Sunday, September 20, 2009

10 GHz Mountaintop Operations

Saturday, Sept. 19 (2009) was the first time I have operated from a mountaintop on 10 GHz, and I'd like to share some observations from this particular trip. Because this was the first time I have operated from this location, Blue Knob, PA EN00rg, I'd like to tell you what I learned from this trip.

Mountaintop operations such as this tests the capability of your equipment beyond what I have experienced along the lake. Things such as receive sensitivity, pointing accuracy, etc are tested. On this trip, most of the signals are much weaker then what I experienced on Lake Erie.

One thing that was noticed readily on this trip, although our most experienced operator on site, KB8VAO said that this was a fluke, but the 2 meter band conditions were far better than the conditions on 10 GHz. Typically, signals on 10 GHz are much stronger than on 2 meters. Now I have noticed this up on the lake, but I figured this was caused by the duct over the lake being much smaller, and not able to support 2 meters. However, on the mountain, stations in New England were extremely strong on 2 meters, but almost imperceptible on 10 GHz. Many stations had to be worked on CW because the signals were so light. Most of the contacts were a struggle, especially the ones over 100 km away.

Although band conditions were such that there was a 2 meter opening, and 10 GHz seemed flat in comparison, I still managed to break my old personal distance record and worked Vermont which was just under 600 KM away. It was hit and miss for awhile, signal was quite weak, and had to be done on CW. I think next trip, I'm going to bring some form of headphones. I have found that headphones will give you about a 10 dB advantage, at least for me when working extremely weak CW.

The next week or 2, I'm going to compile an equipment checklist, I forgot to bring my code key, and had to borrow one to make the contact.

I worked about a dozen stations total from the mountain, ranging from 60 KM to 600 KM.

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