Friday, April 1, 2016

FT4JA Jaun de Novo

I believe I worked Jaun de Novo FT4JA tonight on 40M CW.  I was stalking him on both 40 and 30 since my sundown @ 23:41Z.  Very poor conditions.  I never really heard him  on 30M.  On 40 I didn't hear him till close to his sunrise.  As the terminator flew over his head, he came out of the noise and started to build, but never very much.  I hung around waiting for my chance.  You can never tell about propagation, and I figured as long as I could make anything out that was coherent I had a chance.

When I finally got him he was close to an hour into his daylight, and you can see 
the pileup had nearly dried up, only 3-5 stations remained calling.  Earlier in the evening the pileup was loaded across about 15hkz.  They are sticking close to their band plan.

FT4JA has coordinated with VK0EK.  On each band the 2 DX peditions have a similar format.  VK0EK (in red) transmits on a lower freq in this case 7016 and listens down, while FT4JA transmits a couple KHZ higher 7019, and listens up.  This consolidated the least amount of bandwidth and order giving the maximum throughput.  Very smart IMHO.  I had the radio set up on my half wave vertical end fed for 40M.  It's a true 60ft custom vertical fed with a home brew parallel network and is over my 4000ft radial field.  This antenna works very well as a DX antenna.  My band noise was about -112 dBm 

and FT4JA was just barely copy-able.  He was undergoing deep fades but then would rebound.  Every time he would fade I'd think to myself "well that's it" but I would listen a minute or two longer and there he would be calling ...up up NA.  The band sounded very unsettled ike the propagation path was cracking up.  If any one tells you the WBN noise blanker doesn't work  in the Flex don't believe them.  Here is my band noise with the blanker turned off 

The difference between go and no go.  I had the AGC turned off since he was so weak.  I have found on 160 this often is the difference between a contact and no contact, so in extreme cases I'll try it anywhere.  The danger is if someone fires up on the DX freq so I made a DDUTIL macro that will allow me to toggle between fast and off with one button click.  It's pretty effective at saving the ears.

OFF allows for a fixed gain and the static/band crud does not trigger any AGC action, and when a station is 1-2 db out of the noise but the static is modulating at 2-3 dBm trough to peak no AGC can often make the difference.  FT4JA was so weak there wasn't even any trail generated on the waterfall.  I had him tuned in within 1 HZ and had the filter cranked to 50hz.

Here is a shot of how far into daylight he was before I lost him completely

The map was shot at 4:33Z and I logged him at 4:19, so not very much time to spare before the terminal fade.  

I made a little Youtube vid

One is never sure you made it in the log when conditions are this poor, so I'm waiting on the greenie!

The DQRM and incivility has gotten out of control in the pileups these days.  This DQRM on this pileup is the worst I've ever heard, and usually I'm pretty tolerant of DQRM.   Maybe things will settle down.  Maybe the DX needs to rock their frequency + - 200hz every once in a while.  With 50hz filters if the DQRM is off by 35hz I'm not hearing them.  Rocking the freq also makes people pay closer attention and not just keep mashing the transmit button.  If you keep mashing the button but don't know where he is transmitting your chance of a QSO goes to zero.

73  W9OY

Took forever for them to upload the logs 

My op was Christian EA3NT, outstanding CW talent and seasoned DX pedition pro