10m QRM from zone 24

Sorry for not updating this page in some time - I have been busy now that I have returned to work.

I wanted to share what 10m sounds like in this part of the world. This QRM is present at all times when the band is open to zone 24. Presumably it is noise from inexpensive two-way radio devices in China and elsewhere in SE Asia. The noise is sometimes S9, and completely covers weak stations.

When the band is open to NA, we usually have no problems because BY is still in darkness and there is no propagation. Also, the noise is nulled when beaming NA. The problem is trying to work Europe. Anyone weaker than S-5 is completely inaudible. In the recording below, I first start by listening to HA1AG in QSO with a JA station. Zoli is a solid S9 here, but copy is difficult through the noise. I then tune up and down the band, before switching to CW. There are two instances where you can even hear Chinese language in either FM or AM - not sure.

This noise is getting worse, and has also spread to the 12m SSB band. It covers the entire band, from 28.0 to well above 29.0 Mhz.

QRM across the 10m band

The noise is actually visible on the band scope

The noise is actually visible on the band scope, only S3 but this is in CW mode.

The noise is a solid S-7 on the meter, peaking S-9

The noise is a solid S-7 on the meter, peaking S-9, while in SSB.

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This post was written by admin on March 14, 2014

Walking Beverages

I generally have to walk all my Beverages about once a month.  If I don’t the growth becomes overwhelming.  It may not be true, but I’ve felt that wet vines, branches, and leaves tend to cause some attenuation if they contact the uninsulated wire in too many places.  Walking the antennas regularly allows me to try to keep the jungle at bay, before it becomes a huge clearing project.

Yesterday, while working on clearing the route for my soon-to-be new NA Beverage, I brought my GoPro camera.  Once I finished clearing a path to what will be the termination point, I turned it on and walked back along the length of the new trail I had made.  This video will give you an idea of what it’s like to walk in the jungle here on Northern Guam.  The area is very typical for what you find in the northern forest, however I chose a route that was less heavily overgrown than many other areas in an attempt to make my job clearing easier.

You may notice that I am walking slowly.  This is on purpose, to keep from tripping over vines, roots, and rocks laying on the ground.  Additionally, you will notice that the jungle is absolutely silent.  There are no birds in the jungle, which is very much in contrast to my housing area where birds can be heard chirping all day long.  Why?  Because of the brown tree snake.  You will never find one in the jungle, but they are everywhere, masters of disguise hiding in the tree tops during the day.  The birds have migrated out of the forest and into trees on base, because it is protected from snakes by a barrier of snake traps.  It can be eerily silent in the jungle, and I’ve often been startled by the quick explosion of noise which occurs when I stumble into an area where pigs have bedded down for the day, as they crash through the jungle running away.

By clicking on the Youtube icon at the bottom right of the imbedded video, you can watch a higher resolution version in a new window.

Posted under Amateur Radio

This post was written by admin on September 17, 2012

New Beverage project

From Guam, there are two primary directions for radio: NW for Europe and NE for North America. I have two long (~1000ft) single wire Beverage receive antennas, one toward each population area. My European (NW) Beverage hears incredibly well, as there are no noise sources for 1500 miles in that direction, only jungle and ocean. Unfortunately, I suffer some noise in the North American direction on 160m, usually hovering about S2. This noise only affects Top Band for some reason, and the source is line noise from civilization about 1 mile distant in that direction. At times, the noise has made it difficult to copy the next layer down of NA stations calling on 160. I’ve decided to try to mitigate the noise by laying out a new Beverage for NA.

Existing NA Beverage

Existing NA Beverage

The existing wire is just over 1000ft long and is pointed at 046 degrees - the center of the continental United States. It has served me well, allowing me to complete 160m WAS, but it is still noisier than I would like. This antenna is already version 2.0 of my NA receive wire, located further west (deeper in the jungle) from the original version 1.0 which was even noisier but closer to the road and power lines.

The new route is significantly further west and deeper in the jungle. The feed point is about 1300 feet from my house, and will be fed by quad-shielded RG-6. Over the past week, I have taken time to mark out the route, clearing a path along the way.

New NA Beverage route

New NA Beverage route

I brought my new Nexus 7 tablet which comes with a GPS receiver and was able to plot my track with Google Earth.

The new route is just under 1000ft in length, and pointed just about 030. I did this on purpose, as this direction is oblique to the noise source which is centered more in a 060 heading. I hope this helps null the QRN significantly. This is also the direct heading for W1/2/3, the most difficult region of NA to work from here.

When working in the jungle, I keep covered up from head to toe. This is to keep the spiders, spider webs, mosquitoes, and sharp leaves off my skin. Bug repellent barely works, and after 5 minutes, sweat has washed it off and the mosquitoes are clouding around me again. An old T-shirt covering my head keeps them at bay.

Jungle wear

Jungle wear

I wear a white, heavy duty long sleeve shirt with gloves. The white is for visibility because I know a couple people who do hunt in an area adjacent to where my antennas are located. I wear an old pair of USCG ODU pants which protect me from stickers and other things that scratch. The head-to-toe covering helps protect me from wasps as well.

Can you spot the hornet nest?

Can you spot the hornet nest?

The smaller “boonie wasps” are very aggressive and painful, but at least for me, their sting wears off after about an hour. The larger hornets, on the other hand, are less aggressive but pack a powerful punch. A sting from one of these is like getting hit by a line drive baseball, and it hurts for well over a week. They also have a habit of building nests in ferns, about 1-2ft above the ground where they are impossible to see until it is too late. Today I ran into one of those nests, but fortunately did not get stung. I beat the brush ahead of me with a 6ft piece of aluminum tubing to try to give myself some advance warning instead of stepping right into them.

Close up of the hornet nest.  These guys are not aggressive but have a very powerful sting if their nest is disturbed

Close up of the hornet nest. These guys are not aggressive but have a very powerful sting if their nest is disturbed

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Posted under Amateur Radio

This post was written by admin on September 16, 2012

GoPro Hero2

I picked up a new toy this week - a GoPro Hero2 camera. The first thing I did is hook it to a long pole and take a bird’s eye photo of my Spiderbeam.

Looking north from about 50ft:

11

The Beverage RX antennas are all in the jungle in the distance. You can make out the 40m vertical to the bottom left, and also the 5el 6M beam hanging from a coconut tree to the right.

I’m going to have fun with this new toy!

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Posted under Amateur Radio

This post was written by admin on September 14, 2012

2012 CQWW WPX CW - late posting

Back in late May I operated the WPX CW contest. Just after the contest, I submitted my log and got on a plane to San Francisco for work. I never got the chance to post anything about the contest.

Conditions last year were brutal, so bad that I quit just over half way into the contest. I was scared to death that the conditions would be just as bad, but they turned out to be great. 15m stayed open into Europe late and 20m was open all night long.

My final score, taken from the computer screen:

2

It was really nice to break 12 million points, but of course this score will drop significantly with log checking. This should still easily break the existing Oceania SOAB record, 9.1m, held by Bill K4XS (KH7XS).

The continental results showed a nice even mix of Asia, Europe, and North America:

3

After the contest, I went to visit Danny, KH2JU, who had visitors. J-P, OH6RX, and Harry WX8C operated multi single from Danny’s station. It was really great to have the opportunity to meet Harry for the first time and J-P again after many years - the last time was in 2002 at WRTC in Helsinki.

From left: OH6RX, KG6DX, N2NL, WX8C, KH2JU, KH2JU XYL

From left: OH6RX, KG6DX, N2NL, WX8C, KH2JU, KH2JU XYL

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Posted under Amateur Radio

This post was written by admin on August 27, 2012

Why the 10m contest is not fun

This MP3 gives you the reason I do not really enjoy the 10m contest. Thanks to Russian or Chinese (or both) illegal taxi radios, the 10m band is full of this noise every time there is propagation to these areas - which is every time the band is open to Europe.

It is difficult enough to work an undisciplined EU pileup - but even harder when most callers are 559 and the noise is over S9.

This is not local noise - in the morning, I can run NA on a perfectly quiet band, and it is a pleasure to do so.

10m-noise

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This post was written by admin on December 10, 2011

Great 160m conditions!

This morning (07DEC UTC) I had the best Topband conditions of this winter season. After my 1st CQ and a loud PE5T called in, I knew it would be a good morning!

I started the recorder after my 2nd QSO and let it run for an hour until my sunrise and the band faded away. During this time, I worked more than 70 Europeans. Paul, 9H1SP called in for a new one (VFB copy with 100w) along with CT1EEB and three G stations - really tough to work from here.

I hope this is a good sign that conditions will be good this winter!

The attached MP3 is large, so I broke it into four pieces, each about 15 minutes long:

1935z-to-1949z

1950z-to-2004z

2005z-to-2019z

2020z-to-2035z

If you listen, you may notice a few things. First of all, there was a fish beacon exactly one up where I was listening. It did not cause me any trouble but you can hear it often in the recording. What you can also hear are (1) many stations who call non stop, no matter who I am trying to work and (2) many stations who are calling but obviously do not hear me well. We all understand the challenges of 160m and the effects of QSB, but you can clearly tell the stations who really can’t hear me, QSB or not. These guys accomplish nothing but keep others from getting a QSO and making themselves look like fools.

Posted under Amateur Radio

This post was written by admin on December 8, 2011

2011 CQWW DX CW Contest

Here are some photos of my station setup for the 2011 CQWW DX CW contest.

Final summary after the finish

Final summary after the finish

Station setup taken after the contest (messy!)

Station setup taken after the contest (messy!)

I prefer to use two stations with an interlock to using one computer only. This gives redundancy, in case of problem, and is easier for my brain to manage than trying to remember key strokes and software. My homebrew headphone switch in between the keyboards controls the audio, and I use one paddle that can be switched to the other radio by pressing a foot switch. Not much automation, but it fits my style. I am fortunate to have two computers set up all the time; one for work and the other dedicated to radio.

Spiderbeam + 40/20m vertical.  The norfolk pine in the background was used to support a fan dipole for the 2nd radio.

Spiderbeam + 40/20m vertical. The norfolk pine in the background was used to support a fan dipole for the 2nd radio.

Here is the simple fan dipole I used for 10/15/20 to compliment the Spiderbeam.  It worked well enough and had good isolation which was most important.

Here is the simple fan dipole I used for 10/15/20 to compliment the Spiderbeam. It worked well enough and had good isolation which was most important.

This is my 40m vertical, with a parallel wire to allow dual band operation.  I normally use this on 30m also, but had it cut for 20m for the contest.  There are four Beverage RX antennas in the jungle behind the antenna, in a wilderness area of about 150 acres.

This is my 40m vertical, with a parallel wire to allow dual band operation. I normally use this on 30m also, but had it cut for 20m for the contest. There are four Beverage RX antennas in the jungle behind the antenna, in a wilderness area of about 150 acres.

This is my 80/160m top loaded vertical.  It is actually made of balanced feedline, with one side cut for 80m, the other for 160 with additional wire added for top loading to the 160m side (parallel dual-band vertical)

This is my 80/160m top loaded vertical. It is actually made of balanced feedline, with one side cut for 80m, the other for 160 with additional wire added for top loading to the 160m side (parallel dual-band vertical)

Close up of the top of the 80/160m antenna.  The 80m side is an inverted L (all one side of ladder line).  The 160m side of the radiator has extension wires added at the apex and end of the 160m side of the ladder line to add top loading.

Close up of the top of the 80/160m antenna. The 80m side is an inverted L (all one side of ladder line). The 160m side of the radiator has extension wires added at the apex and end of the 160m side of the ladder line to add top loading.

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Posted under Amateur Radio

This post was written by admin on November 29, 2011

C50C - zone #36 on 160!

Today is a holiday (Thanksgiving) and I should have slept in to rest for CQWW, however I was awake at my normal time listening on 160.  After two days of poor propagation, conditions seemed to have improved.  I worked a number of Europeans, including HB9AZZ who was a new country for me.

As soon as I got on, I heard C50C CQing, with very good copy here.  They could not hear me, so I went up the band to CQ for a while and wait for a time closer to my sunrise.

One of my QSOs was with E74AW.  Dado recorded the QSO from his end:

KH2/N2NL from E74AW

I also was recording, and here is how he sounded on my end:

E74AW from KH2/N2NL

I worked a number of stations, then C50C asked EU to QRX and listened for DX - It was not easy - he had a difficult time copying me and there was some rapid QSB - but we completed a QSO for my 36th zone on 160m!

c50c-160m-qso

It is very difficult to hear my side tone when transmitting - sorry - I had turned it down this morning as one of my SO2R preparations for WWCW, so I can listen better on the 2nd radio while CQing.

They really have a strong signal here - the loudest zone 35 station I’ve ever heard from here on 160 (I’ve heard quite a few).  This is a 9,000 mile path from KH2.

After my sunrise, they QSYed to SSB - they were still good copy, 10 minutes after my sunrise:

C50C on 160m SSB

Posted under Amateur Radio

This post was written by admin on November 24, 2011

Good 160m conditions continue

I made sure to get on early this morning, about 50 minutes before my sunrise. Dave, A92IO had a good signal but unfortunately I was not able to raise him. Dave has high QRN levels in Bahrain.

After CQing, a weak OG2M calls in. I am not thinking the band is in good shape until I am told on KST chat that he was running 10w. Next, OH3XR calls in. Not to be out done, XR is running 5W, which is as low as his radio will go.

I turn on my recording software to record the opening. The recording is more than 40 minutes in length, so here are some clips I edited:

LA3ANA calls in so he can hear himself recorded (no problem!)

UA4CR calls in

S52AAM calls in, running only 10 watts

Near my sunrise, I had the QSO of the morning - Ron, GW3YDX calls in, a new one for me. Ron lives in the most difficult part of Europe to work from here, aside from OY and perhaps TF (TF4M makes Iceland easy however).

GW3YDX on 160m

After our QSO, Vlad UA4WHX spotted himself (as SU9VB from Egypt). I believe Vlad runs only 30w into a dipole, but I was able to copy him somewhat. Unfortunately, I could not work him, for this would have been a new zone for me. Vlad worked a few stations then QSYed to 40m with some Eastern EU still calling, so I doubt he could have heard me even without a pileup.

SU9VB working HA8BE

By now, it was after my sunrise. Ron, GW3YDX QSYed to 80m for me, where he was also a new one for me.

GW3YDX on 80m, QRMed by an IV3

Finally, Jo DKJ2PH asked for a 40m QSO. You can hear the Chinese OTH radar very well.

DK2PH on 40m, with BY OTH radar

In all cases, I am listening on my European Beverage RX antenna. The antenna is just over 900ft long, and located in the jungle behind my home. I am fortunate to have no QRN sources near me in this direction - nothing but jungle and then the ocean - which allows me to hear *very* well in this direction.

Posted under Amateur Radio

This post was written by admin on November 21, 2011