6m and 160m FAQs

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Revised February 2012

Here are the answers to a number of questions Iíve been asked whilst in QSO, by email or on KST 50 MHz and Low Band chat. Please refer to this list before asking me the same question whilst I am operating:

Q. What is your grid or locator square?

A. LL56fe. The town is Sar in the Northern Governorate of the Kingdom of Bahrain

Q. Would you like my grid locator to confirm our QSO?

A. No thanks giving grid locators on 50 or 70 MHz in pile up conditions just slows the QSO rate; please do not give your locator in any QSO with A92IO unless I specifically ask for it.

Q. Why do you appear to be angry or grumpy when I insist on giving you my locator and ask for yourís?

A. Because I assume you want to work me as do several other stations calling at the same time as you. When you waste time giving your locator, when I havenít got your call-sign correctly in the log is unbelievable. When you then ask for my locator when others are waiting, need I say more........................?

Q. Do you also get upset when stations continue to call while you are already in QSO?

A. Yes I consider this to be an anti-social habit and indicates a complete lack of consideration for others. With weak signals I am often seeking confirmation of call-signs or other information and have to battle with these perpetual callers. We all make mistakes but I will name and hopefully shame perpetual offenders. Perhaps a web-page dedicated to these nuisances would be a good development! If the situation gets too bad I go QRT. Please wait until I indicate that I am listening for new calls e.g. A92IO 15 if listening on 1815 kHz, before calling on top of a station I am already working.

Q. Is this QSO a Ďfirstí with A9 on 5, 50 or 70 MHz?

A. I can tell you whether it is a first for A92IO, click here for my 50 MHz firsts. A92GR and A92GE are also active on 50 MHz and have made some first all time QSOs e.g. A92GR with 5B and A7. Other A9s are likely to become QRV on 50 MHz. As to 5 and 70 MHz, I believe that A92IO is currently the only station QRV on these bands. My firsts on 5 MHz and 70 MHz are also detailed on http://A92.ath.cx. A92C is a small club and does not keep Ďfirstí records.

Q. What is your IOTA reference?

A. IOTA AS-002

Q. Do you know your zone?

A. CQ Zone 21, ITU Zone 39

Q. What is your name?

A. Dave

Q. SSB? (whilst working CW) or CW? (whilst working SSB)

A. On 50 and 70 MHz I work on the mode which I believe will give the maximum number of QSOs in the pertaining conditions. Asking this question (or any question) causes QRM and slows down the QSO rate. I very rarely work SSB on 1.8 MHz. On 5 MHz I work CW and SSB on our two frequencies 5371 kHz and 5405 kHz +/- 3 kHz.

Q. Why donít you reply to questions on ON4KST or email?

A. I am not that clever! I cannot run a pile-up (especially on cw) use a paddle with my right hand, type with my left, respond to an email with my right foot and fill in the log with my left foot, whilst ensuring the message meant for KST does not end up being sent by the logging program. I also do not answer anything to do with the QSO at the time of the QSO. I do try and respond to all emails but NOT in real time. Also emails sent in HTML tend to end up in my spam folder which adds to delays.

Q. Would you like me to call you every time I hear you?

A. Iím happy to work any station on any band or mode. BUT if I am running a pile-up and you have worked me before on the same band and mode, please DO NOT DUPE; give others a chance of a QSO with A9 especially on 50 MHz, 70 MHz and 1.8 MHz.

Q. Can you beam towards me on 50 and 70 MHz?

A. I use a 6 element Cushcraft antenna on 50 MHz; the 3 dB beamwidth is not too narrow. It is therefore not too critical where I beam. On 70 MHz the 4 element yagi is fixed on southern Africa during the peak TEP seasons and is fixed on NW Europe during the sporadic E season.

Q. What is your QSL information?

A. Click here

Q. Have you received my QSL card

A. Itís likely you will ask me this question on air or in the KST chat area. My Master Log is EA6VQís VQLog, which I normally do NOT have running when operating. My ĎQSO Logí is EI5DIís SDX which I upload to the Master Log daily. As my XYL is my QSL Manager, I am unlikely to see your QSL personally so it is highly unlikely that I will be able to answer this question immediately.

Q. Are there QSL delays at present?

A. On my on-line log web-page there is always an indication of when the last batch of direct and bureau cards have been placed into the mail system. Logbook of the World confirmations are normally effected within a few days of the QSO.

Q. When are you QRV?

A. I am working full time Sunday to Thursday. Weekends in Bahrain are Friday and Saturday. I leave home on weekdays at about 04.15 UTC and return about 14:30 UTC, when I am not away from the island on business. In theory I can operate most evenings. For information I will attempt to adjust my daily routine in winter to facilitate operation on 160m e.g. being QRV during hours of darkness. However your best chance of working me on 160m will be Thursday/Friday and Friday/Saturday nights.

Q. Do you have a 50 MHz or 70 MHz beacon?

A. For 50 MHz, I tend to switch on a beacon when I am at home but not in the shack during the sporadic E season. Since 29 May 2010 it operates on 50.495 MHz with 10 dBW TX output to the 6 element yagi with the following sequence ĎA92IO LL56FE T T T T T T T .............í Concerning 70 MHz there is now a 24/7 operational beacon in A9 on 70.085 MHz with 10 dBW output to a vertically polarised folded dipole. The call is A92C/B and locator is LL56he. To hear the beacon as received at my QTH click here.

Q. Do you want to be alerted if the beacons are heard?

A. As A9 is a reasonably rare country, I am happy for an SMS alert to my Irish GSM phone +353 87 236 7580. Please only use this for 50 MHz or 70 MHz propagation alerts when you can hear either of the beacons. I will not have this phone switched on when I am not at home e.g. during working hours.

Q. Do you make skeds?

A. I am often asked to make skeds on many different bands including 160m and 6m. Obviously this is generally impossible on 50 or 70 MHz, with the exception of MS or eme QSOs. Therefore, currently I do NOT make skeds except for DX eme QSOs on 50 MHz; I live in a rather unpredicatable way and I do not want to disappoint anyone unintentionally.

Q. Do you operate using WSJT modes?

A. Yes but not very often, I currently prefer to use CW or SSB.

Q. How many 50 MHz QSOs have you had?

A. Click here

Q. What are your operating conditions

A. Our licence allows us to operate with a maximum transmitter power of 32 dBW (27 dBW on 5 MHz and 70 MHz). I use about 30 dBW TX power from an Elecraft K3 transceiver and Acom 1000 amplifier. On 70 MHz a Spectrum Communications transverter and converted Tokyo High Power HL-1K are used with the K3. As stated earlier, on 50 MHz I use a 6 element Cushcraft yagi and on 70 MHz a 4 element yagi which are about 15 metres above ground. The 50 MHz beacon is a Kenwood TS60 running 10 dBW.

On 1.8 MHz (and 3.5 MHz) I use the same transmitting equipment with a 30 metre high centre loaded (on 1.8 MHz) vertical antenna. The radial field will eventually comprise around 20 ground radials, 40 metres in length. I have a K9AY receiving antenna. On 5 MHz (also 7 MHz and 10 MHz) I use a centre fed 40 metre inverted V doublet whilst on the HF bands 14 MHz and above I use a Cushcraft R7 voltage fed multiband vertical antenna.

Q. Do you have any favourite operating frequencies?

A. I generally start on 50.110 MHz, then QSY to 50.107 MHz (simplex or up 1 kHz) for CW QSOs, moving to 50.1275 MHz (simplex or split 50.130 to 50.1325 MHz) when the band will support SSB QSOs. When sporadic E openings are particularly intense, I may move up the band to 50.205 MHz (simplex or up 5 to 10 kHz, 50.210 - 50.215 MHz) for return calls.

On 160m currently I tend to operate on 1827.5 kHz plus or minus QRM; I tend to listen for stations calling me on 1815 or 1817 kHz.

Q. Why does Dave keep moving around on 50 MHz?

A. Firstly, I donít like operating on SSB below 50.110 MHz. Secondly I use 50.110 MHz as believe it or not, a calling channel and move off after 1 or 2 QSOs. I therefore change frequency when calling or changing from CW to SSB operations. Further, I keep an eye on how the band is being used and if I am in danger of impacting the operations of another DX station I will change frequency. There is nothing worse than the pile-up of one DX operation ending up on top of another DX station.

Q. Do you work on any other VHF bands e.g. 144 MHz?

A. DX working in the Gulf on 144 MHz is difficult. There are many unauthorised nets running on frequencies in and around 144 to 148 MHz. These are FM nets and music is often played. They are particularly prevalent around the low end of the 2 metre band. The answer is therefore NO, I do not work or intend to work on 144 MHz except for local FM QSOs, mainly using the Bahrain repeater TX 145.750 MHz, RX 145.150 MHz (CTCSS frequency 118.8 kHz). However as explained above I am QRV on 70 MHz (4m). There are also plans for some 430 MHz repeaters in Bahrain.

Q. What is the weather like?

A. Usually hot and sunny. I broadcast live weather as A92IO-6 on the APRS network and you can click here to access live information from my weather station on the roof. However at the time of revising this FAQ sheet the weather station is undergoing refurbishment.