Tied up with other radio happenings, I missed getting on EME during the moon's last two orbits of the planet. I was able to get back at it last week, with three days of unobstructed ocean moonrises as the moon travelled through its northern declination peak.
Conditions seemed unusually good and I was able to complete several contacts with my small station ... a single 9el m2 Yagi and an older 2m 140W brick amplifier. The Yagi is nestled atop my 50' tower's mast, between my triband Yagi, and Yagis for 6m and 70cm. The tower is located about 100' from the ocean and on these favorable moonrises, looks towards the moon directly over saltwater. The antenna appears to develop the full 'theoretical' 6db of seagain and performance seems fairly similar to what I would expect from a box of four similar Yagis.
Stations worked last week (all on JT65B) where: I3MEK, WA3QPX, G4DML, EA5SR, SP8NR, PA0JMV and K9MRI. The first three stations had been previously worked but answered my CQ while the remainder where all new, representing 'initials' #84 - #87 using this simple system.
|WA3QPX 4 X 28 el Yagi array
|EA8SR's 4 X 9el Yagi array
|G4DML's 4 X 8el Yagi array
|K9MRI's monster array - 8 x 28el Yagis
K9MRI provided the best signal report I had ever received on moonbounce, a -15db and indicated that my signal was audible during our QSO!
WA3QPX represented a new 2m state, which made me wonder what my confirmed state totals had reached ... 26 now, including EME and terrestrial contacts. Interestingly, my 2m DXCC total also stands at this same number ... 26 confirmed.
With such a low ERP, I often think that I will eventually run out of stations that I can work on EME, yet I continue to see many new stations every time I get on the air ... likely enough to keep me challenged for some time yet.
I often hear stations better than they are hearing me so if I do run out of stations, the next logical step would be a modest 3db increase in my power by building a simple 300W amplifier. An extra 3db would probably open up a large number of new challenging target stations to work with.
I have a box of NIB 4CX250Bs and sockets that have been looking at me longingly for some time!