Monday, 30 November 2015

#CQWW DX CW 2015 experiments

Event: CQWW DX CW ham radio contest
Logger: N1MM+ most updated version
Station: Yaesu FT-817ND - 2,5W
Antenna: 84m horizontal square loop on 7m AGL.
CW decoder: FLdigi & CWskimmer

Did you know there are HAMradio operators that are using contests for experiments? Oh yes there are, I know that for instance PA1B Bert is using the contest to experiment with QRPp (extreme low power) just to see what is possible. Others do study propagation with the help from RBN. And I did experiment with some decoding software. Last year I used Fldigi and MRP40. This year after much trouble I managed to install CWskimmer to test.

QRP assisted all time records
I decided to go for another Dutch record and entered the 40m QRP Assisted section. Only a few hours participation resulted in 54 QSOs, one less as last year on 80m. CWskimmer is superior compared to FLdigi and MRP40. It is clear to me that this is the decoding software if you like to read CW instead of hearing. Although I experienced that I made more QSOs when I was listening. Actually I am able to decode "PE4BAS 5NN" and "TU". So I only need software to decode the call of the station calling and transmitting CW  (FLdigi). I was trying to work on remote saturday evening but that went very difficult. Only 1 or 2 QSO in 30 minutes just because I could not listen but tried to read everything on the screen. I didn't make shocking DX. Only been able to work 2 transatlantic stations. NP4A from Puerto Rico and AA2A from the USA. I did hear more big  guns from the US/Canada but was unable to push my tiny signal through. Tiny indeed because today I discovered I did forget to set the power to 5W before the contest so it was still 2,5W output (I used that the last time before the contest). I don't know why I didn't see that but think I was too busy with the computerscreen all the time.

 Another thing I used this time was a NIR-10 DSP audio filter between the radio and computer because I don't have any small filter in the FT-817. Together with the bandpass filter from CWskimmer I think it did well supressing nearby signals from other stations on a incredible busy 40m band. All this was a great experiment and I learned the only thing left is to purchase CWskimmer and get a decent digikeyer to work on CW. I learned CW just generated with a soundcard is not good enough. Though still it is a miracle that I was able to make such a amount of contacts with only 2,5W and inperfect gear.

Complicated....yes!


Saturday, 28 November 2015

PCH - famous Dutch operators

I was at a impressive clubmeeting yesterday evening and met famous dutch HAMradio operator PA1HR Hans. Although I don't think he see himself as famous, most of the dutch HAM's however know him as he wrote several articles in the past and is quite active on the radio. Hans gave a presentation about famous Dutch coastal radio station Scheveningen Radio callsign PCH. Which was at the time a big and very famous station providing radio traffic between ships and land. Radiocommunications at PCH was Hans his job for 25 years, a dream job if you're a radioamateur and crazy about radio. I write this blogpost as I know there are readers that are interested in this kind of subjects. I dicovered most of the presentation can be found on PA1HR's website. The only thing that is not on his website are the small personal stories he told us at the meeting, so if you ever have the chance to attend his presentation I can recommend it.

Visit Hans his page...

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Friese 11 steden contest - Frysian 11 cities contest review

Event: Frysian 11 cities contest 2015 80m (SSB) section outside region 14 
Logger: HRD logger V4 export to a excel sheet later 
TRX: Icom IC-706 MKIIG - 100W 
Antenna: 84m horizontal loop on 7m agl 

 Ik begon precies op tijd. Hoorde niet veel CQ roepen of ik kon het gewoon niet horen. Het ruisniveau was erg hoog ondanks het gebruik van de horizontale loop. Dit keer moest ik echt goed luisteren om sommige stations uit de ruis te halen vooral de stations uit het zuiden van het land waren erg zwak. De meeste Friese stations kwamen hier keihard binnen. Weer weinig activiteit vanuit het buitenland en vanuit Nederland heb ik diverse stations gemist. Gelukkig wel wat aktiviteit van PE2KM Kees die anders nooit meer zo aktief is op de radio. Uiteraard heb ik mijn signaal en modulatie weer even beluisterd op de webSDR van Weert. Deze webSDR heeft ook een mogelijkheid tot opname. Te beluisteren is mijn CQ en QSO met PA3JD Joop uit Dedemsvaart. Dat ging ook vrij moeilijk al ontving ik hem beter dan hij mij had ik het idee. Uiteindelijk maakte ik 3 QSO's minder dit jaar. Ik was even bang dat ik alle 12 multipliers dit jaar niet halen, maar gelukkig lukte mij het toch de laatste (PA3DTY Bolsward) te werken 3 kwartier voor het einde. Uiteindelijke score 301x12=3612 punten.





 I did make a start just on time. Not many running CQ or I didn't hear them. Noise level was very high despite using the horizontal loop. This time it was really hard to pick up some of the stations out of the noise, especially when from the south part of the country. Most of the Frysian stations however were very strong. Unfortunately again there was almost no activity from outside Netherlands and even inside the Netherlands the activity was low. I missed a lot of stations that normally show up in this contest but not this year. Luckely there was some activity from PE2KM Kees who has not been active to much lately. Of course I monitored my signal and modulation again via the Weert webSDR, this one has a recording function implemented. I made a recording from the QSO wit PA3JD Joop from Dedemsvaart. This QSO went very difficult although I had the feeling I received him a lot better then he did me. In the end I made 3 QSO's less as last year. I was afraid I would not get all 12 multipliers but managed the last one (PA3DTY Bolsward) 45 minutes before the end. Score 301x12=3612 points.



Saturday, 21 November 2015

Today

Today, saturday. Together with my daughter. Weather was too bad to play outside. Since we were done inside the house we went out. We drove the car to the always attracting coast. The growing industrial site Eemshaven is growing fast and there is always something new to see. This time it is the SAIPEM 7000 pipelay crane vessel. Wow, you can see it from far here. It's just like it is in my backyard. Unfortenately on my photo it doesn't look big, but it is...we enjoyed the beautiful sky and stayed inside the car as the wind blowing from sea was really icecold.



Incredible but besides this all I managed to squeak out for 5 minutes and work a new one! I was playing with a android phone I got since a few days and just installed the DXfun DX cluster app. Just testing and looking at it I discovered PJ7K was on 12m. So I told my daughter that I was on the radio for 5 minutes and made the QSO! I'm not really a fan of these touchscreen magic smartphones but I think this is really something useful. I also installed the HRDlog app for logging, very handy and it uploads instantly to HRDlog.net which is displaying the latest contacts on this blog (right side) here. That way it is not always neseccary to start the desktop or laptop to log the QSO. Importing in the logbook can be done afterwards as the app can make a ADIF that can be send via e-mail.




Friday, 20 November 2015

Frysian 11 cities contest this Sunday

Route of the skating event
Event: Frysian 11 cities contest, Sunday 22 Nov.2015

For those wo don't know this contest: this is related to the legendary 11 cities skating tour. It is a Dutch (Frysian) contest although international hamradio operators are invited to participate. This contest is only on the 80m and 2m band. Duration is 3 hours from 10-13 UTC (11-14 local time). The exchange is the QSL region number + QTH name. Multipliers are the 11 cities from the tour + a extra multiplier (Bartlehiem) which is a legendary place in the skating tour. It is a fun contest as you hear most strange city names you never heard from before. It is also fun to hunt the multipliers which are not always easy to work.

Rules in english can be found HERE.

Foreign stations only have to give a report and their QTH name as exchange.




Reviews (incl. video on some) from past contests can be seen here on this blog:

http://pe4bas.blogspot.nl/2014/11/frysian-11-cities-contest-review.html
http://pe4bas.blogspot.nl/2013/11/3-contests-in-row.html
http://pe4bas.blogspot.nl/2012/11/frysian-11-cities-contest.html
http://pe4bas.blogspot.nl/2011/11/frisian-11-cities-contest-results.html
http://pe4bas.blogspot.nl/2010/11/frysian-11-cities-contest-friese-11.html
http://pe4bas.blogspot.nl/2009/11/friese-11-steden-contest-2009.html

If you want to participate this form can be very handy.


Hope to work some of you blogreaders in the contest. I really would like to see some more international callers in this contest as it is not for Dutch amateurs only!


Thursday, 19 November 2015

EU cookie notice in blogger...

You might notice that a annoying message is showing up at top of your blog about cookies. This is only when you live in Europe. But does affect all blogger blogs. Very annoying as it is showing on top of your header. I would like to invite all amateurradio bloggers who have blogger blogs (most of the blogs are) to modify this message and customize it. I've done it and I think it's not that annoying anymore. You can switch off the message but it is likely that your blog will be banned! The solution can be found on this page:

http://www.mybloggertricks.com/2015/07/Custom-Cookies-notification-for-European-Union-countries.html

Most important part:

1. Go To blogger > Template > Backup your template
(In Dutch : Je kan dit vinden onder "Sjabloon" en dan klikken op de link onder "Live op Blog"

2. Click Edit HTML

3.




You can make the following customizations if you want:

Replace the black bolded text with any message you may like.
If you want you can replace the yellow highlighted link with your Custom Privacy Statement page else you can leave it as it is because the default link points to Blogger's Privacy page for Cookies info.

To change Notice Bar background color edit #333333
To change the green border that appears at the bottom of the bar edit #6FC415
To change the background color of Buttons edit #6FC415
To change the font color edit #dddddd


4. Save your template and you are all done!


Have problems? I've done it and can help...


Tuesday, 17 November 2015

A gaming element with WSPR

Challenging or gaming? Contesting or gaming? I think the whole radiohobby is sometimes a game. Although some people are taking it all (too) serious.

Remco PA3FYM and Rob PE1ITR are currently developing a highly experimental WSPR challenge. The challenge to receive as many WSPR stations as possible. Not easy, as transmitting WSPR is simple but you need receivers. Receiving a weak (-30dB) WSPR signal is much more difficult and so "receiving power" is more important then transmit power. The real challenge is to improve your receiver and antennasystem to even receive the weakest signals on WSPR. With the currently increasing environmental noise that could be a very hard thing.

Remco and Rob intend to make kind of a contesting game, with multipliers etc. Interesting not only for HAM but for SWL as well. I think it's a very nice idea and hope they will continue the development. Although I still would like to see a site were you can see the amount of DXCC you worked (or received), but that is personal of course.

See this highly experimental effort on: http://pe1itr.com/wspr_challenge/


Sunday, 15 November 2015

PA-beker 2015 verslag

Event: PA-beker SSB 2015 contest
Logger: N1MM+ most updated version
Station: Icom IC-706MKIIG (power max. 100W)
Antenna: 84m horizontal loop @7m AGL

Sorry this post is only in Dutch as it is probabely not interesting for international readers. The PA-beker contest is a Dutch local contest. Most interesting to test NVIS antenna capability.


De jaarlijkse PA-beker contest is weer geweest. Zaterdag is de CW sectie waar ik niet aan mee doe omdat ik meestal moet werken. Gelukkig is er Zondag de SSB sectie waar ik dan wel aan mee kan doen. Voor degenen die niet snappen waar het om gaat: In de PA-beker contest werken alleen Nederlandse stations elkaar op 80m en 40m. De bedoeling is zoveel mogelijk QSL regio's te werken voor multipliers. Dit jaar heb ik minder stations gewerkt vergeleken met vorig jaar. Volgens mij is dit te danken aan minder deelnemers? Op 80m vond ik het aanbod mager, heb er geen enkele keer een pile-up gehad zoals wel in voorgaande jaren. Op 40m ging het iets beter met een hoger aanbod. Ik heb ongeveer dezelfde strategie aangehouden en op 80m eerst een half uur CQ geroepen, daarna 5 minuten snel nieuwe stations zoeken en weer het uur volgemaakt met CQ roepen. Op 40m ongeveer hetzelfde gedaan. Het laatste uur heb ik verdeeld over 80m en 40m. Het viel me op dat ik vooral in de laatste 10 minuten nog behoorlijk wat stations werkte. Zijn dit stations die het vergeten zijn en dan na de lunch de radio aanzetten en tot ontdekking komen dat er een contest gaande is? Heb weinig bekenden gehoord dit keer, stations die voorgaande jaren wel meededen maar dit jaar heb ik ze niet gehoord/gewerkt. Ik heb ook een aantal regio's gemist te weten regio 9,32,34,35,36, 38,39,47 en 50. Waarschijnlijk waren er in een aantal regio's wel stations maar heb ik ze gewoon niet gehoord? Zie overzicht wat ik wel gewerkt heb en een kaartje met de gemiste regio's. Alle bij elkaar was het een leuke contest. Soms met oorverdovende signalen, soms met signalen die net uit de ruis te halen waren. Zo werkte ik met PH9B Bram op 80m waar ik hem nog maar net kon horen. Later op 40m legde hij mij uit dat alles bij hem plat ging als hij op 80 werkte. Dus had hij zijn vermogen terug gezet op het laagst mogelijk, volgens hem ongeveer 0,1W. Geen gekke prestatie voor zowel hem als mijzelf. Volgende week gaan we het nog een keer over doen. Dan in de Friese 11 steden contest.

Site link: http://www.pabeker.nl/

Rode regio's heb ik niet kunnen werken...


Saturday, 14 November 2015

Extreme milliwatting

Have done it before last year. I just thought to do it again. WSPR on 80m with only 10mW (on the horizontal 80m loop). Not that it will give me DX. But nice to see I've been heard by several stations with good "ears".



I noticed some stations claiming less power then they actually use. Sometimes you see reports from only one time frame and other time frames are higher power. Like 0,005W and 5W or 0,1W and 1W. Probabely some stations notice after a first run and change settings afterwards. I always check with this fast calculator before I setup my power to transmit. 0,01W = 10dBm in my case.


Thursday, 12 November 2015

Milliwatting

I'm a little bit behind with posts. Too busy with family, work and hobby. I had some time testing the loop again Tuesday evening. I already received strong signals on the loop on 80m when switching on the radio. Made a few nice QSOs with 100W SSB but soon get bored. There was almost a imidiate respond on my CQ and reports were as expected well over S9. I decided to connect my little FT-817 to do some digital modes QRP with only 500 milliWatt. It actually is a lot more excitement as 500mW on 80m is not much. But I still got out and made some QSOs on PSK and JT9. Not that it was easy, reports were sometimes just on the edge -24dB. And most of the time other stations didn't see me. Best DX was E77AW with 1335km.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Loop construction

Testing the wires by soldering them
I always wanted to make a short video from my efforts to build the 80m horizontal loop. But since it already takes hours to build the thing and till now it was always in a hurry that wasn't possible before. I had time enough last Saturday and could finally shoot some video. All this looks easy but the video was made in a 4 hour time span. I used this new antennawire for the first time and thanks to a colleague I had a spool to unwind it easily. Things went smooth and tuning went well. Rain was the only thing I would like to leave out of this project, but what can we do against nature! All connections were made waterproof by polymaxing it.
New word: Polymaxing
Then a final test on air. I did hear 9M6LS from West Malaysia on 20m but was unable to contact him. He was S5-6, same signal strength on the vertical. I then went down to 40m, still daylight. I noticed some difference between signal strength, overall about 3-6dB, sometimes more. On 80m I noticed some more difference, but not what I was used too. I tried PSK on 80m with 10W, things went difficult. JT9 went a lot better with a QSO to UA9CR, over 3000km and still using 10W. Report was -25dB on the edge! I think propagation was not so good because of a CME (Coronal Mass Ejection) from the sun. (This was written last Sunday).


Saturday, 7 November 2015

Horizontal loop preparations

Situation of the antenna at google maps
Due to a damaged wire and flapping ladderline last year there was a need to change things on the horizontal loop. I build this loop every year for the winter season. When writing about that in April this year there were some useful comments and e-mail I got regarding the subject. I decided to choose antennawire from Elektrodump for the radiating wire this year. This antennawire consists of 3 stainless steelwires of 0,3mm and 4 brass-copper wires of 0,3mm, all wires are covered with UV resistant plastic. The stainless steel wires makes it strong but are not really good radiators for RF. I will take 2x 84m wire in parallel which gives me a total of 2,4mm copper wire to radiate. That equals the copperwire I used in the previous years with good result. Since I got some old cutting board from my wife a few years ago I made another ladderline center isolator which is lighter then the PVC pipe used. Besides that I made holes in the isolator to weave the ladderline through and made holes to fasten the nylon ropes which I weave through the ladderline against slapping in the wind. Hopefully weather and time allows me to set the whole loop up again today. If my signal is breaking your S-meter on 80m you know I have the loop up again ;-)


Monday, 2 November 2015

5MHz to be or not to be...

Despite the news found on various news sites it is not allowed to transmit on the 60m band from 00:00 hour tomorrow morning. The rules are ready and valid from that time. But there are some other rules from the dutch telecom agency that have to be published to validate the use by licensed radio amateurs. Those rules will be describing what type of license you need, what frequency and what power can be used and on what (secundairy) base. Publication of these rules can take 2 weeks.

Update 3-Nov.-2015:
There seem to be some Dutch amateur radio stations that make their own rules and are already active on 60m to probabely claim firsts. Be aware that they are illigaly transmitting on this band, QSOs are not valid and it is illigal to make contact with these stations.

Ondanks het nieuws gepubliceerd op diverse nieuws websites is het nog niet legaal om vanaf 00:00 uur morgenochtend te zenden op de 60m band. De regels zijn geldig vanaf dat moment. Echter er zijn nog andere regels nodig van het agentschap telecom. Hierin word gepubliceerd welke licentie we nodig hebben, welke frequentie we precies mogen gebruiken op welke (secundaire) basis en met welk vermogen we mogen uitzenden. Het publiceren van deze regels kan nog 2 weken duren.

Update 3-Nov.-2015:
Er schijnen een aantal Nederlandse zendamateurs hun eigen regels te maken en al aktief te zijn op de 60m band om waarschijnlijk al "eerste" verbindingen te claimen. Let op! Deze stations zenden illigaal uit op deze band. QSO's zijn dus niet geldig en het is zelfs verboden om met deze stations contact te maken.

PC7X's innovative repeater status page

Although not a frequent user of VHF/UHF repeaters I found this website lately. Wow, what a great page. It can show and you can listen to PI2NOS, PI3UTR, PI6TEN (10m repeater!) and PI2NON (Coversity) here in the Netherlands. Features include a audiostream, real time and historic (1 hour), so you can listen to your own conversation afterwards! Be careful what you tell on the repeater as everyone can prove what you told now and hopefully this will prevent improper use. You can find all locations with photos. You can see signals and repeater "entered". So you're able to check antenna's or different radios/HTs, different power levels etc. Very nice site with lots of features. PI6TEN would be interesting for stations outside the Netherlands as you can check propagation and hear yourself via this website. The repeater system is now on a level that it is possible to cover the entire country from your mobile or portable setup from almost everywhere in the country. Tell me, what other country has a innovative site like this?

PC7X.net repeater page