Dxers Unlimited midweek edition for Tuesday 23 October 2018

Hola mis amigos radioaficionados , medium wave AM Dxers, and ham radio contest operators all around the world … I am Arnie Coro , radio amateur CO2KK,  here at this the middle of the week edition of  Dxers Unlimited, your favorite radio hobby program….coming to you on the air and on the world wide web streaming audio.  We also feed our English language program several times along the daily broadcast schedule to the 60 meters Tropical Band transmitter operating on 5040 kiloHertz.

Here is now item one… an update from the Ducie Island DX radio amateur expedition now in progress…. this is the press release

Ducie Island report (October 22nd).

Good morning from Ducie Island.

We are progressing well. – The main camp and kitchen are fully established and supplied with food / water. – The generator sites are built and supplied with fuel. – The SSB camp, located at the main camp, is setup with 4 stations. It is this camp which has been making all the SSB /CW QSOs using VDAs. SteppIR beams go up today.

– Today the CW Camp and antennas are the priority. This camp is about 3/4 mile from the main camp. Equipment for this camp was landed at a different location. About a 30 minute walk through the bush between camps.

– There is very little beach at high tide.

– Over the next 2-3 days we’ll complete the antenna work, including 30, 80 and 160. Because of the undergrowth stringing radials is a challenge. SSB 40m 4 Square is complete, CW 40m 4 Square almost completed.

– It’s been very hot and humid. We’ve been told to expect some rain possibly later today, heavy at times.

– Large 8 person sleeping tents house 3 men per tent, plenty of room.

– Signals on this end are loud. The team is in good spirits and eager to get into a routine.

– We will upload the log this morning. When we put the /MM log online there may be some errors with the times, we’ll correct them, no need to send e-mails.

– We know DXA dropped out a few times, this was due to power at the network switch. The plan is to install a UPS on the network switch.

– 2 Braveheart crew members will remain on the island to support the operation and generators.

And the report ends by asking to Stand by for another update. Signed by the Team Ducie 2018.

Here is some data about the Ducie Island Dx expedition now taking place  VP6D Ducie Island 2018 DX-pedition (OC-182)

VP6D Ducie Island. Radio Amateurs members of the PDXG DX Group will be active as VP6D from Ducie Island, IOTA OC – 182, 20 October – 3 November 2018.

The Team members are from several countries – Dave K3EL, Pista HA5AO, Les W2LK, Heye DJ9RR, Mike WA6O, Jacky ZL3CW, Arnie N6HC, Steve W1SRD, Chris N6WM, Laci HA0NAR, Ricardo PY2PT, Walt N6XG, Gene K5GS, Vadym, UT6UD, Ken, NG2H, Rob N7QT. They will operate on 160 – 6m CW, SSB, Digital modes, including FT8, EME. DX Pedition frequencies

CW: 1826.5, 3523, 7010, 10105, 18069, 21023, 28023. SSB: 7090, 14185, 18130, 21285, 24955, 28485.

RTTY 7045, 10142, 14080, 18100, 21080, 24910, 28080.

We are working SPLIT only! Please pay attention to the SPLIT MODE!
CW : UP 2-10
SSB : UP 5-15
RTTY : UP 2-10

The Chief pilot is Glenn, KE4KY. Pilots – V51B Africa, 4L5A Asia/Russian Speaking countries, HA8RT Europe, JA1WSX Japan, VK3HJ Oceania, PY2PT South America. I wish you all good luck with this rare island station that is benefitting with what appears to be a very well organized effort.

MARHABANA is the name of the yearly Havana, Cuba marathon, due to take place next month. For the 20th consecutive time, members of the Cuban radio amateur federation will provide instant communications all along the approximately twenty kilometers of the city streets that the runners must follow… for the full Marathon they will have to run the circuit twice.

The radio amateurs are located all along the route and they establish contact with the organizing team using the two meters band. Havana’s metropolitan area repeater located at a high rise building makes possible to use low power hand held FM two meters band transceivers effectively…

According to a press release by journalist Victor Vitaliano of the National Institute of Sports and Recreation, it is expected that 50 members of several of the city of Havana municipal radio clubs will take part in this important sports event that will see the participation of thousands of runners.

Si amigos , yes my friends, using readily available freeware for running short wave propagation analysis is of great help for amateur radio contest operators.. By feeding different parameters to the W6EL Propagation Program it is possible to maximize the probabilities of making contacts… Just to give you an example, for the upcoming CQ Radio Amateur Worldwide SSB contest I ran the W6EL program feeding it with an expected highest possible estimate of sunspots of 10, calculating the point to point circuit Havana, Cuba to Buenos Aires , Argentina ….

The graphic output from the software showed that the frequency range between 20 and 30 megaHertz may provide possible band openings during a time window that extends for several hours… But the W6EL software does not calculate the impact of the Trans Equatorial Propagation mode that happens around the equinoctial periods….

Another point to point circuit Havana, Cuba to Toronto Canada showed the fast drop of the maximum usable frequency for that path about two hours after local sunset… So my advice to the several Cuban contest teams that will participate in the CQ Single Side Band Contest is to try to work as many stations as possible on the 20 meters band before it closes down until the next morning !!!

This is Dxers Unlimited and here is now the very popular ASK ARNIE section of the show…. Today I am answering a request by several listeners that are newcomers to amateur radio and want to know more about SMALL PORTABLE RECEIVERS that can pick up ham radio stations. For a radio receiver to be able to pick up amateur radio signals on the short wave bands, it must have a product detector and a beat frequency oscillator in order to pick up signals using CW Morse Code radiotelegraphy, Single Side Band voice and digital communications mode.

Any standard low cost portable that can pick up the frequency range from one point eight megaHertz and up will be able to listen to amateur AM stations that operate mostly on the 160, 80 40 and 20 meters bands. As a matter of fact , some of the operators that use AM amplitude modulation run fairly high power that makes possible listening to the 160, 80 and 40 meters band AM  operators  stations just using the portable radio’s telescopic whip, or a small magnetic loop antenna, or a short length of wire.

At this moment , to my knowledge there are not too many semi-pro or professional communications receivers, so your best option may be to buy a second hand amateur radio transceiver that features full spectrum coverage from 100 kiloHertz all the way up to the upper end of the 10 meters band that ends at 29.7 megaHertz….

More tropical storms and hurricanes may happen before the season is over by November thirty, and some years we see out of season storms even in late December… So keeping your amateur radio station ready to provide emergency communications is important… this is why at the request of several listeners I am going to repeat the list of essential items to keep at hand and ready to go , now listen carefully.

Number one : keep  one , or better yet two more additional batteries in perfect conditions , and be sure that they will fit your radios. Keep them fully charged , ready to go…

Number two : a flexible battery charger that can be connected to a generator or to a car or truck, yacht or aircraft electric system. You will need plugs and connectors that will fit into whatever power source you are going to use.

Number three : at least one omnidirectional antenna that can replace the handie talkie’s small stub helically wound low efficiency unit provided with the radio. Better yet add a second portable YAGI antenna of at least three elements that can be easily transported, assembled in a few minutes and that will come with a portable telescopic mast capable of placing the vertically polarized YAGI at no less than three meters above any sorrounding objects….

And number four, put into the tools box a digital multimeter too.

Si amigos, yes my friends, . Many radio amateurs use their handheld FM two meters band transceivers as part of the equipment used for local communications, and standard SSB transceivers in the 10 to 100 Watt power range for operating on the 40 , 60 and 80 meters bands. The HF equipment and the higher power two meters and 70 centimeters transceivers do require large size high capacity batteries, like the typical 40 to 70 ampere hours automobile battery

This is Radio Havana Cuba, the name of the show is Dxers Unlimited and here is our popular technical topics section, again providing information about how to provide vitally important protection against wrong battery polarity connections that can produce very serious damages to radio equipment.

This is especially important during emergencies, when you may need to connect your radios to an external high ampere hours capacity battery. Of course that would not mind to loose around three quarters of a volt on the feed voltage that will happen when a high current silicon diode is inserted into the positive wire of your radio and the battery… if that will provide full protection against reverse battery connections .

If by mistake the battery is connected with the wrong polarity, the big silicon diode will provide protection, as no current will flow. This is my practical ultra simple solution against wrong battery polarity mistakes, that I have incorporated as part of the emergency communications kit…

In the case of some two meters band FM hand held transceivers of the older generation, some of them have enough space inside to include the required 3 amperes rated reverse polarity protecion diode, but this approach is impossible with the latest generation of low cost dual band 2 meters and 70 centimeters hand helds that are extremely compact. For those radios I use a connection to the external battery that incorporates the high current protection diode.

Using a recycled three to five amperes rating silicon diode will provide all the required protection, but if you are a perfectionist and want to spend the extra money then using a very low voltage drop MOSFET device or a SCHOTTKY diode, will reduce the voltage drop from about seven hundred millivolts to just two hundred millivolts…

In the case of higher power transceivers for VHF or HF use, I have built an external protection module, using a high current diodes bridge fitted into a large heat dissipating assembly….The whole current drawn by the transceiver when transmitting will go right through the diodes bridge. If by mistake you connect the battery with the wrong polarity, full protection will be provided by this external accesory that I take to every field trip… It also includes an LED green diode that lights up when the external battery is connected with the correct polarity…

Si amigos, yes my friends if you ever use external batteries to provide power to your radios, follow my advice and add reverse polarity protection to all of them… the cost is minimal and preventing wrong polarity connections is vital for the survival of your radios—-

The reports keep coming in as the autuom  Dxing season peak is now in progress, I keep receiving advisories about TEP openings from radio amateurs in the Caribbean and South America….. Most frequent reports make reference to 10 meters band QSO’s, while less number of them report 6 meters band openings across the equator. So, my advice for you is to  keep a close watch at the way the maximum usable frequency curve moves up especially during the afternoon and early evening hours, local time when chances of TEP openings are more likely to happen..

And now amigos at the end of the show a short form space weather and solar activity report Sunspot number: 11 Updated 16 Oct 2018

And for your information a total of 165 days that is 57 percent of this year 2018 have gone by without sunspots… a very good indicator telling us that we are well into the tail end of solar cycle 24…..

Send your signal reports , comments about the program and radio hobby related questions to inforhc at enet. Dot cu… and Via Air Mail to Arnie Coro Radio Havana Cuba, Havana, Cuba

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