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27 years of VHF-ing at ON7EH

On this page, you'll find what has been achieved from the parental and actual QTH, both located in CK03f or JO20FV, after 27 years of square hunting on 144MHz.
The QTH lies 8km NE of Brussels, capital from Belgium. 

This long period was interrupted by:
*10 non-activity  years, which were used to retain the self-supporting tower at my parents home (building permit) and to settle our family in an appartment and finally in this new home.
*occasional periods of several months required for antenna maintenance. (nice weather is as rare now as it was then, here in Belgium...)

It is never a pleasure to work at tower heights of 18 and 24m above ground.
A big word of thanks for the volunteers ON5SP+, ON6BG, ON5UM, ON5NI+,  ON4QM, etc. for this!

 

The map, hereabove,  contains the more than 500 worked WW-locators during this period till september 2006. The above map, is the actualized situation nearly one year later. (August 2007, after the Perseids MS shower



   
Note: the map was composed with GCMWIN23 by Roger Hedin and filled up with Windows Paint. (thanks to OK1TEH for the idea)


 

Some necessary comments to the propagation modes used:

*EME (Earth-moon-earth):
Many locators from EME initials were deliberately ommitted from this survey.

*Tropo
:
The furthest contact spans to UR2 (now ES) Estonia, followed by several contacts into OH1.

*FAI (field aligned irregularities):
Three contacts were made in 1992 (2 German sations and one OK2) The scatter point was lying over the North Sea. Signal strengths were low but did not require other filters than the human ear...

*Es
(sporadic E):
The longest 2m contact ever made from Machelen was a SSB contact with EA8BEX back  in 1986, at a distance of 3048km.
This contact was made with 2 Tonna's at 24m  (one with 17elements, the other with several broken elements) on top of a bent stainless steel top tube, inside a broken Ham IV rotor. (picture to be added)
In fact,  the beam heading was fixed to EA5 (Javea, province of Allicante) to allow the weekly hf sked on the 20 meter band with my grandfather, EA5ASN.
This represents about 30 offest from true bearing to EA8 with an antenna with 15 side polarisation!!

*MS (meteor scatter):

At first, with HSCW (high speed CW) with a rescued Philips recorder and the LA8AK+  up-converter as keyer a RAM-based one (thanks Bob, ON5QW) and later CMOS IC's of different (always) homebrew vintage.
From 2003 onwards and exclusively from this QTH , with the PC and the FSK441 program. (with a 12el yagi at 9m above ground level or 33m above sea level)
The longest distance was with a UB5 station at 2237km and this with HSCW.
Although, WSJT's FSK441 allows better decoding at lower signal levels, this distance will not be bettered from this QTH, given actual antenna height and shorter radio horizon.

*Aurora:
The best ever aurora QSO  (in raspy CW, of course) was made with a UA3 at 2048km.
 I remember this aurora opening very well since it happened during an EME weekend with low path loss...
 In order to start up serious 2m operations, I always had to climb (!!) the self-supporting 18m tower to connect the antenna array to the main feeder (to have the lowest antenna line losses).
This also happened that day but when switching on the Rx, I heard several long distance stations with auroral tone and good signal strength. I did not work EME that day...! 

 

A word of recognition goes to all those hams that went on remote locations spending time and money to make all this possible!


In a  sense, I also contributed  to expeditions...

First, a 2m HSCW expedition to JO10SS, which was considered as rare at that time.(thanks to Luc, ON4ASL)
Later and still in the early 80's, the first ever 10GHz narrowband activity (/M) from the same square with a +10dBm DC0DA-transverter, driven by a FT290R1and a Procom 40cm dish. (thanks to Bert, ON6OO)

The biggest expedition, however, in 1992, with ON1BCB and ON5FF to Africa's C5-The Gambia.
A first ever 2m EME and satellite operation from this rare West-african country.

On 144MHz EME, we were active as C53GS (the callsign was courtesy of the guesthouse owner, Ernie Sumption) with 8 x 12el homebrew yagies,
elevated by a reinforced KR500, counterweighted with a red bucket filled with native stones.

In total, 120 different CW EME stations were worked from which 70 stations on random, including one single yagi station!

The C53GS EME QSL-card front side:
 

Some explanations:
The gentle boy on the picture is Ricky, the son of the Bunkoyo-guesthouse's housekeeper..
He's manipulating the bencher paddle with the tiny CMOS keyer II.
The shoebox 3CX800 amplifiers on the left pile. (one for 2m, the other for 70cm)
The middle pile consisting of a multimode 70cm transceiver and the driving IC275H.
The right pile consists of the elevation and azimuth control together with Yaesu PSU acting as stand...
The picture was taken in Anna's (Ernie's wife) beautiful flower garden.

On the right hand side, one can see the 8x 12el K1FO array fed by a massive 8x1 splitter and phased by pre-cut Aircom+ cabling..
The antenna array was mounted on C53GS's Versatower. (also visible the necessary red bucket)

On the back side of the QSL-card, one can find, besides the QSO information, the following text :

The QTH:
Kololi, 19km SSW of Banjul in grid IK13SH, The Gambia, West-Africa
The first-ever VHF-dx activity in this mega-warm and lovely black country was only possible through the hospitality and help of Mr and Mrs Sumption from the Bunkoyo hotel and the know-how of the SABENA airline people. Thank you.
The operators:  ON1BCB, Marc ON5FF, Marc ON7EH, Michel (also QSL-manager)


The stations worked on 2m EME can be found, here.

The trip report is now available, here
A personal view of club-member Patrick (Patje) of an african EME-expedition is summarized in this artwork picture...here

The following is a brief overview of the C53GS -Oscar 13 satellite, mode J operation. (2m uplink and 70cm downlink)

Tx: IC275H, Tx ant: 8x12el
Rx: TR851, Rx ant: 17el Tonna

For the first-ever satellite operation from The Gambia, WestAfrica, we operated through 2 satellite passes:
1st pass:
15-04-1992: 22.52Z  to 16-04-1992: 00.26Z
This corresponds to about 34 minutes of activity with 50 stations worked.
2nd pass:
17-04-1992: 20.41Z to 22.39Z
This corresponds to 118 minutes of activity with 150 stations in the log.

First ever station worked in on this satellite mode from C5: KL7GRF/6. Last station worked: N4EL