Monday, 29 September 2014

CQWW RTTY 2014 a N1MM+ logger test

This is what N1MM+ looks like on my screen
The CQWW RTTY contest was on last weekend. Unfortenately time was not on my side and only spend couple of hours behind the radio. I used N1MM+ logger for the first time and after all problems I encountered it looks very promising. I decided to stick with 40m and of course, like all digimode contacts this year, I was QRP 5W or less with the Yaesu FT-817ND connected to the all band alu tape vertical.

First thing I encountered was that N1MM+ would not update? Strange it did go well last week! Reading the latest news on the N1MM+ logger website revealed the software was not beta anymore and there was a new version on line. So I took the risk and downloaded - installed version 0.19 without removing the beta version first. Everything luckely went well. Next problem was the cat control with the FT-817, the connection was lost every couple of minutes. So digging in to that I found you better follow the recommendation setup of 4800bd (menu item 14 CAT RATE). Problem solved then, never had this issue in the classic version though.

I did give the tip in my previous post using "Auto TRX offset" when using AFSK but this didn't work at all. I've been thinking it over all weekend and Sunday evening I found the problem. You really should use AFSK RTTY on LSB. Turn menu item 26 into PSK31-L and don't forget to do the same in MMVARI. In MMTTY it's just a matter of reverse button off. Can't remember if had similair issues with the classic version. Unfortenately contest was almost over now but the spots were finally right on frequency. It improved my rate a little

Two other problems or "bugs". I saw others had it as well. Not every DX cluster could be contacted. PI4CC for instance could not be contacted. PI5EHV though was not a problem. I don't know why? But at least I had one connection. Another bug I bumped into was in MMTTY, most of the time TX was hanging. Very annoying to press "esc" every time after a transmission. So I used MMVARI most of the time as it didn't have that problem at all. Not shure if setup was wrong?

I tested ESM mode both with "enter" and with "left click" on the digital screen. If you got a reliable QRO station and good antennas this will work very well. In QRP S&P mode though it's most of the time worthless. Too many times you have to repeat your call or report and that means not only press enter or your left mouse button but clicking the right buttons.

How did my contest go? Well, actually not too bad. I made 80 QSOs with 40 DXCC. Best DX was with ZX2B from Brazil (8960km). I did work one station from the USA and one from Canada. Did hear Colombia and Japan with strong signals but they didn't hear me unfortenately. Actually for a QRP station with limited time I did not bad I think.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Setting up the new N1MM+ logger for the CQWW RTTY contest

The new N1MM+ contestlogger beta version is now downloadable. I've installed it on the desktop and although I got not much time I will try it in this weekends CQWW RTTY contest. I decided to read and watch some of the excellent videos first. I have to admit that K8UT made some wonderful clear videos about setting up digimodes and macros for digi contests like RTTY. Just a tip from me if you use a soundcard and AFSK (Audio Fase Shift Keying) you need to set "Auto Update TRX offset w/ Mark Freq." on to display the right frequency in the bandmap. Another interesting read about setting up RTTY can be read on the site of PA1M.

I'm planning to participate in a QRP section. Which one is my secret ;-) The plan is to go for a Dutch record. Good luck in the CQWW RTTY contest this weekend if you participate as well!
And keep in mind if you see my call, I'm QRP and doing my best to at least make some contacts.

Monday, 22 September 2014

That was wrong and going on...

Next stop....garbage dump.
So that was the wrong thing and going on all the time. A chinese adaptor again! Messing up my digital signals. Oh yes, I monitored my JT65 signal today and noticed a hum, that was not there before. So I keyed the hum. It has to do with the computer I thought, but nothing did change. The hum was there even when switching off audio! So what changed in my shack? Well, the only thing changed was the new LED light powered by a chinese 12V adaptor. So I switched lights off and gone was the hum. Guess what happened with the adaptor? I now power the LEDs from the radio power supply. I managed to do some QSOs again on 30m and later on 17m. Now my 5W QRP signal was going to The Gambia C5YK and the contact was made. Seems to go easier now without the hum. A clean JT65/JT9 signal is very important I noticed. The rest of the day was devoted to WSPR on 10m. Though when I checked this evening the FT-817 was switched off and battery was completely dead. What happened? I checked the supply cord and the positive wire was broken just at the fuse housing. So unfortunate as 10m seems to be in good shape and I still hope for a spot from T5/T61AA. Have to repair the supply cord tommorow.

Saturday, 20 September 2014

What's going on?

What's going on? With JT9 and JT65A I was heard worldwide, see the map. But it was hard to make some contacts even within Europe. In the end I answered some Russian stations.  Most of the russians have a very dirty signal. RT3A for example was decoded 5 times in one timeslot on 5 different frequencies in the waterfall. I wonder how much power he used? 
Earlier in the evening I had a short QSO with PY2CX from Brazil on 12m. Of course I used 100W at that time. I guess propagation is too good for QRP ;-) Or JT9 and JT65A are getting too populair which cause overcrowded frequencies. I was also spotted by K1JT and that reminds me of something I read last week. There is a plan for a beta release of a new WSJT-X 1.4. This will be out in October.

Wat is hier aan de hand? Met JT9 en JT65A werd ik wereldwijd gespot zoals te zien op het kaartje. Maar het was nog steeds moeilijk om wat QSO's te maken zelf binnen Europa. Uiteindelijk maar een paar russen gewerkt. De meeste russen hebben een erg smerig signaal zo decodeer ik RT3A wel 5 keer op verschillende frequenties in the waterval op 1 tijdslot! Ik vraagme af hoeveel vermogen hij gebruikte? Eerder op de avond maakte ik nog een kort QSO met PY2CX uit Brazilië op 12m. Uiteraad gebruikte ik toen wel 100W. Ik denk dat de propagatie gewoon te goed is voor QRP ;-) Of de JT9 en JT65A frequenties worden gewoon te populair met als gevolg overpopulatie van de frequenties. Ik werd ook nog gespot door K1JT en dat herinnerd me aan iets dat ik afgelopen week las. Er is een plan om in Oktober een beta release uit te geven van een nieuwe WSJT-X 1.4.

Friday, 19 September 2014

Something wrong?

I tried to DX on 10m/12m and 15m with PSK and JT-mode for a few hours last evening. Enough signals, actually lots of very strong signals. But whatever I tried to call, no one came back to me. I did make only one (half) QSO with KD4IEC report -23dB but am not shure he got my report. Very strange? Looking at the reports on both JT65 and JT9 I was heard all over USA/Canada.  I guess my QRP 5W was overruled by some other strong signals. It's hard with QRP and you can't always have luck!

Ik probeerde gisteren avond wat te DXen op 10m/12m en 15m met PSK en JT-mode. Er waren genoeg signalen, eigenlijk waren er teveel sterke signalen. Wat ik ook probeerde, ik kreeg geen verbinding. Ik maakte uiteindelijk 1 moeizaam QSO met KD4IEC rapport -23dB maar weet niet eens zeker of hij mijn rapport binnen kreeg. Eigenaardig? Als je zo op het kaartje kijkt werd ik echt wel gespot in Amerika en Canada. Ik neem aan dat mijn 5W QRP signaaltje gewoon overspoeld werd met andere sterke signalen. Het gaat niet altijd gemakkelijk met QRP, soms heb je geluk en soms niet!

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Balloonfoxhunt 2014 @ PE4BAS home

My daughter and me were following the balloon today. Although there was not much to follow as we were at home and followed mostly via radio, facebook and livestream PI6ATV. The only thing I could hear at first was the beacon with S0-1 and a lot of QSB. After the burst suddenly the signal from the transponder went up from nil to S7 and I could hear a lot of stations. I did some attempts to transmit via the balloons transponder but the distance was to big for my simple setup. However, PE1BVQ Hans living much more south of me did have a lot of succes. I recorded some of his QSOs. Later on I made a contact to the 40m clubstation PI4RCG at the flight control center in Hilversum. My harmonic Anneli insisted to talk on the radio as well, I think she is a little too young to talk to other stations. But just to practise she did some CQ at a self chosen frequency on 20m, no response anyway. I think I have to think about kidsday participation though.
She already got her own radio as you can see in the video...

One last prediction...

Right now I'm following the ballon foxhunt here in the Netherlands. It's a bit too far from my QTH and I can barely hear the signals. Hopefully it get better when the ballon gets higher in the air. I did run a last balloon path prediction. Totally different compared to a couple of days ago.

Update, the final path that the balloon took...

Not bad, differences came from the altitude the balloon was going. It did go to a altitude of 28km.
That's something you can't predict!

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Revival of the 10m band?

I have been looking to the northern sky last evening and at 2 UTC in the morning. Looking at this website as other monitoring sites were out of service probabely due to overload by visitors, Monitoring 2m as well. But no signals and no aurora, at least not visible with the eye. However the polar light was there and people on Terschelling Island made some photos. A photographer from my village claims he made some photos but it is absolutely not shure if it would have been something else.

Because of his almost day by day blogging about WSPR on 10m I read Roger's G3XBM blog . I like 10m a lot but most of the time the band is closed when I have time for the hobby. I thought the CME would totally wipe HF but friday evening I had 2 QSOs on 10m JT65, LU8EX (-13dB, 11550km) and CX8AF (-18, 11550km as well!) both with 5W and the vertical. I would say that 10m propagation slowly is on the way up. So, I decided to leave WSPR running this saturday, hopefully for something special happening when aurora propagation would have come up. Unfortenately stupid Windows decided to update and restart the computer at night. So no WSPR back on line and no spots till morning when I discovered it. I left WSPR running over the day and was not disappointed I even got the 75the DXCC with my WSPR 1W signal as I was spotted by TJ3TS from Cameroon.

I think it is time to quickly rebuild the 10m HB9CV and exchange it for the W2000 VHF/UHF vertical again.

Friday, 12 September 2014

Polar light

Due to a CME from the sun there could be polar light visible this evening in the northern part of the Netherlands. I'll keep an eye on several websites and a listening ear to VHF.

I.v.m. met een coronale massa uitstoot van de zon zou er vanavond kans zijn om het poollicht te zien in noord nederland. Ik houd diverse websites in de gaten en een luisterend oor op VHF.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Ballonfoxhunt 2014 prediction

The yearly event is there again this Sunday 14th of September around 11 UTC. The (inter)national dutch balloonfoxhunt. More can be read on their website:

Most interesting for the hunters is were the ballon will fly. So I found a nice website that predicts the path of the balloon.

Based on the data from last year I made a prediction with this site and am very curious how close it get with the real flight Sunday.

You can read a nice story from last years foxhunt winner here:

Berrie PB4PT and his team used some weather models to predict the flight and came very close.

Het jaarlijkse ballon vossenjagen is er weer komende zondag 14 september rond 13:00 uur lokale tijd. Zie hierboven voor de website. Ik vond op internet een leuke voorspellingssite en gebaseerd op de data van vorig jaar maakte ik een kleine voorspelling. Ik ben benieuwd hoe dicht dit bij de echte vlucht komt. Een leuk verhaal van de winnaars van vorig jaar is te lezen op de site van Berrie PB4PT. Zijn team maakte ook gebruik van voorspellingen doormiddel van een weer model site.

Other links on my blog regarding this subject:

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Fieldday fun at Rensumaborg COTA PA-00009

The lane to Rensumaborg
I was thinking about the fieldday last week and slowly a plan was growing to activate Rensumaborg PA-00009 again as I still need 40 more contacts to make the activation valid. The fieldday weekend would be a great opportunity,  Though I had to work Saturday, no time for a activation. 
So it could only be sunday very early in the morning. 

At the end of the lane...
I was up very early before sunrise. After a fast breakfast driving to the Rensumaborg. Set up the station within 10 minutes and was active from 4:45 - 7:50 UTC. I made 52 QSOs, 1 dupe, best DX was probabely 4X6DK from Israel. I did hear N5NR on 40m and ZM90DX on 20. Later I heard VK3CAT with 5/9 high in the 20m band and I have been listening to Jerry PH9HB/AM also high at 20m and in the air of course above Greece. Unfortenately no chance, they didn't hear my QRP signal. Overall most contacts were made on 40m again. Propagation on 15m was there but no stations in the fieldday contest. The activation of the Rensumaborg COTA PA-00009 is now officially valid and I sent in logs for both WCA and Fieldday contest.

At sunset
Ik dacht afgelopen week aan de velddag en langzaam aan bedacht ik plan om mee te doen en gelijk de
Rensumaborg PA-00009 weer te activeren. Om die activatie geldig te maken had ik minstens nog 40 QSO's nodig. De velddag weekend zou een uitgelezen kans zijn. Helaas moest ik Zaterdag werken dus geen tijd voor een activatie. Dus moest het Zondag heel vroeg in de morgen worden. Ik was vroeg op al voor zonsopgang. Na een snel ontbijt naar de Rensumaborg gereden. Daar in 10 minuten alles opgezet en actief geweest van 6:45-9:50 uur lokale tijd. Ik heb 52 QSO's kunnen maken, 1 dubbele en beste DX was denk ik 4X6DK uit Israël. Ik hoorde op 40m wel N5NR maar hij mij natuurlijk niet. Zo hoorde ik ook ZM90DX (5/9) en VK3CAT (5/7) en daarna hoog in de 20m een tijdje geluisterd en geroepen naar Jerry PH9HB/AM (5/9+) die boven Griekenland vloog. Helaas, helaas ik kwam er niet binnen met mijn 5W. De meeste contacten werden dit jaar weer op 40m gemaakt. Propagatie op 15m was er wel, maar velddag stations ontbraken. De activatie van de Rensumaborg is in iedergeval nu geldig. Logs zijn alvast verstuurd zowel voor de WCA als de velddag contest.

The final courtesy of a QSO is a QSL

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Fieldday SSB 2014 planning

Planning a sunday morning visit to Rensumaborg COTA PA-00009 to finish and validate my activation there and to take part in the fieldday. I will be signing PE4BAS/P as I did that before in this activation. Setup consists of a FT-817, PE4BAS modified DV27 for 15/17m, PE1BVQ endfed for 40/20/10m on my 12m fibermast, 10m aircell7 coax and a extra 7Ah accupack. I hope to be there at 5 UTC till ??UTC. If all goes well I will not leave before I made 40 QSOs to validate the PA-00009 activation.

Go-case ready to go...
Zondag morgen hoop ik op tijd bij de Rensumaborg COTA PA-00009 te zijn om mijn activatie daar geldig te maken en deel te nemen aan de velddag. Ik zal uitkomen als PE4BAS/P omdat ik dit eerder in deze activatie gebruikt heb. Ik zal werken met de FT-817, PE4BAS gemodificeerde DV27 voor 15/17m, PE1BVQ endfed voor 40/20/10m aan de 12m glasfiber mast, 10m aircell7 coax en een extra 7Ah accu. Ik hoop te beginnen om 5 UTC (7 uur lokale tijd) tot ... UTC. Als alles goed gaat ga ik door tot ik de 40 QSO's gemaakt heb om de in totaal benodigde 50 contacten in het log te hebben om de PA-00009 activatie te valideren.

Friday, 5 September 2014

Morse Learning Machine challenge!

A while ago I wrote about AG1LE's development of the ultimate CW decoder. Now Mauri took another approach. He wrote out a morse challenge, a competition to program a morse learning machine. If you like to learn about this challenge you better take a look on his blog.

AG1LE morse learning machine challenge
Kaggle Morse Learning Machine v1

Een tijdje geleden schreef ik over de ontwikkeling van een ultieme CW decoder door AG1LE. Nu benaderd Mauri het op een andere manier. Hij schreef een wedstrijd uit om een morse leer machine te programmeren, Als je meer wilt weten hier over kun je beter zijn blog lezen.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014


Already September. That means autumn is coming and more time for the hobby. Last couple of summer months I didn't have much time for radio like always. Although weather forecasts were not so good the weather here in the northern part of the Netherlands was very reasonable. It was great since I am still busy painting the house and you need good, warm dry weather for that. Of course flowers in the garden took advantage as well. But it also means we have to pluck some weeds.

Next weekend there is the fieldday SSB in which I took part in the last couple of years. This weekend it is a little difficult I think. I hope I can spend some time weather and other chores depending. The Icom IC-706 is doing a fine job since I repaired it. No problems with FM transmit anymore. But the radio of choice these days is still my small Yaesu FT-817. Especially for digital modes it is a great radio. But unfortenately you can't always have luck. I am trying to get spotted on WSPR by T5/T61AA (Somalia) on various bands depending were he is active. But looking at his spots I think he is in a difficult position with QRM. I spotted him a number of times, so the path is open. It would be my 75th DXCC if I can get a spot... I did see P29NO (Papua new guinea) this sunday and monday evening on 30m JT65A. Called a couple of times, it would be a new ATNO DXCC. But unfortenately the DX did not happen. I know another time another day it will happen, propagation is not that good at the moment. September is usually the month that the DX is coming back, we will hope so...

The Lidl had a nice offer last week with LED strip warm white color. It was cheap compared to other offers and I bought a package that was enough for some extra light at the background of the shack. The nice thing is that it works on 12V and so it is possible to connect it to the future solar system which I want to implement in the shack.
I found a "old" award on the CQWW page from the CQWW SSB contest 2013. It seems I did a nice job in that contest. At the moment my interests are not that much in contesting anymore. At least not in the small ones were you have to struggle to get some QSOs in the log. I think I will take part only in the "big" contests if time allows. Of course you will not miss me at the most important Dutch contests like the PACC, PA-beker and 11 cities contest.

Did I publish the eQSL I got from WP4JCF? I can't
remember but it is the first confirmation from the contact we had on 6m. Probabely the highlight of the year and very special as I did it QRP with 5W and a vertical. That vertical is the Watson W2000 3-band VHF/UHF antenna which is mounted on the second mast. Since the 6m ES season is over it has to move again and make place for the HB9CV I guess. The HB9CV is still in the process of rebuilding.

The storm damage from last year has been repaired finally. Just in time for the new storm season. I hope we don't get 152 km/h windgusts again. I'm out of tiles now and to get "new" 80 year old roof tiles is not that easy. I'm confident the antenna mast will hold in a new storm. I'm almost done with the painting now. Some parts of the house can be removed so I can paint them in the garage and mount them again afterwards. 

Last week I spoke PD0ARI Arie on the 40m band, he is on the Air with the special call PD538RNI till 20 Sept. I did read a article about the activation somewhere and wanted to work him as it gives a romantic feeling when you look at the QSL card. The Netherlands has a history regarding to pirate radiostations which transmitted from ships off shore. Many started their radiohobby after listening to these "pirates". At the moment there is only one station here in the Netherlands (Radio Seagull / Radio Waddenzee) that still transmits from a ship. Although not entirely true as the main transmitter is on land. And the ship is in the harbour of Harlingen. Their program is mainly progressive rock. Of course it is not a pirate radiostation anymore. Last month they were transmitting for a while from sea (off shore). They transmitted with the transmitter made by PE5T which I saw last year. I didn't have the chance to actually hear them on the radiowaves, but I guess they did get some nice reports.

Dit keer geen Nederlandse vertaling. Gezien de belangstelling die voornamelijk uit het buitenland komt is het Engels de hoofdzaak geworden en de meeste Nederlandse amateurs/lezers kunnen prima engels lezen. Het kost ook veel tijd om lange stukken ook nog in het Nederlands te schrijven. Ik houd het dus voorlopig even bij Engels tenzij ik zin en tijd heb om het ook in het Nederlands te schrijven. Het voordeel van een eigen blog is dat je zelf kan beslissen wat je doet...

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

WSPR today

Another day, another map, above shows my TRX WSPR today. Paul PC4T was writing about  Jersey (Channel Islands) on his blog. So when I got home this afternoon I saw that I did not have GJ in my WSPR DXCC log. A GJ station was active on 20m that time and I decided to go for 20m first. The GJ station never heard me, sometimes DX to New Zealand is easier then being heard by a specific station in Europe. Anyway this evening I saw GJ4CBQ in the activity list on 160m and I tried my good luck. He did hear my 1W signal the first 2 minute transmission, it's is my 74th DXCC in the list. I think the biggest highlight today was the reception from XV4Y Yan's 500mW WSPR beacon from Vietnam. Unfortenately he didn't copy me but I think that Yan is having only a TX beacon on air. 

Een nieuwe dag, een nieuwe landkaart, hierboven de activiteit op zend/ontvangst van WSPR vandaag. Paul PC4T schreef over Jersey (Channel Islands) op zijn blog. Dus toen ik thuiskwam zag ik dat ik nog geen GJ in mijn WSPR DXCC log had staan. Een GJ station was aktief op 20m op dat moment dus ik besloot 20m maar eerst aan te zetten. Natuurlijk heeft het GJ station mijn nooit gehoord. Soms is het makkelijker om gehoord te worden in Nieuw Zeeland dan in Europa. Vanavond zag ik op 160m dat GJ4CBQ weer aktief was dus  mijn geluk daar maar gezocht. Mijn 1W signaal werd al in de eerste 2 minuten zenden gehoord in Jersey, het is mijn 74e DXCC in de WSPR lijst. Maar het hoogtepunt vandaag was toch wel het ontvangen van het 500mW WSPR baken van Yan XV4Y uit Vietnam. Helaas ontving hij mij niet maa dat kan te maken hebben dat hij alleen uitzend en niet ontvangt.

Monday evening activity

Some activity on 30m JT65 and JT9 monday evening. Notice all outside Europe spots are JT65 with 5W. On JT9 I was active with 2W and a small inside pile-up inside Europe occured.

Een kleine activiteit op 30m JT65 en JT9 maandag avond. De spots buiten Europa zijn van JT65 met 5W. Op JT9 zat ik met 2W en deed zich zowaar een kleine pile-up voor binnen Europa.