Sunday, November 12, 2017


This post was for activities that took place on November 1, 2017:

A little over 7 months ago on March 22nd my Grandsons, Owen & Grant, came and dug the hole for my EME tower.  Since then there have been MANY ups and downs on the MoonBounce project.  Success has always been followed (or preceded) by failure.  Still, my motto has always been, "Never Give Up, Never Surrender."

On October 31, 2017, I successfully replaced the relay which self-destructed a couple of days before and the station was then essentially ready to go.  Today I ironed out a few bugs and felt that once the moon came up, I would be ready to give it a go.

I signed on to the WSJT EME - 1 chat page about 2120 GMT on November 1, 2017.  Without me ever sending a post, I soon saw the following appear:

01Nov 21:38 W8TN pse listen for me 144.136 first ====== {PA5Y/4X8HV Conrad xx JO21vo}
WHAAAAAT?  Well I'm guessing that Conrad, PA5Y, looked at the list of the more than 100 stations who were signed on to that page and saw my call.  Then, just out of the blue, he sent the above message.  I had not previously had any communications with him to the best of my knowledge.  But, I'm sure he saw me posting questions or comments in the last couple of weeks.  What a hoot to have someone who did not even know that I was now able to make EME QSO's ask me to listen for him.

So, I grabbed a quick dinner and saw that my computer (MAP65 program) had copied PA7Y calling CQ on 144.136 MHz so I went to that frequency and soon copied him calling CQ in the WSJT 10.0 program.  I tried to answer him but mistakenly had the software set to call CQ!  I recognized my mistake after about a minute but by then the Chat Page posted this:
01Nov 23:10 W8TN CQ is -16, please stick around really want to work you ====== {PA5Y/4X8HV Conrad xx JO21vo}
01Nov 23:21 W8TN JT65B 230900 4 -16 dB 2.5 s 162 Hz 2 W Freq 1433 Hz   CQ W8TN EM98 ====== {PA5Y/4X8ELEJXXX Conrad xx JO21vo}
It turned out that he had someone else answer his CQ and I watched him work that guy.  Then I saw:
01Nov 23:14 W8TN call you now ====== {PA5Y/4X8HV Conrad xx JO21vo}
At that point it was GAME ON!!!  The screenshot on the right was taken about an hour and a half after the QSO so only the text in the center applies to that QSO.

Here is the pertinent part of that decode:

231400  5  -22  2.5  156  3 *      W8TN PA5Y JO21            0  10
231600  9  -26       154  1   RO                                  
231800 10  -25       152  3   73        

WOWZER!  My FIRST Digital EME QSO Ever! 

Here is the exchange on the Chat Page:
01Nov 23:20 W8TN tnx Clark excellent signals tonight, shame I have to work tomorrow :-) ====== {PA5Y/4X8HV Conrad xx JO21vo}
01Nov 23:21 W8TN JT65B 230900 4 -16 dB 2.5 s 162 Hz 2 W Freq 1433 Hz   CQ W8TN EM98 ====== {PA5Y/4X8ELEJXXX Conrad xx JO21vo}
01Nov 23:23 PA5Y, Conrad - WOOO, HOOO. My first digital EME QSO!!  THANK YOU! ====== {W8TN/2X13H/KW Clark WV EM98al}
01Nov 23:23 231400  5  -22  2.5  156  3 *      W8TN PA5Y JO21            0  10  ====== {W8TN/2X13H/KW Clark WV EM98al}
01Nov 23:23 W8TN Clark really oh thats awesome! ====== {PA5Y/4X8ELEJXXX Conrad xx JO21vo}

I took a little 3 minute 47 second video of the last part of the contact.  Even with the video displayed full-screen, it's a little hard to see the above details.  But, you can hear me make my exclamations!

After that QSO, I called CQ for about 12 minutes and K9MRI answered me.  We had a good QSO but I lost the screenshot of the exchange.  Still, that was my 2nd QSO.
01Nov 23:48 Clark, W8TN, great signal -15, tnx and gl on moon ====== {K9MRI Joe IN EN70iu}

Later I was told on the Chat page that W2HRO copied me:
01Nov 23:57 W8TN Clark - I see ur CQ every period ====== {W2HRO/2X28XP/1K Paul NJ FN20ll}
02Nov 00:28 0027 -21  2.4 1562 #* CQ W8TN EM98   ====== {W2HRO/2X28XP/1K Paul NJ FN20ll}
02Nov 00:32 0031 -22  2.4 1557 #* CQ W8TN EM98  ====== {W2HRO/2X28XP/1K Paul NJ FN20ll}

And, I copied him one time:
02Nov 00:36 000000  1  -28  2.6  315  3 *      W8TN W2HRO FN20           0   8  ====== {W8TN/2X13H/KW Clark WV EM98al}

But we never made a QSO.  Also, DL5OCD copied me but I never saw a thing from him.
02Nov 00:25 0023 -21  2.8 1378 #* CQ W8TN EM98 ====== {DL5OCD/10WL/400 Michael xx JO42xg}
02Nov 00:33 W8TN Clark: rrr, stable -20 to -25 on V-POL here ====== {DL5OCD/10WL/400 Michael xx JO42xg}

A little later my friend, Jim in RI asked me to call CQ.  He found me easily but his TX was not working so we did not try for a QSO.
02Nov 00:59 W8TN - 136, coming in H and -23 ====== {N1NK/2XP18/750W Jim RI FN41kn}
02Nov 01:00 W8TN - good copy here.  EME, not tropo.  my TX not operating.  dang. ====== {N1NK/2XP18/750W Jim RI FN41kn}
02Nov 01:01 W8TN - copy with both MAP and WSJT ====== {N1NK/2XP18/750W Jim RI FN41kn}

Now one of the really good things to come out of tonight's work is that ALL of the above QSO's and SWL reports of my signal came with my antennas pointing INTO the trees to the east of my house.  I was really afraid that they would cause me a ton of grief.  But, it seems that I CAN work stations in that direction!  YIPPEE!

The next couple of days are good EME conditions (the degradation was 2.3 dB this evening) and this weekend is the EME contest so I'll definitely be running up the electric bill with my solid-state kW amp.  I moved the power output up to a little over 800-watts and it seems to just purr along.  Sometimes the fan kick up to a higher speed but I see no issues at this point.  I did call CQ for over an hour so that should have caused something to fail if it was going to fail.

I wish I had a way to tell if I should give it up for tonight or stay up until MoonSet (MS) at 5:30 a.m. or if I should get up about 4 a.m. to look for Asian stations.  Decisions, decisions, decisions!!!  Whatever I decide, it will be difficult to get to sleep tonight for sure!

I think I'll leave the software running and if I get up for a bathroom visit, I may just turn on the computer monitors and see what's happening!!!

HEY, DX7EME (a DX'pedition to the Phillipines) has just become operational.  I will have a window to try for them beginning at 4:00 a.m. so maybe I DO need to get up to visit the facilities [grin].

Right now I have just upped my DXCC score on 2-M to a whole TWO countries!  So, IT's ALLLL GOOOD!

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