Breaking news and other updates from the SBMS / OVRO EME Project

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W6IFE QRV for the 2005 ARRL International EME Competition!

Following testing, W6IFE began prowling 1296, looking for contacts in the contest. We were not disappointed. 1926 sounded like 20 meters during a CW DX contest on HF! There were dozens of stations across the first 25 KHz of the band. The first few contacts were made on CW, but HB9BBD asked us to go to SSB. We obliged and had our first of many SSB QSOs during the contest. Dominique presents a tremendous signal on 1296, and we had no difficulty copying his signals.

Undoubtedly the most unique experience of the contest was have a good old-fashioned rag-chew with K5GW, on SSB! The session ended with an attempt to make what would possibly be the first-ever EME FM contact. This was unsuccessful, but we are hopeful for another opportunity to try again in the future.

We concluded the contest with 100 contacts, of which 79 were valid, and a multiplier of 40 for a total claimed score of 316,000. Not bad for our first time out.

First Echoes!

W6IFE produced the first echoes off the Moon this afternoon on 1296 MHz. Following Moonrise, the team began testing on 1296 MHz. After adjusting for Doppler shift, the first echoes were received. Not a stong as had been hoped, there was heavy distortion on the return signals, probably due to the low abgle to the horizon. Later tests resulted in stronger and cleaner returns. Hear the first echoes here:

First Light!

SBMS/OVRO EME Project members have succesfully completed integration and test of the 1296 and 10,368 MHz transverters. The transverters were installed and tested, and with the Moon not yet visible, the big dish was aimed towards the Sun. The immediate rise in system noise level indicated that the receivers were working correctly. The Sun was then used to "fine tune" the focus position of the feed. Maximum output is a good approximation of being in the correct focus position.

Unfortunately, a sudden equipment failure prevented the completion of testing with the Moon. Static discharge, possibly due to high winds, may have damaged Chuck's DSP-10 IF radio. Further testing is postponed until the team returns next month.