Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tuvalu #2

Interesting QSO, he was on 40M and people were working him simplex. No pileup at all. Very civilized. When my turn came, he was an easy one call pickup. He is an excellent DX operator. My band noise on 40 runs around -125 dBm and Mr Tuvalu was hitting -102 dBm. Not bad on a 7200 mile path.

I really like being able to measure signal strength directly in dBm, and I like the fact that what I see is linear across the S meter's range. I like being able to track my band noise. If my noise is high there isn't much point in even listening. I also like being able to see my noise. Sometimes noise is local across just s few khz and drifts up and down the band, and with the panadapter you can see instantly what's going on. You don't have to tune around to try and characterize the noise.

I was using my 1/2 wave end fed vertical, which is perhaps the best vertical I have ever built. I have a 1/4 wave 40 on another part of the property and this half waver doesn't do anything the 1/4 wave doesn't do, but it just seems to do what it does with more elegance. If I had the support height I'd make all my verticals 1/2 wave antennas, but by the time I got to 240 ft on 160, I'd be better off hanging dipoles off that tower for the bands above 160.

The other Tuvalu station T27A just came up on 160, but I don't have propagation yet. My band noise on 160 runs -118 dBm and grey line for me is still 30-40 minutes away. I'm sure my only chance to work him would be with grey line enhancement, so I won't get to hear (or work) him this morning, as duty calls and I'm already a couple minutes late. The DX cluster spotting station is up in New England. New England is already into its grey line enhancement. You think of Florida as very east, but its amazing how far west it really is.