N1AV (x-N1RWY) on the air

Ham radio, hiking, coffee, and other tech talk.

23cm and 33CM EME Expedition to KH6

See below for the information that is updated daily with stations worked and a small recap of the events of the day. More pics will be added soon.

Flights and rental are booked!
I will be operating 1296 MHz and 900 MHz EME from Hawaii from March 12-16 2022 from the island of Oahu.

Due to the COVID surge and Governors’ request for tourist to stay away from the islands, the trip had to be pushed to March 2022. This will be the first time Hawaii has been activated on 1296 EME since Bruce Clark, K0YW, operating KH7X at KH6YY in 2007. I think it will be the first time ever for 900 MHz EME from KH6. Those that are looking to work HI for their last state, DXCC, or the fun of chasing DX stations- make note of the dates. I will be working as much of the moon window I can / XYL will let me. I will be working holiday / sked style during the time time there. My West moon view is not great, but will attempt as much as I can stay awake for. I will use Moonnet and HB9Q logger for operating announcements.


Frequency
Frequency and sequence will be determined based on local QRM. (Currently planning on 1296 is 1296.055 1st +- for QRM on 1296. I will self spot on HB9Q logger. )
Modes
Digital: Q65 60C OR 30C second sequences. Most likely be running CFOM. I will announce on HB9Q logger.
CW: CW contacts will be attempted after ALL digital callers are worked. I have planned for a CW pass on the 15th, the last day of 1296 operations. Please email me if you want to try on CW so I can get a list generated. I will not spend time calling CQ in CW on the 15th, I will be on and work stations by a list.

Schedule

3/12 QRV: 1296 Q65 CFOM

Winds were constant at 12 MPH and gusting to 20. The dish was blowing all over the place, swinging easily 10 degrees on each TX and RX cycle. I am happy that I was able to work anyone. Today I was able to work:
HB9Q (-14) DG5CST (-17) NC1I (-24) OK1KIR (-20) DK4RC (-22) OK2DL (-20) DF3RU (-20). Thank you all for your patience. Tomorrow before my Moon rise I will be sun noise testing and working on solutions to help with the dish swing in the winds. Winds are predicted to be less tomorrow. All QSOs uploaded to LOTW.

Link to the dish swinging in the wind. It was hard to keep it on the moon with the movement of the dish and feed.

3/13 1296 Q65 CFOM

Spent several hours tweaking the dish feed for sun noise (7.5dB) as well as aiming process Thanks W2HRO and KB7Q to confirm some questions. Stations were much easier to work with stronger signals. Thanks Frank for acting as my beacon several times to peak the dish. Winds were much lower than yesterday which helped a great deal and made aiming much easier.
Stations worked : 60C
OK1DFC (-18),
PA3DZL (-20) 1st ever 23cm QSO from KH6 to the Netherlands
G4CCH (-14), W5LUA (-18), IQ2DB (-23)
OM4XA (-24), 1st ever 23cm QSO from KH6 to Slovak Republic
IK1FJI (-22), DL7UDA (-21)
OH2DG (-20), 1st ever 23cm QSO from KH6 to Finland
ON4AOI (-19) 1st ever 23cm QSO from KH6 to Belgium
DG0FE (-21) PA0BAT (-21)
ES3RF (-25), 1st ever 23cm QSO from KH6 to Estonia
Stations worked : 120D
W2HRO (-21), K6VHF (-23), KA1GT (-17)

All QSOs uploaded to LOTW.

Thanks again all for the patience! Beer and shower time.

3/14 1296 Q65 CFOM

What is the Hawaiian word for tons of wind? Damn Bra’, today was something. Winds were very strong all day which lead to the dish and feed swinging + – 10 degrees on AZ and 3-5 degrees on EL. It was near impossible to stay on the moon. I managed to work two stations in 2 hours with the wind. I tore the station apart to make sure it was not a bad cable or blown LNA, switching everything to my backup system of the Flex radio 1500 and the older 3W DEM. Still no love. Many thanks to Paul, W2HRO, who realized I need a ‘snickers’ and called me to chat about what was going on. Ended up using Al, K2UYH as a beacon to try to peak on his signal, but after at least 15 min of signal tests, the best I could muster was a -21 – which is 6-8 dB less of what I should be seeing. After working Al I went to 120D, what has been dubbed “paint dry mode”. Yesterday 120D allowed me to work 3m dish stations. Tonight I was only able to work these guys by hand holding the counter weight arm to keep the dish from swinging during TX and RX.

So, I am standing there in the dark with a head lamp on with all the foliage blowing around holding the weights to keep the dish from swinging while watching the laptop on the picnic table .. for 2 minute cycles. Ug.

Tonight I was able to snag several others using 120D including KB2SA – on his 1.8m dish. My smallest station to date with this setup. Congrats!

Station worked: 60C: UA3PTW (-21), DL6SH (-18), K2UYH (-20)
120D: VE6TA (-19), KB2SA (-28), N5BF (-24), JA6AHB (-22).

3/15 1296 CW then 120D.

Today, the last day on 1296 was a full mix of everything that Hawaii had to offer. I spent some extra time trying to brace the dish to not flex and swing as much in the wind. From the start of moon rise, signals were where they should be with this dish. SOLID bright traces on the waterfall, not shades of blue. -15, -16 signals were common. I worked several stations “quickly” (on Q65 60C) and things were looking good. Then the wind and clouds picked up big time. The dish was back to swinging as it has been in the past few days, but not +-10 degrees, but maybe +-5 degrees. After several sessions of zero decodes (and knowing there was a pile of people calling me) I made the decision to switch to 120D. I know this wasn’t a happy choice by some of the DX. However, the averaging in 120D is long enough to take into account the movement of the dish and the movements of the feed. Signals are not strong – but workable. I continued that way for a few hours and worked several more stations. Then the third part of the day rolled in.. Rain. The weather report this morning had said there was a 2 percent, TWO percent chance of rain. This afternoon it was upgraded to 4 percent. But it 100% tuned to rain at the site. I thew a trash bag over the feed, LNA and relay, then a tarp over the operating picnic table, which has the laptop, flex radio 6400M, Q5 signal transverter, W6PQL amplifier, 12V and 50V PS, GPSDO and Bird meter. This was right when Eu had about 10 degrees of moon left, and I was completely QRT at this point. 2 hours later the rain was down to slight sprinkles and I was able to keep the tarp over most of the gear and get back on to try to work K5QE as well as Tom, N7GP. The moon was doing the cloud dance and really only showing it self for about 20 seconds every 10 minutes. I did my best to keep on the moon with the slight rain and wind, but I was not able to hear K5QE. I was able to work N7GP, which was great. Mike KL6M got on at the very end and we tried to work with him on a backup 50w amplifier – however we were not able to make it happen before the rain came back and forced me to QRT for the evening.

Stations worked:

Q65 60C: OK1DFC (-14), SM5DGX (-21),
YO2LAM (-22) 1st ever 23cm QSO from KH6 to Romania
K5DOG (-20), PA3FXB (-23), WA3QGQ (-23)

120D: K3WM (-20), PA9RX (-20), DL4DTU (-20), N7GP (-15)

Thanks all for your patience and sticking with me with the conditions I was working with. Working with all manual adjustments and the windy conditions made for difficult conditions, but very rewarding for those that I was able to work and give a new state and DXCC.

On to 902 tomorrow!

3/16 902 digital (Q65 )

Well, I have to say, this dish and 902 patch feed plays on 902 !
I had a quick phone call with W2HRO on how I should setup for polarity. His response was “keep it simple” H for TX and RX. I took the relay off the 1296 feed and repurposed it for this feed. There is a lot of wide band hash here on 902, I think it is cheap weather stations using spread spectrum for communication between the sensors and the base units. The noise blanker in the Flex 6400M helped a great deal with it. I Jumped on the moon with 1 degree of rise over the ocean and BOOM – there was Al, W5LUA (-24). We worked quickly followed by Grant, VE6TA (-24) all with less than 5 degrees of moon. About an hour later Mike, KL6M (-16), who had just got home from his birthday dinner cobbled up a rats nest of cables, include a hand PTT swith for each sequence to make it all happen.

902 MHz history was made.

According to Allen, K2UYH, these three are the first three 33cm EME QSOs from Hawaii… ever. So, that is pretty cool! I get to be a new DXCC entry for all of them.
First KH6 to USA
First KH6 to VE
First KH6 to AK

Great signals all around! Aiming with the feed is much easier (as it is larger) than the 1296 feed, which helps in this (current) hand aiming setup.

The view tonight for the 902 activity.

Thank you all for the support and the fun!

All QSOs uploaded to LOTW.


3/17 QRT

Operating Style

I will be running 1st sequence on the moon.

For 99% of the contacts I do not require “73” to be sent. I will send RR73 and move on to the next caller. If we are struggling to complete, I will send RRR until that is acknowledged. Please do not keep sending 73 expecting one back.

If you need HI for your last state for WAS please contact me!

902 EME

3/16 pass will be for 902. I will be on the HB9Q logger. Please let me know ahead of time if you want to try on 902. I am looking forward to some early ‘luck of the Irish’ to make some of these 902 contacts happen!

33cm linear patch feed. 3D printed! Technology is amazing.


Callsign used:
N1V (NOT N1AV)
A 1X1 call has been requested and approved for the time in Hawaii: N1V

Equipment:
2.4M Sub-Lunar folding dish and W2HRO patch feed
Flexradio 6400M
Flexradio 1500 backup
DEM 1296 transverter(s)
ODO + AGO preamp (backup)
PQL 600W PA (run at 300-450W)
I will have internet access and will be on HB9Q logger and blogging here on my site.

NEW: 902 MHz – 33cm!
It looks like the 902 guys have convinced me to bring out gear for 902 EME as well.
DEM 902 transverter
Motorola cell phone amplifier (Expect 250w)
W2HRO 902 linear patch feed (Serial #001)
Same 2.4m dish and Flexradio 6400M (flex 1500 backup)
AGO preamp


The operating position on the outdoor picnic table on the patio. From right to left WSJT-X software 2.5.4, Flexradio 6400M, DEM 10 MHz distribution block, BG7TBL GPSDO, Q5 signal 23cm 28-1296 and 33cm 28-902 transverters, home brew 500w W6PQL amplifier(1296) with a lot of fans, Bird 43 meter, Motorola 300W amplifier (902) Eltek Flatpack 48V/3000 PS, Meanwell 24V power supply and 12V power supply. All setup to work off 120V. (10 amp draw on 120V for all components when in TX mode). Benson box shipping crate for the dish and the 1296 support pole and feed in the background.

QSL Policy:
Contacts will be upload to LOTW.
Paper QSL Cards will be created and replied to with SASE or $1 for international shipping.
I will send cards to those who send a card and request one. Otherwise, LOTW. I will update LOTW while on site every few days between vacation activities.

A BIG thank you to the sponsors!

W6PQL, WD5AGO, FlexRadio, Q5 Systems, K5QE, K7BQ, NC1I, OK1IL, PA3DZL, JA6AHB, PA3FXB, OK1DFC, and the Hukilau Cafe (amazing coconut pancakes and Moco loco!)


If you want to help out – use my whereisjay@gmail.com address.

More information will be posted as it comes available.

  1. First RX test on 1296 (Aug 15th, 2020)
  2. LOTW entry for N1V created and signed for 3/12-3/18/2022(Feb, 2022)
  3. Amplifier and Q5 signal XVTR stress tested 320W at the feed. 3/5/2022
  4. Testing final setup and packing 3/9/2022

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19 Comments

  1. Valter IK1FJI April 22, 2022

    Great job Jay, very happy with the qso from Hawaii island

    73, Valter IK1FJI

  2. Zdenek OK1DFC March 20, 2022

    Hi Jay, thanks again for the new WAS #47, new DXCC #121 and two very nice connections. I was able to finish optimizing my new offset antenna exactly one day before the expedition started. The signal from you was excellent, I could hear you easily even from the speaker. Signal on Q65 was -08 to -10 after decoding. Congratulations and I will look forward to the next expedition if any. QSL direct and USD via PayPal. 73!

    • N1AV March 20, 2022 — Post Author

      It was great to work you twice during the holiday expedition. Massive signal as always. Looking forward to the next time out here.

  3. Ivan OK1IL March 17, 2022

    Jay I was not the lucky one in spite of late night efforts. Pity, that you didn´t use east european window I have no obstacles by my MR. It was before your Moonset. Bad luck that you didn´t find wind sheltered QTH to be able to keep your dish better under control. I worked 2,4m/300W stations without any problem.
    I have still 12 states to work and when HI will be the last one left,
    I shall pay flying ticket PHX-HNL for you or anyone else.
    Thanks for your efforts anyway, hope that you came safe home,
    73 and GL Ivan OK1IL

    • N1AV March 17, 2022 — Post Author

      Greetings Ivan, my location did not have a EU MR look as was blocked by mountains. There are future KH6 plans underway.

  4. Ron Cade March 16, 2022

    Hello Jay,
    Just finished reading your blog. Congrats on many QSOs from the windy side of Oahu. I have recently been in touch with Paul via email and plan on putting together a 1296 station here in the Tucson area. I am hoping to get some technical help from you as I put things together. I already have a IC910H with the 1296 module, tracking software and controller box for my Yaesu AZ/EL rotator, all stuff that I used for Amsat Satellite work. Drop me a line when you get back home.
    73 Ron W6ZQ

    • N1AV March 16, 2022 — Post Author

      Sure thing.. Doug K7EME is another local resource to Tucson for you.

  5. Guy March 14, 2022

    After 2 night roof walking and aligning my 15ft dish with ropes we finally made it, btw Jay this also is a first ever qso on 23cm between ON and KH6 so this made it to one of my most extreme QSO’s ever considering all the work …. ..
    Tnx for quick LoTW confirmation, qsl will follow

    • N1AV March 14, 2022 — Post Author

      I am glad we were able to make it- and you manage to stay on the roof even in the bad weather! Congrats on working the new DXCC and Hawaii!

  6. Jac, PA3DZL March 10, 2022

    Good luck Jay, i will be looking forward to QSO with you off the moon. Will check the HB9Q logger for more info on your activity.
    My window to you is very good on my moonrise but much less on my moonset !!! Take care and have a nice time with many QSOs

  7. Alejandro CE3VRT March 9, 2022

    Good luck Jay, im looking forward to see you on the moon. I have a very good window to KH6 and to the pacific so im sure we will success on a QSO!

    • N1AV March 9, 2022 — Post Author

      I will be looking for you. Meet on the HB9Q logger.

  8. Ivan March 9, 2022

    Jay GL hope to work, sent you some small change via Paypal,
    I hope, that your email adress is OK: %20whereisjay@gmail.com
    73 Ivan OK1IL

  9. Mark McMillan March 7, 2022

    Wish I had a amp. Good luck. W7MEM

  10. KB7Q March 5, 2022

    Have a great trip Jay. I sent you a donation via PayPal, I know what the luggage charges can be for these forays!

  11. Zdenek April 2, 2021

    Great plan, looking forward to meet you via Moon. Need HI as a WAS and DXCC :-). GL and safe trip!

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