Big Stew (December Stew)

final result Big Stew

Big Stew is the best 160M contest in my opinion. Very busy and good operating. And no multiplier-effect so all stations are workable in a decent way with no or short waiting (in the cqww there are big pile-ups on “new multipliers”).

Nice DX were KL7RA XE2X K0RF VE6WZ. No SA heard, PJ2T heard but couldn’t get my call in.

Als a new DXCC (for me) showed up 7X7X in the contest. 158 DXCC worked on 160M.

I have the feeling that my reception has to improve, when I listen to stations in my neigbourhood I’m sometimes not able to hear what they are working. On 160M the distance between stations is not a big deal (not like Sporadic Es on 2M).
From PA to antenne is about 50 meter but on 160M that will only cost 3 dB. And the beverages I use are close to my house, one has a preamp.

Looking into small rx-systems like SAL-30 or the 9-circle (article by W1FV)



60M running

With a FT-857D which was made ready for 60M, I tried to work some new ones.
But I needed an antenna for this band and after some research bought EZwire-500W-16m endfed (with 1:9 balun)
On the website an swr of 1.2 is promised on 60M.

After a lot of experimenting and moving the antenne around on my lot (close to the tower, high in the tree, etc.)
I gave up. This type (16m version) is not going to work on 60M.

Strangely enough on the website of Ezwire there is a page which shows that on 5353 kHz the swr is way up and Rs > 100 ohm.
That matches with my measurments.

I found a spare 18m Spiderbeam pole in the barn and mounted it in between the trees (we have to manage the WAF – wife acceptance factor).
With a wire length of 13,5 meter the vertical was easy tuned to 60M: Rs = 50 ohm, X=10 and swr 1.2
In the last 48 hours worked about 50 countries, most of them on FT8 and a few on cw. VR2 heard, XE worked, zone 3 worked.

I’m planning to use my TS-2000 for this job but it needs a small ‘operation’ for that. The TS-2000 has a port for an external rx-antenne and with the beverages I might work DX more easy.

Never a dull moment.

FT8 is here to stay

It is a sad development but unstoppeble. FT8 is here to stay, and other (digital) modes will die out. RTTY? Hardly heard in 2019.
The last 2 DXCC’s on 160M added to my track record are FT8-qso’s. I tried to work those stations in cw on 160M but the percentage of time they were spending on 160 cw versus FT8 was very low. See A50BOC stats on clublog. Low number on cw, zero RTTY.

Band CW FT8 SSB Total
160 268 669 0 937

(This only shows 160m but no RTTY-qso on any band.)

TO9W: 153 RTTY out of 12888 qso
V6K no RTTY qso
PJ5-expedition: no RTTY

So conclusion can be: RTTY (and maybe other modes but not much in use on dx-peditions) is DEAD.

I worked them on 80m in cw for a new one. But I didn’t manage a cw-qso on 160M, but I did in FT8.

When working with WSJT some data is already predefined (time-block). The automation (sequencing) is nearly perfect, you hit the enter key once and can make coffee while the machine is running the qso. Technically speaking it is (nearly) unattended working which is forbidden in our license.

Last week I started with WSJT on 144 MHz, MSK-144 mode. But no rx because my frequency was not within the limits of WSJT (200 Hz).
Thanks to PA3BIY I tried MSHV which has a much bigger window. That is how I found out that my trx is off by 400 Hz (better: +400 Hz.)
I then worked 2 stations with 50W rf only. My first MS-qso’s since…when? I don’t know, maybe last century.

Still experimenting with 60M antenna’s. The endfed from EZwire doesn’t work but don’t know why. So I started to build a 1/4 wave vertical, still had a spare 18m glasfiber-pole. Nearly ready this weekend but a storm on Saturday blew it away. Have to restart again, luckely no irreversible damage done.