Wednesday, 29 April 2015

wspr.aprsinfo.com

Thanks to Tjeerd PA3GNZ I've found a new WSPR map site. Features are nice as you can choose between TX, TX/RX and RX spots. That makes it different from other sites. It also shows a spot count, max. distance TX and max. distance RX. Although in my case (long path) it has been a wrong distance of course ;-) Another feature I like is the extreme zoom capability. Much further then for instance PSKreporter. Besides that PSKreporter is useless for WSPR spotting.

http://wspr.aprsinfo.com/

Below again my last weekend WSPR activity. This time only the spots that are made from my 1W WSPR signal.



Sunday, 26 April 2015

24h 10m WSPR


10m WSPR was very busy this weekend. Including some longpath propagation. Unfortenately there are always the same DXCC that are active. Sometimes you'll see some new ones like VP8ALJ Falkland Islands this week. But overall it is some South America, North America, Europe, Australia, Japan and very few from Asia and Africa. I always keep an eye on blogs from G3XBM and PA0O which are very active on 10m WSPR and so they will detect any new one that are spotting their signals. At the moment I am at 78 DXCC that spotted my 1W WSPR signal. It is getting hard to find new ones now and I'm curious when I will reach 100 DXCC. At the rate of about 5 new ones in a year it will take another 4 or 5 years. But with the degrading propagation I guess 10 years will be more realistic.

Saturday, 25 April 2015

10m long path, distance record with 1W WSPR

Just received VK a few times late in the evening. My HB9CV pointed west. Unusual late 10m propagation.


I'm actually hunting for KP4MD who has been active on 10m this evening, but propagation is too good. Signals are hopping right over him much further away. KP4 is not yet in my log and would be WSPR DXCC nr.79.


Distance shown at WSPRnet.org is not correct for long path propagation. VK4CZ -> PE4BAS is almost 24000km. I have only received VK, they did not spot my 1W signal yet.

Update 21:45 UTC: It is almost midnight here. Still there are a lot of traces in the WSPR waterfall. It was only a matter of time. My distance record has been broken. 23810km with 1W WSPR.




Friday, 24 April 2015

Another WSPR DXCC hunt.

Had a very stressful moment this morning when I saw on this weblog I was QRV on 12m with the FT817 instead of 10m which I setup early in the morning before leaving home. Luckely my station can be remotely accessed so I did correct the trx frequency with HRD. But then....how many times has the FT817 been transmitting with a high SWR? I cannot see if the FT817 has actual power output through the remote connection. So I had to wait till I got a spot from PA0O which is the nearest station on WSPR here. Luckely around 7:22 he did finally spot me so I have a signal on the air. Now I had to wait till 16 UTC to see if VP8ALJ would spot my 1 Watt WSPR signal to get DXCC 78. At the end of the day I finally had time to view the data collected on WSPRnet, no VP8. It seems he was not active on 10 today. I was not received by any new DXCC at all. Although on the other side late in the evening WSPR-X I did see a 5W signal from ZL2IT with -20dB on long path, most interesting! Time to test the path with WSJT-X and called CQ on JT9 with almost no results, only spots from LU. Although JT65 was full of signals, even Japan on long path. A fast QSO with CX7BBR (+11000 km, -10dB report) with 5W proved the path is good. But no ZL unfortenately. Then I saw VP8ALJ was active on 15m WSPR, not my best band but tried my luck. First spot I received on 15 was VP8ALJ with a massive -13dB. Unfortenately WSPR-X is not very reliable here and that was the only and last spot the program did. Although there actually were a lot of signals in the waterfall. So I switched over to the old WSPR 2.0 which has proven it's reliable. I don't know why but the old version does a better job. And yes, the next transmission I was finally received by VP8ALJ with -22dB. WSPR DXCC nr. 78 is in the log!

Monday, 20 April 2015

Freedom...

We, in our part of the world, take freedom for granted most of the time. But we had to fight for that freedom 75 years ago. Many have died for our freedom and we should remember that even after such a long time. We have to care this whole nightmare will not happen again.

70 years ago the allied forces liberated The Netherlands from Nazi rule, ending the second world war five years after it started. The southern part of The Netherlands was liberated in the autumn of 1944, while the northern part was only liberated in the spring of 1945.

On May 4, 1945 the German forces formally capitulated to the British Field Marshall Montgomery. The capitulation was effective the next day.

We therefore celebrate the end of WW2 for the whole of the country on May 5 every year.

YNOMY DX Group & friends want to place attention on the valuable freedom we attained and have enjoyed ever since, with a radio-activity during the month of May.

We will activate 8 different special callsigns, operated by 8 different OMs:
PA45FREE , PB45FREE , PC45FREE , PD45FREE , PE45FREE , PF45FREE, PG45FREE  and PH45FREE.

We will also activate a special group callsign PA45FREEDOM during the weekend of May 16 & 17 - and possibly a few other moments during the month of May.

QSL
A special QSL card will be available for OMs who have contacted one or more of our stations. We will send out cards to all contacts via the bureau approximately one month after the activity. If you want to receive your card direct, please send your QSL direct with SAE & 2$ to: Marcel Kuenen, Rijksweg Noord 12, 6661KG Elst, The Netherlands.

Award
For those interested - both OMs and SWLS - we offer an electronic award for free. All you need to do to obtain the award is to collect 45 points.

All individual callsigns will get you 9 points and the group callsign (PA45FREEDOM) will get you 18 points towards this award. SWLs are advised that cluster spots do not constitute valid RX reports.

Applications for the award can be sent to 45freedom.award@gmail.com

More info: 
YNOMY DX group
VERON news
PA45FREEDOM on QRZ.com

Blog related article: 
Historical first time (1944) handheld radio use in northern Netherlands

For this event I will be QRV with the special call PE45FREE from 1-28 May 2015. Most of the QSO's are expected in digimode but I will try to be on SSB as well. Please do not send QSL to me personally or via bureau. QSL will be send via bureau to everyone that made a QSO.


Thursday, 16 April 2015

Admin



Usually the time after the CQ WPX is to spend at the computer to do some QSL administration. A lot of eQSL was waiting. I installed the new LOTW software and also did need a new certificate for validation. Besides that, my log (old HRD) is not supporting the JT9 mode and there is no possebility to add it like in the newer HRD logbook. So I have to change everything by hand. I did try some more updated logbook programs but still find the old version 4 HRD logbook best for my needs. It took some more time this year as I have all kind of other projects going on here in the house. No radiotime at all, but that doesn't matter as propagation was not that good lately.

One of the projects and
going on
After the administration I had to upload the log to several sites. I upload the log to eQSL, LOTW, Clublog, Hamlog, QRZCQ and QRZ.com. This way I'm always certain I have a back-up of the log online spread out at several sites. Besides that people can look into my log to see if I worked them at several places.

When viewing the eQSL cards I always come across most interesting designs which are shown above. eQSL is my most favorite way of QSLing. It's fast and you're free to design a card yourself (if you made a donation to eQSL!). I found that lately especially russians have designed very nice looking cards.

For overview and statistics Clublog is a must. It is very clear what countries you worked and which ones I need to send QSL to to get them confirmed. A super handy thing is the OQRS (QSL request via internet) build into the QSL charts page. I did at least 6 requests for QSL via bureau via this system.

Signing the log
I have to admit that the new TQSL software from the ARRL LOTW program is a lot easier to use then before. Very handy it uploads the log automatically. The LOTW program is least populair here as it is pure administrative. Calls, dates, times....nothing graphical, no emotion. Don't like it at all but use it to confirm and validate a contact for those that obey the validation rules by ARRL-LOTW.

QSL administration needs valuable time but is part of our hobby just as making QSOs or homebrewing radio gear.


Monday, 6 April 2015

Gone...

Anneli trying to climb the
ladderline

Loop in a box...
And gone it is. End of the winter season is end of the horizontal loop. Every year people calling me crazy. Why not leave the antenna. It proved to be a solid performer and a good DX and NVIS antenna. Well, let me explain. The antenna is big (for dutch standards) and it is set up around the garden. The garden is family property and not for me only, my XYL hates to look at the antenna in summer. Since it is not the only antenna I have it has to go for the summertime. I will build it again for the next winter season in November. I took a close look at the materials this year and it seems that I will need to get a new wire. The insulation of the wire has been damaged at several places. Besides that I'm thinking of something that is stronger and not as sturdy as electricity intallation wire. Although solid copper is the best thing you can have for such a loop I think. The glasfiber masts are also getting worn, it might be better to cover them all with tape or paint to protect them agains UV, weather and water. I'm still thinking about that.
Poles for next year..
I need to make another mount for the ladderline because it is slapping against the house when there are high winds. Have to think about that as well. For now I will have to do with the alu tape vertical and the HB9CV for 10m. When the ES season is starting the HB9CV will probabely be replaced by the V2000 vertical so I can do some 6m DX as well.



Friday, 3 April 2015

#cqwpx Learning from my own pile-up runs


I find it fascinating to watch others running a pile-up. Just to see what they are doing, how they behave. How they solve problems and how they battle the QRM. That is why I made this video. To learn from it. And since I find watching it fascinating others might find that too so I publish it on youtube and this blog. I think running a pile-up has everything to do with experience, strict rules and concentration. I am concentrated but need more experience and stick to the rules. If I have a problem, like a station call that was misunderstood I need too much time to solve it. I really should think about what the fastest way is to react. Although it might look good I think I have yet a long way to go to the perfect run. Tips are welcome, please leave your comment!

What helped me were some tips from more experienced contesters to have a cleaner setup of N1MM+. First of all I installed allSnap a program that aligns all those small windows of N1MM, a very handy piece of software. After that I chose the best configuration of all the screens to use in my opinion. I don't use 2 VFO bandmaps anymore as I found it's too distracting and I have a laptop besides the screen with DXheat on it to view multipliers. If I miss a multiplier in the multiplier screen and see it on DXheat I tick the freq. into the log field and there I am...Another problem I couldn't solve was a easy one, but during the contest gave me a lot of problems. If I was running I constantly pressed "Tab" to get to the RcvNR field. PA4O Peter came with the solution, simple as that just don't use "Tab" but the spacebar and you're instantly fly to the RcvNR field.


Thursday, 2 April 2015

#cqwpx Interesting signals during the CQ WW WPX SSB 2015



There were some very interesting signals that could be heard on the bands during the WPX contest. Although it was hard work with so many signals on the band. This video shows WL7E and KL5DX first, but difficult to understand. Signal was good but the polar path changes the modulation a bit and of course there was a lot of splatter on every band. After that, you see the 9+40dB peak signal from VY2ZM on the 40m band, he was also strong on 80m. At the end the strongest signal on 10m, XP1A from Greenland hits 9+40dB sometimes even 60dB. That is really very strong. Though the pile up was so big I had difficulties to reach him.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Fieldday electrocution

Last year September I tested the PE1BVQ endfed on my fieldday location at Rensumaborg in Uithuizermeeden. It did a great job and I was surprised when I received a official certificate for the second place in the QRP section from the VERON. Not that I need a certificate, but it is always nice to receive one for your efforts. I think the VERON needs to rework the certificates as this one has nothing to do with a fieldday. It's just a standard certificate. From my point of view it would have been better to send it as PDF to my e-mail address instead of the paper mail. Thanks to the VERON anyway.

Now, when receiving this certificate I was already thinking of new fieldday adventures. Setting up the trampoline for my daugther last week I was thinking about it to use it as a antenna as it has such a nice round shape. Oh yes, and I did today. I hooked up the balun and did make some tests. It brought my great DX from New Zealand to Alaska just with 5W. It was really amazing. I suppose the gain is huge as it is kind of a disc shaped with capacity legs as extra counterpoise.




The only problem that occured was when my daughter jumps on the trampoline. When I start transmitting with my 5W she seems to get electrocuted. As the antenna has so much gain every time I key the mike her hair is rising to the sky in the direction of the radiowaves. When I talk you see her hair moving at the rhythm of my voice. A strange experience for me and my daughter... I tried to make a video of it but when I entered the trampoline I could just make one photo. Switching to video mode I noticed the battery was flat and I had no spare one. So you all have to do with these photos and believe the rest...