Czech summit contact with OK2BWB/P while mobile

Friday afternoon and I was out and about in the car. Up pops a spot on SOTAwatch from Karel OK2BWB for a summit activation starting in 20 mins time:

Fri 05:23  OK2BWB/P on OK/VY-060  14.062 cw
                      qrv in 20 mins, fred +~ qrm (Posted by OK2BWB)

I was driving home and tuned up on 20m. With 20 mins to go I expected to be QTHR by activation time.

Location for mobile contact with Karel OK2BWB/P

Location for mobile contact with Karel OK2BWB/P

Then I heard Karel calling on 14.062 so I drove on a bit until the QRM level dropped and I could pull over. I had 30m APRS beaconing so the location is as shown on the map to the right. I was on a suburban backstreet 4km from home near a lake and thought – might as well give it a go. Pulled the key from its cardboard box and set it up on the centre console while another contact was in progress. Then there was a break and I put my call in using my old hand key. Karel queried so I sent my call again to clarify and then the joy of hearing my full callsign coming back. Not too many signing with /m for mobile!

The contact was completed with me balancing a small notepad on my knee and trying to keep up with Karel’s rapid fire CW amongst the QSB and some CW QRM. I had not had time to switch on the narrow IF filter. Luckily the noise level was low. I used 100W into a screwdriver antenna with a 1.6m whip. Later I discovered Karel was using 2.7W into an inv-V dipole at 9.6m. Certainly a fun contact being able to work a DX summit long path from the mobile:

08/Aug/2014 05:48 VK2IO/M OK2BWB/P OK/VY-060 Sklenský vrch 14MHz CW 6 4019 R559 S529 14062 Karel (mob: Norwest)

Thanks, Karel!

5000 Chaser Points

In a contact with Andrew VK1DA on Mt Delegate, my chaser score ticked past the 5000 point mark. It took 240 days or just under 8 months to accumulate the points. I’ve now received the wallpaper from the SOTA Awards Manager marking me as half a super-sloth. Thanks Andrew and all the activators for making those contacts possible!

After reaching this award level, I looked at my chaser points and realised there was a ratio of 100:1 between chaser and activator points. A bit shocked by that; I really need to put the effort into doing more activations!

Anyway, 9 days later in a contact with Ian VK1DI on Mt Gillamatong, I clocked up 1000 SOTA contacts. There are no official awards based on contact counts, but this milestone seemed noteworthy as well.

Looking forward to the next 5000 chaser points…

SSTV from VK2DAG/P on VK2/CT-012

Matt VK2DAG was travelling up to the Central Tablelands of NSW to try some microwave summit-to-summit contacts with Justin VK2CU on Mt Canobolas VK2/CT-001 from Mt Lambie VK2/CT-007 – or at least that was the plan. On the way he stopped at Mt Banks VK2/CT-032, decided it was too windy (and I expect too far to lug the gear). Continuing on he arrived at the Glowworm Tunnel Rd summit VK2/CT-012 just north of Lithgow. This summit has no obvious peak and is surrounded by tall trees – not a good takeoff for microwaves, but great for HF.

After Matt activated the summit on 40m SSB he was keen to send some SSTV. Moving off 7090 kHz to 7105 kHz for the mode change, Matt took a photo and transferred it to his laptop. He then sent this picture in Robot 36 format:

First SSTV image of VK2/CT-012 in Robot 36 format

First image from VK2/CT-012 in Robot 36 format

The whole image was received without QRM, however it contained quite a few white dots and Matt thought this might be due to overdriving the audio on the transceiver. The resolution was also a little low for such a busy picture so I suggested using Martin 2 instead. In the end, Matt sent the SSTV image again using Martin 1 (which takes even longer than Martin 2). Here is the result:

Second image from VK2/CT-012 in Martin 1 format

Second image from VK2/CT-012 in Martin 1 format

Nice picture, Matt! The image has much higher resolution than the first one. There are still white dots, but they are less obtrusive. The white line near the bottom is due to local QRM (I forgot to disable local HF transmitters). It looks like the summit is recovering nicely from last September’s bushfire. I can clearly see green grass now whereas it was all black when I activated.

With Matt having a computer available, he was also able to receive SSTV. I suggested it would be possible for me to send the picture back. Not having sent an SSTV picture before, there was a bit of hunting around for all the right buttons in MMSSTV to get the received picture transferred to the transmit frame. Then the problem I had was eliminating the template that seemed to automatically pop up over the top. A bit more playing and that was gone and then I was able to send it back in Robot 36 format. I haven’t seen the result, but Matt could identify the white dots that I was talking about.

Maybe this is the first time SSTV has been sent and received on a summit!
To qualify as an SSTV QSO it would require sending signal reports both ways in SSTV. We aren’t far away from this.

Thanks, Matt. Another summit via SSTV to add to the collection.


UPDATE 5/8/14: Here is the picture that Matt received on the summit from me:

Image received by Matt on the summit from me

Image received by Matt on the summit from me

Not ideal! Clearly one or both of us has work to do. I’ll be trying out sending locally to make sure things are working. This was sent in Robot 36 format which has lower resolution, but still there seems to be a synchronisation issue. The blue, magenta and yellow bands on the left of the picture seem like mysterious echoes of the sync pulse. It’s all up from here…

Thanks for the pingback, Matt.