Thursday, 2 April 2015

Targets,more targets.

Is it important to set targets. "If you don't measure it, it doesn't get done." Or so they say. It is also possible to end up striving for the target and forgetting what you are doing it all for, which is in this case, my hobby, radio,

Anyway, whatever the logic of it all, at this time of year I review what I have done and what I hope to do in the next year (if I am spared!).

Review of last year's targets (April 2014 to March 2015) and a look forward:-

Ten metres.
I started off last year with the still big "undones" on ten metres. Relating to PSK/JT65 and JT9 data modes, from here, I had just worked China, but was still missing India, Pakistan and New Zealand, amongst other countries. YV1DD in Venezuela was a nice new one, as was DU2/WA8UGN in Philippines. I am still missing confirmation of 20 US states on eQSL although I passed the 300 prefix mark. I did not manage to work India, Pakistan or New Zealand.

Frankly I do not bother much with chasing after things on 10m. If I had wanted all States confirmed I might acutally send out some cards or eQSLs. I don't send any cards on my own account, I ony reply to the ones other people send me. And anyway, if I really wanted records I might not start on 10m with JT65. And I might dig my beam out of the garage and use it instead of an ex-CB vertical.

So for next year, India and Pakistan remain on the target list. At least I heard them last year, whereas I have neither heard nor worked New Zealand, on any band, by any mode, from anywhere, in my amateur career.

For WSPR next year I might try to beat my 1mW best DX. So far that is to 4X1RF.

Basically 10m remains a band I love to follow for clues to propagation, and not a band to pursue in its own right. Pity that, but I only have so much time.

Six metres.
Last Year's target was to beat my best DX record which was 3621km to VO1SO as long ago as 18 June 2011. That is crazy as my 4m best DX is already 3276km, and 6m should be easier. Anyway, 3621km was well beaten by working WP4JCF on 17 June 2014. So, 6737.9km (more accurate using the 6 digit locator) becomes the target to beat. I suspect that will take some time...

That QSO, together with others like one with Azores on 4m the previous year, remind me how glorious VHF can be, when it works. Band quiet, nobody there, and then suddenly just one station - rare DX! Remind me of that during February doldrums.

Target for next year - just one - beat 6737.9km.

I do not really count countries or squares on 6m. Maybe I should.

Four metres.
There the target was the same as in previous years, two new countries and 5 new squares. The result was no new countries and 18 new squares. 6 of those squares were worked on 17 March alone. With 4m I am relying on new countries appearing. Next year we have Malta and Lithuania for the first time. Lithuania should be pretty straight forward, but Malta is maybe too far for normal Es. Also standing out as needing to be done are Greece (all four types), Macedonia, plus a lot of rather small places such as Ceuta and Melillia, Guernsey, Jersey, San Marino, Market Reef, etc. The larger places are difficult distances, and the smaller places have very little activity.

So the target remains 2 new countries and 5 new squares.

What I really need is France or Sweden to open up 4m. I am happy to have any country, but you don't learn much about propagation listening on a band which has large gaps in the amateur population. So here is a target I have no control over, let us please have France, Sweden, Switzerland, Austria and Latvia added to our 4m roster. Is that too much to ask? Probably.

Two metres.
No specific target for 2m in recent years. Best DX is EU7AA in Belarus, 2070km, but that was set back on 10 June 2011. Incidentally, that was within a week of the 6m DX record, which lasted for three years. Now that I am more active on meteor scatter I may work some more in future. The time to break that record is surely next year.

So for next year the 2m plan is to increase the best DX beyond 2070km.

Summary.
Last year was not a great year. No New Zealand on 10m, no new countries on 4m, nothing much at all on 2m. There was one stand-out contact, WP4JCF on 6m. I do hope that next year will be better. Declining sun spot activity may cramp 10m, but I am now better set up for meteor scatter on the VHF bands. So we shall see. The one dark spot is that I have lost 1dB gain on the 6m antenna, but then I have gained 3dB on the 4m one. And the 2m one has new low-loss coax and it may yet get a work over on the gain front.

Ask me how I got on next April. If I have not gone QRT with frustration, I hope I can report that it has gone well.

I'll keep you posted as I go along.

73
Jim

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