December 2018 Bouvet Conditions

Sliding down the sunspot cycle As I had expected, 3Y0Z had the last chance at some “decent” higher band propagation. We are now already at the bottom of the sunspot cycle as far as I am concerned. However, the low bands are getting better – so those with great antennas on 160 – 30M will be the big winners when Bouvet and Glorioso are…

Bouvet and the Race to the Bottom (again . . . )

2018, 19 and 20 look like 2008, 2009 and 2010 Looking at the coming of 2+ years at the bottom of Cycle 24 going into 25, and thoughts of Bouvet pop in my mind. Its a mini cliff hanger: “Who will activate Bouvet before (even) 20M closes down?” FT5GA activated Glorioso in Sept / October 2009, when even 20M was dead. Their team completely…

RI1ANO and 3Y0Z

RI1ANO has been tearing up 30M tonight – solid 599+ and working the entire US. 3Y0Z is 2000 miles farther and more SE, but since its a water path, I doubt that will be a big deal. We were both right in the grey line when I worked him, and it sure was a major pipeline. SSN = ZERO, K = 4, A =…

The “Bouvet Bump” Continues . . .

The latest NOAA Sunspot Cycle Progression plot showing data through September, 2017, continues with the good news – that the cycle has a nice little uptick even at this low point in the cycle. FT5ZM was active at the peak of this cycle – and it looks like 3Y0Z might get a respite from the downward march of Cycle 24. Conditions have been quite…

FT8: The “Democratization of DXing and DXpeditioning”

UPDATE: After the VK9MA DXpedition I have changed my tune. FT8 surely is the beginning of something very exciting, but when VK9MA kept switching between FT8 and CW I realized just how much better CW is. On paper, using a mode that could work when CW was too hard to “hear” seemed like magic, but because there still was enough back and forth with…

DXCC “Trifecta”

Happy Friday – and Cheer’s to the Weekend! I need 12 more to achieve DXCC on 160M, which is a very big deal here on the West Coast. I will also achieve 9BDXCC at the same time – so its a double good achievement and now that its within reach, I’m getting excited about DXCC as much as I can these days. I was…

40M KY6R Antenna “Shoot Out” – Initial Test Results

Just two American “Presidential Hopefuls” dueling. Some things never change . . .  I just got home from a week in Montana, Idaho and Washington (Spokane) and “magically” my DX Engineering DV-40-P worked. I am sure its an intermittent connection of some sort, and luckily, Bill, ZS6CCY was able to do some serious on the air testing with me. I also did several tests…

The Best Two Antennas I Have Ever Had

For all low bands, 160-30M, my own designed “Modified Bobtail” is a very clear winner. I’ve blogged extensively about this antenna, and the best antenna tuner for this antenna – and my favorite antenna tuner of all time is the Palstar BT1500A. Every feature, knob and button is useful and perfect for the Mod Bob. The best yagi antenna I have ever had was…

ZS3D and ZS6CCY on Mod Bob – 40M

Dani, ZS3D and ZS6CCY were 59 on the Mod Bob tuned for 40M, so I have just confirmed that its as good or better than the broadside direction on the DX Engineering DV-40-P. I broke through small pileups and was first in in both cases. What was especially cool was that this was during a major solar storm – with a radio blackout in…

The “Bouvet Bounce?”

A few months back, spaceweather.com revised their prediction to show a “plateau” or “knee” in their Cycle 24 prediction, and the NOAA site just kept their previous prediction which shows how under performing this cycle has been. Of course, this is like a Festivus Miracle, that right when you need the cycle to hold on just a little bit longer, it does. If you…