Ham Radio

Monday, June 23, 2008
Solar Activity Creates DX Opportunities
click on log to enlarge......... (blue spots highlight propagation peaks on 20m)



The last week has kept me active a lot on some of the HF bands due to some great openings into South America as well as VK.

I have noticed some interesting findings regarding the use of my Vertical Antennas and the home made full wave 20m Delta Loop, at different times during the day due to the ionospheres variable F layer.

Up until this weekend the WX has been good with sunshine and pleasant conditions. The bands have definitely begun to improve especially at my QTH on most Evenings. During daytime conditions I have experimented around on 20m with a Mono Band ½ wave vertical and the Infamous Loop.

With the second F layer seemingly being present at this time I have found the Vertical to perform noticeably better than the loop on 20m into Europe and the Middle East.

But from 1800 UTC there is a sudden change of received angle of radiated signal and the Delta Loop is phenomenal and provides outstanding performance on RX and TX with no comparison from the Hustler 6btv or mono banded vertical antenna from all directions.

This must be when the second F layer becomes unstable and allows signals to penetrate through, reaching the outer F layer with a different angle of radiation (Take off angle of signal from my antenna) which is more favourable to the Delta Loop as it seems?????.

Here is some more about those elusive layers of the Ionosphere that we love to bounce our signals off of.


The Ionosphere reflective layers

Solar radiation, acting on the different compositions of the atmosphere with height, generates layers of ionization.

Known more commonly as:

D layer

The D layer is the innermost layer, 50 km to 90 km above the surface of the Earth.

E layer

The E layer is the middle layer, 90 km to 120 km above the surface of the Earth.

Sporadic E

Sporadic E propagation is characterized by small clouds of intense ionization, which can support radio wave reflections from 25 – 225 MHz.

Sporadic-E events may last for just a few minutes to several hours and make us radio amateurs very excited, as propagation paths which are generally unreachable, can open up. There are multiple causes of sporadic-E that are still being pursued by researchers. This propagation occurs most frequently during the summer months with major occurrences during the summer, and minor occurrences during the winter. During the summer, this mode is popular due to its high signal levels. The skip distances are generally around 1000km (620 miles). VHF TV and FM broadcast DX'ers also get excited as their signals can be bounced back to earth by Es. Distances for short hop events can be as close as 500 miles or up to 1,400 (or more) for a long, single hop. Double-hop reception over 2,000 miles is possible, too. Hopefully things will continue to improve and bands such as 12M, 10M, 6M, & 2M increase in activity with regular openings.

F layer

The F layer, is 120 km to 400 km above the surface of the Earth. It is the top most layer of the ionosphere.

The F region is the most important part of the ionosphere in terms of HF communications.

The F layer combines into one layer at night, and in the presence of sunlight (during daytime), it divides into two layers, the F1 and F2. The F layers are responsible for most skywave propagation of radio waves, and are thickest and most reflective of radio on the side of the Earth facing the sun.

I usually listen to the RSGB news on Sunday mornings 9.30 local time on 145.525 fm operating as GB2RS.

The local broadcast covers information related to the Ham Radio hobby from solar forecasts, Dxpeditions, to local Events organized by Clubs etc.

You can also catch other GB2RS News readers at various times on different bands during sunday, or via the HamInfoBar i player. If you like reading only, check out the RSGB site via the link on the right side of this page.

I often find the solar forecast quite reliable as the recent sun spot activity reported was coincidental to the contact made into VK earlier last week.

It is always amazing as well as exciting to be able to put a reasonably low powered signal into Countries at the opposite side of the world.
Using simple home made delta loop antennas and the good old F layer with some freshly charged particles to Ionize and reflect!
posted by Simon Davison @ 9:41 pm   2 comments
Monday, June 16, 2008
Four stacked five element 20 meter yagi antennas

Ian VK3MOs Tower and four stacked five element 20 meter yagi antennas
worked by 2E0HTS using a Home brew 20M Delta Loop


Last Night I battled with the sleep that was forming in my Eyes and stayed up late working a few Distant DX Stations that were coming through on 20m SSB.

I worked Argentina first, LU2QC Osvaldo, with a 5/9 signal, followed by W1/GI0MPT Eamon, 5/9+ from south of Boston. Just after that my luck continued and got even better with VK3MO Ian, at 11.11pm UTC (12.11 Local time BST) who gave me a 5/9 report on 14.177.30. USB using his awesome antenna array, 100 watts and I think Ian was running an Icom rig and was also 5/9.

I used the good old ft767, 50w, with my full wave vertical home made delta loop to make both contacts.Whilst in RX, I compared the Loop to the Mono band vertical 20m ant, G5RV, and the Hustler.

Sorry Guys the home made Delta loop(vertically configured) put them all to Shame with no comparison, in fact none of the other antennas came close to the Loop's performance.

VK3MO, Ian is located in Melbourne Australia and he was a booming signal creating a nice little pile up, as you can see he runs an impressive antenna array so you should hear him fairly easily, where ever you are in the World.

73 and I hope to hear and work more nice DX signals to blog about in the near future.
posted by Simon Davison @ 12:43 pm   2 comments
Sunday, June 15, 2008
HamInfoBar Web Tool Bar Browser, Proves To Be A Valuable Tool For Radio Enthusiasts
Greetings and 73

Just a quickie to share this great little tool for our Computers with those of you that like experimenting a little.


click on image to enlarge



I came across this useful addition to the Shack Computer and have found it to be a very useful and interesting tool for all Radio enthusiasts.

It is called "HamInfoBar" and can be downloaded here

HamInfoBar

The Tool bar doesn't seem to cause any conflicts and offers a wide range of Ham radio and radio related content.

It is neat to look at and simple to explore, there are many useful and innovative features, too many too mention.

So far I have come across cool things such as links whilst browsing, these have taken me to some interesting up to date Ham Radio Information.

Feeds, Propagation Forecasts, DX Clusters, DXpeditions for LF, HF, VHF, UHF and everything else that Ham Radio is involved with, including techy stuff.

Have a look yourself and I can honestly say I was nicely surprised with the Tool bars gadgets and features.

I am grateful to the creators of the HamInfoBar along side the many other Hams that have left there comments on the HaminfoBar Web Site. HamInfoBar


Best 73 de Simon and Company
posted by Simon Davison @ 9:36 pm   2 comments
Saturday, June 14, 2008
eQSLing
eQsL Log on Screen


eQSL Home Page


My eQSL Design. Here Is Where You Create Your Card Design


eQSL Log


eQSL Archives

eQSL The Effective and Quickest Way To Confirm your DX and Local Ham Radio Contacts

There are lots more functions and pages as well as programs to check out on eQSLs web site once you become a registered member. It is best to send information about your Licence to become AG (Authenticity Guaranteed). It makes claiming eQSL Awards much easier. SWL (Short Wave Listeners Can Also Use eQSL and Obtain a Unique SWL Call Sign)

Countries Confirmed by eQSL by My Base Station

1 ALGERIA
2 ARGENTINA
3 AUSTRALIA
4 AUSTRIA
5 AZORES
6 BELARUS
7 BELGIUM
8 BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA
9 CANADA
10 CEUTA AND MELILLA
11 COLOMBIA
12 CRETE
13 CROATIA
14 CZECH REP.
15 DENMARK
16 DOMINICA
17 DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
18 ECUADOR
19 ENGLAND
20 FINLAND
21 FRANCE
22 GERMANY
23 GREECE
24 GUADELOUPE
25 GUERNSEY (BAILIWICK OF)
26 HONDURAS
27 HUNGARY
28 IRELAND
29 ISLE OF MAN
30 ISRAEL
31 ITALY
32 JERSEY (CHANNEL ISL.)
33 KAZAKHSTAN
34 LATVIA
35 LITHUANIA
36 LUXEMBOURG
37 MACEDONIA FORMER YUGOSLAV REP
38 MADEIRA ISL.
39 MONTENEGRO
40 MOROCCO
41 NETHERLANDS
42 NORTHERN IRELAND
43 OMAN
44 PARAGUAY
45 POLAND
46 PORTUGAL
47 PUERTO RICO
48 ROMANIA
49 RUSSIA (EUROPEAN)
50 SAUDI ARABIA
51 SCOTLAND
52 SERBIA
53 SLOVAK REP.
54 SLOVENIA
55 SPAIN
56 ST. LUCIA
57 SWEDEN
58 SWITZERLAND
59 THE GAMBIA
60 USA
61 VENEZUELA
62 WALES


1808 Stations have been QSL confirmed using eQSL since I have been a member (4 Years), and there are more and more Radio Amateurs joining every day. You can see if there is a card waiting to be retrieved by yourself by following this link
Eqsl
Registration is simple enough and doesn’t take too long. I have many outstanding eQSL cards sent to far away DXCC that are still in the system waiting for the particular Stations to join eQSL. The good thing is when a new member returns your eQSL maybe 2 years later, as the card’s you send remain in the system until they are claimed by the recipient. eQSL is free to send and receive cards and for a small donation you can upload your own graphics/designs. There are simple step by step instructions helping you design your own QSL card as well as other interesting Ham related stuff on the eQSL web site.

I hope those of you who dont use eQSL already, found this useful.

73 have a nice weekend de Simon 2E0HTS
posted by Simon Davison @ 11:44 am   0 comments
Sunday, June 08, 2008
The Sunday Afternoon 2 Meter Loop Project

Watch to see how I spent my Sunday afternoon making a simple full wave 2 meter Delta Loop and then make a 200 mile QSO with MM0GPZ/P in Scotland on 144.285 usb.
posted by Simon Davison @ 8:48 pm   2 comments
Saturday, June 07, 2008
OX4BX friend of Hamradio.blogspot.com worked on 40M

Tonight I had the pleasure of working Tomas OK4BX who regularly shares information here on Hamradio.blogspot. Tomas came through 5/8 on 40m (7.093 LSB)at around 19.50 UTC, we tried 20 meters and was unsuccessful but managed it on 40 meters. I was using 50 watts, a 102 ft G5RV, and the FT-767 with the Heil Goldline Mic.
Hopefully Tomas will leave a comment containing his Station equipment used to make this QSO.

Thanks Tomas and hope to hear you again on the bands soon. 73 de Simon
posted by Simon Davison @ 9:01 pm   2 comments
Monday, June 02, 2008
HF pile up from 2M0HTS mobile in the North West of Scotland

A chance to view the beatiful scenery whilst seeing 2M0HTS/mobile in action


We have just returned from a weeks Camping in the Scottish Highlands and had a fantastic time. The WX (weather) was good and we both managed to obtain a sun tan as well as a paddle in the lovely Arisaig Sea. We stayed at a lovely campsite over looking the Isle of Skye, Isle of Eigg, and the Isle of Muck, which is situated 6 miles south of Malaig and is called Portnadoran and is locally known as Portnalucaig. This fabulous location was very beautiful, we managed lots of touring, walking and quite a bit of ham radio. I got the opportunity to use the Call 2M for Scotland which caused quite a bit of pile up on a few occasions from some remote places in the North West Highlands operating 2M0HTS/M.

Here is what happened during our stay, Thank you to all who managed to make the QSO it sure was fun! We can’t wait until we go back up there and do it all again! It was very beautiful and also an excellent radio operation location.

Weds on 20Meters – 2M0HTS
Mobile on the way to Oban, Fort William, and then Stationary from our Camp site at Portnadoran near Skye. (We watched a Herron fish for its supper whilst playing radio)
1. G0OKD John 5/7 QSB
2. M3DFW Darren 12 Miles North of Newcastle 5/9+
3. M0GIQ in Scunthorpe Gordon 5/7
4. IZ0IMU 5/3
5. GI6DCC 5/9+ Charlie in Omagh
6. G6BDV Rob located in St Albans was 5/9 with QSB
7. G0BSD Dave near Liverpool 5/9+ *Dave stayed on frequency and continued having a good rag chew with us. Hope to hear him again!*
8. 2E0JJB John in Bridlington 5/9
9. M0WHC Bill near the Liverpool football ground 5/9+20
10. 2E0ZMS Matt in Kirkby Moorside near York 5/9+10
11. G0BSD Dave near Liverpool 5/9+ asking how our BBQ went
12. M1AZZ 5/9 Tom South of Bridlington
13. 2E0LSB Andy from Dudley 5/9
14. 2E0CSG Derrick 5/9 from Burnley * I know Derrick we sat our Exam together*
15. M0HRC Wayne from Neverton 5/9
16. M0KOM Lenny from Middlesbrough 5/9+
17. G1KVQ Tony 5/9
18. 2E0NCH Nathan from Middlesbrough 5/8
19. G0OWU Rick from Dudley 5/9
20. PA/DK1GLM/M 5/9 Ludwig
21. EB1BSU 5/5
22. M0JHA Billy from Manchester operating QRP (5 watts) 5/9
23. EA3/GI3NVW Bill 5/9
24. 4U1ITU Geneva 5/9
25. HB2008FS 5/9
26. OS??? QSB sorry!

Thursday on 40m
Tried My Maldol HFC-40 Antenna near Mallaig, (I saw a pack of Stags and Deer roaming r the hillside)
27. OT2A 5/9

Friday morning on 20m
Heading To Ardnamurchan
28. PA0?KO Gerard on 5 watts 5/5 QSB
29. PD1LVK Louis 5/5 with QSB
30. PC4U Marc in the Netherlands 5/9
31. G4WQZ John in Portsmouth 5/9+20 with QSB
32. G4ACS Geoff in Kidderminster 5/8 - 5/9+
33. DL4EDC 5/8
34. DL4DZL Fred 200km South of Berlin 5/9
35. M1CXK Dartford 5/9
36. M0WYB Russ 5 miles South of Bath 5/9 *Told Me I was on the DX cluster*
37. PD0RXK Jan Netherlands 5/5 – 5/7
38. PA9RB Luuk operating QRP (5 watts) 5/9
39. G3RWF Nick in Canterbury 5/9
40. M1CXK Dartford 5/9

Friday Afternoon 20m
Near to Loch Moidart and then Portnadoran (We saw a Golden Eagle looking for its lunch)
41. MU3VWQ 5/9
42. G7JAK David in Lowestoft 5/9
43. M3KUZ Ken in Newquay, Cornwall 5/9
44. DL2FJK 5/8
45. OO4P/m Phil 5/8 – 5/9 * Mobile to Mobile*
46. PA3FRD Brian 5/9
47. PA0KT Jan 5/9
48. DL7UCW Ben collecting WAB squares 5/7 5/9 * gave Ben 2 new rare WAB squares *

Friday Evening 20m
Near Mallaig and Portnadoran
49. IZ6BXU 5/8
Heard JY4CI Rafiq in Amman Jordan 5/9 on 1421205 with a massive pile-up
50. OM2VL Lotti 5/9
51. 3A2MD Laura in Monaco 5/7
Heard A61I Hammed in the UAE 1417642 with a massive pile-up 5/9
52. CX1TG 5/5

Saturday 20m
On The Return Journey whilst approaching Fort William
53. EG8CID Gran Canaries 5/9
54. ON4TWS/P – contest VB031 – 01 5/9
55. ON6VG/P Gilbert – contest VB033 018 - 02 5/8
56. ON4DST/P 132 IM3113 – 03 5/9
57. OZ7AM Alex in Copenhagen 5/9
58. ON7IDX Hans in Antwerp 5/9

Saturday 20m M74 Southbound
59. 9H4CM Charlie in Gozo 5/9
60. OZ1JVX/P – contest EU171 – 04

Saturday 2m – 2E0HTS– English Scottish Border signing as 2E0HTS/M

61. G7THI/M Frank near Penrith knows an old work colleague from my plumbing days Eric Spofforth (Mountain Search and Rescue)


Saturday 20m – 2E0HTS
Whilst passing through the Lake District on the way home Heard HZ1ZH Maan 1429500 59 big pile up, and also on the M6 near Lancaster I worked
62. CT7LTZ 59
63. E73DP Zoki 59
64. DL3AO Rolf from Stuttgart 59
65. EA3AS Mike 59
66. DL5MU 59
67. UA4CA Nick 55 – 58

I also worked a few other Stations that were not recorded and as you know it is difficult enough just getting the call signs correct whilst on the move in the mobile. A Big Thanks to Louise (M3TLL) most of you are mentioned above, Louise did a great job of managing the mobile operations and has a fantastic tolerance of radio.

We covered almost 1000 miles during our travels, the return journey took 10 hours I was grateful of all the fantastic QSOs I made which kept me awake and alert for the complete journey arriving back in Baildon West Yorkshire safe and sound.

View from Portnadoran beach looking out to the Isle of Eigg

Scotland is one of my favorite places, thanks to all of the locals for making our stay brilliant!

73 for now I am feeling recharged and ready to work some more stations.

de Simon
posted by Simon Davison @ 3:15 pm   4 comments
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