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

UPDATE:  K1DG no longer has the distinction of being the weakest station I have copied.  On 20-September-2020 I copied OK1DIX at -32 dB!  WOOF!  Of course, the weakness of these signals is in no way a reflection of the actual strength of these two stations.  It simply shows that the RX part of my station needs improvement!

OK1DIX Calls, Grid, OOO at -32  dB – 2x13 vertical - pointed 14° higher than needed! 

   Sep. 21, 2020, DGR=3.1 dB – 182200  0  -32  1.7 -170 21 #      W8TN OK1DIX JN79    OOO   0   6

Later on 10-November-2017, 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.

Re: [WVDXA] WHOPPEE!!! It's STILL Alive!!

No sooner than I finished my first two EME QSO's and took a breather to let my heart rate come back into normal range, than I saw NH6Y in Hawaii calling CQ.  In short order, he was QSO No. 3 in the LOG!  You can see the screenshot of our QSO on the right.  Click on it for a larger image.

02Nov 03:36 Clark, Thanks for the qso, best was at 0327 (-26) Aloha ====== {NH6Y/4X9H/1K Tom HI BL10ts}
02Nov 03:37 033600  3  -29       211  2   73                                ====== {W8TN/2X13H/KW Clark WV EM98al}
02Nov 03:37 NH6Y, Tom. THANK YOU for my 3rd ever Digital EME QSO. UR Best -21. ====== {W8TN/2X13H/KW Clark WV EM98al}
02Nov 03:39 That's great.  I'll send you a card. ====== {NH6Y/4X9H/1K Tom HI BL10ts}
Heck, I was all set to go lay down but who can sleep when the band is open?  One more DXCC country logged.  WHOPPEE!!

When I was working NH6Y, K8DIO running two 17-element yagis copied me at -23 dB off the moon.  I am running just two 13-element yagis so that's pretty good I think!  Small station to small station.

02Nov 03:48 2 yagi to 2 yagi   144.117  111  0 -1 -1  2.4   0  3 -23 033100  NH6Y W8TN EM98 ====== {K8DIO/2X17/K Lloyd OH EN91gh}
Next Ken, W8KEN, in Ohio wanted to run.  This made my Digital EME QSO No. 4.

02Nov 03:47 W8TN Clark, Could we try .112 ??? ====== {W8KEN/2XP22A/1K Ken OH EN91im}
02Nov 03:48 W8KEN, Ken.  RR. You go first? ====== {W8TN/2X13H/KW Clark WV EM98al}
02Nov 03:57 W8KEN, Ken. Sri, I got confused in what to send as I got you on tropo at times. ====== {W8TN/2X13H/KW Clark WV EM98al}
02Nov 03:57 W8KEN, Ken. Finally saw the DT and knew it was EME so changed my message. ====== {W8TN/2X13H/KW Clark WV EM98al}
02Nov 03:58 W8KEN, Ken. You are only my 4th Digital EME QSO so I'm pretty "green." ====== {W8TN/2X13H/KW Clark WV EM98al}
02Nov 03:59 W8TN Clark, Tnx Initial #114, Best -25, I had to separate your EME from Tropo also, GL,73 Ken ====== {W8KEN/2XP22A/1K Ken OH EN91im}
Whuups, then another Ohio station wanted to run and just posted on the Chat page that he was calling me.  This was the guy who already reported copying me when I worked Hawaii.   He became my Digital EME QSO No. 5.
02Nov 03:59 W8TN Clark, calling ====== {K8DIO/2X17/K Lloyd OH EN91gh}
02Nov 04:02 K8DIO, Lloyd.  Listening. ====== {W8TN/2X13H/KW Clark WV EM98al}
02Nov 04:12 K8DIO, Lloyd.  TNX for my No. 5 Digital EME QSO. UR Best -28. ====== {W8TN/2X13H/KW Clark WV EM98al}
02Nov 04:12 W8TN, tnx Clark.  Your best -24  73 and have fun. ;-) ====== {K8DIO/2X17/K Lloyd OH EN91gh}
Then, Paul, W2HRO, who I failed to complete with earlier, showed up for another go at it and he became my Digital EME QSO No. 6.
02Nov 04:23 W8TN Clark - ready for a try? ====== {W2HRO/2X28XP/1K Paul NJ FN20ll}
02Nov 04:25 W2HRO, Paul.  Sure. You call it. ====== {W8TN/2X13H/KW Clark WV EM98al}
02Nov 04:25 .118 - HRO - 1st ====== {W2HRO/2X28XP/1K Paul NJ FN20ll}
02Nov 04:26 W2HRO, Paul.  RR. Running. ====== {W8TN/2X13H/KW Clark WV EM98al}
02Nov 04:26 RRR ====== {W2HRO/2X28XP/1K Paul NJ FN20ll}
02Nov 04:31 W2HRO, Paul.  Well, now wasn't that easy?  UR Best -24.  My 6th digital EME QSO. TNX! ====== {W8TN/2X13H/KW Clark WV EM98al}
02Nov 04:32 W8TN Clark - tnx fer quick qso - welcome back to EME - tnx fer initial - ur b-20 - nice sigs - 73 & GN ====== {W2HRO/2X28XP/1K Paul NJ FN20ll}
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}
02Nov 04:36 W2HRO, Paul. TNX for the compliment. It's been a long road to get here but this is FUN! ====== {W8TN/2X13H/KW Clark WV EM98al}

That was a nice compliment from Paul.  Cool!

It's now almost 2:20 a.m. and activity has slowed down a bit.  There are still 44 users signed into the Chat page but there have been no posts for the last 12 minutes.  So, maybe I should lay down for a couple of hours and then see if I can work someone in Asia before sunrise. 

Here is my first night's score (so far [grin]):

No. 1 - PA5Y - Netherlands - 4x8element Horizontal & Vertical
No. 2 - K9MRI - Indiana - 8x28 XP yagis
No. 3 - NH6Y - Hawaii - 4x9element Horizontal
No. 4 - W8KEN - Ohio - 2x22 XP yagis
No. 5 - K8DIO - Ohio - 2x17element
No. 6 - W2HRO - New Jersey - 2x18 XP yagis
No. 7 - W7GJ - Montana - 16x17elements

HEY, I just saw another WV station show up on the Chat Page.  Paul, WB8TFV, from Martinsburg.   I knew him years ago in Parkersburg.  He runs 2x10element H&V antennas and is trying to work NH6Y but can't seem to do it.  I'm copying NH6Y at -23 dB.  Good news.  They changed to a different frequency and made the QSO.  WB8TFV told NH6Y his best copy on the Hawaiian station was -27 dB and mine was -23 so I think my station is doing OK.  But with Paul's ability to switch polarity, he just worked NTØV in ND and I haven't heard a single peep from him all night.

I guess I didn't get my body laid down.  But, W8KEN has already uploaded our QSO to LoTW and it is confirmed.  YIPPEE!

Still, it ain't over.  The moon is down to 16-degrees and I just worked Lance, W7GJ, who was calling CQ.  This was my Digital EME QSO No. 7.
02Nov 08:16 W7GJ, Lance.  TNX for Digital EME QSO No. 7. ====== {W8TN/2X13H/KW Clark WV EM98al}
02Nov 08:17 W8TN TNX Clark - best was -14 dB hr ====== {W7GJ/16X17/1500 Lance MT DN27ub}
OK, it's 5:30 a.m. and I've still not been to bed.  Oh, well.  I've been watching everyone working DX7EME in the Phillipines but I am not able to copy them yet.  My moon is down to 3° elevation so time is running out.  I ran a schedule with ZL2MQ for about 22 minutes but no joy.  I copied him calling me one time:
071100  0  -28  2.3   30  3 #      W8TN ZL2MQ RF80     O ?   0   1
OK, that's all folks.  It's been a FUN night.   YAWN . . . . .  Wonder if I'll be able to sleep after all this excitement???


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!

Relay Replacement - Moving On

The destruction of the CX-600NL relay was a bit of a setback.  The way I had the station configured, it would not work the way I wanted it to without this relay.  Luckily, a few weeks ago while going through some of my junk box treasures, I found a Brand-New Transco relay still in the plastic.  This will work just fine - well, maybe . . . It turns out that the CX-600NL relay was a 12-volt relay and the Transco was a 28-volt relay.  Hummmm!

After thinking on several ideas that I could use to make this work, it suddenly occurred to me that the T/R relay up on the tower is a 28-volt relay and I have 28-volts available in the DEMI TR Sequencer.  All I had to do was to open the sequencer and connect a jumper from the output jack (NO1) for the T/R Relay to the unused (NO2) jack.  Simple!  Then I just had to install a 1N4003 diode across the relay coil and solder an RCA cable to the relay and run it to the NO2 jack.  DONE!  I now had a replacement for the CX-600NL.  You can see the new relay in the photo on the right.  Click on it for a larger image.

The junk box is a wonderful thing!  Never throw anything away because as soon as you do, you will find you need it.  Of course, it can be pretty difficult to find something that you "KNOW" you have but you can't remember where in the heck you put it.  Just part of gettin' older.  Hey, maybe this is part of that "Use It, or Lose It" theory on your mental ability.  Uh, Huh!

I have been really busy with this EME project and have been running behind on updating this Blog.  The relay replacement was done on October 31, 2017, but I am just now blogging about it.