Saturday, May 28, 2022

New antenna project & visiting radio rally

 Had some days off the job. Finally started the new antenna project. Have written about that before. It is a square halo design which I saw on the PA9X site at first. I will first try with a 20m halo only, Just to see if it meets my expectations. More pictures will follow when progress is made.

If all goes well I will try to make it a multiband halo. The difference with the antenna PA9X made is that I use a fiberglass "boom" to hold the balun box.

It has been a while ago. The covid-19 pandemic....well all is slowly returning to normal. There finally was a radio rally I like to go to. I went to Beetsterzwaag village together with a new colleague which also is a newly licensed ham PD8HW. It's fun to have another radio hobbyist at the job. I have to say it was fun. We met a lot of people and of course we bought some (old) equipment.

Some fun things we saw...

I had to look for a variable coil of some sort just because of the value in money. Not that I found it. But I found some variable coils and this one looks like it is completely home made. The value was 15 euro (about 16 USD) which is cheap I think. Imagine the effort someone made to fabricate this. I did not buy it. I bought a large variable capacitor to use at some future antenna project. I might buy a nice variable coil someday.

Some capacitors I saw when wandering around. Better be careful with charged ones. 18000uF is quite a large capacity.

This is an item I have a question about. Anyone that can tell me how this works? At first I though it would receive beacon signals and display it with LEDs blinking. But there is no receiver or receiver connection. Only a power supply input. I think it is a clock of something showing when a particular beacon is on air? And how is the time sync working? It might not be so difficult of course...

It is probabely pre-computer. There are far more sophisticated systems these days...however it is intriguing.

Friday, May 27, 2022

#6m ITU HQ almost & internet temptations


Hans PB2T is currently active from 4U1ITU ITU Headquarters. This counts as DXCC. I received his signal through the morning. Probabely due to airplane scatter. At a certain moment he received me as well while giving him a report. Unfortunately we couldn't finish the QSO. There was no airplane reflecting our signal within the time available.

On KST chat Hans warned me not to try to make the QSO via internet. It was not my intention of course. I just wanted to let him know I still received his efforts to send his report. I didn't realize by writing him that I was trying to send him my RR he could see this as part of the QSO and that way he knew I received his report. In that case he could send a 73 and QSO could be logged. I'm happy he didn't. This seems to be a common mistake made on the chat. The temptation of such a internet service. Please be warned and don't make these mistakes yourself.

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Forget pinpoint. VarAC now recognized by PSKreporter


Forget about the pinpoint post I did a few weeks ago. It was a nice solution but not necessary anymore. After updating to the new V3.8.8 PSKreporter will now display VARAC mode. It works well! You can also view if interesting DX is on VarAC. Or your friends of course. I think this is a huge step forward for this digimode. I sure love it although activity is limited mostly to 20m. However this time of the year my activity is mostly on 50MHz and 70MHz. But if time allows in between I will try to be QRV with this interesting new digimode. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

#6m St. Helena worked


Waiting, waiting.....waiting. And then suddenly out of the noise he came...I was in shock. He came back to me. Magic happened again!

Monday, May 23, 2022

#6m Namibia.....almost!


V51WW Wynand from Namibia came in fast with +3dB peak. His signal dropped just as fast. I almost made a QSO but was unlucky and didn't get the 73.'s all in the game. There will be a next time I guess.

I wrote Wynand an e-mail and he wrote he's using a 6 element beam at 6m height. Not shure about the power. Like me he prefers SSB. But these days you need FT8 to do some DX.

Sunday, May 22, 2022

#4m Serbia worked


I was unlucky last year. But finally managed to get a QSO with YU7EF Pop. He's also the designer of my dual band 6m/4m beam.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Fast repair A99 vertical


Not that I intend to use the vertical again on short notice. But I would like to have it ready for future experiments. I suspected the vertical to be broken and I was right. The glasfiber fibers can have much tension but it will age and splice in the end.

I don't really use this A99 as CB antenna. The actual radiator inside was broken already long time ago. This antenna is approx 30 years old, so I can't blame the manufacturer. It has withstand a lot of large windgusts and although the glasfiber has been sliced it didn't break completely yet.

This glasfiber vertical is used as a bearer for several experiments. The latest was a clone/idea of a very populair vertical antenna made in the UK.

I decided to cut off the sliced part which was about 10cm (4 inch). And glued the connection nut with a special 2 component glue. I think it is strong enough to last for another decade. At least I have it ready for a next experiment.

Monday, May 16, 2022

Comments on blogger


Google seem to have changed some things in blogger. It is especially difficult now to leave any comment on a blogpost when you keep the comments form at the same page as the post. Whatever I do it is not possible to get a  login authentication to leave a comment with your google account. I tried this at some other blogger blogs as well and have the same problem. So it is not any fault on my blog that's causing this. A workaround would be leaving a message with your e-mail URL to indentify yourself.

The solution I found so far is to change the comments form in the settings so that it is popping up in a separate window. It shows up with the comments form we used to have and it seems to be working fine now.

I will review any comments before posting when a comment is left on posts from 7 days or older.

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

#60m Jordan worked


  Actually I'm not that active at the moment. Unfortunately because I probabely missed a lot of DX. I thought of good times on 60m over the last few years and decided to take a look last evening. I was surprised by JY4CI from Jordan. Did not work this DXCC before on 60m. The pile-up was unbelievable but after about 2 hours of calling I managed to get through. The fun is that I actually worked remote and from the living room enjoying the Eurovision songfestival on TV at the same time.

I also encountered some bad FT8 habits from others this evening. Will write about that later...

Saturday, May 7, 2022

Waiting for ES season to start


10m is in good shape. FT8 signals are booming in. QSOs from Australia till Bolivia. Yet, calling SSB resulted in just one QSO with YC2DBW from Indonesia. Calling CQ on SSB has no use at all. Tried several times for about 10 minutes without response. Compared to calling CQ with FT8 resulting in several QSOs in the same time. I tried 6m and 4m today. I have been heard in Europe but only a few stations. I hope the ES season will really start one of these days.

Thursday, May 5, 2022

M0MOM's ADIF processor

Discovered some fun online ADIF processor today made by M0MOM

Click start it is obvious how to handle.

Output KML file can be saved on your computer and can be imported in google earth

Menu > projects > (Make a new project) open > Import KML file from computer

Examples from my QRP efforts in the PACC 2022 contest.

Sunday, May 1, 2022

Antenna experiments are fun - ready for the ES season

 Haven't got much time for the radio hobby at the moment. But today had a few hours planned to do some antenna work. I wanted to dismantle the vertical experiment to make place for something else I have in mind. Besides that I had to mount the 6m/4m duoband beam into the tower to get ready for the ES season.

Work in progress...

The problem with the vertical over one winter is that part of it is almost broken. Besides that the wires get twisted after a while. I think the experimental design works well though it needs a few technical fixes. However, I don't think I will place a vertical antenna like this on my tower again since I like to experiment with something different. I removed it from the tower.

I was curious how the 1:1 balun would look after a winter. The balun was mounted above the autotuner in the small white box. 

I was surprised to see that inside it looked like new. Nothing wrong at all. So I can use it for another experimental project.

The autotuner needs a power supply of 12V which I provide with a PSU in the garage throught a thin twin wire up into the tower. It is connected with some "chocolate bloc" connectors. Although I made it watertight with vulcanizing tape it really is not corrosion resistant. It really is a miracle the autotuner still did work at all. Another one, just as corroded is in the coax connection box at the bottom of my tower. I really need to find something better to connect the tuner to 12V  without having to worry about corrosion.

Next I collected the components for the 6m/4m duoband beam which are all in reasonable good shape. Assembling took me about 30 minutes. That was including polishing the alu rods as good as possible.

I also renewed marking all the separate rods. Just a precaution. I will check it again when disassembling. Assembling is so much easier when you don't have to compare lengths but just read on it which one belongs were.

The result...

Ready for the ES season now. I already made some nice 6m contacts but missed the short opening to RSA last afternoon. I have to say it's quite a different look, I got used to a vertical on top.