Saturday, December 27, 2008
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Monday, December 22, 2008
Logbook of the World is the system used by the ARRL in the DXCC program to get electronic confirmation of contacts/qso's. If two stations upload their logs and there is a match for callsigns, date, time (30 minute window I think) and mode then each station gets a credit. There is no need to submit a QSL card to the ARRL to verify the contact if you were applying for a DXCC award.
This has 2 big advantages as far as I can see...
1) It's another method by which you can get some of the rare countries confirmed. Having had countless direct QSL cards not replied to, getting contacts confirmed electronically has obvious attractions.
2) It should/might reduce the number of incoming QSL cards. After all, if someone else works me and needs to have EI confirmed then regular LOTW users won't need to send me a QSL card.
Current status.......22nd Dec 2008
I remember looking at LOTW before but I could not remember when. I had a folder on my PC with files created in March 2005 so it was three and half years ago!
I download the current version of the programme tqsl-111.exe (the version I had was tqsl-110.exe).
Normally, you would run this programme and complete the first step which is to run TQSLCert and create a certificate request. I obviously had done this before as I have the required file (EI7GL.tq5) already in the relevant folder on my PC.
I went to the ARRL LOTW website and uploaded the certificate request. I got the following results....
Certificate request processor result:
Started processing your New Certificate Request.
For call sign: EI7GL
For DXCC Entity: IRELAND (245)
For QSOs not before: 1986-10-03 00:00:00
For QSOs not after:
Your certificate request is accepted and awaiting further processing.
You must mail in (via postal mail) supporting documentation to complete the request.
Details about what to send and where to send it can be found at:
Your certificate request processing is completed.
All non-US radio amateurs are required to send in supporting documentation to obtain a certificate. As luck would have it, buried in amongst all of the packets of QSL cards I found an old envelope with all the required photocopies (passport & EI7GL licence) and I had never posted. Next step is to post it! (Posted letter 22nd Dec 08........Received password by e-mail on 5th Jan 2009)
With the current progress of updating my logbook, I probably won't be in a position to use LOTW until April 2009 at the earliest anyway so there is no mad panic.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Same as the last time....Kenwood transciever on CW, 500 Hz filter. Antenna....old commercial CB type end fed half wave about 4 metres above ground level. I monitored the received audio using the Sprectrum Lab audio analyzer program.
I tried listening for 4 different beacons on 28 MHz......GB3RAL (~500 kms), LA4TEN (~1,200 kms), F5ZWE (~1,300 kms) and DL0IGI (~1,500 kms). I listened at two different times on the 14th of December.....around 01:00 for GB3RAL and LA4TEN and around 09:00 for all 4 beacons.
Listening around 01:00......
GB3RAL.....I received a few bursts from this beacon. Nothing spectacular but it seemed to be there ok. Due to the fact that it has a faulty keyer, I was not able to get a positive ID. Like before, a lot more shows up on the trace than what I could hear by ear.
LA4TEN......This beacon seemed to be very good. It seemed to be nearly always there and at times, it got strong enough so that I could hear the CW by ear and make a positive ID.
Why was the LA4TEN beacon so consistent?
1) My view in that direction is excellent with no obstructions so that may have helped.
2) Is it the fact that 1,200 kms might be a much better distance for meteor scatter. Certainly for GB3RAL at 500 kms, I would expect that more intense meteor bursts might be required (more ionization) and the bursts would be of shorter duration.
3) Perhaps certain directions are better at different times during the shower??
4) Or perhaps it was the power level? LA4TEN is supposed to have an ERP of 250 watts which is very high for a beacon.
5) Of course, there is always the chance that what I heard was actually weak Sporadic-E rather than just meteor scatter propogation. It's seems unlikely at 1am in the morning in December. Considering that the peak of the shower was around this time, it was probably meteor scatter.
Listening around 09:00....
Conditions were worse. I still got a few pings from GB3RAL. I got very little from DL0IGI and F5ZWE. However, LA4TEN seemed as busy as ever! Looking at other sites, the peak was well over at this stage. In addition, the radiant point for the showers in Gemini may have set below the horizon by that time. I wonder though if the LA4 beacon at this stage was Sporadic-E or or not???
1) I need to find out what times the radiant point is above the horizon for any future shower and what the likely peak time will be.
2) The results show that meteor scater on 28 MHz is pretty impressive. Everything heard here was with an antenna with no gain.
International Meteor Organisation
G7IZU meteor detection page
Next shower is the Ursids on the 22nd of December.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Sunday, December 14, 2008
However on Sunday, it seems like the expedition came to a halt when the antennas fell over in the wind. The winds on Sunday morning were from the North-West and this site looks like it might be very exposed in that direction.
Here are some of the comments from ON4KST chat.....
"LATEST NEWS from DXC 2008-12-14 1039 UT: <<<>>>> Heavy storm has blow over his mast. Antennas crashed. Dirk went QRT"
"well too bad for EI/ON5GS/p: I thought Dirk would make it to the end and would not join the list of blown away DXP's in IO55"
"Dirk, ON5GS, was qrv serveral days from his "berlingo" shack with 4x4el vert stacked antennas. At Dec.14 10.39UTC Anton ON6NL reported: EI/ON5GS/P is QRT! Heavy storm destroyed his antenna"
Some details of the Expedition can be found at http://www.on7kei.be/forum/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=244 and on my earlier post.
Is he QRT for good??? ON5GS is supposed to be there until the 20th. Even if all of the antennas were destroyed, there are some radio shops within driving distance so maybe not???
Now QRT. More info on what was worked at http://www.mmmonvhf.de/showblog.php?ca=EI-ON5GS-P
Back in action......but this time in IO65 square.
SP6NVN 144385.0 EI/ON5GS/P io65jg
SP2MKO 144385.0 EI/ON5GS/P tnx for new loc / vy73 1959 14 Dec
F1DUZ 144385.0 EI/ON5GS/P IN97NJ<>IO65 TNX new loc again 1957 14 Dec
DF8IK 144385.0 EI/ON5GS/P io65jg-jo30 tnx 1950 14 Dec
Here are some of the other spots from the DX-cluster....(Blue=Tropo)
ON6NL 144385.0 EI/ON5GS/P QRT! Storm blow antennas away 1043 14 Dec
G4ZFJ 144385.0 EI/ON5GS/P JO01HO
IO55XA 55 FSK 0929 14 Dec
F1DUZ 144385.0 EI/ON5GS/P WRONG frequ b4 0920 14 Dec
F1DUZ 144352.0 EI/ON5GS/P IN97NJ
DF0WD 144385.0 EI/ON5GS/P io55xc>jo42 fsk,fb 20sec burst 0850 14 Dec
I4XCC 144385.0 EI/ON5GS/P tnx new square! #543 2248 13 Dec
PE1OPK 144385.0 EI/ON5GS/P JO23
PA3DOL 144385.0 EI/ON5GS/P Many thanks for new # 27/27 C 2148 13 Dec
HA5UK 144385.0 EI/ON5GS/P jn97-io55 2061km tnx 2124 13 Dec
DK7DR 144385.0 EI/ON5GS/P jn47dp
OE3SJA 144385.0 EI/ON5GS/P sorry not finish...chaos ! ! ! 2019 13 Dec
OE3SJA 144385.0 EI/ON5GS/P in qso only....chaos... 2008 13 Dec
SP6NVN 144385.0 EI/ON5GS/P tnx qso 1944 13 Dec
OZ8ZS 144385.0 EI/ON5GS/P CR IO55
IZ5ILX 144385.0 EI/ON5GS/P JN54<> IO55 TNX QSO !! 1930 13 Dec
EA6VQ 144090.0 EI/ON5GS QRV for you. Tnx 1726 13 Dec
DF6YL 144385.0 EI/ON5PS/P tnx for new# io55
OH6PA 144385.0 EI/ON5GS/P TNX 4 New # best 940/8 1554 13 Dec
DF4IP 144385.0 EI/ON5GS/P TNX FR QSO 1252 13 Dec
DG5AAG-@ 144385.0 EI/ON5GS/P tnx qso & new square 1227 13 Dec
DK1VI 144385.0 EI/ON5GS/P JN49HH
EI5FK-@ 144385.0 EI/ON5GS/P IO55XC 52/57 tropo tnx 1128 13 Dec
DF8IK 144385.0 EI/ON5GS/P io55-jo30 tnx qso 1104 13 Dec
DF1SO 144385.0 EI/ON5GS/P IO55
HB9DFG 144385.0 EI/ON5GS/P JN37SM
DJ5BV 144385.0 EI/ON5GS/P IO55
DG5CST 144385.0 EI/ON5GS/P gd refl. io55/jo60 gl! 0942 13 Dec
PE1GUR 144385.0 EI/ON5GS/P tnx random qso IO55<>JO22, 2142 12 Dec
PA1VW 144385.0 EI/ON5GS/P Tnk new #, 140/2 2107 12 Dec
SP3IYM 144385.0 EI/ON5GS/P new #188 without SMS/chat pwr 1908 12 Dec
OK1TEH 144385.0 EI/ON5GS/P CR jo70-io55 #520 tnx! 1845 12 Dec
F5JNX 144385.0 EI/ON5GS/P Best 780/4db tnx new # 1836 12 Dec
PA3CEE 144385.0 EI/ON5GS/P MS IO55 Tnx loc. #705! 1809 12 Dec
OZ1IEP 144385.0 EI/ON5GS/P new loc. 1725 12 Dec
DF2ZC 144385.0 EI/ON5GS/P sri typo 1717 12 Dec
DF2ZC 144305.0 EI/ON5GS/P IO55
OZ1BNN 144385.0 EI/ON5GS/P TU fer new grid GL. 1653 12 Dec
DL1RPL-@ 144385.0 EI/ON5GS/P tnx MS QSO 73 GL 1440 12 Dec
DL1EAP 144385.0 EI/ON5GS/P IO55
SP2MKO 144385.0 EI/ON5GS/P tnx for new loc 1048 12 Dec
DG5AAG-@ 144000.0 EI/ON5GS/P 384 or 385 ??? 1031 12 Dec
ON7KEI 144385.0 EI/ON5GS/P FSK441 sket elinknode 7125 0917 12 Dec
I2FAK 144385.0 EI/ON5GS/P JN45
ON4KHG 144385.0 EI/ON5GS/P IO55XA
DF6YL 144385.0 EI/ON5GS/P tnx new# jo31
DL1SUN 144385.0 EI/ON5GS/P norm refl, c, #563 1941 11 Dec
SP6HED 144385.0 EI/ON5GS/P JO80IL
ES3RF 144385.0 EI/ON5GS/P CR ko29
DH4FAJ 144385.0 EI/ON5GS/P JN49EX
SP2JYR 144385.0 EI/ON5GS/P 1760km with 50W - Tnx Dirk ! 1755 11 Dec
PA1GYS 144385.0 EI/ON5GS/P Tnx qso jo22
PA3FPQ 144385.0 EI/ON5GS/P io55 tnx new #. FB refl. GL! 1657 11 Dec
PA4EME 144385.0 EI/ON5GS/P CR JO20WX
G4PBP 144385.0 EI/ON5GS/P MS from io55xc 1613 11 Dec
G8GXP 144370.0 EI/ON5GS/P IO55
IO93 59 450KMS TNX 1610 11 Dec
G4PBP 144370.0 EI/ON5GS/P 5/5-9 tropo in io82wo 1607 11 Dec
SP6NVN 144370.0 EI/ON5GS/P io55xc
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
During the morning of the 17th of November which was supposed to be the peak of the Leonids meteor shower, I tried listening for the GB3RAL beacon in England on 28.215 MHz.
Equipment.....Kenwood TS690s tuned to 28.215.1 MHz on CW (500 Hz filter fitted)
Antenna........Half wave 10 metre vertical at 5 metres AGL
Distance......490 kms due East from here (IO91in<->IO51tu)
As well as listening by ear to the received signals, I put the microphone from the PC next to the rig and monitored the signal with the Spectrum Lab Audio Analyzer program.
After a while, I got a few audible pings that showed on the waterfall dislay so I could see that there was something there around 500 Hz.
At 09:24, I recorded what was the start of a long 5 to 6 minute burst. As you can see above, it started suddenly and after a few minutes, it began to slowly fade away. Listening by ear, I could just about hear that there was something there yet it showed up quite clearly on the waterfall display.
From what I could hear, there was no cw. It was just a constant carrier.
However when I looked at the display closer, I could see that the signal was about 7 Hz wide before finally becoming a narrower signal. I can see from beacon lists that the GB3RAL beacon uses FSK....i.e. the carrier moves in frequency to generate the CW rather than turning on and off. I asked the beacon keeper G0MJW about this and he informed me that the keyer on the beacon has failed and a replacement is under construction.
What I heard and saw was like the beacon keyer was still working (i.e. FSK) except that the frequency shift was now a lot lower than it should be (i.e. 7 Hz instead of say 300 Hz).
Q. Was it GB3RAL that I heard? Probably likely but to be honest, until I can get a positive ID, I will never be 100% sure. I might have a listen again during the Geminids and see how it goes.
(1) The various other lines shown on the above displays are mainly just interference generated by the PC. Even though I can't hear them, they show up quite clearly on the display.
Friday, December 5, 2008
The above map shows the locator squares in Ireland. Some of the squares like IO51, IO63 and IO74 have a number of amateurs in them who are pretty active so are not so rare. The other ones are not so easy to catch. The squares on the Western seaboard (IO41-44) are all pretty rare while the square in the most North Western tip of Ireland (IO55) is the rarest of all. By all accounts, it is on the EU Top 10 most wanted list!
Well, it turns out that Dirk, ON5GS is going to activate the square on 144 MHz during the Geminids meteor shower in mid-December. The information from the website reads as follows...
"I will be qrv on 2m during BCC contest in IO55 (top-10 EU most wanted) using EI/ON5GS/P with 4 x 6el DK7ZB and 200w from a citroën berlingo-shack in donegal NW-ireland from 10-20 dec 2008. All MS skeds before and after contest and/or EME skeds during the period in moonset/moonrise are welcome on dirk_reyners_AT_hotmail.com or sms ++32477677005 or 14.345 MHz during operation. I will most possibly be qrv on ON4KST chat and DX-cluster via GPRS so you will find me there for a sked also. Please no skeds during contest. My random freq is 144.384MHz good luck may the rocks be with you (...and with me HI) Dirk Reyners ON5GS."
There is a link on the post for a website in Flemish but you can see that he is obviously doing a lot of work getting ready for the trip.
IO55......When you look at a map, it may not be the easiest of squares to activate.
1) Logistics.....anyone coming from Europe will arrive in the South East/East of the country and will have to drive all the ways to the North West corner....not an easy journey.
2) Trying to find a good location in the square.
As you can see from the map, there are a lot of mountains to the South, South-East and East. Trying to find a spot with a low horizon will be tricky. It will be interesting to see the results.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Wednesday, December 3, 2008