MAY 2017: Finally some joy for the season with E31A in the log at 0209z on 29 March — less than an hour before their sunrise on the last night of operation. Our country Number 326 on 160 meters. We were using the Elecraft K3 in diversity mode, with a 1300-foot single-wire Beverage antenna aimed right at E3 (63 degrees) that was installed a few days before this operation began. The sub-receiver was using a stagger-phased pair of Beverages 850-feet long. I didn’t get the recorder on in time to capture this QSO but here’s how they sounded a few minutes later. They were working split, and an occasional calling station is heard when I toggled to their listening frequency. Listen to E31A on 1832 kHz starting about 0215z:
MARCH 2017: S21ZEE/S21ZED DXpedition ending Sunday (March 26) with only one 160-meter North America QSOs in the log — W8LRL right at their sunrise on the last night of operation. Congrats to Wal! He was using a new Waller Flag receive antenna installed at 200 feet high. There was a lot of good effort on the team’s part in a period of poor propagation. We did copy them on three different nights on 160 here at AA1K, but no prize. One to look forward to the next time. … One of the more interesting QSOs this month (actually two QSOs on different days) was with Steve, VK5SFA, on 1819.5 kHz. Steve mentioned later on the Topband chat that he is using a 2-turn magnetic loop antenna for both transmit and receive, with 200 watts. The loops are 3 meters diameter and 1.8 meters above ground.
FEBRUARY 2017: Generally a good month for Asian DX, we’ve had a number of JA openings in our mornings before and slightly after sunrise on 160 meters, as well as VK, KH6 and a few other Pacific stations. Ross, 9M2AX, has been coming through here starting around 2300z through and a few minutes past his sunrise (2324z). Here’s a recording of Ross as heard at AA1K on 21 Feb. He was on the northeast path, with good copy on a single 950-foot Beverage as well as a broadside/endfire short vertical array. Receiver was a K3, with main receiver copying Ross on 1817.5 kHz in left ear and sub-receiver in right ear listening to the pileup up 2 kHz. LA7DFA is heard working Ross at 2 minutes into the clip. 9M2AX audio:
This was a good evening of propagation overall on the low bands. I worked XX9D a minute before my sunset on 80 meters, with only 6 minutes of darkness before their sunrise at 2250z. This was on the southeast path and they peaked 579, working numerous USA stations. On Topband, 7Z1SJ, S01WS, TZ4AM and TY2AC had good signals and were giving many a new country. Here’s how TY2AC sounded at AA1K, listening on a broadside pair of phased Beverages at 105 degrees:
JANUARY 2017: We’ve had regular JA and VK openings since September, but the pursuit for new ones has been elusive. There were several T88 operations, but as has been all too typical they did not work any East Coast USA. The local hotels from which they operate have poor antennas for 160 and high noise levels. Hopefully someone will find a better location for 160 operation from this much-needed country. In January we also listened intently while K4ZW put XW4ZW on the air for the third year. But unlike last year when we at least copied Ken for an extended time one day, this year we had no East Coast openings even though he was prepared with a better receiving antenna system. Even a new stagger-phased Beverage pair at AA1K aimed due south wasn’t enough to help.
The week before the the CQ WW 160 Meter CW Contest, we had strong openings to JA, VK and Europe, and one night we copied 9M2AX short path for 15 minutes.
In the contest itself, we had mediocre conditions to Europe the first night but much better the second night. Two UA9 stations also called in, and we had more South American QSOs than we have had in many years. But no VK, ZL or JA was heard either morning. E51 and KH6 were nice Pacific multipliers though.
Monday morning after the contest we had the strongest signals heard this season from JA, with a half dozen QSOs in the log on a very quiet band. But a passing snowstorm then raised the noise floor from zero to S9. But we still copied some JA stations until after sunrise. Several were heard on a small receiving loop.
APRIL 2016: Success finally with FT4JA on 5 April for No. 325 on 160 meters. This was the first night their signal was consistently on the direct path (92 degrees) instead of the skewed NE path of previous nights. Listened on two separate Beverages at 92 degrees that I had put up the day they arrived. Their signal was not as strong as it had been previous nights but they stayed in consistently from before our sunset until after their sunrise. Here’s more on the April 2 opening and an audio clip.
MARCH 2016: VK0EK on Heard Island in the log at 0107z March 27 for Number 324 on 160 meters.
JANUARY 2016: VP8STI on South Sandwich in the log Jan. 20 for Number 323 on Topband. Heard XW4ZW the previous week but no prize. A few openings around sunrise to JA, HL.
AUGUST 2015: Our daily vigil before sunrise — usually CQing on 1820.6 — brought us regular VK/ZL/KH6 QSOs through the months, with E51DWC in the log on Aug. 28.
JANUARY 23, 2015: The EP6T DXpedition brought us a new one on Topband at 0307z, number 322.
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 14, 2014: After several days of no DX on Topband, conditions were good for more than half an hour before sunrise in Delaware to western Australia, with VK6IR and VK6GX both coming through with 569 signals on a very quiet band in Delaware.
TUESDAY, Dec. 10: Maintaining our daily vigil around sunrise — now 1210z — on 1820.6, but no DX as the typical early December doldrums continue. Don’t expect things to really perk up till after Christmas, though will be watching at sunset (2140z) for potential Long Path openings to JA.
DECEMBER 6-7-8: Some good DX conditions for the ARRL 160 meter contest, but DX totals down from last year. More than 160 five-point QSOs.
NOVEMBER 29-30: Great conditions for the CQ WW DX CW contest weekend, making more than 4K QSOs and over 6 million points as single op, high power, unassisted.
SUNDAY, NOV. 23: JR7VHZ squeaked through at 11:49z, just before sunrise.
WEDNESDAY, NOV. 19, 2014: JH7PFD called in at 11:40z for our first JA of the season, followed by JH1HDT at 11:45z.
SATURDAY, NOV. 10, 2014: W1AW/KH8, E51NOU and VK6IR all were coming through this morning with fair signals in the hour before sunrise in Delaware.
FRIDAY, NOV. 9, 2014: W1AW/KH8 on 1824.5 kHz was working East Coast stations this morning.
NOV. 2, 2014: FT4TA in the log at 2339z for number 321 on Topband.