Sunday, 26 June 2016

A promise

I made a promise to PD0FF Foppe I would come back to install a HF antenna for him so he could listen with his Kenwood TS450. As you probabely all know Foppe has a muscle disease called ALS. Unfortenately this disease cannot be cured and his life will get worse and worse. It was last year I arranged that his big antennamast and antennas were removed so his wife is not left with those  I also sold most of his equipment for him as he was already not able to use it anyway.
So this Saturday I finally had time to finish what I promised. I visited Foppe and found it difficult to see him. He is getting worse, can't walk anymore and isn't able to talk properly. But still in his head he thinks he can make QSOs on the bands. It is absolutely a terrible situation and I don't wish this for anyone. Since he is not able to do much I designed a system so he can listen to both VHF/UHF and HF at the same time with the only single coax running to his old shack. I don't know anyone that have a system like this actually? So it was a experiment how this would work out. I bought 2 duplexers which are capable to split 2m/70cm and HF. One is below the antennas and one behind the radio. Of course it will attenuate a bit. But the advantage is that Foppe or his wife will never have to switch for the right antenna and you can listen HF/VHF/UHF simultaneously.

I bought a 3 band endfed for him that looks fine to me. A small risk as I normally do not trust commercial build antennas until they have proven to be good for me. Foppe still had a 6m mast at the back of his garden providing me a good anchorage for the antenna end. It's hanging about 6m above the ground now. Amazingly the antenna manual was right about the factory tuned SWR. The only thing I had to do was shorten it about 20cm at the end. Almost perfect SWR on 7100 KHz. 14 and 28 little worse but below 1:2. Good enough for listening. I checked both before and after the duplexer with great results. After that I went to install the TS450 and check it out. I found that the receive was good. Only the noise was a little high, but could be the location of course.

Hopefully Foppe enjoys some listening now....

Monday, 20 June 2016

6m in, 6m out

Very instable propagation today. I didn't hear any activity on SSB/CW. On 50.276 MHz JT I discovered more activity with signals going in and out. One moment you see several signals in the waterfall, the next minute everything is gone. I made 2 QSOs into the Ukraine. Just reports as there was not even time to say goodbye. And yes, I was spotted in several countries surprisingly!

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Royal Air Force Blue Ham unique experience today

A unique experience this weekend. Contacting militairy stations on 60m instead of other hamradio operators. Unfortenately I only had about a hour to try. And luckely worked 3 stations. It was nice to experience and I found the stations I talked to were not that strong but very good readable as the articulation was very good. Very correct as well always repeating my callsign before transmission and ending with "over". Militairy style radio is so different from what we are used to. I don't think they use Q codes like we do. Viewing the map the activity was most of the time within the UK. Although Dutch, Danish, Irish and even a Polish station has been worked. Not shure if the green spots at sea are correct, although it could be ships.

Stations worked:

Callsign: MRE43
Norfolk&Suffolk Wing Air Cadet  Organisation

Callsign: MRE80
Army Cadet Force/Combined Cadet Force Team Lead

Callsign: MRE67
Harlow Wing Air Cadet Organisation

In the Netherlands we are only secundairy users of the 60m band. The militairy is the primairy user and we should not interfere with their transmissions. This was a nice event to show that HAMradio operators and the militairy can share radiofrequencies. 2016 could be the only year that this unique event was possible as next year we probabely get new rules. Only 15 KHz of the 60m band and max. power output of 15W. In such a small spectrum there will be no room for this kind of events. I'm glad I'm able to do this at this time of "history". It is probabely something I will remember over the years.