Friday, 29 April 2016

OZ/PE4BAS last day 20m

After some PSK/JT65 on 20m I decided to stay on WSPR this band today. I will pack the station in the evening and leave tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, 27 April 2016


It seems not to be easy to receive me in the Netherlands. Though my signal has been seen worldwide on 30m WSPR. I did receive some dutch stations on 30m but not too many. So, the second half of the week I move to 40m WSPR. Still my location is not guessed yet. PE1BVQ Hans is the only one that knows were I am as I wrote him last week. So, let me know were I am with my locator, QTH and prefix. It shouldn't be that difficult.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

?/PE4BAS find me!

I had never thought that finding me was difficult. I've done transmisions on WSPR, JT9, JT65 an PSK31 on 30m. But haven't seen the right location on my comments? It can't be hard as I am appearing in several databases. I have no possebilities to hang the endfed. And so I'm only transmitting with the MP-1 antenna. The results are very good with only 1W been heard in ZL. I don't see many dutch stations however and have not been spotted there as well so far. I think I am too close? Better choose the 40m band for the next half of the week? The MP-1 tripped over several times and the tripod broke already. But I manage to repair it everytime till now. Still curious who will find me and has the right location/locator.

Saturday, 23 April 2016


Next week I will turn on the W5OLF WSPR VCXO-AXE kit on 30m again. It will do 99 transmissions with 98 minutes in between.  I will also transmit/receive from another QTH with the FT-817 and Superantenna MP-1. I'm curious if I will receive my "base" station from that other location. This location will be kept secret till you readers find out were I am next week. So, turn on your radio and WSPR with me on 30m. Since the WSPR database is on/off/on/off it will be not easy to trace me I guess. Curious who finds out first...

Friday, 22 April 2016


 Hama tripod, MP-1 antenna in tube, left case: P.Supply 13V, digimodem, PE1BVQ tri-band endfed. Right case: FT-817, Patchcables, SWR meter, Bag: Acer laptop, coax cables.

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

The truth about antennas

"The more metal you put high in the air, the better your signal will be!"

I obtained an old Solarcon I-Max 2000 which is not working anymore. I want to exchange the A-99 wrapped with Alu foil and extended by a lineair load antenna. This means I will not need the lineair load anymore as the I-Max 2000 is just the right length (7,1m) for my vertical. It's a project for this summer and it will not take too much time as it is just the exchange of 2 poles and some connections. I admit it will not ad that much. It's just is a fun experimentto work on. Just to be clear I only use the antenna as a support. I don't use the Solarcon system but my own with a CG3000 autotuner.

Sunday, 17 April 2016



I have been on 30m WSPR a lot when VK0EK was on from Heard Island and actually hoped for some spots. But unfortunateley VK0EK has been spotted only by a few in Europe. I even came to the point that I mailed via DXA to find out if the WSPR beacon was still on (after a few days without any spot activity at all). I don't know what the antenna was they used but if you spotted the beacon you got a very very good receiver/antenna and low noise I guess. I was not a bad listener on 30m WSPR (high in the list at PE1ITR WSPR challenge page) with my horizontal loop but I missed the VK0EK WSPR signal. The only one that received VK0EK when on Heard Isl. from the Netherlands was PI4THT from the University of Twente.

A little late I thought of the WSPR map that can be created online. So I miss some spots I guess. May be someone else has the complete list of unique stations that spotted VK0EK? Anyway, it's still interesting. It's also interesting that the beacon is still on now while the DXpedition crew is returning at the ship (MV Braveheart) signing as VK0EK from several different grids from were the ship is at the moment.However, I have no illusion receiving them with my vertical since the loop isn't up anymore.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

The Pocketshack Project (2)

I've written about this before earlier on this blog.

Now, KC5FM Lloyd was kind enough to send me a copy from the article written by Skip Teller KH6TY published in QST magazine. It is clear to me now what is different from the way I configured my pocketshack.

To write this article I had to follow the instructions partly from the article to get a good idea how Skip was setting up things. I followed the instructions partly as I'm interested in remote control only and not how to get on air on SSB by using skype. I setup FLdigi and extra files as required and indeed it does work. But not as well as I expected. On a phone it's still very small and easy to make errors. The main advantage of splashtop is that the cursor goes were you put your finger on the touchscreen, very naturally like you used to on any other touchscreen device. Both Splashtop as Teamviewer do have a app using a android or apple device to access your shacks computer. However splashtop can only be used for free within your own home network. If you want to access it from outside you have to pay (16,99 USD per year for a anywhere access package!) Teamviewer does not work that smoothly but is free and can be accessed from anywhere in the world for free. You even don't have to install software for it on the computer you use to access your shack as it is possible to access it through a browser. You don't have to use skype with Teamviewer as it has built in voip (voice over internet protocol). Anyway it was nice test things out. Personally I prefer Ham Radio De luxe for remote controlling my shack. Though FLdigi is a good alternative. If you only want to access your shack within your own network Splashtop is the thing to get as it streams faster as Teamviever. But if you want to access it everywhere I recommend Teamviewer. If you really want to access your shack as a pro you better look at remote controlling your rig with "Remoterig" However, that isn't for free and all the experimenting is already done for you.

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Contact with the inventor

I had the honour to meet Joe K1JT on air at 20m JT9 this evening. Joe is the inventor of WSJT (Weak Signal JT) digital modes. The WSJT mode software he gives us for free has been changing amateurradio forever. Who ever had thought of working the world with this mode is easy 10 years ago? Even for modest stations. I think this mode will be very populair in the next few years with low propagation. Not many people know that I had a influence on the software as I wrote Joe in 2009 answering his e-mail. Actually I think The text in "tab 2" above the buttons was my idea to clarify the difference between calling and answering. In the mean time WSJT-X can now be controlled via the HRD cat system, one of the features I liked to see.  Joe, if you ever read this, thanks very much for this great digital mode, your my HAMradio hero. And of course thanks for the QSO...

Monday, 11 April 2016

Most intriguing VK0EK photo

I might be disturbed but this is the most intriguing photo from the VK0EK activation to me. Without this heater they can't or almost can't operate the radios comfortabilly I think. I wonder what this guy is doing with the spoon? I'm professionally interested as repairing these heaters is one of the core businesses at my job. I can say that I've specialized myself repairing these heaters through the years. So, that's why I like this photo most.

I had a day off the job today. Since I don't appear in the FT4JA log I hoped for another QSO as I understood that they would be on Juan de Nova Isl. till the end of today. Unfortenately when I had time for playing radio I noticed they were already QRT.  Oh, well....that's how it goes!

Loop antenna in the box. With the help of my daughter...
Since the weather was beatiful today I decided to do some garden work and dismantled the horizontal loop. I doubt if I will set it up again at the end of the year as I really hope to install the real antennamast if everything goes well. For the time being I'll use my multiband vertical again.

Working VK0EK on 40m CW is already one of the highlights of this year. It's incredible how they pulled out weak signals as their signal was not too loud as well. Most of the time I have to let big DXpeditions go as I'm not a big gun at all. But this time I was lucky.

Sunday, 10 April 2016

MCW simple leadtime solution

MCW (Modulated Continuous Wave) is audio modulation generated CW with a soundcard. If you don't have a Winkey or Microkeyer like me it is a solution to transmit CW with software like FLdigi and DM780. The only problem is that, if you work with a VOX activated PTT like me, you miss the first "dot". This results in faults like I had with VK0EK. I didn't look at it in the past as I always transmit my call 2 times to insure they got my callsign correct. But it occured to me that many times I was in the log as GE4BAS, missing the first ".". PE2KM Kees his comment and a discussion via e-mail with Aart PA3C opened my eyes or actually my ears to listen and analyze my own transmission. Aart suggested to me I should try a longer lead time. But this doesn't work with VOX activated PTT as it only goes in transmit when there is sound. Why did this never come up to me at all before? The solution is simple! Just ad a E (. in CW) in the TX macro before the call. Just like: EPE4BAS, ETU 5NN etc. Just a simple solution and listening to my own transmission it works well till 20wpm, at least at my equipment. Time to test things out with FT4JA on 30m CW. Yes, he copied, I saw it clearly on the screen. But unfortenately I'm not in the log so I guess it was a pirate?

By the way, for the USA readers, use of MCW is illigal in the United States below 50,1 MHz.

Thursday, 7 April 2016

VK0EK, am I in the log?

Heard VK0EK for the first time this evening on 40m. Used my vertical. They could not be heard on the loop. Very hard  to copy, especially for someone that can't understand that much CW. Thought they had my call correct but they had it wrong. They logged me as GE4BAS, this happens often. I think I'll manage to have that corrected when this will be my only contact. What would you think?

Update 8-4-2016: Just made a ticket via this great DXA site to get my call corrected in the log. I will update this post when things will be changing.

Update again: Wow, the reply is incredible fast.

Thank you for the busted call inquiry. I have corrected the log entry. 
It will take up to 2 days to be presented to Club Log.
DXA will not see the correction. Do Not worry, all is okay.

Am I in the log? Yes I am. Thanks to the VK0EK support. I can only say a big wow! ;-)

UKEICC contest 6 April, one more time QRP

Event: UKEICC 80m SSB contest
Section: QRP
Logger: N1MM+ 
Station: Yaesu FT-817ND (5W)
Antenna: 84m horizontal loop at 7m AGL.

Since I got a reminder e-mail from the contest organisation I took part in the UKEICC unexpected. Still have the 80m loop up, so I had a chance. But unfortenately propagation was not too good. Low signals on the band. Calling CQ had no use for me, tried it several times without luck. All QSOs were made S&P. Had lots of troubles to get the exchange through. Most of the QSOs were a struggle and sometimes had to repeat my exchange (JO33) 10 times. QRP is not easy at all.

The results in the end:

QRP Entries

Call          Pwr Grid  Raw   Dupe  Bust NIL  Good  Total   --- Best DX  ---  
                        QSOs                  QSOs  Pts     Call        Km    

G3ZVW         Q   IO80  46    0     0    0    46    93      SE5L        1583  
PE4BAS        Q   JO33  23    0     0    0    23    68      EI8IQ       945  
F4VQT         Q   IN98  19    0     0    0    19    42      GM3WOJ      1037  
M6VPW         Q   IO91  16    0     0    0    16    26      GM3WOJ      716  
M6LFL *       Q   IO92  16    0     1    0    15    16      GI0AZB      456  
EI7GEB        Q   IO63  10    0     0    0    10    13      G0MCV       418

Longest scoring QSO: 945.37 km with EI8IQ
Highest points QSO: 8.00 points with G3ZVW

G3ZVW was the only other QRP participant I'd QSO with. I did hear F4FQT in QSO with another station as well but did not work him. If only propagation had been better....

Had a lot of fun though. I like the format of this contest. It's only a hour, you submit the log within 1 hour after the contest. You have the results in the morning. Simple and fast....

Saturday, 2 April 2016

100 DXCC in 100 DAYS QRP Challenge finished

I finished the 100 DXCC in 100 days QRP. Almost can't believe I finished this as it is not a easy challenge at all. When I first read about this concept on NY4G Ariel's blog I thought this would only be possible to accomplish for those that are retired and have almost unlimited time for the hobby. Luckely Ariel published the rules and I decided to participate because there was no actual time limit. Anyway I accomplished this in only 79 days and that was totally unexpected. Ariel sent me a nice certificate via e-mail, thanks for that.

Analyzing the whole log is interesting. 79 days is a long time and sometimes I had excelllent propagation, sometimes not at all. I didn't have time every day, only on the dates that are in the log. I managed to work at least one or sometimes more new DXCC every day I spend time on the radio.So actually, if you only count the days that I was active, I did 100 DXCC in 33 days! Sometimes I really doubt I would work a new one and then in the end I suddenly managed to work it. There were surprises and there were days that I struggled to make a QSO anywhere. I even modified my FT-817 at day 67 to work A45XR from Oman which I had seen spotted the days before on 60m. And incredible, after modifying the rig first QSO was with him on 60m JT65. After day 76 I thought I would not going to make it within 100 days, just 24 days left, you know how fast time goes! I decided to take part in the CQWW WPX SSB 2016 with QRP to hunt primarely for DXCC to ad to the challenge log. And successfully I did! Well, at the end of the contest I counted 100 DXCC...however Z6 Kosovo (worked 2 different stations in the contest) is officially not a valid DXCC and so I stranded at 99. Can you imagine how this was on my mind! I had to make that last one. Had some radio time again tuesday evening after the contestweekend. Hunted for several DXCC I heard and saw spotted on the cluster but it's hard with only 5W. At the end saw T77C spotted on 40m CW and 2 calls later I was in his log, mission accomplished! After the challenge finished Ariel wrote me he had been analyzing the log:

I also analyzed your log with some interesting findings.  Your first half came rather easy as many of the DXCC entities are close by.  You were averaging about 1300 miles per QSO.   Then you had to go out much further in distance.  At the end you were averaging close to 2500 plus miles per QSO.
Antennas make all the difference for QRP.  K4SV averaged about 4200 miles per QSO with his big SteppIR with 4 elements on 20m at 90 feet.  I only have a 2 element wire beam on the high bands which allowed me to average 3800 miles per QSO.

Most memorable and amazing QSOs:

OD5ZZ Lebanon (worked 15m SSB from my mobile with the modified DV27 antenna his signal 9+30dB), JY6ZZ Jordan (SSB 17m), AP2IA Pakistan (15m JT9 ATNO for me), PZ5RA Surinam (on 10m PSK63), FR4QT Reunion Isl. (10m SSB), 7P8C Lesotho (10m CW), ZL3NB New Zealand (30m JT65 ODX 17939km), VP8LP Falkland Isl. (20m PSK125), A45XR Oman (60m JT65), NL7V Alaska (20m SSB) and actually the last 20 DXCC in the challenge log are all special!

A few QSLs received from the QRP QSOs in the challenge log

It has been a incredible experience and I'm glad I took the opportunity to take part in this event. If you're looking for a goal within the hobby I can certainly recommend this challenge.

Friday, 1 April 2016

PE4BAS lightwave converter

I have been experimenting lately and by coincidence I made a homemade lightwave converter out of my Yaesu FT-817. I'm not a maths expert but I learned some things at school long time ago. One thing I learned was how to calculate lightwave indexes. Reading some of my old calculations, I found somewhere at the attic in a box, I had a fabulous idea. Why not build a simple lightwave converter to transmit on the lightwave bands.

So I thought this can be simple with components I already have. To start I use the FT-817 as modulator/receiver. A simple RF to light conversion module was made out of some optocouplers and small mirrors. To have control over the whole thing I use a Light Wave Ratio meter which is nothing more then some tiny parallel mirrors. One of the mirrors inside is mechanically controlled. I use a l.t.v.c. to get a reading on the meter.
 Before I test this I made a calculation of the lightwave form with a computer program. The picture on the left is how things are looking. I know it sounds very complicated for most of you, but it isn't. It's simple as what. Finally I could test the whole thing and check out propagation. Unfortenately at the moment I'm the only station on the world which is transmitting lightwave signals as far as I know. So, my call was lonely and probabely heard by no one or by some very distant aliens.

I realize not everyone has the ability to build this, but if you do please let me know if you're interested in a sked. I will only be on only today. Hopefully I'll be able to make some contacts...