Thursday, May 25, 2017

LX44FF experiences

After careful planning and with the support of the LXFF coordinator - LX1CC we had selected a number of nature reserves and possible operating spots. Our ambition was to activate at least 6 parks and we hoped to reach the amount of QSOs we reached in our best PACC contest: around 1600.  We had two challenges to face according to the predictions: Kp values of up to 6 (due to a coronal hole earlier in the week) and possibly thunder storms on Saturday.  

TL;DR: 7 parks, 2156 QSOs, 1190 unique calls, 57 DXCC, 6 continents, 25 P2P. Good weather and good spirits. The thunder storms did not materialise but we did experience poor dx conditions. 


Saturday - 4 parks - great start - disappointing end

We left PA early on Saturday morning and headed to the northern part of LX to LXFF-0049. We quickly found a good operating spot from one of the candidates. We set up the hexbeam - focusing on 20m - inverted v for 40m and 80m and a VHF 2/4/6m beam.



It turned out there were strong Sporadic E conditions. On 20m this resulted in a lot of short skip contacts and an endless pileup. Even 6m was open but the skip zone was almost directly over us, so we only managed to make 2 QSOs on this band. We stayed longer than planned as it stayed busy and logged 600 QSOs in 3 hours. This was far more than we anticipated and a very promising start. 



PG8M working CW on the low bands
PH0NO working SSB using the hexbeam on 20m
At one point we decided it was time to move to the next park. It was only about 10 minutes drive away. So we took down all antennas and drove to LXFF-0050. This is a small area with only limited space for antennas. We only used end fed wires on this location but still logged 300 QSOs in 1.5 hours. 


Wire antennas at LXFF-0050
PD7YY on 40m SSB

We then made two choices that did not turn out well. First we decided to drive to a park that was 1h off our main route (LXFF-0059). We had added it as an optional location for Saturday. We were eager to work as many places as we could, so we went over there but struggled to find a good operating spot. We could only find a spot in the woods with suboptimal antenna's... To make matters worse I damaged the mobile amp we used on the higher bands so we were back to 100w on all bands. 

LXFF-0059 operating in between the trees
PG8M inspecting the amp
We logged 147 QSOs in just over an hour and then decided to move out. Signals were poor and we were hungry. We had some pizza on our way to our late night location: LXFF-0045

YNOMY crew about to dive into pizza

Our second bad choice was to set up two stations in the dark in LXFF-0045. We hoped to work NA in a late night opening on 20m. The openings had been there in the preceding week. It took us quite some time to build things up in the dark. Especially the hexbeam was a challenge. On the low bands we logged about 130 QSOs but on the hex I logged only 2. Investing one hour setting up and breaking down an antenna for 2 contacts is not really inspiring.

Compact mobile antenna @LXFF-0045

Sunday - 3 parks - sunny - busy activations
We went to bed in the early morning - later than planned - and skipped the first park we had planned for the Sunday. We went to LXFF-0022 instead and found a nice operating location next to an open field. Conditions were not as good as on Saturday but we still logged more than 300 QSOs in 2 hours. The weather had improved and it was getting really warm outside - time to bring out the parasol.
We moved to the next park (LXFF-0052) some 10 minutes drive away and found that the conditions stayed the same with again 300 QSOs in 2 hours. We had some NA (up into TN and AL) and PY calling in.



We wanted to visit one more park before going home, so with pain in our hearts we had to go QRT while there were still ppl calling on 40m. We left the comfortable location and drove to LXFF-0029. In the preparation - using Google StreetView - we found a spot on a hill and that is where we set up our antennas for the last time. The area was too steep to set up the hexbeam so we relied on wire antennas again (inverted v for 40m and 80m and end fed vertical for 20m). 
We were on the air for almost 2 hours and logged 349 QSOs. 


Two poles set up on a hill in LXFF-0029
We had fun - we hope you did too
With a goal of 1600 QSOs, dreaming of perhaps 2000, we are very pleased with the results. 


Band#QSOs
80m88
60m31
40m1044
30m17
20m969
17m3
10m2
6m2
   Total     2156  


Choosing different bands and modes we feel we have given chasers a fair chance to work one or more LXFF references. The only disappointment for us was the very small amount of DX due to the poor F-propagation (and the repair costs of the amp..).

We would like to thank Mill LX1CC for his support of our operation. We also like to thank the chasers for working us. If you have collected enough points you can download our special YNOMY LX44FF award here (144 chasers managed to get an award). 
We are organising our QSLs and hope to send out the first batch for direct QSL in about 2 weeks.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

LX44FF plan, award and QSL

The LX44FF operating plan as executed:
  • Saturday: LXFF-0049 - LXFF-0050 - LXFF-0059 - LXFF-0045
  • Sunday: LXFF-0022 - LXFF-0052 - LXFF-0029

Special LX44FF Awards are only valid for the activity by YNOMY on May 20 & 21, 2017 and can be requested by entering your callsign here (download prompt for award will open automatically):



Info about the awards: click here

Special LX44FF QSLs can be requested through ClubLog OQRS. Logs have been uploaded. To check if you are in the log and to request a QSL card, enter your call here:
https://secure.clublog.org/logsearch/LX44FF


If you have any questions, contact us via ynomy.dx@gmail.com

Saturday, April 29, 2017

We did it again

The final results of the PACC 2017 contest came in today.

We participated as PC55C in the multi operator single TX category and as we already expected from the preliminary results we won by a wide margin - almost 1.5x the score of our next competitor. 

With conditions clearly worse than last year we managed to set a score that is only 10k lower than our highscore of 2016.


The YNOMY sheep are impressed..


Monday, April 10, 2017

LX44FF award

As blogged before YNOMY DX Group will be active as LX44FF from various WWFF nature reserves on 20 & 21 May 2017. Note that the same call will be used by other activators after this date. 

For our chasers we will make available three chaser awards:
  • LX44FF Bronze - 11 points
  • LX44FF Silver - 22 points
  • LX44FF Gold - 33 points
Top 3 chasers from each continent will receive a special award

Awards are only valid for the activity by YNOMY on May 20 & 21, 2017 and can be requested by entering your callsign here (download prompt for award will open automatically):

Chasers can collect points by contacting LX44FF on May 20 & 21. Each first contact with a reserve will count as 4 points. Each new band or new mode contact with the same reserve will count as 2 points. SWLs can request an award by email, providing at least two consecutive contacts per park/band/mode.

LX44FF will be active from at least six different nature reserves during the LX-pedition. At each reserve we will use CW and SSB on several bands. This gives chasers a lot of different band/mode slots over the weekend to contact us.


QSLs can be requested through ClubLog OQRS. Logs have been uploaded. To check if you are in the log and to request a QSL card, enter your call here: https://secure.clublog.org/logsearch/LX44FF

If you have any questions, contact us via ynomy.dx@gmail.com

Examples of the awards:




Saturday, April 8, 2017

YNOMY goes LX44FF (WWFF expedition)

On Saturday May 20 and Sunday May 21 YNOMY will be travelling /P through LX activating a number of WWFF designated nature reserves.



We (PD7YY, PG8M & PH0NO) will be primarily visiting nature reserves that have not been activated before. Depending on local conditions and propagations we expect to at least activate 6 different LXFF nature reserves over the weekend.

We will be active from Saturday 8 UTC until Sunday 18 UTC, using at least two radios simultaneously on all usable bands from 80m up (including 2m and 6m if there is any propagation) in SSB and CW.

With the kind support of the LXFF coordinator - Mill, LX1CC - we can use the special call LX44FF during our trip.

Our gear this expedition:
- 3x mobile radio's (FT-857 / IC-910)
- 1x Ameritron ALS-500m
- Folding Hexbeam
- End fed wire antenna's
- Inverted V wire antenna's

QSL cards for this expedition can be requested through ClubLog OQRS: https://secure.clublog.org/logsearch/LX44FF 
We will upload our logs ASAP after the expedition.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Preliminary results of PACC 2017

We have finished checking our log data and are happy to conclude that we have done *very* well this year: our preliminary results are actually HIGHER than our final results last year (when we won).

Band conditions were clearly less favorable than last year - with the higher bands hardly open. In 2016 we scored 35 multipliers on 10m and this year only 2 (-33). We also scored less multipliers on 15m (-14) but we compensated most of the loss on the other bands ending with only 24 multiplier less than last year on 333 multipliers. 

We managed to make more QSOs than last year, much to our surprise - as we were already very pleased with those results. We went from 1564 (post-check 2016) to 1705 (pre-check 2017) QSOs. 

Remember that these are preliminary results that have been filtered on dupes but not on other errors - like call or exchange mismatches. Last year we lost 4% of the QSOs in the final check. This included a few multipliers. The final score was 5,5% less than the pre-check score.

If this is exemplary for "our" error rate than our score will be somewhere around 535k to 540k. This is less than the 558k we scored last year but judging from the feedback of other participants, we did extremely well.

It is our of our hands now.. we will have to wait and see what the final outcome will be.


Callsign: PC55C
Category: MULTI-OP ALL HIGH MIXED ONE


Band     Qso    Cancelled  Dup  Point  Penalty  Mult        Score
160M     135            0    0    135        0    37
 80M     491            0    5    485        0    73
 40M     496            0    7    489        0    90
 20M     483            0   15    467        0    86
 15M     126            0    1    125        0    45
 10M       4            0    0      4        0     2
-----------------------------------------------------------------
        1735            0   28   1705        0   333       567765

Sunday, February 12, 2017

PC55C - PACC 2017 in pictures

We have just finished our fourth PACC. It was a challenging one as we were keen to improve on our performance of last year but the bands were not in a shape to make that an easy task. Last year we had some openings on 10m and quite good 15m propagation. This year we had to rely more on the lower bands. The flow was quite different from last year.

We will have to analyse our log file some more to make claims about our success but in the mean time we can share with you some images of PACC 2017 @PC55C.


Just like in our previous attempts, we have used a field day set-up. We prepared the low band wire antennas on Friday afternoon on a campsite we also used in 2015 and 2016.



Our 26m high center support pole for 160m and 80m 
An improvement over last year was our new center pole. We used the -very heavy- Spiderbeam 26m pole instead of the 18m version. We have seen better results on 160m and 80m, so we think it helps (but the impact of propagation variation is hard to filter of course).

We have used the 18m pole for the 40m inverted V this year. Last year we put it on a 12m version - so it was a bit higher as well. 



Support poles and sheep - an interesting combination
When we arrived at the campsite we saw - to our surprise - sheep grazing the field we were going to use. Assuming they would not nibble on the guy wires we followed our original plan but we did keep the coax a bit more than sheep height off the ground.


The sheep kept their distance initially but soon they got used to us
Last year we stayed in a cabin near the field. It was already rented out however, so the owners kindly offered us a cabin they use as an office when the camping is open - inside a large barn.

A comfortable spot but it did present us some coax challenges as the antennas were quite a bit further away. It turned out that a lot of the spare coax was not good enough and we just made it connecting the usable segments together. 

Our 2017 shack - weather proof under a double roof
In the same barn they store a few camper vans. One of them was available for us to sleep in. 

A camper van for us to use as bedroom

Saturday morning we arrived at the camp site. We added our last antenna: the portable hexbeam for 20-15-10 and were ready for some action.

The tried and trusted portable hexbeam

Some impressions of our team in action:


PG8M behind some random trophies

PD7YY listening carefully


The operations center - our planning table

The table above shows you some of the data we have used planning our operation. We always come prepared, using data of our previous attempts and recent propagation information. The plan we make before the contest serves as our guiding light. We use the plan and the propagation as it unfolds (experienced behind the radio but also from sources like the cluster) to make our band and mode decisions.

We had a lot of fun and apart from the normal issues like connectors not working properly and a 12m support pole tipping over (no damage), everything went smoothly. Propagation was rather typical and made this quite a different contest compared to last year. We used more CW and wasted less time on the higher bands. We did miss the short skip propagation for a nice phone sprint in the last hours of the contest - as we had last year.

Sunday at 12 UTC we switched off the radio and started to pack. There was quite a bit of work ahead to take down all the antennas, poles, guy wires, coax. Luckily the weather had improved - the sun was out and most of the snow had melted.


The sheep were following our steps


Two hours after the contest we left the campground as it was before - like nothing happened this weekend.


An empty field once again (on the right side the cabin we used in the previous 2 years)

We will update this blog once we have had a time to look at our performance.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Watch for PC55C in PACC

This year we will be competing in the PACC ham radio contest for the fourth time in a row. The last two times we managed to get into the top 3 (2015 2nd place as PE55E and 2016 1st place as PA55A) and we are hoping to get a good result again this year.

Just like the last two times we will be using a special call for the occasion: PC55C.

A lot of things will remain the same (at least.. that is what we think will happen - there are always surprises with our field day approach). We will be using the same antennas as last year and operate from the same campsite.

There is one planned improvement and one slight setback. We are considering using a higher center support pole for our 160/80m dipoles (26m instead of 18m). That might just improve our performance on those low bands a tiny bit. The slight setback is that our former shack is rented out already. This means we will be operating quite a bit further away from the field we use for the antennas. So there will be some serious lengths of coax involved this year.

As long as the weather is not too extreme we will most certainly enjoy ourselves. We hope to get you in the log!

73 de PD7YY, PG8M & PH0NO aka PC55C