Thursday, October 31, 2013

EME: 28 Grids in 36 Hours!

This last weekend was the first (144 MHz leg) of the 2013 ARRL EME Contest.  The contest scores 100 points for each two-way QSO via the earth-moon-earth pass, multiplied by states / provinces / countries.  For this contest, I used the regular EME station (FT-817ND running WSJT9 software and the FunCube Dongle Pro Plus running MAP65 software), relying on MAP65 to find other stations across the EME sub-band (144.100 to 144.160 MHz).  It worked out pretty well!

The moon didn't rise above the local noise (= RFI from neigbor's houses) until 1:30am both days, so I worked at trying to make contacts from 1:30am to 6:30am, then again from 9:00am to moonset.  Staying up all night doing radio was rough, but still pretty exciting to be making so many EME contacts!  

Here's the list:

Num Call Grid Location
1 I2FAK JN45 Italy
2 PI9CM JO22 Netherlands
3 RU1AA KO48 Russia
4 OK1UGA JO80 Czech Republic
5 K9MRI EN70 USA - Indiana
6 UX0FF KN45 Ukraine
7 OK1DIX JN79 Czech Republic
8 UR7D KN18 Ukraine
9 3Z4EME KO03 Poland
10 DK9ZY JO40 Germany
11 DK3WG JO72 Germany
12 KB8RQ EM79 USA - Ohio
13 WS3Z FN20 USA - Pennsylvania
14 K1JT FN20 USA - New Jersey
15 AA4SC EM94 USA - South Carolina
16 AD4TJ FM08 USA - Virginia
17 KE7NR DM33 USA - Arizona
18 7K3LGC QM06 Japan
19 K6MYC DM07 USA - California
20 SK6EI JO68 Sweden
21 YT1AR KN03 Serbia
22 RK3FG KO86 Russia
23 SP2OFW JO82 Poland
24 VE1KG FN84 Canada - Nova Scotia
25 AA7A DM43 USA - Arizona
26 PA5MS JO21 Netherlands
27 K3RWR FM18 USA - Maryland
28 W2DBL FN20 USA - New Jersey
29 W7MEM DN17 USA - Idaho
30 NT0V EN08 USA - North Dakota

30 contacts beats my previous weekend record by 1 contact (previous was the DUBUS EME contest in the summer, there I managed to log 29 QSO's over the weekend).  What's interesting is the DUBUS contest allows station operators to find stations by any means (email, internet spotters, chat rooms, etc) ... yet I was actually able to make one more contact by completely relying on my own station.  Comparing the two contests, it seems that with a well-functioning station, the use of chat rooms / internet spots can become a distraction, rather than an aid.

A number of highights from the weekend:  Seeing K1JT Joe making contacts -- he's the Nobel Prize winner who developed the software that allows small stations like mine to "see" the signals reflected off the moon. Working K6MYC Mike, and seeing both his direct signals from a few hundred miles away, as well as his moon reflection at the same time.  Also making a few new contacts with stations that I hadn't worked before (SK6EI, 7K3LGC, W2DBL, OK1DIZ, 3Z4EME, PI9CM) was quite enjoyable.

I was discussing weekend's contacts with a neighbor, and they asked what the furthest station I had contacted was -- I answered either Russia or Japan, I'm not sure which is actually further from California.  To me, however, what's far more amazing than contacting another station several thousand miles away, is that these contacts were all made completely via moon reflections.  So -- the signal received in Japan actually went from my backyard, 250,000 miles through space, then reflected off the rocks and dust of the moon, then travelled 250,000 miles back through space, to be reached on the other side of Earth.  That's a half-million miles that the signals travelled!

Overall, it was a fun weekend.  It's pretty amazing to see how well earth-moon-earth communication works!



  1. Dave,

    It was a pleasure to work you in the contest. i have been chasing you for a while and we never completed until now. I enjoy reading your blog and learn a lot from it ! Keep up the good work .

    W2LPL ( W2DBL)

  2. Dave,

    Thanks for working me in the contest. I enjoy reading your blog. You are right , there is no real distance difference between Japan or New Jersey when compared to the 500,000 mile round trip the signals must take back to your antenna. Crazy when you think about it,

    W2LPL ( W2DBL)


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