for the area was a little vague so some mutual DFing was needed. Regardless, I decided to first set up at a spot near Bald Hill that I had noted from previous surveys to be a good location for microwaves to the South East. Contact was made with VK5DK, VK5EE and VK5NC on 3456.2 and 10368.2 MHz with signals up to 5x9 over the 350 km path.
On 10368.2 MHz I also worked Chris VK5MC who had his portable equipment set up just outside his EME shack, again about a 350 km path. Also worked into central VK3 on 144 and 432. The 432 equipment was simply 2.5 watts from an IC402 into a 9 element beam.
After this round of contacts, I packed up and went looking for Alan VK5AR. In the pitch black it took about 20 minutes to find him, using the 2m handheld with no antenna to DF him! I set up again and worked the South East crew on 10 GHz for a second round. Alan VK5AR also made use of the 10 GHz equipment. All in all an enjoyable outing!
David VK5KK: Since early January, I have had almost nightly rag chews on 10 GHz with Keith VK5AKM. Both he and I have 10 GHz set up permanently from home so we just turn it on and talk! To add a bit of challenge to the work we use the Torrens Island Power Station as our "reflector", signals are normally 20 dB over the noise via this path, as we are about 35 km apart; direct path signals are substantial.
With the ability to rotate dishes at both ends, we have been able to measure doppler shift on various "moving" reflections. As VK5VF/b is well shielded from here and the direct signal is very weak, reflections with doppler are much stronger. As the doppler can be up to a few 100 Hz, it has become an interesting study to judge the quality of a duct and locate larger moving fronts or clouds out a few hundred km with a bit of help from a satellite weather map.
The actual results are still a little vague, as we just tune on SSB to work out the frequency difference between the two signals. Some simple math's will give a velocity, as the object is travelling towards you the frequency shift is always to the high side. It is possible to pick times when a high level duct does exist to the west sufficient to carry the signal to/from a cloud mass or ??? well out to sea. As this year has been poor to the west, we just haven't had any really good ducts with which to work!
Alan VK3XPD: On 30/12/98 at 1230, Russell VK3ZQB at Port Fairy worked on 10 GHz Colin VK5DK and Trevor VK5NC both at Mount Gambier and Chris VK5MC on holidays at Robe. This is a fairly significant series of QSOs because it is not often that four stations are on 10 GHz simultaneously in VK. Signal reports were 5x5, 5x5 and 5x2 respectively.
As the evening of New Year's Day progressed we noticed propagation building up. The conditions were deemed suitable for 10 GHz so at about 1100 we were all in position - Russell VK3ZQB on the Port Fairy foreshore, Colin VK5DK and Trevor VK5NC on "the mount" at Mount Gambier, Mark VK3TLW and Ralph VK3WRE the summit of Mount Tassie and Alan VK3XPD at Olinda on the south eastern edge of the Dandenong Ranges.
On 10 GHz, the 150 km path from Russell at Port Fairy to Colin and Trevor at Mount Gambier was open with steady 5x9 signals over this relatively short distance. The 250 km path from Alan at Olinda to Russell at Port Fairy yielded similar signals with rapid QSB (within a matter of seconds) from just above the noise floor to 5x9.
The path from Olinda to Mount Gambier of roughly 400 km was very poor in comparison - signals were hovering around the noise floor. No two-way contacts were achieved.
Meanwhile, over at Mount Tassie disaster had struck when Mark's 10 GHz transverter was found to be very "deaf" so it was packed away for a repair job. Ralph had also brought his recently completed 2.4 GHz tranverter and a midnight QSO over roughly 150 km to Olinda yielded a 5x2 report from Alan (not bad for 40 milliwatts into a GridPack) and 5x9 from Ralph. The difference being the 5 watts from Alan's transverter.
Even later that night, Russell VK3ZQB and Roger VK5NY near Mount Wilson in McLaren Vale had a long "rag chew" on 23cm starting at 1230. Signals for this QSO from the home QTHs were a steady 5x8 for most of the time.
Next day in the wee hours of the morning, the phone at Alan's place rang at 2045 (0745 local). It was Trevor again! The 23cm beacon VK3RXX was "in" again at Mount Gambier. At 2100 Alan completed a QSO with Russell on 23cm 5x9 both ways followed almost immediately by QSOs with Colin and Trevor in Mount Gambier, where signal reports were 5x8/5x9 respectively.
As band conditions were so good we went portable again, however by the time we were in place the propagation between Alan at Olinda and Colin west of Mount Gambier had again deteriorated significantly but not before we achieved a QSO on 10 GHz over a distance of some 420 kms. The mediocre reports of 5x1 reflected these poor conditions. This was Colin's first 400 kms plus QSO on 10 GHz. Not unexpectedly, the 10 GHz signals between Russell at Port Fairy and Mount Gambier were 5x9.
The propagation continued into Sunday evening (3/1) when Alan VK3XPD completed seven 23cm QSOs from 0830 until 1200. Alan worked both Joe VK7JG and Andrew VK7XR in Tasmania and five other stations in the Latrobe Valley region of Victoria. These were Rob VK3EK, Ralph VK3WRE, Peter VK3KAI, Brian VK3BBB (1 watt FM) and Mark VK3TLW at Ralph's QTH.
120 GHz Record
Will Jensby W0EOM, has claimed a new 120 GHz distance record of 5.3 km with Bob Johnson KF6KVG. The CW contact was completed on November 16 in Redwood City, California. The pair have been working on 120 and 144 GHz rigs based on Hughes harmonic mixers and 9-inch Cassegrain fed dishes. They plan further work in the upper microwave bands. ... W3EP
The peak of Cycle 23 approaches and so does the next equinox. In the light of this the following from Neville Mattick VK2QF <firstname.lastname@example.org> who says: So the "SF == < 100" 21:00 indices == 99 13 03.
April 2000 solar peak, as per above, 1999 equinox to come will yield many interesting chances for station evaluation prior to the peak.
Some interesting data may co-incide with this prediction: http://www.winsoft.net.au/~vk2qf/predictn.htm
Need I say more. You should be preparing your six metre equipment in readiness for those countries you missed last cycle and for new stations which have since appeared.
Closing with two thoughts for the month:
1. A psychiatrist is a person who invites you to tell everything and then charges you for listening, and
2. In a democracy, the votes of the vicious and stupid count. But under any other system they might be running the show.
73 from The Voice by the Lake._