Friday, July 29, 2011

A great and memorable day

After more hard work a friend and I added two more 15 element antennas and an "H" frame to my EME (moon bounce) array. This morning was my first chance to be on the air with the new antennas. Twelve stations were contacted in Europe, Asia, & Africa believe it or not I even had a pile-up with three stations calling at the same time. The photo shows what a big antenna it takes to transmit and receive signals reflected from the moon, about 480,000 average miles round trip..... Jack WB9OTX
See my EME Logbook

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Hale–Bopp 1995

1995Hale–Bopp, one of the most widely observed comets of the twentieth century, was discovered by two independent observers, Alan Hale and Thomas Bopp, at a great distance from the Sun.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Ham Radio via the moon

I have peaked a lot of interest with my latest contacts via the moon. Other local Hams want to try EME (Earth Moon Earth) and want information on how to set up a station. I as a novice can give a few pointers, but by no means am I an expert. If you read some of the articles posted to the internet it would seem fairly easy. I speak from my trials, "it is not easy". Contacts have been made using a single antenna and a power of 50 watts, but this is a rare thing. I think the bare minimum you should shoot for is two high gain antennas phased together either with an expensive power divider or phasing lines. An elevation and azmath rotor, as short of a run of coax or hardline (7/8 inch) LMR 400 can be used if the run is short. Also you need at least 300 watts of power and a very sensitive SSB 2 meter receiver. Not a must but very helpful, a mast mounted pre-amp. With this minimum set up you will with good conditions be able to make a few contacts. You may try for days without any contacts, but you can work the very large stations (big guns) in time. I have been very lucky, I have worked 8 stations in 2 weeks. I think this is very good but I have exhausted hours of time accomplishing these 8 contacts. Prepare to miss meals, appointments, and sleep. Be warned it is habit forming and expensive. But the greatest thrill will be seeing your call sign coming back via the moon on the computer screen. I am now in the process of adding 2 more antennas mounted on an "H" frame hoping for a better chance of making more contacts..... Jack WB9OTX EM79ib

Monday, July 11, 2011

No moon

As you read before I am doing Moon Bounce on the 2 meter band. The problem is the moon is not always visible in the sky or it is behind the trees in my yard. "What to do"? simple download JT65HF. This software is like the EME program, it is used for weak signals on the 6 meter band and below (160 to 6). The object of the game is to use as low of wattage as posible. I use 5 watts because that is as low as my transmitter will go. I'm even using an antenna not ment for 20 meters. You can decode signals that you cant even hear coming from the receiver speaker. I have worked stations in all parts of the world. If you are a tech class operator you can use it on 6 and 10 meters. If general or above 20 meters (14.076) is the place to be. You will need a computer sound card interface and ofcourse a computer. I loaded it on an old slow computer that I used for PSK31 and the program works perfect.I tested it in receive with my little net book and it decodes fine. If you are like me, you want to try everything new, so download the software and give it a try.
Get it here (its free)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Its not if its when

My wife does a very good job of backing up her files, pictures, and etc. Recently I had to reload the operating system because of a nasty virus that I could not remove. I completed the installation and put the back up files back on, now a week later she tells me she can't find the recent photos. I look on the external hard drive where the back ups are stored, not there. She did not back up the recent files folder, they are gone forever. I admit I don't know the files system in the OS of Vista or Windows 7 as I have XP on all of my computers. This is another goofy thing Microsoft has changed in Vista and seven. Please place your files for back up where you can find them, a good place is on or a sub directory of "My Documents". If you use a onboard mail program such as "Thunderbird" or "Outlook Express" export your address book and keep it in My Documents so it can be found easily and backed up. Move files stored in C:/Program Files that are created by programs such as Quicken. a good place to keep these files would be C:/my documents/quicken backup. You must keep your back up files off your computer. Put them on a thumb drive or external hard drive. Yes, you will have to buy one of these devices. Be safe or sorry, its up to you. Here is a little tutorial on understanding your file system on your computer.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

WB9OTX Makes Moon Bounce Contact

11:50 EDT (15:50Z) July 3, 2011
Today at about noon I worked my first moon bounce EME station. It was UA3PTW located in European Soviet Union. All the expense, problems, work, and sweat finally paid off. I have dreamed about this for many years and today it has come to be. This is one of the hardest contacts to make in Ham Radio and also the longest distance. It is 240,000 average miles to the moon and another 240,000 miles return. It takes 2 1/2 seconds for the signal's round trip. I have a very modest station consisting of two 15 element Yagi antennas and the power of 300 watts. A big thanks to my wife Betty for reheating all the meals that I have missed trying for this contact........... Jack Demaree WB9OTX

*** Update ..... I have now contacted Spain, Italy and the USA. I am adding 2 more antennas on a "H" frame, 7/8 inch hard line, and a quad input power divider as soon as all the parts come in. Look out moon !