Sunday, June 6, 2021

#6m RX Japan, 3A2MW worked, the XE2JS case...

 


Already bored by the maps? I can't help it since 6m DX is very addictive. 

This morning I was able to see Japan first time in 2021. You don't hear it these days, the computer listens to the audio and displays through software a callsign and signal on your screen. Some signals are not even audible......I realize this does sounds strange for someone that is not into this HAMradio hobby. Anyway, I was able to get my signal into Japan but PSK reporter does not show it, the station receiving me probabely didn't report. Unfortunately fading was fast today and we couldn't finish the QSO.

The weather here is cold and wet and so I had time to play radio. I managed to work another new one this afternoon. 3A2MW from Monaco. Not the biggest DX but though it is rare to work one of the few HAMradio operators from that DXCC. Imagine propagation should really be good since receiving radio signals in Monaco is hard. Since Franco's call is used by pirate stations you always have to check his log...


About pirate stations. Many received XE2JS on 6m today with strong signals. I even received this station with -4dB. I was surprised and turned my beam to the west-north-west towards Mexico. Unfortenately XE2JS's signal disappeared.....turning the beam back to the south gave him a big signal again. Other stations reported the same thing on the KST chat. Most likely a pirate station transmitting from France or Spain...


Saturday, June 5, 2021

#6m middle east magic did happen

 


Exceptional good propagation to the middle east today. Unfortunately I was a little late and missed a 9K2 station on 4m. I need to be more attend I guess. Should program HamAlert for stations on 4m.

Luckely signals became extreme in the afternoon and worked A92AA Bahrain and A71CT Qatar for new ones on 6m. They were pretty strong, sometimes into the +db figures. When listening on SSB I also heard A71VV with signals till S7, unfortunately had no QSO with him.

Friday, June 4, 2021

#6m magic did not happen

 For many here in Europe the 6m opened yesterday and especially in the evening towards north, central and south America. The FT8 frequency (50.313) was so full of signals that you couldnt find a single empty spot. 

PSK reporter didn't even show what I saw. I saw many stations from Ecuador for instance. And many PA stations from the western and southern part of the Netherlands made QSOs with them. Unfortunately, like almost always, it is and was very difficult from the northern part of the Netherlands. It seems I was just at the shoreline of propagation and waves would just not get here. Only for a few with very big antennas and a lot of power it was possible from here. However in the end I managed to work one station from Brazil and one from Dominican rep.. I almost had a QSO with US Virgin Island, but in the end we couldn't exchange the RR. I did send Brad K0BZ a mail and he answered he saw me many times. But every time he called there were at least 20 stations coming back to him. So it was just a matter of luck....and luck didn't happen from my QTH this time. I noticed however my signal did get out. I saw spots from Canada almost every 2-3 minutes on hamspots.net from my signal in Canada. Stations seen last evening came from Bonaire, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Dominican rep., US Virgin Isl. and Puerto Rico.  I've been looking at CW/SSB but not much DX there. I heard only one Spanish station on SSB.

Next time the magic will happen...

Just to remember the rules on intercontinental DX:

https://pe4bas.blogspot.com/2019/06/ft8-intercontinental-dx-code-of-practise.html


Wednesday, June 2, 2021

PE1BVQ SK

  Some sad and totally surprising news arrived today. Last Sunday PE1BVQ Hans left us far too early. Hans was my most loyal blog reader in the past. Till a few years ago he commented on almost all my posts and a friendship formed. Although Hans lived far away from me we met quite a few times attending various radio rallies. Hans also visited my QTH a few times when he was on vacation nearby. We did various experiments with antennas and digimodes together. It is a great loss for the amateurradio community and for me personally.


Carreer

Hans did have a professional carreer in the radioequipment business. He owned his own telecom company for years. Selling, maintaining and repairing communication equipment. Because of this job he knew quite a few people that are also into amateurradio. I noticed that when I was attending a radiorally in the center part of the country, he was often occupied by people that knew him and wanted to talk to him. 


Hamradio

Hans was specialized in VHF/UHF communication and especially working satellites. You can read that on his QRZ page. When that got boring he was triggered by reading this blog to try QRP HF portable. He enjoyed going out with the dog, taking his FT-817 and various antennas to experiment and make contacts. He told me that he developed a special interest in tracking weatherballoons last year. His technical knowledge was far beyond mine, but he didn't show that to me. It became clear to me when he repaired an amplifier which I gave to him for free and returned it to me without any costs. He also send me a excellent working 3 band endfed, which I used a lot, just as a present. Various books about amateurradio were also given to me...I'm very grateful for all of it. I know I was not the only one that got free equipment from him. He told me some time, travelling to a radiorally, he provided equipment and help to others that didn't have the money to buy HF equipment for instance. In the last e-mail from Christmas 2020 I got from Hans he told me he was busy building a mcHF QRP HF TRX from M0NKA. Then things went very quiet...

Health

Health was a big issue. Hans was cured from cancer years ago. However after that he got a serious back problem and went through several surgical operations because of hernias. If that wasn't bad enough he became addicted to the medicine that surpressed the pain. He also had a lot of trouble walking because of all this. I understood that lately it went a lot better and he was almost off the addiction. However last year his daughter died from cancer. You can imagine how sad he was. After this happened I didn't have much contact with Hans anymore since he was busy moving house from Duiven to Sliedrecht. We exchanged e-mail occassionally till last Christmas when he told me he was reasonabely allright.

Today I received the funeral card. It really shocked me. From what I read on the card his death was quite sudden and by surprise. May he rest in peace...

My last QSO's with Hans can be found here: 

Portable from Borkum Isl. (DL) and Hans on the bicycle from nearby his vacation address.

https://pe4bas.blogspot.com/2018/05/cq-from-dlpe4bas.html

In 2018 via the foxhunt ballon

https://youtu.be/PuPMn2g0oZM?t=245

Sunday, May 30, 2021

#60m Monaco worked


 Let's not forget about 60m!

I recently noticed that 3A/IW1RBI would be active this weekend. Although uncertain if they would activate 60m I was eager to make a QSO and so I programmed my DX alerting app to notify me. Theoretically they will be active till midnight today. But I have limited time and so if possible I did want to make it quick...


I initially saw spots of them at inconvinient times on CW/SSB and FT8. Saturday evening they made 1 CQ call on 60m that was spotted by about 12 stations. The app alerted me, but my station had not seen anything. I saw a few calling but no one made a contact. A few minutes later I saw them spotted on CW. Then the game begun. Like the old days....trying to find out were the DX was listening, tuning up or down... 3A/IW1RBI was not really strong but readable...I choose a frequency above all others to call on. And after about 20 times calling I was finally noticed. 

I have to say....I enjoyed this contact a lot more compared to the usual FT8 F/H these days were you just have to wait till you are next in line...

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Amazing 6m propagation 19-May

 


PB7Z Bernard messaged me he could work USA on 6m early in the evening. Unfortunately I saw nothing from that side. But 10 minutes later propagation arrived and did hold on till local midnight. Icredible signals, some USA station had a S9 on my S-meter. I had the opportunity to work USA on SSB this time, something I never did before. The last US based SSB station on 6m heard was back in 2001 I believe!

I also worked fellow blogger WW1L after some effort...



Monday, May 17, 2021

Rebel's busted!

 

http://3z9dx-busted.com/

Reminds me of my earlier blogpost about 3W3RR Romeo. Like history repeats itself. Dom is absolutely a rebel, that's for shure...

Update 20-5-2021: Some views on this topic by AE5X: https://ae5x.blogspot.com/2021/05/in-doms-defense.html

Friday, May 14, 2021

First transatlantic 2021 on 6m

 


Another good day on 6m and 4m. This morning I was called unexpected by 9K2NO (Kuwait). First transatlantic was with VO1HP (Canada) on 6m FT4, not shown on the PSK reporter map unfotunately? Did see more north america but only 2 stations show up in the map, don't know why? VO1HP was very strong with signals from -4 to -2dB. I did my best to do also some SSB on 6m which gave me a small pile up primarely stations from Italy. I also did my best to do SSB on 10m today and had some really nice QSOs with Ireland, England and Wales. I really enjoyed it and think I will do many more SSB QSOs this summer. We had some very strong ES to Ireland on 4m in the evening. I'm now focusing on working some new ones on 6m and 4m. 

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Sunday, May 9, 2021

6/4 duoband beam repair

 Decided to work on the repairs first thing saturday morning. Before unexpected super ES would appear. 

The strange thing is that you don't see this at the other elements. Only the 210cm long 4m reflector broke in two. 


I decided 2 take 2 half elements connected by another smaller tube inside. I glued the tube so it will not shift. It increases the wall thickness to 2mm now. I got other suggestions like a wooden stick inside or a piece of POM rod (industrial plastic also known as Delrin). If I could get solid alu rod I would probabely take that.


Repaired and ready to go... I did make some 4m and 6m contacts. But signals were not that strong this weekend. 


Saturday, May 8, 2021

WWFF JS8Call Island Activation | Hailuoto Kirkkosalmi OHFF-0970

 Julian OH8STN and Ossi OH8HUB will be activating Hailuoto Kikkosalmi Island OHFF-0970 today. The special thing is that they do it primarely on JS8Call. Read about it on Julian's website.

http://oh8stn.org/blog/2021/05/06/wwff-js8call-island-activation-hailuoto-kirkkosalmi-ohff-0970/

Since this is so special I wanted to work them. I'm no island chaser but like special contacts anyway.

At first I didn't see anything from them this morning. So I wrote Julian a message to his JS8Call inbox that I was around. But just after finishing the message I saw OH8HUB/P calling....the rest is history...


Julian is probabely taking pictures and video. So. I'm curious how they have done...

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Antenna damage...

 When looking out of the window this morning I noticed something was wrong with the 4m/6m duoband antenna. 

Half of the 4m reflector was missing. We had some large winds last night with heavy windgusts, very unusual for this time of year. It looks like the wind has found the weakest point. It is no problem to repair but takes time I do not have at the moment. The weather forecast is not as good either. 

Found the missing part between our garden and our neighbour just at the border. But can't use it anymore. Bought a new tube today. I found a solution to make it mechanically stronger and probabely have to work on all radials in time. 

Of course, now the antenna is out of order, we will have amazing ES propagation in the next few days...

Sunday, May 2, 2021

F2 propagation on 10m at midnight

 Although I monitor 10m/6m quite often to detect some ES propagation there is still almost nothing to hear/see. However I got some reports that 10m (11m) does open at almost the middle of our night (22 UTC). And indeed I can report I catched such an opening last night.


I managed to make one QSO with NP3DM from Puerto Rico. And saw others making QSOs with Chile. Signals were quite good at times. But it seems to be one way. Besides that my receive is far better as my transmit coverage. Or you can see it another way.....most stations do not have a good receive possebility.

This morning 10m was open to Australia, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. I managed 2 QSOs with Indonesia. Slowly we get some better propagation now. But to make a proper SSB QSO we probabely have to wait for about 2 weeks. However, you never know.....you can't predict everything.

Friday, April 30, 2021

An evening on 17m

 Not a band I'm on very often. But today it seems to be open very well. After listening on 6m, 10m, 12m and 15m without hearing (seeing) anything I finally stayed on 17m this evening.


Normally I see that pink blob around my QTH. But today it went a whole other way, to the USA. I was even heard (seen) on the North Cook Islands. The list of QSOs was almost endless. Stations kept coming to my CQ. Never experienced that before on 17m. Antenna is my multiband vertical on top of the tower. I used 100W FT8.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Waiting for the ES-season, Australia on 10m

 Finally there was some time for radio again today. Of course I had high expectations for some good ES on 10, 6 and 4m. However.... but at least there was some F2 propagation on 10m. Some DX was made with Pakistan, Kuwait and Australia. I also saw Sri Lanka, Indonesia, India, Thailand and UAE but didn't get my signal there since I was not the only one calling. Still I imagine that my receive is far better as my transmitting abilities. And although I didn't work all the DX available it is receiving the DX that is most important for a HAMradio station.

Later there was some Africa and South America that could be received. Not a bad day at all after all. The ES propagation was reasonable, I received stations from all over Europe but they were not that strong. It could be a whole other situation tomorrow...


I checked for SSB signals on 10m a few times, but nothing could be heard. Actually checked 11m as well, nothing heard. FT8 gives a lot of DX opportunities that otherwise would not be possible at all...

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Antennas, Antennas, Antennas

  When the ES season will arrive exactly is always a surprise. But we expect it at the end of April, or sometimes earlier. So, this is the time to get the antennas ready. My 4 element LFA beam was in a state of pity, the front director and the reflector were both loose and shifted after the last storm. I borrow this LFA from the PA6AA contest group and had to ask the owner (PB7Z) if I could make some reinforcements since I'm not that impressed about the quality of this antenna. Bernard told me it is no problem at all. So a few brackets were fabricated to reinforce the mounting of the elements to the boom. 

The video shows what the problem is. Tightening the clamps will only give a temporary solution.



Solution made with extra clamps. This was made for the reflector and 2 directors.

I did another last experiment with my multiband vertical. I made 5 quarter wave counterpoises instead of using the tower as "countercapacity" for the vertical. It didn't seem to help at all. I see no difference in SWR and/or performance. The idea of cutting quarter wave wires for the vertical is not needed at all. You can do fine with just one wire and tune it with the autotuner, it will not make any difference in my opinion.

What I really want to try if time allows is the 5 band square halo PA9X experimented with. He wrote the antenna does better as his 5/8 wave vertical on 20m. I would like to confirm that and compare it with my multiband vertical. I have the parts.....but time is a issue. I want too many things.

Tower summer 2020

The 4/6m duoband beam has the same element mounting as the LFA. Though the elements are way shorter and weight a lot less. So, no problems with it at all. Besides that I don't have this beam up in the tower in the winter and storm season...


G0VXE's quad

I've been e-mailing a with a owner of a 5 band DK7ZB quad a while ago. Dave G0VXE has a beam like that on his tower. I've asked about some details for constructing one myself. He used capacitors made from coax to tune his reflectors. Tuning the reflectors will actually be the most difficult for this antenna. I'm not shure how to do it? Since tuning at low height will probabely not give the same results as if it is on top of my tower at full height. I probabely keep myself to the calculated lengths on the DK7ZB 5 band quad website, if I'm not satisfied with the f/b ratio I can always try to tune things. I might use a scaffold to get on the right height...

For those that question the ladderline he used at the director cross....it is for lineair loading and use on 30m. But it seems a full size dipole works better after all is what he told me.

That's me. To get an idea of the antenna size...

I wrote this blogpost mainly for myself since I've too many ideas. I don't want to forget what I learned and how I think about antennas right now. Originally I was planning to build the 5 band quad this summer. But I already see other more important chores coming. I might try a prototype square halo for 20m on a separate mast just as experiment.

Ready for the ES season 2021

Thursday, April 15, 2021

First PACCdigi contest this weekend

https://www.veron.nl/vereniging/commissies-en-werkgroepen/traffic-bureau/hf-contesten/paccdigi-contest/


This is a first try out of this contest. Actually I doubt this will going to be a populair contest. However, the combination is unique. Mixing an old digimode with a new one. It brings some technical challenges with it that would be interesting. Like how to set this up with in N1MM+. Some info can be found on the VERON website:

https://www.veron.nl/vereniging/commissies-en-werkgroepen/traffic-bureau/hf-contesten/paccdigi-software/

For those that like this contest format I wish you all good luck. May be we will meet...

Friday, April 9, 2021

#60m Mozambique worked

 Another new one on the 60m band worked. I feel very lucky these days. I was unable to work new DXCC for weeks and now within a few days I worked 2 new DXCC on the 60m band. Now, I've worked Mozambique before on other bands of course. It always reminds me about the first time I worked Mozambique on the airwaves. It was in 1989 and there was a war going on in Mozambique. Some south african 11m DXers did dare to cross the border anyway and activated a rare DXCC at that time. They eventually had to flee for the mortar fire after a few days and leave their antennas behind. You can imagine I found that very impressive and still cherish the QSL card and story in one of my 11m DX QSL collection books. 


Unfortunately the RU DXpedition has chosen the normal FT8 frequency to operate F/H. The problem only is that HAM operators from the United Kingdom are not allowed to transmit above 1000Hz. No chance for them to make the QSO. Of course some very frustrated operators jammed the signal from C92RU and I do understand their actions. It would be better for a DXpedtion to transmit on 5356KHz or 5356,5KHz dail.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

#60m Colombia worked

 I did see a few stations from Colombia on 60m before. But they are always on when I'm not... Lately I missed A25RU and TO1K on 60m. TO1K was very strong at times but I was unable to get my signal through. Well you can't have everything. At least I worked Colombia last night for another 60m new one...


I notice it is getting very difficult to work new ones on 60m now. I got a whole list of "would be new ones" stations but rarely see them on 60m, At this date I only worked 4 new ones this year...

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Every HAM should know how to e-mail with radio!

  I think every HAM should know how to send e-mail with his radiostation. Not via the internet but via the airwaves. Just in case the internet is down, in case of an emergency. Or in case you're in an area without internet, when on a hike, on vacation...

Lately I saw some interesting videos made by OH8STN Julian about this subject. But it is not really clear how to do it. And there are several possebilities you can use. You can use a "one has it all package" but you can also use external software to speed up the process. I've experimented with e-mail over radio with the use of PSKmail in 2010 , I got it working but it was a very complicated road the setup everything. I lost interest since this should be easy so you can set it up in a emergency situation. It is 11 years later now, time to take a look again.

I did hear about Winlink a long time ago and I downloaded the package once but never got to experiment with it. I was actually afraid it would cost me at least the time I used to setup PSKmail. But I was wrong. I got it all working with my IC-7300 within 20 minutes.

A interesting video about reliable e-mail over HF can be seen.


There are many interesting videos about this topic. And even OH8STN did some videos that are very interesting to get an idea. However, setting it up is not really clear in these videos. You have to experiment. I had problems to get my IC-7300 to transmit, but after some experimenting with several settings I was finally able to send out my e-mail over HF.

Just for my own archive and for others to learn from I made some screenshots from my setup for the slower ARDOP and the faster VARA HF. The ARDOP TNC software modem is built in Winlink, so you have a "all in one package".

Setup Soundcard for IC-7300

Setup CAT/PTT control for IC-7300


However, if you like to have a faster connection you really need VARA HF. It is a separate package which you can use for free with limits. If you pay $69 you can get a registery key and have no limits on the connection. Personally I experienced the free version is already much faster compared to ARDOP and so far fast enough for me.

VARA HF setup, you don't need a reg key to work with it

VARA HF soundcard setup for IC-7300

VARA HF CAT/PTT control for IC-7300

I suggest to watch the video on how to setup Winlink itself. I didn't have any problems with that. 
By the way, you get your own e-mail adres within the winlink system which is your callsign@winlink.org. 

VARA HF winlink session with LA1J on 60m. Click on it to view a larger picture.





To upload/receive your e-mail you need to connect to a relay station. With the channel selector you can find what would be the best station for up/downloading. You can view the stations location on a map.

There is also a possebility to exchange e-mail peer-to-peer. So you don't need a relay station. The only problem is that you need to be on the same frequency at the same time and know each others callsign to connect. And of course you need propagation.... but when the internet and/or grid is down and if there are less relay stations on air you can still get a message reliable to another station over HF.

It seems that e-mail over VHF/UHF FM is also a possebility. If interested you might search for it on google or youtube.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

#CQWW WPX SSB 2021 review

Event: CQWW WPX SSB contest 2021
Section: Low SOAB
Logger: N1MM+ 
Station: Icom IC-7300
Antenna 1: 160m sloper
Antenna 2: 10m LFA @14m
Antenna 3: Multiband vertical @16m
Antenna 4: 2x20m inverted-V doublet


The yearly WPX SSB contest is over again. One of the highlights of the year for me. If you look for rare DX you can find it in this contest. And I took the opportunity to hunt DX instead of concentrating on the amount of QSOs. No new DXCC were worked but I guess I managed to work a few new band ones. 

Click on the map to enlarge.

Although propagation was not the best very nice DX was worked. One of the highlights certainly was working ZM4T on both 40m and 20m. Unfortunately 10m didn't open, the only QSO I had on that band was with PA6AA who was kind of a local station managed by Bernard PB7Z.

Most interesting DX per band this year:

80m: NV9L, WW1X (USA)
40m: ZM4T (New Zealand), WP4X (Puerto Rico), TI7W (Costa Rica), FM5BH (Martinique), WW1X (USA), VE9CB (Canada), PJ2T (Curacao)
20m: UP7L (Kazakhstan), 9K9A (Kuwait), HZ1TL (Saudi Arabia), KL7RA (Alaska), ZM4T (New Zealand), T6A (Afghanistan), VE9CB (Canada), WW1X (USA), 9M2TDX (West Malaysia), EX0M (Kyrgyzstan), JH4UYB (Japan), PJ4DX (Bonaire), 5Z4VJ (Kenya), PY4JW (Brazil), FM8QR (Martinique), P40A (Aruba), TI7W (Costa Rica), FG4ST (Guadeloupe).
15m: UP2L (Kazakhstan), FR4NT (Reunion Isl.), ZS6TVB (RSA), ZD7BG (St.Helena), A71AM (Qatar), A60A (UAE), LO5D (Argentina), E2A (Thailand), YC2CPQ (Indonesia), P45A (Aruba)

I mention that KL7RA was real 59 over here, just incredible! I've heard many other DX but couldn't reach everything. I remember calling for a long time on 40m to JH4UYB, he had a excellent signal but he didn't hear me. Also 3E3E from Panama was 59 on 20m but I was unable to have a QSO with him. You can't have it all of course...

I didn't hear anything from VK (Australia). Strange, because I'm shure there were contesters on from down under. But propagation was not there. Hopefully they will appear on 10m in a few years...

Like always, I had fun. Although I spend far too much time on my hobby last weekend. Not to the amusement of the family....it is always difficult to find a balance. This will always be a challenge....
Total time spend in the contest was 27 hours...

Friday, March 26, 2021

Is FT8 destroying ham radio?

 N0UN wrote on his blog:

"In my opinion FT8 is like a self-driving car.  No operating skills required.  How much fun is sitting in a car you’re not driving?  You get my point?"

And asked politely to write something about it on everyones own social media. So I do...

I understand Wayne's concern. I do understand he (and others) did put a lot of effort in their stations. Did put a lot of money in it. Did practise and earned, learned and worked hard to get a lot of DX and DX skills through the years. I respect that...but...

Not everyone is capable of building a great station. Not everyone is willing to learn the DX skills. And still they enjoy DX these days. Since FT8 (and before that JT65 and JT9) is a great feature for that. Yes, even if part of it is automatic many do enjoy it a lot. Finally being able to work DX with a simple wire antenna and 5, 10, 25 or 100W power. You see, I think Wayne's opinion is a little selfish, he speaks for himself and a few others that hold on to the old SSB and CW communications only. If you take a look on the "bands" you will see that the majority of ham radio is playing FT8 now. Even DXpeditions like A25RU and VK9CE are rarely heard on SSB these days. Is that a bad thing? Yes, for those that don't like FT8 it is a very bad thing. It probabely means that this is almost the end of their ham radio hobby. But for those that haven't got the ability to have large antennas, expensive radio equipment and or good DX skills it is a great thing they have finally a chance to work those rare stations.

Why are DXpeditions using that much FT8 these days. Well, I remember a presentation from a DXpedition member about 3D2EU. He told that at some moments they would call endless on CW and SSB without much reponse. Switching to FT8 gave them the pile-ups they searched for. You will hear this from other DXpeditions as well. Remember, DXpeditions want to make as many contacts and provide as many a new DXCC as possible no matter what. If that takes FT8 these days it should be a priority to have a good sensitive (wideband) FT8 station running preferable on as many bands for as long as possible. Therefore I think the initiative from the Rebel DX group "We will be testing some our new ideas to operate 5 different stations on FT8 (FOX & HUND) at the same time by 1 operator" is promising.

We can learn from the past. When SSB took over the most used CW and AM after WW2. Many of the old operators did tell the "newcomers" they wouldn't be real hamradio operators if they didn't know CW. SSB was for those without skills, what would be the fun of it? Oh, yes they were still communicating.....five by nine my friend, 73 (you see, no difference from the FT8 protocol). With FT8 on HF we look ahead into the future, What has to come? Some hamradio operators already took the opportunity to write about the future including me. I can imagine remote controlled FT8 robot stations that are dropped at rare DXCC working on solarpower for months or even years. Just like the hamradio sats in space... Of course these would be QRP stations, so it would be a challenge to work them after all. Wouldn't that be fun? At least I would have fun. Others will find it stupid, I'm shure of that. 

Finally I would like to point out some benefits of FT8:

- Ideal for fast propagation research.

- One signal only takes 50Hz of spectrum

- It is more sensitive compared to CW

- QRM and noise doesn't have much impact, except if a QRM signal is exactly on the FT8 frequency

- It is easy to use and easy to work with remote

- It doesn't annoy the rest of the family if operating is, for instance,  from the living room

- It is relatively easy to work DX stations

- You can work with low power and still have a good signal when propagation is right.

- It is possible to automate everything (although some of this is controversial)

I will not point out the disadvantages since everyone seems to know them...

FT8 is not the only thing in hamradio. It is populair right now. But I'm shure most operators do like to have a decent QSO with SSB or CW after all and use FT8 just as an extra mode with extra opportunities. After all, HF DXing is not the only thing in our hobby. There are so many other topics and interests, everyone has to decide what is most fun and what satisfies most. If you don't like FT8 you just don't join and do some SSB and or CW instead. You probabely like to take a look at the True Blue DX marathon to promote some more "human" modes. And for those that really like to do both FT8 and SSB/CW you can still join the marathon to have some fun!

Don't forget for those that really like SSB (that's me as well) this weekend there is the CQ WW WPX SSB contest. 48 hours of SSB fun with lots of DX. If you don't like contests, just work the DX of interest. Isn't that fun!

If you like to comment on this blog, you're welcome. It doesn't have to be on your own social media...

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Imax2000 destruction

The Imax2000 is originally a fiberglass CB antenna which is used by many radioamateurs on HF worldwide. The original Imax2000 can be used from 17-10m with a tuner. Find more info on: 

https://radioaficion.com/cms/solarcon-i-max-2000/

http://cbradiomagazine.com/the-imax-2000-exposed/

The Imax2000 is eventually replaced by the max2000 which is shortened and only for the 10m band. I used a defective Imax2000 as a holder for a copperwire covered by coppertape which was fed with a CG3000 autotuner for a few years. Till a couple of weeks ago it did finally break during a storm. I decided to dismantle the antenna to get rid of it. I really don't know how they did dismantle the matching coil without breaking it. I found it impossible. If this antenna breaks it is not repairable from my point of view. But if you look at the pictures on the sites from the links above there has to be a way to dismantle things in one piece. Of course mine was years old, everything was corroded and there was water inside the bottom of the antenna. Here are some pictures I took during the process:








I especially had problems removing the PL connector at the bottom due to corrosion. Well, at least I had some fun taking it apart to see what is in it. The last picture is not a pretty sight. Everything went into the garbage after all...even the PL connector was damaged and could not be used again.