In this year’s edition of the famous CQ world-wide SSB DX contest, the situation is bit special. Note the spray flask of disinfectant on the right hand side of the radio table. The Covid-19 pandemic is on the rise again and we need to enforce strict hygiene and social distancing in the shack.
Our CQ WW SSB contest team has seven operators in 2020: Tom OE3PTC, Gerald OE1GAQ, Horia OE1BQH, Dieter OE8KDK, Manfred OE4MQW, Arpad OE1SZW, and Chris OE1VMC. The Gantt chart below shows our time plan.
In preparation for the context, we implemented a couple of improvements to our shack, cabling, and surge protection. Additionally to our FTDX-5K transceiver, we have also connected a 66 MS/s direct sampling software-defined radio receiver (KiwiSDR) to our modest antenna farm with an RF sensing coax switch (MFJ-1708B-SDRS).
Testing El Cuatro with a logarithmic periodic antenna („LogPer“) at the roof of the institute of telecommunications. Trying to work Bernhard, OE1BES, at Prediktstuhl on 23cm and 13cm. Alas, this didn’t succeed as direct QSO, only via the OE1XKU relay (located at Wienerberg) on 13cm.
The foto below shows a screenshot of the waterfall spectrum of the KiwiSDR running at our QTH. It is connected to our modest antenna farm using an RF sensing coax switch with additional PTT control by the FT-5K radio. CATsync enables a bidirectional coupling of the KiwiSDR’s frequency of interest with the dial frequencies of VFO A and VFO B of the FT-5K. Now you can tune the FT-5K by clicking on the waterfall spectrum. Vice versa, manually turning the frequency dial of the FT-5K shifts the QRG of the KiwiSDR.
During September 2020, we worked on a couple of improvements to our HF setup in the shack. We moved the microHam Six Switch and our dummy load from the shack to the roof. We installed an automatic Antenna Disconnector (also at rooftop) and an RF sensing MFJ-1708B SDR Switch (in the shack). The Six Switch and the Antenna Disconnector are housed in a comfortable installation cabinet. Many thanks to Sophie for installing most of the hardware, re-wiring all the control cables and coaxial lines.
The fotos below show our operators Wolfgang OE3VSW and Gerald OE1GAQ setting up the ACOM 1000 power amp and the contest logger. The operator team at TU Wien includes Horia OE1BQH, Manfred OE4MQW, and Chris OE1VMC.
Multi Operator and IARU Member Society HQ Station operations must adhere strictly to the regulations and physical distancing guidelines issued by the responsible health authorities and the World Health Organization and in effect at the time of the event, even if observing the guidelines is not legally required in our location.
We will work you on the 10m band in SSB. 73 es GL in Contest.
During the last weekend of May, we enjoy the WPX Contest in CW. This classic HF contest is based on an award offered by CQ Magazine for working all prefixes. Held on the last weekend of March (SSB) and May (CW), the contest draws thousands of entries globally. The radio amateur club of the TU Wien takes part as Multi Operator, Single Transmitter, Assisted Station on all bands with the call OE1XTU – even in the times of Covid-19. We observe the rules, use facial masks, and frequently disinfect our hands. The fotos below show the operators Gudrun, Horia, Helmut and Chris during our Sunday-only activity. We worked 230 QSOs yielding 62k raw score in the contest.
Bernhard and Chris met on May 17 near Jubiläumswarte for exploring wireless connectivity at frequencies above 1 GHz. The sightseeing tower is still closed to the public, so we set up our El Cuatro gear with Vivaldi antennas nearby at 449m above sea level. Alas, no activity observed besides us on the 23cm, 9cm, and 6cm bands. Only on 2401,9 MHz we were able to hear some QSOs via the OE1XKU repeater.
In times of the virus, it is even more important than ever to know your status. In the morning period, only the 80m-band proved to be useable with little exceptions on 40m (mostly ground wave contacts, very few by sky wave). The screenshot below shows our coverage of Austria’s administrative districts and other AOEE status details after the morning exercise period: coloured in blue: contacted on 80m only, coloured in green: contacted on 40m only, coloured red: both bands usable. White spaces: no contacts.
In the second AOEE period, the 40m-band proved to be more friendly for contacts, especially during the end of the exercise when 40m suddenly opened up nicely.
The map below shows our coverage of Austria’s administrative districts at the end of AOEE. Still, there are many white spots on the map (meaning that we didn’t reach anybody there, e.g. the district JE), most districts by far were successfully contacted on 80m only, but in the last exercise minutes, additional contacts on 40m quickly added to the picture.