Z60A on a Fading 40M Long Path

Its 1620z, and I am hearing Z60A on the 40M Long Path – but very weak. That’s because its too late – the band is closing, but this is actually the first time I have heard Z60A – I expected loud signals from them.

What is interesting is how this path stays open almost all year long to ZS, but to EU its just the deepest of Winter months – December and January. I expect that sometime in February it will close until next winter to EU. More proof that the “Cross Quarter Days” is a turning point for propagation here on the West Coast and in the Northern Hemisphere.

2018 and Telegraphy

This is one of a handful of reasons I am still active in Ham Radio. I am almost done with a history book on Telegraphy:

It reads like a college history book, not quite as entertaining as the biographies that I read before this, but a book that shows just how the time period covered has all kinds of parallels with today and the Internet, the FCC and Net Neutrality.

When I was a kid, I was a percussionist in Middle School and part of High School (before getting fully into Track and Cross Country), and I still love the rhythmic nature of CW. For me, its a musical instrument of sorts. I just love the fact that the author of this biography:

Prominently mentions how Amateur Radio Operators are keeping Telegraphy alive. I feel its a special skill on the wane (per a recent Clublog statistical trend report). While others may fully embrace FT8, that’s all well and good – but for me I think CW will always be my favorite mode. Part of this is because for 37 years I have been in front of a computer all day, so the basic dit and dah of a paddle or straight key offers what feels like “living history recreation”.

Funny thing, yesterday I found the marker for The Pony Express in Orinda. I already knew where the one is at in Lafayette, but its cool to see that the method of communication prior to Telegraphy ran right through these two Lamorinda towns that I have lived in for the last 22 years. And before that – I lived in San Francisco which was brimming with Telegraphy – especially during the Gold Rush Days.

Kosovo Tops the DXCC Most Wanted List (for a very short while!)

The funniest posts I have seen were people betting how many weeks Kosovo will be in the Top 10. Some other things have happened that are more interesting, actually. Glorioso is at 15 (which will go back to 14, but that dropped by 2 – supplanted by Kerguelin and Peter 1

Heard is all the way down to 33, so even though Kosovo will soon be way down the list – even at 32, my hopes that Heard would drop as it has has come true. The surprising thing is how slow it seemed to take. I guess not everyone updates their Clublog records as much as they do LOTW. It would make sense – if you are an awards chaser, but I think Clublog is everything missing from LOTW, actually. Too bad Clublog and LOTW aren’t merged.

Z60A Kosovo: A “Warm Up” for 3Y0Z?

It seems that Z60A will warm up the airwaves over the next couple of weeks and into the time 3Y0Z is on the air. It looks like February will be  block buster DX month after all.

I have been hearing ON4UN on 40M CW all Winter, so I know EU has been easy to work in the mornings. However, we are now entering the “cross quarter days”, and we should see 20M open up earlier in the morning and stay open longer in the evenings. I think 40, 30 and 20M should be good bands for all DX. And I think the polar disturbances are fewer than they were even just last Fall.

There will be plenty of opportunities to work Kosovo, pretty much any time

My only hope is that the pileups don’t collide with each other. 3Y0Z is an epic and ultra rare entity. Here’s a funny thought – some will be more interested in working Z60A than 3Y0Z.

3G9A: Great Signal at 0444z on 40M

I just worked them easily and their signal seems better tonight than last night. The doublet is the winner and they are about 579.

They are close to South Georgia, and one thing I noticed is at this latitude, about 8 hours of their night is right in the greyline. This should really help since the SSN is Zero, and will probably stay the same in SSN / flux, but will actually be quieter than last night or tonight:

#   UTC      Radio Flux   Planetary   Largest
#  Date       10.7 cm      A Index    Kp Index
2018 Jan 22      69          10          3
2018 Jan 23      69          10          3
2018 Jan 24      69           8          3
2018 Jan 25      67           5          2
2018 Jan 26      67           5          2
2018 Jan 27      67           5          2
2018 Jan 28      67          10          3
2018 Jan 29      69           5          2
2018 Jan 30      69           5          2
2018 Jan 31      70           5          2
2018 Feb 01      70           5          2
2018 Feb 02      70           5          2
2018 Feb 03      70           5          2
2018 Feb 04      70           8          3
2018 Feb 05      70           8          3
2018 Feb 06      70           5          2
2018 Feb 07      70           5          2
2018 Feb 08      70           5          2
2018 Feb 09      70           8          3
2018 Feb 10      70          12          4
2018 Feb 11      70           8          3
2018 Feb 12      70           5          2
2018 Feb 13      70           5          2
2018 Feb 14      70           5          2
2018 Feb 15      70           8          3

40M Antenna Directions, Pattern and Gain

The 3Y0Z beam heading is 130 degrees, which is where my doublet up 60′ is pointed. Its pattern is:

My DX Engineering DV-40-P is pointed NE – SW, and its pattern is:

WIth 3 dB gain in the NE and SW direction, and only 1 dB gain towards Bouvet. Interestingly, with the array switched to the NE position, ZS6CCY says my signal is 6 dB better on the vertical array over the doublet. It makes sense because the vertical array has a wide lobe that would cover the 90 degree direction to ZS:

For 3G9A/MM just past the Falklands, the doublet is noticeably better than the phased array.

I have a fun plan – I will try to work 3Y0Z on 20M and 17M first, then quickly take down the 2 element 20M yagi, and put up the Cushcraft D40 with the 30M add on. This way, I can do some great testing – I can see the limitations of the phased array and the fixed dipole. I kind of expect that because I can rotate the D40, it could end up being the only 40M antenna that I will need. In fact, I could even end up with just the 160/80M Inverted L and the 40/30M Cushcraft D40.

It will be great to do some serious A-B testing

CQ 160: WIll Palau be my #95?

I just noticed that JA0JHQ will be on Palau for the CQ 160M contest this coming weekend. I also am in contat with HI8A, Rfael, whi will look for me during the contest. Haiti is occasionally activated, as are other Caribbean entities, and I still need  small handful.  Bernie, W3UR will be on St. Kitts and Nevis the week following. Papua New Guinea will be activated the first week of February, Macau in March, Baker, St. Paul and Ducie later in the year. This gives several “easy” possibles, and my 160M RX antenna is now the best I’ve had yet.

Time will tell, but its very exciting to know that the next one will be #95. That sure sounds close to 100!