Thursday, February 29, 2024

On the edge

  A blogpost just on the edge of winter/springtime. At a special date today, a once in a 4 year opportunity to make a blogpost on the 29th of February. During the (work)week I've less time for radio. But this evening I thought of giving it a try to work 2 new ones. XU7GNY from Cambodia and H40WA from Temotu province. If FT8 would not be existing I don't think I would ever work these entities at all just because my time is limited. With FT8 you can let the computer call, it does the job for you. This evening again I was called away from the shack several times. But in between the computer managed to work XU7GNY on 30m and 40m quite fast. Later on, H40WA was worked on 20m after about 10 minutes of calling. 

The DX purists will probably find this disgusting. DX should be hard work. Finding the right split frequency and find out which direction the DX operator goes. Oh yes, I've experienced this a lot of times in the past. And yes, that is the way we did DX which takes a lot of time to contact the DX at all if you can even hear it. We are now in the future of HAMradio. Working DX will take less time and less good equipment so you have time and money for other things of interest. After all, who cares if you have worked 340 DXCC in the last 50 years? We all collect DXCC for our own interest.

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

My quest to learn CW (3)

 This is my monthly update about my quest to learn CW. I got to the point that I'm stuck. It took me 35 times at lesson 27 on LCWO to learn that I have to lower my expectations. The speed of 28wpm with effective speed on 8wpm is too much for me. I've lowered the speed to 7wpm effective. I really need more time between the letters. It is not only to understand them but I need to find the right key on the keyboard as well. I'm shure I could write the letters down a lot faster but it is what it is. After I lowered the speed the 36th time I was over 90% which is enough to go on the lesson 28.

Graph from lesson 27. I almost gave up at the end, then at 7wpm effective it took me 1 try.

Writing the letters down is what I did during the ARRL DX CW contest this month. And I was surprised by the amount of stations I could decode. Although sometimes it took me listening a few times before I could complete the call and the state abbreviation. It was fun to do the decoding without the computer. S&P that way is certainly possible. However this is not "instant" decoding like in a QSO or when running. I have the feeling that it will take me a few years before I manage to do that. We will see how things will work out.

In the mean time I rehearse at least 15 minutes every day. Hopefully I can tell I have improved next month.

Monday, February 26, 2024

#60m Wallis & Futuna Isl. worked


For those that don't know where these islands are. It is roughly between Samoa and Fiji in the Pacific. It is french territory. Quite difficult to reach by travel and by radio. There are a few radioamateurs on the islands but I never heard them. Right now there is a Bulgarian DXpedition going on. Worked TX8GC before on 30m for a ATNO. FW8GC was worked on 17m a few days ago. I was up early sunday morning and saw a few very nice DX stations. The problem is that I'm not the only one, so it is difficult to get a QSO. I made it to FW8GC at the end of the morning greyline and just on the edge (-21dB on FT8). It took me some transmissions before I decoded the RR73. Very glad I managed to work this one. Unfortunately something happened with the QSO screenshot and I lost it. So I had to wait for the confirmation in clublog to prove things.