Sunday, September 20, 2020
COVID-19, busy work schedules, grandchildren, moving QTH locations all combined took its toll on this year's SLAMS efforts to be radio active for the ARRL 10 GHz and Up contest. Still, it's hard to keep uW hams away from a contest and Harry WA0CNS, Herbert AF4JF and Ron KO0Z put in a day's worth of activity on Sunday, September 20, 2020. We weren't trying to break any records. Instead, we wanted to try 122 GHz and get some activity on the air. Herbert and Harry tried to work Gedas W8BYA in Indiana, but the path just wasn't there. KO0Z didn't even try. His path to Gedas would involve shooting into a thick forest.
Basically, our plan was a modified version of last year's operation. Ron positioned himself at Eagles Roost at Pere Marquette State Park, EM48rx, near Grafton, IL. Herbert AF4JF and Harry WA0CNS moved along Interstate 70. We made 3 attempts and we made 3 QSOs each. Some on USB and some using CW.
The weather was nice. The morning was chilly (47 F), but by 10:30 it was in the mid sixties. It was a sunny day. Ron noticed the river water levels were way down from April of this year. With such nice weather, KO0Z had a fair number of visitors to Eagles Roost, which made shooting a 10 GHz signal to the west problematic. He packed it in around 1:30 pm after it took about 30 minutes for the crowds to thin out to make a QSO with Herbert and Harry.
The real big story is Harry and Herbert made a 122 GHz QSO! I will let Herbert tell the story and to supply pictures! Although, it was a clear, nice, sunny day, the pictures will reveal a haze. The haze is due to high altitude smoke from all of the forest fires along the west coast.
Grid square EM48rx, Pere Marquette State Park, IL
Flood conditions on the Illinois River in April 2020. St. Charles, County is in background.
A small crowd at Eagles Roost, just where I need to point my dish to the west.
Toula keeping a watchful eye out for visitors to Eagles Roost
In between 10 GHz QSOs as Harry and Herbert moved along I-70, I had a good book to read.
More people gathering at Eagles Roost. Otherwise, the site is great for uW.
Note the hazy skies due to forest fire smoke out west.
I took the Grafton Ferry boat across the Mississippi River back to St. Charles County.
Tuesday, September 15, 2020
Tuesday evening, September 15 around 7:25 pm (September 16,00:25 Z), I set up my 10 GHz station in the MidRivers Mall northeast parking lot to attempt a 10 GHz QSO with Gedas W8BYA in northern Indiana EN70jt. A distance of about 261 miles. This would beat my longest contact by 35 miles on this band. First try, I peaked up my dish on Gedas and his CW signal was S-8! So was mine at his end! Then the band dropped out and we both managed to be at or below the noise floor. What a tease. We tried for over and hour, but with no two-way QSO. Oh well. Next time. Herbert AF4JF and Harry WA0CNS were both heard and they could hear him, but not very well. Drats! Next time!
The Hepburn website showed excellent propagation in the Midwest. The best we've seen in quite some time.
Tuesday, September 8, 2020
I'm glad the WB9PNU/b is back up and running on 10.368.900. Today, Tuesday, Septermber 8 around 2 pm, I noticed there were thunderstorms north of my St. Peters, MO EM48qs QTH. This afforded me the perfect opportunity to take a break from remote learning with my grandkids and to see if I could hear the beacon via rainscatter. I was able to copy it rather well. Although the beacon is only 10 miles away (16.7 km) from my QTH, I don't have a line of sight path.
73 de Ron KO0Z
After several months of being off the air, the WB9PNU 10 GHz beacon is once again up and operating from DePaul Hospital in Bridgeton, MO EM48ss thanks to the hard work and dedication of Mel K0PFX and John WB9PNU. The beacon was thoroughly checked out by Mel and the slot antenna mount was replaced with a stronger mount and the assembly put into a water proof container.
The beacon operates at 10.368.900 with an AFSK CW telemetry. The telemetry data is no longer accurate because of control voltage issues. That will be a future project to re-calibrate the telemetry.
Sunday, September 6th, Mel K0PFX, Harry WA0CNS, Herbert AF4JF, Armand KD0PFX, Ron KO0Z, Debbie KC9ULA convened at Creve Coeur Park at 9:00 am to test out some gear. Mike N0OBI came by, but somehow we missed each other. COVID-19 is still among us, so we met outdoors, wore masks and kept socially distant. Herbert brought along his dog, Darcy and Ron and Debbie brought Toula. Toula is wearing a "dish" to keep her from licking her stitches.
Mel brought his 10 GHz rig to let everyone hear the repaired WB9PNU beacon located on top of DePaul Hospital in Bridgeton, MO. The beacon has a very strong signal at the park location. Mel could point his dish in any direction and the signal was still loud and clear.
Herbert experimented with a patch antenna and a log periodic antenna with his PLUTO SDR transceiver. Harry WA0CNS brought his 2.3 and 3.4 GHz transverters. Herbert was testing some antennas and tuning with the PLUTO waterfall. WA0CNS has a very impressive H frame for his uW yagis.