Friday, September 30, 2016

#cqww RTTY 2016 - Just for fun

Operating remote from the livingroom
Event: CQWW RTTY contest
Section: LOW power
Logger: N1MM+ 
Station: Icom IC-706MK2G at 40W
Antenna: Coppertape multiband vertical at 9m agl

Participated just for the fun of it last weekend. I'm not able to spend a full contest time anymore. Just a couple of hours in the morning and evening and slipping into the shack for some minutes at daylight. Besides that RTTY is not my favorite mode. It's loud, noisy, broadband and not sensitive enough, a leftover digital mode from decades ago. At least that's my opinion. But hey, it's a chance to work some nice DX on all bands when propagation is there. My goal was to work 100 stations and best DX and as many countries as possible. I think I managed that well.

Best DX:

40m: P49X (Aruba), NR4M (USA), KP2/WE5DX (Virgin Isl.), ZZ2T (Brazil), VC3S (Canada), HK3TU (Colombia)

20m: UN6LN (Kazakhstan), RG9A (As.Russia), 4Z4AK (Israel), KG4SS (Guantanamo Bay), C37NL (Andorra), W4AAW (USA), P49X (Aruba), VC3S (Canada), NP2X (Virgin Isl.), FG5LA (Guadeloupe), WP3C (Puerto Rico)

15m: JR4OZR (Japan), YV1YLY (Venezuela), FG5LA (Guadeloupe), ZZ2T (Brazil)

Considering the time I had and was on the radio it's not a bad effort. It shows the vertical is doing a good job. And since the propagation is not that good lately I think this coppertape experimental vertical is doing better as the alu tape one I used for years.

Butternut HF6V without radials
After the contest I had a chat with PB7Z Bernard who is a avid contester from the province of Drenthe and about 50km south from my QTH. I met him again on air (20m) and think what he is doing with a 7m long vertical is really amazing. Although he uses a 81m windom on the low bands Bernard claims 856 QSOs and a score of 764180 points. If you like to see his results and log you can view it here:

Bernard is using the HF6V vertical without radials on very wet ground. But still, since it is in a forest and the antenne is placed low it is still amazing.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

WWFF event: PE1BVQ/P Zuidlaardermeer

PAFF-0065 by PE1BVQ
September 29 @ 09:00 - 12:00 UTC+0

Activating PAFF-0065 Zuidlaardermeer.
Start on 7085/7114 Mhz LSB, later on 14.244Mhz USB

Let's help Hans to get those 44 QSOs he need!
If you hear him, please spot him on the cluster.

Good luck Hans!

Update 30-9: I wish I could write the activation was a success. But unfortenately Hans had bad luck. Due the large windgusts his mast broke, his endfed broke and after he repaired everything there was no propagation. No matter what he didn't get any response even not after a spot in the cluster. Not a single contact. How much bad luck can someone have! Next time better Hans. Keep doing the good work an let's hope for good DX next time.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Interference (2), VDSL a HAM operators nightmare

Remember my post about interference last July? I did solve the problem for a while. But the modem/router did had a defect. We lost internet almost all evenings and I was not even transmitting! So, we got the newest modem a Experiabox V10. And back was the interference. Interference is worse when you receive it, but we have to live with it as this is going to be a big problem everywhere for radio enthousiasts. Even worse is the interference you cause when transmitting since we don't want to disturb people that have nothing to do with our hobby.

Orange light means no DSL signal
And so I went on with a lot of ferrite and tried everything I could. I solved the problem as far as only hick ups on TV and a internet connection that would get lost for a minute. Unfortenately still sometimes we lost the complete DSL connection and in that case we had to wait for 5 minutes to get TV, internet and phone back online. I was out of options and found a DSL RF protection filter at It did have a good review on several sites and this was my last hope for a solution. I tried to connect it last week but unfortenately the new Experiabox modem doesn't see any signal anymore with the filter connected. Tried to restart but still no signal till I disconnected the filter and plugged in the DSL wire directly in the modem. We had a internet connection again and I still had the problem.

Oh my, now we really had a problem. I'm not that clever with solutions curing RFI. This really needs a expert to solve the problem. So I checked some radioamateur forums and saw a post from another HAM that had the same problem with the same modem. And not only he had the problem, but some other HAMs as well. I got some feedback and found someone that could help as his interference problem, which was exactly the same, was solved completely. Not only at his modem but also at the modem of his neighbours. He found someone that could change the VDSL settings of the provider VDSL line, in their words: change my profile. It seems to be possible to place some HAM band notches on the signal, in other words the DSL signal is suppressed or is not using the frequencies we use as radioamateur. That would cost me some internetspeed but it would solve the problem. I contacted this person and he placed the notches. The interference disappeared magically and is completely over now. I can use 100W on all bands without disturbing TV, telephone or internet and the VDSL line is not disconnecting.

Problem solved you think? Oh yes, for now. But what if my provider changes the line profile again. And what about if I can't reach the guy that changes that profile for me? In the mean time I tried to find out why this remoterig RF-protection filter does not work the way they advertize? On the site I read the best way to ask something is via their forum. So I applied for a pasword but they need to approve. That was more then a week ago. I guess the guys in Sweden have a busy life.

Well I decided to register at the remoterig yahoo groups. The story is going to be too long for one post. So, more about it later...

Something to read about this.

It was all known 13 years ago already: DSL's dirty little secret revisited
PE4KH had a similair problem: Vectored VDSL and the influence of amateur radio transmissions
DH8BQA had a similair problem and basically did the same as me: Fixing issues: Remote Ops VDSL internet connection

I have the feeling I really got into something bad. I wonder when you are a new interested radioamateur and want to start on HF. You just got your license and then you bump into something complicated like this? I think I would give up and try another hobby....

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Summer is here...

Polygonia C-album, quite unusual in the north.
Well, I do not update the blog much these days. Other things are on my mind, about that later. We have the most beautiful weather of the year at the moment and actually it is way to hot in the shack to be there playing radio.Personally I like this time of the year. There are lots of things around that are worth enjoying. Like our garden in which we have a lot of flowers blooming. It does attract the most beautiful butterflies and it seems my antenna is favorite by dragonflies. There are always 5-6 dragonflies sitting in the sun on the radials in the afternoon.

One of the dragonflies

Selling the remaining equipment from Foppe's PD0FF station consumes some time. I want to sell as fast as possible as all the equipment is in my shack now. Most of it is sold via the dutch internet marketplace. Unfortenately not everything is or was as good as he probabely thought and I decided to actually throw some things in the garbage as it didn't have any value. I think a lot of Foppe lately and feel so sorry for him he didn't have time to do all the things he wanted in life. However, our lives are going on and hopefully we can do the things we want to do.

I'm having some unfortunate interference problem again with our internet connection and therefore it is impossible to transmit full power at the moment at bands lower as 10 MHz. It isn't as worse as it was but still a problem. It limits me in my hobby and I'm searching for a solution. It has something to do with the internet line switching from VDSL to VDSL2 I think a while ago. VDSL2 is a kind of high speed internet line using frequencies till 30MHz but probabely therefore sensitive for HF radio interference nearby. Although my antenna is at least 15-20m away from the modem even a 25W SSB signal knocks down the DSL line sometimes. That means: no internet, no TV and no telephone. I've been experimenting a lot with ferrite clamps it helps but doesn't solve the problem completely. I will write more about this as soon as there is a solution for this problem.

Anyway, in the mean time we enjoy other things. Hopefully the problem will be solved and I can get into the hobby again without having the fear to disturb my family with this when DXing full power. I know there is QRP in the hobby as well. And yes, I do not have this issue with QRP. But I don't want to work QRP forever.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

The monster is back...

Last year I visited the harbour Eemshaven near my QTH and made some photos from the largest pipe lay crane vessel of the world. It has gone away but when my wife and daughter visited the Eemshaven today this monster was just towed into the harbour again.

This thing is huge. Look at the size of those tugs. Four of them guiding it into the harbour.

Speaking about huge. My antennatower has finally moved to another place for the time being after 8 years into the mud and grass in the garden.

Hopefully I will find the time to set it up again this year. At least there is a start of things now. Thinking about where to dig a hole...