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Archive for August, 2020

Antennas sprout for DX challenge

August 08, 2020 By: Chris G3YHF Category: Club, Fun, News

A variety of antennas are being used for this month’s Wythall Radio Club DX Challenge on the WARC bands, any modes.

Tim M6OTN, at his caravan in Somerset, made an inverted vee sloper cut for 18MHz with a counterpoise out of spare wire he had to hand (photo left).  He was shocked how well it worked – “it’s the fun of antennas!”  Tim now has 48 countries worked on this band using FT8 – and the challenge is only one-quarter way through!

Meanwhile John 2E0XET used his trusty 90 feet-long dog-leg doublet to great effect, working ZD7GB on 18078 CW  with 12 watts.  Nice!!

Using spare ladder-line, a coupled-resonator antenna was put into service by Chris G3YHF.

One side is cut as a dipole for 10mhz and fed with coax.  The other side is a single section half-wave for 18mhz with the middle above the dipole feed point but not connected to it.  The 18mhz conductor placed close to the dipole is imposed on the 10mhz dipole and means that the antenna happily resonates on both frequencies.

And at G0MTN, Lee is using a fan dipole for 10, 18 and 24 Mhz and 50Mhz – carefully disguised in a tree!  This has proved very successful in increasing Lee’s DXCC count.

New pictures from space

August 06, 2020 By: Chris G3YHF Category: Club, Fun, News

Pictures transmitted from the International Space Station (ISS) were received by Wythall Radio Club members yesterday.

The pictures were received as the ISS passed near the UK on four occasions during the afternoon.  Besides pictures of the ISS, the main theme was Russian helecopters.

Pictures were transmitted by Slow Scan Television (SSTV) on the 2 meter amateur radio band (145.800MHz) and make a warbling sound that needs to be decoded using free MMSSTV software.  

Signals were received by Chris G0EYO and Chris G3YHF along with other members of Wythall Radio Club, using their normal 2 meter VHF equipment.

G0EYO used an FT847 transceiver linked to his computer via a Signalink sound card and a collinear antenna, while G3YHF used a small FT7900 mobile transceiver again with a Signalink and collinear. 

The picture on the left shows the SSTV signal being decoded on MMSSTV.

The ISS astronauts make regular SSTV transmissions.  These are part of the MAI-75 experiment at the Moscow Aviation Institute (MAI) to support video information broadcasting from space in real-time to a wide range of users.

Wythall Radio Club members monitor the bands for these events.

The MAI-75 experiment is carried out using a notebook computer on the ISS, which stores and prepares the photos and videos that are then transmitted to Earth using the ham radio communication system, the primary component of which is the onboard Kenwood TM D700 transceiver of the “Sputnik” ham radio system within the 144-146/430-440 MHz bands.

More pictures received around the world from yesterday’s transmissions – and from previous events – are available here

Monitor ARISS (Amateur Radio on the ISS) for details of future SSTV transmissions.
 
Picture on right shows Russian Cosmonaut M. V. Tiurin during a communication session with the Moscow Aviation Institute. Credits: Moscow Aviation Institute (National Research University)

Worldwide contacts in Wythall RC’s July ‘Challenge’

August 01, 2020 By: Chris G3YHF Category: Club, Fun, News, Training

What countries can Wythall Radio Club members contact on the 80, 40 and 20 meter bands during July?
 
That was the challenge for Club members, who could use digital, voice and Morse Code to make contacts around the world. 
 
Overall, club members worked 116 countries – including Alaska, China, Hawaii, Kenya and St. Helena island.  To see all the countries worked, click HERE
 
Impressive results were achieved by Allen 2E0VVG who worked 101 unique countries (each country counting only once across the three bands) and Chris G0EYO with 192 countries overall (the total of the countries worked on each of the bands). 
 
Allen decided to give his FT8 signals a little more elevation, so packed up his little all-band, all-mode FT817 rig and operated from his car on a hill-top (photo above).  Perhaps this gave him the edge in being the first to contact 100 unique countries!
 
He also spent “a lot of time on Google maps looking for places that I’d never heard of.   Mayotte is a French island just north of Madagascar apparently!” 
 
Mark M1AEC also managed contacts in the Indian Ocean:  “had a nice contact in to The Re’union Islands off Mauritius on 40m yesterday…. callsign FR4OM”.
 
Carsten OY1CT gave some members a contact with the Faroe Islands, located between Shetland and Iceland.
 
Some burnt the midnight oil in the hunt for rare countries!  “Inspired by the midnight/early morning efforts of Chris G0EYO and Kevin 2E0NCO, thought I’d explore the 40m band at 4.00 a.m. on Saturday” commented John M6KET.  “Surely there would be a VK/ZL waiting for that elusive M6 QSO?  ZL there was – but not audible here!”
 
However Chris’ occasional midnight operations were more productive than John’s:  “Some good ones caught at those times. eg US Virgin Island on 40m at 00:59Z. UAE at 01:33Z on 40m. Uruguay and Dominican Republic at 01:03Z on 40m etc.”
 
Chris G0EYO observed that there are “some interesting differences between us FT8ers (digital mode operators) as we each seem to get countries that others cannot connect to or in my case even see.  It’s all to do with timing, as I guess we have pretty much the same equipment set up.”
 
Here you can see how the total number of countries worked by each member across the 3 bands developed over the month!
 

The Challenge is part of a series, with a different group of amateur radio bands or modes being the focus of activity each month.  Previous months have covered 15,12,10 and 6 meters, and all bands Morse Code only.

The Challenge for August is to work as many different countries as possible on the 30 meter band (using Morse Code and FT8 digital mode) and the 17 and 12 meter bands using these modes and voice (SSB).