Sunday, 15 May 2016

More mills

Well, not many more. It looks like propagation died, at least at my end. 40m was almost dead here and I only worked 2 more mills in this special event.

GB0SNM Jim from Sturminster Newton watermill, Sturminster Newton, England. Jim told me when the mill is working they really need their headphones because of the loud noise the water is generating. Mills were already at this location 1000 years ago.







GB6MW Guy from Meopham windmill, Meopham Green, England.











Again not anything heard from dutch mills. I have been tuning around 40m several times but these were the only ones I could hear and work. Anyway, it was nice to work them and I hope they had fun as well with the Mills On The Air activation.


Saturday, 14 May 2016

Mills on the Air contacts & first 6m QSOs

Had some "Mills on the Air" contacts today after I heard a small item on the regional radio here. Unfortenately the bands were all almost closed. Nothing could be heard on 20m. On 40m a few stations only.

GB2DWM Steve from Duloe Mill (well actually only the building). Eaton Socon, Cambridgeshire, England.











GB3LMW Rich from watermill Llanyrafon Mill, Cwmbrân, Torfaen, Wales










GB0SBM Martin from Slatford Brassmill, Slatford, England












Unfortenately not any station from a Dutch mill was heard. I will have to try again tomorrow. After the last QSO on 40m I went to tune over 20 and 17m. I heard someone talking on 17m that 6m was open today and then switched to 50MHz to find a opening to Italy and Spain. First QSO this year and season with EA7JUR John and second with IT9CFP Guiseppe.


Monday, 9 May 2016

Obscure digital modes

I had the opportunity to make 2 THROB QSOs today. Why? Just because stations were calling and had RSID signal on so I knew it was the THROB mode. Never ever heard any station before in THROB. Now after some searching there seem to be 2 THROB modes, THROB and THROBX. Interesting, but obscure. THROB is a MFSK mode just like JT65 and JT9 and many more. DM780 (HRD digimode software) has a lot on board. A interesting list can be found here, including waterfall pics:

http://www.waiohuli.com/DigiModes/digifieldguide.htm

Some inside info on digimodes can be found here:

http://ac4m.us/digital_modes.html

Although I miss SIM31 in his list. By the way, AC4M tested populair PSK decoding software in several situations:

http://ac4m.us/psk_software_test.html

Of course these are not the only sites about digimodes. But lots can be found. I don't know how many digimodes there are around but shure there are many.

What is the most obscure mode you ever used?

For me it is THROB at the moment, but you never know what I will encounter next time...




Wednesday, 4 May 2016

A good laugh ;-)

After reading some article on the blog of N0UN I had a good laugh. We all take this hobby too seriously. We really need more thinking "out of the box". Of course it is good to have a goal inside the hobby. For many that is collecting contacts and confirmations with as many countries (DXCC) as possible. For that many people inside this amateurradio hobby are doing crazy things like hunting for a DXpedition and taking days off from their job. Or getting home earlier to work a new DXCC. Some are not looking after their loved ones anymore just because they need that new DXCC. Some people take  a loan to buy expensive equipment or more power and a big antenna. After that some HAMradio amateurs paying lots of money for QSL cards and sometimes funding a DXpedition to a "rare" country. Now Wayne N0UN has been thinking about a new way funding a DXpedition. And in fact, I think he's did a good job thinking this over. In short Wayne would setup a bank account of half a million dollar for funding DXpeditions. Everyone can get this money after Wayne has been estimating the success of a certain DXpedition. Wayne does all the confirmation, he owns the DXpedition log so to say. Everyone who likes to have a confirmation (QSL, eQSL, LotW) pays him 100 dollar (per contact!). Sounds crazy doesn't it? Well, I think the HAMradio community would be crazy enough to pay 100 USD just to get a new one confirmed. If he has 5000 people crazy enough to do it those half million dollars are back on the account within no time to fund another DXpedition, and if more people are crazy, Wayne is doing a good job. Well, I guess now people are shocked about this. I'm not as I don't take it all too seriously and had a good laugh.

Think about this, we all going to die some day. So, if you worked/confirmed 100 DXCC or 339, no one cares. All your confirmations are going into the garbage in the end, and no one will remember your efforts. You had a lot of fun! But is that worth everything? Decide for yourself. Personally I have a lot of fun doing this hobby but not at the cost of everything. I keep dreaming but want to divide my time for other things to have fun with as well in live. I rarely pay for any radiocontact confirmation. See my thoughts about that here: http://qslcodeofconduct.blogspot.nl/2011/09/controversial.html Well, actually I think sometimes I'm too seriously myself. So, I'm thinking it all over and having.........a good laugh ;-)



Sunday, 1 May 2016

Denmark holiday

Actually I'm glad we are back home safe. As driving the German autobahn is almost suicide without any speedlimits. Imagine you're driving 120-130 km/h (80 mph) and it's like you're almost not moving at all with all those crazy Audi, Mercedes and Porsche drivers overtaking you with speeds of 250-300 km/u (180 mph). It's really crazy and in my opinion a traffic nightmare. Anyway, we had a very nice holiday in Denmark last week. A quiet country compared to the Netherlands and Germany. Normal speedlimits on the roads and everyone keeping those limits and very polite people also in traffic. We stayed near Bork Havn a small town at the Ringkobing fjord. We made trips around the fjord to several places and visited Esjberg, Ribe and Tonder as well. Not to forget we visited Legoland in Billund of course. The weather was not that good unfortenately but we had fun anyway.

Radiowise I brought my FT-817 and Superantenna MP-1. The MP-1 was mounted on the Hama tripod and hardly survived the snow and high winds. But this small antenna was amazing again. With only 1W WSPR on 30m I was heard in New Zealand at ZL1RS, several stations in Australia, USA and Canada. But the Netherlands was too close. Yes I received PA4O who is also in the northern part of the Netherlands and close to my homeQTH, but he was almost the only one. So I decided to go for 40m and received PA4O again as well as PA4GB who lives nearby my homeQTH. Fellowblogger PC4T was received on 40m as well. Unfortenately PE1BVQ Hans who was really looking for me was not received by me in Denmark. However, he did receive my signal with a respectable -19dB. It was my plan to activate my W5OLF WSPR transmitter at home to see if I could receive it. But unfortenately something went wrong and I only found out when I was in Denmark. I don't know exactly what went wrong but the transmitter did not send any signal or the timing was wrong. Well, you can't have everything and I don't think I was able to receive the signal anyway. I tried to make some maps from the log. But it seems the wsprmap at http://wspr.aprsinfo.com/ does not accept extended prefixes like OZ/. The map on WSPRnet.org does I think but only goes back 24 hours. I've made some JT65, JT9, PSK31 and PSK63 contacts as well, but no shocking DX. Just for the fun of it. I was active on 20m for a few ours last Friday and packed late in the afternoon.

Well, it was a nice experience. I've learned a few things again. I should buy a smaller and lightweight power supply for the FT-817. The one I brought this time was too heavy. And I have to make some mods to mount of the the Superantenna MP-1. It really is not made for being in high winds. Another big thing is the digimodem, doing a fine job but it should be smaller. The laptop I have is just good enough for WSPR but has problems with JT65/JT9. FLdigi however, as PSK software, did a great job on my old laptop.

The holiday was great. And we certainly want to visit Denmark again.