Sunday, January 31, 2021

First contact between Croatia (9A) and Slovenia (S5) on 40 MHz - 26th Jan 2021


The very first contact between Croatia and neighbouring Slovenia on the new 40 MHz (8m) amateur band took place on the 26th of January 2021. This comes just two weeks after the very first 40 MHz contact between Croatia (9A) and Ireland (EI).

Using the FT8 digital mode, Patrik 9A5CW completed a successful QSO with Ivo, S59F over an hilly 70km path.


The screenshot above from S59F shows the FT8 contact with the signal from 9A5CW being in the region of -7dB to -8dB. This suggests that while the signal levels were too weak for say a SSB voice contact, a marginal CW or a solid FT8 contact was possible.

The contact took place on 40.680 MHz which is in the centre of the 40 MHz ISM band (Industrial, Scientific, Medical).

Patrik 9A5CW said that he was using an ICOM IC-706 Mk2 running 10 watts into an inverted L vertical antenna for the 60 metre band (5 MHz). S59F was using an ICOM IC-7300 and a HF vertical with very good vswr on 40MHz.

9A5CW also conducted tests over a 70km path with S50B using the JT9 digital mode. While S50B heard a -22dB signal, there was no contact in this case.

Links...

1) 40 MHz page on this blog

Saturday, January 30, 2021

50 MHz South Pacific Summer Propagation season 2020-2021... by CE3SX

Back in mid-December 2020, I had a post up on the blog about some remarkable openings on 50 MHz between Australia and South America with some contacts were up to 13,000kms in length... https://ei7gl.blogspot.com/2020/12/remarkable-13000-km-opening-on-6-metres.html

Pipe CE3SX in Chile has now compiled his own report on the 50 MHz South Pacific Summer Propagation season 2020-2021.


The report covers 6m openings from Chile to Australia & New Zealand from the 8th of December 2020 to the 23rd of January 2021.

In summary, CE3SX in Chile completed 77 QSO's on 50 MHz across the South Pacific... 47 with New Zealand (ZL) which is obviously closer, 26 with Australia (VK) and 4 with the Chatham Islands (ZL7).

64 of the contacts were via the JT65 digital mode, 9 via FT8 and 3 via FT4.

The first contact of the Summer season was to ZL1RS on the 8th of December 2020 which was also the first South America to Oceania 50 MHz contact of the season.

The first contact to Australia was to VK4MA on the 9th of December 2020.

The longest contact was with VK4BLK which was 12,380 kms in length.


The map above shows the locator squares worked by CE3SX on 50 MHz during the 2020-2021 South Pacific Summer Season.

Mode of Propagation???... The maximum distance for one Sporadic-E hop is about 2300 kms. If all of these 10,000 to 12,000km openings were due to multi-hop Sporadic-E then a lot of patches of Sporadic-E had to line up in a row and at the correct distance for it to work.

It has been suggested that part of the propagation path may have been to Polar Mesospheric Summer Echos (PMSE) with electrons gathering around ice crystals.

The full report from Pipe CE3SX can be seen here... https://www.qsl.net/ce3sad/SPSP.html

Friday, January 29, 2021

Buzzing interference on a digital DMR signal

 

On the 4th Tuesday of every month, we hold a local digital net here in Cork and this weeks net was on the DMR Talk Group 2723.

During the net, it was noted that Robby EI3GGB had quite a loud buzzing noise on his audio. His voice blocked out the buzzing/hum but the sound was very noticeable in between his words.

Rob was using a TYT MD-380 handheld with a magmount antenna on 70cms.

The buzzing sound sounded very much like mains hum, as if he was using a battery charger at the same time as when he was transmitting. He tried switching from the mains power supply to just a battery pack on its own but to no avail.

Through a process of elimination, we eventually traced the problem back to an external speaker mike.


It would seem that the problem is the RF signal on transmit is getting into the speaker mike and causing interference. We don't know yet whether the RF is getting into the electronics in the microphone or via the lead and into the radio.

Robby bought the 'Kenwood' speaker from China but it's not clear whether it's the real deal or just a clone. Hopefully the RF interference can be cured by using a simple clip on split ferrite core which Robby is going to source.

If you are using DMR and people start saying that your audio is distorted, noisy or buzzing then try removing the speaker mike if you have one.

Thursday, January 28, 2021

SMC Transportable Log Periodic HF VHF Antenna 30-88MHz

Whenever I come across suitable antennas for the low VHF bands, I try to keep a record of them here. I spotted this Log-Periodic beam recently on eBay...


This antenna is described as a 250w Transportable Log Periodic HF VHF Antenna 30-88MHz and it was sold in the past by SMC in Southampton, England.

As the photo shows above, it was probably destined for the military market.

Tactical, Anodised Green. SMC Part Number - TLP3088.


The specs above say it was 4m from the rear to front element and the gain was in the region of 6dBd. I suspect it was probably a bit less at around 5dBd but it would still be a fine antenna for anyone  monitoring the low VHF spectrum from 30 to 88 MHz.

Keep an eye on the second hand market.

Link... https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/143924931851?ViewItem=&item=143924931851

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Temporary 70 MHz permit for SM0TSC in Sweden

 


While the 70 MHz (4m) amateur band is allocated across much of Europe, it is allocated to 'Land Mobile and Fixed radio' in Sweden. The Swedish licensing authority however do allocate temporary 4m permits to radio amateurs.

On the 26th of January 2021, Johan SM0TSC got a temporary 6-month license for the 70MHz band. The terms of the permit are that he must operate on the spot frequency of 70.1375 MHz and the ERP (Effective Radiated Power) of his transmissions must be 25 watts or less.

SM0TSC is near the capital Stockholm and his locator square is JO99CF. In recent months, both SM4KYN (JO69XH) and SM7CAD (JO77UM) have been active on the 70 MHz band with temporary permits.

The map above shows the location of SM0TSC. The major activity on 70 MHz will be in early May when the summer Sporadic-E season starts. The typical range for Sporadic-E on 4m is about 1000 to 2300 kms with the majority in the 1200 to 2000 km range.

There is also license free radio band in Sweden at 69 MHz and these FM signals were often audible here in Ireland during the summer of 2020. It's likely that the Swedish radio amateurs on 70.1375 MHz should be easy to work from the UK and Ireland as well.

Credits: Thanks to Rob PE9PE for the original news item

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

German beacons heard on 28 MHz in 2020


During the Summer of 2020, I did many scans of the 28 MHz beacon band from about 28.160 to 28.340 MHz. This post is about the number of days that I heard one of the 10m beacons in Germany.

The map above shows the distribution of 28 MHz beacons in Germany. Note that the DB0MFI beacon in the south of Germany was off air in 2020.

The chart below shows the number of days in 2020 that I heard a German beacon on 28 MHz...



1) DL0IGI with its 50 watts into a vertical antenna was heard on 46 days and is easily the most consistent German beacon here in Ireland.

2) DL0UM has just 4 watts into a vertical dipole and was heard on 44 days. Like DL0IGI, it is about 200kms further away from me compared to some of the other beacons and perhaps the slightly longer skip distance made a difference?

3) DK0TEN (10w GP) and DB0TEN (2w GP) were both at 44 days. (Note - GP is a ground plane vertical antenna)

4) DF0ANN (5w dipole) and DM0AAB (10w GP) at 36 and 37 days were slightly behind. As for why?

5) DB0FKS was heard on just 19 days but this can be easily explained due to the fact it has just 1-watt into a small DV-27 vertical antenna (i.e. a loaded mobile whip).

6) DB0BER (5w) was heard on just 5 days. I'm not sure why there are so few reports?

In terms of distance, the German beacons are about 1,200 to 1,500 kms from my location in Ireland.


In 2019, I did a similar experiment... report HERE. It's interesting that the results for 2020 and 2019 are pretty much the same. 

Most of the beacons were in the same order with DL0IGI on top and DB0UM in second place. The key difference was that DL0IGI had a much greater lead in 2019.

In 2019, I heard DL0IGI on 35% more days than DB0UM whereas in 2020, it was just 5% more days.

In conclusion... The reason I collected this data was to see if there were any unusual findings.

a) Was there a difference between North and South Germany? For the second year running, the answer seems to be no. The slightly more northern path didn't seem to have fewer openings.

b) Did distance matter? I seemed to hear beacons at 1,200kms as often as ones at 1,400kms but DB0UM out at 1,550kms seemed to have the edge. The problem is that this is only one data point although I do suspect that extra few hundred kms does give it a slight edge.

German 28 MHz beacons... These are the current ones as of the end of 2020

28.205 MHz - DL0IGI - JN57MT - 50w Vert
28.210 MHz - DB0FKS - JN49IT - 1w DV27 GP
28.245 MHz - DB0TEN - JO42UV - 2w GP
28.257 MHz - DK0TEN - JN47NT - 10w GP
28.265 MHz - DB0ANN - JN59PL - 5w Dipole (Used to be DF0ANN)
28.273 MHz - DB0BER - JO62QL - 5w
28.278 MHz - DM0AAB - JO54GH - 10w GP
28.279 MHz - DB0UM - JO73CE - 4w Vert Dipole
28.285 MHz - DB0MFI - JN58HW - 9w GP (Off Air - Last spot on DX-Cluster Sept 2019)


Methodology notes...
1) The equipment used for reception was a Kenwood TS690 transceiver with a vertical half-wave antenna. The take off to the east towards Germany is good with no obstructions.
2) I usually scan the beacon band on 28 MHz once I hear FT8 signals at a reasonable level that are easily audible. i.e. I know for sure the band is open.
3) All beacons must be positively identified before I post them on DXMaps which in turn puts them on the DX Cluster.
4) The mode of propagation for all signals heard was Sporadic-E.

Monday, January 25, 2021

Update on the 40 MHz OZ7IGY beacon in Denmark - Jan 2021

Thanks to Ivan OZ7IS for the following update on the Danish OZ7IGY beacon on 40 MHz (8m).


Since the start back in 2007 the OZ7IGY 40 MHz beacon has been running on yearly experimental licenses based on reasoned applications. It has been increasingly difficult to come up with new good reasons every year. As a result it was off air in-between licenses. 

The last five months of 2020 it was off-air! As all 12 OZ7IGY beacons together represent an operating cost of approx. 2500 € every year the 40 MHz beacon was occasionally switched off for economic reasons. After all OZ7IGY beacons switched to the “Next Generation” platform a new problem arose: The 40 MHz beacon interfered with the microwave beacons and was therefore switched off for several periods. 

The good news is that due to changes in the regulations we have now been granted a permanent license until the end of 2035. On January 2, the beacon on 40,071 was back on air! In addition, we have solved our interference problems and found a sponsor to cover the license fee for the 40 MHz beacon. So if no other problems arise the 40 MHz beacon of OZ7IGY has now become reliable 24/7/365! 

On behalf of the OZ7IGY-team - Vy 73 de OZ7IS, Ivan.

* * *

For more information on the OZ7IGY beacons or if you would make a financial donation to them then visit their website... http://www.oz7igy.dk/

For more information on the 8m band, see the 40 MHz page... https://ei7gl.blogspot.com/p/40-mhz.html

Various antennas for the suite of OZ7IGY beacons

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Short skip opening on 28 MHz - 23rd Jan 2021

Over last week, there have been plenty of days where the 10m has been practically dead all day. So it came as a bit of a surprise when there was a nice short opening on Saturday the 23rd of January 2021.

The main opening was when there was some Sporadic-E in the evening time. What was unusual was the fact that there was short skip from here to the east of the UK, a distance of about 500-600kms.

I had a listen for some QRSS signals when the skip went short and I got this screen grab...


Despite the fact that we are now 13 months in the new sunspot cycle, the solar flux was only 78 today. Was the surge in sunspots last November just a false dawn?

I suspect conditions on north-south paths on 10m should pick up in March and after that, we're into the start of the Sporadic-E season in late April.

Friday, January 22, 2021

Dragan Mojsilović 9A6W - Silent Key

 


Borut S50B reports the sad news that Dragan 9A6W has passed away.

"9A6W Dragan Mojsilović, Great person, Good friend, Army Officer HRV MOD, retired, Very active ham radio enthusiast, is SK
Thank you for everything you have done for amateur radio society in Croatia
R I P and hope you are now pulling cables and installing antennas somewhere in heaven...
73 SK"
... de S50B

It was only on the 10th of January 2021 that Dragan made the very first contact on 40 MHz with EI4GNB in Ireland.

Condolences to his friends and family.

Thursday, January 21, 2021

WANTED: Circulator for 40 MHz OZ7IGY beacon

 

The team that maintain the OZ7IGY beacon in Denmark are currently looking for a Circulator for their 40 MHz beacon.

The Circulator must be capable of operation at 40 MHz and it must be able to handle 25 watts.

If anyone has a spare one and would like to support this group, contact the beacon team via their website... http://www.oz7igy.dk/support/

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

2020 Report for the 40-MHz OZ7IGY beacon

In this post, we'll look at the OZ7IGY beacon in Denmark which transmits on 40.071 MHz and how many times it was spotted on the DX Cluster in 2020.


A total of 16 stations spotted the OZ7IGY beacon on 40 MHz during 2020 and the number of spots per individual was... 9A2SB (1), 9A6W (9), DK7UK (2), EA3ERE (13), EI3GYB (10), EI4GNB (1), EI4KP (13), EI7GL (44), EI7HBB (13), F1EIT (13), F6HTJ (4), G0LUJ (5), G7CNF (1), IK0OKY (7), ON4TA (1) & OZ1BNN (9).

As the map shows above, most were in the region of 800 to 1200kms from the beacon which is a typical distance for Sporadic-E signals at 40 MHz during the Summer season.


It's interesting to look back through the years and see just how stations spotted the OZ7IGY beacon each year.


The OZ7IGY beacon first became operational on 40 MHz back in 2007 and a total of 44 individual  stations spotted it on the DX cluster that year. It was probably widely reported in the amateur radio press at the time as it was a beacon for a new band and quite a few people would have been curious to see if they could hear it.

Over the next few years, the only other signal on the band was the GB3RAL beacon which was operational from 2007 to 2014. There were also times when OZ7IGY was non-operational. The lack of any other developments in countries in Europe in getting access to the band didn't help with the level of interest in the new 8-metre band. 

This finally changed in 2018 when radio amateurs in Ireland got access to the 8m band and that kicked off some renewed interest across Europe.

In 2020, 16 individual stations reported the OZ7IGY beacon on the DX Cluster, the same as 2019. The main difference was that only one OZ (Denmark) station was putting up spots in 2020 compared to six in 2019.

As for the number of individual spots for OZ7IGY on the DX cluster, this is the distribution since it started...


The number of spots for 2019 and 2020 suggests that the few who are listening on the band now are more active in contrast to 2007.

Curious Fact... As of the end of 2020, there are a total of about 500 spots for the OZ7IGY beacon since it first became operational on 40 MHz in 2007. Out of all of the spots, there isn't one from outside Europe. There are no double hop Sporadic-E reports. There must have been plenty of times when the 40 MHz signal was audible in North America and South Africa.

DX Cluster... If you do hear the beacon then make sure to report it on dx-clusters like DXSummit or DXMaps as some of the other clusters ignore spots for 40 MHz as they assume they're a mistake.

More information about the OZ7IGY beacon can be found here... http://www.oz7igy.dk/

For more information on the 40 MHz band, go to this page... https://ei7gl.blogspot.com/p/40-mhz.html

Friday, January 15, 2021

Successful DRM tests on the FM band (88-108 MHz) in Russia

 


DRM (Digital Radio Mondiale) has long been touted as a possible replacement for the analogue AM and FM modes on the radio broadcast bands. The transition to digital has proved problematic as broadcasters and listeners are happy to continue with the status quo, especially on the 88-108 MHz FM band.

While many countries have opted for DAB and DAB+ transmissions on the VHF Band 3 (175-225 MHz), some countries are looking at the option of using DRM transmissions in the spaces between the FM signals on the 88 to 108 MHz band.

From June to December 2019, a sixth month trial DRM transmission was carried out in the Russian city of St.Petersburg. The 800-watt DRM transmitter was on 95.7 MHz between the FM radio stations Studio 21 at 95.5 MHz and Comedy Radio at 95.9 MHz. 

The main audio source for the trial was the Comedy Radio, which was broadcasted simultaneously as an analogue FM service (3KW) and a DRM service (0.8KW). This allowed a direct comparison to be made between the analogue FM and DRM coverage.

The results of the trial were publish in December 2020 in a paper titled..."RESULTS OF THE DRM SIMULCAST FIELD TRIAL IN FM BAND IN THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION... June to December 2019"

Some of the main conclusions were as follows...

The trial has shown that for DRM Simulcast with frequency offset of 150 kHz, DRM digital signal does not interfere with the analog FM signal at a power difference up to -10 dB.

For a frequency offset of 200 kHz, the digital DRM signal does not interfere with the analog FM signal at any power values that the transmitter could provide.

Because DRM Simulcast allows to keep FM broadcasting and launch terrestrial digital radio broadcasting in the same frequency range. DRM multiplexes can be launched between existing FM radio stations without interfering with them. To do this, it can use one transmitter and existing combiner and antenna system.



20:1 Digital Power Advantage... In separate tests done in Indonesia, it was claimed that six test points covered by the 1 kW transmitter (FM) could be served with only 50 watts of DRM power. “In testing a simulcast broadcast using 1 kW and 800 Watt with spacing distance 150 kHz between the middle frequency FM and DRM, the measurement showed no interference between FM and DRM. The DRM quality was at least equally good to FM, but the sound quality of DRM was even better than FM.”

In an article titled "Use DRM on India’s FM Band", the chair of the of the India chapter of the DRM Consortium Yogendra Pal stated..."Using DRM, in the allocated 200 kHz bandwidth, a broadcaster can transmit up to six high-quality audio services along with a host of value-added services and Emergency Warning Functionality (EWF). All digital services work without disturbing the existing analog FM services."

He also claimed that mobile phones that used for listening to analogue FM transmissions can also be used for listening to DRM transmissions as long as manufacturers allow the DRM app to access the baseband digital output.

"DRM standard can be supported natively on all mobile phones based on the already available tuners for analog FM reception. No additional hardware and, therefore, no additional design or component cost is required to enable DRM digital FM support on these phones.

The DRM App for mobile phones has already been developed and demonstrated by a number of organizations. Only the mobile phone manufacturers need to provide access of the baseband digital output. "


In summary... A lot of the information shown above is from the DRM industry who obviously want to push the new digital standard. However, the tests of using DRM on Band 2 (88-108 MHz) do suggest that there are more options than just setting up a new digital broadcast band elsewhere on the VHF spectrum. There are spaces in the FM band (88-108) and DRM can utilise those gaps.

Band 2 also tends to have mush better mobile coverage than the higher VHF bands around 200 MHz which are used for DAB transmissions and many listeners already have dedicated aerials for the 88-108 MHz band.

Transmitting DRM on Band 2 is also an attractive option for broadcasters in that they can use the same antennas and infrastructure. It provides them with an obvious path to gradually migrate to digital only services in the future.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Opening on 28 MHz - 14th Jan 2021

 

There has been an interesting few mid-Winter Sporadic-E openings over the last few days and the 14th of January 2021 was no exception. The map above shows the high number of stations all over Europe that I heard via Sporadic-E. The signals from Russia and the Ukraine were either double hop Sporadic-E or F2 propagation.

Despite the fact that the solar flux was down at 73, some F2 signals from South America and Australia also made it through.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

First contact between Ireland and Croatia on 40 MHz - 12th Jan 2021


During an extensive Sporadic-E opening on the 12th of January 2021, Tim EI4GNB near Dublin, Ireland completed a successful FT8 contact with Dragan 9A6W in Croatia, the first EI-9A contact on the new 8-metre band.


The FT8 contact was completed on 40.680 MHz which is in the middle of the 40 MHz ISM band (Industrial, Scientific, Medical).

As the screenshots above from 9A6W, the signals were quite weak.

The screenshot below shows how EI4GNB was not only hearing 9A6W in Croatia on 40 MHz but also S59F and S50B.


This is a map of the contacts for EI4GNB from PSK Reporter...

The contact between EI4GNB and 9A6W was in the region of 1,974 kms which is a standard distance for single hop Sporadic-E.

40 MHz activity... It was also great to see that a number of stations were listening on the 40 MHz band today. These are the stations that heard S59F on 40.680 MHz on the 12th of January 2021...


Stations hearing S59F on 40 MHz - 12th Jan 2021

Rcvr Band Mode Distance Time (UTC)
S50B 8m FT8 27 km 18:26:59
SR4DON 8m FT8 994 km 16:13:15
SQ4INP 8m FT8 997 km 16:12:59
EA3ERE 8m FT8 1015 km 13:29:29
G7PUV 8m FT8 1139 km 18:37:30
G4EFE 8m FT8 1236 km 17:00:56
EI4GNB 8m FT8 1628 km 18:29:29
EI7BMB 8m FT8 1648 km 13:16:29
EI9JA 8m FT8 1860 km 15:16:29


Links...
1) For more information on the 40 MHz (8m) band, visit my 40 MHz page on the site.

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Online stores in the European Union for amateur radio gear & electronics equipment

 

It's a well known fact that most countries do most of their trade with their nearest neighbours and that was certainly the case with Ireland as it imports a huge amount of goods from the UK. For those in Ireland interested in buying radio equipment or electronics gear, the retailers in the UK have traditionally been the largest source by far.

On the 1st of January 2021, all of that changed as the UK became a third country outside of the European Union. The bad news is that any goods imported from the UK into Ireland & the EU are likely to be more expensive and may be subject to customs duties, taxes and import fees.

The good news is that there are plenty of alternatives in the European Union where all of the expense and hassle can be avoided.

(Update 10th Jan 2021: As Brexit has become a reality, it's clear that it may be best to avoid buying  from the UK to avoid all the hassle and expense. Updated links for EU sources below)

Links...

Amazon Germany (English Version)... https://www.amazon.de/?language=en_GB

RS Components (Europe)... https://www.rs-components.com/index.html


Amateur Radio Equipment

EU Countries with the EURO

Long Communications (Ireland)... https://longcom.ie/

Wescom Ireland (Ireland)... https://wescom.ie/


Poly-Com (France - Dept 06)... https://www.poly-com.com/fr/

Radio-Sav (France - Dept 33)... https://radio-sav.fr/

SAV-Radio 33 (France - Dept 33)... http://www.sav-radio33.eu/

SUD Communication (France - Dept 34)... http://www.sudcom.info/

CB+ (France - Dept 59)... https://www.cbplus.com/

Connectyland.Fr (France - Dept 60)... https://www.connectyland.fr/gb/

RF-Market (France - Dept 63)... https://rf-market.fr/

Zenith Antennes (France - Dept 66)... https://www.zenithantennes.fr/

Batima Electronic (France - Dept 67)... https://batima-electronic.com/

Stereance (France - Dept 69)... https://www.stereance.com/

Passion Radio (France - Dept 75)... https://www.passion-radio.com/

Radio Media System (France - Dept 76)... https://radio-media-system.com/

GoTechnique (France - Dept 92)... https://www.gotechnique.com/


WiMo (Germany)... https://www.wimo.com/en/radios

Funktechnik Bielefeld (Germany)... https://www.funktechnik-bielefeld.de/

Funktechnik Dathe (Germany)... https://funktechnik-dathe.de/

Funktechnik Dresden (Germany)... http://www.funktechnik-dresden.de/

Funktechnik Seipelt (Germany)... http://www.funktechnik-seipelt.de/

Difona Communication (Germany)... https://difona.de/en

QRP-Shop (Germany)... https://www.qrp-shop.biz/en_GB

Wellenjagd (Germany)... https://www.wellenjagd.com/

Bonito (Germany)... https://www.bonito.net/hamradio/en/

Funk24 (Germany)... https://shop.funk24.net/

Funkshop (Germany)... https://www.funkshop.com/amateurfunk.html

Sarikaya-Funk (Germany)... http://www.sarikaya-funk.de/

Tino's Funk (Radio) Shop (Germany)... https://www.tinos-funkshop.de/

FGH Electronics (Germany)... https://www.fgh-funkgeraete.de/

Haro-Electronic (Germany)... https://haro-electronic.de/

Dieter Knauer Funkelektronik (Germany)... https://www.knauer-funk.de/


Hamshop (Netherlands)... https://www.hamshop.nl/

Dolstra (Netherlands)... https://www.dolstra.nl/

Classic International (Netherlands)... https://www.classicinternational.eu/

Communication World (Netherlands)... https://www.communicationworld.nl/

Venhorst (Netherlands)... https://www.venhorst.nl/index.php?route=common/home

GB Antennes (Netherlands)... https://www.gbantennes.com/en/

Truckerswereld (Netherlands)... www.Truckerswereld.nl

BCI Communications (Netherlands)... https://www.bcihaarlem.nl/

Stockcorner (Netherlands)... http://www.stockcorner.nl/index.php/en/

HF Kits (Netherlands)... https://www.hfkits.com/

Dutch RF Shop (Netherlands)... https://dutchrfshop.nl/en/

K-PO (Netherlands)... https://www.k-po.com/index.php

Flex-Radio (Netherlands)... https://www.flex-radio.nl/

SDRPlay (Netherlands)... https://sdrplay.nl/

Flexcoax (Netherlands)... https://flexcoax.com/

Jacobs Breda Electronics (Netherlands)... https://www.jbe.nl/


XBS Telecom (Belgium)... https://www.xbstelecom.eu/shop/en/

Maes Electronics (Belgium)... https://www.maes-electr.be/

HF Electronics (Belgium)... https://www.hfelectronics.be/


Orbito (Luxembourg)... http://www.orbito.com/


DX Patrol (Portugal)... https://www.dxpatrol.pt/

Germano Lopes & CIA, LDA (Portugal)... https://germanolopes.com/


QRP Ham Radio Kits (Spain)... https://www.qrphamradiokits.com/

Astro Radio (Spain)... https://www.astroradio.com/

Radiotrans (Spain)... https://www.radiotrans.com/index.php/en/productos/radio/59/62

AGV Radio (Spain)... http://agvradio.com/

EAXBeam (Spain)... http://eaxbeam.com/shop/index.php

GCN Radioaficion (Spain)... http://www.gcnradioaficion.com/

HamBuy.es (Spain)... https://www.hambuy.es/


Ham Radio Shop (Italy)... https://www.hamradioshop.it/

FlexRadio (Italy)... https://flexradio.it/

Hard Soft Products HSP (Italy)... https://www.hspshop.it/


Funkelectronik (Austria)... https://www.funkelektronik.at/de/


EU Countries not using the EURO

DND Telecom Center (Hungary)... https://www.dnd.hu/home

Anico (Hungary)... https://www.anico.hu/


Konektor (Poland)... https://www.konektor5000.pl/

ErComEr (Poland)... https://www.ercomer.pl/

InRadio (Poland)... https://www.inradio.pl/

Avanti Radiokomunikacja (Poland)... https://www.avantiradio.pl/

Radio-Sklep Radom (Poland)... https://www.radio-sklep.pl/

Ten-Tech (Poland)... https://ten-tech.pl/

Tel-Tad (Poland)... https://www.teltad.pl/


RemoteQTH (Czech Republic)... https://remoteqth.com/

HCS Komunikacni Systemy (Czech Rep)... http://www.hcsradio.cz/

RScom (Czech Rep)... https://shop.rscom.cz/12-cb-radiostanice

hamshop.cz (Czech Rep)... https://www.hamshop.cz/


Anico (Slovakia)... http://www.anico.sk/


Limmared Radio & Data (Sweden)... https://butik.limmared.nu/en/

Antennera (Sweden)... https://www.antennerna.se/

DXSupply (Sweden)... https://dxsupply.com/

TactiCom (Sweden)... https://tacticom.se/


Midtkom (Denmark)... https://www.midtkom.dk/shop/frontpage.html

Integra-A (Bulgaria)... https://integra-a.com/


Electronics Equipment

EU Countries with the EURO

Conrad (Germany)... https://www.conrad.com/

AZ-Delivery (Germany)... https://www.az-delivery.de/en

Reichelt Electronik (Germany)... https://www.reichelt.de/

Kiwi Electronics (Netherlands)... https://www.kiwi-electronics.nl/index.php?route=common/home

BACO Army Goods (Netherlands)... https://www.baco-army-goods.nl/

Electrodump Surplus Electronics (Netherlands)... http://www.elektrodump.nl/en/

Van Dijken Electronica (Netherlands)... https://www.vandijkenelektronica.eu/en/

ON7FU Ferrite Applications (Belgium)... http://www.on7fuferriteapplications.com/

Hard Soft Products HSP (Italy)... https://www.hspshop.it/


EU Countries not using the EURO

TME Electronic Components (Poland)... https://www.tme.eu/

Loh Electronics (Sweden)... https://www.lohelectronics.se/


If anyone else knows of any other reputable retailers in the European Union then let me know and I'll add them.

Updated: 12th May 2021

Thursday, January 7, 2021

D4VHF on Cape Verde plans to be on the 70 MHz band during the Summer of 2021


The D4VHF team on Cape Verde Islands have just announced that they plan to be operational on the 70 MHz (4-metre) band during the Summer of 2021!

They will be using a 4-element Yagi (shown above) beaming towards Europe with an output power of 500-watts.

As the map shows below, the Cape Verde Islands are a long way from Europe and some multi-hop propagation will likely be required.


Analysis... The annual Sporadic-E season in the northern hemisphere normally starts in late April and runs until mid-August. 

It's likely that the first Sp-E openings from Cape Verde will be single hop with a maximum range of 2300kms or so. Stations in the Canary Islands (EA8) at 1500kms or so are ideally placed for a one-hop Sporadic-E opening on 70 MHz.

To get further up and into Europe, it will likely require a double hop opening with ranges of say 2500 to 4400 kms. This should allow stations in the UK and Ireland to work Cape Verde on 4m.

Obviously the more hops that are required for a path to open then there are statistically fewer openings. However, 70 MHz isn't that high a frequency when it comes to Sporadic-E and there should be occasions when even three hops or even four hops are possible. I suspect though that multi-hop openings like this to say central or northern Europe may only occur once per season? We'll see.

Tropo Ducting at 70 MHz???... The D4VHF station on Cape Verde has made many spectacular contacts on 144 MHz and 432 MHz thanks to a marine duct off the north-west coast of Africa.

This marine duct establishes itself for long periods at different times of the year and this allows stations on the coast of Spain and Portugal to work D4VHF on 2m with relative ease over a 3000km or so path. At times, this duct moves further north allowing stations in the UK and Ireland to get in on the action.


This duct behaves like a waveguide and it has certain dimensions. As such, like a waveguide it will have a lower cut off frequency below which signals will not propagate.

The big question is if 70 MHz signals with a wavelength of four metres will be able to propagate through this marine duct?

Will the 70 MHz signals from D4VHF be able to reach the Canary Islands (~1500kms) by tropo ducting? The south-west coast of Spain and Portugal at 2800kms? Will the frequency be too low?

If the marine duct does propagate 70 MHz signals then there is the possibility of it coupling to Sporadic-E openings more often. If not then it looks as if rarer double hop Sp-E might be the only option.


In conclusion... I'm sure many fans of the 70 MHz band will look forward to D4VHF from Cape Verde appearing on the band during the summer of 2021. Single hop and even double hop Sporadic-E contacts I believe are a forgone conclusion and these shouldn't be that difficult.

What I find most interesting however is the ability of a 70 MHz signal to propagate inside a marine duct. Is it possible? If it does happen, is it common? And how far?

It'll be interesting to see the results.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Opening to North America on 28 MHz - Tues 5th Jan 2021

 


Tuesday the 5th of January 2021 was a bit of a strange day on 10-metres. During the morning, there were hardly any signals from the East or South. In the afternoon, there was a nice opening to North America.

The Solar Flux on the day was just 75 which might suggest that East-West F2 propagation was unlikely but as the map shows, you can never be sure.

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

New 2380km record on 2.4 GHz between Australia and New Zealand

 


The Tasman Sea is an area where there are regular tropospheric ducting openings between Australia and New Zealand. On the 13th of December 2020, Hayden VK7HH and Richard VK7ZBX portable on an elevated location in Tasmania made successful SSB contacts with Nick ZL1IU in New Zealand on 144 MHz, 432 MHz and 1296 MHz.

As the tropo prediction map from F5LEN suggested, the 2380 km path from New Zealand to Tasmania was indeed open.


The really amazing contact however came at 05:58 UTC when there was a successful contact between VK7HH and ZL1IU on 2.4 GHz!


The contact was completed by using CW (morse code) as the signals were too weak for a SSB (voice) contact.


This 2380 km contact was a new Australian tropo record for 2.4 GHz breaking the previous record between VK4OX and ZL1AVZ by some 60kms.

27th Jan 2011 - 2317.5kms - VK4OX  - ZL1AVZ

A video of the contact is shown below. It starts at where the 2.4 GHz contact takes place although you can of course go back to the start to see the site location in Tasmania and the contacts on the lower VHF bands.

If you look at the video at 9:45, you can see that they managed to complete a contact on 144 MHz SSB with just one-watt which gives an indication of just how good the conditions were.

It was also nice to see that in a digital age, CW still has a place for very weak signal contacts!

Other paths???... Obviously the one constraint with making contacts on 2.4 GHz are the low number of stations on the band. This limits experiments with other sea paths which might show some suprising results.

The one that springs to mind for me is the sea path from Ireland/UK down to the Canary Islands.

Back in July of 2020, EI2FG and EA8CXN managed to complete a  successful contact on 1296 MHz over a 2714 km path.

What about 2.4 GHz?

As far as I can see, the current IARU Region-1 record on 2.4 GHz is between Malta and Israel.

Band Propagation Call a Loc Call b Loc Mode Date Distance
2,32 GHz TR 9H1GB JM75FU 4X1RF KM72LS CW 2018-07-22 1914 kms

Time for a new 2.4 GHz record in IARU Region-1???

Links...

Saturday, January 2, 2021

Traffic to the EI7GL blog doubles in 2020

Now that we're into the new year of 2021, I decided to look back at some of the traffic stats for this blog for 2020. This is the average number of pageviews per month for the years 2018, 2019 & 2020...

Back in 2018, the blog used to get an average of 3,561 pageviews per month which is a reasonable amount for such a niche subject as amateur radio. In 2019, that had more than doubled to 8,475 pageviews per month.

As you can see from the chart above, I split 2020 up into two data points. 

In April of 2020, I had one post on the blog about the first trans-Atlantic contact on 432 MHz between Cape Verde Islands and the Caribbean. This story was picked up by the Hackaday website which reported on it and linked back to my blog. The result was a huge jump in traffic with that particular post getting over 54,000 pageviews in just a few days!

With the traffic from April 2020 included, the site got an average of 17,589 pageviews per month. If April 2020 is removed then the average for the other 11-months of 2020 was 12,669 pageviews per month which is a 50% increase on 2019.

Most Popular Posts... The most popular posts tend to be the ones where I report on unusual long distance contacts on the VHF bands. Quiet often, I stumble across news of these contacts on websites, forums, Facebook and Twitter and they might be just a comment left somewhere or just a bit of simple text. Sometimes, they hardly get noticed and can often go largely unreported.

I try to collect as much information as I can, generate maps and graphics and put the significance of the contact into context in a blog post. My posts are often picked up then by other amateur radio news outlets and a lot more people can find out about unusual VHF contacts.

My reason for generating these reports on these VHF reports is twofold. Firstly, I hope that to get other radio amateurs interested in trying to make long distance VHF contacts themselves. Secondly, I think it's important to have a record of significant VHF contacts with as much information as possible so that people in future can refer back to it.

The advantage of the blog format is that all of the info is laid out there. Sometimes with Facebook or Twitter or forums, it's a bit like writing something on a Yellow Post-it note i.e. fine for the very short term but very hard to find it again.

Most Popular Page... The most popular page on the blog in 2020 turned out to be the 40 MHz page with over 5,100 pageviews!

I started the 40 MHz page back in June 2018 around the time that Irish radio amateurs got access to large parts of the low VHF spectrum. At the time, there was very little information about any activity around 40 MHz and anything that was there was scattered across the web.

I had considered putting up a blog or website just to promote 40 MHz activity but I likened this to building a shop out in the middle of a forest i.e. the website might look great but if it hardly gets any traffic then what's the point.

My reasoning was that it was better to have a smaller shop in a busy shopping centre (Shopping Mall for our American friends 😊) i.e. Have a dedicated page on this blog where it might get noticed by others who are visiting for other reasons.

It may not be the neatest but at least there is a lot of relevant information in one spot. The main reason it is there is that anyone that is interested in reading the 40 MHz posts will leave with a better understanding of what is happening on the band. In that context, having the 40 MHz page get over 5000 pageviews in a year is great.

Sources of Traffic... The chart below shows the breakdown of visitors.


It's good to see plenty of traffic from countries where English isn't their first language. 

Plans for 2021??... More of the same! What goes up on the blog is really a reflection of my own interest in radio. If I find it interesting, I write about it.

I have a long list of news items and subjects to get through so there is plenty more to come.