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Author Topic: ZS8D – Marion Island  (Read 6314 times)
AF3Y
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« Reply #30 on: January 19, 2013, 10:38:30 AM »

I had to go back and check my first statement in this thread.  I said: Thats great!    BUT............... cant they send someone down there that can work a little CW?  I hate to have to get in the screaming matches.  Matter of fact, I Dont think I will.

I did not say that I would NOT work Marion Island on SSB.  I mean, IF I hear him calling CW, with a signal strength of 59+, NO QSB, NO QRN, and especially NO screamers, I MIGHT attempt to make the contact. Maybe Undecided.

Do Did I work SSB as often as CW?  I did not think so, but including the years/QSOs before I got big enough balls to actually USE CW (without the usual upset stomach that came with being nervous.) ARRL shows me just about even CW/SSB.  Currently, 268 CW and 264 SSB, with 307 Mixed. I have 5 cards here that ARRL has not seen, so my mixed total is 312.

An interesting QSO count. And.... funny thing is, nowadays, the SSB contacts are the ones that give me the upset stomach, not the CW QSOs. The equal count does not mean that I enjoy SSB contacts like I enjoy CW QSOs. After all, its a hobby, right? You should enjoy your hobby, huh?

We all have our opinions, and usually some sort of reason for the opinions. Most opinions dont amount to a fart in a whirlwind to someone who thinks you are nuts. Regardless, my opinion, for what its worth is that SSB operators in a pileup are much ruder and more ill mannered than CW ops in the CW pileup. I guess one of the reasons is that there are probably more participants in a SSB pile than a CW pile. I guess there are not as many CW ops as SSB ops.

After all, ANYONE can talk into a microphone. (I just could NOT resist that Angry) It takes an effort to learn CW.

73, Gene AF3Y

« Last Edit: January 19, 2013, 10:49:26 AM by AF3Y » Logged
W6GX
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« Reply #31 on: March 06, 2013, 06:54:49 AM »

Now that the operation is just two months away I'm looking for advice on propagation to ZS8.  Is it as simple as picking a time when South Africa has a good propagation to the U.S.?  Or is it more complicated than that?  I haven't worked too many ZS recently but I recall they usually could be found on 40m after our sunset.  I didn't have a good antenna on 40m when ZS8M was on.  Now I do.  Looking forward to add ZS8 to my log.

73,
Jonathan W6GX
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KY6R
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« Reply #32 on: March 06, 2013, 07:21:12 AM »

Now that the operation is just two months away I'm looking for advice on propagation to ZS8.  Is it as simple as picking a time when South Africa has a good propagation to the U.S.?  Or is it more complicated than that?  I haven't worked too many ZS recently but I recall they usually could be found on 40m after our sunset.  I didn't have a good antenna on 40m when ZS8M was on.  Now I do.  Looking forward to add ZS8 to my log.

73,
Jonathan W6GX

When I worked Pierre, I had been trying to hear him from May until I finally heard him one night on 40M in Sep 2010. My QSO with him was after sundown, most likely a grey line AND autumnal equinox QSO.

The cycle still stunk at the time - so higher bands were not very good here. I did hear him once or twice on 20M - but didn't get through there.

Looking at DX Atlas, I have set it to 0300z on April 7, 2013, and it shows the night time greyline falls perfectly over Marion  Island and my area. That is a perfect time for SF Bay Area to try to work them.

Here was the trick with the greyline:

Since Pierre was not heard so well, I think most people just gave up. I knew that the fall has some really great 40M openings, so I listened one night and watched a penomenon that happens every now and then. I call it "The March". As the terminator passed over the US, I heard the East Coast, then Mid US, then Rocky Mountain states and finally West Coast work him. When his signal popped up for the 10 or 15 minutes that we could hear him - albeit weak - there were only 3 of us calling him. Another W6 and VE7 and I. It was amazing. I was praying that no one would spot him and cause a massive pileup - and sure enough - just after I worked him - someone spotted him.

I was using a 40M Bruce Array at the time - a wire array. Killer antenna.

I do think that the higher bands will be much better now - even 60 sunspots are better than the 17 - which is what we had when I worked him. However - sunspots weren't the big deal on 40M after sunset. On the higher bands - current conditions are MUCH better now than they were then.

I expect they will have very large pileups on 20M - because they will be heard a lot better this year.

I also expect LP on 20M to be a really great way to try to catch him. And 17M too.

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W6GX
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« Reply #33 on: March 06, 2013, 07:36:36 AM »

Now that the operation is just two months away I'm looking for advice on propagation to ZS8.  Is it as simple as picking a time when South Africa has a good propagation to the U.S.?  Or is it more complicated than that?  I haven't worked too many ZS recently but I recall they usually could be found on 40m after our sunset.  I didn't have a good antenna on 40m when ZS8M was on.  Now I do.  Looking forward to add ZS8 to my log.

73,
Jonathan W6GX

When I worked Pierre, I had been trying to hear him from May until I finally heard him one night on 40M in Sep 2010. My QSO with him was after sundown, most likely a grey line AND autumnal equinox QSO.

The cycle still stunk at the time - so higher bands were not very good here. I did hear him once or twice on 20M - but didn't get through there.

Looking at DX Atlas, I have set it to 0300z on April 7, 2013, and it shows the night time greyline falls perfectly over Marion  Island and my area. That is a perfect time for SF Bay Area to try to work them.

Here was the trick with the greyline:

Since Pierre was not heard so well, I think most people just gave up. I knew that the fall has some really great 40M openings, so I listened one night and watched a penomenon that happens every now and then. I call it "The March". As the terminator passed over the US, I heard the East Coast, then Mid US, then Rocky Mountain states and finally West Coast work him. When his signal popped up for the 10 or 15 minutes that we could hear him - albeit weak - there were only 3 of us calling him. Another W6 and VE7 and I. It was amazing. I was praying that no one would spot him and cause a massive pileup - and sure enough - just after I worked him - someone spotted him.

I was using a 40M Bruce Array at the time - a wire array. Killer antenna.

I do think that the higher bands will be much better now - even 60 sunspots are better than the 17 - which is what we had when I worked him. However - sunspots weren't the big deal on 40M after sunset. On the higher bands - current conditions are MUCH better now than they were then.

I expect they will have very large pileups on 20M - because they will be heard a lot better this year.

I also expect LP on 20M to be a really great way to try to catch him. And 17M too.

Thanks for the info Rich.  I just sent a question to Pierre to see if there's a way to operate high power from ZS8.  They only have 100w planned.

When the propagation 'marches' across the U.S. I assume it's just a sliver of opening and not a wide opening across the U.S.?

Did you use the same 40m antenna to work Monk Apollo?  If so then that's a killer antenna.

No doubt the pile ups will be huge.  So I need to find a time where there's selective propagation to CO Grin  Or if I'm lucky the operator will go by call areas or East/West.  I hope Pierre taught them well.  Pierre is a true DX'er and I wished another ham could become a true DX'er.  The good news is that they will be there for a year.  I hope these guys will be active.  If they are very active then I don't see any issue in working them in a year's time.

I never understood why ZS3D always put out a huge signal with just a 40m hex beam.  I wished ZS8 could be as loud as ZS3D.  I have no issues working ZS3D.

73,
Jonathan W6GX
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NU1O
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« Reply #34 on: March 06, 2013, 07:52:50 AM »


I never understood why ZS3D always put out a huge signal with just a 40m hex beam.  I wished ZS8 could be as loud as ZS3D.  I have no issues working ZS3D.

73,
Jonathan W6GX

Anybody that has worked South Africa on 40 probably has ZS3D in their logbook.  He has good ears and puts out a decent signal. I don't know his station off the top of my head but he could be running a small amp (I think the limit is 400W in South Africa.)  

I heard Marion on 20 meters a few times but he was always very week so I think it's a combo of a poor antenna and a barefoot station.

I have propagation to S. Africa on 10 meters most everyday and they aren't that far away that condx should be vastly different.

I'm also looking to put that island in the log for an ATNO.

Good luck working him. You'll likely have a tougher time than I seeing as my path is all water.

73,

Chris/NU1O
« Last Edit: March 06, 2013, 08:25:41 AM by NU1O » Logged
W6GX
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« Reply #35 on: March 06, 2013, 08:04:06 AM »


I never understood why ZS3D always put out a huge signal with just a 40m hex beam.  I wished ZS8 could be as loud as ZS3D.  I have no issues working ZS3D.

73,
Jonathan W6GX

Anybody that has worked South Africa o 40 probably has ZS3D in their logbook.  He has good ears and puts out a decent signal. I don't know his station off the top of my head but he could be running a small amp (I think the limit is 400W in South Africa.) 

I heard Marion on 20 meters a few times but he was always very week so I think it's a combo of a poor antenna and a barefoot station.

I have propagation to S. Africa on 10 meters most everyday and they aren't that far away that condx should be vastly different.

I'm also looking to put that island in the log for an ATNO.

Good luck working him. You'll likely have a tougher time than I seeing as my path is all water.

73,

Chris/NU1O

You are correct that Danie was my first South Africa contact back in August 2010.  Back then I had thought ZS is a rare entity Cheesy  The 40m QSO was made with my G5RV Jr.  Back then I would get through on the first call with a contest station and I had thought a G5RV was the best antenna in the world Cheesy  I wasn't able to figure out why I can't hear ZS8M with my 'killer' antenna.

73,
Jonathan W6GX
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W6GX
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« Reply #36 on: March 06, 2013, 08:08:11 AM »


I never understood why ZS3D always put out a huge signal with just a 40m hex beam.  I wished ZS8 could be as loud as ZS3D.  I have no issues working ZS3D.

73,
Jonathan W6GX

Anybody that has worked South Africa o 40 probably has ZS3D in their logbook.  He has good ears and puts out a decent signal. I don't know his station off the top of my head but he could be running a small amp (I think the limit is 400W in South Africa.) 

I heard Marion on 20 meters a few times but he was always very week so I think it's a combo of a poor antenna and a barefoot station.

I have propagation to S. Africa on 10 meters most everyday and they aren't that far away that condx should be vastly different.

I'm also looking to put that island in the log for an ATNO.

Good luck working him. You'll likely have a tougher time than I seeing as my path is all water.

73,

Chris/NU1O

You are correct that Danie was my first South Africa contact back in August 2010.  Back then I had thought ZS is a rare entity Cheesy  The 40m QSO was made with my G5RV Jr.  Back then I would get through on the first call with a contest station and I had thought a G5RV was the best antenna in the world Cheesy  I wasn't able to figure out why I can't hear ZS8M with my 'killer' antenna.

73,
Jonathan W6GX

No offenses to those that still use a G5RV.  It was the best antenna given my QTH limitations.  I had a tuner and I was able to work six bands on one antenna.  And I achieved my DXCC with it.

73,
Jonathan W6GX
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N3OX
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« Reply #37 on: March 06, 2013, 08:14:33 AM »

If i understand the antenna situation at ZS8M correctly, ihe was using one of those broadband dipoles with a resistor in it.

I made a contact on 40m SSB but the signal situation was the most fantastically asymmetric QSO I have had in a long time. When I could actually hear the tone of his voice he sounded surprised at how poorly I could hear him. He was giving me a good Q5 report, I could barely tell he was in there.

I'm sure the antenna situation wasn't the only issue, but I think a combination of high noise at my place compared to ZS8 and ZS8M's lower ERP from running barefoot into a less-efficient antenna and relatively poor propagation to the U.S. East Coast at the times Pierre would get on 40m all added up to a very, very difficult QSO.

They also added up to pretty much ZERO competition, so I had time and space to pull out one of the weakest signals I've worked in recent memory.
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73,
Dan
http://www.n3ox.net

Monkey/silicon cyborg, beeping at rocks since 1995.
W6GX
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Posts: 3011




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« Reply #38 on: March 06, 2013, 08:23:31 AM »

If i understand the antenna situation at ZS8M correctly, ihe was using one of those broadband dipoles with a resistor in it.

I made a contact on 40m SSB but the signal situation was the most fantastically asymmetric QSO I have had in a long time. When I could actually hear the tone of his voice he sounded surprised at how poorly I could hear him. He was giving me a good Q5 report, I could barely tell he was in there.

I'm sure the antenna situation wasn't the only issue, but I think a combination of high noise at my place compared to ZS8 and ZS8M's lower ERP from running barefoot into a less-efficient antenna and relatively poor propagation to the U.S. East Coast at the times Pierre would get on 40m all added up to a very, very difficult QSO.

They also added up to pretty much ZERO competition, so I had time and space to pull out one of the weakest signals I've worked in recent memory.


When I was listening to the pile ups of ZS8M I recall hearing other DX stations 'assisting' the one trying to make a contact.  The assist station will say 'W6 he's calling you'.  So I'm sure the hearing problem is widespread.

Does Pierre know and understand the issue?  Is there a better alternative to a dipole with a resistor/heater?

73,
Jonathan W6GX
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KF6ABU
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« Reply #39 on: March 06, 2013, 12:47:59 PM »

Quote

You are correct that Danie was my first South Africa contact back in August 2010.  Back then I had thought ZS is a rare entity Cheesy  The 40m QSO was made with my G5RV Jr.  Back then I would get through on the first call with a contest station and I had thought a G5RV was the best antenna in the world Cheesy  I wasn't able to figure out why I can't hear ZS8M with my 'killer' antenna.

73,
Jonathan W6GX

I think Danie is all west coast ops first R.S.A. qso. I remember how allusive R.S.A. was!!! They were so far away.

Now I have them on 10/12/15/17/20/30/40 and 80 and I hear them all the time.

I did work ZS8M, with my vertical and 100w. I invested at least 200 hours of listening until I finally heard him on maybe 5 occasions. Every time I heard him I prayed the signal would come up just a little more before he was spotted. He would then be spotted and the swarm would arrive with comments like your 59+ 10 on the east coast Pierre - arm chair copy, Hi Pierre it’s nice to talk to you again, this is our 19th QSO on this band, Hi Pierre let me talk to you for 30 minutes about something dumb so Ben won't be able to hear you anymore when I am done.

I would curse those people! ZS8M was the first person to make me HATE amateur radio. It wasn't because of him (he's a cool dude, we chat all the time) but because everyone else could work him so easily, and brag about while at the same time subtracting from my chance to work him while they work him a 53rd time, or with extreme ease.

His antenna was really bad, very low, very lossy dipole and my vertical and 100w. I finally did work him after much trouble, and it’s one of my favorite QSL cards, and favorite ops. That was about 5 months into HF for me.
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N5MOA
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« Reply #40 on: March 06, 2013, 02:25:52 PM »

Is there a better alternative to a dipole with a resistor/heater?

73,
Jonathan W6GX

According to what Pierre wrote on dx-world, "There will be NO extra antennas! We may only use the existing commercial antenna."

He was hearing better that he was getting out.

I had one qso with ZS8M on 40m using an inverted L, but he wasn't very strong. One qso from the mobile on 40m, he was a lot weaker. Thankfully, there was almost zero pileup, as it took 3 or 4 minutes to get everything sorted out. He wasn't hearing me very well, either.

One qso on 20m was long path, he was 5/6-5/7.

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N4CR
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« Reply #41 on: March 06, 2013, 02:35:23 PM »

Thats great! Grin   BUT............... cant they send someone down there that can work a little CW?  I hate to have to get in the screaming matches.  Matter of fact, I Dont think I will.

Maybe the next one can do something besides SSB Huh.

73, Gene AF3Y

I have a preamp on my mic so I can just talk normally. Makes it so much nicer...
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73 de N4CR, Phil

Never believe an atom. They make up everything.
AF3Y
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« Reply #42 on: March 06, 2013, 03:11:27 PM »

I never heard ZS8M well enough to try .......

Of course, his being SSB only, I did not bust my ass listening for him either.

73, Gene AF3Y
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W6GX
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« Reply #43 on: March 06, 2013, 04:17:15 PM »

I invested at least 200 hours of listening

You did that barely 5 months into HF?  I'm sure you are very proud of that QSO.

ZS8M was the first person to make me HATE amateur radio.

Yes it is annoying when others could work him so easily.  I have heard the same thing as what you heard.  OTOH you might find yourself as the one hated one day.  I have ragchewed with DX stations and those who were waiting to work the DX might be cursing at me.  I did what I did not to show off but it could be perceived that way.  Ham radio is just like a lot of things in life.  There are bullies and there are those who are bullied.  Just remember it's only a hobby!

73,
Jonathan W6GX
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W6GX
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« Reply #44 on: March 06, 2013, 04:25:46 PM »

Is there a better alternative to a dipole with a resistor/heater?

73,
Jonathan W6GX

According to what Pierre wrote on dx-world, "There will be NO extra antennas! We may only use the existing commercial antenna."

He was hearing better that he was getting out.

I had one qso with ZS8M on 40m using an inverted L, but he wasn't very strong. One qso from the mobile on 40m, he was a lot weaker. Thankfully, there was almost zero pileup, as it took 3 or 4 minutes to get everything sorted out. He wasn't hearing me very well, either.

One qso on 20m was long path, he was 5/6-5/7.

I'm a little confused now.  Is the inverted V the commercial antenna he's referring to?  If not then what kind of antenna will these two operators use?  I think one antenna is enough provided it's high enough and works well.

73,
Jonathan W6GX
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