Thursday, October 27, 2022

Upcoming CQWW DX SSB 2022

 Just download and checked my results in last years CQWW DX SSB contest. I became number one in the Netherlands on 10m single band. Not a bad result after all. If propagation is as good or better next weekend I will again try to do a 10m single band effort. However at night I will be on other bands as well if propagation on 10m is over.

There will be a lot of interesting DX stations on air in the contest. I'm particularly interested in working JD1BQP from Ogasawara, V85RH from Brunei, VK9C from Cocos Keeling Isl. and YJ0CA from Vanuatu. All announced to be active in this contest and hopefully active on 10m were I have best chances to work such DX. They would all be new DXCCs for me.

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

#60m TY0RU worked (or not?)

 I had only 10 minutes in the morning before going to the job. Just when I decided to close my station TY0RU came back for me.

But received no RR73 unfortunately. It seems they suffer from high QRM levels. 

Checking the log this afternoon says I'm not in the log on 60m. However I'm in the log on many other bands. As a matter of fact I worked them this weekend and didn't even mention it in my last post. It obviously didn't impress me, I worked 5 of the 6 bands in about 20 minutes and only 15m was worked on Sunday because I forgot to work it Saturday. I really don't like it when you don't have to try at all but work such a DXpedition at once. So, I will try again for 60m if possible, I believe the DXpedition is there till tommorow.

So different from my first QSO to Benin in 2009, it took me days and hours just to work them only on 17m.

Update 27-Okt: On a total chaos 60m band FT8 frequency I got a reply from TY0RU again this morning at 5 UTC. And again no RR73. TY0RU has a strange way of operating. 90% is calling CQ and only few QSOs are made. Besides that the number of retry when he does not receive the RR73 or the R report is only 2 times before getting back to calling CQ. It is like the operator doesn't care at all. But I  don't blame them. The DXpedition crew is probabely very tired. Since I think the DXpedtion is on it's last day I don't think I have another chance to work Benin on 60m. Ah well, who cares....

Monday, October 24, 2022

Last weekends QSOs

Luchtwachttoren (skywatchtower) 7O1 as I remembered it.

 Absolutely a interesting weekend historically and radiowise. Sunday morning after listening to the HAARP transmissions, which could not be heard here, I decided to hunt for some DX on the bands. Worked 3D2USU (Fiji) as best DX on 30m FT8. I noticed already that there was a special event going on in our country. The celebration of 60 years Cuba crisis. To the public known as the cold war weekend with the opening of several important buildings that played a role in the cold war. Some of those buiding feature a HAM radiostation as well and so it was possible to work some of those interesting locations.

Well, long time ago I had to go to school. At that time I could only get there by bicycle, very common in the Netherlands. Every day I passed an old tower overgrown with weeds and surrounded by trees. I soon learned that it had to do with the cold war. At that time we had no internet and you couldn't find much in books about it. Later I found out it was a lookout to warn when russian airplanes would come over to invade the Netherlands. It has been competely restored lately. I had no time to visit it this weekend but I might visit it somewhere in the future. Some HAMs did activate PA6KLD from the location and I was happy to work them last weekend. They were transmitting with only 3W SSB on the 40m band yet they came in 5 by 9 at my QTH which is about 25km east from the tower. 

I had some contact with PD1GAW Gerard who lives in Ulrum not far from the tower. He told me he visited it and he also gave me the frequencies to work several of the "special" locations. Thanks to that I finally worked 6 SES stations. PG60CUBA (Commandopost MBB, Grou), PC60CUBA (De IJssellinie, Olst), PA60NN (Luchtwachttoren 3T3, Nieuw-Namen), PA6KLD (Luchtwachttoren 7O1, Warfhuizen), PF60PENM (Schuilkelder, Panningen), PB60CUBA (Commandopost BB, Rijswijk). The nice thing is that I got a message from an old friend that I know from 11m years ago. In the mean time he also got his license. He told me he heard me making contact with PA60NN and was on that location. Later on he was allowed to take the mike and we had a small chat. In between the contacts I also gave some CQ on 40m in dutch so I hoped for some more SES stations that might be listening. But it was PA0FRI Frits that came back to me. Frits is well known for his incredible website full of useful info about our beautiful hobby. We talked a bit about our favorite subject which is antennas. He told me that the design of the antenna current meter was updated, I should check it out soon on his website.

Later in the afternoon/evening I decided to do some CQ calling on 10m, one of my favourite bands. With the 4 element LFA beam into the direction of north america I had a lot of fun making contacts in SSB. Hopefully the propagation will continue to be good for next weekend when the CQWW DX SSB contest is on.

Interesting read in dutch (translate if needed):

Thursday, October 20, 2022

HAARP Ghosts in the air glow

If you do some experimenting and research in this hobby I like you to point to this experiment:

Please find more info on the website:

Update Okt.23: I listened this morning but could not hear any signal. I did not check VOACAP to see if it was possible to hear Alaska. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

History of the 11m HAM band

  We know the 11m or the 27MHz (27-Mc) band as CB (Citizens Band) band. Some people refer to it as the "chicken" band. CB radio was very populair before everyone had a mobile phone and internet. When you search for the 11m band history you will read numerous sites about how 11m CB started in 1958 with highlights in the seventies of last century including movies like "Smokey and the Bandit", "Convoy" and "Handle with care". But not many know that the 11m was a legal HAM band at least in north/south America, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and south-west Africa from 1947-1958. 

Following several publications first experimental license was given to W6XBC (eXperimental BroadCast) in 1933, the experimental frequency was 27,1 MHz. Actually 27 MHz was considered VHF at that time. Transmissions took place from Yuma, AZ. The aim was to see if VHF was useful for remote broadcast pickups. They transmitted 1 hour per week and asked for reports. At around the same time the same frequency was used by a ship that was on arctic expedition. They used several callsigns, one of them was W10XDA.

Searching for more historical research I found that first commercial licenses were given in March 1928 to 6XAR in San Fransisco CA transmitting on 27,523 MHz, 2XBM in Water Mill NY transmitting on 27,900 MHz and 6XJ in San Diego CA transmitting on 27,900 MHz.

In the WW2 years 27MHz communication gear was used in tanks both by Germans and American armed forces. A story that can be read in several old CB magazines is about discovering 27MHz signals heard from German tanks stationed in Africa. Fiction or real, a HAM from Rhode Island recorded some strange voices he heard on the 11m band. One day he played the recording to a friend who understood German. This friend realized it was some military communictian between tanks and base stations. When the US Navy was called in they found out it were tanks from general Rommel in North-Africa. Although the signals came in almost everyday it seems best to receive was at a few square miles in the Rhode Island territory. Intelligence immidiatly took over an old farmhouse at the sweet spot en installed a few 11m receivers and German translators. Every information that was transmitted in North-Africa by the German tanks and base stations was monitored and given to the British. After the war the 27MHz was no longer in use in the military but it certainly proves that this frequency did do well in difficult circumstances.

  Other users of 27MHz were doctors that used this frequency for medical uses like diathermy. This, of course, was a huge source of QRM and so the 11m was not really a populair HAM band. In 1947 the FCC allows use of the 11 meter band on a shared basis with Industrial, Scientific and Medical devices. Most HAMs operate on 11m with their 10m antenna, not really effective. In 1948 Firestone Tire Company granted experimental license W10XXD for 27.255 MHz (Ch 23) using two 3Watt transmitters. All documentation about this experiment is lost but these might be forerunners of CB radios as we know it now. 

Did you know that the US radio technical planning board proposed to lower the 10m amateur band by 1 MHz to 27-29 MHz. Although this proposal was later withdrawn, the ISM band (27,185 - 27,455 MHz) was not established until 1945, and the FCC hinted that it could be distributed to amateurs as a secondary service.

The 11m HAM band has been changed several times:

27.185-27.455MHz (March 26, 1946 to April 29, 1947) FCC Order 130-D (March 13, 1946), Federal Register Notification (11FR3158, March 26, 1946)

27.160-27.430MHz (April 30, 1947 to June 30, 1949): FCC Order 130-M (April 10, 1947), Federal Register Notice (12FR2815, April 30, 1947)

26.960-27.230 MHz (from 1 July 1949 to 10 September 1958)

The 11m HAM band was not only established in the USA. It seems 11m was also allowed in the America's (Canada, central/south America), South Africa, Southwest Africa, Australia and New Zealand.  International DX contacts were certainly possible.

But what did the HAMs do on 11m? Did they use it for nearby contacting or did they do make some DX? I searched in some old magazines to find evidence and found some remarkable things. Activity without the need for a experimental license was from 1947-1958.

-  1947 - The mountaineer amateur radio association operated W8BOK/8 at fieldday with 6 stations simultaneously. One of the stations operated "27-Mc phone".

- W3CDQ is planning a 27-Mc. 'phone-cw rig' for a net composed of amateurs connected with the Central Radio Propagation Lab. (CRPL) ionosphere group.

- Several amateurradio stations researched meteorscatter on 27-Mc

- 1948 - QST June 1948 reports W9AND,  worked EL5A, OX3GE, VO4T, KH6GT, KII6BI and CXlFB. W6ZZ reports working J9AAI. All on 27-Mc.

- 1950 - The 16th ARRL International competition also counts (DX) contacts on 27-Mc.

- 1957 - The FCC announces the end of the 11m HAM band to use it for "Citizens Band"
"Save 11 meter" contests were hurriedly organized among the Hams to show the FCC that 
there really was life in the old 11 meter band. About 400 stations rose to the occasion, and 
many exotic calls were to be heard, such as CX2AY, CN8JW, XE1A, ZP5IB, VK2QL, and 
KC4AI. Unfortunately these "protests" are not enough and didn't help to convince the FCC. 

The 11m HAM band came to an end. September 11 1958 was the date that 11m would be known as "Citizens Band". In fact Al Gross W8PAL is by most seen as the man that invented CB, although the idea was already brought up in 1938 by Herbert Brooks W9SDG. His letter to the editor of QST magazine described a theoretical "Citizens Band" nearly identical to what we know today. Al Gross actually developed equipment for the UHF band since CB on an experimental basis at that time was on 250MHz and later between 460-470MHz. It looks like he had the first official CB license issued in 1948. But W2XQD was really the first one with a CB license issued February 14, 1947. It would actually take another decade before CB started on the 11m band. 

Related reading links and documentation:

Detailed information about the schooner Morrissey arctic expedition radio experiment:

History of the 11m band documentation:

Another article I wrote about Al Gross:

Thursday, October 6, 2022

UKEICC 80m SSB contest Oktober

  Wrote about this contest before. If you are living in Europe this is one of the contests to attend when you don't have much time like me. Duration is only one hour, submission of the log within 1 hour after the contest. Results and certificate next day.

The exhange is just the 6 digit maidenhead locator.

I really don't participate in many contests anymore. Most times it is in the weekend when I want to spend time with my family. Through the work week I'm too exhausted from work to play radio in the evening. Actually I almost skipped this one but glad I did participate, I did have fun. 73..

Monday, October 3, 2022

Square halo & CG3000 autotuner combination


 The idea was to mount the CG3000 autotuner below the antenna to compensate for coax loss and SWR change when it is raining.

I followed several discussions about installing the tuner. A consideration was to protect the coax/12V supply from radiating. Something that is not really an issue I think because the halo design is balanced. However I did make some precautions.

Both coax and 12V supply line wound around a large ferrite should do the trick.

Since the CG3000 has the antenna connections on opposite sides I tried to make a balanced system to connect the coax from the antenna. It is not ideal, the CG3000 tuner is not really designed for this kind of use.

You can view the final result on this photo. 

Before I winched the tower in place I made shure the CG3000 was working and it did. A second test was made at half the height. On 20m the SWR was quickly 1:1. 

At full height the tuner did match 20m, 17m and 15m well. The 12m band is another story. It can't get a good match and the tuner tries to keep matching but can't find a good combination. I really don't know what is causing this. (I had the same problem with my vertical before.) I also tried it on the 10m band without any problem the tuner matches 1:1. Just for fun tried 40m and it was no problem to match, however the antenna is not designed for this band and of course it is a lot worse compared to my inverted-V.

The result of this experiment is a bit unexpected. The SWR without the tuner is not that bad, the tuner only needs to make a small correction. However it doesn't find a combination for the 12m band. Unfortunately the tuner can't be "bridged". It is not simply a matter of switch it off and use the antenna without this tuner. So, when weather permits I probabely will remove it again. The internal tuner of the IC-7300 can manage the SWR without any problem though I probabely have to live with the coax loss in the system.