[pskmail] Re: Server in Asia - 30mb antenna question

  • From: John Douyere <vk2eta@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: Unname <pskmail@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 30 May 2015 18:37:31 +1000

Hello Simon,

I do not get many connections through my server. I am the main user when
4WDriving in the Australian bush in places where there is no mobile
coverage. There are a couple of other users also land based.

But that is possibly due to the frequencies I normally scan (80, 40 and
30M) so it does not have a large foot print.

I only changed the scan to 30, 17 and 15M for a few months when I when to
Cape York up North two years ago.

I have had only a few requests from maritime mobile from New Caledonia and
New Zealand that were interested in the server.

But of course each region is different.

I suspect that these days if you are on the high seas a sat phone is a
better and more reliable alternative and not that expensive anymore. So the
need for HF radio links is definitely reducing from what I see. Sailmail
has closed now, and having used Australian based Winlink servers in the
past I didn't hear a lot of traffic on them either. Just my personal

I also have a dedicated FT-857 as the server, set at 50W max and that has
been working reliably for several years now.

All the best,

73, John

On Fri, May 29, 2015 at 3:23 PM, Simon Luttrell <dmarc-noreply@xxxxxxxxxxxxx


Hi John - thanks very much for your very useful comments!

I can agree with you about propagation at my latitudes. The band that
seems to provide the best propagation for me is 15 metres, using my DX
Engineering 80/40 Thunderbolt vertical antenna, that is resonant on 7MHz
(so I'm using it on its 3rd harmonic, with very low SWR). So even though I
am not using an antenna designed for 15 meters, I am getting good coverage.

I have tested my vertical antenna on 30 metres, but the take off angle is
too low ==> I'm heard on the other side of the world as a weak DX signal,
but the first skip zone is the area that I really want to cover, ie the
Indian Ocean etc.

I am waiting on a 30mb collinear wire antenna to arrive, which I'll test
at a lowish height to see if it will perform as a NVIS antenna, (but 10MHz
is a bit high for NVIS).

I have to say that I've been monitoring 10.148MHz for days, but receive no
PSKMail server beacon signals whatsoever :(

I will dedicate a server and Yaesu FT857 rig to this service. So I want
to ensure that my expense on these items is not 'wasted' because no-one can
use my server. If it can provide good coverage west over the Indian Ocean
for mariners, and over south-east Asia for landbased/emcomm/NGO etc etc,
then that will meet my aims.

I think the best that I can do is to set up server and rig, and then do
some tests on different bands at different times. Maybe I operate on 15mb
during the day and possibly on 40mb at night.

I will check out the propagation links you provided to help me in my


PS - How 'popular' is your server? How many emails/connections do you
typically have per day/week??

On Thu, 28/5/15, John Douyere <vk2eta@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:

Subject: [pskmail] Re: Server in Asia - 30mb antenna question
To: "Unname" <pskmail@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Received: Thursday, 28 May, 2015, 9:56 PM

That's a great
idea, and totally feasible in my opinion.
Some feedback based on my tests here
in Sydney that may be useful for your
I found
that 30M in the lower latitudes has a limited reach during
most of the time. I got reliable links back to my server on
30M up to about 1500KM.
I tested my server all the way to
the tip of Cape York in north east Australia which is
located at -12 degrees latitude (similar to Phuket at +9
degrees) and I could get back to my server in Sydney (approx
2500KM strait line) reliably only on 15M and sometimes on
So based on your
objectives I would advise to consider scanning a few
frequencies rather than just 30M. I would propose scanning
30M, 20M, 17M and 15M. Maybe with two consecutive minutes on
30M to make up the 5 minutes scanning cycle.
Now my base antenna may be a
contributor to the limited reach of the 30M band as it is an
inverted V at 12M above ground level with an autotuner. But
I suspect it is not the main factor as it seems that in
Europe they get reliable 30M links up to that distance even
with vertical antennas. And they are at a much higher
latitude where lower frequencies work a longer distances in

If you look at the example below of
the prediction chart for 11:30AM local time in Phuket (the
chart is centered on Brunei but the latitude is similar at
about 4 degrees North) you will see that to get a good
coverage of the indian ocean you need to go up to 24Mhz, but
my guess is that even if you stop at 21Mhz you will get
decent DX capability.
If you want to run propagation
simulations, the Australian IPS services provide some
interesting tools (see http://www.ips.gov.au/HF_Systems/6/6/2
and select Brunei Bay Radio for example).
Hope this helps,
73, John

On Thu, May 28, 2015 at
6:24 PM, Simon Luttrell <dmarc-noreply@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
there seem to be no PSKMail servers in Asia, I am thinking
of setting up a server from my QTH on the island of Phuket,
south Thailand. This should provide coverage over the
Indian Ocean and southeast Asia land masses.

I have a first question. For the PSKMail servers that
already operate on 30mb, what antennas are you guys

I'm sure that I will have more questions, but this is an
important one to see if my idea is feasible.


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