Tuesday, May 26, 2020

SO2R @PE75FREE video impression

Just a impression....

Featuring the IC-7300 on 12m and the IC-706 on 10m. Both transmitting in the same time slot. I can do other combinations as well of course. Both transmitting with 50W, 12m on my all band vertical and 10m on the 4 element LFA beam.

Hope this will give many more stations the opportunity to work PE75FREE...

See you in the pile-up!


Sunday, May 24, 2020

#10m propagation

As a matter of fact I'm operating SO2R with the call PE75FREE on both 12m and 10m right now. The propagation is exceptional. I finally managed to work Japan (JH3AIU) and China (BD7BS) on 10m yesterday. See far more DX and not able to reach everything, even not with FT8. It might be the low noise LFA? But it doesn't matter. The weather turned from blue sky and sunny to grey and rainy today, I'm happy it does rain since the garden does need it badly. Thanks to everyone that is working the special call. I do my best to reach as much stations as possible.

Friday, May 22, 2020

PE75FREE SO2R update - growth

Probabely no one has noticed but I managed to get 2 stations on air now with FT8. Both with about 40-50W in the same time slot on 17/10 or 15/10 meter bands. It gives the opportunity to work me on 2 bands at the same time. More chasers can benefit. I don't have any band filters but since the transmitters are TXing in the same time slot there is no problem at all.

At first I tried the FT-817 as second TRX but 5W didn't give me much response. So I managed to put the old IC-706MK2G in service again. The interesting thing is that I'm able to do some 2m FT8 as well. In theory I could do 70cm but the radio has too much frequency drift there for digital modes like FT8.

Updating the PE75FREE log, I crossed the 3000 QSO mark thursday evening. Most QSOs are made with FT8. However I try to do some SSB/CW as well. Hope to have some time for that in the weekend again. I managed to work 85 DXCC now.

As a matter of fact I'm on 2m and 10m FT8 right now. 10m had some interesting DX with J69DS from St.Lucia and W9RF from USA. Almost had a QSO with W5I from Texas but he couldn't decode my signal anymore. 2m FT8 was on my "to do list". I happen to know a station at the other side of the country who just has a new 2m antenna (8 el. LFA) on top of the roof were he lives. It is PD3LPA Louwrens who is living near Rotterdam (about 300km from here). I met Louwrens on the 11m band about 30 years ago and we had a great chat which we both never forgot. I continued with the hobby and Louwrens didn't but I'm glad he picked it up again after so many years. It turns out that a contact between us on 2m FT8 was really easy. We'll try SSB another time. Actually I made a number of contacts on 2m FT8 with the special event call.

And while the number of contacts are growing our tomatoes do as well...

Sunday, May 17, 2020

PE75FREE 17 days update - JApan propagation on 10m

Above the map of my contacts with the special event call PE75FREE. It includes Hawaii but till now I didn't work VK (Australia) at all. I made over 2300 QSOs and worked 81 DXCC till now. Last update I got from Lars is that over 8000 unique calls are worked with the complete team and lots of awards are issued.

Actually at the moment I write this the 10m is still open and full of signals, exceptional for late evenings. The propagation on 6m has to be good as well. I made several contacts there with my multiband vertical, but it isn't like my 5 element beam of course. Not shure I will have the 6m beam up this year, still busy with my 4m beam.

Propagation on 10m was similair with yesterday this morning. Extreme strong signals from Japan again but no one that seems to receive my signal. It is probabely covered up by other European stations I can't hear.

Notice the extreme -6dB signal from JJ1RDX. I called him several times but he suddenly vanished.
Well, it doesn't matter. I made QSOs with JA on 10m in the past, however it would be nice to make some for the PE75FREE log. From the map it looks like almost no one is receiving my signal, it is probabely a bug in PSKreporter. I made at least 100 QSOs on 10m today, so others did receive me but PSKreporter doesn't pick it up apparently...

Update 18-5: Finally got a VK in the log. VK7AC worked on 40m FT8

Saturday, May 16, 2020

#10m One way opening JApan

Jaap PA0O already mentioned the exceptional propagation to Japan and China on his blog today. I received several Japanese stations well on FT8. But unfortunately it seems they didn't receive me. It was one of those times that the propagation seems to be not reciprocal. Jaap does transmit with max. legal power so he managed at least one QSO with JA and several with China.

Thursday, May 14, 2020


Remember my projects to come list? Well, from the 14 projects I have 13 to go for. I'm busy with several projects at the same time. Received this package from Russia today. I find this fascinating. I remember the time I first met a Russian station on 11m in the early ninetees of last century. The guy was from Minsk and a TV technician. Amateurradio was well known Russia of course, but to be on CB/11m for Russian stations was just.....no go. Now you still don't find many on 11m but though there are some active and probabely have a history as amateurradio stations. Decades ago it almost wasn't possible to receive or send packages to Russia. Now it is very common to receive packages from all over the world. This package contains a X-phase QRM eliminator kit from Anton RA0SMS. Now I need time building it besides so many other projects....

Tomatoes, did I tell you I can't wait. You were all waiting for the update I guess. We just moved the best plants out in the garden bed inside the glass house. As you can see they didn't really like to get separated from their family in the small pot. But in a few days they will get used to their new place and grow strong...

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Future WSJT-X

From the new WSJT-X beta release-notes:

...For those looking even farther ahead: We are well along in the
development of two new modes designed for the LF and MF bands.  One
mode is for WSPR-like activity and one for making 2-way QSOs.  Both
use Low-density Parity Check (LDPC) codes, 4-GFSK modulation, and
two-minute T/R sequences.  The QSO mode reaches threshold SNR
sensitivity around -31 dB on the AWGN channel, and the WSPR-like mode
better than -32 dB...

Interesting it is still possible to develop even more sensitive modes. Wish FT8/FT4 digimodes were not invented. JT65A and JT9 are so much better....

But we can't stand still, we have to go with the flow...

Monday, May 11, 2020

PE75FREE 10 days update

Worked 1500 QSO with 66 DXCC personally. Overall the 75FREE activation does good. Over 100 DXCC are worked. More as 5100 uniques and over 8000 QSOs in total. There are already 3 stations that earned the gold award.


Friday, May 8, 2020

Another Dutch contest record

Just for the fun of it. QRP on 160m CW. As anticipated I hold another Dutch record....what will it be this year?

I hold 5 Netherlands records now:

2014: 80m CW QRP assisted
2016: 160m CW LOW assisted
2017: 80m CW QRP
2018: 160m CW QRP assisted
2019: 160m CW QRP

No big scores! Only a matter of choosing the right section...

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

PE75FREE update

A PE75FREE update only, I can't tell about the efforts other P*75FREE stations make but know over 3000 QSO's are already made in total.

Last 5 days I made 700 QSOs on all HF bands except 160m and including 6m. Modes of operation were SSB, FT8, CW and PSK31.

If you need PE75FREE, look out for me on the bands. A DXcluster app on your phone like DXAlert helps.

Saturday, May 2, 2020

PE75FREE and the liberation of my village in 1945

The YNOMY DX group asked me a while ago if I would like to participate in another event. Something like the previous event in 2015. So I will be active with the call PE75FREE during the entire month of May. Updates and announcements will be made on my blog.

Time to tell a small story about the liberation of my village. We live in a 1935 built house so it was quite new when it was in WW2. What I understand is that the family that lived in the house at the time of war were the first residents that lived here and they didn't leave till 1965. They have seen the German occupiers from the living room window and also the Canadian soldiers that liberate us here. At the evening of 20 April 1945 everyone in the village was hiding in the cellars of their homes since it was just too dangerous to be in the houses because of the constant bombardments from the German Island of Borkum to the Dutch coast.

I can imagine people trying to sleep down in the cellar, or not sleeping at all because of the danger, hearing planes and thunder all around not knowing if the house will be hit. The cellar is still there below the stairs and we have some of our supplies stored there. I believe that the light hanging in the cellar is still the original light from those years although it now contains a big LED lightbulb. The cellar contains one small window and in those years you could probabely view just a small part of the sky, I can imagine people did look at it in great anger. They probabely had some seats and blankets brought down and water and food so they didn't have to go to the kitchen. When I'm down in the cellar I'm really thinking about that sometimes. It was probabely a great relieve when they saw the first Canadians in the village driving through. Our living room window has a view out on the main road so the family was probabely one of the first seeing them.

Interesting read (in Dutch and original military dairy in English):


Official permit using PE75FREE

Friday, May 1, 2020

#60m band DX April 2020

Actually I had less time to be on 60m DX this month. Traditionally this is always the busiest time of the year on my job and when I came home I was just exhausted and too tired to switch on radios. The COVID-19 virus doesn't make it easier for us all and gives a lot of stress at times as well. However I made some DX at last....

I have been looking to make a QSO with Uruquay for the last few months put it didn't happen till this month. I worked CX3CC on 12-April. Unfortunately besides his QRZ.com profile I couldn't find much about this station, no photos only few logs. Only confirms QSL direct, no eQSL or LOTW unfortunately.

Next was a difficult QSO with OA1F from Peru. Is 60m allowed in Peru? I don't think so....but we made a QSO first and worry later. The QSO was made on 13-April. Since I didn't receive Carlos his RR73 I had to write him an e-mail to see if he logged me. He was answering fast: I am in the log. And already received confirmation via LOTW.

I think April is not the easiest month to do DX work on 60m. Days are getting longer and nights shorter making the periods for good DX signals short as well. Last new one this month was Jamaica 6Y6STAYHOME SES station from 6Y5HN Nigel. Easy to work actually and fast confirmation via LOTW.

Above only the new ones on 60m, I certainly made some other DX as well. VR2CH (Hong Kong), FR4NT (Reunion Isl.), ZS5LEE (South Africa) and HP1CDW (Panama) were all making it into the log.

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Quarter wave 60m band sloper succession - WSPR TX results

From below the sloper antenna...
At first I had troubles to set up the two 1W WSPR stations. The laptop hasn't got that much processor power and it takes ages before it finally starts JTDX in a proper way. But in the end it worked. I started transmissions a few times manually to have PE4BAS and PE4BAS/P in the same time slot for reliable comparisation of the TX signal. It didn't work as I got far more as 1000 spots on the sloper were the inverted-V gave me "only" 954! But I found some slots in the database to compare...

I have to write that I didn't expect so many stations monitoring WSPR on 60m, it is a surprise! I was looking for low angle propagation to the USA. If it is there, the sloper has to show an advantage. I suspect low angle propagation is present very early in the morning to the west and in the late afternoon to the east. However I'm not an expert so I can be mistaken...

Results from last night, my 1W TX signal received by stations in the same time slot:


I honestly have to write it was raining tonight and the soil was very wet! I'm shure this has a effect on the sloper. I get consistent better reports on the sloper except for SM0OOJ at 04:14. I made note from KD2OM at several time slots, the only station from the USA that copied me the whole night and the only one that copied both the inverted-V and the sloper antenna signal.

John MW1CFN suggested I should try to compare on receive. But that is not a reliable option as I have 6dB more noise on the sloper. The PE1ITR receive WSPR challenge made it clear enough. PE4BAS was on place 47 and PE4BAS/P (sloper antenna) was on place.....92 last night.

John AE5X was kind enough to monitor 60m WSPR for my signal. It is amazing he just received my 1W signal from the sloper 4 times. He didn't receive my inverted-V signal.

This is were I'm shure the sloper does transmit more low angle signal. The only USA station that received my 1W inverted-V transmission was KD2OM !! The 1W signal from the sloper antenna was received by KD2OM, N2HQI, WA2ZKD, K1RA, AF2MP, N8NJ/W, W3PM and AE5X. I think it is enough evidence. However I expect the sloper isn't perfroming as good in dry weather. For now I keep it in my mast to play with. I might try a separate T/R switch to receive on my inverted-V and transmit on the sloper in the future.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Quarter wave 60m band sloper

Exactly my situation
When in Denmark last year I brought the ARRL antennabook with me to read. It has been given to me by PE1BVQ Hans. A last antenna I wanted to experiment with on 60m is the quarter wave sloper. It is well documented in this book. I know a few others are working with it with very good results. The main advantage is that it is in fact a vertical antenna favouring low radiation angles and some directivity. However:

Find the sloper wire (click for a larger pic)
"You should always remember that it is the ionosphere that controls the elevation angles, not the transmitting antenna. The elevation response of a particular antenna only determines how strong or weak a particular signal is, at whatever angles (or angles) the ionosphere is supporting at that particular instant for that
propagation path and for that frequency"

Not everything is written in this book. I found some other facts as well affecting the performance of the antenna.

- It works extremely well over sea water (as any other vertical)
- It works well over marshy soil
- Very poorly over dry sandy ground
- the properties of the soil will vary from season to season, if you live in an area where there are seasons, of course!
- This means that the performance of classic sloper antennas will range from excellent to mediocre, depending on geographical location and season.

Well, I live on clay ground. It is dry at the moment, but at some seasons it will be very wet. Actually I already imagined better results with the inverted-V in wet weather. I think that wet soil definitely has an effect on the sloper. However, you can't control nature. I wanted to test the sloper against the inverted-V. Switching antennas doesn't reveal much, sometimes the sloper has an advantage, sometimes the inverted-V. I already worked at least one new one on the sloper, CX3CC from Uruquay. So it performs... Receive on the sloper is not as good as on the inverted-V, The sloper is mounted north-west in the direction of the USA and in the direction of the village that always has a slight effect of noise on 60m because of all kind of electrical equipment around the houses.

My test setup
So, I though to do the same experiment as last year with the shunt fed tower. That was a great success but due to new neighbours I could not set it up again since part of the antenna was actually on their property. The sloper is also a test in case I have to remove the inverted-V that is mounted at one side into a tree that is on my neighbour's property.

I made two 5W FT8 stations on 60m and begun to transmit BCN PE4BAS and BCN PE4BAS/P at the same timeslot, hoping that someone would report both my stations in the same timeslot on VK3AMA's hamspots.net, that worked fine last year. But things have changed apparently, old versions of JT-Alert do only spot occasionally to hamspots since it seems to use some kind of random multiserver receiving spots. Besides that once you're spotted you're not getting into the list again for some minutes. Despite multiple transmissions no one seems to spot both stations at the same time slot, strange...I couldn't compare my signal that way.  Another strange thing occured...when someone replied to me both stations PE4BAS and PE4BAS/P were replying at the same time despite 2 different radios, different computers and different antennas. I even used 2 different programs JTDX and WSJT-Z !! I imagine this was very confusing for the opposite station...It is unknown to me what causes this??

So far I could only reliable compare receive signals. I could clearly see a favour to the north and north west. For instance GM6ZAK/QRP was -7dB on the inverted-V and -1dB on the sloper and also other transmissions slots he was most time stronger on the sloper. LA1LO was -3dB and at the same time +11dB (!) on the sloper, a lot of difference. But other signals were weaker especially to the south, French stations were weaker on the sloper and stronger on the inverted-V. Later in the evening I received UN7IT with +1dB on the inverted-V and -5dB on the sloper, but other time slots it was almost a equal signal. Actually I think I should extract some data from the ALL.TXT and make graphs to compare signals over a longer time. On the TX side I could not compare. The only thing interesting was VK7BO receiving my sloper signal with -19dB. I didn't see a report from my inverted-V unfortunately. Tuesdaymorning I was up early to have another try looking for low angle signals which should be present from the USA/West Indies theoretically. It was a disappointment....monitored 2 signals on RX KB1EFS was -5dB on the inverted-V and -7dB on the sloper, 6Y6STAYHOME from Jamaica was -3dB on the inv-V and -13dB on the sloper. However, the noise on the sloper is about 6dB more compared to the inverted-V. The sloper is also fed by about 40m coax which gives about 1,5dB loss were the inverted-V is fed by lossless open line. I did several transmissions on both antennas at the same time and again there was no one reporting the 2 stations at the same timeslot...

For the transmission comparisation experiment I could try WSPR tonight to see any difference, if at least there are some DX stations spotting anyway on 60m. I've been on WSPR 60m years ago but didn't remember what frequency to use. There are 2 WSPR frequencies, one of them is outside our band location. The other one is dail 5364,7kHz which results in 5366,2KHz transmission. Will try that to see what the difference is on TX.

Update Wednesday 29-April:
I set up my 2 WSPR stations transmitting 1W only. Stupid enough I forgot to connect the power supply to the laptop so it switched off at around 01:00 UTC. So unfortunate since I expect most low elevation signals in the morning. However there are some results, TX with 1W in same time slot received by the following random picked station from several directions.


It is however difficult the transmit all the time in the same timeslot since transmission time is random. So I had to search trough the data. This are the results till the laptop switched off. If you look at it you would say the sloper is better or even with the inverted-V except for EA8BFK, however I've seen other spots from EA8BFK earlier in the evening that were exactly -11/-11 on both antennas. Considering the 1,5dB loss from the coax the sloper is certainly better transmitting till now. N2HQI spotted my "sloper" signal with -27dB, I didn't see any spots from him with my inverted-V signal... However it was raining and the soil was wet, this will increase the performance of the sloper. I will try another night and see if I get similair results. Hopefully I will get a better insight especially in the morning.

Saturday, April 25, 2020


Bragging: "To talk or write about oneself in a proud or self-impressed way."

I hate bragging about myself. I'm doing my best and try not to make many faults. When you do, sometimes you get something in return. This time it is winning the PACC 2020 SO SSB Low section. This is the largest section in the PACC contest with 122 participants from the Netherlands. I really didn't expect this since I made one of the worst scores since years in this contest. But if you compare it to the scores below me I did very well. I guess everyone struggled this year...

Strange enough this is the second national contest I win with my new radio (IC-7300). I always believed the radio you use has nothing to to with it but now I'm not so shure. Could be a coincidence of course.

I promised myself and others I would return to the most difficult QRP Mixed section again after winning this low power section. So, I will participate in the QRP section next year.....it will be a challenge.

In the mean time our tomatoes are growing fast. Other seeds germinate as well, only the cucumber does not well....not shure what is going wrong. But you can't control nature...

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Business model

3 years ago I made a QSO with R44YETI/7 on 15m. Today I got an e-mail apparently from the QSL manager RM0L Valery. He was writing that I could order a special QSL from this unique Russian YETI expedition, at the cost of only 3 USD. And not only a QSL....I could choose to include a special poststamp block of 4 stamps, then it would cost me only 8 USD. It would include a special diploma as well. Wow, I can't imagine someone is really buying this kind of stuff...

Wait, that was not all. If you really want it you can order a special R44YETI 3D wood QSL which takes 6 hours of woodworking to make for just 35 USD. It is amazing....

Well, I'm shure Valery is trying to do his best. But this is clearly a business model I don't like. You know I rarely pay for a QSL. I think a confirmation of a QSO should be for free. Personally I think this goes way too far....

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Updated: Worked Hamradio Bloggers Award

Just found out I worked 4 bloggers that I didn't have in my list.

OH8STN Julian, PH0NO Lars, EI7GL John and SV1GRN Panagiotis

Updated my earlier blogpost, if you're interested:


Bringing my total on 18 bloggers worked.....amazing!

Monday, April 20, 2020

Missing pictures?

I discovered pictures that are suddenly missing in my post from last month. I placed a new picture in one post (WPX certificate) but don't have a backup from the other images in the post about my CQWPX participation. It puzzles me why exactly in my 2 posts about the CQWW WPX last month pictures are missing. Does anyone have a clue?

I remember I could find all my blogger photos in a map in google images when I just started. Searching for it I found https://get.google.com/albumarchive. And could retrieve my pictures again. But strange enough the quality has degraded a lot...

Sunday, April 19, 2020


I was checking an old eQSL account from my previous QTH today. I was surprised to find a eQSL from my first CW QSO ever. Of course I remember, it was more as a 59 QSO actually. Now you think.....Bas doing CW? How? Well, after almost 19 years after this first CW QSO I still do not manage to decode CW by ear and I have never been on air with CW without a computer. I can't remember what software I did use back in 2001 but I probabely just tried it as an experiment. These days computers are much better in decoding CW. But still I have a wish to learn CW some day. Although I know it isn't easy and it will take time and a lot of effort.

Friday, April 17, 2020

Projects & ideas to come @PE4BAS

A lot of ideas for projects are coming to my mind lately. But time is my enemy and lately it is very busy at the job, when I come home I'm too tired to finish anything or even start a project. The weekends are occupied as well. I've projects that are going on for years and are still unfinished, others involving antennas are my wish to do this summer. My mind starts to get overloaded so I decided to make a list for myself here and for you to read.

So, what's the tomato plant picture? Have I told you, I love tomatoes and eat them every day!
Well, my wife and I have decided to grow our own tomatoes and cucumbers besides the usual grapes in our glasshouse. We use the same technique 2 years ago, just plant a few slices of your favorite tomato and it will grow. But it takes time, just like my projects....
Occasionally I plan to inform you about growing these tomatoes, like it or not ;-)

This is my list of ideas and projects, some are ongoing, some still need to start, some will only be in my mind (and dreams)....it is possible I update this post over time. The list is not in order of priority.

1. Finish the bluetooth CAT/audio control for my portable setup. I started this years ago, there is progress but it is unfinished.

2. Build a DK7ZB 5 band quad antenna. Some of the components are ordered!

3. Build a 70MHz (4m band) yagi, have enough components to make one.

4. Test a tree as antenna on WSPR, I have been writing about this, Tested a setup and it works but never made any contact. Actually would like to experiment a bit more.

5. Test a 1/4 wave 60m band sloper antenna. I build one, made a few photos and made some DX with it but want to compare it with my inverted-V before I come with a conclusion and write a blogpost.

6. Experiment with a X-Phase QRM eliminator, ordered a building kit but not received yet.

7. Experiment with a earth electrode antenna for 160m.

8. Experiment with receive antennas, might be rotatable loop or something else...

9. I do have a dualband VHF/UHF beam in the tower. I tested it with the analyzer it it looks good. But it is already waiting to get connected for some time. Really need to experiment with it before I remove it from the tower again.

10. Decide what to do with my old radio, the IC-706MK2G. It has a defect so selling it is no option, it has to be repaired or I keep it and use it on bands that are doing well.

11. Do some WSPR tests with portable setup at the shoreline.

12. Order a Raspberry Pi to build a more versatile WSPR receive station.

13. Do some WSPR runs instead of FT8 in weekends

14. Learn CW (morse code) and make a CW QSO without the use of a computer. I did try numerous times but never continued to master it. Too much distraction....I hope to find a way to learn it anyway.

Last updated 22-May-2020

Monday, April 13, 2020

#10m propagation 13 April - ES season is coming

Not amazing like yesterday but it is evident the ES season is coming. Yes my signal was spotted in South Africa and South America. I did made 2 QSOs with Brazil. But overall it was Europe that was booming in today. 33 QSOs were made on 10m. Since WSJT-Z has excellent filtering I only work stations that haven't been worked before on 10.

Update 21:45 UTC:

Just when I think propagation on 10m is over...

Stations from Argentina, Uruquay and Brazil booming in again....made 3 additional QSOs into South America.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

#10m propagation 12 April - Amazing!

There was amazing propagation on 10m today. And there still is while I write this blogpost. It is long after sunset (22:15UTC) and I think this is really amazing considering we are in the solar cycle minimum. I was even spotted in Puerto Rico and received St.Lucia (J68HZ) very well. Made several QSOs into Europe at daylight but things really went to DX after the greyline. Several QSOs with Argentina were made. Nice one was a QSO with ZD7JC from St.Helena isl. Monitoring the FT8 frequency I saw several Portuguese and Spanish stations making QSOs with New Zealand on long path! And southern Europe seemed to have good propagation to the West Indies. I was just counting my log entries on 10m today and counted 95 QSOs so far all on FT8, it is the combined result of the robot efforts and myself. And at the time of writing I'm still making QSOs. The greyline is going towards the West Indies now and I hope it will enchance the propagation, we'll see...

Friday, April 10, 2020

Fun project - remote magloop tuner

I was inspired by the MW1CFN remote controlled magloop tuner and decided to purchase all the ingredients needed for this handy device. John does not give many details on what the costs and the particulair parts are. For instance I never seen or heard from the flex couplers he used but it seems to be a very good solution. John seems to have a 6:1 planetary unit to drive the capacitor but it is not really needed as the PWM gives you very good control over the speed. You can purchase all the parts on Ebay but since I think AliExpress is more populair here in the Netherlands and it is easy to purchase there. So with the help of the description and photos from John I searched for the parts, of course the cheapest I could get. But when you take a bit more time to search on you can find it probabely for lower prices. So far I spend about  €21 in total for this project. Variable capacitor 12-365pF €10,48, PWM 12VDC motorcontroller €5,48, 2x flexcoupler 4x5 and 5x5mm €2,60, 12VDC 3RPM motor €2,10.

However, if you want it on the cheap you have to prepare for some things. First of all it will cost you time, 6 weeks or more to have the goods delivered. Second, the packages are not always that good. My first PWM controller was severely damaged and the seller sent another one that was packed well. The 12V motor got a defect as well, turning only left and not right. After a short surgery the contacts on the rotor were dirty and a few drops of contact cleaner and some compressed air did the trick.

So why this project in the first place. At first I wanted to make a rotatable magloop for receive on the low bands and especially 60m since there was a lot of radar QRM there lately. Not a wideband loop with a rx amplifier like widely used by radio amateurs. I want to make as selective as possible. You probabely noticed the variable capacitor I use is not really good for transmission but good enough for receive. But time is always my enemy. So I just developed it as fun experiment...
I might use it in a magloop project in the future.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

#60m band DX March 2020

It's always a surprise what DX can be worked when you are at the start of the month. Most DX can be worked from about 2-3 hours before sunset till 2-3 hours after sunrise. Best propagation to the east is in the afternoon/early evening, best to the west and south at night and best to the north (pacific) around sunset. 60m isn't that much affected by sunspots it seems, everyday worldwide reliable contacts are possible if you choose the right time/moment of day. It just is a great DX band.

March started with the EX0QR DXpedition from Kyrgyztan for me. I got a message from PA4O Peter that EX0QR could be worked easily with the F/H FT8 method. At first I thought I had worked Kyrgyztan before but a quick check of my log revealed I didn't.....a few minutes later he was in my log. Worked them on 9 March.

Next was the TO7DL DXpedition from Reunion Isl. They were active on CW and I tried several times to at least receive them but the signal was too weak. I almost though I would not be able to work them for a new country. But suddenly on the evening of the 12 March they showed op on 5360 KHz FT8 and a QSO could be made. There are quite a few active stations on Reunion but not many on 60m yet.

KG4NE Guantanamo Bay was worked very early in the morning

From his QRZ page we are informed that Kelly is active on 60m since the 18th this month and wow he got a warm welcome:

"The local evening of 18 March 2020 was my first time on 60m. Once I started at about 2130Z on 18 March 2020, the pileup did not subside, I was told up to 45 stations were calling me in the beginning. The pileup started to slow down around 0100Z."

I worked Kelly very early in the morning of 22 March, well actually at night for us.

I worked FO5QB from Tahiti, French Polynesia in the morning greyline of 23 March. Actually I had been monitoring 2 days before to see when Michel would be having a good enough signal so I could pick best times to try. Opening to the Pacific are sometimes short, and this one was indeed short. But it did happen, also was a ATNO for me.

Well, regular readers did read about my contact with ZD8SC from Ascension Island. Did it happen, I still don't know...

Above QSOs were first ones for me on 60m.But I worked other DX as well.

5-March J68SS Saint Lucia
5-March VP9GE Bermuda
6-March 9X2AW Rwanda (came back on my CQ!)
6-March ZL2CC and ZL2BH, QSOs with New Zealand are possible every day!
14-March ZL4OL and ZL3RJ
23-March 9G5AR Ghana

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Worked hamradio bloggers award...

Just an idea but I don't really care about certificates. Might be a nice idea for another blogger. Anyway, I was just wondering how many hamradio bloggers did I meet on air? I actually documented most of the contacts on my blog here....

QSO with ex-EI8GHB now EI2KC Anthony:

I think this was my first encounter with a fellow blogger on air. We made a sked at 3 dec. 2009 on 80m. Anthony kept a blog till 2016. He was very active for a while and a excellent DXer (over 310 DXCC). But he's also a well know book writer and does research about ancient Ireland. In the dry summer last year he discovered remainings of old ruines with a drone which was kind of world news. Anthony is still active in some contests but I guess he's too busy with both work and family to have time for the hobby as well. I remember I spoke with Anthony a few years ago again on 40m SSB and we encountered each other I believe on 160m CW in a contest as well.

QSO with ex-PC4T now PA0K Paul:

After a unsuccesful sked in 2009 we tried again in 2010, 80m PSK31. We managed to make the QSO finally after a try on JT65A. I did QSO with Paul more often through the years after Paul did get another radio and antenna and I did improve antennas as well. Paul still keeps his blog updated several times a year. I always appreciate he is still around...Paul is also a gifted photographer, I once suggested he should do some more blogposts with the excellent photographs he makes....a picture says more as 1000 words.

QSO with M6RDP Adam:

I worked Adam on 40m SSB in the PACC 2010 contest. Adam had a great hamradio blog in which he told very personal stories. However I believe he went through difficult times and stopped for a while. I even bought his Superantenna MP-1 at that time. Adam is also a SWL and still keeps a blog which is updated several times a year. The old stories however cannot be found in his archives, I guess they were too personal. I'm not shure Adam is still active on air as hamradio operator anymore...

QSO wit G4ILO Julian(SK):

I worked Julian on 80m PSK31 with just 500mW, my first digimode QSO with my just purchased FT-817 in november 2010. The interesting thing is that Julian operated stealth with indoor antennas on the attic. Julian was a very well known blogger, had fun with the hobby and wrote great articles about hamradio. Unfortunately he died from a brain tumor but his blog and website is still online. He will never be forgotten this way...

QSO with PA0O Jaap:

No link this time. I worked Jaap many times even before we both had a blog. And even last weekend! No wonder, because he's a neighbour station. Jaap does keep a updated blog with all kind of subjects. A particulair point of interest is 50MHz DX,  Jaap does have 213 DXCC on 6m since 1988, you can find a list on his blog. I remember one of the first times I heard Jaap on 6m he had such a loud signal I could not hear anything else on the band. I learned he had a 9 (!) element 6m beam at that time probabely with a bit of extra power...

QSO with PA3HHO Pleun:

Well, I worked Pleun a few times. First time was in the 2012 PACC contest. Pleun does have a blog and it seems he recently picked up updating it again. He's especially interested in EndFed antennas at this time.

QSO with KL8DX Phil from Alaska:

I recently discovered the KL8DX blog is still up for you to read the archives. I worked Phil in 2008 from my old QTH a month before we were moving to a new house and before I started this blog. I remember hearing/saw him in the morning with a signal 9+ on RTTY, it was my first QSO with Alaska on the HAMradio bands. I didn't know at that time Phil did keep a blog about his activities. It was always a interesting read. However Phil and family moved out of Alaska back to the USA and changed his call to AK7DD in the end.  He started a new blog which was updated till 2017. Unfortunately lost track after that and hope Phil is still active as HAM.

QSO with YO9IRF Razvan from Romania:

Fellow blogger Razvan kept a blog on blogger for a while but has now upgraded. You can find his current blog on https://qrpblog.com/ Razvan moved to the UK and is now holding the call M0HZH as well. Razvan does not only design a lot of equipment for the hamradio hobby but loves to activate SOTA and YOFF portable.

QSO with ON5ZO/OQ5M Franki from Belgium:

Franki keeps an excellent blog. Actually I think he would be a great book writer. However these days it is only about occasional contests he does because he has to divide his time just like me between job, family life and hobby. Talked to Franki several times including the last CQWW WPX.

QSO with AE5X John from TX, USA:

John keeps one of my favorite blogs. He's very active with all kind of radio hobby and technical subjects. But also tells stories about experiences on submarines on which he served. Just like me he occasionally writes about radio history. Unfortunately archive posts are hard to find on his blog. You can find some stories searching on his blog.

Eyeball QSO with PA1B Bert

I was surprised to meet Bert not on air but in real life at the VERON HF day in Apeldoorn, Netherlands. Bert is a specialist in QRPp and keeps a real nice blog. He's well known for his homemade beer can or cilinder dipole antenna ;-)

QSO with ex-PD7BZ now PB7Z Bernard:

I almost forgot but Bernard had a blog as well. He kept it updated till March 2012. I don't think he remembers he has one but it is still online! I know Bernard for many years, I already made numerous QSOs with him on 11m long before we got our licenses. We still try to work each other most of the contests we both participate in. Bernard also belongs to the PA6AA contest team.

QSO with M0YKS Simon from England:

I think Simon is one of the first hamradio bloggers on the internet. Blogging about hamradio already in 2006! Always great to read his stories. I remember Simon's first daughter was born just after my daughter was born so both are about the same age. It's nice to see them growing up! I recommend viewing Simon's QRZ page as well a lot of info about his interests. Simon has a nice youtube channel as well...

QSO with MW1CFN John from Wales:

I met John in several occassions on air but the last one was with AM modulation on 40m. John keeps a very interesting blog with all kind of radio topics as well. I learned about noctilucent clouds and propagation due to this phenonemon through his blog. John has a lot of other interests as well. Besides that he lives on top of an old coppermine near to the coast which is of course the best location for the hobby you can imagine.

QSO with PH0NO Lars:

I almost forgot I documented a very special QSO with this blogger. We made a QSO in JT65 using a very special messaging technique ;-).Lars keeps a blog which is updated often with interested portable station experiments. Lars operates 99% portable. I've worked Lars in several occasions and we activated some special events together.
However I never met him in real life, I guess that will happen some time...

QSO with OH8STN Julian from Finland:

Julian and I met each other several times on air. This was the first successful QSO that was documented. We were both involved in experiments with FSQ and HFMessenger that now has evolved into JS8Call. Julian has a blog on his Survival Tech North webiste. Although he is someone that is more into video and using social media a lot. Always a interesting read and view especially the "how to..." videos. Julian describes himself as Ultra-Portable, Digital QRP fanatic and video-creator.

QSO with EI7GL John from Ireland:

No link as I didn't describe it in my blog. John wrote me we made a QSO last year. And so we did, and even more I worked him in 2017 and in the year 2000 on 6m. John keeps a excellent blog as long as I do (since 2008) and especially like his 28MHz updates.But he has a lot of info on other topics as well...

QSO with SV1GRN Panagiotis from Greece:

Made the QSO with him in 2009. I think Panagiotis does read more of my blog then I do read his blog since it is mainly written in the Greek language. There is a translation option on his blog but I found it doesn't do well in translating. However, he deserves a place at my list of hamradio bloggers.

There you go....18 bloggers worked for the award! Hope I didn't forget anyone? If so, let me do a update...

Last update: 21-April-2020

(I realize I published personal photos from other bloggers. If you think it has a copyright and you don't want to show it here in this blogpost let me know so I can remove it.)