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ON7EH Belgium flag Belgium

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Thanks for looking up my call and station details on qrz.com!

Please find below, the results of the six low band contests, we participated to, this 2016-2017 winter season.

The HF station remains modest:

*Tx-antenna setup:
-40m: quarterwave vertical over 4 elevated radials and radial field (covering less than 270°)
-80m:  quarterwave vertical over a radial field (covering less than 270°)
-160m: inverted L at a top height of 15m over a radial field (covering less than 270°)
Unfortunately, the suburban garden is too small to accomodate all these antennas.For every operation, the Tx-antenna had to be set up and fine-tuned for the band/mode of operation.

* We used 2, nearly orthogonal, short Beverages as Rx-antennas. (the last contests even 3 Bev's were used/controlled)

* The TRX is a repaired Elecraft K3/100 (Tnx to QRP Project, Berlin for parts supply) and Elecraft KAT500, always with hb outboard filtering.

We only operated in the low power category.

*ARRL DX SSB 40m ( March 2017) The last contest of the winter contest season
As usual, we had to use the K3-parrot not to waken up the family members while calling stations. (S&P)
Despite the very efficient fullsize quarterwave vertical, we wkd only 19 USA/VE (13 mult) in nearly 2 hours of operation. 
We never experienced such bad propagation to the NW from ON. Next time better...

*ARRL DX CW 80m ( February 2017)
We worked 271 USA/VE in 41 states/provinces.
Several stations from tornado alley were worked with K6CTA in California as ODX.

*CQ WW 160m CW ( January 2017)
I am very happy to see the 15m high inv L being heard in 975 (!) receivers. With 73 multipliers and 60 DXCC resulting!
For sure, low power 160m contesting with such a basic setup to be challenging but feasible.
There was very high contest activity in Europe but also elsewhere with nice Carribean DX and a very loud KY7M and XE2K. 

*Topband distance challenge (Stew Perry tribute contest) (End  December 2016)
We exchanged WWLOC with 312 different stations in this 160m contest, 60 of them with US/VE.
KV4FZ was the furthest station logged.
Only one regret: we spent 1 hour too long gardening eating up valuable contest time...:-( 

*ARRL 160m CW (mid December 2016)
Our activity was limited to operation around sunrise. We wkd 37 US/VE in 26 sections.
Furthest sections worked: IL, WI, MO, IA, STX. 

*CQ WW 80m SOSB (November 2016) 
Unbelievable contest activity and raw score: 1400 QSO's in 20 Zones and 91 DXCC
I never would have thought this to be possible with low power and without vanity call!
Thanks to all stations to make this dream come true!

For more information regarding our low band activities in previous years, see below the 50MHz section.

Despite being QRV on 50MHz, very late in the 2016 Es-season (end of July), we managed to work a good number of new stations, new WW locators and even some new DXCC: 5A1AL, OJ0DX and S01WS being the easiest ones.
Expedition activity also helped: the EI9E/P-group, GM6VXB/P, Martin in one North Sea-locator and SM6CMU/2 Ingo in 3 adjacent Lapland locators.
With 9K2HN, I was very lucky: I hesitated to call him since we had worked last year. Luckily, I did, he was in a welcome new locator near the Iraqi boarder!
US/VE was again heard but since they never went up to the S3-mark on the receiver, we didn't bother to call these stations. (except for K4PI) TY2AC (Benin) was heard for the first time (for 15 minutes) but too weak...

We did work further in the past, like PY and several Carribbean stations, like 2 years ago with a 63m long, horizontal lazy delta loop (1mm² wire ) at about 9m above ground!!
The main propagation modes have been Es and MS, besides some tropo.


Low band activity, this winter season (2015-2016) as single operator, always with low power and non-assisted:

Underneath every 2016 low band-contest, our final result is indicated with publication date.  

ARRL DX SSB 40m (05-06 march 2016)
With the shack located in the cellar and the necessary US/VE-stations best worked in the early morning,
I exlusively used the voice keyer with 4 messages, not only to save my voice but more importantly to keep peace
between the family members on those much wanted weekend mornings.
The parrot played really well although an occasional  "personal touch" could have speedened up the QSO and
burden on the far end...

Despite using just a quarterwave vertical over the low band counterpoise and 100W,
we never found ourselves loud enough to RUN.  I managed 50 QSO's with 29 multipliers, all by S&P!
The band was at times very busy, as was the unavoidable high power QRM.  

For the first time, KH6J was heard calling long CQ's without callers. 
ODX were W7WA in WA, K3EST in CA and N2IC in NM.
It is amazing what simple wire antennas (omnidirectional in my case) are capable of, even without high supporting tower.   

Result: This contest learnt us a single (maybe not yet optimally performing) quarterwave vertical can provide nice DX contacts. It is however totally insufficient for a competing score. (05/10/2016)

*ARRL DX CW 80m (20-21 february 2016)
The contest was a challenge for both the operator and the Tx-antenna;
-as usual with low power and QSO's at distance, the operator had to work hard while S&P-ing, especially on Saturday.
-the well-guyed Tx-antenna had a hard time surviving the multiple, furious gales and 5 Bft winds over the weekend.
The Rx-antenna was an unterminated 1.5 wavelength long Beverage (NW/SE) including an 80m BPF in the shack 
Luckily, the XYL was around for the necessary helping hand while safely dismantling, the helically wound quarterwave on the nearly 18m high Spiderpole.We did not particpate in the evening shift due to the bad wx.
In total, 126 USA/VE in 31 multipliers were logged. 
Furthest contacts include stations from tornado alley and Iowa.

Result: Despite our early contest leave, we managed to end up 11th worldwide after stations with multiples of our score!
We ended as 6th European. Our checklog reported a respectful zero errors! (05/10/2016)  

*CQ WW 160m CW (29-31 january 2016)
Prior to the event, we obtained permission for an extra, short (60m long) Beverage pointing 70° on farmers field;
the QTF is not ideal but it is a necessary addition to markedly improve the Rx-antenna setup to the NE.

A cheap DIL-switch and Beverage transformer were built, tested and installed in time.
Despite the 5/6 Bft winds during the weekend, this is by far, our best topband contest score ever:

800+ QSO's and more than 300k points( prior to any correction)!
An exclusively single man's job (setup and operation) and his low power,  non-asssisted radio
Result: In the SOLP, unassisted category, I broke the 300k points barrier and ended up 2nd in EU and 3d worldwide which is quite unbelievable! In this category, 705 OM's participated. (22/08/16) 

*Topband distance challenge (Stew Perry tribute contest) (26-27 december 2015)
For our 160m working conditions (see below)
We improved our all times best with 313 different stations (mainly EU and AS) with UN7, UA9 and 4K6 (East) & 
25 USA/VE to the NW. 

Result: I ended 4th in the single op/low power category, after HA3DX, NA8V and WO9S. Time for a vanity call?   (26/05/16) 

*UA 160m contest (18 december 2015)
We worked 20 different UA-stations in 1.5 hour of evening activity, with several stations from Asiatic Russia.
Most stations were painful copy on the Tx/Rx-antenna.
The reason: the Beverage is pointing away from the required NE/E-QTF.  sad

*ARRL 160m CW (4-6 december 2015)
We participated for several hours to this contest with the following setup:
-Tx/Rx antenna: inverted L (up 14m sloping down to the house to 11m)
-Rx ant: 128m long bidirectional beverage heading NW/SE
-Trx: K3/100 with outboard 160m HPF and plenty of CM choking.

After a lot of hard work, often patiently waiting our turn in the queues, we managed to get 59 US/VE-stations from 28 different sections in the log. 
Result: I ended 2nd in the DX/single op/low power category, after HI8A. First European. (11/05/16) 



05/10/2015: Together with the XYL, the scaffold and the 50MHz beam with rotor were dismantled, in preparation of winter time and the sales of our reliable, telescopic, hand-whinched aluminium tower that served us so well last 6m season.
The tower reaches a total height of 7m, enough to clear the adjacent wallnut tree in the near field.

Since mid-June 2015, we are QRV again on VHF, now on 50MHz.

After a nice experience with the low lazy loop wire antenna on 6m, the last couple of years, we were in for an upgrade.

Our new setup exists out of:
-the old Elecraft K3/100 + outboard LNA and bandpassfilter, providing:
  .100W in the shack,
  .the K3 is really deaf (too high noise figure) even with its internal LNA activated,
  .twice 50MHz lands in the 100MHz FM-band and with so many teenagers around, we better attenuate the Trx-harmonics...
-6el LFA2 Innovantenna on top of a lightweight 6m high telescopic tower (a scaffold and the help from ON5RR were mandatory) in the garden.

The western directions remain affected by trees, higher houses and their unavoidable electrical apparatus, resulting in noise increases upto 2S-units!
This situation is no different from what was experienced on 144MHz several years ago.

The antenna patterns are one of the decisive elements that led us to select Innovantenna as resonating element.

The antenna seems to fulfill its promises... (the future will tell more)
The antenna VSWR is really flat over the band,
the antenna gain is certainly there as well.

So far we were lucky to work several DX-stations (USA, 9Y, D4, 9K2, 4L1, CT3, PJ5, FG8, A45, ... etc.) and many more new grid squares in Europe by means of tropo, Es, Aurora and Aurora E. (all with just 100W)
The latter propagation type, we never experienced on 144MHz. 



These 2014/15 winter months, we have been qrv on the low bands and we participated to several cw contests (always in the low power category) on both topband and 80m, with resp. an inverted L (partly over the house leading to extra noise) and  a quarterwave vertical. 

We were more than happy to be granted permission to use neighbouring farmers field to have lengthy experiments with (mainly) Beverages of different lengths and locations versus the Tx antenna.

Although still, rather unexperienced with computer logging and contesting, and given the unconfortable operating conditions (from an often freezing cellar requiring thermal underwear and a small heater element) we have been extremely pleased with the station performance and final scoring. 

Tnx for calling!

Michel, ON7EH

This month of november and the same month during the next 4 consecutive years, we will be using the special OP-prefix on the ham bands.
The special prefix was granted by the regulator, to remember the first World War that happened in our area some 100 years ago.
This first weekend , we were active as OP7EH during the MMC 2014 A1 contest on 144MHz.
Several stations asked for a repeat but finally, we had 80+ stations in the log during our brief activity period.
ODX: OK1CID in JO80FG at 849km from JO20FV.
We worked totally unassisted, without ON4KST nor cluster. The activity was exclusively S&P, except for a CQ-session at the end of our activity period.  
Our working conditions: 12el (6m long) M² at 10m agl (QTH at 20m asl) + 250W
We worked 2xHB9, 2xSP, 2xOE, 15x OK1/2 and a majority of DL from our 90° limited window around the East.


Michel, ON7EH-OP7EH

After a successful activation of the special event station OS15M (Morse Code Heritage celebration),
where we managed to work over 50% of the CW-callers,
from mid-April till mid-May 2014, on different hf-bands (excl. 160m & 10m),
we can now, most often, be found on 50MHz.

Our modest but not so inefficient 6m setup exists out of:
-a horizontal delta loop (triangle with about 63m of wire and just 9m high),
-symmetrically fed through 20m of 450 Ohm open wire line
-balanced ATU
-100W of output power and outboard, attenuated LNA. (in the basement shack)

Although this 1-element (static) wire antenna cannot compete with modern yagi's at height, it has some very distinct advantages at this QTH:

- no need for a high telescopic tower but making good use of available fixation points (house, garden house and tree)
- no need for an antenna rotor + control box + control cable (i.e. in practice: one moment, we call EA8 and the following moment we log OH3...)
  It is hard to miss Es openings with such a high gain mulitiple lobe antenna.
- wideband operation (virtually a 1:1 VSWR throughout the 6m band)
- high gain (the antenna is some 10 lambda long on 6 meter and achieves over 14dBi in specific antenna directions, as verified with 4NEC2)
- relatively low transmission line loss ( lower than RG213/U style coax - remember, we are on 50MHz or the low VHF end of the spectrum!)
- low visibility (the antenna wire is less than 1mm² thick)
- quiet reception compared to other Marconi or Hertzian antenna variants that have been tried. 

The antenna has recently (may 2014) allowed us to work on 6m, with many stations all over Europe (via sporadic E but also tropo) on SSB and CW, as well as some nice DX-stations: 
*PY1 & PY2 (Brasil) to the southwest (combined TEP or Transequatorial propagation + Es)
*UN (Kazachstan)  & EX (Kyrgyzstan, june 2014) to the East  (dual hop Es)
*KP4 (Puerto Rico) and KP2 (US Virgin Islands) (june 2014)
*VY2ZM (Prince Edward Island)  (july 2014)

We rounded our gap to 300 different WWLOC's (mid July 2014);
end of July 2014,  we heard a handful of North Americans; by far the longest DX was VE6TA, who was peaking S2 on the S-meter.
Midwhile, the WWLOC-counter stopped at 337 units.

Conclusion: the overall results are very encouraging and remain surprising for a rather low and non-resonant antenna!
Michel, ON7EH


Hot news: (2013)
2.5 years after achieving DXCC on 144MHz, (see below), we've written history:

with working TA/PE1L (sept 2013) we again accomplished 2m DXCC but this time composed of 1 (single) yagi:
-terrestrial DXCC entities (Tropo, Aurora, Es, FAI and MS)
-completed with 2m EME contacts on my moonrise without elevation, only!!!
Always from the same locator (JO20FV).
The presence of good ground gain on EME at eastern headings has been instrumental to this achievement.


DXCC on 2 meters (ON7EH)

The picture above shows the ARRL DXCC award, we received for having worked and confirmed 100 different entities on the 2m band.
(ARRL 144MHz DXCC award #79, issued October 10, 2011)

We started DX-ing on VHF and HF in 1979 from the parental QTH, just 1km away from this QTH. (always in the same QTH and WW locator: JO20FV)
From there, we worked all kinds of VHF DX on mainly terrestrial modes such as tropo, aurora, meteor scatter, FAI, sporadic E reflection and some moonbounce from a tiny garden, mostly on CW, SSB and HSCW modes. (high speed CW)
The QTH was sited at less than
20m asl and fully surrounded by many houses, in all directions.
It is just 8km NE of the capital city Brussels and next to Brussels Airport.

In the early nineties, the neighbourhood became spoiled with all kind of spurii from electrical & domestic equipment, making all small-signal work on VHF very challenging.
It is then that we moved from our trustful Kenwood TS700G, to a modified Drake TR7 + high IP transverter setup, to overcome some receiver problems.
After having lived for 8 years on an appartment (with just occasional activity) we (my wife and me) decided to build our own house, to raise the kids.

At this QTH, we upgraded to another and more stable HF-transceiver (modified TS850S+ high IP transverter) with great success, till today.
The actual QTH is at 22m asl and the only antenna that has been used (building permit limitation!) is a 12el M2 at 9.5m agl. (nearly 6meters long)
The geometry allows weak signal communication with stations to the east within a +/-60� window, only.
This window grows smaller and smaller, year by year.
There are still many exceptional QSO's in my memory and some deserve to be quoted:

The eleven144MHz FIRSTS from Belgium:
1A (Souvereign Order of Malta), 4O (Montenegro with Anton, ON6NL as operator), 5R8 (Madagascar), 5V7 (Togo), EA8 (Canary Islands), H44 (Solomon Islands), OJ0 (Market Reef), PJ7 (Sint Maarten), TF (Iceland), XV (Vietnam) and 9X (Rwanda).
Many new countries were added by the use of WSJT (Weak Signal from Joe Taylor, K1JT).
This software package has since become the standard for most digital weaksignal work on 2m.
We made proper use of the following packages:

-FSK441(for meteor scatter) to work many stations all around Europe.
The following last two European countries were added in the last years: 3A/OZ2M (Monaco) and 7X2ARA (Algeria operated by DL8YHR).
By the knowledge of the meteor shower geometry, some luck but especially lots of patience (common to most of weak-signal work on the band) we were able to overcome the
high noise level that was generated by the neighbourhood in these direct headings and still added these 2 "impossible" countries from this QTH .
The difference between the noisiest and noiseless QTF is nowadays nearly 10dB on this QTH!
Even then, we did not give up to reach our goal...
-JT65B (for earth-moon-earth or EME communication) to work stations around the globe.
By accident, we discovered the existence of massive groundgain in the eastern direction at our new QTH, when listening to some Czech stations working in a local contest, early 2003.
In between the many OK1's, we heard a (not so weak) Japanese station, calling CQ around 144.050 in CW...
From then on, we were on the lookout during moonrise to hear the weakest moon-reflected signals.

First in CW, with the Linux version of the exceptional weak-signal program called LINRAD, built and constantly improved by Leif, SM5BSZ.
Then with JT65B,which is rather different to CW in different aspects.
This digital operation has been a great success due to lots of patience, perseverence, free time and luck.
By means of the ground-gain phenomenon our small antenna receives and transmits as the equivalent of a 5 yagi array and this has proven to often make the difference.
It is common that this small setup outperforms (nearby) stations with more antenna gain, lower noise (rural) environment or higher output power.

Today, 30/4/12, we managed to work our300th different station(initial) in this mode via the moon, with the SINGLE ANTENNA, on our MOONRISE ONLY (!) and all with modest output power from our residential QTH.
We always try for an as random as possible operating style- a big challenge with this QRP setup.
Some other interesting stories:
-EA8BEX on Es was worked with a broken antenna setup. At that time, we had a weekly sked (on 20m) with my grandfather (EA5ASN) living in Javea, Allicante province, Spain.
So we had mechanically fixed the (broken) rotor (and top tube) with the 3-element HF tribander and VHF-antenna in this QTF.
Nevertheless, we worked EA8 at 3048km distance with this wrong heading and with the VHF-antenna somewhere between horizontal and vertical polarisation!
-ZB2BL (Gibraltar) on Es (in the eighties) was heard working with Maurits, ON5CG (now SK) who lived in Bonheiden and had an ufb homebrew station.
However, he could not get the exotic callsign through. We whispered Maurits who the other station was so we could be the next station in the DX-log...
It worked and both were very happy!
-Totally unexpected was a QSO with 4Z5LY in Israel on july 1, 2011 on 144.300, the SSB calling channel, during a large scale Es-opening to the Southeast.
While many stations were calling CQ on the band with great signals or looking on the VHF-chats, DX-clusters; we concentrated on random contacts and searched the band for DX-stations.Then we heard Israel calling CQ, from some 3200km away. Random operation has always been important to us.

The QSO with Israel was DXCC ENTITY number 100 and the icing on the cake of this 2m DXCC story...
Many kind words of thanks should go out:
-the many dx-pedition teams and individuals that went to remote spots on the globe, to activate a new country on 144MHz, to allow others to add a missing one.
-the VHF groundgain pioneers/experimenters: DJ5MS (Peter), PA0JMV (Joop)

ON7EH, Michel

son of ON1SR, ON5SP, Roland Spelier
grandson of ON4SP, 9Q5EH, OQ5EH, EA5ASN, Leopold Spelier
Both are Silent Key (SK) now.

The ham webpage (not well maintained) can be found here: http://users.skynet.be/on7eh


8227088 Last modified: 2017-07-20 14:24:36, 33876 bytes

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