Monday, 9 August 2010

Where have all the grabbers gone?

Where have all the grabbers gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the grabbers gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the grabbers gone?
Gone to graveyards every one
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?
(after Pete Seeger)

Various distractions and responsibilities have kept me away from the radio (and this blog) for a couple of weeks - but I was determined to put some time in over the weekend. Initial looks at the CW band segments on 80 and 40m suggested little satisfaction was to be had there - so I fired up the 30m QRSS beacon.

On opening up i2ndt's grabber aggregator page I was met with something of a surprise. 30m grabbers are becoming an endangered species (over last weekend, at least)!

Many QSYs to other bands (including a temporary shift to 20m from Guenael and his precipitating pachyderms), some talk of astronomical observations - what's going on? With my h/b 30m beacons a QSY to another band isn't a matter of flicking a couple of switches!

Now - let's be quite clear... this isn't a complaint. I have already explained on this blog the debt of gratitude we owe to the grabber operators, saying (with deliberate hyperbole)"those who only transmit are much to be despised". However, an unexpected drought of reporting receiving stations is worthy of comment!

Once again Joachim, pa1gsj, was my salvation - here's a spot from his "Suburban Subharmonic QRSS Grabber"...

(you can just make out my "m0xpd" in S/MT Hell followed by QRSS CW [bottom left at 10.14002 MHz]).

Andrew, g4cwx, also did me some service - thanks!

Frustrated by the poverty of grabbers and my poor propagation, I shifted to my h/b WSPR signals. After a weak start (that poor propagation again), eventually I started to get noticed...

Note here that Joachim, pa1gsj, has spotted BOTH my QRSS AND my WSPR emissions. WOW! Thanks Joachim! (I just added Joachim's blog "de draaggolf" (The Carrier Wave) to my links).

I have a few issues to resolve...

First, I am beginning to believe there's something "different" about the m0xpd "home" antenna (a half g5rv with inductors and extensions for 80m). There has been a small but noticeable "shift" in the ATU settings required on all bands. Also, I notice a difference in the wet and (as a newcomer) I don't know if it is within "normal" limits. I am not sure my antenna isn't the origin of my "poor propagation" noted above. I'm having a lot of trouble upholding my faith these days!

Second - and much more important - I want to encourage and support the 30m grabber operators. Obviously, one of the clearest means of supporting the grabber role is to put my money where my mouth is and operate a grabber myself - that is now under consideration. Until the time I make such a tangible sign of collaboration, I simply ask all fellow transmitting QRSS enthusiasts to join me in my expression of thanks and support for the remaining 30m grabber OPs.

...-.- de m0xpd

1 comment:

  1. My "precipitating pachyderms" ?! héhé :)

    I spotted your weak signal today (2010/08/09) with WSPR and I took a screenshot because I noticed something interesting. Your signal is very weak in comparison of other signals. But your signal is decoded perfectly and not the others more powerful. I started an additional grabber on the WSPR segment (10.140 100 to 10.140 300) and this view show that a part of powerful signals are usually dirty (I will send you a screenshot by email). I guess this is more challenging to decode with some distortion/overmodulation. I conclude : nice TX !

    By the way, my 30m grabber is back ;) Unfortunately for you, I'm not on the other side of the planet.

    73, Guenael (F4GKA)