UBARoyal Belgian Amateur Radio Union

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Photo: Couloir

DX News

These pages are meant to inform you on the VHF-UHF-SHF & Microwaves DX activity in Belgium and Europe. You will find logs from ON stations, planned DX-expeditions and their results. If you have information please send a mail to vhf [at] uba [dot] be
Photos and sound files are also welcome.
VHF Aurora:  Status 144 MHz E-Skip in EU:  Status
144 MHz Meteorscatter Sprint Contest 2017
02-04-2017
Submitted by: ON4AVJ

MMMonVHF, in cooperation with the magazines DUBUS and Funk-Telegramm, invites you to take part in the 10th edition of the “144 MHz Meteorscatter Sprint Contest” during the maximum of the Perseids meteor shower (PER). Based on predictions from IMO[4] (the International Meteor Organization), this maximum will occur on August 12, 2017, and August 13, 2017, between 14:00 GMT and 02:30 GMT.
 
 
RULES:
 
Contestperiod:
August 11, 2017, 22:00 GMT – August 13, 2017, 21:59:59 GMT (end time last completed QSO).
 
Participation:
Class 1: QRP (< 1.5 kW ERP)
Class 2: QRO (>1.5 kW ERP)
Stations can participate in one class only. No difference between single- or multioperator stations or modes.
 
Exchange:
Full callsigns, reports (e.g. 26 or R26 for FSK441 or in case of MSK144 +00 or R+00) and final rogers (RRRR)[5].
 
Scoring:
For each completed QSO you receive an amount of points that equals the spheric distance (111,2 km/degree) between you and the station you completed with. A worked station only counts once, so no duplicates allowed.
 
Final scoring:
The total score is the  sum of all points you received for all completed QSO’s together.
 
Logs:
Logs can be send via E-mail or regular mail. Your log has to be received before September 15, 2017 23:59 UTC. In case you have send your log by regular mail, the postmark will count. Logs received after that date will be considered as checklogs.
Logs via E-mail can be sent to: mssprint [at] mmmonvhf [dot] de ; Subject: MSSprint “Call”
Logs via regular post can be sent to:
A.F. Veldhuijsen, PA4EME,
Westlandstraat 9,
6137 KE  Sittard,
The Netherlands.

 
Be sure you log contains at least the following:

  • Your call, name, adress and class you want to participate in. Stations in Class 1 (QRP) have to state details about the equipment they used in form of used output power and antennagain. If no data about your station is given, you will be placed in Class 2. The power used for the calculation of the Effective Radiated Power will be the power measured at the output of your transceiver or active amplifier(s);
  • The QSO list. As there are many logging programs available nearly every format is possible.
  • But make sure that the log will show at least: date, time (to be specific: end time), call, report send, report received, locator and distance (equals points). As it seems that logbookprograms are using different methodes of calculating distance, please check if your program is using spheric distance calculation.
  • If you have doubts what distance is calculated you can have a look at the distance calculating menu of the ON4KST-chat which will show you WGS84 and spheric distances.

 
With sending your log you also declare to have operated within the limits of your chosen Class, licence and local regulations when performing any activity that could impact your submitted score. Unsportsmanlike conduct can be ground for disqualification. Also you agree to have the log open to the public which might result in publishing your log on MMMonVHF or in the magazines DUBUS and/or Funk-Telegramm.
Reception of a log will be confirmed in the same way it was received.

Stories and pictures are welcome for the soapbox.
 
Conditions to be observed:

  • The use of DX-clusters and chat-channels during the contest is only allowed in such way that there is no exchange of reports or other data from which the status of the QSO can be extracted.
  • Limited information on the cluster (e.g. 12:00 DK5EW PA4EME JN48MB<MS>JO20WX) or chat (e.g. 12:00 PA2DW 144.355 CQ for MS Sprint) is allowed.
  • Acceptable examples for communications on chat-channels:
    • "Shall we make a sked on 144.388 at 13.10 GMT, PA4EME 1st period";
    • "I have QRM, lets QSY 5 kHz up and start again";
    • "Let us continue for 15 minutes and start again";
    • "Thank you for the nice QSO" after the QSO has been completed on the radio.
  • Unacceptable examples for communications on chat-channels:
    • "I only need the final rogers..";
    • "470/9";
    • "I received a burst from you.";
    • "I received a burst from you but no decode.".
  • Selfspotting exceeding more then once every 15 minutes will be considered as unsportsmanlike behaviour
  • The distance calculation will be spheric as this format is used by most programs that calculates distances between locators. In case a station has claimed his scoring on WGS84, his scoring will be corrected. Calculating a distance by WGS84 will give a different  result then calculating the spheric distance. Therefore the same formula need to be used for each participant.

 
Winner of the contest:
The winner of the contest is the station with the highest amount of points. There will be a winner in each class. If two stations have the same amount of points, the position will have to be shared.
 
Special scoring for outside Europe stations:
There will be a seperate listing for stations outside Europe.
 
Certificate:
 All stations will receive a digital certificate showing the Class and ranking achieved.
 
Results:
The results of the MS Sprint Contest will be published on the foreseen date that DUBUS magazine no. 4, 2017 will be issued: December 7, 2017. Results will be online that day on MMMonVHF. Printed versions will be in DUBUS magazine no.4, 2017 and Funk-Telegramm no. 1, 2018. VHF-editors around the world are free to publish the list as well provided the source and organizers are mentioned.
 
 
Participants are strongly advised to check the QTH-locators from the stations they contacted before they send the log. Using the database of the logbook will not always give you the correct QTH-locator of the station you worked! Just checking all calls with the available databases and a quick search on the Internet for each worked call will help. A very good source for actual locators is the [Users list] which can be found in the menu of the wellknown ON4KST-chat. Special attention should be given to stations that are not working from their home-QTH. Please also check for duplicate QSO's.
 

Possible interference due to malfunction of a satellite
03-08-2015
Submitted by: ON4AVJ
For the past few weeks many 144MHz meteor scatter enthusiasts have been complaining of interference from AFSK packet transmissions. As a 144MHz DX enthusiast, in addition to being VHF manager I took an interest and started monitoring.
The transmissions on 144.390MHz FM AFSK occur at regular intervals, mostly on Northerly headings. The transmissions fill about 15KHz of spectrum on the waterfall display of a SDR receiver.

The impact the satellite signals on narrowband MS users can be seen from this video from GM4JJJ.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ZJgMA4i7PY&feature=youtu.be.
Because of the inclined orbit Northern European amateurs get a longer pass than those in the US which means that there is a burst every minute for a pass lasting up to about 12 minutes, repeating every 110 minutes orbit time. Whilst that is not continuous QRM one pass is enough to cause a meteor scatter QSO on 144.390 +/- 6KHz to fail if they coincide.

Find hereby the text of AMSAT-NA, published in their weekly bulletin:

PCSAT Default Beacon Transmissions on 144.390 MHz

An FM APRS signal has been received in England causing interference to the MGM frequency and weak-signal Meteor Scatter (MS) operation which is just below 144.390 MHz. A MS DXpedition was disrupted by such activity earlier in the month and interference has been occurring at various times since.

Bob Bruninga, WB4APR, explains that the beacon was planned over 15 years ago for operation only when PCSAT is over North America based on published band plans at that time. Now, after 14 years on orbit, the ability to turn that backup beacon off has been lost.

PCSAT (now 14 years old) had a backup fail-safe beacon on 144.390 that would activate after any unknown spacecraft reset to give a backup comm link in case the primary 145.825 channel died. Being on the North American APRS frequency with hundreds of IGates there would always be at least one that would hear this "emergency call home" from PCSAT even though the channel is generally saturated. It worked.

The problem is, that now PCSAT resets on every orbit due to negative power budget and so, on every orbit that beacon comes back on. Even if we did get a command up to reset it, that setting would last only 15 minutes to the next eclipse.

We learned our lesson! That was our FIRST amateur satellite and we sure learned NOT to use a "connected-packet-command link" that needs ACKS and Retries and logon passwords just to LOGON before you can even send a SHUTUP command. All our satellites since, operate without the multiple Send, connect, ACK, retry, ACK, command, ACK overhead… just to get one command understood. Now, only the receiver on the spacecraft has to be functional to command it to silence in a single packet. But too late for PCSAT.
Expedtion to ZB
02-08-2015
Submitted by: ON4AVJ
From August 10th to August 14th ON7EQ and ON5AEN will be active from ZB in IM76 square.

Activation of the Gibraltar Radio Amateur Society club station ZB2BU in Meteor Scatter on 70 Mhz and 144 MHz (as ZB2/ON7EQ) concentrated during Perseid shower, around August 13th.

More info - like frequencies, sequences etc… - will be released later via respective ON4KST chat rooms.

Meanwhile, already prepared some theoretical range prediction. According to our spot where we have chosen to set up the station and the excellent take-off in the NE quadrant, we expect a range like depicted on the map - as you can see ON will be ideally within reach!

With special thanks to the GARS for their support and interest in this Meteor Scatter activation.

73 and looking forward to cu in MS!

Jean-Jacques ON7EQ
Hans ON5AEN