IARU Region 1 VHF Contest 2019

Compte rendu du contest IARU VHF des 7 et 8 septembre 2019. J’ai été actif durant environ 14 heures sur les 24 que compte le contest. Je me suis attaché uniquement à chercher les DX’s, je n’ai quasiment jamais appelé CQ. Propagation pas terrible, les signaux étaient relativement faibles. J’ai eu le sentiment qu’il y avait moins de stations DL que d’habitude et vers la France, à nouveau une faible activité était à déplorer. Pourtant, même à presque 800 km, TM2D (JN03) arrivait souvent très fort. Sur KST, il semble que plusieurs stations demandent des skeds “en masse”, sans visiblement tourner leur antennes ou avoir un groupement dans la direction concernée… Quand je compare ce contest IARU 2019 avec celui de 2018, les conditions étaient nettement moins bonnes cette année.
Station utilisée : 2×9 él. DK7ZB et 1,2kW

Activity report of the IARU VHF contest of September 7th and 8th, 2019. I have been active during around 14 hours amongst the 24 the contests lasts. I only focused on hunting DX’s, I have almost never called CQ. Poor propagation, signals were relatively weak. I have had the feeling that there were less DL stations than usual and towards France, again a low activity was to deplore. However, even at almost 800 km distance, TM2D (JN03) was often coming through quite strong. On KST it seems several stations are requesting “mass” skeds, without apparently turning their antennas or having an antenna group in the concerned direction… When I compare this IARU 2019 contest with the one of 2018, conditions were clearly less good this year.
Station used : 2×9 el. DK7ZB and 1,2kW

# QSO’s : 100
Points : 57389
# DXCC : 17 (G, GM, GW, GI, HB9, OE, OK, DL, ON, PA, F, I, SM, OZ, OM, EA, SP)
# WWL : 62
Average km/QSO : 574

Top 10 DX QSO’s :

OM3KII         JN88UU      1005 km 
EE2R           IN83FD      1005 km
OM2Y           JN88RS       990 km
ED2C           IN83QF       959 km 
IQ4FD          JN63AX       955 km 
OK6M           JO80OB       941 km 
I4VOS          JN54PF       897 km 
OE1W           JN77TX       893 km 
OK1KCR         JN79VS       846 km 
7S7V           JO65SN       843 km

IARU VHF September 2019



CU8 <> ON Tropo path on 144 MHz

On Tuesday September 3rd, 2019, I have been lucky enough to work CT8/W6PQL on 144 MHz in FT8 (QRB 2875 km) in Tropo. James is active in August/September 2019 from his holiday house on Pico Island (HM58RN) in the Azores archipelago.

backyard2From HM58, James was so far active mostly in EME with 2x10el Xpol and 1kW. I worked James already last year and one week ago in EME. I wasn’t aware James was also active in Tropo. So, when I saw the spot of F8DBF (IN78) highlighting a QSO with CT8/W6PQL, I turned my antennas towards Azores, tuned my transceiver on 144.174 MHz and started calling “CQ DX ON4KHG JO10” in FT8, without too much hope…

After a few sequences, and despite some non-DX stations were calling me (a real problem in FT8 sometimes…), I couldn’t believe my eyes, CT8/W6PQL was calling me ! Actually, “W6PQL” was calling. Indeed, James is used to EME JT65 operation and in JT65, a callsign like “CT8/W6PQL” isn’t supported (I think). In FT8, “CT8/W6PQL” is well supported but then the QRA locator isn’t sent (exchanging the QRA locator isn’t mandatory for a valid QSO according to the IARU however). Since the callsign was truncated, a few ones (against digital modes) will probably claim the QSO wasn’t valid (or just not valid at all because being in FT8 ;o). Well, it is just a matter of software “misuse” (if the callsign of James would have been CT8XYZ, there wouldn’t be any discussion) and most important, the propagation path was open, allowing distant stations to exchange a minimum set of information for a valid QSO. So, from my own perspective there is no question the QSO is complete or not,… it is ! After our QSO, I saw James calling again, as can be seen on the screenshot below seen from my station :


James sent me the screenshot of our QSO from his station :

W6PQL - 2

The strongest James received me was -12dB (in a 2500 Hz BW) and me -15dB from him. This shouldn’t have been strong enough to sustain a CW QSO. This is the second time I work Azores on 144 MHz in Tropo.


The first time was on May 17th, 2011, when I worked Fred, CU8AO (HM49KL) in SSB over a 2991 km path. The CU8DUB beacon was then audible here quite strong for hours :


CU8AO calling DX on May 17th, 2011 :



Frank, PA4EME, heard CU8DUB too over 3150 km. One year before, on September 14th, 2010, the same beacon was heard 529 in Belgium by Michel, ON4POO, and CU8AO made several QSO’s with UK and French stations on the Atlantic coast, but none with Belgium.



For my 2 QSO’s with Azores, the path wasn’t totally over the sea. To the QTF of Azores, I’m living 180 km inland. For the QSO with CT8/W6PQL, the path was even more further interrupted by lands at two occasions, the French “presqu’île du Cotentin” (Normandy) and at James’ side the Sao Jorge Island.

2019_09_04_11_45_35_Document1_Compatibility_Mode_Word 2019_09_04_11_48_12_Document1_Compatibility_Mode_WordSAPCE

Right after the QSO with James, CT8/W6PQL, I listened to the French beacon F5ZSF in Brittany (IN88) on 144.409. It wasn’t stronger that usual, just about normal (539 or so).



Path to ON from James’house in CT8 :


The F5LEN tropo forecast indicated a strong tropo enhancement between Azores and Brittany, but not extending any further. This forecast turned out to be quite reliable however !





So, beside the now famous UK/EI <> EA8/D4 path, the CU8 <> F/UK/ON path deserves attention though the CU8DUB beacon isn’t active anymore unfortunately.