FT8 has taken the HF bands by storm, a bit like PSK did in the early 2000s. These days it seems the mode of choice for DX stations, allowing them to make a number of QSO is a short duration. If you haven’t checked out FT8 then I would suggest you head over to Joe Taylor website and have a look at some of the weak signal propagation modes available.
If you are new to FT8 you may find this operating guide helpful.
Connecting my Icom 7100 to Ham Radio Deluxe, and then WSJT-X to “Ham Radio Delux” works just fine for me. It should be possible to connect WSJT directly to the Icom radio, but a lot will depend on your operating preferences.
The agreed dial frequency is 144.174 USB and you will see activity most of the time, probably more in the evenings and weekends
Its quite common to see Germany, France, Belgium, Ireland, Wales and Scotland in a few hrs of monitoring under flat conditions.
50 MHz is also popular and works well under short sporadic E opening.
The RSGB have a series of Christmas Cumulative contests covering 50/70/144 and 433 MHz. The contest is a chance to put down that turkey sandwich and head out to play some radio in the winter sun. The contest run for 2 hrs, and activity is over 4 days. You can read the rules online, and activity is typically quite high.
This year I joined George M1GEO at our contest site above the Secret Nuclear Bunker in Kelvedon Hatch.
The setup included.
Icom 7100, 9e Portable Tona and RF power was provided by a Linear Amp 300w solid state amplifier. The mast was a Racal PU 12 at 5m as the band was wide open with tropo propagation, this provided some interested DX. Mains power was provided by a silent running 2KW Honda generator.
We managed to work 51 stations, with our best DX into Spain, EA1FDI in IN53 at 1143 KM.
The QSO map showed some great openings to the South and East.
The temperature dropped quickly once the sun set, providing a spectacular sunset and the motivation to pack away quickly. Altogether a great afternoon playing radio, with some great propagation for a change.
Thanks to everyone we worked, and all the best in 2017.
Operating report from the Tue evening 144 MHz UKAC. This event runs from 20:00 Hrs to 22:30. Further details can be found on the RSGB VHF pages.
The idea of the event is to promote activity and club participation on the VHF and UHF bands. Anyone who is a member of the club can participate, as your club is affiliated to the RSGB. You dont need to be an RSGB member yourself to take part or enter a log.
Dave M0TAZ at the operating table.
Tuesday evenings in the summer provide an ideal chance to operate outdoors, taking in the evening sun and enjoying the fresh air. Lets not mention about getting bitten by the bugs ! (stop your not selling this)
Logging by lantern
With the assistance of John M0UKD and using the Icom 7100, 9e Tonna and 12m Racal push up mast we was set up and ready to go 20 minutes before the start of the contest. Logging was completed using the excellent and free program Minos . The mast was hand rotated, with the operating position close to the mast, it could be rotated mid QSO if needed. Over the course of the next 2.5 Hrs we managed to work 57 stations, best DX being Scotland at 507 KM
The mast and antenna
The QSO map is shown below.