Wednesday, 3 September 2014

630m Trans-Pacific Path Heats Up!

It seems that the recent Trans-Pacific reception of WG2XIQ's Texan WSPR signal by VK2DDI has stirred up a lot of interest from the boys down under. Despite some recent geomagnetic disturbances, some of those that are taking the time to beacon or to listen are being justly rewarded. Sunday's overnight beaconing has produced four more confirmed reports of the U.S. Part 5 experimental stations being heard in both VK and in ZL.

Once again, John ("XIQ"), was heard on the other end....not in Australia but in New Zealand, by Con (ZL2AFP) listening in residential Wellington. Con also caught signals from Larry, W7IUV, in central Washington state, operating on 630m as WH2XGP. Not to be left out of the action, Rudy, N6LF, running as WD2XSH/20 made it down to both VK2XGJ and VK2DDI before the sun came up south of Eugene, Oregon.

Larry, W7IUV ("XGP"), was running a true backyard-size antenna system...just a 34' loaded vertical with a sloping zig-zag top loading wire.  His small wire radial system covers a 16' x 25' patch. His homebrew amplifier, constructed almost exclusively from salvaged computer parts, uses 8 switching MOSFETs in push-pull / parallel running in the rare linear mode! The fascinating description of his amplifier's design and construction can be found at the W7IUV website. With the small vertical, estimated erp is  ~ 10 watts.
Larry's station should be inspirational for anyone who thinks they need huge antennas to be successful on 630m!

Rudy, N6LF ("XSH/20"), runs around 20Weirp to a large top-loaded vertical. The center (radiator) pole is almost 100' high while the top-loading support poles are 80'. Full details of Rudy's fine system, along with much more about 630m, may be found at the Antennas By N6LF website.

N6LF/WD2XSH/20 630m Top-Loaded Vertical
It wasn't just the U.S. Part 5'ers who were on the ball early Sunday morning. ZL2AFP, set up with just a small PAØRDT-style miniwhip at 28' feet and an IC-746PRO receiver, managed to snag two of the northerners. John Simon, VK2XGJ, also listening from a normal-sized suburban lot in Dapto (NSW), with lots of nearby powerlines, caught "XIQ"'s Texas-launched signals on his venerable FRG-100 tied to another small active miniwhip at 20'. Interestingly, the U.S. signals were detected about four hours after local sunset in both ZL and VK. 

LF RX Stack at VK2XGJ
It seems clear that 630m has much to offer in the way of some exciting propagation opportunities and that experimenters do not require large amounts of room to take advantage of this unique part of the spectrum.
Hopefully conditions will continue to provide more long-haul reports in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, remember that Canadian amateurs now have free access to the 630m band, but much more activity is needed...VE6, VE5, VE4, VE3, VE2...who will be the first on 630m in those provinces?  It's time to start melting solder and stringing antennas before winter arrives!

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