New world record for ATV on 10 GHz
by Michel Vonlanthen, HB9AFO
translated by John Jaminet, W3HMS, Mechanicsburg, PA.

Version en franšais  /  Deutsche Version
Voir aussi: F1JSR/F3YX et F1AAM/F5BUU


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IM98XU Spain

630 miles

JN54BC Italy

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List of all ATV world record



Thursday 17 June 1999, about 0730, the QSO between EA5/F1AAM/P and I5/HB9AFO/P was made which moved the world ATV record from 821 km or 500 miles to 1031 kilometers or 630 miles. The liaison link on 144 Mhz started at 0600 with signals 59 +, exactly opposite to the preceding days where phone was just barely audible above the noise, despite the big signals put out by 200 Watts and 11 elements.

After some adjusting of the 10 GHz gear, the test pattern of HB9AFO was received in Spain by very quick bursts going up to P5. Going the other way, signals were P4 waning with the passage of time. The QSO was shortened in order to allow F1AAM to contact equally Serge TM2SHF, in Corsica with F3YX
,and Michel F6BVA, on the French coast. To see the slow fall of the amplitude and frequency of signals, the propagation came to an end and it is therefore probable that we could have exchanged pictures more consistently if we had begun earlier.

We note that, in the preceding days, we tried all hours of the night and the early morning, but all in vain, as the propagation was not there on our schedule. In order to know if our altitude was optimal for this kind of QSO , as we were then at 1320 meters or 4092 ft of altitude, we next moved ourselves to the west of La Spezia, establishing our base camp in an ideally situated hotel at 300-400 meters or 930 –1240 ft of altitude with a magnificent protected view of the sea and Spain. For ourselves, we passed a part of Thursday night trying to QSO with F1AAM separating into two teams: Charly, HB9ADJ with his own equipment to a point called "Telegrafo" at an altitude of 550 meters and me in the hotel.

Unfortunately, we were victims of a black–out of the propagation which prevented us from a contact between us on 144 Mhz, the fog and humidity were almost 100%.. While TK2SHF contacted some stations on the continent with propagation superior to normal, we heard absolutely nothing. It in was not
until Saturday, the day of our return to Switzerland, that we had the QSO at 0600 with TK2SHF.

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From left to right, Mauro IK1WVQ, Charly, HB9ADJ, and Michel
HB9AFO study the maps and weather information while awaiting the opening.


It becomes more and more difficult to increase the distance on 10 GHz, and this is logical. In a week, we made only two QSOs on 10 GHz, one with Mauro IK1WVQ/P, to Alassio (169 km) and one with EA5/F1AAM/P. All the other attempts with F6BVA, F5CAU and HB9RXV, as much on 10 as on 24 GHz, have failed due to the geographic position of the Gulf of Genes. We did not hear the others participating during the week of ATV traffic. We took advantage, for lack of anything better to do, to go to the Tuccoli surplus sales shop in Pisa and also to make some tests on 24 GHz with the Gunn diode transmitter of
Mauro (5 mW and small horn) testing to 12 km, or 7.2 miles without problems, see photos).

If you desire to go to the Alpine Club, be warned! If you attempt night time QSOs, you either will not be able to enter there or go out between 2200 and 0600!. The other problem is ecology. In order to avoid disturbing the natives with the noise of our generator, we had to vacate the parking where we were at first. Next, we had to operate with prudence at Sioux mounting and taking down the antennas before and after operations to avoid "terrorizing" the strollers with our antennas, which are forbidden in protected natural zones ( fixed antennas ARE forbidden). We have been questioned several times by strollers who believed that we made tests preliminary to the installation of a microwave relay, their mistrust was in


To increase the distance becomes difficult now for there does not now exist longer trip distances in the north Mediterranean area. It will be necessary therefore to move more to the south but with a minimum distance of 5000 kilometers by car to cover; there is too much equipment to transport to take an airplane.
From the equipment point of view, ours appears adequate for us to attempt the longer distances but we could again optimize liaison 2 meter phone equipment for quicker installation of the antenna.
The energy production also could be improved, with the possibility of working using batteries for short periods of time even with the TWT amplifiers for fast work in urban zones.


EA5F1AAM/P:Jean-Pierre, F1AAM, and John-Claude, F5BBUU at Climbs Pego , Spain close to Denia. in Grid Square IM98XU, at 200 meters of altitude. For 144Mhz: 200W and 11 element antenna. For 10 GHz: 39 " or 1 meter antenna, TWT amplifier with 12 W and another 1 meter antenna for reception.

I5/HB9AFO/P:Charly, HB9ADJ; Michel, HB9AFO and Mauro, IK1WVQ from Sunday to Wednesday. ). At Rifugio Carrara, above Carrara in Toscany, Italy in grid square JN54BC at 1320 meters of altitude. On 144: 180W and 11 element antenna. Two complete equipment sets: HB9AFO:10 GHz: 1 meter antenna, 12 watt TWT , receiver for automatic search for stations and narrow band scanner receiver. On 24GHz: 100mw and 65 cm antenna and 1 meter dish. HB9ADJ:10 GHz: 35 cm antenna , 12 watt TWT and 85 cm dish antenna, satellite TV receiver.


Why "Ciao Gino? Because Gino was the Indian blackbird that had soothed each of us during our meals eaten in the refuge! All the visitors entering into the room to eat went towards the bird and greeted it in a
sonorous voice of "Ciao Gino" and it replied once again in a less sonorous "Ciao Gino" between the hungry growling stomachs and whistles. After a stay at Carrara Rifugio, life is not the same! ...

THE PHOTOS (In chronological order).

  • First location in the parking lot of the refuge of Carrara, at 3900 m. We were hunted by some of the river residents who complained about the noise of the generator.
  • Second location, in a marble quarry, above CarraraDormi, the beautiful star to study the nocturnal propagation…it was a bad night!. A liaison every 15-30 minutes during the night with EA5/F1AAM and loss of contact in the early morning hours.
  • Charly sleeps standing while taking breakfast, after the traffic during the night .
  • Transportation of the equipment from the parking lot to the refuge of Carrara, 300 meters of very bad route. Mauro and Michel in action (yes, yes, Charly also worked… but he took the photo. ..)
  • Third location, towards the flag that is located 30 meters from of the refuge.The installation, details, the parabolic antenna with the TWT (Travelling Waves Tube) amplifier attached with string to the unstable barrier parapet, other view.
  • Looking for another location after the closing/opening schedule difficulties at the refuge and impossibility of leaving the antennas installed in the protected zone. Giancarlo, I5SKJ, came to visit us; we had found the moon bounce station of I5OUL located at 1 km from the refuge as the crow flies. We could have installed the antennas there but we would have had to work on a grassy precipices which is dangerous for night operations and it would also have been difficult to have access to the station itself by a small steep path, thus problems for transportation. After "negotiations" with the employer of the refuge, we preferred to remain there. Charly and Giancarlo in front of the 144 Mhz moon bounce antenna. Mauro and Michel with a view plunging down on the marble quarry called Carrara (3000 years of quarry operations….Michelangelo looks at us!
  • During the hollow hours (no propagation on 144 or 10 GHz during the day), testing on 24 GHz ATV with the Gunn diode transmitter (some mW) of Mauro, equipped with a horn as described in the Swiss ATV NEWS . First tests on the spot by Charly and Mauro. Mauro set up his 24 Ghz transmitter on the wood barrier of the "parapet-flag".
  • On an indication of likable Pietro, of Florence, visits with the military surpluses merchant Tuccoli, close to Pisa (GPS coordinates: N 43.87647 and E 10.29246) but everyone knows it in the industrial zone, even the girls in Vespa. Charly in full research. Michel in front of an old drill.
  • Fourth location which is the spot called "Telegrafo", to the west of Spezia, that I had discovered at the time of the preparatory trip with Simone. Pietro had trouble to imagine that I knew this place, he that had dreamed of going there to make some QSOs since his childhood. From left to right… Charly, Pietro, Michel and Mauro.
  • Test pattern from EA5/F1AAM/P as received in Italy. at Carrara Rifugio by HB9AFO .
  • Test pattern from I5/HB9AFO/P as received in Spain at Climbs Pego by F1AAM… more to come


  • To Charly HB9ADJ, my old buddy always…. Always…. leaving for more adventures. And he arrived even on the expressway with the 144 MHZ antenna cut! He had sworn not to shave until after the QSO was made with EA5/F1AAM. He gave his word. Se the view "before" and "after"! And as a joker….and on return, at 3 kilometers from the Customs, he notices himself that he has lost his passport, his driver's license, his gray card and his money. Fortunately, the Customs Officers did not insist! .
  • To Mauro IK1WVQ, to have found Rifugio Carrara for us, for his help on the spot, for his sense of humor and for his friendship. Mauro is a fine connoisseur and a really dedicated PIC programmer. If all goes well, he will be with us at the Swiss ATV meeting in October 1999 to present these techniques to us.
  • To Giancarlo I5SKJ, met by chance on the parking lot at the time of the trip preparation, for his help and his kindness.
  • To Luciano, I5OUL, to have agreed to loan us during some days his moon bounce shack.
  • To Pietro I5PPE, for his kindness to accompany us to Tuccoli and to Telegrafo and to have eaten and drunk with us at Natale!. Note that Pietro has currently puts the final touches to his moon bounce installation on 10 GHz , a 3 meter parabolic antenna and a 20W TWT.
  • To Lidia and Tullio, the likable employers of the Carrara refuge, representing the Italian Alpine Club, to whom we gave some worries with our QSO requirements but who have accepted it all with stoicism. And we thank you for having taken our equipment out in a 4x4 (a sigh of relief!)
  • To Michel F6BVA, Gil F5CAU, Michel, HB9BOI and Paul HB9RXV that accompanied us in phone QSOs during the better part of the week.
  • To TM2SHF, Serge F1JSR and Marc F3YX, who were for us very useful to lift our sagging spirits and who helped us when the propagation did not allow us to continue in contact with EA5/F1AAM.
  • To Jean-Pierre F1AAM and Jean-Claude F5BUU, who have made the biggest trip this year to be our face to face contact (by ATV).
  • To Simone, my spouse. Without her benevolent cooperation, my love for ATV on microwaves would be unbearable.
  • And to ...???...what do you want…..., to have granted us 20 minutes of propagation in a week of traffic and allowed us to establish this new record !...

And to next year for new adventures!...

Michel Vonlanthen, HB9AFO