6 Meter Wyoming trip June 16, 2022 Start

GRIDS: DN44, DN43, DN52, DN42, DN51, DN62, DN63, DN64, DN74
MODE: FT8, MSK144, Q65
GEAR: 4 element Yagi, 500W, IC-7300, WSJT-X
LoTW: Yes
At times 


DN51 - June 24 Green River, WY
DN61 - June 25 Light operating
DN62 -June 26 Light operation, if any
DN73 - June 27/28 No Internet access
DN63 - June 29

K9DR is also active on 6M from DN62.

- June 17/18 This grid turned out to be a dry hole! The band never did crack open. I worked N7NW and seven Arizona stations on FT8 'tis all. 

DN52 - June 19/20/21 I operated from this grid in three different places looking for the best open terrain to the south and east. No double-hop occurred while here, but 265 contacts were made. A decent result. Working N5OMG left him with nine grids to go for FFMA. 

DN42 - June 22/23 We'll arrive mid-day and get set up on Fontenelle Reservoir. So far 121 contacts on a nice combination of Es double-hop, meteor scatter, and even Q65 scatter out to 800 miles. Very happy to work K4PI for his FFMA #486. More double-hop the next day to bring the total worked to 300 contacts, and get K8SIX to FFMA #480, Al picked up three grids during this opening.

DN51 - June 24.  Breaking camp this morning and heading south to some BLM dispersed camping just above Green River, WY.  This will be a one day stop. Double hop to Florida as soon as I turned the rig on. I can tell DN51 is not in demand as much as DN42. Lots of double hops all afternoon and evening SE and single hop to the west coast at times. 158 contacts so far.

DN61 - June 25 Rawlins, WY KOA Casual operating if any. Time to take a break, shop for supplies, shower and re-organize the camper.

DN51 on the Oregon Trail - all sky and sage brush.

The Yagi needed some love, the driven loop was cracking at the bend.

Now that's a band opening! Evening of June 22 looking east.

DN42 - Sage Brush and Fontenelle Reservoir late evening.
Corona y fajita celebrating 300 contacts from DN42.

Wild horses near camp on a mesa above Green River, WY (DN51)

70CM EME Montana (DN45)


Spring time in the Rocky Mountains. 9wl 70cm Yagi.

Over the weekend of May 6-8, 2022 I decided to put 70cm on EME as several folks needed Montana for their Worked All States award quest. The station was a single 9wl Yagi, 500 watts from a LDMOS SSPA, a very fine WD5AGO pre-amp, and an IC-9700 with GPS injection - a pretty small station for moonbounce. The weather started out with severe clear, but then the winds came followed by heavy wet snow. No matter, 25 stations were worked including one on CW. I hope this operation demonstrates that even a small station can be quite successful using Q65-60B mode on 70cm EME. Yes - I did tip the Yagi over and clear the snow off before operating!

Logged: OK1KIR (-17), DK4RC (-19), DL1VPL (-23), OT7K (-20), DL7APV (-12), PA2CHR (-23), HB9Q (-11), OH6UW (-24), UA3PTW (-16), W2HRO (-23), PA2V (-19), PA3HDG (-21), DL6SH (-13), DL8FBD (-24), W7JW (-24), W5LUA (-22), ES3RF (-18), AA5C (-27), K5DOG (-22), DK3WG (-16), SM7THS (-21), PA2V (-18), G4FUF (-22), PA5Y (-16). DL9KR (CW 539/549). LoTW updated.

Clear view of waterfall and spectrum during DL1VPL contact.

UTAH and COLORADO 23/70cm EME Outing

Dates: Utah April 6, 8 - 10   Colorado - April 13/15
Call: KB7Q - always 1st sequence
Location: Southeast Utah & Southwest Colorado - see below
Operating Schedule:
April 6 - 1800z start (due to travel) 70cm 432.090 Mhz DM58 near Green River, Utah
April 8 - MR 1800z 23cm  1296.090 MHz DM57 Valley of the Gods, Utah
April 9 - wind cancelled
April 10 - MR 2000 70cm 432.090 MHz DM57 Goosenecks State Park, Utah
April 13 - MR 2300z 23cm 1296.090 Mhz DM57 Canyon of the Ancients National Monument, Colorado
April 15 - MR 0015Z 70cm 432.090 MHz DM57 Canyon of the Ancients National Monument, Colorado
Modes: 70cm Q65-60B, 23cm Q65-60C CFOM preferred, can do CW after I work digital stations
Gear: 70cm - 1x 9wl Yagi 500 watts  23cm - 2.4M dish, 400 watts
Internet: At times 
Thank you donors - NC1I, DL9KR, PA3FXB, DL7APV, OK1IL, DL1VPL
 April 15, 2022
A small RV makes for tight quarters, but everything has a place.

 The relay repair held up fine with the first 500 watt smoke test, and I had a very nice evening session on 70cm from here in Colorado (DM57oj) to finish up this trip's EME operating. I very much appreciate the folks in Europe crawling out of a warm bed in the middle of the night to give me a contact. The trip was a great success, and several folks added a State or two to their Worked All States quest. LoTW is up to date.
Worked: DG5CST (-13), PA5Y (-15), DK3WG (-15), ES3RF (-22), UA3PTW (-12), DL7APV (-5), NC1I (-11), OK1VUM (-17), ZS4TX (-22), OT7K (-18), OK1KIR (-15), SM7THS (-15), W2HRO (-22), K5DOG (-23), W5LUA (-15), DL1VPL (-19), W7MEM (-16), W7JW (-25). On CW I managed DL9KR (549), OK1KIR (419), DG5CST (429).
April 14, 2022
Last time I took the 70CM station apart I managed to twist the N connector loose form the body of the power relay in the pre-amp switching box and in the process bend the wiper arm. This morning with a full cup of coffee I managed to get things right and re-assemble the relay. We'll give 70CM EME a go from this lovely camping spot. 
Some creative bending of the actuator arm needed.

Relay repaired and back in its rightful place.

Easy to like this campsite. I flew the drone this morning as my reward for being Mr. Fixit.
April 13, 2022
Ute Mountain from the cliff top site. The ropes are extra wind anchoring insurance.
We'll gave 23cm EME a try today from Colorado. We found a great site at DM57oj on a cliff edge with Ute Mountain out there on the southern horizon. Setting up for a 2300z moonrise was easy, and the Internet connection was solid. Talk about having it all.
The site had no soil, it was all sandstone, so I laid my tent stakes horizontally, looped the tie-down strap around them, and put about 200 pounds of rocks on top. I also ran 2 lines upwind to make sure the gusts wouldn't topple the dish. Toward sunset the wind totally died as expected. 
A great session - plenty of folks worked on Q65-60C. NC1I (-18), OK1KIR (-16), G4CCH (-18), IQ2DB (-20), IK1FJI (-16), SM5DGX (-14), OT7K (-23), PA3DZL (-17), DK3WG (-24), N1AV (-23), K5DOG (-22), WA3RGQ (-24), OK1IL (-22), UA3PTW (-14), W5LUA (-19), AA4MD (-24), K6VHF (-28), FG8OJ (-33), XE1XA (-21), W5AFY (-23), G4YTL (-27), W2HRO (-23), KB2SA (-24), CX2SC (-25), KA1GT (-22), N0CTR (-20), W5LUA (-14), N5BF (-24)
Bonus - We stopped and hiked the trail at Sand Canyon Pueblo a few miles back down the Forest Service Road. Interesting to see the ruins of a site that was inhabited around 1250 A.D. by several hundred folks.

April 12, 2022
April snow SW Colorado. Given extreme drought this is a very good thing.

The gate on the road to the Forest Service site I was going to use for the 23cm EME ops was closed and locked. How rude! We booked into an RV park down the road to re-group and wait out the storm. And a fine storm it is! It looks like April 16 or 17th before we can try another Colorado spot.

April 10, 2022

DM57ae - Utah. Looking way down at the San Juan River.

 Joyce and I decided to give Goosenecks State Park a visit, so we headed south for about 30 minutes, arrived, and set up the 70cm station easily. Even though it clouded over just before moonrise I was able to complete with 14 stations. We had to walk a whole 100 feet (30M) over to the edge to see the San Juan River meander 1,000 feet (320M) below us. 
Worked using Q65-60B: DL7APV ( -5), DL1VPL (-23), DG5CST (-15), OK1DFC (-22), PA5Y (-19), UA3PTW (-19), OK1KIR (-19), PA2V (-19), PA2CHR (-27), OK1VUM (-19), DL8FBD (-25), DK4RC (-19), OT7K (-21). DL9KR sure knows where to place his CW signal to get my attention - we completed effortlessly 539/559.

A nasty storm is going to hit the whole western part of the USA - we'll see how we fare in Colorado on 23cm tomorrow.

April 8, 2022

DM57cg, Valley of the Gods, Utah 2.4M dish ready to go.

 It was a perfect day for 23cm EME. We found a dandy spot well off the road in the Valley of the Gods and set up easily. No wind, visible moon, and Murphy was missing in action. I worked all I heard! 24 stations were logged, all with good signals. Things really died off in three hours, so after another hour of CQ'ing to a quiet band I stopped and went for a hike. Later I got the drone out and shot this video.

In the log via Q65-60C: NC1I (-12), DG5CST (-8), UA3PTW (-11), DL4DTU (-16), OK1DFC (-19), IQ2DB (-22), HB9Q (-9), DK3WG (-25), N1AV (-27), OK1CA (-11), PA3FXB (-23), ES3RF (-17), DL8FBD (-22), G4CCH (-16), IK1FJI (-16), DK4RC (-12), OK1IL (-23), VE4MA (-21), DL7UDA (-20), W5AFY (-20), ON4AOI (-23), DG0FE (-22), W2HRO (-22), RA4HL (-15).

The next morning before the big winds arrived I shot a sunrise video to show you more of the Valley Of The Gods and  here also.
April 6, 2022

DM58cv Near Green River, Utah on BLM land

 A challenging, but fun day. We drove the 150 miles down from Provo and was QRV only 5 minutes late at 1805z. On 70cm Q65-60B EME I worked OK1KIR (-18), NC1I (-10), DL1VPL (-23), ES3RF (-24), UA3PTW (-12), DL7APV (-11), SM7THS (-20), HB9Q (-11), ON4AOI (-22), W2HRO (-22), DL5FN (-19), PA2V (-17), W5LUA (-17), and G4YTL (-20). On CW it was a pleasure to work DL9KR with 559 exchanged both ways - we hit it just right!. LoTW upload done.
    Murphy tried his best today. The amp suddenly died - when I opened it up the little piece of Teflon coax that serves as a capacitor in the output section was rattling around in the bottom of the amp. The heat had melted the solder! My bad - I usually do put a small fan inside the amp, but I didn't add it to the 70cm unit. I will. Long story short - I soldered the coax back in place and got back on the air.
Back in place you go!

Singular purpose 222 MHz EME Outing

 November 10, 2021
I rolled the 75 miles down to Yellowstone Park, Wyoming (DN44lw) and gave Dave, K1WHS his State #47 on 1.25M band. It all went according to plan, except for 20 minutes when the amp quit working - it turned out to be a dirty BNC connector. K1OR was also worked. Here are a few shots to suggest just how much fun it was, and what a lovely day I had for mid-November. Post Script: The following week K1WHS easily worked Kansas and Colorado to push  him to 49 States. It turns out Dave still needs Oklahoma to complete his W.A.S. quest.

Back seat station - note to self: Don't slam on the brakes.

Pretty organized, antenna on the top rack.

Tourist free!

The moon is there if you squint, and so was K1WHS.

Rural 23cm EME

 October 31, 2021

My DN45 low noise location with mains power.

Heat, coffee, a spare pre-amp, and 23cm EME.

 Late October was very good for working new stations. Seven new folks were added to the log bringing my home total to #81 on 23cm EME in almost a year of activity. New stations worked via Q65-60C: YO2LAM (-20), DK5AI (-24), IQ2DB (-18), DJ2DY (-21), IK7EZN (-24), DL1SUZ (-24), and W2LPL (-29).

Wyoming & Nebraska 70cm and 23cm EME

 Dates: September 30 to October 2, 2021
KB7Q (always first sequence)
Wyoming (DN74oi),  Nebraska, (DN82gp) 

September 30 - DN74oi Wyoming 23cm 1296.090 Mhz Q65-60C MR 0700z
October 1 - 70cm 432.090 MHz 1st MR clear of trees 0800z CW first, then JT65b
October 2 - 23cm 1296.090 MHz 1st MR clear of trees 0900z Q65-60C

Gear: 70cm 9wl Yagi 500 watts, 23cm 2.4M dish, 350 watts, IC9700, WD5AGO preamps
Internet: Yes, will come up on the HB9Q Logger.

    This is primarily a trip to get G3LTF his State #49 on 70cm CW EME before the weather goes downhill, but of course I'll put 23cm EME on too. Our first night on the road we'll be stopping in Wyoming (DN74) at Keyhole State Park. We have a camp site reserved with mains power!

The September 30 Wyoming 23cm EME stop was a great success.
Worked on Q65-60C were HB9Q (-18) who remoted in from SV5, OK1KIR (-13), SM6CKU (-13), OH2DG (-13), G4CCH (-15), UA3PTW (-11), UA9FAD (-22), DK3WG (-20), ES3RF (-16), DL8FBD (-21), F1RJ (-23), IK2DDR (-18), DF2VJ (-24), LA3EQ (-24), W2HRO (-22), DJ2DY (-23), ON4AOI (-22), NC1I (-13), PA0BAT (-20), N6NU (-26), SP5GDM (-21), KB2SA (-21), K5DOG (-17) and OK1DFC (-23). On the legacy JT65c mode logged were IK1FJI (-15), SM5DGX (-12) and GM0PJD (-30). CW was hard work tonight, but rewarding with OK1KIR (319), G4CCH (329), SM6CKU (319), G3LTF (429), and SM2CEW (419) all logged. 32 contacts made for a great evening's operation.

Wyoming (DN74) - Night Patrol @ O'Dark 30.

October 1st - On to Nebraska (DN82) and some 70cm EME operations.
On CW DL9KR (429) and DL7APV (539) were easily worked as the moon cleared a low line of trees. Switching to JT65b netted NC1I (-21), PA5Y (-24), DK3WG (-14), UA3PTW (-9), ON4AOI (-20), OH2DG (-19), OK1KIR (-28), G4FUF (-26), G4EZP (-26), DF3RU (-15). G3LTF had rain and very high winds that keep buffeting his dish around as he attempted to track the moon, as much as we tried over several hours we did not complete.

Nebraska (DN82) at historic Fort Robinson. 70cm station ready.

October 2 - 23cm EME from DN82 Nebraska.
A fantastic session with 40 contacts, four being CW. A very nice visible moon and no wind again tonight made for perfect conditions. I very much appreciate the activity. Logged on Q65-60c: DG5CST (-9), OK1KIR (-10), PA3FXB (-23), ES3RF (-18), IK2DDR (-21), DL8FBD (-22), DG0FE (-23), UA3PTW (-12), OK1IL (-18), DK3WG (-18), G4CCH (-15), I1NDP (-10), UA9FAD (-23), DL7UDA (-18), N1AV (-19), PA3CSG (-17), ON4AOI (-20), PE1CHQ (-16), DJ2DY (-23), DF2VJ (-23), RX6AIA (-26), PA0BAT (-16), K5DOG (-16), SM5DGX (-9), SM6CKU (-16), IK1FJI (-19), W2HRO (-20), LZ4OC (-27), W3CJK (-21), PA3DZL (-18), KB2SA (-21), F1RJ (-22), DF3RU (-14), I7FNW (-22), W1PV (-23), N5BF (-22). On CW OK1KIR (429), G4CCH (419), SM5DGX (419), DG5CST (539!) were worked without drama.

Click below to listen to DG5CST and OK1KIR calling on 23cm on my Nebraska moonrise.


DG5CST view of my 23cm pile-up on his 10M dish.

222 MHz EME/MS OUTING - Wyoming (DN54fw)

 Dates: August 10 - 11, 2021
Beartooth Plateau (DN54fw ), Wyoming

EME (JT65b) 222.086 MHz  KB7Q first sequence
MS (MSK144) 222.080 MHz shorthand enabled, 30 second sequences
IC-7300, Q5 Transverter, 800W LDMOS amp, WD5AGO preamp, 5wl Yagi w/polarity adjust
Note: No Internet

August 10 
Meteor Scatter 1100z to 1400z
EME Moonrise 1430z

August 11
Meteor Scatter 1130z to 1430z
EME Moonrise 1540z 

    Another fun trip to the Beartooth Plateau. We had high winds the whole time, and we bugged out a day early because the 9,700' altitude started getting to us - just another side effect of breathing forest fire smoke all summer. No matter - I worked most all I heard. Two highlights: W5ZN and I made it without stress for a 1150 mile meteor scatter contact for Joel's State #45, and WA4NJP was an easy EME contact for his State #48.

 222 MHz Meteor scatter contacts

222 MHz EME contacts:
WA4NJP, N9HF (State #42) , N0AKC, and K1OR. W5ZN was heard well (best -18) for 45 minutes.

Now that is a 222 MHz Perseids ping!

Pre-sunrise looking southeast while working AA5C on meteor scatter.

Looking north into the heart of the Beartooth Range.

Wyoming 70CM EME Afternoon (DN44lw)

 May 19, 2021

    Word on the street was that Peter, G3LTF needed Wyoming on 70cm CW EME for State #49. Who doesn't like a challenge? I threw the gear into the truck, headed south, and spent a lovely spring afternoon working all I could hear on "Charlie Whiskey" from my favorite Yellowstone Park spot. Logged: G3LTF (419), DL7APV (529), DL9KR (529), OH2DG (429), SM2CEW (419), DG5CST (529), UA3PTW (419), KL6M (419).

    KL6M made a neat recording of my CW signal with his 30 foot (9.2M) dish. Click here.

    Switching to JT656b added ON4AOI (-18), W2HRO (-20), DL8FBD (-22). Not a bad outing for a single 9wl Yagi and 500 watts.

Spring time in the Rockies. 9wl Yagi and 500 watts

Looking down has its rewards too.

Six State 23cm EME Activation

Dates: March 19 - April 24, 2021
Arizona, New Mexico, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Kentucky
1296.090 MHz, KB7Q always 1st
Modes: JT65c preferred, listening on my echo. CW upon request.
2.4M folding dish, 300 watts at patch feed, IC-9700, Leo Bodnar GPSDO, WD5AGO preamp
I expect to have Internet, and I'll come up on the HB9Q Logger

Trip Summary
                Stations Worked      CW
Arizona                    11                        0
New Mexico            34                        3
Arkansas                 51                         7
Mississippi              54                        7
Alabama                  53                        7
Kentucky                 45
Thank You Donors!

 May 4, 2021

Home ground! After 54 days on the road it is good to be back in Big Sky Country.

April 23, 2021 - EM77el - Mount Sherman, Kentucky
The six State 23cm EME activation is done. We drove up to Craig, N8DJB's place in light rain. The skies cleared a bit for set-up, and even went blue with a visual moon for most of the actual operating session. The Q65-30B experiment was a great success, in 1.5 hours I worked 27 stations. Logged were SM5GGC (-23), IK1FJI (-17), HB9Q (-3), OK1KIR (-11), PA0BAT (-18), G4CCH (-19), OK2DL (-9), DG5CST (-10), OK1DFC (-20), PA3DZL (-15), DK3WG (-23), DF4RC (-11), ES3RF (-21), SM6CKU (-11), DL8FBD (-21), OK1IL(-20), G4YTL (-22), UA9FAD (-24), IK7EZN (-22), SM5DGX (-13), PE1LWT (-20), OM4XA (-20), PA3FXB (-19), DL7UDA (-16), KA1GT (-21), DG0FE (-19), K2UYH (-17). 

JT65c produced as well - contact was made with NC1I (-9), ON4AOI (-12), IK1FJI (-13), K2UYH (-11), VE4MA (-18), VE3KRP (-19), DF2GB (-19), GM0PJD (-25), K5DOG (-17), CX2SC (-25), KN0WS (-20), N1AV (-19), PE1CHQ (-18), PA3FXB (-18), N5BF (-25), DL3EBJ (-12), W2HRO (-20).

There was time for CW also, conditions were excellent and I worked HB9Q (539), OK1KIR (529), G4CCH (519), IK1FJI (419), K2UYH (419). Altogether 45 individual stations were worked. LoTW up to date, including all Q65 contacts.

Donations greatly appreciated PayPal: geneshea@gmail.com

N8DJB/4 big dish, and the KB7Q little dish in Kentucky EM77el.

Q65-30B action using the multi-decode function

April 22, 2021 - EM64kq Wheeler Lake, Alabama
A perfect day to finish up the Alabama stay - a near full moon, no wind, and 70 degrees. I worked several additional folks to bump the total of stations worked to 53. On JT65C I worked UA3PTW (-20), ON4QQ (-21), DL3EBJ (-17), IK3COJ (-23), PE1LWT (-24), LA3EQ (-28), OK2DL (-8), DG5CST (-9), SM4GGC (-24), I5YDI (-25), VE3KRP (-23), IK7EZN (-27), DK3WG (-28), LA1TN (-23). CW signals were quite good today, worked were K4QF (419 on scatter), DK3WG (329), DG5CST (529), HB9Q (529), OK1KIR (419), G4CCH (519), and IK1FJI (329).
    On to Kentucky tomorrow before the rain arrives, and then to drop all this gear off at a pawn shop - Ok, maybe not. :-)

April 21, 2021 - EM64kq Wheeler Lake, Alabama
A very pleasant 200 mile ride up into Alabama on back roads this morning. Set-up went well and the moon was just clearing the only tree at our campsite when I started calling CQ. It was another flawless afternoon of operating 23cm EME with 39 stations logged.
    The big news was completing an easy contact with K2UYH for his State #50. He is just the third person to earn Worked All States on 23cm behind W5LUA, and K5JL. Congratulations Al!

    Ben, K4QF stopped by for a visit and he seemed to enjoy the show! 

    In the log: DL7UDA (-18), PE1CHQ (-17), HB9Q (-5), DF3RU (-15), SM6CKU (-17), OK1KIR (-12), OK1IL (-21), ON5GS (-21), G4CCH (-16), OK1DFC (-22), DG0FE (-21), PA3DZL (-18), DL8FBD (-25), ON4AOI (-23), K2UYH (-17), IK1FJI (-20), UA9FAD (-26), NC1I (-12), ES3RF (-24), K5DOG (-18), PA0BAT (-20), PA3FXB (-24), DF2GB (-18), G4DDK (-25), OM4XA (-21), W2HRO (-20), G4YTL (-23), N5BF (-24), VE4MA (-21), KA1GT (-21), W5LUA (-11), SM5DGX (-10), DF2VJ (-26), RN6MA (-26), KB2SA (-24), N1AV (-19), AA6I (-19), KD5FZX (-10).

Al fresco operating on the shores of Wheeler Lake, Alabama

An Alabama postcard picture from our campsite.

 April 20, 2021 - EM53cu Grenada Lake, Mississippi
Today I got on at moonrise for three hours, and worked a final few folks. DG5CST was an easy CW contact at RST 519. On JT65c worked were PA3DZL (-16), DG0FE (-18), I7FNW (-18), RN6MA (-25), PE1CHQ (-16), UA9FEM (-24), and G4DDK (-25).
    This made 51 unique stations worked, many on more than one mode, for the Mississippi stop. How nice is that!? All the gear is packed and in the morning it's another 200 mile jaunt up to Alabama. 

Rub-a-dub-dub, an amplifier in a tub.


April 19, 2021 - EM53cu Grenada Lake, Mississippi
    I moved the dish to a better spot this morning, and swapped out the 12 year old LMR-600 feed line. The changes seemed to restore my signal nicely. Let's report those worked today by mode. On CW it was OK1KIR (529), G4CCH (529), SM6CKU (419), HB9Q (549), IK1FJI (429).
    On Q65-30B I worked 14 stations in 55 minutes as well as several others. Logged with the new mode were OK1CA (-16), OK1KIR (-16), PE1LWT (-26), IK3COJ (-21), ES3RF (-22), AA4MD (-20), DK3WG (-26), G4YTL (-23), DL7UDA (-20), PA0BAT (-17), DG0FE (-25), UA9FA (-23), KA1GT (-22), IK1FJI (-18), G4DDK (-28).
    JT65c produced also with the following folks logged: UA3PTW (-13), IK1FJI (-15), UA9FAD (-30), I5YDI (-21), PE1CHQ (-18), VE3KRP (-26), DF2GB (-20), ES3RF (-22), IK2MMB (-18), OM4XA (-22), RX6AIA (-26), DF2VJ (-25), KD5FZX (-9), ON4AOI (-28).
    I ran out of folks to work with plenty of moon left. 47 different stations have been worked from EM53 so far. I'll do a brief session tomorrow, then packing for Alabama.

April 18, 2021 - EM53cu Grenada Lake, Mississippi
A smooth 200 mile ride to MS, so I decided to throw the station together, and see who wanted to play 23cm EME. K2UYH nailed down State #49 on both CW and JT65c, and 19 others were worked - a great start to the Mississippi operation. We have a great camp site, and the weather looks to be perfect for the next few days.

In the log: DF3RU (-15), G4CCH (-14), SM6CKU (-22), DG5CST (-14), PA3FXB (-22), K2UYH (-16), N1AV (-21), SM4GGC (-23), W2HRO (-27), DL8FBD (-25), OK1IL (-21), HB9Q (-5), K5DOG (-22), DK4RC (-12), W5LUA (-23), OK1DFC (-23 Q65-60C), KD5FZX (-17 Q65-60C), VE4MA (-21 Q65 60C), K2UYH (CW), NC1I (-19), and KA1GT (-22 Q65-30B). LoTW up to date.

A perfect camping spot on Grenada Lake, Mississippi EM53cu

Mississippi Sunrise

April 17, 2021 - EM45dh, Arkansas
Today was a CW special. The following guys were logged on "Charlie Whiskey": DG5CST, G4CCH, OK2DL, IK1FJI, DF3RU, and HB9Q. HB9Q was Q5 on SSB, but I didn't have enough signal for us to complete. SP5GDM (-27), and PE1CHQ (-15) were added on JT65c to bring the grand total to 62 contacts with 54 different stations. On to Mississippi!

April 16, 2021 - EM45dh, Arkansas
A big, big day of 23cm EME - Arkansas must be rare! I completed 52 contacts with 50 stations made under cloudy skies, and a few rain drops. K2UYH was worked for his 48th State. My aiming technique was up to the challenge today.

Logged: HB9Q (-16 thru trees), DG5CST (-15), OK1KIR (-16), UA3PTW (-18), NC1I (-17), OK2DL (-11), OK1CA (-8), OZ4MM (-13), DL7UDA (-16), DK4RC (-8), IK1FJI (-18), PA3DZL (-16), ES3RF (-24), DF3RU (-17), DL8FBD (-23), G4CCH (-14), PA3FXB (-21), UA9FAD (-25), DG0FE (-18), OK1IL (-18), UA9FA (-23), ON4QQ (-19), DK3WG (-26), N1AV (-18), W2HRO (-18), G4YTL (-25), OK1DFC (-21), CX2SC (-27), PA0BAT (-25), OM4XA (-25), SM4GGC (-18), ON4AOI (-17), RA4HL (-19), IK3COJ (-18), DF2VJ (-26), K2UYH (-11), OK1KIR (CW 429), W5LUA (-9), IK7EZN (-21), SM6CKU (-9), I5YDI (-23), AA4MD (-22), KD5FZX (-9), SM5DGX (-8), VE4MA (-20), G4DDK (-30), N5BF (-24), VE3KRP (-29), PA2DW (-23), GM0PJD (-29), K2UYH (CW 419), K5DOG (-20). LoTW upload done.

Pile-up fun!

Out of the wind and rain, and plenty of folks to work. Perfect!

April 15, 2021 - Arrived EM45dh, 23cm EME set up
    Joyce and I arrived early at W5ZN's place. Set up was error free, so I was QRV much sooner then expected. I put the time to good use working KA1GT (-27), and KB2SA (-27). It took a while to get my azimuth ring aligned, but things finally came together.

Fitting in at the W5ZN antenna farm. EM45dh

April 6/7, 2021 - Bonus - 6M ops from DM73aq, Carrizozo, NM
We stopped at Valley of Fires BLM campground to hike the lava trail. I stuck up the 6M Yagi and over two days worked 34 station on a combination of meteor scatter, and ionospheric scatter. It was a pleasure to knock off another FFMA grid for several folks. Best DX was a midday shot to W0VVT 1,110 miles north using Q65-30A. The new mode continues to impress!

DM73aq - A horizon any VHF operator would love to have at home.

March 29, 2021 SW of Silver City, NM (DM52sn)
A perfect EME evening with a full moon, perigee, no wind, and a cloudless sky. A special thanks to the EU folks who got out of bed to work me - much appreciated. Worked: OK1DFC (-23), VE3KRP (-24), PA3DZL (-14), DF3RU (-10), CX2SC (-19), OM4XA (-24), SP5GDM (-23). KB2SA (-25), and W2HRO (-22). That makes 34 contacts total for the New Mexico stop.

March 28, 2021 SW of Silver City, NM (DM52sn)
    We drove the camper about 145 miles east into New Mexico, and found a great spot up on the Continental Divide at 6,400 feet. Setting up went well, and when the moon cleared a few low trees we were off to the races. It was an excellent session with 25 stations worked on a combination of JT65C, Q65-30B, and CW. No JA/VK/ZL activity however. :-(

Logged: K5LA on ground wave 115 miles, DG5CST (-9), UA3PTW (-12), HB9Q (-1), OK1KIR (-5), ON4AOI (-17), N1AV (-17), ES3RF (-21), DL8FBD (-19), SM6CKU (-11), DK4RC (-7), OK1IL (-15), OM3XA (-21), PA3FXB (-17), SM5DGX (-16), VA6EME (-17), DK5YA (-22), DG5CST (CW 429), OK1KIR (CW 419), W2HRO (-27), K2UYH (-11), DF2VJ (-25), KA1GT (Q65-30B -19), PA0BAT (-21), K4EME (-25).

Nothing like a full moon at perigee. Coyotes were howling!

Moonbounce does have a certain aura about it.  :-)

Tight quarters, but it works if I get all the cables correct!

March 19 - DM23vs Quartzsite, Arizona
Sometimes you get the bear and sometimes the bear gets you! Today was one of those days where the bear almost won. The 2.4M dish by nature of its size and stiff fiberglass ribs is sometimes difficult to open. Pointing straight up for a gravity assist helps, but imagine my surprise when I couldn't budge it past a certain point. Finally, I pulled the fabric off four rib-tips and was able to get going. After a pleasant afternoon of working folks on 23cm in both JT65c and Q65 30C/60C modes I sprayed the fabric on the dish with water and it stretched enough to get me back to normal opening and closing ability. As a ?bonus? I did blow my best pre-amp up by tripping on the PTT cable and disconnecting it. Who knew Murphy is a desert dweller!  I must say Q65 is an impressive mode. Even with faster 30 second sequences I was working stations easily. All in all not a bad session for the moon being at apogee. The next day we had serious winds so no EME.

 Worked: OK1KIR (-10), DF3RU (-13), ES3RF (-24), OK1IL (-15), HB9Q (-3), N1AV (-24), KA1GT (-25), SM6CKU (-9), N1AV Q65 (-20), KA1GT Q65 (-25), and KB2SA Q65 (-26).

A long day knocking trouble back, but rewarding. Open air shack.

Another KISS Amplifier - 6 Meter KW

 February 10, 2021

Es season cometh! Time to build a 6M amplifier for my grid square outings based on a W6PQL pallet.

W6PQL pallets are usually available in kit form or assembled.

I'm a big fan of KISS when building amps, that is "keep it simple stupid". I'm able to build these amps into a 12x8x3 inch chassis (Bud AC-424 chassis, BPA-1519 cover plate) with basic hand tools and a drill. I've not had much success using a power FET to switch the 50 vdc VDD line, so I use an old school mechanical relay. Ker-chunk!  However, I do use the W6PQL FET module both to switch the low level 13.8 vdc with the PTT line from the radio to pull the VDD relay in, and to send 13.8 vdc to the bias input on the amp pallet going into transmit.

I do mount a small fan inside the chassis to move some air across the output bits, and a bigger fan runs atop the heatsink - both fans run continuously. The 6 Meter amp will be the seventh one I've built. Of course one can certainly add protective measures like over drive, over temperature, and high SWR lockouts, but then we've moved beyond KISS! Lest Murphy hear me I'll just whisper this, " I have yet to blow up one of these amps".

I use a check list 100% of the time to make sure I'm connected to an antenna, SWR is good, drive level set, and the PTT line activates before operating. 

Over driving, or excessive heating will be what kills an LDMOS amp. Typically a shorted or open output line will blow up capacitors or vaporize the PCB traces and the device will survive. 

Step 1 - laying the chassis
Take a perfectly good, factory fresh chassis and immediately hack a large hole in the top side for the RF pallet's heat-spreader to just fit. Layout and drill holes, lots of holes. I used blue painter's tape (since removed) to layout most of the holes. The pallet hasn't arrived so a few holes have to wait unit I see how the VDD feed and low pass filter will fall. The pallet's copper heat-spreader will be secured to the heatsink and then heatsink will bolt to the chassis. But that all waits for the support circuitry to be installed along the internal side walls first. 

You can click on any of these pictures to expand to a larger size.

Lots of metal butchering on the 12x8x3 inch chassis.

Step 2 - Mount supporting electronics
In the picture below you can see that on the back chassis wall near the input end wall I've mounted the 13.8 vdc input socket, and the switched 13.8 vdc logic board for relays and bias. On the input side wall I've mounted the RF input RX/TX relay. The RCA socket for the PTT, and BNC socket for the RF input are yet to be installed, but the pilot holes are there. 

This is a 6 Meter amplifier, so antenna switching relays are internal unlike my 2M/70cm/23cm amps for EME that have a pre-amp, and the TX/RX relays out at the array feed point. You can see shoe-horning all the bits into the chassis takes some thought. 

The leads haven't been dressed yet with tie wraps. Excuse my mess. :-)

A long view showing the output RF relay, and the 50 volt VDD relay, I'm now waiting on a few parts before finishing off the support electronic wiring. The power relay is a $5.95 item from All Electronic with the contacts wired in parallel.

Five hours in, half way along. An RG-316 jumper installs between the RF relays.

Steps 3 - Therapeutic drilling and tapping
Time to lay out the holes to attach the heatsink to the chassis, then punch, drill and carefully tap for #8 screws. The aluminum alloy of the heatsink is pretty hard, so some lubricant, lots of reversing the tap to clear debris, and even taking the tap completely out a few times to clear the debris completely is the way to go. You don't want to snap a tap off - ask me how I know. The pallet with its copper heat-spreader will also be fitted to the heatsink when it arrives. Here's a link to the heatsink I use. A 6 inch long section of the 10.080 inch billet is good for a 1KW amp.

Slowly work the tap.  The tapped holes fall between fins.

Step 4 - Parts arrived, now the project can be completed
I'm 95% done. I laid out the 12 holes for the heat spreader to mate with the heatsink, drilled and tapped, spread a light coating of thermal paste on the heatspreader, and mounted the pallet. The 6db attenuator for the input was also mounted. So whats left? Basically a few pieces of coax to prepare for both the input and output relays to the pallet connections, the bias and VDD wiring to complete, and then a good, careful look at my work before applying power and checking the VDD idle current. I'm still deciding if the low pass filter will be internal or external.

Close to complete! Time to slow down and check my work.

 Step 5 - Initial testing with an ohm meter showed a short on the VDD line, W6PQL sent a new pallet immediately, and once installed everything worked as expected i.e. 4 watts of drive at the LDMOS device gives 950 watts output. I'm using a 6db attenuator pad on the input so it's actually 15 watts of drive from the rig. 

Bird 1KW slug almost pinned. Note the compact 50 vdc Meanwell power supply