DN55 2M EME Grid Activation

 Date/Time: Saturday - November 11, 2017 0700z moonrise start
Call: KB7Q
QTH: DN55gl Absarokee, Montana
Frequency: 144.138 MHz +_ QRM/Birdies KB7Q always first JT65b
Gear: 2x 9el. Yagis, 800 watts, K3S w/ internal transverter, excellent pre-amp.

Oh what the heck! I'll try one more grid adventure before things get snowed in. Todd, WA7U is letting me park on the family ranch and use the a/c power mains so I can run the gear and a small electric heater in the truck. I'll wander that way before sunset, set up, and be ready for the late night moonrise.

I'll be debugging and testing the lightweight EME gear I've assembled for the February, 2018 PJ2T 2M EME dxpedition.

DN46 Activation via 2 Meter EME


Date/Time: Saturday - October 7, 2017 0200z moon rise start
Call: KB7Q
QTH: DN46fj Canyon Ferry Lake
Frequency: 144.138 MHz +_ QRM/Birdies KB7Q always first JT65b
Gear: 2x 9el. Yagis, 800 watts, K3 w/ internal transverter, excellent pre-amp, 2KW generator

 One more grid activation before the snow flies!

Any easy, quick outing to DN46 just 80 miles northwest of my house. I had great weather for setting up and a very quiet location. Once the moon cleared the Big Belt Mountains it was off to the races. I went hard at it until 4:30 AM local time when my body shut down. After a long nap I added several JA stations, and VK5APN  to the log to bring the total contacts up to 52 before the moon dipped behind the Elkhorn Mountains on the west side of the valley.

Packing up after moonset was easy and I beat the strong winds that were forecast home.

Stations Worked:
I2FAK (-15), DF2ZC (-22), HB9Q (-13), IK1UWL (-16), EA8DBM (-18), DK5EW (-19), DL1KDA (-21), OZ1LPR (-11), RX3A (-19), RX1AS (-13), HA8CE (-21), LZ2FO (-19), I3MEK (-18), HA6NQ (-22), SM6NOC (-24), PA3FYC (-24), DK3WG (-15), PA0JMV (-20), UX5UL (-12) K9MRI (-17), ES6RQ (-13), RK6FG (-13), UT6UG (-17), DL8FDB (-15), PA9RX (-16), DL1VPL (-20), ES3RF (-10), UT5ZN/P (-11), W7JW (-19), SP8NR (-21), HA6NQ (-17), SM5KWU (-30), PA2CHR (-17), OZ1CT (-19), EA2AGZ (-17), LY2IJ (-18), EA4CYQ (-22), PA3CMC (-15), ON4KHG (-19), PA5MS (-18), W0XG (-22), K1DG (-22), KL7UW (-21), NJ2R (-22), WO7R (-14), VK5APN (-22), JH0BBE (-23), JR3REX (-17), XE2AT (-28), JH2COZ (-25), 7K3LGC (-20), JF3MKC (-25).

DL1VPL knows how to rock n roll with his single Yagi station.
All set up and ready with three hours until moonrise. No other campers around. Yippee!
The Big Belt Mountains across Canyon Ferry Lake. The moon came up just to the right of the highest peak.

2 Meter EME Trip to DN66db

Date/Time: Saturday - September 16, 2017 0900z start
Call: KB7Q
QTH: DN66db Captain Clark Fishing Access Site
Frequency: 144.138 MHz +_ QRM/Birdies KB7Q always first JT65b
Gear: 2x 9el. Yagis, 800 watts, K3 w/ internal transverter, excellent pre-amp, 2KW generator

You just never know how these trips will go. The first fall storm was moving through Montana when I rolled east to the operating spot on the Yellowstone River out past Pompey's Pillar. I figured this trip might turn out to be a soggy bust as it rained hard and even snowed on Bozeman Pass while traveling out. It rained a bit while I was setting up, but I'm pretty organized so there was no wasted motion and before long I was inside the warm camper setting up the radio and amp. I was concerned that heavy rain would cause my SWR to shoot up. Nope, never happened, which was a relief.

From my 0900z moonrise for the next four hours I had a - 600 to +700 Hz pile-up going. What fun! When the dust settled 10 hours later 70 stations were in the log. This was my best one day effort ever - what I thought was going to be a slog turned out to be a maximum fun outing even with a Kp index of 4.

The only glitch was that my K3 transceiver (internal 2M transverter) would sometimes produce no transmit power when going from RX to TX, I'd have to reach over to the radio and turn the power knob slightly to get the RF drive flowing again. Hmm, that K3 is getting long in the tooth, probably time to pull it apart and re-seat all those edge connectors.

Anyhow, a great outing for a cool, rainy fall day. I never saw the moon or the sun for that matter so it was all best guess aiming with my GPS/compass, and inclinometer.

Stations worked:
S52LM (-20), I2FAK (-10), DF2ZC (-14), SM7GVF (-16), PA0JMV (-19), DL1KDA (-19), EA2AGZ (-16), DK3WG (-18), PA3FYC (-19), RK3FG (-24), OZ1LPR (-19), RX1AS (-19), EA5CJ (-15), OH6ZZ (-19), SM5CUI (-20), PA9RX (-16), LZ2FO (-21), SM5KWU (-19), HA6NQ (-18), DL8GP (-14), DK5SO (-19), DK5EW (-21), F5LNU (-19), PA3FPQ (-17), HB9Q (-19), DL6SH (-15), OH3KLJ (-23), ON4KHG (-19), DL8FBD (-21), DL1VPL (-25), I2RV (-26), OH6UW (-24), FK5YA (-16), EA8DBM (-16), PA2CHR (-17), DL7FF (-20), DK4TG (-22), LA8KV (-16), HA8CE (-17), UX5UL (-13), UR7DWW (-18), G4FUF (-22), OH4LA (-17), I3EVK (-19), IK1UWL (-21), DK4RC (-15), RX3A (-20), DL4KUG (-27), OH3AWW (-26), PA3CMC (-24), W5ZN (-160, SM5KWU (-26), OH7PI (-25), KB7IJ (-18),AA4SC (-19), OK1DIX (-15), OH2BYJ (-17), K1DG (-21), N4QWZ (-26), W8KEN (-27), K7MAC (-19) KB0PPQ (-22), W7MEM (-24), JR3REX (-17), KG7P (-18), JF3MKC (-21), JH0BBE (-25), W9JN (-24), ZL2MQ (-24).
That's the Yellowstone River. The site is extremely RF quiet.
A nice way to start the day! I2FAK was -10.
All the comforts of home.

2M EME Trip to DN56

Date/Time: July 26, 2017 1600z start
Call: KB7Q
QTH: DN56ac north of Big Timber, Montana
Frequency: 144.138 MHz +_ QRM/Birdies KB7Q always first JT65b
Gear: 2x 9el. Yagis, 800 watts, K3 w/ internal xverter, excellent pre-amp, 2KW generator

Chris, KA1D and I rolled out early to DN56ac. Even a K index of 4 didn't dampen our spirits. We got to our what was expected to be a quiet sand pit well off the highway only to find an accident between a big semi-truck and two pick-up trucks had just happened right there. There were no injuries, and the deputy sheriff seemed to have the matter in hand, so we eased past the wreck into into our spot and set up.

It was just our luck that the single power line for miles in any direction had really leaky insulators. The K3's two noise blankers knocked it down to reasonable level. Phew!

The moon came up right at 1600z and we were off to the races ... slowly. When I2FAK is "only" -20 you know things are going to a bit of a challenge. Conditions did improve and HB9Q proved to be our King of the Hill station with a -11 signal. Best DX was an easy QSO with ZS4TX.

At one point we went 62 minutes without a contact and then had a mini pile-up before things tapered off for good as Faraday locked us out to Europe. At one point we tried with SM7FMX for quite a while until he lost his moon, Mog peaked at -18, but no joy!

All and all a fun outing to show KA1D what this EME addiction is all about. Half way through our operation Chris was driving WSJT 10  like a pro and logging a contact every four minutes.

Contacts are up on LoTW and all direct QSLs are answered the same day I receive them.

Stations worked from the sand lot:
I2FAK (-20), EA8DBM (-23), OZ1LPR (-21), DL1KDA (-25), S52LM (-19), G4DML (-17), PA3FPQ (-19), UX5UL (-14), DK5YA (-16), DK3WG (-24), UT6UG (-18), HA8CE (-23), ES6RQ (-13), PE1L (-16), ES3RF (-20), DK3BU (-22), PA1GYS (-20), DL8FBD (-25), DF2ZC (-23), PA0JMV (-24), DK5SO (-22), DL8GP (-23), PA3CMC (-20), EA2AGZ (-19), ZS4TX (-22), RK3FG (-16), LZ2FO (-23), UA3PTW (-21), HA6NQ (-21), G4SWX (-26), UT5ZN/P (-21), DL8II (-24), I3MEK (-19), W5ADD (-20), HB9Q (-11), VE1KG (-24), G4FUF (-17).

Being tall helps! Packing up after 36 EME QSOs.


Even with disturbed conditions there were times with good action.

DN65/DN66/DN85 6M Grid Trip June 19 - 24

Equipment: Elecraft K3, pre-amp, KPA500 amp, 4 element Yagi and Honda 2kw generator.

Have camper will grid! Joyce and I spent a week kicking around eastern Montana and the very northwest corner of South Dakota. We were able to complete with several folks needing these rare grids. I'm glad I took my digital interface as there was plenty of action on JT65 and MSK144. CW was spotty, although I did get one decent opening where I could run 'em contest style for about 30 minutes.

Highlights: Working K1TO (Florida) on what appeared to be a dead band, and bumping K1TOL (Maine)  FFMA grid total up to 485 by working him from all three grids. Of course working IT9TYR made my whole week!

It was great fun to kick around this country before it got way too hot.
DN85 - The high lonesome. North Cave Hills, South Dakota
Out of nowhere comes K1TO!
DN65 - Red Shale Campground looking past the truck camper east.


Wyoming 2M EME Quick Trip

Date/Time: May 28, 2017 1600z until interest wanes
Call: KB7Q
QTH: DN44lw Yellowstone Park
Frequency: 144.138 MHz +_ QRM/Birdies KB7Q always first JT65b
Gear: 2x 9el. Yagis, 800 watts, K3 w/ internal xverter, excellent pre-amp, 2KW generator

A lovely day for EME in Yellowstone Park. 31 stations logged during disturbed conditions.
When I left the house for Wyoming the K index was 6 so I knew conditions would be challenging. Setting up was easy and I was ready when the moon cleared the eastern hills at 8 degrees elevation. At times signals were huge, and other times I'd go 30 minutes with a blank screen. Faraday rotation was fantastically fast at times - I've never seen 1 minute shifts before. I could only run 700 watts because of the high altitude effect on the generator i.e. less horse power. The second generator I borrow to put in parallel wasn't available. EA1YV showed great perseverance, we kept missing each other for over four hours until goddess moon smiled upon us.

OK1TEH and N1DNN were copied and answered several times, but no joy.

This trip I used WSJT-X v1.7.1 R7691 and thought it worked quite well. Decodes seemed faster, it just took a bit of fooling around to figure out how to make it pick the pile-up apart with the different control panel v. WSJT 10. My K3/transverter still seems to be high in frequency so I tried to compensate by dialing in a full KHz low - that works for me!

If there is interest I can do a Wyoming trip this fall to favor VK/ZL/JA etc. folks. Yes?

Making the contact with EA4CYQ for his 50th State. The pile-up was big time fun!
Stations worked: OH6UW (-25), OK1DIX (-9), OK1DIG (-9), OE3NFC (-18), EA4CYQ (-16), F6HVK (-17), LZ2FO (-17), G4SWX (-10), DL1KDA (-19), EA8DBM (-15), S53K (-12), RX3A (-13), VE1KG (-15), HA6NQ (-14), UT5ZN/P (-11), RX1AS (-16), F5AQX (-16), K2TW (-20), IK1UWL (-17), K9MRI (-15), HA8CE (-18), IK7EZN (-16), S51ZO (-19), DK5LA (-13), DK4RC (-15), LZ1DP (-15), W7JW (-20), EA8TJ (-16), DL1DWI (-10), EA1YV (-21), N7NW (-17).