May 1, 2009


Trick 1a: monitor Es propagation on 27Mhz SSB
For 2009 I promised myself to pull some extra rabbits out of the hat.
Remember the old CB SSB contacts during the evenings in the 80's? We thought that making contact with South-France, Spain, Italy etc.. was the ultimate dx. What did we know about Es propagation back then when I was only 16? With 12W in SSB, 120 channels etc. (non-legal) and a simple half wave vertical on the roof, next to girls&cars life was exciting to the max!

So why not monitor some CB SSB frequencies to detect Es openings?

A quick jump in a pile of old gear and I dig out both a legal CB rig (22 channels, 0.5W and FM only) and a typical flea-market-worn-out-120channels SSB true DX-rig.
Within milliseconds after switching it on I receive colourful memories from the past; it's that analogue S-meter. This type S-meter was used in most CB rigs in those days and although it looks miserable small, it resembles my youth. I have stared for zillion hours at that tiny needle. Those were the happy days. Yes sure they are.

La Lafayette seems way off frequency, the SSB section is horribly mis-aligned, no TX, but who cares?
Ok, now where do we connect it to?

Trick 1b: a quick home made vertical for 27Mhz
That shouldn't be too difficult. Grab a short fishing rod and cut some wire.
The quarter wave vertical, using 1 radial, is quickly mounted to the side of the chapel roof. Some fiddling with the antenna analyser and we're done, right?
At first I get a resonance at 25.2MHz and it seems parked there, no matter what lengths I cut. It turns out to be the the aluminium strip at the roof front edge, which is very nearby and exactly in resonance at...... Anyway, moving the radial just 1m away from it and the resonance goes up more than 3 MHz. Now both lengths are too short! I feel like an idiot.
Anyway, half an hour later we have CB antenna capability in the building.

The Lafayette offers muffled LSB signals from Mediterranean countries, thus proving there is Es going on.
Can you remember the 'old calling frequencies'?

26.620 South Africa
27.450 France
27.555 General calling freq. but mainly Italy
27.765 Germany, Austria, Switzerland
27.805 Holland + Surinam

I think I better keep it parked at 'triple five'.
Let's see what this trick will offer me, besides some nostalgic feelings :)

Worked some more countries on 6m during Es: 9H1 and an IT9.

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