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



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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.



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Perseids / Perséides 2019


Quick summary of the Perseids 2019 on 144 MHz. Between August 8th and 18th, 2019, I made 43 QSO’s with the following stations : UT2UB, EW7AW, SP8OOU, EA4SG, OK2WO, EU4AX, C37MS, 9A3MR, SM3LBN, SP2MHR, UA3LID, UT9UR, LA/SM5EPO (JP72, 75, 76), SQ5GVY, SP7QJF, OH1ND, OH1MN, EM44T, UT7KF, OG2Z, YO2LSP, YU7ON, RA1TL, R5WM, SM4GGC, LZ0C, US8AR, UT8AL, EA3MS, OH1XT, SM3XGV, EB5EEO, CT7ABA, SF6F (2 QSO’s), S50TA, S51ZO, LZ2FO, SV2JAO, YO2BBT and HA6VV.

I omit the reports on purpose (MS Sprint Contest). The furthest station worked was R5WM over 2166 km. Amongst other 2000 km+ QSO’s, US8AR was using 100W/9el and UT8AL used only 25W/21el ! On August 18th in the morning, during the YO Marathon, 9A, Italian FD contests, there was an outburst. I worked YO2BBT in SSB but failed to complete with YO7FWS during a 1 min MS burst. Both called me at the end of a Tropo QSO with OK1RDO, also in OK Contest.

Most of the above mentioned QSO’s were random, few ones by taking a sked on ON4KST. 32 out of the 43 were made using MSK144, 10 were in FSK441 and 1 in SSB.

Squares worked (click on the maps below to enlarge) :

Perseids 2019

I didn’t notice a real peak of the Perseids, or perhaps on the 13th in the early morning. Also visually, it wasn’t that much a fireworks, at least when I watched outside ! This year during the Perseids, we “suffered” from the same newbies we face in FT8 : people ignoring what MS is all about, calling you via Tropo and using uncoordinated 15 sec periods, just because it is embedded as is in WSJT-X…

By making some data processing (excluding the stations < 800 km) with exports from PSK reporter in Excel and kml mapping tools outputing into Google Earth (drop me a mail at on4khg@voo.be to know how to), one comes up with the map of all the stations I heard (mostly MSK144) during the Perseids (the furthest heard was UR3EE at 2314 km) :

Stations received by ON4KHG Perseids 2019

By making a likewise data processing for the stations that heard ON4KHG, we have (furthest was RA3EL at 2206 km) :

Stations who received ON4KHG Perseids 2019Space

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Subregional VHF Contest March/Mars 2019


Compte rendu du contest subregional VHF des 2 et 3 mars 2019. Je n’ai été actif que très partiellement, à savoir durant seulement 7 heures sur les 24 que compte le contest. Je me suis attaché principalement à chercher les DX’s (mode “S&P”) avec un certain succès, malgré une propagation vraiment pas terrible (tout comme le WX du moment, pluvieux et venteux), surtout le dimanche. Les signaux étaient relativement faibles, entachés d’un QSB lent et profond. Plusieurs QSO’s DX ont ainsi probablement été complétés à l’aide d’airplane-scatter. Dimanche en fin de matinée, je me suis fait plaisir avec une session d’appels (mode “Run”). 40 QSO’s furent logués en 30 minutes ; ça répondait sans cesse, parfois plusieurs stations en même temps, quel plaisir… Moins de stations OK que d’habitude, pas d’OM cette fois et rien en direction du sud de la France ou EA. OK1KTW (JN89IW) ne m’a jamais entendu et je n’ai contacté personne en JO70 ni JO80. Par contre, 5 stations italiennes contactées, dont IQ2CJ qui était un “réel” 59.
Station utilisée : 2×9 él. DK7ZB et 1,2kW

Activity report of the subregional VHF contest of March 2nd and 3rd, 2019. I have been very partly active, during only 7 hours amongst the 24 the contests lasts. I mainly focused on hunting DX’s (mode “S&P”) with some success, despite a poor propagation (like the windy and rainy WX), mainly on Sunday. Signals were relatively weak, tainted with slow and deep QSB. Several DX QSO’s have then probably been completed thanks to airplane-scatter. Sunday in the late morning, I had fun with a calling session (“Run” mode). 40 QSO’s were logged within 30 minutes. My CQ’s were answered constantly, sometimes several stations at the same time, what a pleasure… Less OK stations than usual, no OM this time and nothing in direction of the South of France nor EA. OK1KTW (JN89IW) never heard me and I didn’t contact anyone from JO70 nor JO80. On the other hand, 5 Italian stations were contacted, including IQ2CJ who was a “real” 59.
Station used : 2×9 el. DK7ZB and 1,2kW

# QSO’s : 125
Points : 53087
# DXCC : 13 (G, GM, GW, HB9, OE, OK, DL, ON, PA, F, I, SM, LX)
# WWL : 56
Average km/QSO : 425

Top 10 DX QSO’s :

IO2V           JN54WE       928 km 
I4VOS          JN54PF       897 km
OE1W           JN77TX       893 km
IQ4FD          JN54MM       859 km 
OK1KCR         JN79VS       846 km 
OK1KKI         JN79NF       813 km 
SK7MW          JO65MJ       807 km 
OE5NNN/P       JN77DX       803 km 
OK6R           JN79OW       802 km 
GM4AFF         IO86TS       801 km

Subregional VHF March 2019


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144 MHz tropo opening of end of 2018 and beginning of 2019


Below the map of the QSO’s I have been lucky to work on 144 MHz during the period December 25th, 2018 to January 6th, 2019. The conditions lasted for days, thanks to a steady high pressure system over Western Europe. Stations on the North coast of Spain were hearing the OY beacon but unfortunately there was no activity from the Faroes Islands. In JO10XO, I was out of the North-South duct but I could benefit however from excellent conditions from South-West to North-West. UT1FG/MM was worked while in IN66, JO12, JO25 and JO36 (3 new #). I missed IN67 as I was out for the New Years eve. The map depicts SSB, CW and FT8 QSO’s.

Tropo opening 144 MHz end of 2018


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