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.