Month: October 2016

EME and MS weekend.

Members of the Secret Nuclear Bunker Contest Group (SNBCG) assembled at Kelvendon Hatch to try 144 MHz (Earth Moon Earth) EME and MS (Meteor Scatter) over the weekend of the ARRL EME event As a group we have tried with some success MS QSO and this helped lay the foundation for this weekend’s EME event.

EME is particularly challenging due to the great distances involved and extreme path loss of the signal after its travelled close on 500,000 miles! The equipment and format of the QSO is similar to MS, we used the WSJT-X 1.7 (currently in Alpha) and  WSJT provided free from Joe Taylor K1JT website.

The weekend of the ARRL EME event was selected as it provided the best chance of working some of the EME “big guns”. Our equipment was quite modest by comparison, but included a

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9 Element LFA antenna designed by Justin G0KSC,

DG8 masthead preamp as designed by Ian GM3SEK with the kit available to order from hupRF.

Linear amp UK  Gemini 2 VHF amplifier delivering 300w.

Low loss LBC600 / LMR600 coax.

Icom 9100.

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We found we could often decode signals, and even the thrill of decoding signals from the K2VEE in EM79 via the moon was incredible…then it happened.



We answered a CQ call by HB9Q and to our surprise they replied. This was our first and it turned out only EME QSO that weekend.

We continued to have quite a few MS QSO working Italy, Slovenia, Denmark and Norway and also a number of SSB contacts with 30 or so UK stations over the course of the weekend.

It is always nice to try a new mode and to succeed, you must never underestimate how difficult it is to achieve a QSO over that incredible distance. We achieved our goal of making an EME QSO, and regular decoding of signals via the moon. If this has inspired you to have a go I would encourage you to check out  K4MSG guide to small station EME. Also have a look at W5UN monster EME array that has bagged him over 11,000 EME QSO !

QST also published an interesting article “A Basic Approach to Moonbounce” that you may find interesting.

Plans are already being made for the next EME event in November…


Electronic log books

In the days when computers filled the size of your front room most people used paper to log their QSO, but today electronic QSO logging has a number of advantages. I was first licensed in 2003, and I took the decision to electronically log from the start. I mainly operated digital modes, so electronic logging was the only way to add calls and so this became the usual way I log.

The choice of electronic logbooks will depend on your preference, band and operating modes. Some electronic logs are free, others are integrated with the digital modes software like HRD.

Electronic logging can be split into two parts, what do you use to record the QSO while on air and subsequently how do you save this and gain any DXCC or other awards.

So lets look at the QSO stage first.

minosMinos for VHF and UHF – The program is free and open source written by Mike G0GJV and you can read the history of its development on his site. Its the best VHF contest software, so thank you Mike for this sterling effort.




hrd2HRD – Ham Radio Deluxe is a paid suite of programs that logs and decodes digital modes.




fldigiFLDIGI – is a free and open source, the program decodes and logs digital modes. The Wiki page makes interesting reading.




pztPZT log – is a free program developed by Charlie M0PZT. You also have the option of a more advanced version PZT Pro for just a few pounds.




n1mmN1MM – is a free program designed for contesting. Developed by N1MM Thomas Wagner it has the reputation of being the most popular logging program in the world. The program can be used as a stand alone logger, but it can be integrated with RTTY to be used in contesting.



Doing something useful with your electronic log.

Once you have logged all this data you have a choice to keep it safe on your drive, or upload so the world can see how many people you have worked. Electronic QSL cards or electronic QSO confirmation is the main benefit but keeping track of your WAS or DXCC has never been easier.

lotwARRL LOTW – Log Of The World  is the defacto standard in electronic QSO conformation. Its the only electronic confirmation system that is recognised and secure enough to allow you to claim DXCC awards. It can also track and credit you for numerous other awards. Yes its a “pain” you have to prove who you are and sign the log before uploading, but its very security is what makes it the trusted authority on electronic QSL. Its not for the paper collectors, you don’t get any pretty pictures but it does what it says on the tin. Oh the best bit is its free.

eqsl –  Electronic QSL cards, with pretty pictures. Its great if you like to collect cards and wanted to save on postage, but their is little or no validation on who the uses the system and so the awards are worthless towards DXCC.





Clublog – Electronic award tracking and confirmation of QSO. Developed by Michael G7VJG.




qrzQRZ – They have jumped on the electronic QSL band wagon, sometimes less is more.
 – Another electronic awards and QSL tracking system





I tend to upload to all of these logs, but only take any interest in the LOTW awards. The other systems help to keep the paper QSL count down, although I reply to any cards received via the RSGB bureau.


National Hamfest 2016

Once again the National Hamfest was located at Newark Showground in Nottinghamshire. The rally once again took part on the Friday and Saturday, with im told Friday being the much busier day. I elected to go on Saturday, the flea market was once again rather small, maybe even smaller than 2015 with a selection of pre-owned equipment (junk) for your delight.


29929795422_679cc40e51_k29444838903_bd51df99ed_kHere you can see a selection of pictures taken in the flea market area. The inclusion of a white coat from one of the sellers adds an air of science.


Inside everything was in one main hall, this included your large equipment manufactures, Icom, Kenwood and Yaesu.

John G8DZH from LEFARS purchased one of the new Icom 7300 and on collecting his bonus external speaking Icom informed him he was the 50th purchased of the new radio that weekend !

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Mark M0DXR from Kenwood was on hand to offer advice and a friendly face on their stand.

Kenwood had their new handheld TH-D74E on show that does FM, DSTAR and APRS.

Walters and Stanton and Martin Lynch and Lamco made up the major retailers, all having a selection of new and used equipment for purchase.

I was really nice to catch up with the TX factor team, I spent sometime chatting to Mike G1IAR and I congratulated the team on producing some really high quality videos. Mike was telling me they had set the production and content values very high, meaning few but well made programs.

Here you can see Mike doing a bit to camera, with the assistance of Peter M0PSX from Essex Ham


The Camb- Hams team was in attendance with Flossy2, running a special call GB16NH  and Geoff G0DDX attended with his recently completed van.

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The RSGB had a number of stands, books, DF, Observation Service, Contesting, EMC and QSL service to name a few. A very enjoyable day out and a chance to catch up with people, some I had never met and only worked on the air. It also gave me a chance to wear the new LED matrix callsign badge, and this prompted a number of people to ask “Where did you get the badge from”  to which I would reply Friedrichshafen.

73 Dave M0TAZ