Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Finally in the 6m DX spotlight

I had a afternoon off the job since I had a dentist appointment. So I had some time for radio on a unusual time for me. Unfortunately didn't hear or see much signals on 6m but trying on 4m gave me a new DXCC on that band contacting M1BXF from England. Funny thing is that when I switched to 6m later on I worked him on 6m as well. Later in the afternoon propagation was increasing, I even managed to make some SSB contacts with Italian stations. Dx wise I was not that lucky, 7Z1SJ from Saudi Arabia had a great signal here with peak -3dB but I guess there were too many calling and I couldn't get through. Well, I guess there will be another chance another day...

After diner I got a message from PB7Z Bernard that he worked PV8DX on 6. Wow, I checked PSKreporter if I had received this station as well but I didn't although my beam was pointing towards South America. I had received PV8ABC, PZ5RA, 9Y4D, FG8OJ, WP4G and NP4W. Of course none of them were there when I returned to my radio. Disillusioned I installed my laptop downstairs and logged into the shack computer to keep an eye on things when I suddenly see PZ5RA from Surinam with a good signal. So, I just tried.....it seems I was right in the spotlight since a couple of calls and I was in the log.

Thanks for a new one Ramon!

PZ5RA Ramon's 8 element 6m beam @12m high.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

FD? DX or not?

There was finally some propagation with the USA on 10m this afternoon. Happy me.....not. They are all calling FD, so what the heck??? So I just gave a report and in return I get a strange code. What do I have to send as report? I really didn't know and I realized too late it is FieldDay in the USA. I should have take notice before calling. So I installed WSJT-X new version again and searched for the FD rules to see what the FD setup should be. It seems the first number is the amount of radios you use, second is the class in which you participate (D is for home station not portable) and AL in the case would be the state (I guess Alabama?). I should have been answering something like WA1FCN PE4BAS 1D DX. DX because I'm from abroad. Well, I tried a few fieldday stations after I installed everything correct but no one replied. No problem, next year I'll try again.
6m/4m propagation today. Not really special for me, no new DXCC. Nothing special heard though I worked some nice stations.

You cannot have it all. I saw several Dutch DXers making contact with XE2X (Mexico) on 6m this evening. Is it a matter of bad luck for me? Or is their equipment much better. I think both....a 5 element yagi on about 15m high is not really serious equipment for DX, I just need much more luck with good propagation. I really didn't see anything from XE2X at all...I don't believe in much power but I do believe a big or a stack antenna would help a lot.

We are just at the the center of the summer ES propagation cycle, I know anything can happen. Even in August there can still be very good propagation. And July still has to come...besides what would be the fun if I could hear or see everything and work all the DX.

All those world maps are a bit boring don't you think so. Here some other pictures:

Our tomatoes are blooming now. It will take at least a month till our full grown tomatoes are ready.

4m, 6m and 10m DX today

I already noticed that the 4m band is open very briefly. It is a short "window" of ES you can use to make contacts and it can be very strong one moment and gone the other. I know it is the same on the 6m band but overall propagation holds on a little longer there. However I managed to catch a few new ones on 4m today: Croatia, Balearic isl, Spain and Slovak republic got it into the log! I almost got a contact with EA9 (Cueta&Mellila, north Africa), on SSB that was. He heard me but propagation was not holding on long enough.

Started this morning on 6m. I guess I was too late, or at least I think so. Big signals from Japan on both 50.313 and 50.323MHz FT8. But whatever I tried I didn't get a response on calling. Frustration gets very high when I see "neighbour" PA0O calling and get 3 replies from Japan in one time slot! His antenne probabely has twice the height compared to my antennaheight and I guess he's using some more power? I kept trying and at least I was received by JA6GCE and JN4MIV both reported -19dB.

I know, I did work Japan last year it is not that important. Though I want to confirm that my new beam is at least as good. This was probabely a "spotlight" matter, I was just on the edge and PA0O was just in there. It happens more often.

As a matter of fact I'm selling the 6m ZX yagi. It's a good antenna but only 6m. Now with the dual band beam I can use it on both 6m and 4m, If anyone is interested?

I saw a fellow dutch station contacting W4TAA, a few moments later I saw him as well. Unfortunately he didn't came back for my call. It is the only station from USA heard on 6m today.

When 6m propagation died early this evening I decided to try 10m for a while. At first it seems there was no propagation but when turning the beam to the west I saw J69DS from St.Lucia and a few moments later I was in the log. Later this evening I did it again with J68HZ. While writing this post I still see stations once and a while...trying to call them but no luck. Calling CQ I was at least heard in Florida, USA.

I receive far more as I can reach, at least that is what I experience. The 4 element LFA beam certainly has a low noise pick up. Actually I have the idea that the new dual band yagi is not picking up much noise either.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Longest day DX

21st of june, longest days of the year at the northern hemisphere. A excellent day to try for DX on the upper HF bands and VHF. With my new 5/5 element 4/6m yagi I've been trying today and worked several new ones on 6m and 4m. Not that there was top propagation, there was much QSB and it was just a matter of waiting for the right time, the right moment. I already noticed that DX on the (for me new) 70MHz (4m) band is something totally different from the 50MHz (6m) band. There is much more challenge in it and I like the difficulties. Almost every contact on that band is a new one for me and the past week I already managed to make some DX. Today I managed to work my longest distance till now with TF8SM (Iceland) +2000km which is DXCC nr. 9 on the 4m band.

So far most of the day you can't hear anything on the 4m band. So I check 6m regularly. Especially around 8:30-9 UTC there could be interesting DX I know. So you have to be there listening when it occurs, it could be there for 5-10 minutes and gone the next moment. Yesterday I just missed TT8SN from Chad, I was 5 minutes too late.
I heard a few stations from Japan this morning, all of them already worked last year. I also tried for 2 stations in Korea who had a excellent signal here, but no luck today. Bad luck with JW4PUA from Svalbard as well, he had a strong signal and I was heard. But no QSO unfortunately. Next time better....But I had luck as well. Worked OD5KU (Lebanon), ZA5G (Albania) and C31CT (Andorra) for 3 new ones on the 6m band today.

You probabely think now that I was on the radio all the time, but I was not. I just checked once and a while. Sometimes remote with my phone from the garden, sometimes I got into the shack. I noticed signals on 6m gone very faint in the afternoon, only a few hard to copy signals from eastern europe. So I checked the 10m band propagation and after a few minutes I saw a CQ from 4S7AB (Sri Lanka). A few calls later I was in the log, a new one for me on 10m. I already noticed extraordinairy propagation on 10m in the past week when I worked N7XR and K7RL from the state of Washington (west coast) USA late in the afternoon on Wednesday.

Found a video from TF8SM on the net:

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

First 6m DX with the new yagi

UN7ZO Dmitriy in his shack (photo QRZ.com)
I had high hopes for DX on 4m with the new yagi but there is not much ES propagation at the moment. However, I did give some CQs on FT8 and managed to be heard at least in my own country, Germany and the UK. No international QSOs however, only within the Netherlands. From what I work in my own country (+400km) I'm shure the 4m section of the yagi does well. The 6m section made a first DX with Kazakhstan UN7ZO (+4000km), very happy with this first ATNO on 6m in 2020 for me. It proves the yagi does well. I need some more propagation now...

Red spots are from 6m, purple spots from 4m. The UN7ZO contact was not in PSKreporter because we didn't exchange QTH locators, only reports. I did spot OH0Z from Aland Isl. once. Would be a new one for me...

Sunday, June 14, 2020

4m/6m yagi - rise and shine!

Weather forecast was very bad for today. Expecting rain for most of the day. But it didn't happen...
Time enough to finish the yagi...

Align the 6m dipole.

No fancy boxes, just the KISS system.
Had to place a 500gr counterweight to get the beam in balance.
Test position. Measure first before mounting it in the tower
First test looks promising. Impedance will change at height.
Mounting the 4m/6m yagi into the tower en removing the 2m/70cm yagi.
Looks fine...
I certainly am satisfied with the results.
Rise and shine baby...
Waiting for propagation now. I made some local FM contacts on 4m to see if the antenna works. Also tried it on 6m but ES is not that strong today. However I managed to make some QSOs into Sweden, Denmark, Germany and Ukraine.

Saturday, June 13, 2020

4m/6m yagi - some progress 2

Todays progress building the antenna is small. Had other things to do...

Reflectors, 6m dipole/inductive 4m dipole and directors are mounted. I was a little worried since the first 4m director is longer as the inductive 4m dipole. But it seems it is all right, it's the design of this antenna.

I use straight new tubes. Exactly the same clamps, still the elements are not in line with each other. I'm puzzled why this is?
Boom is square! Benefit of a round boom is that alignment is simple. I don't know the best way to align elements on a square boom.

Almost forgot....this are our tomatoes. Growing fast...

Friday, June 12, 2020

4m/6m yagi - some progress

Wish I had more time for hobby projects like this. But have my daily job. It has benefits though and of course you need to get payed for a living. I had only a half hour to spend on the antenna project today.

Tubes delivered originally 5x6000mm cut in two. 10x3000mm radials now. I use 12x1mm alu tube. Yes it is just cheap alu no special stuff. I've used it in the past to build antennas and it is good enough.

Managed to mount some element clamps on the boom

Started to build brackets for the 6m dipole.
I first mounted the brackets with rivets but was not satisfied with it. So I drilled another hole completely through to boom and fixed both brackets with a large stainless steel bolt.
Hope to tell more tomorrow...

Thursday, June 11, 2020

4m/6m yagi - new antenna project

Beam made by SP3RNZ
Earlier this year I made a list of projects and ideas I want to do/make. One of them is to build a 70MHz yagi. I was thinking about a LFA fro 70MHz (4m band) since I already have a 6m yagi. Then I look at my antennatower and thought....I need more coax (extra cost)....the extra antenna gives extra weight (dangerous). But I really want a antenna for both 6m and 4m....

During the PE75FREE activation I learned about a 4m/6m combi antenna which was installed by PE5TT Marcel (who was PG75FREE). He bought his antenna called a EA5070-OWA9 which is a 4 elements for 6m and a 5 elements for 4m on one boom. Only the 6m dipole is fed and the 4m antenna is fed by inductive coupling. Now searching the internet I came across a similair design by YU7EF, only this one is 5 elements for 6m and 5 elements for 4m. Boom length is about 4,2m. Interesting since I have a boom from a donor 11m beam which is 4m long and can be extended very easily. Actually Marcel has good results with his beam and I found the design and construction simple enough to try and build this beam myself. This way I can keep the costs low. Working for a hardware shop has benefits and I can easily get all materials without additional transport costs which are unbelievable high when ordering large aluminium pipes.

So, I started constructing...

Boom from a Sirio SY4 11m beam
Piece of metal I prepared to help as guide drilling the holes to mount the clamps holding the radials
These are blind rivet nuts, handy if you don't want to drill through the boom entirely and use large bolts. It's a choice, got the idea from the construction seen at my borrowed 10m LFA beam.

First try drilling holes for the rivets went wrong. I thought I would not have a problem mounting it over the original hole that was in there for the original reflector. Faults can be made I should have taken another place, so I choose to drill through the boom and use long bolts for this one. I'm not perfect and this is what you get when using old parts...
Update of progress wil be made soon in a next post.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

PE75FREE final results

The 75FREE event is over. The results are really overwhelming...propagation was really good at times. Worldwide DX could be made. Of course the use of FT8 helped a lot but CW and SSB contacts were made as well. I did not only make HF contacts but also a few VHF on 6m and 2m. I even made one SSB contact on 2m, probabely the first in 10 years?

Worldwide contacts made by PE75FREE

A total of 5424 contacts with 99 DXCC were made, it includes a lot of dupes. In total 25000+ contacts from 137 DXCC were made by all the event stations. A incredible amount in one month!

Several operators were hunting us for the special award. It is amazing that some of them worked us on all bands. One station in particular was on top of all others. And most amazing is he did it without the use of digmodes. It was OH2YV Veikko from Finland. Veikko worked PE75FREE on 9 HF bands in both SSB as CW plus 30m CW. Other 75FREE stations are worked by Veikko on 6m, unfortunately I don't have my 6m beam up in the tower so I didn't manage to give him extra points. It is really amazing considering this OM is 85 years of age. Though,on the other hand, he has a lot of experience and seems to have a lot of time to chase SES on the bands...

Of course we, as operators of the 75FREE(DOM) team, did stay in touch with each other. With a chat app on the smartphone we warned when there was good skip on the bands. And we could make skeds of course. Hunting a bit to get the award ourself. At least I managed to get at the gold award. in the end. The DX cluster was coupled to the app so we were not on the same frequency but could be on the same band of course.

I took a day off at Friday to spend as much on the radio as possible. However I could not attend the shack since it is above my XYL her shop which always opens friday afternoon. So I removed my IC-706, power supply and laptop to the garage and connected the coax there. It actually was fun to make SSB contacts with such a minimal setup. The garage had a nice cool temperature and I operated there for several hours.

The propagation was really good during the event. DX and shortskip were very strong at times. Especially 40m FT8 in the morning brought some interesting DX. I've been listening several days for ZL stations on 60m FT8 but this time of the year it's difficult. Only ZL4OL made it into the log.
The shortskip, even inside the Netherlands, was really good last weekend around noon. Incredible signals on 20m from distances 100-400km away, you don't hear that every day. Of course this was all caused by the ES propagation that was unbelievable strong last week.

If you are curious who the operators were during this event find it on the Ynomy DX group site here:


The final story about P*75FREE on the Ynomy DX group site:


Post from fellow blogger en participant (PH75FREE):


* If you are not in the log and feel you made a QSO with me (PE75FREE only) please don't hesistate to e-mail me with the call, date and time of our QSO, I will check the log or the ALL.TXT file for busted QSOs. A correction will be send out to the QSL manager. *

Update 10-June: After more as a week I have not received any e-mail. I checked with eQSL and corrected the log. Log has been send to the QSL manager. I have closed the log now.

The log can be found here:


If you're no bureau member you can request a direct QSL via clublog with the link above.

-- PLEASE DO NOT SEND ME QSL Cards via bureau of direct.
I don't need your QSL. --