Wednesday, November 10, 2010

QSO with G8DDY, Marconi Memorial CW and AO-51

Not had a chance to write things up since the weekend. But I had quite a varied and interesting time on the air at the weekend. Didn't spend too much time, as is often the case, but it was proof that a few quick visits to the radio can be interesting.

First interesting contact was from the mobile, as I was driving to get some catfood on Saturday morning. I had the FT8900 scanning and as it went through GB3RD, it stopped and I heard 'Golf Eight Delta Delta' in a very distinctive voice and then the rig resumed scanning. I recognised the voice and went back to GB3RD. As I'd thought it was Peter, G8DDY from the Isle of Wight, who was mobile on one of the highspots of the island. I remembered Peter as being my first QSO from the Isle of Wight on both 144 and 432MHz way back in the early 1980s.

By the time I'd got the rig back on GB3RD, Peter was already in QSO, but I listened and waited for the QSO to end. It did and I called in. It was fun to speak to Peter and compare notes of operating from the island. He knew the apartments where we have stayed and how good a radio spot it is! A lovely QSO and nice to catch up again after all this time.

The first weekend of November is always the Marconi Memorial CW contest on 144MHz. Though I don't treat it as a contest, I always tune around as it's interesting to see what can be heard. This year was no exception and there were some nice contacts to be made. Conditions weren't brilliant, but I was pleased to make some reasonable contacts - mostly from Continental Europe. The best DX was F8DGY in JN18. The two gotaways, at greater distance were DK0BN (JN39) heard for a reasonable period on Saturday afternoon, just above the noise and TM0W (JN36) again, heard for a good period on Saturday evening, but not QUITE strong enough to work! I did hear TM0W again briefly on Sunday, but conditions were poorer and tropo was very weak by this time (there were some good MS bursts though!).

The other experiment was to listen for the AO-51 satellite (repeater in the sky). I was inspired to do this, after seeing a tweet from Paul, 2E0BHA. I'd hoped to try and work him. However, the experiment was only partially successful in that I heard signals on the IC-E92 handheld. But despite the overhead pass, signals were weak. After the event, I discovered that the satellite had not been operating at full strength, so I shall have to try again on a more auspicious occasion.

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