Thursday, 18 December 2014

WSPR’ing on 10m

My interest in WSPR has been rekindled. WSPR is a fantastic tool; it is most useful in understanding the behaviour of propagation.

I believe WSPR can be also be used obtain other meaningful data for example: making antenna comparisons, dispelling many of the wild claims made by the antenna designers and manufacturers. At some stage I would like to pursue this aspect of WSPR.

Today I was playing a bit with WSPR on 10m. Initially I was using 5 watts (37 dBW) and that worked very well. I then reduced the transmit power to 1 watt (30 dBW)

The image below clearly shows what can be achieved with 1 watt and a simple dipole at 8m (25 Ft) agl.

Tomorrow I hope to reduce the power to 100 mW (20 dBW)

WSPR combined with the Reverse Beacon Network is simply amazing. The persons behind WSPR program and the Reverse Beacon Network deserve our heartfelt gratitude.

Click on image below for a more detailed view.

WSPR 10m 1 watt (30 dBW)

Monday, 1 December 2014

CQ WW CW 2014 - My first 100+

I most certainly enjoyed the weekend doing what I like most, that is chasing DX on CW.

I am fairly pleased with my results, considering I don’t have any decent antennas to speak of. My best antenna is a rigid rotating dipole for the ten metre band, some 8m agl. The rest of the antennas are simple low wire dipoles.

As a rule I don’t monitor my progress during a contest nor do set specific goals. However, late on Sunday I realized that I had already worked some 90 countries on 10m. As I had never worked 100+ DXCC entities during a single contest, I then I set myself that goal since it seemed within reach.

For the most part I operated in “search and pounce” mode, which is fairly slow but at least could chase the country and zone multipliers I needed.

I tried “running” a few times and the QSO rate was much higher, but found it rather stressful, mostly because I am not as proficient on CW as I would like to be. I find it rather daunting to be at the sharp end of a pileup, I need to practice my pileup skills. Maybe if I used Morse Runner more often I would become more skilled in being able to extract calls from the quagmire.

I was very happy that I was able to reach my goal: 106 DXCC entities worked (on a single band) with a few extras for insurance.

My total score for SOSB(A) 10m = 152,066

ZS6A CQ WW CW 2014 score

ZS6A CQ WW CW 2014 stats

Monday, 24 November 2014

Clear operating procedure

The following extract is from the profile of Alexey HC2AO

“I don't like to specify JA only or EU only but there may be times when I will stop the pileup and address a specific geographic area. Please respect that and give a chance to the hard-to-get guys in zones 17,18,22, 23, 29, 37 especially on 80 and 160. You CAN call at any time if you are in AFRICA, PACIFIC, ASIA (excluding JA since I'll call JA specifically), OCEANIA.  North American HAMs please be patient on low bands 160 through 40 at EU, AS sunset-sunrise time frame.”

I am very pleased to see that some rare entities understand the problem that DXers outside of North America, Europe and Japan have. Calls are often made to selective geographic areas normally: NA, EU and JA. Where does it leave the poor DXers in Africa, Oceana, Pacific and Asia?

To address this issue they (e.g. Alexey) find it prudent to include the clause above within their operating procedure:

Give that man a “Bells” !

Sunday, 16 November 2014

AFRICA-DX contest

A small group of amateurs from around the world have been in discussion for a while looking into the feasibility of starting a brand new international HF contest.

The AFRICA-DX all band all mode 24 hour contest

The objective of this all mode contest is to stimulate contesting from Africa. All participating stations worldwide may work any country during the contest period, QSO’s with amateurs from Africa is encouraged as reflected in the higher points being awarded in the scoring mechanism. 

African DXCC entities are defined as those valid per the ARRL DXCC AF Listing published at the time of the contest.

Please note the use of the term Africa and not South Africa. We strongly encourage all African stations to take part in this event. The rules are in no way biased in favour of any one single group or country within Africa. We would like nothing better than seeing a bunch of African stations active during this 24 hour event.

This will contest will be beneficial to all concerned. The station worldwide will benefit from increased activity from Africa on all bands and modes, this will bolster their much needed empty DXCC band / mode slots. On the other hand, the Africans will benefit due to the fact that the world outside of Africa will be turning there beams towards Africa for a change and this will be a great opportunity to be at the centre of activity, with its associated benefits, pileups and hopefully finding new entities towards their own DXCC status.

Rules can be downloaded here:

I think with a bit of luck that this may in time become a popular annual event, I sure hope others feel the same.