Hey VK guys, care to give us Yanks a shot?

You are always on 7.090. Any chance you might give us a shot on 14/18/21?

:smiley:

In reply to K9EZ:
A number of us do call and spot on 14 cw and ssb. Do you have any suggestions for best UTC times of day when you hear VKs? our daylight hours are roughly from 1900 to 0800 UTC. Outside those hours very few activators will be on summit.
73 Andrew VK1DA/VK2UH

Given there have been W* and VK* spots interleaved around 22:00z this evening, that might be a time to try? Propagation may or may not be working, of course…

73, Rick M0LEP

In reply to K9EZ:
What times do you normally hear VK’s? If you can’t hear the 400 w stations you are unlikely to hear the activators. If you have a VK window then I’m sure some activators will try another band during that time.

We are on 7090 +/- because that’s where we get contacts. Less than 5% of my contacts have been on other HF frequencies. I have been underwhelmed when calling on 20, 17, 15 12 and 10 m.

CW is not often used but some activators do call on CW on 20 m and other higher HF bands. Maybe you missed those postings. Phone contacts with DX more than 3,000 km away on 5 w with a simple wire antenna are pretty rare.

I hear some US stations after UTC midnight here and around 0060 UTC but not every day. And they probably have a kW and a beam. This is the sunspot peak that barely qualifies.

VK activators would be very happy to work DX but timing is the key, and most probably CW.

I have looked for US activators from my home QTH and the best I have achieved is hearing many of the stations in the dogpile but not the activator.

73
Ron VK3AFW/AX3AFW

In reply to VK1DA:

I have heard a VK activator on 20m SSB while activating in Washington State - I wanted a S2S. Unfortunately, he was buried under a bunch of North American QRM and therefore unworkable. Todd-W7TAO worked a VK station (non-activator) from an Oregon summit on SSB this summer.

There have been a few VK Activators worked from North America - NS7P has had several. Certainly 14/18/21 and even 24MHz would be a great help compared to 7MHz, and CW would likely make it a slam dunk. As said however, we just need to be awake and on a summit at the same time!

73,
Etienne-K7ATN

In reply to K9EZ:

A couple of months ago, while working Ace chaser N1EX, IIRC, Rich told me he’d only ever worked one VK activator.

Not easy.

73 Mike
2E0YYY

In reply to K9EZ:
I have been calling on 20mx cw and to date no replies from outside VK.
Is there a “best time to call” to work into the USA?

73,
Warren
VK3BYD

In reply to KD9KC:
Hi Mike,
I’ve heard your gripe before but I’ve never heard any VK complain about a CW lid in any of the hundreds of activations I have chased. While many of our activators have not sat a CW exam there are enough chasers who would have been able to read your calls and alert the activator. So I can’t give an explanation on that.

In the last week I did hear a US CW station on exactly 7090 but they were not chasing, just rag chewing. Normally a zero beat signal won’t be copied but I sometimes fiddle with that big black knob on the front of the rig. The signal was weak but I did not expect any 40 m propagation to the US during the day. it usually only occurs in the evening and early night in VK3.

So all I can say Mike is keep trying.

Re KH6, maybe they post alerts somewhere else but their activations seem pretty infrequent. We VK’s would certainly like to work them just as much as any DX.

73
Ron
VK3AFW/AX3AFW

In reply to VK3BYD:

Warren,

I just ran a series of VOACAP predictions for VK SOTA activators looking to contact W / VE chasers using what I consider “standard” SOTA activating conditions.

Assumed:

  1. Activator is QRP (5w)
  2. Activator is using modest antennas (1/4 wave vertical)
  3. Activator is using CW mode instead of SSB mode (to try and maximize the chances of making a contact)
  4. A standard SOTA W / VE chaser is using a modest RX antenna (1/2 wave dipole at 10 meters height)

Running the above assumptions for September 2013, VOACAP predicts that:

40meters. Even during the most favorable times during the night, the chance of VK SOTA activators making W / VE contacts is slim. Propagation and times are all wrong.

30meters. The best chance to attempt a 30M contact peaks around 13:00UTC (11pm Canberra, 6am Phoenix) with about a 30% probability of completing the circuit. This circuit is primarily to western W / VE chasers. I would think that 30M is not good choice for VK activators as 13:00 UTC is not feasible unless camping on a summit. If attempted, common W / VE frequencies for SOTA are 10.110-10.116 CW mode.

20meters. There is roughly a 50% chance of VK activators making W / VE contacts from about 07:00-10:00UTC. (5-8pm Canberra, Midnight-3am Phoenix). This circuit favors W6, W7, W0 and VE6 and VE7 chasers. Given current sunspots, 20M is often closing down around this time for W0 and W7 and local time for W7 and W0 is not good. If attempted, common W / VE SOTA frequencies are 14.061-14.065 CW and 14.340-14.347 SSB.

17Meters. There is about a 50% chance of VK activators making W / VE contacts from about 05:00-08:00UTC. (3-6pm Canberra, 10pm-1am Phoenix). This circuit favors southwestern and southcentral W6 and W7 chasers. As is the case for 20 meters, the time is getting very late for W / VE stations. Band often closed in this timeframe in W7. If attempted, common W / VE frequencies for SOTA are 18.080-18.095 CW and 18.150-18.165 SSB.

15Meters. There is about a 50% chance of VK activators making W / VE contacts from about 03:00-05:00UTC. (1-3pm Canberra, 8pm-10pm Phoenix). This circuit favors W6 and W7 chasers. TIme is getting late for W7. Band may be closing. Suggested W / VE SOTA frequencies are 21.060-21.065 CW and 21.300-21.350 SSB.

12Meters. If the band opens, there is roughly a 30-50% chance of VK activators making W / VE contacts from about 22:00-04:00UTC. (8am-2pm Canberra, 3pm-9pm Phoenix). This circuit favors western W6, W7 chasers. Time is ok for W6, W7. Suggested W / VE SOTA frequencies 24.900-24.910 CW and 24.945-24.965 SSB. Note: 12M is not quite as popular in W / VE as the 15 and 20M bands are.

10Meters. If the band opens, there is about a 30% chance of VK activators making W / VE contacts about 02:00 UTC. (Noon Canberra, 7pm Phoenix). This circuit favors southern W6. Time is good for W6. Suggested W / VE SOTA frequencies 28.060-28.065 CW and 28.340-28.350 SSB

If I were a VK activator looking to make W / VE DX SOTA contacts, I would probably focus on 15 or 20 meter CW in the times given. I would also look carefully at making some sort of gain antenna, like a 2 element wire beam or collinear array.

W / VE SOTA contacts are a good challenge for VK activators for sure.

73
Dave
N5XL

In reply to N5XL:
.
"…gain antenna, like a 2 element wire beam"

Funny your mentioning this subject today, the same day I heard from Stu, KI6J, who briefly marketed a 3-element wire beam kit last year and seems about to do it again…Yagi, inverted-V elements, several bands available including balun, complete rigging and carrying case. We shall see.

Elliott, K6EL

In reply to N5XL:
Hi Dave,
Great analysis. Thanks.

RE antennas, I have tried using my 40 m dipole as a single element delta loop on 20 m. This requires two extra sliding insulators and some extra cord plus about 18 inches of wire with two clips to short the bottom ends which are brought back to the base of the squid pole. Loads up OK and should have a couple of dB gain. No definitive test results however.

73
Ron
VK3AFW/AX3AFW

In reply to KD9KC:
Hi Mike,

The boys in the West usually don’t muck about with just 100 watts. The only locally made PA you can buy here is 3 kW out. No good for me as I only have a 16 A cable to the shack.

It would be great to work you pedestrian mobile.

73
Ron
VK3AFW/AX3AFW

In reply to K9EZ:

Any chance you might give us a shot on 14/18/21?

The “Any chasers in VK6?” ( http://www.sotawatch.org/reflector.php?topic=8010 ) thread I kicked off back in April touched on this as well. At “normal” activator times (daylight, not very early or very late in the day) 40 metres mostly didn’t make the trip even as far as VK6.

In reply to N5XL:

  1. A standard SOTA W / VE chaser is using a modest RX antenna

I guess there are at least a few chasers both in Europe and North America who have rather better than average kit, and might well be able to make DX chases work, if given the chance…

73, Rick M0LEP

In reply to N5XL:
Thanks Dave for your efforts.
Certainly VK to W/VE SOTA contacts are going to rely on a certain amount of good luck.
With our weather getting warmer camping out on a summit becomes a little more practical.
For now I will continue to give 20 and 30 a run in addition to the local favourite of 40mx.
And investigate better antenna options.

73, Warren

In reply to VK3BYD:
Hello we are getting a bit more daylight now too .
i will be taking part from a summit in october for the 1 year of SOTA in vk5.
i have made some USA qso’s from a summit, but like Ron even at home here with my 7 el lpa pointed your way i often only hear the chasers not the activator, but we can keep trying . In 1976 i spoke to a guy in texas from my mobile running 4 watts on am cb of course so i know from 30 years experience as a ham anything is possible . i am a cw op and every activation i call cq on 15 and 20m cw but if i did not go to 40m ssb i may not qualify the summit.
good topic and the artical re times is handy.
73 ian vk5cz…

In reply to VK3BYD:

Hello Warren,

“For now I will continue to give 20 and 30 a run in addition to the local favourite of 40mx.”

Might be an idea as well to pop into 12M. I worked John VK4TL (albeit non SOTA) last month (9th Aug) on 24.955
S57-59
R55
and the time was 10.54Z. Should be interesting on 12 in the next month or so.

Mike G6TUH

In reply to G6TUH:
Thanks Mike,
Unfortunately I don’t have 24mhz in the field.

The other dilemma as Ian vk5cz mention there is simply not enough chasers for us on the higher bands to be sure of qualifying a summit, this forces us to use 40mx to make the trip worthwhile.

This need for 40mx effects antenna choices, to run efficiently on the DX bands I now need to take two antennas as the EFHW on 40mx is not a good DX antenna.

This does not mean we in VK will not try to make DX contacts from a summit, just means we all have to work a bit harder to make it happen. With our days getting longer and warmer it may soon be possible to look at an all nighter on a summit to give the DX a real chance.

73, Warren.

In reply to VK3BYD:

I took a look at my chaser log to see what patterns emerge, if any. I have 17 QSOs with VK activators. Of these, 11 are CW and 6 are SSB (CW is definitely easier), and all but two are in May through August. All but 2 (the same 2) are between 0300z and 0610z. Three are on 15m and the rest are 20m. So, for me in the US Pacific Northwest, mid to late evening in the summer is the best time. CW is more likely. I expect this will be true for other western US chasersm as well. I know this is not a definitive analysis but it shows a bit of a pattern.

73,
Phil, NS7P

In reply to VK3BYD:

not enough chasers for us on the higher bands to be sure of qualifying

That’s a matter of chickens and eggs to some extent; if there’s nowt to chase there’ll be no chasers. I know I was looking hard for VK summits to chase back in April when I was in VK6, and caught none because most of the time 40 metres just wasn’t getting that far…

This need for 40mx effects antenna choices

Maybe worth considering simple multi-band options like link dipoles?

73, Rick M0LEP

In reply to M0LEP:

"…Maybe worth considering simple multi-band options like link dipoles? "

Yes I agree 100%.

Mike G6TUH