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VE1SKY Canada flag Canada

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My interest is radio - I don't chase QSL awards or cards. If you would like a QSL from station VE1SKY, I will gladly help you with your request...

QSL cards will be sent if requests are received by direct mail with a SAE; $1 Canada, $2 anywhere else.


I enjoy working nearly all aspects of  the HF, VHF, & UHF bands including, but certainly not limited to weak signal digital modes, meteor-scatter and satellites. My emphasis in radio is on quality QSOs, efficient operating, contesting and DXing. Station VE1SKY has very modest power and antennas. By employing propagation forecasts, anomalies, operator perseverance, and any other advantages I can figure out - I like to give the East Coast "Big Guns" a friendly nudge (e.g. see Canada QSO slots for T32C, Christmas Island (East Kiribati) - http://www.clublog.org/charts/?c=t32c#​. Six meters is often a favorite band with me. I enjoy contesting, although not incessantly, using various modes on both HF and VHF (eg, North America CQWW SSB recordholder 80m SOLP Assisted and top score 2013 NA Meteor Scatter Winter Rally). I am grateful to have been part of the successful VE1JF Multi Op Contest Team. Don Moman, VE6JY, https://youtu.be/IBChwkjzliw was an early radio friend and mentor. He demonstrated SWL DXing and SWL DXpeditions to me and taught me how to "listen to radio".

When transmitting from station VE1SKY, I run 200w or less and explore the amateur challenge without the power.



On August 12-13, 2015,  VE1JF, Jim and I activated the rare 2m digital DX grid FN73.  We operated MS and EME during the Perseids meteorshower and a good quality EME moon. The FN73 grid expedition was hosted by the Shag Harbour Incident Society as a featured event in the annual Shag Harbour UFO Festival.  The hospitality of the community was outstanding and the media and visitors loved it.  European and North American stations were worked in JT65B mode via the moon.  Many FSK441 mode, DX meteor scatter QSOs were completed at distances to 1288 miles.  Equipment employed for this expedition included an FT847 transceiver, 12 element K1FO antenna at 20 ft., Signalink USB interface and a TE Systems 1412G amp at 150w. Special UFO Museum QSL cards for VE1SKY contacts were sent out for all QSOs. Shag Harbour is the site of Canada's most famous UFO incident.  The story is on the web.




From July 4 - July 12, 2014 I was part of the Canadian VC1T team, intending to work a 2m TransAtlantic European QSO or to receive or have an unassisted signal received across the Atlantic for the first time in history. The Irish Radio Transmitters Society (IRTS) sponsors the Brendan Trophy, Brendan Shield and Brendan Plate awards for the first individual or team that succeeds. The Canadian Brendan Team in Pouch Cove, Newfoundland was copied perfectly in the proper format by John, G4SWX in Suffolk, England on July 6, 2014 at 13:41 UTC using FSK441.  Articles about the Brendan Quest are found in "The Canadian Amateur" April/May 2016 and "QST" Magazine May 2016.  The Team has a webpage with the magazine articles, pictures and information: www.brendanquest.org .



After two weeks of preparation, Tim, G4LOH in Helston, Cornwall County, England Grid IO70jc and VE1SKY, Bridgetown, Nova Scotia, Canada Grid FN74iu used FSK441 to try a Brendan Quest style reflection off the International Space Station (ISS).  Employing AMSAT satellite software, both stations aimed at the calculated grid HO11nl for a 144.175 MHz QSO attempt with a mutual window of less than 1 minute.  At 12:22 UTC May 2, 2016, VE1SKY copied G4LOH at a distance of 4,441 km.  The signal decoded once completely by 'cursor clicking' and then partially. This was the first received ISS signal bounce from EU to NA, and the first 'intentional'  signal by ISS reflection received in any direction across the North or South Atlantic.  It is likely a DX record for satellite reflection. Tim has since been received by ISS "bounce" in the much closer GN37 grid by VO1HP using Morse code. 



During 2015,  the experimental WSJT-X program suite by Joe Taylor, K1JT was rapidly evolving to include new weak signal Fast Modes. JT9H was introduced in August and was proven to be a potent weak signal mode for ionoscatter conditions such as non-durable sporadic E propagation.  Following a year of using this new sub-mode of JT9,  the first JT9H TransAtlantic QSOs were made. It began with an August 8, 2016 QSO with EI3KD, Mark, whose station is located in IO51, County Cork, Ireland.  EI3KD and VE1SKY completed the QSO at 20:54 UTC on 50.285 USB in just a few minutes. Callsigns, reports, rogers and 73s were exchanged: EI3KD +08 dB and VE1SKY -07 dB. The Es propagation was very uneven and characterized by strong QSB.  For the next 39 minutes, four more TransAtlantic QSOs were organized on the ON4KST reflector and completed: EI4DQ, Tom (21:00); G0LFF, Dick (21:21); G1CWP, Dick (21:24); and G0CER, David (21:33). 



On March 20, 2012 KB8RQ, Gary EM79 worked VE1SKY (2m, non-elevating 41-1300 MHz LPDA,160w) during moonset. Many tried for the prize. VE1SKY was in a lobe between 11-14 degrees and copied Gary -20 dB.  Gary, who had only decoded a "CQ VE1SKY FN74" once during perigee in February, was able to see a good JT65B trace all through the March 20th QSO.  I thank Gary for all his patience.  After about eight attempts over February and March, we got it done. VE1SKY, during 2012, was not designed to be an EME station and the exercise was all just for the fun of attracting an EME QSO.   Gary has one of the best "big gun" EME stations in the world. Working VE1SKY in 2012 and winning the prize proved that!

EME SKY AWARD : KB8RQ Winner March 20, 201241-1300 MHz LPDA

EME 'SKY' TROPHY - won by Gary Crabtree, KB8RQ on March 20, 2012


INTERESTED IN METEOR SCATTER?      HERE'S AN INTRODUCTION (now dated - but you'll get the idea).


  Note: The original QSOs embedded in the 'Introduction' are no longer available on YouTube.

            Here are some new links to similar content:

                         ISCAT B Mode https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=djxjBkXel-c

                         FSK441 Mode  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E9hY9gBFEB0

WSJT-X General Operator's Release See Aug. 2016 YouTube below with Joe Taylor, K1JT explaining it. 

17th International EME Conference - start video at 32:30 minute mark: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4QNxcHJxHsA

K1JT WSJT-X Conference Presentation:       https://physics.princeton.edu/pulsar/k1jt/K1JT_EME_2016_Venice.pdf​

Need the latest General Release of WSJT-X?  http://physics.princeton.edu/pulsar/K1JT/wsjtx.html  

What to look forward to in 2018 - the Best Meteors: http://www.skyandtelescope.com/astronomy-news/best-bet-meteor-showers-for-2018/

WSJT-X Site by W4AS: https://wsjtx.net/home.html 

Another Good Rox Read - Meteor Scatter: How Much Antenna is Too Much?: http://physics.princeton.edu/pulsar/K1JT/AntBk22_Meteor_Scatter.pdf

Specific Meteorshower Visualizationshttps://www.meteorshowers.org

** Meteorscatter can be easily worked anytime by 'random' meteors -  MSK144 meteorscatter is a great VHF mode for deadband conditions - don't just wait for major meteorshowers.  Go to the meteorscatter, activity webpage, Ping Jockey (best to employ N5TM's PJ Client).  Enjoy working the 'rox' for valuable contest multipliers or just casually working meteorscatter each morning over a good cup of coffee.  For the quickest QSOs, use 'contest mode' in settings.  Avoid the usual new operator mistakes with WSJT-X - refer to the informative and well-indexed User Guide http://physics.princeton.edu/pulsar/K1JT/wsjtx-doc/wsjtx-main-1.8.0.html



     * Please note that this unofficial proposal is an evolving document that primarily reflects WSJT-X informal band usage.  RTTY users have made use of frequencies below 50250 and PSK31 users have made use of 50290-50293.  It is expected that a wide diversity of interests would need to be rationally acknowledged by IARU Regions 1 and 2, and ARRL, RAC, RSGB and others to eventually formalize the global use of digital modes on 6 and 2 meters.  


Now that the WSJT-X programs are being used by over 5,000 amateurs worldwide, and WSJT-X is available as a 'General Operator's Release', the 6m and 2m bands are going to experience even more activity and potential conflict.  On 2m, EME activity has been encroaching on the 144.140 meteorscatter calling frequency, due to an increased capability to work the moon with JT65B and now QRA64.  Moonbounce and meteorscatter are each gaining in popularity and each needs spectrum.  On 6m, given sporadic E propagation, active meteorshowers, and popular multimode VHF contests; the most popular WSJT-X slow and fast modes need designated frequencies. When inter-continental and multi-hop, sporadic E propagation occurs, a DX Window will make it much easier to work DX.  EU-NA bandplan co-ordination remains a challenge, but compatible DX frequencies are emerging. 


(Generally Es DX CQing is above JT65/JT9 Slow Modes.  N. America MSK144 meteorscatter is below the Slow Modes) 

50.248 ISCAT B Calling Frequency - Es and ionoscatter - ISCAT is still an excellent scatter mode

50.260 MSK144 Dedicated Meteorscatter Calling Frequency - 15s sequence and use split CQ method when crowded - e.g., CQ 255 AA1ABC FN42 - unlike on HF, the whole QSO goes to the split frequency (both sides) and the WSJT-X software handles it. Use as primary meteorscatter calling frequency.  MSK144 is optimized for meteorscatter: 2.4 kHz, decodes to -8 dB, tx duration 72 milleseconds. JT9H is more sensitive than MSK144 and can be better for very weak meteorscatter on a non-crowded frequency.

Suggested MSK144 Settings for Optimal 50 MHz Meteor-scatter - Contest Mode (Grids) On, SH Off, 15s T/R sequences

50.276 JT65A Slow Mode 

50.278 JT9A (formerly JT9) Slow Mode (narrowband) 

50.280 WSJT-X (Fast Mode) NA Calling FrequencySporadic Es, North America - JT9H, JT9E 15s sequence, if crowded use split CQ method  (see 50.260).  JT9 Fast submodes match well for fast Es QSOs: JT9E is narrowband 0.224 kHz and is sensitive;  JT9H is 1.8 kHz and is very fast. Compared to JT65 or FT8 - JT9H needs only 0.425 seconds of a signal sample to decode.  

50.284-50.288 WSJT-X (Fast Mode) DX Es Window for JT9 Fast Modes - everyone use EU sequence method (Easternmost station transmits 1st/Even 15s)   

50.290 WSJT-X JT9E (Fast Mode) Global DX Calling Frequency - Use 15s sequence and split CQ method when busy (see 50.260).

50.293-50.295 WSPR

50.313 FT8  (may replace most JT9(E-H) Fast mode use and will greatly reduce use of  JT65A and JT9A Slow modes)

Suggested WSJT-X (50MHz) modes/submodes to match propagation:

           Meteorscatter -----------------------   MSK144 Fast     -8 dB     15s T/R (Signal Duration 0.072 sec)

           Weak Meteors and/or Weak Es ----  JT9H Fast    -12 dB*   15s T/R (Signal Duration 0.425 sec)

           Very Weak Es with Fast QSB -----   JT9E Fast        -15 dB*   15s T/R (Signal Duration 3.4 secs)

           Very Weak Es with Medium QSB --  FT8 Slow     -21 dB    15s T/R (Signal Duration 12.6 secs)

           Very Weak Es with Slow QSB -----  JT65A Slow     -25 dB    60s T/R (Signal Duration 46.8 secs)

           Very Weak Es with Slow QSB -----  JT9A Slow       -27 dB     60s T/R (Signal Duration 49 secs)

             *  Note:  Refer to User Guide in WSJT-X 1.8.0 "Help" Chapter 17, Tables 4, 5 and 6.    * estimates



(EME DX is below N. America Meteor-scatter calling frequency - WSJT-X Fast mode frequencies above it)

144.100 -144.148 EME Frequencies

144.150 MSK144 Calling Frequency - former Meteor-scatter Frequency now up 10 kHz to give more room to EME

144.153-144.180 General WSJT-X Frequencies

Suggested MSK144 Settings for Optimal 144 MHz Meteor-scatter - Contest Mode (Grids) On, SH On, 15s T/R sequences



You may be interested in seeing a 'retired' experimental WSJT-X mode: JTMSK


VE1SKY Bridgetown, N.S. QTH - Large Meteor Event (see news story) http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/bloody-creek-crater-scientists-find-more-meteorite-hits-1.3165408    Meteorscatter of a Different Kind in FN74


Station Information:

Yaesu FT847 Transceiver w/ INRAD RX filter mod; Alpha Delta DXCC multi-band dipole for 10-80m (12 meters above ground); Alpha Delta DX-B Sloper for 30-160m (10 meters above ground); 5 Element 6m Innova LFA (12 meters above ground); 12 element 2m K1FO (15 meters above ground); Arrow antenna with Alinco DJ-V5EH HT for FM satellites; Rigblaster Plus; TE Systems 1412G 2m amp or TE Systems 1452G 2m amp; TE Systems 0552G 6m amp; LDG AT200PRO autotuner; Yaesu G-450A rotator; Heil BM-10 headset w/HC5.


October 2015

INNOVA 5 Element 6m LFA antenna & 12 Element 2m K1FO on HD Trylon Tower


73, Roger, VE1SKY


8580608 Last modified: 2018-01-14 16:10:31, 20414 bytes

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