Wednesday, April 24, 2019

ES season ready!

It seems for now this was the last day with good weather this week. So I decided to get a day off the job to get ES season ready. It was a so called antennaday.

The HF5B beam was removed. I don't think I will have it in the mast again. I definitely need a 5 band beam that works a bit better. Although 10m and 15m does very reasonable the rest is not that good. Although I made QSOs on both 17m and 12m but could have done it on the inverted-V as well.

I decided to mount the 5 element ZX yagi on top and below the HB9CV for 10m. Actually I have been thinking about mounting the 4 element LFA yagi and I might do that later this year. But the HB9CV is a proven design that gave me many DX contacts in the past. Is the LFA that much better? Most antenna designers probabely say yes. But I want to test it. I have had several directional antennas in the past but the HB9CV always surprise me. It is definitely better as a 3 element beam but can it compete with the 4 element LFA yagi?

Well, everything went very well and all was mounted before the afternoon. Then other chores did take my time as usual. I was only able to test the antennas in the evening and didn't expect any propagation. But I was surprised by good ES and even some DX on 10m...I made I few contacts on both 10m and 6m to test the antennas and all looks well. Unfortunately I had to stop early since me daughter her clockradio can't handle to big signals, she like to listen some music in the evening. I think I have to find a solution for that...

Red markers are 6m, pink markers are 10m. I made the QSO with XT2AW in Burkina Faso on 10m CW. Was heard by 5T5PA in Mauritania but since I had to stop I couldn't make the QSO. I hope to meet 5T5PA this year on 6m. That would be a new one on 6 for me.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

So how is #60m these days?

Since it is close to the ES season I'm planning to remove the HF5B and replace it for the 5 element 6m beam again. The days are getting longer and we look towards the summer. Actually I didn't expect the 60m band in good shape for DX since so far I thought long distance could only be made when it is dark or just before/in/after greyline. But since the KH8 DXpedion from American Samoa is on 60m sometimes I thought it would be interesting to see if I could receive them. Well so far that didn't happen. But surprisingly I was spotted every morning at ZL4YL in New Zealand last week. This sunday morning I was surprised by the constant signal from V31DL (Belize), the sun is already up for at least 2 hours! It's a sunny warm day and still V31DL is received with at least +1dB on FT8 60m! And not only him but some USA stations as well. To me the excellent greyline propagation on this band at this time of the year is really a big surprise.

At the moment I post this it is 8:35 local time. Greyline is long gone. But V31DL is still received with -5dB. Following PSK reporter my 15W signal is still spotted with -17dB by him. It is incredible the path is still there...

Update 21-4-2019 end of day:
I left my computer on to see when the signal from V31DL would disappear. You see him still calling but no one answering. I wonder I was the only one still receiving? Still after almost 3 hours after my sunrise I still received him with -9dB. And I guess then he stopped calling...

Friday, April 12, 2019

PA0DR - follow up surprises

Following part 1 at my blog this is not yet the part 2 I wanted to write about. It is just something in between I wanted to share. With the help of others and specially my neighbourstation PA3BCB Gerard who wrote me after I published the dutch PA0DR story in our local magazine Hunsotron and on my blog. He knew Dirk personally and saved some valuable memorabilia after Dirk died in 1991. Some of the items don't fit into part 2 of the stories but are interesting to show I think. Gerard sent me some scanned pictures from the items he has but after some e-mail exchanges decided to give almost the whole package to me for the story and to show others that are interested in the history of this dutch HAM. On top you see a first edition (1959) of Quad antennas by William Orr, Dirk was very interested in quad antennas and had one himself. Just when I'm interested in a quad antenna to replace my HF5B. Is this a coïncidence?

A QSL card by a SWL (RA89) from New Zealand was sent to Dirk in 1939 when he witnessed a first with Peru for PA0DR. The card has very nice details from a short wave receive station at that time.

You can click on the pictures to enlarge. Notice the QSL came via dutch radio organisation NVIR (Nederlandsche Vereeniging voor Internationaal Radioamateurisme). After the war NVIR was one of the organisations that united with others to form the VERON which is still the largest radioamateur organisation in my country. Dirk became a member a year after the war.

It is unbelievable I got this piece of evidence in my posession now. I guess this can be called a real museum piece. And I got so much more I want to show you. But you have to wait till I finish my story...

Wait, there is more to tell. If you read my last months article well and followed the link to the picture from the possible "Winchester" transmitter you see a nice picture from a home made replica transmitter. It's the kind that could have been used by the resistance in WW2. I didn't notice that this article was written by PA3BCB's XYL. Gerard has this replica in posession and brought it with him to the radioclub evening to show us. I really don't know what kind of bulb is on there but this transmitter features some nice details like square wire to connect all individual parts.

According to Gerard there are few components and/or wiring missing and to get it to work on the 80m band another coil is needed. The coil at the side of the bulb is for 14MHz I believe. There is a possebility that this replica has been made by Dirk PA0DR but so far we didn't find any evidence for that. It is Gerard's intention to restore the transmitter and make at least one CW QSO with England with it like the resistance did in WW2. Of course I'll keep you readers informed about this.