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North America <> Europe SOTA S2S Party - 19th November 2016 1400 - 1700 UTC


#327

End-fed or doublet doesn’t necessarily matter - what IS important is that you have a good takeoff angle and radiation lobe toward the dx (NA), and that the rig’s output is getting radiated (via low-loss methods).

73, Barry N1EU


#328

I can’t wait for the next S2S event. I could only operate for 45 minutes. Had some training I had to attend. It was a wet one here. I did manage 5 S2S’s. None to EU :sob:

Roland, KG7FOP


#329

A pretty good day! 14 EU S2S in the log with a couple extra non-SOTA thrown in. While the weather was good, band conditions were changeable, with some QSB breathing in and out and preventing some QSO completions (Sorry LB8CG and VE6IXD!). 20 meters could have done with fewer contesters, but that’s expected for the band these days. Even 17 seemed crowded on the SSB portion.

I hopped around a lot doing more chasing than CQing today. I discovered one limitation of the RRT software on a tablet. When there are LOTS of activators, things scroll off the screen in a big hurry. That tripped me up a few times.

The operating position didn’t work out as well as planned. Yes, it was a short enough hike that a folding chair was set up (my back is happy about that!) and we were in out of the wind. The concrete interior had some curious acoustic properties that made CW difficult sometimes. Worse still, some kind of gigantic blower fan up at the top of the tower kicked on early in the activation and the noise level was considerable. This helped neither hearing nor my voice output I’m sure. The fan was unknown to me, as it wasn’t on during the reconnaissance of the area and was a big surprise. Oh well! Just another version of “local conditions”, right? At least I know I can operate in noise levels approximating a commercial laundromat or airport concourse during the holiday season. Heil full-earmuff headset next time.

I heard many more S2S than I was able to work. Impressive pileups! Quite a free-for-all and a lot of fun. Looking forward to April already.

Bruce - WB8OGK


#330

Great fun and my first s2s across the pond. Unlike other parts of the world we had a spectacularly warm and sunny day in New England today which allowed for a nice couple of hours in the sun on Pleasant Mountain in Maine. With a fire tower on the summit, I was fortunate that I could hang my 40-30-20m EFHW with some high angle slope northeast toward Europe. Was able to work several GW and G stations on SSB today. Heard no one on 15 m today except S52FT calling cq but he could not hear me call him back. Was really impressed with the courtesy that the non-s2s stations showed to let me listen for s2s after calling cq. Cant wait to do this again! NA-VK next!!!
73
Mike NS1TA


#331

Chris, W3CDW and I (Richard, N2GBR) operated from W3/SV-018 and thoroughly enjoyed the event.
I had already activated this summit and therefore relegated my self to S2S contacts only. Our station consisted of three radios… FT857, FT817 (for PSK) and a KX3.
We also had and array of antennas with the hope of making many contacts. We had earlier prepared a 20m half-square, an OCF Windom and our third antenna was a SotaBeams link dipole at about 15ft.
The Halfsquare was set-up pointing 70Degs (not sure how I came up with that it should have been more like 40Deg). and both the WIndom and link dipoles set-up with a NW-SE orientation. The Windom was an inverted “V” with the peak at 40ft. We had an Alpha Delta antenna switch and an old Dentron manual tuner with us.

This was a lot of gear… but we only had a 500m walk so "no problem"

We started operating around 14:20 and logged S2S stations in the US almost immediately. Using W3CDW we logged approx. 20stations for Chris’s activation.
Here is my summit to summit log…

We were a little concerned that the first contacts on the Half-Square were in Arizona not Europe! but the radiation pattern of the antenna has two lobes and there is one “out the back”. When we couldn’t hear other stations we switched to the OCF and logged most of the US stations.
after around an hour we again went on the hunt for Euro and logged OE9HRV we really could hear him 59, but he had difficultly hearing us.
We heard N0MTN in CO, but he couldn’t hear us
We heard GW2HFR, but he also couldn’t hear us.
Back to the US I was happy to catch W2SE Bruce and complete a SOTA complete for NJ "High-Point"
Another hour passed and we heard Euro again. This time successfully logging MW0OXT and M1EYP lots of QRN… 55 >> 33.
I boldly broke out a key (I’m a new CW op) and had a QSO with W2CAM… then put it back away… :slight_smile: it was a shame our planned CW team mate missed our party here…
Next we caught N3ICE on W4/SH004… another SOTA completed this time for both Chris and I.
Finally we completed with N1RCQ, KB1RJC and D and then made a cheeky call to ask NS1TA to meet us 3-up and completed a with him too.
While some of this was going on, Chris also made a couple of PSK31 QSO’s.

Looking up we had completely missed the change in the weather… our blue skys had gone DARK! a mass of clouds were blowing in and we heard reports of snowfall to our west… it was time to abandon camp…
We packed up and reached the car before significant rainfall hit.

We were surprised to read that our station was the only one heard in Australia… the Half-square must have been working!!!

I’m not sure who exactly started the thought of this event, but thanks to that person for planting the seed. Also thanks to the chasers and other S2S stations, I hope you had as much fun as we did…

later In the afternoon… when it was snowing, Chris and I activated W3/SV-034 also…

Richard // N2GBR


#332

I had family commitments which almost made me cancel my participation in the event, but I finally managed to make a 51 minutes activation of a local drive-on one pointer summit, which you can see in the following picture taken last September 15th while walking around my QTH with my dog.


I started slightly behind schedule and only worked 20m CW. I spent most of the time CQing as the 3 or 4 times I scanned up and down around 14.060 didn’t almost show activators CQing…
When I set up and switched my rig ON, I copied W4EON CQing on 14059, I QSYed down a couple KHz to tune my ATU for perfect SWR and came back immediately ready to call W4EON, but he seemed to have just gone QRT or QSY. Shame…
My 51 minutes activation let me log 33 QSOs, 9 of which were S2S. Only 1 was from North America (N1EU) and all the rest were from Europe.
I enjoyed the event very much, but I would have loved having some more time to play SSB and other bands like 17m. It wasn’t possible this time, so I’ll be looking forward to the next event in spring.
The following picture was not taken during yesterday’s activation but it shows the fishing pole attached to the wooden post while holding the EFHW antenna exactly the same way I set up yesterday.

Best 73,

Guru


#333

Hi Tasos,
I was using a J-Pole vertical on a 6m pole. I normally use a horizontal dipole, but as you say on a cold summit convenience of installation becomes a priority. Some say the low angle radiaton of a vertical antenna over a horizontal dipole mak it a better antenna for DX, I have yet to be convinced. The 15m vertical (with no need of radials or balun/ATU) worked 4 North American chasers about 3 weeks ago and got 1 S2S into New York State and one into the Canary Islands yesterday.

Sometime I’d love to have the luxury of being able to compare antennas from a summit, but that really needs it to be more than one person and/or in summer as it’s simply to much set-up work in the cold for one person.

Ed DD5LP.

P.S. I was running 15W so not much difference to your KX3’s output (also 15w with the firmware upgrade I think).


#334

Hi Roland,
If you (or others) enjoyed this event so much - why not start another one yourself?

These S2S events are organised simply by individuals starting a thread on the reflector suggesting to have one, suggesting a date that as far as possible avoids contests and a time of day that would normally be OK for both ends (i.e. not in the middle of the night at either end) and a time when the propagation route (short path or long path) between the two regions should be OK. Oh yes and band or bands to be used.

If I’m not mistaken someone suggested a North-America to VK/ZL/JA one - you may wish to follow that up. Even inside Noth America, east coast to west coast is a challenge, that could be an S2S event in itself.

In all cases, no major organisation required on your part and lots of fun to be had!

73 Ed DD5LP


#335

Some pics from yesterday.

Montana Roja EA8/FU-039

Calderon Hondo EA8/FU-042

Montana Roja can be seen on the far horizon just to the right of centre.


#336

Sorry Richard, I am going to try and diplex two antennas in for Receive next time as a future improvement.
It tends to come in waves and two stations call at the same time and I pick the strongest one.

I am also slightly annoyed I didn’t stay up there longer. I had thin socks on and my feet couldn’t stand the cold.

Jonathan


#337

Was very late due to life interrupting my plans so didn’t get on air till after 4pm. Managed 1 US contact non s2s he gave me 22 report with qsb. Looked out of bothy to find antenna on the floor! Need to sort my buying system out.
Bothy bag was used for first time, it was awesome. Ill be on time next one.


#338

Hi Bruce,
I heard you from I/LO-320 on 17mt with weak signal and QSB, I tried calling you for S2S at 16:15UTC, but nothing to do…

73 de Roberto IW2OBX


#339

My Party was different as usual. Before the Party I met Jari OH3KRH and Tia OH3TIA in Jyranvuori, where they had kept “Pre-Party” with 100W. Both had got about 30 qsos but qsb had reported often.

I started from 15m. Quite soon I got two qso, then nothing. After half an hour I moved to 20m where got some qsos but then very seldom. At least to 17m but there were only huge qrm, nothing else and then back to 20m. I did not hear any NA stations. And what was interesting not any SP, PA, ON or DL station which can be heard very well in Jyranvuori.

The total summary was 15 qsos, whereof six S2S qsos (OH9XX/p, F5LKW/p, HB9AFI/p, G0POT/p, G0MFR/p and EA2IF/p). Typically can be got 20 to 25 qsos per hour and now I was a bit more than 2 hours on air.

No worries Barry N1EU, one day we will meet on air! I used 5W and I am a bit interesting to know which power you used, who got contacts to NA from Europe?

Anyway this was nice Party. Thank you for everybody!

73, Saku OH2NOS


#340

@GW2HFR
Hi Jonathan… I often read your posts… it would have been nice to complete a QSO.
My next antenna experiments are going to be a adding a Director on the side of a Ground plane antenna and, a Phased Array using a Christman match (http://va7st.ca/2010/08/phased-40m-wire-verticals/)

W3CDW and I both agree that the simple Half-Square we used did work. We were wondering after the event if there were negative effects on the antenna from our install, as the side with the feeder was about 5ft lower than the other??
We also liked the OCF dipole… this design with dimensions 57Ft // 12FT with a 4:1 Balun worked very well.

Also, we weren’t sure on the best technique… we operated “search and pounce” and maybe could have done better keeping a frequency, but each time we did that we had someone move in on us… which made for much frustration…

Well, we had “half a QSO” lets’ complete it next time…
Richard // N2GBR


#341

A break in the weather and decided to head up to my local summit GW/NW-076 Mynydd y Cwm. Despite suffering with “man flu” I thought a walk would clear my head. My 8 year daughter Emma decided to join me too.

A quick scan through 17m and I found the band quite lively. I started on SSB and after a few calls Barry N1EU came back to me from W2/EH-001, that guy always seems to find my puny signal!

Then IW2OBX/P on I/LO-320, I called IZ2YWI/QRP on the same summit but lost him in QRM.
My other S2S were with GW2HFR/P and GW4OIG/P on local summits and 2E0YYY/P in England.

The only other stateside contacts were K2VV and W4JKC. I heard WA7JTM briefly and a couple of rag chewers in South California so 17m was in good shape. A quick listen on 20m found that band lively too but by this time Emma and I were feeling the cold so we packed up.

The summit of NW-076 is surrounded by trees and I can usually only get the antenna up at about 15’ so I was pleased with stations worked/heard.

Great fun and thanks for the contacts, we’re looking forward to the next SOTA S2S QSO party!
73
Roger MW0IDX
K2 10 watts & SOTABeams trapped dipole.


#342

Saku, I used a KX3 with output of 15W on 20M and 12W on 17/15M.

73, Barry N1EU


#343

A general comment to activators: I think the two most important factors (more so than output power and antenna type) is a very low background noise level and minimizing loss (antenna tuner, feedline, traps, etc). In terms of the antenna itself, it just needs a reasonably low angle of radiation with a major radiation lobe in the favored direction. For ssb activators, I would add optimizing equalization, compression, and drive of the tx audio as a crucial factor - far too many ssb activators have weak tx audio making it impossible to copy them.

73, Barry N1EU


#344

Adding to your comment Barry re SSB Audio, I have been using an RF speech clipper built into the FT817’s microphone for over three years and I am told the difference is very obvious. These devices can take a bit of setting “just right” but once set you leave it alone. I have the one from the late DF4ZS but there are several others on the market either to build into a microphone’s shell or to go in-line between the Microphone and the rig. This latter option meaning the cable could be wire to suit a KX2/3 as well as the FT-817/857/897 range.

On more than one occasion I have had the report that I’m louder than I should be for the signal strength indicted on a receiver. Being an RF-clipper/compressor rather than a simple AF one, you don’t get an extra wide signal at the same time (which would defeat the object as well as causing others problems).

73 Ed.


#345

Hi all,
Good fun indeed! Thanks especially to the EU’s who endured the WX. QTH here sunny Southern AZ.
Prop to EU from here not very good; worked N1EU with 559 sigs both ways, and heard other NA East coast stations working EU. Had half wave horizontal, half wave up, and 100W for 17M. (18Kg pack)
I did hear one England and one Portugal station, but not strong enough to work. Background noise S0 on 2700 meter mountain. Worked “local”-locals on 40M for some additional S2S’s.

Love WA7JTM’s suggestion for a Pacific - NA event; let’s do it!

All Best, Ken, K6HPX


#346

Greetings to all for such a wonderful event. In the interest of feedback to the group my S2S results are: 9 S2S QSOs to EU (2 on 15m, 3 on 17m, 4 on 20m), and 6 within NA. I previously had not had any EU S2Ss, although I’ve heard activators on several past occasions. Yesterday I heard several EU activators and couldn’t get through the pile-ups. I was using either a EFHW or GP vertical with 100W. I couldn’t get the phased verticals erected that I planned on using because of tree branches in the forest I was in (next time I’ll pick an open summit).

I found that agility in changing bands was a lot more important than a typical activation. I have to fiddle with my antenna to change bands, so next time I’d pick an antenna has better multiband capability.

I learned a lot from everyone’s comments about propagation in the thread leading up to the event, thanks for that. I need to learn how to use the prediction tools people are referencing. I had an antenna on 17m because it was talked about here, and it paid off. Knowing when the propagation windows are open isn’t something I’m savy to, and I normally wouldn’t have been operating from 0900-1200 local time. My wife and I do a lot of hiking, but typically we’re on a summit in the afternoon. Now I know that if we get going a little earlier I’d have a better chance for EU S2S.

Another factor for me was that people commited to be on a summit well in advance of the activation day. I don’t mind hauling an amplifier or a funky antenna if I know it will be worthwhile. There’s value in designating a particular day for S2S. As long as I don’t have schedule conflicts, I’ll make a special effort to participate in future events.

Cheers,
Kevin