Saturday, January 30, 2021

TBDXC Ultra marathon January

 Wrote about this marathon last year. And decided to take part in the SSB low power section. I certainly made some nice SSB QSOs, one of them was a long chat with fellow blogger M0YKS Simon who had it live on YouTube. So far I made 57 SSB QSOs this month. The stations came from 32 different DXCC. Didn't do any contests yet and after all that is not really the meaning of this marathon. I obtained 6th place till now.....not that it is really important.

The marathon now has 284 registered stations though only 99 of them are submitting scores. The organisation wonders why? The marathon is created to increase levels of activity on SSB/CW on the bands. But you can't expect it to work in only one month! I did call a lot on SSB, endless CQs without anyone replying. Bad propagation? Well, I can hear others talking and if I call someone that calls CQ they most time answer. But indeed propagation is not the best this time of the year. Besides the lack of stations calling/answering I think there are other possible causes that station do not submit scores (yet). 

One of them is the way the scoreserver is made, I had problems to submit my score and others will have that problem as well. But luckely the organisation is busy to change the site so submitting a ADIF log will be possible in the future. 

The second one is the single mode sections only, no mixed mode. I hope they will change their mind next year. A mixed CW/SSB section will attract more stations.

So far the CW low power section is most populair. 


1. It is NEVER too late to register for the Ultra-Marathon. Even if you start in February, March, or later you can have TONS of fun, compare your results with others and help supporting SSB and CW activity. The Marathon website is: 

2. If you are already registered PLEASE MAKE QSOs, even just a few, every day if you can, and ENTER YOUR RESULTS. If you don't have much time, just focus on working as many different DXCC countries and WAZ zones as you can on the six HF bands. That in itself can be great fun and give new sense and purpose to your activity. And, don't forget to CALL CQ! If you call, they will listen.

 This is not about winning but participating. However you are free to see it as a contest of course. You don't have to be a "True Blue DX club" member. And you don't have to agree with their views on how we should make contacts. It's just about having fun!

Monday, January 25, 2021

To all FT8 lovers

 Have you ever been bothered by such harmonics when working with the FT8? If you don't have the correct settings, you may be transmitting harmonics too.

Harmonic generation can be prevented by software settings.

Read more how:

Thanks to JP1LRT Yoshiharu

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Antenna lost in a storm, new 1/4 wave vertical


We had a storm earlier this week. But since I leave home when it is still dark and come back when it is already dark I didn't notice my vertical antenna was gone...

Found the broken parts in the neighbouring garden, they didn't notice as well I guess....time to analyze the damage.

For a while I noticed the antenna was not straight up anymore, it did bend even without wind. So this all came not as a surprise. You can see the wire the is originally inside but was not used anymore and the wire I attached at one side. I saw the tube went flat and not round anymore, I guess it was already a weak point that eventually cracked. I was unable to see the cracks because the antenna was covered with plastic tape.

I cut the center tube to have a view inside You can see the small wire inside. A common fault with these antennas is a broken wire which is difficult to repair. Since an Imax2000 is 7,5m long they bend a lot in the wind, with such a tin and solid wire it's no wonder it snaps.

After I replaced the A99 (with alutape cover) with the Imax2000 (with coppertape cover) years ago I have been thinking many times to threw this one in the garbage. But luckely I didn't....and yes, this one also suffers from the broken inner wire...

The A99 is 4,75m long. And not 5,5m like many think. Many 11m operators do use these antennas but I think originally it is a 10m band antenna. The formula to calculate a wire antenna with insulation is: 300/28,5(MHz)=10,52m/2=5,26m-5%=4,74m

I found one part suspicious. The center part is glued into a steel bushing. But I could turn it around. So I made some kind of splint to be shure it will no break at that place and stays into the bushing.

I wouldn't be a experimenter if I wouldn't try something new. This time I tape 5 1/4 wave wires onto the A99 for 20 till 10m. I want to see how this works.

When the antenna was ready it occured to me that I probabely used the mast mounting U-bolts for other projects......but how lucky I was, I still had this mast mounting system from my Diamond CP-6 which fits exactly around the bottom tube from the A99. A lucky miracle!

I was so lucky the weather was great. After some cutting, grinding, connecting and insulating the new 5 band 1/4 wave vertical is up again. The configuration is as follows:

TRX > Coax > Galvanic Isolator at botom of tower > Coax > Air choke > CG3000 autotuner > High quality 1:1 balun > 5x 1/4 wave wire for 14,18,21,24 and 28 MHz.

Results: Most important, does it tune. Yes, the tuner had a problem with 12m at first but after tuning 10m 12m was fine. Compared to the inverted-V the vertical does not win on 20m, receive is about 1-2 signal point weaker and sometimes it is the same...On 17m it clearly wins from the inverted-V. I don't know for 15, 12 and 10m since there is no propagation present. Hope to find out tomorrow.

I tried to make some SSB contacts with the vertical but I could hear only a few stations which were not really strong. Have been calling for 10 minutes but no one answers. So I switched to FT8.

Did some calls with 100W to see results. This was after about 20 minutes. Despite my signal was heard in Africa and USA I didn't make any DX QSO. Only a few European stations that responded. I'm shure it is not my signal that is the problem but the amount of stations that are transmitting in multiple signal layers on just 3000Hz. I couldn't simply find a clear spot on the waterfall to get my signal out the the DX stations I wanted to work. 20m FT8 is not really my piece of cake...

Well, I hope this antenna will survive any other storm this year. Hopefully it will help me getting my signal out on 17, 15 and 12m. 

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Set your IC-7300 clock with the computer & scripts for remote

  A while ago I saw a topic on a dutch hamradio forum about the failing clock back-up battery in the IC-7300. When this battery is broken and completely empty you have to set the time every time you switch on the radio. That could be very annoying. Of course you can replace the internal battery, which is a little tricky...But there is another way, you can easily set your time through the USB connection with your computer. I'm not the first one that published about this, there are other ways, there are multiple solutions. Although my internal battery is still working I just had to see if this works I had to test this. It might help some other HAMs as well...

Some powershell scripts were made by Martin PA2MP. At first he made one that only set the time and date but not exactly on the second. The IC-7300 doesn't know a command that set the time on seconds. But Martin wrote another script that waited till the clock hits "zero" before it send the commands to the IC-7300. It works very well. And since most of us have a small program in use that sets the time right to work with WSJT/JTDX or other software the time will be exactly right on the IC-7300, wonderfull...

This whole thing can be automated at the startup of your computer. It goes too far to completely explain how. I can give one hint: task scheduler. Martin wrote me a complete explanation about how to make a task in task scheduler that will automate running the powershell script. It is in PDF format, but it has been written in dutch. I have found it quite complicated but it works. So, anyone that likes to have that PDF send me an e-mail and I'll send it to you. If anyone can make a english version that would be highly appreciated!

In the mean time, Martin continued to update his powershell script till it evolved in one that not only will set the time but also switch on the IC-7300 if it is not on yet. That way it is excellent for remote control via the internet as well. So I wrote Martin if he could write a script to switch the set off as well with the computer. Since I do a lot of remote this really is excellent since I can now remotely switch off the whole station.

If you like you can try them yourself, PA2MP Martin has given permission to use the scripts for anyone that needs them. Download them here:

(You don't have to log in with a dropbox or google account, just click the message away. You'll find a download button in the right upper corner)

I have packed the files into a .rar file. I included the original script that set the date and time only on the minute, the second script that waits for a new minute to begin to set the time exact at the second and the third script that switches your IC-7300 on and then sets the date and time. As a bonus I added the script to switch off your IC-7300.

Thanks Martin PA2MP, really appreciate your effort to make these scripts and make them available to others.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Wake up!

The future of HAMradio?

Will we soon be operating DXpeditions remotely?

"This does sound kind of crazy, but all the pieces exist today. And, it would cost a lot less than transporting equipment, supplies, and fuel, plus a dozen or more people, to a remote location. That being the case, I don’t think this is as far fetched as it might have been a few years ago."

Read more on:

"For those who doubt that ham radio could be switched off in the blink of an eye, I’d suggest you study the history of World War II and its impact on the amateur radio service. Betting that could never happen again is one of the surest ways of making certain that it will."

Read more on:

This was my wake up call for you. Brighten up your mind...

Friday, January 15, 2021

New firmware update IC-7300, IC-705 and IC-9700

The IC-705 update will be available the end of January. For the 7300 and 9700 this update will be in the near future...

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

2020 statistics

 The yearly statistics are always a surprise to me. How many QSOs did I make? On what band? How many DXCC?  This year was a remarkable DX year again. And I was active on the 4m band for the first time. On 60m I worked 37 new band DXCC. 4 of those were ATNO (All Time New Ones). On 6m I worked unexpectedly 10 new band DXCC. On 4m I worked 31 new band DXCC. For me these are amazing numbers. I never expected this amount of DX in the low sunspot years. Imagine what could happen in the next years when propagation start to improve.

2020 was amazing QSO wise. 4768 QSOs, compare that with 2019! And I didn't even count the 5424 QSOs I made in May with the PE75FREE call. That would make the QSO count 2020 total 10192 QSOs in one year. That might me normal for a fanatic contester but not for a average station like me. I always complain that I don't have much time for this hobby, this might feel so but if I look at the stats.....I think I have to stop complaining. I might even step back a little, be more selective in making QSOs... 

It surprised me that I made more SSB QSOs compared to data QSOs this year, last year I thought it was a trend for the future to make more data QSOs but I think I have to think that over...

Above my worked DXCC stats. I concentrated on 60m and 4m this year. Although I'm not far away from 100 DXCC on 80m, 30m and 6m. I might even get over 200 DXCC on 10m in 2021? I never thought I would get 168 DXCC on 60m, but you happened.

Then the confirmed DXCC stats. 30-40 years ago I was really into QSLing. These days most confirmation goes via the internet. Ik like to have a confirmation but in de end it's not really that important anymore. Why should you have proof from a contact? To show others? What are we doing it for? The radiohobby is fun to me, I don't have to proof anything. But it could be different for others of course...

The amazing amount of QSOs divided in months. May only counts 36 QSOs, that's because I was active as PE75FREE for 99,9% of the time. Oktober gave me a recordbreaking 1010 QSOs only in the CQWW DX SSB contest, the first time I worked over 1K QSOs in a contest ever.

It always is my intention to use as much modes as possible. However, I was not active in Olivia, Feldhell, JT65 or other modes. I was active in JS8 but since my log counts them as FT8 it is included in the FT8 total number. SSB is still the mode I use most, however 90% is from SSB contesting. On a daily basis I most time use FT8 since it is so easy to work with this on remote. Last year I thougt FT4 would become more popular but it didn't, most FT4 activity is on 20m. On other bands it is less. Most MSK144 QSOs were made on 4m.

I thought my most popular band would be 60m this year. But after processing the log it is clear that most QSOs were made on 80m, this is again due contesting. I have spend far more time on 60m this year but made considerable less QSOs compared to 2019. New is the 4m band, with 111 QSOs last year. I'm also surprised by the number of 10m QSOs. The WARC bands stay behind, especially 30m again. This is due to the restriction on FT8 use in the Netherlands. We are still not allowed to do digimodes below 10.140MHz. I have been active on FT4 a few times but activity on that mode is very limited.

What will this year bring? WSJT-X contains a few new experimental modes, will they get popular? I'm curious if my log will contain FST or Q65 contacts in 2021? We will see, time will tell...

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Agenda 2021

As always for archive purposes...

My radiohobby agenda for 2021. Feel free to copy.

I always have to balance my time between my family and hobby. With a agenda and planning I want to prevent conflicts if possible.

13/14 Feb. 12-12 UTC 24 hrs PACC 2021 contest (SOAB QRP)
27/28 Mar. 00-24 UTC 48 hrs CQWW WPX SSB 2021 contest
29/30 May 00-24 UTC 48 hrs CQWW WPX CW 2021 contest
25/26 Sep. 00-24 UTC 48 hrs CQWW DX RTTY 2021 contest
30/31 Okt. 00-24 UTC 48 hrs CQWW DX SSB 2021 contest
14 Nov. 10-12:30 local time PA-beker contest SSB section 2021
21 Nov. 11-14 local time Friese 11 steden contest 2021
27/28 Nov. 00-24 UTC 48 hrs CQWW DX CW 2021 contest
11/12 Dec. 00-24 UTC 48 hrs 10m ARRL 2021 contest