Archive for the ‘crossband’ Category

System Fusion DR-2X Repeater, Solar Eclipse and More – ETH079

In this episode we talk about the Yaesu System Fusion DR-2X repeater, the upcoming Solar Eclipse and more.

There is some interesting new features on the DR-2X repeater over the DR-1X that came out a couple years ago, but there is also something that it doesn’t have. Some of these features, I wish that we had on our club repeater, but those features are not enough for us to go out and buy this version.

There are a lot of special event stations that are going to be on the air around August 21st this year when the full solar eclipse occurs. This is the first time since 1918 that a full solar eclipse has gone from one side of the US to the other. I unfortunately am to far south to the see the full eclipse, but I should get about a 75% one here in the DFW area.

We also talk about some other stuff, but you are going to have to check out the show notes and listen to the episode to find out what that is.

73s de Curtis, K5CLM

CQ Crossband and … 3 Down, 97 To Go!



Several QSL cards have arrived after the last 630m 'crossband' event ... including one from ZF1EJ in the Cayman Islands confirming our 630m QSO in January.



 

The contact was made on JT-9, the 'WSPR QSO' mode, and represents DXCC country #3 for me on 630m ... only 97 more to go! ZF1EJ was running just 32 watts output when we had our 630m JT-9 contact but has since cranked his output to around 60 watts. Eden is beaconing most nights on WSPR and puts out a well-heard signal. He is very interested in two-way JT-9 work with other VE stations as well as any Europeans and down-under stations.

From what I can tell, it looks like JT-9 (similar to JT-65 but a much narrower bandwidth of 15.6Hz) is establishing itself as the go-to mode for weak signal two-way work on 630m. It has a couple of things going for it that makes it very attractive for this band ... it can dig way down into the noise (-25 db approximately) and communicate with very weak signals and, it does not require amateurs to know CW, a growing trend with newer operators and a real hindrance to two-way CW work. I suspect, and hope, that there will be much more CW activity on 630m once amateurs in the U.S.A. get the band as the amount of information that can be exchanged per transmission on JT-9 is limited ... time will tell.

In the meantime, here is a request for more two-way 'crossband' CW activity with amateurs in all parts of North America. I have recently totally revised the 'CQ Crossband' page on my website, 'The VE7SL Radio Notebook'. Please note that my web address for well over a decade, is no longer valid and everything has been moved to this new location. If you have the old one bookmarked or are linking to it from your own site, please be aware that previous links will now be dead.

The crossband concept allows amateurs not yet on 630m to still participate in this exciting part of the spectrum ... and to check out their ability to hear anything on MF. If we were to make a schedule for a crossband contact, I would be transmitting on 630m at full ERP while you would be answering on one of the HF bands ... usually 160, 80 or 40m.

I am very much interested in setting up crossband schedules for 630m at any time and can very likely enlist several other VE7s to be there as well so that you can work more than one station. I have full details on my updated 'CQ Crossband' web page but please do not hesitate to give crossband a try!


Roger, VE7VV in Victoria, B.C., recently became the 8th VE7 to muster RF on 630m, with power limited to 1 watt at present. Our contact was on CW while he worked stations in Vancouver on JT-9. Hopefully he will continue to build his station and become more active on the band.

Crossband continues to be a subject of much interest both here and with many U.S. stations that are waiting for the band. Recent cards from Colorado and California, shown below, are the latest to arrive.




K6YK gave me an RST of '519' but explained the reason for this was because he was receiving on his 3 el HF tri-bander which provided the best signal-to-noise value! This is often the case on 630m so try what you have. Many times a 'non-resonant' antenna will pick up less noise and yield the best signal readability.

If you would like to try a crossband QSO, please contact me at VE7SL (at) shaw.ca ... I'll keep the rig warmed up!

CQ Crossband and … 3 Down, 97 To Go!



Several QSL cards have arrived after the last 630m 'crossband' event ... including one from ZF1EJ in the Cayman Islands confirming our 630m QSO in January.



 

The contact was made on JT-9, the 'WSPR QSO' mode, and represents DXCC country #3 for me on 630m ... only 97 more to go! ZF1EJ was running just 32 watts output when we had our 630m JT-9 contact but has since cranked his output to around 60 watts. Eden is beaconing most nights on WSPR and puts out a well-heard signal. He is very interested in two-way JT-9 work with other VE stations as well as any Europeans and down-under stations.

From what I can tell, it looks like JT-9 (similar to JT-65 but a much narrower bandwidth of 15.6Hz) is establishing itself as the go-to mode for weak signal two-way work on 630m. It has a couple of things going for it that makes it very attractive for this band ... it can dig way down into the noise (-25 db approximately) and communicate with very weak signals and, it does not require amateurs to know CW, a growing trend with newer operators and a real hindrance to two-way CW work. I suspect, and hope, that there will be much more CW activity on 630m once amateurs in the U.S.A. get the band as the amount of information that can be exchanged per transmission on JT-9 is limited ... time will tell.

In the meantime, here is a request for more two-way 'crossband' CW activity with amateurs in all parts of North America. I have recently totally revised the 'CQ Crossband' page on my website, 'The VE7SL Radio Notebook'. Please note that my web address for well over a decade, is no longer valid and everything has been moved to this new location. If you have the old one bookmarked or are linking to it from your own site, please be aware that previous links will now be dead.

The crossband concept allows amateurs not yet on 630m to still participate in this exciting part of the spectrum ... and to check out their ability to hear anything on MF. If we were to make a schedule for a crossband contact, I would be transmitting on 630m at full ERP while you would be answering on one of the HF bands ... usually 160, 80 or 40m.

I am very much interested in setting up crossband schedules for 630m at any time and can very likely enlist several other VE7s to be there as well so that you can work more than one station. I have full details on my updated 'CQ Crossband' web page but please do not hesitate to give crossband a try!


Roger, VE7VV in Victoria, B.C., recently became the 8th VE7 to muster RF on 630m, with power limited to 1 watt at present. Our contact was on CW while he worked stations in Vancouver on JT-9. Hopefully he will continue to build his station and become more active on the band.

Crossband continues to be a subject of much interest both here and with many U.S. stations that are waiting for the band. Recent cards from Colorado and California, shown below, are the latest to arrive.




K6YK gave me an RST of '519' but explained the reason for this was because he was receiving on his 3 el HF tri-bander which provided the best signal-to-noise value! This is often the case on 630m so try what you have. Many times a 'non-resonant' antenna will pick up less noise and yield the best signal readability.

If you would like to try a crossband QSO, please contact me at VE7SL (at) shaw.ca ... I'll keep the rig warmed up!

630m Midwinter Activity Summary





Last weekend's 630m Midwinter Activity Event appeared to bring out a lot of new listeners to the band as well as to the crossband activity.


John, KB5NJD, reports in his daily 630m summary, that numbers were higher than previous events, indicating much new interest in what might eventually become the new 'Topband'. John has a very detailed timeline of events for the night including extensive coverage of experimental station reports.

Unfortunately, as is often the case, geomagnetic conditions were still suffering the effects of a week long coronal hole stream bombardment, particularly geo-effective in VE7 and the PNW, which always seems to tickle the southern elongated tail of the auroral oval further north. Stations to the south reported better, but quickly shifting propagation paths, while VE3OT in Ontario seemed to have no difficulty in working his numerous QSX callers.

Murphy's Law in action. The yellow disturbance coincides exactly with the event!

The path from VE7 was predominantly north-south, with the east-west path almost non-existent ... often the case when K indices are higher than 0 or 1. Several of the crossband stations reported heavy QRM on their HF QSX frequencies, which was expected. There were a number of CW events, including the NA CW and the FOC parties, as well as an international RTTY contest in full swing. I found my QSX of 3526 kHz to be busy but manageable as stations did not seem to stay too long before moving to another frequency. My 40m QSX of 7115 kHz was clear all night but most callers chose to use 80m.

Eventually, if and when the U.S. gets the 630m band, crossband work will no longer be needed. With all of the loud VE7 and Washington state activity on 630m, it will be an interesting challenge to work within the band itself ... but what great fun it will eventually be to hear 630m sounding like 160m during a winter CW contest!

Here is a rundown on the Canadian crossband action:

Joe, VO1NA out on the rock, used 80m as his talkback frequency while running 50W to a large inverted-L.

  • PE5T              
  • VO1DI             
  • PAØO             
  • K1PX          

Additional 'heard reports' were received from LA6LU, VE2PEP, DL4HG and PAØRDT.

Moving further west, Mitch, VE3OT, had a busy night with his 250 watts and 340' rectangular loop pointing east-west:

  • VA3DN---ON
  • W3TS---PA
  • K1PX---CT
  • W8PI---MI
  • WB3AVN---MD
  • K3PA---KS
  • K3CCR---MD
  • AC9S---IN
  • WA8ZZ---MI
  • W3WH---PA
  • WA9ETW---WI
  • AB4KJ---IL
  • NS8S---MI
  • N9SE---IN
  • WA3TTS---PA
  • W2JEK---NJ
  • VE3GRO---ON
  • WØBV---CO
  • K2PI---VA
  • K1HTV---VA
  • N2MS---NJ
  • KB5NJD---TX
  • NO3M---PA
  • NA5DX---MS
  • K9RT---IN
  • WØJW---IA

Mitch adds:

"Good conditions here - and similar frequency choice as last year….all but 2 QSOs on 3.5Mhz. Lost 3 possible QSOs - just too weak - at the noise level, but they obviously were copying me on 477….interesting.
Thinking about band condx - I think I should have stayed another hour or so and see i the band finally opened further West than Colorado.
It was interesting to see the East slowly fade away and the Mid-West and Western stations started calling. A good exercise - and lots of compliments and thanks from the U.S. operators."

Mitch is working on a special QSL for those stations that worked him.

Out on the west coast, things were busy as well but other than a couple of brief periods, there seemed to be a Faraday shield not too far east of the Rockies ... mostly a north-south affair.

John, VE7BDQ, reports:

  • W7FI---WA
  • K7WA---WA
  • K6YK---CA
  • VE6XH---AB
  • VA7JX---BC
  • VE7BGJ---BC
  • K7CW---WA
  • AH6EX/W7---WA
  • CF7MM---BC
  • K6IR---WA
  • K7SS---WA
  • W9PL---WA
  • CF7MM---BC
  • CG7CNF---BC
  • VE7SL---BC

From Toby, VE7CNF:

  • AH6EZ/W7---WA
  • K7CW---WA
  • CF7MM---BC
  • K7SS---WA
  • W9PL---WA
  • N7BYD---MT
  • VE7BDQ---BC
  • W7FI---WA
  • W6TOD---CA
  • VE7KW---BC
  • VE6XH---AB
  • VE7BGJ---BC
  • VA7JX---BC
  • K6YK---CA
  • KB5NJD---TX

From Mark, VA7MM:

  • W7FI---WA
  • K7CW---WA
  • W6RKC---CA
  • W6TOD---CA
  • AH6EZ/W7---WA
  • VE6XH---AB
  • VE7KW---BC
  • K6YK---CA
  • VE7BGJ---BC
  • VA7JX---BC
  • K7SS---WA
  • CG7CNF---BC
  • VE7BDQ---BC
Both Toby and Mark were in the middle of a nasty ice storm, slowly watching their output power drop as their antennas gradually accumulated more and more ice. Thankfully neither antenna came down!

630m top-loaded 'T' (and multiband HF dipole) at VA7MM...100' vertical x 50' tophat.
At least there was no ice storm in progress here on Mayne at VE7SL:
  •  CF7MM---BC
  • W6TOD---CA
  • K7CW---WA
  • W7FI---WA
  • K6YK---CA
  • K7WA---WA
  • WØBV---CO
  • AH6ZE/W7---WA
  • VE7KW---BC
  • VE6XH---AB
  • VA7JX---BC
  • VE7BGJ---BC
  • NO3M---PA
  • KB5NJD---TX
  • K7SS---WA
  • N7BYD---MT
  • CG7CNF---BC
  • VE7BDQ---BC
Besides being just a lot of fun, these events always provide some interesting 'takeaways'.

It's clear that there is a lot of interest in this band and it continues to grow ... reporting levels have never been higher. One crossbander in Washington state indicated that he has a station already to go, once the U.S. gets the band.

Activities such as this continue to demonstrate that stations running something less than the maximum allowable 5 watts eirp can produce impressive signal levels, allowing solid aural contacts over considerable distances via skywave ... even under the marginal conditions just experienced.

Considering the amount of RF being generated nightly for several years by high erp experimental stations as well as during numerous frenzied 630m activity nights, there should be little doubt that interference to hydro switching systems is a non-issue. Sadly, this argument by power authority lobbyists still appears to be the main obstacle for the FCC's foot-dragging of 630m implementation in the U.S.A.

It was great to see participation and interest from VE6 land! Hopefully more Canadian amateurs will take up the challenges offered by 630m ... both in operating and in building a station. You need not have anything more than a suburban backyard to enjoy transcontinental work and like so many activities ... the more, the merrier!

2nd Midwinter 630m Activity Event




One week from tonight, on Saturday Feb 4th, the 2nd Midwinter 630m Activity Event will take place.




The highlight of this event will be the opportunity for amateurs, throughout North America, to attempt crossband CW contacts with Canadian amateurs operating on 630m.

Canadian stations will call CQ on announced frequencies within the 630m band and listen on individual HF (QSX) frequencies for callers.

Due to the RTTY and Sprint activities on the same night, some of the QSX frequencies have been shifted from those that might normally have been used in the past.

There appears to be a lot of growing interest in 630m among American operators. It is hoped that the USA will soon have access to 630m as a ham band.

There will also be a large turnout of U.S. experimental activity, either in beacon mode or in two-way QSO mode with other experimental service stations.

In past events,  Transcontinental crossband contacts have been completed. It is hoped that operating events such as this can serve to demonstrate the interesting propagation possibilities of this unique part of the spectrum and generate more new interest in the 630m band.

To read more about this event, please see the ARRL news announcement here.

This time out, there will be six Canadian stations, from Newfoundland to the west coast, hoping to work as many of you as possible!


Station: CF7MM (Mark) CN89 Coquitlam, British Columbia
Time: February 5, 0200-0700 UTC
Transmit frequency: 475.0 kHz
Receive (QSX) frequency: 1,801 kHz, 3,501 kHz, 3,528, and 7,028 kHz

Station: VE7BDQ (John) CN89 Delta, British Columbia
Time: February 5, 0300-0700 UTC
Transmit frequency: 474.0 kHz
Receive (QSX) frequency: 1,833 kHz, 3,533 kHz

Station: CG7CNF (Toby) CN89 Burnaby, British Columbia
Time: February 5, 0200-0800 UTC
Transmit frequency: 476.5 kHz
Receive (QSX) frequency: 1,827 kHz, 3,527 kHz, 7,027 kHz

Station: VE7SL (Steve) CN88 Mayne Island, British Columbia
Time: February 5, 0200-0700 UTC
Transmit frequency: 473.0 kHz
Receive (QSX) frequency: 3,526 kHz, 7,115 kHz

Station: VO1NA (Joe) GN37 Torbay, Newfoundland
Time: February 4, 2130 UTC, until February 5, 0130 UTC
After 0130 UTC, 5WPM CW beacon until 1000 UTC
Transmit frequency: 477.7 kHz
Receive (QSX) frequency: 3,525.5 kHz

Station: VE3OT (Mitch) EN92 London, Ontario
Time: February 5, 0000-0500 UTC
Transmit frequency: 477.0 kHz
Receive (QSX) frequency: 3,610 kHz, 7,105 kHz

See you next Saturday we hope!

VA7MM 630m Top Hat Under Construction

630m Thriving




Fritz Raab, the ARRL's 600-Meter Experimental Group coordinator, recently released his quarterly report, with highlights being reported in the ARRL News.



In it, Raab tell us:

"Band activity has been very high, and there are often more WSPR stations — more than 110 stations — on 472 kHz than on 80 or 160 meters!"

"In a sense, 630 meters has become a mainstream ham band, in spite of not being authorized in the US".

"The paths to VK and JA have remained good. This was not the case last year, so perhaps it is an effect of the coming solar minimum. Many reports have been received for WSPR transmissions with relatively moderate power. There have been a number of polar and high-latitude openings to LA2XPA from North America. Many long-time operators say that they have never seen anything like that. There have also been a number of openings from the US west coast deep into Europe."


The ARRL's full report can be read here.

Also touched upon was the upcoming "Midwinter 630m Operating Activity", the second such February event ... this year to be held February 4-5th.

Stay tuned here for further details. Highlighting the event will be another opportunity for U.S. and Canadian amateurs to attempt CW crossband contacts with six Canadian stations operating on specified frequencies in the 630m band. Canadians will listen for callers on specified frequencies within the 160, 80 and 40m bands. Previous events have had much success, with Transcontinental and Transpacific CW crossband contacts being completed by many stations.

A detailed schedule of frequencies and times will be published as the event draws closer but in the meantime, see if you can keep February 4th (Saturday night) open for some 630m crossband excitement!

CQ – 630m Crossband Anyone?





A very beautiful QSL arrived in the mail last week, confirming my 630m crossband contact with Harry, WØLS, in Minnesota.



According to Harry's card, this was the first time he had ever listened on 630m and was very surprised to hear me, let alone complete the two-way contact.



Harry was transmitting on 80m CW while I was transmitting on 630m, on 473.00 kHz. It really does not take too much to be able to hear signals on 630m, especially if you are not overwhelmed with a high noise floor ... most low band wire antennas will hear pretty well down there, when pressed into service.

This week, the card from Jeffrey, KGØVL in Iowa arrived. This one also confirmed a 630m crossband contact. Both of these QSO's were made during the November's 630m activity night.


Jeffrey was transmitting on 160m while listening to my signal on 473.00 kHz with his 160m inverted-L.

It's not really necessary to wait for another activity night to have some fun, so ... if you would be interested in trying a crossband CW contact, I would be more than excited to give it a shot.

I can listen on 160, 80 or 40m for you, if you can listen on 630m for me! If we can arrange a sked, I could probably talk a few of the other local 630m VE7's into tagging-along so that you end up with a double or triple-header of VE7's in the logbook.

Please e-mail if you would like to try... ve7sl at shaw.ca

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