Sunday, August 28, 2022

Experimental setup square halo (4) - into the tower

 It has been a while. I always think that when vacation arrives I will have a ocean of time. But real life is totally different. Anyway, I had a few hours to spend today. I dismantled the 6m/4m duoband beam and installed the experimental square halo after another final check. The only thing I changed is the boom, it is the same material (glasfiber) but shortened it and taped it with black tape. 

Above a picture to compare the size of the halo with the VHF duoband beam. The halo is small, excellent for the HAM without a lot of space. Not that I have a space problem but I really find this antenna interesting to experiment with.

 The experimental halo above the 10m LFA. Really small...will it work? The vertical antenna is another experiment for CB use, it is not working like it should yet.

I observed and noted the SWR at groundlevel and up on 14m height. The resonance point and SWR will shift higher in frequency, something to consider when you would like to experiment with this antenna.

Best SWR at 1m height: 14.120 - 18.142 - 21.116 - 24.931 MHz

Best SWR at 2m height: 14.177 - 18.150 - 21.130 - 24.942 MHz

Best SWR at 14m height: 14.250 - 18.200 - 21.200 - 25 MHz

So I need the tweak 17m and 12m a bit, though SWR is good enough to transmit. But is it working? I started on 12m late in the afternoon.

Unfortunately PSK reporter is not reporting everything these days. QSOs made with HC1HC (Ecuador), ZR6JT (RSA), YV5MHX (Venezuela).

Next 15m:

QSOs made with K1JZA (USA), 4Z5UY (Israel), DJ1TO (Germany), W6NWS (USA)

Next 17m, I was worried about this band because I don't use a closed loop in the antenna. It is kind of a dipole with a parasitic element of same length of the dipole attached. Best SWR 1,7:1.

I really don't know if propagation is good or bad? But I worked VE4GV (Canada), BG0BG (China), K0IEA (USA), OZ1RH (Denmark)

And at last 20m. I did some tests comparing the 2x20 inverted-V doublet with the square halo. I have to write the halo is clearly the winner. It wins on every signal. Previously the inverted-V was the winner compared to the multiband vertical. I'm really surprised by this small antenna. It is also very quiet on receive compared to the vertical. I had only time to test 20m late in the afternoon and in the evening.

I'm not really a fan of FT8 on 20m. I didn't had much success on this band previously as it is very crowded. I was really surprised by the DX contacts I could make this evening. I worked RW4D (Russia), EA1FK (Spain), EP5CHD (Iran), N4OPI (USA), W8NET (USA), W8QZM (USA), LW4EAZ (Argentina), K4YT (USA), W7DO (USA), CP6UA (Bolivia), CX1NU (Uruquay), D2UY (Angola)

Yes, this small antenna is working well for me. Is it special? Many HAMs told me this is just an cobbweb design. Yes it is, it has almost the same size and looks like a cobbweb. But it is different since it uses full size loops instead of half wave dipoles. Except for 17m that is, I couldn't get a decent match for 17m when I use a full size loop for that band. Instead I did cut the ends of the loop and what left is a dipole with a parasitic element, strange enough it works. That's the thing with experimental antennas, it works or it doesn't. This time I was lucky.

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

#6m 2022 ES-season review

 This is my review of the 2022 ES-season which I enjoy on 6m and 4m. Notice that the main mode for DX on 6m is FT8 these days on 50.313 MHz and 50.323 MHz. On 70 MHz the main FT8 frequency is 70.154 MHz. I only have a modest station consisting of a IC-7300 with max. 100W on 6m and 50W on 4m. Antenna is a homemade YU7EF duoband beam 2x 5 elements @14m height in my tower.

I mounted the antenna into the tower quite early this year. Surprise was the first transatlantic DX with PP5BK (Brazil) this year on may 15 . It is not a new DXCC but nice to work such a long distance on 6m.

21-May. First new band DXCC was on 4m this year. A QSO with LX/PE1ITR (Luxemburg). It surprises me that I did not hear/see many more from LX on 70 MHz previously. Rob was so kind of reading this post and commented with a link to his 2022 setup from a beatiful location in Luxemburg.

22 May. I almost worked YU7EF (the designer of my antenna) last year with MSK144, but in the end we could not finish the QSO. This year it was easy to work him in a strong opening on 4m. My second new band DXCC.

24 May. Real super DX on 6m and my first new band DXCC this year was a QSO with ZD7BG from St.Helena. Actually very special, propagation came up late in the evening, I worked him and he quickly disappeared into the noise. Real magic and very sporadic.

5 June. Next new 6m DXCC was a QSO with BA4SI from China. It didn't happen last year, but this time I was lucky. Picture is from his QRZ page.

The stacked yagi system does well...

9 June. Unusual CW contact for a new one on 6m. D4L from Cape Verde was worked. He showed up on FT8 later. I worked him again on 12 June. Both contacts confirmed at LoTW.

11 June. It was luck again! Working Albania. A QSO with ZA/IW2JOP for a new one on the 4m band.

12 June. 4m was really hot. I worked Z35Z from North Macedonia for a new one on that band.

12 June. Next my DXCC nr. 39 on 4m. A QSO with, I guess the most famous station from Israel, 4Z4DX Dov. It was also the last new DXCC on 4m this year.  Remember there are not many countries that are allowed to transmit on 4m. This band is a real DX challenge.

12 June. This day was really great for DX. Unexpected but true I worked Mexico. QSO was with XE2X. New 6m DXCC.

9 July. Seen South Korea a few times on 6m in the past. But never actually made a QSO. I was lucky this time and DS4EOI came back to me finishing the QSO. Propagation was strong into that direction that day, I also worked 17 Japanese stations. It was also the last day with strong enough DX possebilities for my modest station. I'm now counting 108 DXCC on 6m.

Receiving DX is another story. I receive far more as I can reach with 100W. I believe a better, bigger antenna and 4 times the power output I use now would have brought me a lot more DX this year. But what is the fun if you work everything at once...

Here is a list of DX stations I received but did not work this season:

20-May    LU5FF Argentina 20:09 UTC

22-May    ZS6NK South Africa 17:39 UTC

23-May    V51WW Namibia 17:34 UTC Signal -25dB

23-May    ZD7MY St. Helena 20:34 UTC

25-May    7Q7CT Malawi 17:36 UTC

27-May    4U1ITU Geneva ITU 08:06 UTC signal -20dB

04-June    D44EO Cape Verde 16:58 UTC

04-June    C5C The Gambia 17:47 UTC

05-June    BD4WN China 07:26 UTC

05-June    BA5DX China 07:30 UTC

05-June    HL4CJG S.Korea 09:32 UTC

05-June    HL3DE S.Korea 09:26 UTC

05-June    JV1A Mongolia 09:26 UTC

06-June    VR2XYL Hong Kong 07:25 UTC

06- June   VR2CO Hong Kong 07:26 UTC

06-June    VR2CH Hong Kong 07:27 UTC

06-June    BV3UF Taiwan 08:45 UTC

09-June    4Z1TL Israel on 4m 17:41 UTC

11-June    9N7AA Nepal 06:44 UTC

12-June    ZC4RH Cyprus SBA 10:43 UTC

12-June    XP3A Greenland 20:04 UTC

22-June    JT1CO Mongolia 11:16 UTC

24-July    9N7AA Nepal 07:58 UTC signal -8dB

24-July    VK8AW Australia 08:10 UTC signal -11dB

24-July    4F2KWT Phillipines 08:53 UTC signal -19dB

24-July    BV6KO Taiwan 09:36 UTC signal -18dB

24 July    BV7KL Taiwan 09:34 UTC signal -18dB

10 July. Several Dutch stations made a QSO with KL7J and/or KL7HBK from Alaska. I was on but probabely the only Dutch station that was just outside the propagation path. It was frustrating to see fellow Dutch stations just 50-100km south and west from me making the QSO while I did not receive anything from Alaska at all. But never mind, there will be another time...

ES-season is over now for me and I will dismantle the antenna, waiting for next season it will be inside the garage. It would not survive winter and the large winds that occur at that time of year. Besides that, I have a few other projects that are waiting to get their place in the tower.

If you enjoyed this post I would like to direct you to some other ES-season reviews from 6m DXers which are a interesting read.

Updated 29-12-2022: Exchanged photo from LX/PE1ITR see also comments

Friday, August 19, 2022

SWL (3)


Last listening session from Denmark this morning. The Tecsun did the ETM (Easy Tuning Mode) trick scanning and storing all available MW/SW stations within a few minutes. After that it is just a matter of reviewing the ETM temporarely memory to hear what is received. It works well but not for USB/LSB.

What really surprised me was receiving Radio Calypso day/night with a good signal over here. This is a LPAM station that located is close to my home QTH in the Netherlands. I remember listening to this radiostation already 40 years ago when this was a well known FM pirate station. Wow, it is still on air legally and providing room for other (ex) pirate stations to do their thing. Find the website in Dutch here: Not that I am a fan of the kind of music they play. I'm interested because of nostalgic reasons.

My list today:

13635 KHz AM Voice of Turkey with turkish folk music 09:43 UTC strong

15290 KHz AM NHK World Japan with talks in Japanese 09:44 UTC reasonable QSB

15320 KHz AM Radio France Int'l with talks in French 09:45 UTC reasonable QSB

15335 KHz AM China radio Int'l with talks in Russian 09:45 UTC reasonable QSB

17490 KHz AM China radio Int'l with talks in English 09:45 UTC strong

17570 KHz AM China radio Int'l with talks in English 09:46 UTC strong

648 KHz AM Radio Caroline with Pop music 09:47 UTC strong

693 KHz AM BBC radio 5 09:48 UTC strong

1053 KHz AM Talk sport radio 09:50 UTC strong

675 KHz AM Radio Calypso with Dutch music (smartlappen) 09:51 UTC strong

14275 KHz USB PH9HB/AM from a plane above Bordeaux France 09:56 UTC reasonable QSB

Everything received with the original antennas. I think more would be possible with bigger external antennas, I might think it over...I was really surprised by this small receiver for now.

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

SWL (2)

 To answer the question about what receiver is in use here. A Tecsun PL-365 pocket receiver. Bought it from PD8HW a while ago. I'm surprised by the sensitivity and features for such a small and cheap receiver. I'm still learning the automatic scanning features. It seems to be capable of scanning the entire SW and automatically store the stations in memory for review. I would never have time (or don't want to spend time) to discover this features at home. 

Some random results last 3 days:

15 Aug 2022

21074 KHz USB Many FT8 sigs 15:30 UTC strong

7192 KHz LSB DL8BN 15:35 UTC reasonable 

28074 KHz USB Many FT8 sigs, nothing on SSB 15:40 UTC

24915 KHz USB Many FT8 sigs, nothing on SSB 15:41 UTC

16 Aug 2022

14220 KHz USB IZ2DOK 06:43 UTC weak

14185 KHz USB LZ1GU 06:41 UTC strong

7074 KHz USB Many FT8 sigs 06:46 UTC

17650 KHz AM China radio Int'l 06:49 UTC strong

6130 KHz AM PBS Xizang 06:50 UTC reasonable

21455 KHz AM Radio free Asia 10:47 UTC reasonable

21670 KHz AM Radio saudi Int'l 10:48 UTC reasonable

21695 KHz AM Voice of America 10:49 UTC reasonable

88,2 MHz FM The Voice (Denmark) 10:53 UTC strong stereo

89,1 MHz FM NDR1 (Germany) 11:00 UTC strong

27545 KHz USB 3SZD005 Flavio (Brazil) 20:48 UTC reasonable QSB

24915 KHz USB FT8 sigs 21:00 UTC weak

21219 KHz USB 4X4TU Calling USA 21:05 UTC weak

14205 KHz USB Z36T 21:09 UTC strong

17 Aug 2022

21250 KHz USB IK1IBM Mario 19:47 UTC weak

11895 KHz AM China radio int'l 19:51 UTC strong

11995 KHz AM Radio France Int'l 19:55 UTC reasonable

11975 KHz AM Radio Romania Int'l 19:56 UTC reasonable

9705 KHz AM Vatican radio 20:05 UTC strong

7360 KHz AM Vatican radio 20:07 UTC strong

3955 KHz AM KBS world radio 20:10 UTC reasonable

Already got some tips from PE9DX but found it myself as well. To identify stations a nice list can be found here:

Wish I had a good list of Danish FM frequencies, without RDS it is almost impossible to identify a station. This radio has a very good FM receiver, I receive stations on almost every KHz.

Sunday, August 14, 2022


 Returned to some SWLing. Have no access to any transceiver at the moment but have a small SW receiver. Antenna is a MW ferrite antenna and a telescopic whip for SW.

My list today:

648KHz Radio Caroline 15:40 UTC strong signal

675KHz Radio Calypso 15:45 UTC strong signal

694KHz BBC radio 5 15:50 UTC strong signal

18100KHz USB Several strong FT8 signals, no SSB signals on the rest of 17m 15:51 UTC

14252KHz USB DK1RU 15:51 UTC strong signal 

14236KHz USB YB0AR in QSO with IW1ANM 15:52 UTC both reasonable signals 

14222KHz USB S56IZW 15:56 UTC weak signal

14260KHz USB A47RS in QSO with F4BEV 15:58 UTC both weak signals

14277KHz USB I2OLV (Massimo) in QSO with A65I 18:00 UTC both reasonable signals

900KHz RAI Radio 1 19:06 UTC reasonable signal

999KHz Radio Rosii (Russia) 19:12 UTC strong signal

1053 KHz Talk Sport Radio 19:17 UTC strong sig + lots of echoes

1090 KHz Talk Sport Radio 19:17 UTC strong sig + even more echoes

1152 KHz Classic gold (UK) 19:22 UTC  very weak sig QSB

1152KHz RNE Radio 5 (Spain) 19:23 UTC strong sig

7162KHz LSB TM62YT (F2YT memorial station) 19:40 UTC very strong sig

7162KHz LSB TM62YT in QSO with: GM8OFQ (Orkney Isl.), PA3HJL, YL3DR, R2DNW, R9FE, OK2XX

7188KHz LSB I1/PA5TYS 19:45 UTC strong sig

7188KHz LSB PA5TYS in QSO with G7HFS, PD1ANL (Ouddorp), EA3/PA5VEN, PD0FDL (Elzendorp), PA0TNT (Papendrecht)

14180KHz USB F5MIN calling CQ 20:00 UTC Strong signal

14202KHz USB CT1DMC calling CQ 20:01 UTC Strong signal

Received near Skaerbaek, Denmark

Saturday, August 6, 2022

Difference in 6m propagation

6m propagation can be very sporadic and very specific. Even a few kilometers/miles can make a huge difference. Besides that type and height of antenna is important. I only use a 5 element directional antenna on 6m at a height of about 14m. So far I think I do very reasonable. But today I saw many stations around me in the Netherlands making QSOs to the USA and Mexico. I didn't see anything from that direction at that time. So I decided to monitor since sometimes propagation is getting to a specific area in waves. I wrote about that before. The only problem is that it's like I'm always just a few meters from the surf. The difference between me and some other DXers in JO33 is sometimes large and very frustrating, To compare here are some pictures:

This is what I received this evening. Started monitoring around 17:30 UTC. In the end I received some from the west-coast and one station from Mexico.

To compare:

PA0O is a neighbour station about 20km south-west from my QTH also in JO33. I believe Jaap is using a 7 element monoband beam on about 20m height. He was heard in Hawaii with a strong signal. It is unknown to me if he worked Hawaii.

PE5T is a well known DXer at about 50km west from me also in JO33. According to his QRZ page using a 6 element monoband beam. Height is unknow but I think it is also about 20m heigh.

Top DXer PA5Y I think is one of the strongest and most fanatic 6m DXers from my country at the moment. From his QRZ page I think he is using a 7 element at 20m height. I know he managed a QSO with Hawaii this evening.

This kind of propagation is unexpected. Last year we had almost no DX at all on 6m. Very interesting to notice this. At the time I finish this post I still see contact made between Europe and USA and surrounding countries, although I only see some USA stations very sporadic and very weak. I wonder if next year 6m DX can be worked even later? 

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Reminder.... comments on blogger


Just to remind most bloggers using blogspot there is some kind of an "error" in the comments section. Actually it has to do something with 3rd party cookies, probabely a strict rule in the USA.  Wrote about it before a couple of weeks ago:

This means that most of our blogger friends can't receive comments on their blog. The "learn more" link in the error message will lead you to solutions that only the owner of the blogspot can change.

It is so unfortunate because comments on a blog post are invaluable!

PSE fellow bloggers change your comments configuration so there are more possebilities to post a comment.