Friday, February 15, 2019

What's your occupation?

A typical day at my job.
Years ago when I was still a 11m/CB radioamateur I was asked many times in QSOs "What is you occupation" a usual question in those days. And a greatful subject to talk about on the air. I haven't been asked ever on the HAM radio amateurbands. Could be this is not really something to talk about? Or did they in the past and is this question taboo now? Occupation has many translations but in this context it does mean what your profession is, your job, what you're doing for your living. Most people do, some do not because of their health. Most radioamateurs are retired but had a job or more jobs in their lifetime.

My job at the moment is difficult to explain sometimes. Officially my profession is electrician. I've been a electrician for a few years but don't like the work actually. So I have been a operator in factories for years. But since working in shifts is not for everyone and certainly not for me as I did get sick of it. I was lucky to get a job as a allround technician at a shop in (and now near) my village on a daily basis. It is a allround job, repairing almost everything the shop sells. In the first years we also sold agricultural corn dryers and remote electric driven garage doors. I had, because of my profession, a lot do do with the process and installation. But now these days we mainly repair lawnmowers, garden equipment, high pressure gear, electric powertool equipment and forced air heaters. We deliver parts as well from all kind of brands and we not only repair what we sold but everything that comes into the shop for repair. It is a interesting job with sometimes a challenge to solve a problem. And it is always nice to have satisfied and happy customers.

Since it seems no one is asking and so no one is ever telling....I ask you readers following this blog. Tell us more about your job, or what your job was since most HAMs are retired these days...

Monday, February 11, 2019

PACC 2019 review

Event: PACC 2019
Section:  Single Operator Low Power  All Band SSB
Logger: N1MM+ newest version
Station: Icom IC-706 MK2G 100W
Antenna 1: Inverted-V apex @12m
Antenna 2: Butternut HF5B @14m
Antenna 3: 3 band endfed @groundlevel

The most important (for me at least) dutch contest is over for this year. Just searching the archives for last years score, it was a better score compared to this year. No progression, I guess this is the limit of my station at this moment. If I want to have a better score the only way is to improve my antenna for 20m. The HF5B did a great job on 15m, as soon as there were slight conditions I could make the contact, it gave me some extra multipliers.

Some things I notice this year:

- Some spots that appeared on DXheat cluster didn't show in the bandmap of N1MM+. Most spots did, only a few didn't. I checked if I had any filters on or some adjustment wrong but so far I didn't find anything. Conlusion: it pays if you keep an eye on a second DX cluster.

- It could be propagation but even when I was spotted (I was spotted 10 times) there was no follow-up pile-up like last year and the years before. Didn't anyone hear me? Or was it just a lack of stations? In the end I had 40 QSO less compared to last year on 80m which is my "money" band.

At least one multiplier will not count, EP2C (Iran) was not giving serial numbers in the contest. I worked him on 40m which was nice but not counting in the contest. In my heart I'm more a DXer as a contester. Wrong attitude to win a contest :-).

But I worked some interesting DX and they were giving progressive numbers for the contest. Sometimes it was just a matter of asking. Propagation not good? Well indeed, but for "low sunspot" standards some pretty nice things happened. I worked 3 times USA on 80m and K3ZO was even coming back on my CQ. Last year I didn't work across the ocean on 80. On 40m I worked K3ZO as well just like a few others from USA. I checked 15m and 10m regularly and found 15m open for a few minutes on/off. OD5VB and A41NN and a few russian stations made it in the log.

The endfed was setup as spare antenna, actually it was quite good. Though the large wind was a problem this weekend, it kept sliding in no matter what. Tried some tape to hold it but that didn't work. I made some QSOs with it but that was all. I noticed 20m receive was just as good as on the HF5B beam, a confirmation that I should improve something on that band. On 40m it was sometimes better sometimes worse but most of the time receive was equal to my inverted-V. SWR was great and it worked well with 100W SSB although the antenna is made for QRP use.

Less off time compared with last year. I went to bed for about 3,5 hours. This contest might be interesting to do for a continuous 24h participation in CW but for the SSB section it hasn't much use. You better get some sleep to have a fresh mind in the early morning. 

Worked 47 DXCC, one more compared to last year. No south-america or central america, no Australia or Africa. I heard PJ4DX but so far he only appears to do some S&P and almost got a QSO with a VK2 but it didn't happen in the end.

I was up at 5 UTC in the morning, even that is too early...I made only 4 QSO, one every 15 minutes of calling. But you never know of year it could be different. Made 7 last year at the same time. Best time was 20 UTC on 80m, almost like every year. Though last year my best time was at 18 and 21 UTC. The most difficult thing in this contest is what band to choose at daylight. I sometimes felt like I was on the wrong band at the wrong time. The problem is that every year is different. The only thing that works is to be at 80m at saturday evening for some extra QSOs.

Then the CQ WPX RTTY contest at the same time. It's the same every night 40m is only usable from 7100 and up, below that frequency it is full of RTTY sigs. Another disadvantage is that most big contest stations and well known contesters participate in the RTTY contest. It's a pity...I don't think it will ever change since the date of the PACC contest is always the same since decades. We have to make the best of it as it is.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

UKEICC exercise for the PACC

I wrote about this UKEICC contest before and participated in the past. It is a 1 hour contest on 80m once a month. There is a CW and SSB section both on different dates. I'm most interested in the SSB version. You can get a automatic reminder e-mail a day before. So I did get the e-mail and decided to participate as a exercise for this upcoming PACC weekend. I really like this fast format since after the contest you need to submit your log within a hour. A short time after you already see your results. I obtained 4th place yesterday in the combined results. And I see a first place in the Low power section. I don't think there is a difference between assisted/unassisted, you can choose it but it hardly makes any sense since there are not many cluster spots anyway. If you don't like long contests or just want to contest for the fun of it this is the contest for you. I suggest try it some time.