Wednesday, January 31, 2018

EME QSL's Received

WOW!  Yesterday was a VERY good day at my mailbox.  I received THREE QSL's confirming EME QSO's with New Countries:  F5AQX, V31EME, and HSØZIL.  This brings my 2-M Country Totals to: Worked / Confirmed  :  34 / 29  –  As of 31-January-2018.  I still have QSL's outstanding from Alaska, Asiatic Russia, European Russia, Australia and Romania.

Here are images of two of the QSL's that came in yesterday.  The first is from HSØZIL which was a total surprise for me to work.  I did not think I had a chance to work him and was not even ready to transmit when his CQ was decoded on my screen.  Click HERE to see a Post on my Blog for the details and read the section titled "UPDATE."

The next QSL shown is from my first EME DX'pedition, V31EME.  Click HERE for the DX'pedition web page.  Uwe Danzinger, DG8NCO, traveled from his home in Muenchberg, Germany, to Belize, Central America, with antennas, computer, radio, amps, rotors, etc.  He set up a portable EME station and managed to work 330 stations on 2-M and 70cm EME while he was there.  Prior to his travels to Belize, he shipped his amplifiers and got stuck with paying over $687 in Custom Duties!  His total trip cost over $4,200.  Just to work Moonbounce!  AMAZING!  Thank you, Uwe, for giving me my first EME contact with Belize and my first EME DX'pedition worked!  Below is the front and back of his beautiful QSL.  Click on any image to see it larger.

During the month of February, I have a shot at working FOUR New Countries via EME DX'peditions: CR3EME (Madeira Is.), 3YØZ (Bouvet Is.), PJ2T (Curacao Is.), and TG3MB (Cuba.)  I am READY!

Monday, January 1, 2018

Year-End EME Report

2017 turned out to be a VERY good year for me on EME!  I finished the year (after only 2 months on EME) with better results than I thought I would have after a FULL YEAR on the moon!  AMAZING!

Here are my totals as of 2017-12-31:

Total EME QSO's  -  121  /  Initial Contacts  -  116
DXCC's Worked  -  33  /  Confirmed  -  23
Grids Worked via EME  -  99
States Worked via EME  -  22
These results make all the work I did to get this station operational totally worthwhile.  Below are the countries I have worked so far:
 1. DL1KDA  Federal Republic of Germany
 2. EB5EEO  Spain   
 3. EA6VQ   Balearic Islands
 4. EA8DBM  Canary Islands
 5. ES3RF   Estonia
 6. F5AQX   France
 7. G4CDN   England
 8. GM6JNJ  Scotland
 9. HA6NQ   Hungary
10. HB9Q    Switzerland
11. HSØZIL  Thailand
12. IW4ARD  Italy
13. JHØBBE  Japan
14. K9MRI   USA
15. NH6Y    Hawaii
16. KL7UW   Alaska
17. LY2IJ   Lithuania
18. LZ1KU   Bulgaria
19. OH4LA   Finland
20. OK1UGA  Czech Republic
21. ON4KHG  Belgium
22. PA5Y    Netherlands
23. RX9AT   Asiatic Russia
24. S52LM   Slovenia
25. SM4GGC  Sweden
26. TF3T    Iceland
27. UA3PTW  European Russia   
28. UX5UL   Ukraine
29. V31EME  Belize
30. VK5APN  Australia
31. YL2GD   Latvia
32. YO3DDZ  Romania
33. ZS4TX   Republic of South Africa

I am SOOOO looking forward to what the New Year will bring!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

One MORE Good Night on EME

Well, the degradation was -1.8 to -1.9 dB last night and I thought I would like to see how that affected my EME activities.  It did seem to have an effect but did not stop me from making 16 EME QSO's between 0510 and 1130 GMT.  That meant I did not get INTO bed until just after 7 a.m.  I need for the moon to be good during my daytime once in awhile so that the DX has to stay up all night!

Below you can see a screenshot of my log covering last night and a couple of days before.  The Green Highlight on G8BCG indicates that I sent him a paper QSL.  Click on any image to see it larger.

I looked for TF3T a couple of times while he was calling CQ but I saw nothing.  I did copy LU7FA quite well and called him several times but all I got was a single "QRZ" from him.  That would complete my Worked All Continents (WAC) by giving me South America so I'll keep watching for him.

During most of the night, a lot of the stations I worked or tried to work would say they were copying me but I did not copy them.  Or, the reports I got were several dB better than those I gave by as much as 12 dB.  This one-way propagation can be frustrating for sure.  Like when I ran with SINGLE yagi station OK1TEH for more than 1/2 hour and I copied him FOUR times as strong as -22 dB:

JT65B 093600 1 -27 dB 3.2 s -194 Hz 3 W Freq 1076 Hz > W8TN OK1TEH JO70
094800  0  -27  3.2 -205  2 *      W8TN OK1TEH JO70          0  10
JT65B 095000 2 -22 dB 3.2 s -206 Hz 10 W Freq 1064 Hz > W8TN OK1TEH JO70
100000  2  -27  3.3 -215  4 *      W8TN OK1TEH JO70          0  10

But, he got zippo from me.  He said he was seeing my trace but did not get it to decode. He told me he had trouble with "city noise" at low elevations.

At times I did feel like I was rare DX with all the traces I could see from stations answering my CQ's:

Even with the higher degradation, it turned out to be a productive night on the moon in terms of making Initials and Grids but no new DXCC's happened.  Last night I raised my EME totals by 16 more QSO's, 16 more Initials, and 10 New Grids to:

116 EME QSO's, 111 Initials, 95 Grids, 21 States, & 31 DXCC's

Amazingly I have averaged 2.9 QSO's per Day since I got on the moon 40 days ago!  Before I got operational, I would have bet big money that would not be possible.  Heck, I didn't even know there were as many stations active on 2-M EME as there seem to be.  I keep expecting to "work out" all those who want to work me but right now, this is so much FUN!

At MR (MoonRise) tonight the DGR (Degradation) is 3.0 dB and continues to rise for the next week.  It doesn't look reasonable again until Christmas.  So, I guess it's time to get caught up on other things for the next two weeks. How will I stand it by not being able to make more EME QSO's?

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Another GREAT Night on the Moon!

For about a month I have been trying to work a station in England (G4TRA) who is running a single 11-element yagi and 400-watts.  Now that's what I call a Pretty SMALL station for EME.  Still, he has had a good deal of success.  On 2-M he has achieved WAC, and worked 62 countries and 473 Grid Squares since 2014, using a 30 year old TS790E and that little 11 element antenna.  NOT TOO BAD!  That just shows what you can do with perseverance.  With that small antenna and no elevation provision, he is limited to working at his Moonrise (MR) and Moonset (MS.)

Over the last month I have run schedules with him about 3 times and have watched to see if I could copy him while he was running with several others.  On November 10th I copied a full CQ from him and tried to answer but we did not complete although he copied me quite well.  So, I looked at the Sked Maker part of the MoonSked program and determined that this morning, Thursday, December 7, from 0930 to 1110 GMT looked like a very good chance for us to work.  Degradation was shown to be only 0.7 dB and the Maximum Non-Reciprocity (MNR) between the two of us moved from 2 dB down to 0 dB.  That made me think we could possibly work under those conditions.  So I told G4TRA that I would be looking for him at that time.

Once my moon came up last night, I got on the air to see how the conditions were.  First I saw YO3DDZ calling CQ and worked him easily for a New DXCC.  I also made contact with ES3RF for another New DXCC (which has already been confirmed on LoTW.)  Then, I ran two or three different times with F5AQX and he copied me fine but I never got a peep from him.  He copied me as good as -17 dB and I could not even see a trace from him.  Finally, when his Ground Gain kicked in, we made the QSO.  That's another New DXCC for me for a total of THREE New DXCC's last night.  Also, yesterday morning I had gotten up a little early to run a schedule with VK5APN and worked him for a New DXCC as well.  That's FOUR New DXCC's in one day!

That success pumped me up and I kept operating until the point where I realized there was no use in my going to bed if I had to get up at 4:30 a.m. EST (0930 GMT) to run the schedule with G4TRA.  As it turned out, I stayed up for a total of 23 hours to continue playing with the Moon.

During the night (not counting the 3 QSO's I made on Friday morning) I completed 17 EME QSO's.   Among those QSO's I worked DL1VPL who was running a SINGLE 12-L yagi and 750-watts, G8BCG who was running a SINGLE 12-L LFA Yagi and a kW, and I DID complete with G4TRA and his SINGLE 11-L yagi and 400-watts.  That contact with G4TRA is certainly the SMALLEST station I have worked via EME.  All together, that makes THREE Single Yagi stations I worked last night!  It looks like the calculations in MoonSked are pretty accurate when planning for working EME.

 Below is a list of the 17 stations I worked last night.  Click on any image to see it larger.


That evening (Thursday) I did not plan to stay up all night again [grin!] but I had seen that HSØZIL from Thailand had been on the moon before I turned on the station Wednesday night.  I saw that he was supposed to come back the next night and I figured I would watch what happened with the pileup I expected to occur.  Just before my moon came up, HSØZIL announced that he was calling CQ on 144.120 MHz.  I tuned to that frequency and looked up what MoonSked had to say about conditions between him and me.  It said there was a Maximum Non-Reciprocity (MNR) of 9 dB between us which is a LOT.  Add to that I saw that he was running 2x9-element yagis horizontally polarized.  That pretty much (to my mind) said there was not a chance I could see him.

Well, imagine my TOTAL SURPRISE when just before my moon elevation reached 1° (that's ONE DEGREE above the horizon!) that I copied: 

025800  2  -26  2.5 -409  3 *      CQ HS0ZIL OK16            0  10

Say WHAT?  Because I just KNEW that I had no hope of hearing him, I had not even turned on the amp.  I about broke a fingernail snapping on the amp and waiting for the DC supply to power up.  I started calling him about 20 seconds too late so I didn't figure anything would happen.  His next transmission I did not decode anything but I still called him the following minute.  
Then, I nearly fell out of my chair when he came back to me!  My moon elevation was just 0.72° at that time!  Since the moon is about 1/2 a degree wide, this means the moon had just barely cleared the horizon for me.  AND, at that heading, I'm shooting directly through the trees behind my house!!

030200  1  -25  2.5 -415  2 #      W8TN HS0ZIL OK16    OOO   0  10

The QSO proceeded in straight sequences and in just FOUR minutes, I had snagged a New DXCC and THAILAND at THAT!  I'm shaking just typing this.  Below is the screen shot of the QSO:

Finally, just to put the icing on the cake, I woke up early on Friday morning for a bathroom visit, checked the Chat Page, saw G4PLZ calling CQ and managed to easily work him for another New Initial.  Then, I got a report from a VERY small station, GM4VVX, who had copied me when I was working G4PLZ.   We decided to run and very quickly I copied calls and his grid.  Two periods later I copied the "RO" and I started sending "RRR."  But, I never decoded anything again even though I saw the very faintest of traces where the "73" should be in the waterfall.  I kept sending the "RRR" as once GM4VVX received that, it would complete the QSO even if no "73" were sent or received.  I never saw anything from him on the Chat Page so I continued sending "RRR" until his moonset.  I sent GM4VVX an email and got his response a few hours later that his Internet had failed due to heavy snow showers and frost at his QTH.  He did indeed receive the "RRR" and sent me the "73" so the QSO was complete.  Clive, GM4VVX, now becomes my smallest station I have ever worked as he runs 400-watts into a SINGLE long spaced 10-element yagi with a SSB2000 masthead pre-amp and no elevation!  WOW!  Simply amazing to me that I can work stations that small under good conditions.

This activity over the last 2 days has brought my 2-M EME numbers up to 100 EME QSO's, 95 Initials, 85 Grids, 21 States, & 31 DXCC's in just 37 days on-the-moon.  This has turned out to be so much more fun than I ever really imagined it would be that I just can't stand it!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The EME QSL Cards have ARRIVED!

I felt that I needed to create a special QSL card for my EME contacts.  In the past I have used Gennady, UX5UO, with great results so I sent him an email with my idea for a QSL and he cleaned it up nicely and emailed me a proof in just over FOUR HOURS!  WOWZER!

I made the PayPal payment the next day and TODAY, a mere 22 DAYS later, the Postman brought me a package with 1,000 exquisite QSL's direct from the Ukraine!  What service!

You can see the Front of the QSL on the left.  The "Diamond Ring" photo was taken by me on August 21, 2017, in Sweetwater, TN, during the Total Solar Eclipse.  I felt it would make a nice EME QSL so I put that photo on the QSL along with the photo of my antennas.

You can see the rear of the QSL on the right.  The blank space at the upper right is where I will computer print the QSO information.

Click on any of the photos to see a larger image.

You can visit Gennady's web site by clicking on this link "UX5UO Print".  I am not connected with his company in any way but am definitely a VERY satisfied customer.

Now to start printing QSL's and get them in the mail.  As of today (6-December-2017) I have completed 80 EME QSO's with 75 Initials, 69 Grids, 21 States,and 27 DXCC's.  All of that in the last 36 days!

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Can You Spell - PILEUP? And, on EME no less!!!

Well, it sure is nice to have an Elevation Rotor that is not frozen.  I left the heat tape running all night and had not one single issue with the Elevation Rotor.  On November 12, 2017, the outside temperature was 38°F at 8 a.m. so probably not a really good test since it did not get below freezing but I'm happy it worked.

I got on the moon about 2 a.m. local time and did not see a lot of activity.  I saw UA4LCF calling CQ and I answered him.  We had an easy QSO.  Then, I3MEK on the Chat Page asked to run with me.  After I worked him, IK7EZN called and it soon became a "love fest" on my frequency!  I soon found out that many, many stations could hear me off the moon.  I received the following on the chat page from S52LM:

12Nov 10:23 W8TN Clark, you have now 8 callers ====== {S52LM/4X28XP/KW Milos xx JN65tx}

WHOOO, HOOOOO!  An actual bonafide pileup!  On the left is my log of the TWENTY-FOUR (24) stations I  worked today!!!

Check out the 0900 hour - NINE QSO's in one hour!  Now THAT is some serious RATE on EME!

When I started this project I figured that I would be able to make an "occasional" QSO off the moon with my little 2-antenna setup but NEVER - NEVER - NEVER did I think it would be like this!

And, today, I set a new record for completing a QSO with a VERY weak station.

I decoded Calls + OOO from K1DG at -31 dB -
   Nov. 10, 2017, DGR=0.8 dB - 135100  0  -31  2.2 -285  3 #      W8TN K1DG FN43      OOO   0  10

This system truly is out-performing what I had expected it would do!

New DXCC Countries worked today are:

Republic of South Africa
Balearic Islands

My STANDINGS on EME over the last 12 days are:

72 QSO’s
68 Initials
62 Grid's
25 DXCC’s

You know in the movie "Jaws" where Roy Scheider, who played Brody in the movie, says, "You're gonna need a bigger boat!" ??  Well, it seems that now applies to me in that "I'm gonna need MORE EME QSL's!"  22 of those 72 QSO's have already been confirmed on LoTW giving me 12 countries confirmed on 2-M already!

The EME Antennas Can Really HEAR!

Steve, G4TRA, emailed me on November 9, 2017, and asked to run a schedule with me on EME the next morning.  He runs a single 11-element Tonna antenna plus 400-watts.  I felt that was WAY too small a station for me to be able to work but agreed to run with him.  Amazingly, during one of his Ground Gain lobes, I did indeed copy him when his elevation was just under 11°:

120200  2  -26  2.5 -310  3 *      CQ G4TRA IO81             0 9

He was able to copy me on 10 different sequences (I run twice his power and more than twice his antenna.)  However, we were never able to complete the QSO.  We agreed to try again the next day.

Before my schedule with G4TRA, I made a nice QSO with GM6JNJ in Scotland (by answering his CQ) for a New Country and later I made QSO's with the following:

K2ZJ    New York
K1DG    Maine
W5ADD   Louisiana

All those were New States for me.  So, all in all, a very productive morning.  Maybe the second biggest surprise (after copying the single antenna station) was that I copied full calls and "OOO" report from K1DG at a signal level of -31 dB.  That is a record for me on weakest signal copied.  I have copied calls or CQ's at -29 dB before but this is my lowest.  Of course, "Shorthand" reports of RO, RRR and 73 have been copied several times at -31 dB but never full calls plus report.

135100  0  -31  2.2 -285  3 #      W8TN K1DG FN43      OOO   0 10

At 10:30 a.m. local time there were several JA stations on the moon but I could not copy any of them.  They did not seem to be copied by many other U.S. stations either so there must have been some one-way propagation at that time.

The next morning I had plans to run again with G4TRA about 7:50 a.m.  Plus, I received an email from SuperStation I2FAK who wants to run with me also.  But, back to the "Good News, Bad News" mantra!  I got up at 1:30 a.m. and when I turned on everything, I found the elevation rotor would not turn!  BUMMER!  It was 25°F (-4°C) outside and I guess the rotor just did not have enough torque to break itself free.  Maybe the grease on the gears had gotten stiff.  So, I had to cancel both schedules.  Eventually when the outside temperature reached 41°F (+5°C) the rotor worked just fine.

I picked up a 6-foot water pipe heat tape at Home Depot to wrap around the Elevation Rotor to try and keep it warm enough to rotate.  Back at the house I managed to fight through all my boo-boos:

Climbed the tower and dropped the AC Extension Cord
Dropped one glove
  (Evelyn came out and taped them to a cable for me to pull up.)
Dropped the electrical tape
  (I had to climb down and retrieve it.)
Came down the tower again but forgot to tape the extension cord where it goes around the azimuth rotor.
  (I had to make one more trip up the tower.)
Dropped my water bottle - TWICE!

FINALLY, I now have a 6-foot heat tape wrapped around the elevation rotor.  You can see a photo of the Elevation Rotor wrapped with the Heat Tape on the right.  Click on that photo to see a larger image.  Of course, there will not be a night where the temperature falls lower than 33° for at least the next 8 days.  I will have to wait awhile to see if this works.

UPDATE:  The rotor worked just fine that night!

ARRL EME Contest Results

BOY, OH, BOY - This EME Contest was a LOT of FUNNNNNN!

I was not trying for a score in the contest, I just wanted to work folks off the moon and this contest is a good time to do that.  Over the first two nights that I was operational on the moon, I made a total of 10 QSO's which I felt was pretty neat.  Well, in the ARRL EME Contest, I bettered that number by a good bit.  I made a total of 16 QSO's the first night!  And, EIGHTEEN the second! WHEEEEEE!

Several times I heard Roger, KD8BZY, who is quite close to me, working stations with his single 12-element yagi and I know he worked some that I didn't and I might have worked some that he didn't.  I'll bet if we pooled our individual QSO's we'd really have a list.

For the most part, everything worked as it should.  I found an issue or two that I'll need to look at but overall, things just purred along like a well-oiled machine. 

By 7:20 a.m. I only had 8° of moon left and not much that I coule hear to work so I decided to hit the sack for some Z-Z-Z-Z-Z's.  It is interesting to note that some of the stations I heard in the first weekend of the ARRL EME Context last month when I could only receive,  I was not able to copy them this night when I knew they were on the moon.  This EME stuff is not as easy as you might think [grin].

Anyway, on the left is a log of the completed QSO's I made last night.  The K9MRI station I had worked previously but all the others are New Ones.  Click on the image to get a larger view.

You know, I can't come up with a big enough adjective to describe my elation at being back on-the-moon.  In some respects it is just MIND-BLOWING!

I worked SEVEN stations via EME my first night on the moon.  THREE more the second night.  SIXTEEN the third night and EIGHTEEN on the third night!  I've only  been on-the-moon for 4 nights and I have made 44 EME QSO'sI never thought I could do this well.

Of those 44 QSO's, 42 were what is called "Initials."  The first time a contact is made with a new station, this is known as an "Initial" on EME. Sometimes stations change callsigns or move.  If a station moves his location into another grid or square then they can be counted as separate "Initials."  However if a station changes his callsign (for instance G6ZTU became GØRUZ), this does not count as a new initial.

The second night was again - "Good News" and "Bad News."  Early in the evening I tried calling CQ (for 1 hour and 10 minutes) with my antennas headed directly into the trees behind the house.  I was answered and made a QSO with YL2GD, RK3FG, and RX1AS.  This is HUGE to know that I can beam east and make QSO's off the moon!  In fact, my first QSO was made with the moon at an elevation of only 4.7° (although the station I worked, HB9Q, was a Super Station running a 45' dish antenna!

The first "Bad News" was that for 4 hours (from 0130-0530 GMT) I could not buy a QSO!  I could see on the Chat page that Roger, KD8BZY, was making contacts during that period.  I am going to assume that Roger has his antenna vertically polarized and I was locked out of working stations because the majority of the signals were coming in on that polarization.  I called many stations but had no response.  Later in the evening I spent an hour calling WO7R in Arizona with no luck.  At one time he did come back to me but could never get my report.  He had one of the strongest signals I copied on the band but he had problems with his "horizontal" receiving and just could not work a lot of stations.  I saw Roger trying for him many times but don't think he worked him either.  I also called K6MYC with a Big-Time signal but he could not hear me.

This difference in polarization can be huge.  If your antennas are not in the same polarization as the signal coming in from the moon, you either get a very weak signal or no signal at all.  I ran with PAØJMV for awhile and he commented on the Chat page:

05Nov 04:50   W8TN/2X13H/KW Clark ur sigs -19 solid here.... ====== {PA0JMV Joop xx JO21pm}
05Nov 04:58   W8TN Clark, u have local QRM on this freq?  audio copy u ====== {PA0JMV Joop xx JO21pm}

For him to receive me at -19 dB means he has a GREAT signal from me.  For him to actually HEAR my signal in his speaker is HUGE.  But, at that time, I had zero traces from him.  Nothing, Nada, Zip, Zero, Zilch, . . . you get it - a blank screen.  I think he felt since I was a "newbie" that I had something wrong with the receive side of my system.  However, while running with him, I copied a CQ from an Argentine station and was called by (and worked) K5LA in Texas while running with PAØJMV.  Sort of like an HF pileup!

I think PAØJMV realized we had one-way propagation at that point.  However, no too much later we ran again and in short order completed the QSO. 

I called CQ again for about an hour and worked: W2DBL (the guy who just finished working 1,000 initials), ON4KHG and N1DPM.  I'm very pleased with how the CQ'ing thing was working for me.

On the right is my log from the Second Night of the EME Contest. Click on any image to see a larger view.

My first night on the moon, Paul, W2HRO said:

02Nov 04:33 Clark - you'll have 100 QSO B4 the end of the year.  Good station and ur a good OP - GL ====== {W2HRO/2X28XP/1K Paul NJ FN20ll}
Since there are only two months left in the year, I did not think Paul was going to be right on that call.  However, with 44 QSO's in my first FOUR nights, he just might be right.  And, I'll need ALL that experience to have a shot at working 3YØZ, Bouvet Island, via EME.

Then I saw one of the stations I worked on the second night of the ARRL EME Contest posted the following on the Moon-Bounce reflector:
Last night  I worked my 1000 Initial after 8 years with a modest 4x9 setup and 1KW.  I am very happy , my wife thinks I am nuts.

Thanks for all the fun.

WOW!  That's 1,000 DIFFERENT EME stationsSuper COOL!

Of my 44 QSO's, I now can report the following "stats":

38 Grids
15 Fields
20 DXCC entities

And, here is my list of DXCC's worked:

DXCC Countries Worked via EME

DL8II    Federal Republic of Germany
EB5EEO   Spain
EA8DBM   Canary Islands
G4CDN    England
HB9Q     Switzerland
IK4ADE   Italy
JHØBBE   Japan
NH6Y     Hawaii
KL7UW    Alaska
LY2IJ    Lithuania
LZ1KU    Bulgaria
OK1UGA   Czech Republic
ON4KHG   Belgium
PA5Y     Netherlands
S52LM    Slovenia
SM4GGC   Sweden
UA3PTW   European Russia
UX5UL    Ukraine
YL2GD    Latvia
12 of those 44 contacts have already been confirmed via LoTW and I have picked up SIX new entities confirmed on 2-M !  WHEEE!

All in all, I'm Super pleased with how this has gone.  I know that the first 20 countries come pretty easily but, at lest it is a start and I can just build on that.  But first, I need to get back on a "Sleep at Night" schedule instead of "Stay Up All Night and Sleep in the Day."

The DX Continues to Come Via the Moon IF Everything Works Right

November 3, 2017, turned out to be another "good news - bad news" day.  The first "good news" is that I had been really worried about my ability to work to the East through the trees behind my house.  Well, at Moonrise (MR) tonight I pointed my antennas to 85° Azimuth and 0° Elevation.  When the moon was just at 86° Azimuth and 2.5° Elevation, I copied a CQ from YU7AA:

220900  0  -26  2.5  110 30 *      CQ YU7AA JN95             0  10

Boy, oh boy did this look good for being able to work stations THROUGH the trees.  I called YU7AA several times though and had no response.  But, on the Chat page, F8DGY asked if he could run with me as he was copying me.

Well, we ran for a bit with no luck.  Then another F8 station asked to run - no luck.  Then a DL - no luck.  Then my friend, N1NK from RI, and, you guessed it - no luck.  Later I ran with S56P - no luck.  I was beginning to thing that copying YU7AA was a fluke and maybe I could NOT work through the trees.

This inability to copy anyone after YU7AA went on for about 3 hours.  Finally, I when I was running with S56P (with no luck), I got a phone call from a high school friend in FL.  I stopped running with S56P and while talking to my friend, I was leaning back in my chair and I saw the elevation readout said 0° instead of 26° and the azimuth rotor was at 90° instead of about 125°.  WHAT?

It turns out that my "automatic" rotor turning software had failed. It was "thinking" that the rotors were turning but they had not moved since Moonrise.  Well, CRAP ON A CRACKER!

Once I rebooted the computer and started everything up from scratch, I found that I could not get any drive out of the K3S.  The short of that story is that during the reboot, M/S Windows graciously changed the device numbers of my USB Audio device for the K3S.  More CRAP! This time it was the M/S flavor!

Anyway, once I corrected these two bumbles, I managed an excellent QSO with LZ1KU in Bulgaria and DL8II in Germany.  WHEEE!  Back in the game!

Right after that, I saw IK4ADE was calling CQ and I copied him at -24 dB - - - - So, you can add one more New One to my score for tonight for THREE New Ones!  That makes my Digital EME QSO's now 10 in just two nights.  Would have had more if not for the bumbles!  It is simply amazing how little DX you can work if your antennas are NOT pointed at the moon!

That brings my country total up to SIX.  I can't wait to see what happens with the EME contest to see just what I can do on Digital EME.