Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Hail JT9 for the ultimate DX

Notice the incredible low signal.
New Zealand radioamateurs just have permission to transmit on 60m for 2 weeks now. And since I did read the blog of PA2S Henk, his article made me think about the ultimate DX goal of this year. It had to be done now as long as it is new because when you wait too long the ZL operators are not interested in working Europe anymore. The big challenge is the distance, the low power allowed on both sites (10W in ZL and 15W in PA) and of course the small time frame in the morning when there is a chance of propagation. In the past week radioamateurs in Europe have already made it to New Zealand on both FT8 as JT9, so possible it is. But still it is very difficult and I think JT9 is just the best and most sensitive mode to accomplish the task.

So, last week I was calling......and calling......and calling. Then suddenly ZL4OL popped up in my screen, a few minutes later the QSO was made.

JT9 is just incredible for real DX.

Below a screenshot as proof!

From PA2S I heard that ZL on 60m are longpath contacts since the shortpath is in light and so the D-layer absorption is too high. Over the longpath the distance between me and ZL4OL is 21427.6 km and that makes it extra ultimate DX!

More interesting research on this topic can be found on PA2S Henk his website. Henk is researching propagation and DXing on 60m since we are allowed on 60m in the Netherlands.

Monday, 12 February 2018

PACC 2018 contest review

Event: PACC 2018
Section:  Single Operator Low Power  All Band SSB
Logger: N1MM+ newest version
Station: Icom IC-706 MK2G 100W
Antenna: Inverted-V apex 12m + multiband vertical

Well, it was a nice contest again, I think the most important one for us Dutch. Started a little late but that doesn't matter that much. Propagation was not really good. 10m and 15m were closed except for one station (RL4A) which came in here at S9 at sunday as the only foreign station on the band. Because of those closed bands the amount of multipliers was less compared to the last few years. 20m was open but not good enough for a vertical or a wire antenna like my inverted-V although I worked some DX. The first station I worked in this contest was Z60A for the first ATNO of this year. 40m, 80m and 160m were reasonable but not really open for short distances so I guess I miss a lot of QSO's from inside the Netherlands.

DXCC worked during the contest
The last couple of years I always worked at least one station from USA or Canada on 80m but this time nothing was heard. 80m was my best band counting the amount of QSOs, not surprising with a 2x20m inverted-V as antenna. 46 DXCC were worked. I expected more activity from Belgium as they share the Dutch/Flemish language but only 13 were worked in total. I guess they were more interested in the RTTY contest? Or active on CW?

Map from my contacts. ODX was PY with 9760km (20m). K0EA was interesting!
The thick line in the center is something I can't remove...

It is nice to be able to see my on-off times. Best times in for DX are always the greyline periods so I tried to be on the radio at those times. But sometimes propagation is a strange thing. K3ZO (USA) responded on my CQ on 40m almost 2 hours after my sunrise! He has a amazing antenna setup or we were just lucky! You can clearly see when I had dinner saturday, when I stopped en when I started again sundaymorning.

As you can see I started a half hour too late because of visitors. I was off for about 4,5 hours to get a little sleep. Most of my contesting time has been spend running (calling CQ) I did less S&P (searching for multipliers) this time. N1MM+ has a excellent multiplier screen but as soon as sunday nothing much showed up new much. So calling CQ was the best way to go on I think. I aimed for 100 multipliers.... almost got it!

However, the best part is to meet some friends again, the guys that you know personally but are living far away. Most of them participate in the PACC every year, some of them don't but are especially searching for me.

Some operators known personally were: PD2TW Tjip, PB7Z Bernard, PD3OES Andre (at PI4MM), PD1RP Peter (at PA0AA), PE1BVQ Hans, PE1DUG Free, PA3FXT Reinder, PE1FNW Bé, PB7C Bram, PE9DX Johan, SM6VXI Engelhard and OY1R/MM Regin (hopefully I did not forget someone?)

Especially Regin OY1R/MM was a nice encounter on 160m. He was at the ship 130km from the Dutch coast on the Northsea. We met each other while he brought me his QSL personally when his ship was in the  harbour nearby 2 years ago.

Hans PE1BVQ sent me a short video from my last contact as received at his QTH.

Propagation might be not the best but I had a lot of fun after all and that is the most important thing in this contest.

Saturday, 10 February 2018

Voicekeyer test via webSDR

Didn't feel well last 2 days. But it went better this morning. To test my voicekeyer and signal as last preparations for the PACC I made a recording from my voicekeyer on 80m. First with my normal voice, just the recording. Second is my recording with a little reverb. Sometimes I hear stations that use a little reverb and they sound very clear to me. But to be honest I like my normal voice and I think I don't need any reverb to have a better sound. Decide for yourself.

The recording is made with the PI4THT webSDR which is one of the best online SDR receivers on the net. You have a couple of tools online for analyzing the signal. Like plotting the signal over time and viewing your signal in the waterfall. Best is of course the recording ability. My transmission was made on 3740KHz LSB. The difference between my vertical and the inverted-V was astonishing, my signal was not received at all when I was transmiiting on the vertical and as good as the recording when on the inverted-V.