Radio Active

Radio Active

About the Blog

This blog is an occasional 'diary' of my radio activity, what I have been up to, any interesting stations I have heard, experiments carried out and my thoughts on band conditions etc.

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Heard All Continents on 15m

DX heard/workedPosted by Sean Gilbert Wed, October 06, 2010 22:18:01
Interesting day today (6 Oct), found a few minutes to review what I had heard on the radio and discovered that I had heard all 6 continents (for radio purposes Antarctica doesn't count) on 15m PSK31 in just 40 minutes.

This is the PSK reporter log for the period (with other entries removed):

SA: LU4LA 15m PSK31 10740 kms 13:59:03

OC: YC1DML 15m PSK31 11896 kms 13:57:03

EU: UA6ASU 15m PSK31 2976 kms 13:55:19

AS: 5B4AIK 15m PSK31 3300 kms 13:55:01

AF: ZS2DK 15m PSK31 9917 kms 13:45:54

NA: AB3LH 15m PSK31 3499 miles 13:19:56

I have no idea why the last (NA) one shows up in miles!

Quite impressive considering everyone is bemoaning the lack of sunspots. I have found that 15m has been wide open to JA and South America most days.

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WAZ on PSK and why is this year better than last?

DX heard/workedPosted by Sean Gilbert Mon, August 23, 2010 15:40:11
Well I must admit to being rather surprised yesterday at hearing KH7DX on 20m PSK31. I've heard Hawaii a number of times this year but not on PSK. What I didn't realise until I checked my log statistics (as I do regularly when I update the totals on my website) is that the KH7 gave me WAZ (Worked All Zones - or in my case HEARD All Zones) for the year. PSK is the first single mode I have achieved this on so far this year. Out of the possible 40 CQ zones, I have heard 38 on SSB, 39 on CW and 40 on PSK, with 29 on RTTY. The only band I have WAZ on is 20m, but 40m, 30m, 17m and 15m are all in the low 30's so there is a possibility I could get near to WAZ on some of those.

Looking at the overall DXCC score for the year, this is turning out to be one of the better years with 216 so far. Since 1996 only 2004 (244) and 2005 (239) have had a greater score - and that was at the peak of the sunspot cycle. 2010 is pretty much at the bottom of the cycle, we are just entering the new cycle but it will be a few years before we are at the peak again. Last years score was 205 and I have beaten every band total for last year. This I put down to the antenna. Propagation conditions have been fairly poor and probably quite comparable to last year. The QTH and rig are the same, the only thing that has changed noticeably is the antenna system. I have gone from using a half G5RV which did not present a low SWR on any band, to an Off Centre Fed Dipole (which I have made into a Carolina Windom by inserting a common mode choke on the coax 10 feet from the feedpoint). I spent some time tuning this antenna for the configuration it was to be used in (which is not, as it should be, a standard straight run of 66 feet). I can run this on 40, 20, 17 and 10m without an ATU (in fact I can run it on 12 and 6m if needs be as the SWR is below 3 on both bands). The worst bands are 30 and 15m, but even then it tunes OK with the internal ATU.

I am toying with the idea of improving the 'line isolator' as I'm not convinced that the 6 turns over 3 rings is giving a high enough impedance to electrically 'disconnect' the coax above it. Of course the other part of me is saying that 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it'! That part will probably win as I have no idea what would happen to resonance if I start to fiddle with other parts of the antenna.

I'm going all out to see how close I can get to my scores during the last solar peak. 3 1/2 months of the year left, with a couple of the biggest contests to boot so there is opportunity (just need operating time and a good slice of luck)

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