02 April 2014

Result from 6 months use of the 60 m band


The first 60 m permit I got from the Swedish Post and Telecom Authority (PTS) was for the period January 23 to June 30 in 2013. The result from that period is shown here. I then got a new 6 months permit starting from October 2013.

First I did erect a "better" antenna than the G5RV antenna. The new higher positioned end-fed wire antenna with a 9:1 balun did not show up as a good performer so I stucked to the G5RV. The transceiver I used is an ICOM IC-746 together with a manual antenna tuner DAIWA CNW-419.

Below is my log showing QSOs and Skimmer receive stations reports in dB above noise. The distance is in kilometers and time is UTC.

Oct 18, 2013 - Feb 18, 2014
SM 60 m Permit Channels:  5.310-5.313   5.320-5.323   5.380.5.383   5.390-5.393 MHz
SM0FOB/2 in Boden KP05vs

Green = DX >2000 km   Blue = SM Stations










The result is according to the "book". Best result for DX is, as for the 80 and 40 m bands, early mornings and late evenings or during night. During daytime, when DX is dead, the propagation is still very good with low power and for distancies up to ca. 1,000 km. This propagation type is called NVIS, Near Vertical Incidence Skywave. My very low hanging G5RV wire antenna is a typical NVIS antenna. For DX work the best simplest antenna is a vertical. 

NVIS propagation is good for emergency communications when other networks are lost. If the biggest electricity power dam is busted in northern Sweden it will cause 25 % drop of all available electriciy power in Sweden, cities will be drowned and so on. All communications networks for telephony, mobiles, Internet etc. in 1/3 of the country will stop working for a very long time. But in this situation radio networks in the 5 MHz can play a vital role. That is why emergency communications often are mentioned in discussions for implementing a 5 MHz amateur radio band. Norway, our neighbour country, is one of the few who already has implemented a 5 MHz (5260-5410 kHz) amateur radio band. Norway has performed governmental led emergency training situations together with ham radio operators. 

But most countries, like Sweden, allows only restricted channelized use of the 5 MHz band. Finland has a strange restriction. They allow only voice traffic channels! Maybe it is because of the Russian neighbour? Russia allows no use for hams. The band is very useful for military traffic. On the 5 MHz band this type of traffic is often heard, even with telegraphy keys! Maybe the Swedish restriction is because of the need of interception? Recently it is learned that mobile phones and Internet are intercepted by big states. Maybe again using HF bands for i.e. one-way spy communications is the best. With very low power using digital modes it should be difficult to intercept HF. A receiver can be just a small SDR USB-dongle compared to a receiver many years ago. The Swedish top spy air force colonel Stig Wennerstrom used a Hallicrafter S-20R.



06 January 2014

Save and display QSL cards

I would say that "ending" a QSO by sending and receiving a QSL card is half the QSO. But today many prefer not to use QSL cards and instead confirming QSO´s on-line. For receiving many types of diplomas QSL cards are still needed. I like the paper format. Some cards are master pieces in design and other just contain necessary information. I think it is rather common for me and others that the cards are archived in shoe boxes etc. and then forgotten. Maybe a better way is to have them on display on a PC screen or in a digital photo frame.
This super small scanner is well suited for scanning QSL cards. It takes less than five seconds to scan one card. The files are saved on an ordinary memory card that can be put into a digital photo frame or into a PC for saving and possible editing or a slide show.

The scanner I am using is the Agfa Portable Photo Scanner AS1110.



07 November 2013

Winter has arrived

Winter has arrived in northern Sweden at my QTH in Boden (KP05vs). This morning the outside temperature was -10 C.



20 October 2013

Result from the 60 m band



From the Swedish Post and Telecom Authority (PTS) I got a permit to use the 60 m band for ham radio during January 23 to June 30 in 2013. See previous post here. Above is my log for this period showing my few QSOs and Skimmer stations reports. I never heard any North American station and no Skimmer station there reported my sigs. I was using an Elecraft KX3 transceiver (5-10 W) and a very low hanging G5RV antenna. My QTH is in northern Sweden (KP05vs) not so far from the Arctic Circle.

Note: The LA1... station above is LA1IC QRP. Distance is in km.


One week ago I bought a ca. 10 years old ICOM IC-746 100 W transceiver. It can transmit on the 60 m band, but the in-built automatic antenna tuner cannot be used on that band. Instead it is possible to use a separate manual antenna tuner. I first checked, with a 50 Ohm resistive load, that an output power of 100 W could be achieved.

I have now got a new fixed station permit from the PTS, October 17 to March 31, at my KP05vs QTH.

5.310-5.313 MHz
5.320-5.323 MHz
5.380-5.383 MHz
5.390-5.390 MHz

So on October 18 I checked my new rig connected to the G5RV antenna and with an output power set to ca. 50 W. No QSOs but Skimmer reports as below. I heard LA, G and OZ stations, but they were on frequencies not allowed for me to use.


I will soon hang up an end-loaded 1/4 wl wire for 60 m and with a 9:1 balun for a 50 Ohm coaxial feeder. It will be higher above ground than the G5RV and hopefully this will work better.

13 August 2013

Antenna with green power


Outside my kitchen window I have a small discone antenna. It is a Diamond Super Discone Antenna Type D130J. The height of the top element incl. the loading coil is ca. 0.7 m. The receiving range is 25 to 1,300 MHz and transmit range, also according to the spec, is from 50 MHz and up. I have found that I also can use it for transmit/receive from 14 MHz and up. I have even worked QSO´s with low power on the the 40 m band.


When back home after one month in northern Sweden I noticed that part of a green plant on a nearby wall, ca. 1.5 m away, somehow had found its way to the antenna. It started to grow on one lower element and it is now above the top element.


I was curious about how the antenna would perform now, although bad summer conditions. My Elecraft KX3 with 10 W output autotuned to a low SWR on 14 MHz. Running CW CQ´s gained no answers, but CW Skimmer receiving stations received my signals. I was astonished that see on the Reverse  Beacon Network that the skimmer station of VE2WU near Montreal could copy my CQ. It must have been GREEN POWER! :-)

19 March 2013

Aurora




On March 17 Northern Lights exploded in the sky at my SM2 QTH in northern Sweden (KP05vs). For many photos click on the photo collage above. I used a handheld Sony NEX-6 camera with a Samyang Fish-Eye lens, 8 mm 1:3.5.

The IOS info app Interplanetary 3D Sun is a very useful to predict Auroras.

06 February 2013

My G5RV antenna



This photo shows my low hanging 31 m G5RV wire antenna at my SM0FOB/2 QTH in northern Sweden. Gubben, my Second operator is a young Svensk lapphund (Swedish Laphound), only 4 1/2 months old.

This is the antenna I use on the 5 MHz band. Although its low height it is possible to have "DX" contacts with it. Recently, with 5 W output from my Elecraft KX3 transceiver, my CW CQ signals was heard by a skimmer station on Iceland (TF4M, Distance 2,030 km, 13 dB s/n) and another one in Germany (DL1EMY, Distance 1,838 km, 8 dB s/n). Later with only 1 W output the skimmer station DL1EMY received my CQ with 2 dB s/n.


APRS - LIVE MAP

You can see where I and some other radio amateurs are driving or are located for the moment. Get the live map from aprs.fi or click on a link below (maximum 300 stations per search are shown)

SM0FOB Kjell SM0XDO Petri SM7EQX Leif SM-stations SA-stations SK-stations OH-stations OZ-stations LA-stations

How this system works is explained here

The live map below is showing my fixed position or my car´s position, speed, direction and height a. s. l.