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FT8 DX S2S Event Saturday 2nd February 2019


#21

Sorry Wade did not see your post thanks for listening out for me .
Been practicing so think i have a good method worked out.
cu on weekend .
Ian vk5cz …


#22

KF7NP Burke,

Thanks for sharing the FT8 frequency settings. I have done as you suggested and it worked fine here. Hope to work you sometime.

73’ Don GW0PLP


#23

In order to operate on 14092 kHz, one needs to enter a lower frequency, i.e. 14091 in the table as the actual frequency is the sum of audio frequency and base (dial) frequency for USB.
-Einar


#24

Hi Eniar,

In my experience the convention to specify an FT8 frequency is to reference the USB carrier frequency. This is what previous DXpeditions have done. Otherwise there are a lot of carrier frequencies and audio frequencies that could put a signal at 14.092. The others stations need to know the carrier frequency so when they respond “split” on a clear frequency they have a reasonable chance of being in the other station’s receiver’s pass band. It is normal when stations are responding to a CQ to not respond on the CQing station’s frequency. If we all called back on his frequency no one would get to work them because of the QRM. This is just my experience and understanding of FT8 operating. I am looking forward to a time when I have propagation to you so we can work on FT8. I operate SOTA because I live in an antenna restricted development and my simple mobile vertical antenna hidden at home is not very effective in your direction. If there is rare DX to be chased I put up my linked dipole I use for SOTA activations and hope no one notices.

73 Burke
KF7NP


#25

So far, we have six alerts posted for Saturday morning (UTC):

M1EYP
BX2AFU
VK5CZ
VK2HRX
VK1DA/3
JI3BAP

…plus VK1MIC is mentioned in one of the above alerts.

I wonder if we are going to add any more potential FT8 activators for the S2S DX QSO Party on Saturday? Although it is not the “traditional” time for SOTA from the Americas, plenty of signals from NA and SA are clearly received on the WSJT-X at that time, so you never know!

More realistically, maybe we can hope for some FT8 SOTA activity from EU, ZS, JA or ZL?

Thursday 31st January 2019 - The Cloud G/SP-015

Last time out, my system didn’t work properly. I suspected the cheap USB female to micro USB male adaptor cable, as a previous one the same make had failed. While up town, I bought a new adaptor - one not involving a cable, so a very compact piece of kit.

Lunchtime involved a visit to the SOTABEAMS factory where I met Richard G3CWI and Sean M0GIA, followed by Thursday Curry Club lunch and a pint with those two OMs at the local Wetherspoons. Very good it was too!

The walk to the summit was tricky with compacted snow on the path and steps turning to ice, and hard ice at that, with very low temperatures. It was subzero all day in this end of Cheshire. At the summit, a very icy wind would have made operating uncomfortable to say the least, so I dropped down to the north-facing ledge.

After setting up the 20m GP, I hunkered down in the cave-like hollow beneath the rockface, for good shelter from the wind. With the new adaptor, the full tablet-WSJT-ZLP Mini SC Pro system was working flawlessly, so it appeared my diagnosis had been on the money.

It was, however, a good long time before I could be sure everything was working properly. Despite several self-spots, I couldn’t buy a contact when calling CQ. Ultimately, I resorted to answering the CQ calls of others, and scraped together the nominal four QSOs this way. No exotic DX, no rare DXCCs.

It didn’t bode well for the DX S2S event coming up on Saturday, but being on 14.092MHz, and away from the mush on 14.074MHz, will probably help us out in this respect. We can but try!

The descent was a bit dodgy in places, with any earlier weaker parts of the ice now frozen hard again - plus the fact that the gradient was negative - which tends to be more slippery than positive! Same observations for the initial part of the driving - downhill, down Red Lane and down to the A54. I progressed via gingerly and slowly throughout that leg of the drive.

Now to get the gear on charge ready for Saturday.


#26

Hi Tom
It looks very cold! I want to wish you luck with your FT8 activation on Saturday. The time unfortunately is more difficult from Arizona. With the large number of VK activators out today (Thursday 2200 UTC) I activated one of my local summits using FT8 hoping to find someone down under. My fear is the path may not be the problem but the lack of FT8 operators. Around that time I can usually work home stations in Japan with my FT-817. For today’s activation I used my IC-7000 to allow for some additional power. The bad news is that the interface to that radio proved to be susceptible to RFI. This limited the output to 25 to 30 watts. Still I was able to work some good DX just no summits that I know of.
JH1QYT
JA1SJV
JA0RUG
VA7GEM
JA1CJL
XP3A i DIDN’T SEE THAT ONE COMING
JA1CHY
JG1ERW
LU1UMM
7L3LNF
YB1BML
ZL1BDW
JA1UII
JR7RHO

Not a bad day but I am kicking myself. For those that think FT8 is easy I will tell you it is easy to miss things. I missed VK7AC calling CQ several times. I also need to apologize to VK2/G3NJV for messing up our QSO. I tail ended his QSO with another station. After calling him 4 times I called a JA station. On the next receive period I got KF7NP/P -10. This repeated several times with me scratching my head. With the compound call signs the program remembers the call. Since I had selected another call it didn’t know the call or sequence. I examined the ALL.txt file when I got home and realized it was VK2/G3NJV giving me a signal report because his transmit frequency matched his earlier calls. I guess I need to be more patient in waiting for a response. Have you ever looked at the ALL.txt file to see what you have missed. It lists every decode and transmission. I saw I also missed BD7JNA and several KH6 station.
I wish I could send you some of our warm weather. It was in the 70s today and after taking a 35 pound pack to the summit I was rather sweaty. Even the hikers who stopped were warm from the hike without the extra weight.

Too much equipment.


The hike down presented a nice sunset and finished in the dark.

73 and good luck Saturday. Be safe.
Burke
KF7NP


#27

Tom, what antenna & power are you guys using ?

Tempted to join, but 5W might not be enough and I don’t have a battery for the Kenwood TS-50S.


#28

Always FT-817, 5w here. Homemade GP for 20m. I’ve worked the world with that on FT8. (And CW and SSB…)


#29

OK then, I’ll give it a shot as well. G/CE-005, 5W and a 20m GP. Using the UK call, M0HZH. Posting an alert now.

Thanks,
Razvan.

Edit: VOACAP says optimal path is around 9AM on 15m and that generally 15m and 17m are better bands to use. Should we agree on a 15m frequency as well ?

fdsa

Settings: London to Melbourne, 5W and 1/4wl on both sides, FT8.


#30

FT8 CHASER

Just to confirm that I will be active on FT8 14.092Mhz with my TX + or - that freq. I will start listening at 06:00 local time for Sota Activators. Calls that I see will be active so far are. M1EYP/P, M0HZH/P VK2HRX, VK1DA/3, JI3BAP/3, VK3BCM. VK5CZ, BX2AFU, Good Luck everyone & hope to work you.

73’ Don GW0PLP IO72 West Coast of Wales.


#31

Hi Razvan,
That VOACAP prediction cannot include the MUF and that needs to be high enough at the right times before the 17 &15m bands are usable, which it hasn’t over the last couple of days. (today is a little better).

Here is a great site to give you an indication of MUF at different distances and CF at the UK/EU end.

Even though it’s not shown on the VOACAP diagram, going by recent experience - I’d say your best chance from the UK would be around 1100-1200 UTC on 20m Short Path. That’s around 10pm at night in Eastern Australia however.

The 20m 0700-0800 UTC (which co-incides nicely with the VK late afternoon/dusk time) green block shown is for long path and that’s been very bad of late.

As always however if no one goes out and tries, all the predictions in the world are worth nothing when conditions suddenly change and you get through for 5 minurtes.

By the way there’s a G1 level storm hitting the Ionosphere at the moment so expect a higher background noise level on the bands.

73 Ed.


#32

Hi Ed,

of course, VOACAP just offers probabilities for a certain path, not exact predictions.

I’ve adjusted the chart with 1/4wl antenna on all bands (I’m still not used to the new version of VOACAP). The 20m at 7AM window is actually short path, but there is a (slightly better) 20m window at 9AM via long path.

I estimate that my willingness to sit in the snow with a tablet in my hand might be the limiting factor though :slight_smile: .


#33

OK, if the 7am window on 20m is short path - that’s 6pm in VIC, NSW & the ACT, 5:30pm in VK5 South Australia or 3pm in Perth (but your VOACAP is for Melbourne not Perth) - so that could be worth a try for an S2S - any later and unless the VK stations are camping on a summit, they will probably be heading down.

I wish you luck! … and warm fingers - operating a tablet in the cold (or any touch screen) can be pretty horrible, my experience is that they become unresponsive in the cold or even trigger different actions to what you clicked.

I take it you’re NOT in the south west of England? They seem to be getting hit pretty bad with snow storms at the moment!

73 Ed.


#34

Yeah both my phone and tablet screens stopped working on the summit yesterday! And the SOTA Pole joins froze hard, and I had to carry it down fully extended to 7m!

Back at the car, I fed it through the passenger side window and had the heater on full blast. One by one, I was able to loosen a joint and gradually feed the pole back in!

The extra three degrees afforded by the bothy bag might be crucial tomorrow!


JS8CALL replaces FT8CALL
#35

@M1EYP - had the same experience the other evening with the pole attached to the back of the car in static-mobile configuration. Had it not been a perfectly dry evening and the judicious application of spit and hand rubbing I don’t know what I’d have done!

I may venture out tomorrow morning, just reading the weather report and what is needed. I have an MCHF configured up with a laptop which I could use.

Regards, Mark. M0NOM


#36

Hi Ian, What you are talking about is using the DXpedition feature. This has some extra changes in which parts of the 2.5kHz frequency “band” are used by the “fox” and the “hound” and parrallel contacts on the Fox side are possible - this mode is incompatible with “normal” FT8 mode. I don’t think people will be using this will they? Also has a solution been agreed on how to pass the SOTA reference and “normal” sig report (not dB)?

73 Ed.


#37

I’ve had pole joints freeze very tight at times. Your hands are normally only good for one or two frozen joints before they too are cold and no use. A small portable heat source is the best fix in these circumstances.

:wink:


#38

Understood. When VOACAP went away for a while I moved to this service instead:http://www.predtest.uk/p2p.html

Here’s the predictions for 20m EU-VK 50W ERP FT8 tomorrow:


#39

Two SOTA stations rxd on 14.092 FT8 so far - DL4FO and M0HZH/P. Neither of them has heard my replies yet, so just SWL logs atm.

Seen GW0PLP on the band activity window, but no DX yet. Just one QSO so far - IK2LEY.

Bitterley cold at -3 deg C!


#40

Listening but nothing heard from you so far Tom.

For DX - 40m looks better than 20m at the moment.

MUF under 10MHz

73 Ed…