Sunday, December 31, 2023

2023 highlights, 2024 goals

  Like every year traditionally I post the highlights of this year and try to make some goals for next year. 


This was an interesting year DX wise. I can't remember I ever worked this much new ones on HF. I count 17 ATNOs featuring many from the Pacific. And I worked 14 new ones on the 6m band which is incredible. Actually I thought I would have less radio time but overall I don't think I spend more or less radio time compared to last year. However I did make less blogposts? Could I have less inspiration or did I spend more time working DX instead of typing stories. I really don't know. This year was the long awaited DXpedition from Bouvet island, but unfortunately it didn't happen for me. I have been chasing them but only saw them once too weak to work them. I believe I was not the only one and from what I read on the internet several people are trying to do another effort to transmit from Bouvet. Hopefully I will have that second chance. 


I wrote a few postings about VarAC, the digimode communication program. It is really an interesting piece of software but not for everyday use for me. When using VarAC you can meet some interesting stations, at least that is possible. The other side is that most of the stations on VarAC are just monitoring. I have mixed feelings about the use of this kind of software and think that it is still missing something, only I cannot think of what? Besides that there is one setback which is the use of VARA. VARA-HF is made by someone else and VarAC is build using this digimode software. A kind of signal provider. It is like the phone company that uses 4G transmitters and antennas from someone else. VARA-HF can be used free but has a speed limit in that case. You can also buy the VARA software package and speed will be increased. In that case it is possible to send photos to other VarAC users. It would be far better if VarAC had its own digimode protocol.


 Well, I seem to have some skills as I build a nice duoband beam for PB7Z Bernard, including installation on his tower. It worked out well and also Bernard worked some great DX this year on 6m and 4m. Talking about the magic 6m band, one of the true highlights of this year was certainly working 3 VK6 (Australia) stations on 6m. This might happen again or never again? We will only know in time. You know how it is on the 6m band, magic just happens... I never thought I would work 14 new ones on 6m after I passed the 100 DXCC mark last year. My total DXCC count on 6 is now 123. 4m was also open at times, but since only a few DXCC are allowed on this band I only worked 2 new ones. Next year I probably work Italy as new one since they obtained access to the 4m band as well this year.


Probably my biggest interest within the hobby. Always looking for better designs, experimenting. The experimental square multiband halo (kind of variation on the cobwebb design) is doing great. It is not a directional antenna but seems to get out well on DX. I recently tested it using a webSDR in New Zealand to review signal difference between my inverted-V and the halo on 20m. So far there was not much difference. Sometimes the inverted-V was stronger while a few moments later the halo seems to be stronger. I still plan to do a proper test with WSPR and simultaneous transmissions. I also made an inverted-L antenna which I still have to really test. Unfortunately at the moment I've so many antennas but only 2 cables to the tower and only one 2-way switch at the base of the tower. So far I can only switch 3 antennas max. I have some multi antenna switches ready to fit at the bottom of the tower though so I can switch more antennas from the shack. In the mean time my colleague PD8HW gave me his Sirio gain keeper HW, he is installing the 5/8 wave version. I'll replace the 1/2 wave GP on top of the tower in the new year, the new Sirio is probabely not giving me a bigger signal but it looks a lot better on my tower hi. And yes I'm also active on CB, not a lot but I like to listen out for some local stations and have a chat once and a while. Antennas installed in and at the tower at the moment: CB GP, multiband halo, duoband 4m/6m beam, 10m LFA, Inverted-V doublet, Inverted-L with CG3000 autotuner, I am able to transmit/receive from 1,8-70MHz with these.

2023 Projects

One of the highlights certainly was building a new YU7EF duoband 6m/4m beam for PB7Z. It was my second build of this antenna and certainly a success. I also build in a long wanted item in my rotor control box, the ERC V4 USB rotorcontroller. It is now possible to control the rotor with the computer. Giving me the opportunity to remote control it as well via the internet. I have some other projects waiting but still time is an issue of course.


My goal for a long time actually. Learning CW. I started learning before a few times but didn't come far. You really need to practice everyday. I started a few months ago and try to learn 10-15 minutes each day. So far I see a slow progress. The problem still is to automate, I need too long to think what letter it should be. Besides that the usual problems are encountered. The difference between H and 5 and B and 6 are the most common faults I make. Oh well, we keep going in 2024. I'll let you readers know how I progress.


A personal highlight was visiting the Burum Inmarsat groundstation open day together with my dad. I don't think he will be around for a long time so I try to do things together we like to do. He is and was always interested in my radio hobby even though he has nothing to do with technology at all. Another highlight was our family vacation to Winterberg from were I operated QRP digital with some surprising contacts.

2024 goals

I had no real goals for 2023 except may be starting learning CW seriously. My goal for 2024....might be making my first CW QSO without the use of a computer decoder? No other goals actually, I'm planning to have fun only. 

Well my dear blogreaders, I wish you all a very good, prosperous and healthy 2024.

Thursday, December 28, 2023

Eastern Kiribati 3 times in a row - how to fund DXpeditions


After trying for some days in the last weeks I was getting really disappointed I could barely hear this station or work them at all. It seems propagation is not that good or this is some radio blackhole for me in the Pacific. Really.....I worked VK, ZL, KH6 with no problems at all but working T32, no way. Now I took 2 days off the job to do things around and in the house and of course have some time to try for T32 for the last time. Unfortunately I haven't got all the time of the world for just my hobby.

Then today I was up early. I decided to work some on 20m FT8. Within moments I worked 3D2AG Antoine from Fiji and some ZL an VK stations. This would be an excellent time for T32. And yes, I discovered their great signal this time on 14091. Within about 10 minutes of calling I was able to make the contact finally! An ATNO for me. Later on I did the trick again on 15m, calling just once I was in the log. And later in the morning a third contact was made on 10m longpath. Not a bad day today.

So, how does this Rebel DX group fund their DXpeditions? They tell everyone they pay everything from their own pockets. Are they multi millionaires? No, although their language is a bit rough they are just very smart. Everyone can do it. You only need to have the guts to do it and of course you need some money to start. These guys just charge €6,- for any of their DXpedition confirmations (LotW/QSL) , not per QSO but pay once get all. Not a bad price except if you only made 1 QSO it will be expensive. How many DXers will buy the confirmation? I believe the T32TT DXpedition already hits over 200K QSOs, that includes dupes of course, Many will try to work them on many bands. How many unique calls will be in the log? A wild guess estimated 200K/7=28K?? I really don't know and this will probably remain a mystery. But let's say half of these stations seriously want to have the confirmation. 14000 x 6 = 84000 euro. This looks like a large amount of money, but of course they need to live and need to buy expensive fuel for the next DXpedition. Don't forget you need all kind of permits, they are not free. You need to buy some new equipment as well once and a while. If you don't want to get rich but just want to do it as a lifestyle (job!) I think this can be managed, I might be wrong about the numbers though. Could be more or less,,,

Personally I'm strongly against buying a QSL or confirmation. This is just a hobby not a commercial business. But the Rebel DX group does not lie about this, they clearly communicate to everyone that if you want to have the confirmation you need to pay. When the money is in their own pockets.....they fund the DXpedition from their own pockets. That's not difficult to understand is it?

What do you think about this way to fund DXpeditions from rare DXCC?

Related posts:

Friday, December 22, 2023

The ultimate portable setup with bluetooth

My prototype still has wires...

   If you follow this blog you know my greatest wish to build an ultimate portable station is to get rid of all the cables between the radio and computer when working digimode. This all should be wireless so you can leave your battery and radio in a bag and just place it anywhere. Connect an antenna, switch on your phone/tablet or laptop connect with the radio and get on the air. I've been experimenting with this a few years ago. The prototype is still working but can have some upgrades like a better bluetooth module and power supply directly from the radio. I have skills but am not that gifted in electronics. I wished someone would pick up my ideas and fabricate something decent. The recently I found this post:

   The design BG6LH made is roughly the bluetooth modem I am looking for. He made a working prototype which is far more sophisticated compared to my idea and it does get power from the radio. Unfortunately he doesn't sell a complete kit, only the idea. You can find it on BG6LH's github page:

   There are 2 things in this design that I would call setbacks. First this digimodem will always consume power from the radio even when it is off. So a switchable battery is recommended. Although I see in the lastest update that there is an automatic power off build in I'm not shure this solves this problem. I would install a manual miniswitch to switch off power that is obviously coming from the ACC jack. Second is the JDY-67 bluetooth module. It should have a firmware above 1.3 and you need to program it first. From the github page it is not really clear to me how this is done.

Please bare in mind that BG6LH does notice that this is a kind of prototype with work in progress. Personally I really think this is a very interesting device that hopefully will be in production somewhere in the future. You never know if this is appearing on Aliexpress or any other Chinese site soon...

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

#CQWW explorer / multi distributed first legal, now illigal in the Netherlands

Map with locations used for PA6AA during WW

   The PA6AA contestgroup was taking part in the CQ WPX SSB and WW SSB contests in the multi distributed / explorer section this year. You can read about the last efforts in a previous post from october here. Just to be shure after the experiment in the multi distributed section of the WPX, PB7Z asked for permission at the Dutch FCC (RDI). He had a written permission that it was allright, so taking part with one contest callsign from different locations within the Netherlands was assumed legal. Was...

After publishing the Dutch language story (most same as my blogpost) on social media and in some amateur radio magazines in the Netherlands and Belgium the RDI noticed the license holder today that after all this was not allowed following the Dutch rules. Probabely the first permission was given by someone that didn't understand what we would do, or doesn't have any affinity with our hobby.

So we did a kind of unique thing here within the hobby it seems, the PA6AA contest group was the first to take part in these sections. Our amateur radio law here isn't yet ready for these kind of experiments. Hopefully the rules will change in the future because it was a very successful experiment which we wanted to extend. Unfortunately at this time it will not be possible.

Sunday, December 17, 2023

10m LFA beam repaired


  I had some issues with the 10m LFA beam last contest. I noticed the SWR was quite high but the antenna was still working. Unfortunately the weather didn't cooperate, it has been raining almost every day for weeks now. But today we have seen the sun this afternoon, temperature was reasonable. Time to lower the tower to see what was actually wrong. Well, it wasn't that difficult. For some unknown reason an element of the first director went loose. It almost fell off the antenna since there was only 1 cm of the tube still in the center tube. I removed the director tube, cleaned it and slide it in place again. I made shure it doesn't come loose this time. I put the tower back up and tested SWR. Long time I had such a good SWR over 1 MHz bandwidth.

It might be a good idea to give this antenna some big maintance in summer. 

I took the opportunity to make some QSOs on the band. Did have some nice contacts in to the US, all with good signals. I broke a pile-up to KP2B on Virgin Islands. Besides that I made some nice QSOs on FT4. The 4 element LFA is a very good performer.

Thursday, December 14, 2023

HAM meets Miltitary today


See my post about the first event last year. There will be at least 22 stations active with calls PA01MIL till PA22MIL. Good luck hunting!

Update: Worked 8 Military stations in an hour spare time I had for radio this evening. PA1,2,8,10,13,16,17 and 21MIL. The last station had YL Naomi as operator which obviously attracted a lot of stations ;-) All stations worked on 80m. I've listened on other bands but was not able to hear any there.

Sunday, December 10, 2023

#ARRL 10m contest


red=CW green=SSB

In the past I was always looking forward to this 10m contest. Investigating the 10m band days before the contest and analyzing my chances to work great DX. However it looks like I have less time for the hobby now. At least I didn't have much time Saturday which resulted in only 30 contacts in the log. There was some more time Sunday. First QSO in the morning today was with 3W9A (Vietnam) when it was still dark here. The propagation was not the best, signals not really strong but stations were workable.

Unfortunately I discovered something is wrong with my 4 element LFA antenna. Normally I have a good SWR at 28.500 MHz with a bandwidth of about 1 Mhz. But now the SWR was 1,5 at 28.035 MHz and rising fast beyond that frequency. Actually on 28,500 MHz the SWR was 1:3. But still it is working... So I'm not shure what is wrong? We'll see in spring, it is too cold now for antenna work. 

With "only" 40 DXCC worked this weekend this was not my best ARRL 10 contest but certainly not the worst also. Propagation was a lot better last year...

Of course I was tracking fellow blogger VE9KK again. He has unbelievable good ears in my opinion. I could barely copy him through all the signals but it seems he had no problem with me. I remember years ago Mike was living in another part of Canada with antenna restrictions, he had a mobile antenna just outside the house to make some contacts. At that time my antenna situation was not the best as well. I never imagined I would contact Mike almost every contest 10 years later. So whenever I get the chance I will try to make the contact.

In the end I made 150 QSO in total. Most of it with stations from the USA. Of course it is an ARRL thing so it's obvious that this contest is most populair in the US. As always I had fun and worked some nice but not new DX. In a few years the 10m band will be closed often. The fun is that I think it is more of a challenge to participate in this contest in the solar minimum. 

Just an interesting note: I worked more CW contacts as SSB this year! And again I imagine I recognize more and more CW...

Sunday, November 26, 2023

#CQWW CW only DX

 Well, almost only DX. I did work some known stations like fellow bloggers VE3VN and VE9KK and some stations from my neighbourhood. But the majority of my contacts was with unusual stations and DX.

I did make a map but it went wrong due to the fact that sometimes stations have the wrong QTH locator placed on their QRZ page. So I will not show it here. Instead a list of the DXCC I worked this weekend.

   Not that I was really very active. Most time was spend on Sunday and being on the radio was on/off. Propagation was not the best. I had some time Saturday evening but the bands were death from 20m and above due to aurora. After all I am surprised I could work this many DXCC.

80 QSOs are not that many, actually I was more listening and searching for interesting DX.

FW5N was not worked. They were on the wrong bands on the wrong time for us. Like 80m/40m when 10m was open. It's a pity but you can't have it all. I'm shure I will meet someone from Wallis & Futuna in the future.

I was able to get my rotorcontrol working from N1MM+, it worked very well on 10m. Besides that I noticed that I start to recognise some letters and numbers in morsecode which is a good sign. 

Friday, November 24, 2023

#CQWW DX CW contest this weekend

 This weekend there is the 48h CQWW DX CW contest. A contest with a lot of interesting DXCC that can be worked. You can find a list on

In the past I was trying to get into the Dutch all time record list for this contest. I'm still in there 3 times. You can find the record list here: (select PA).

This contest I will only chase DX. Most interested am I in FW5N from Wallis & Futuna Islands. This would be a new DXCC for me. For myself and other Dutch operators I made a forecast with VOACAP. Although it is based on my own antennas it can still be interesting to know best times to work FW5N.

Best chance is at 12 UTC on 15m. I really hope I can find this station and make the contact.

Good luck everyone chasing DX...

Sunday, November 19, 2023

Friese 11 steden contest 2023


Although this contest can be internationally participated it is mainly a Dutch event. Shown the contacts made in this contest. Only ON5WL is placed in the USA, don't know why. Made 70 contacts and worked 10 of the 12 multipliers. The 12 multipliers are the 11 cities participating in the famous 11 cities skating tour including a special multiplier Bartlehiem. I missed Sneek and IJlst, probabely there was no activation from there.

Ondanks dat deze contest open is voor internationale contacten is dit toch voornamelijk een Nederlands feestje. Op het kaartje de contacten die ik gemaakt heb. Alleen ON5WL staat ergens in Amerika geplaatst, weet niet waarom? Helaas 2 multies gemist te weten Sneek en IJlst. Denk dat daar geen stations zaten? In totaal 70 contacten gemaakt. Niet gek voor deze contest maar het kan beter. Helaas laten de echte contesters deze contest vaak links liggen. Het brengt niet genoeg punten op of zo? Ik vind het altijd wel een gezellige contest alleen duurt het eigenlijk een uur te lang. De meeste stations werk je al in het eerste uur en daarna is het harken. Van 2 tot 3 is een lange zit, dan lijkt het wel of de meeste stations al vertrokken zijn en is er vaak maar een enkeling die roept. Dit jaar was er een VRZA party aan de gang, de meeste van deze stations hadden geen flauw idee. Waarom niet gewoon meedoen met de contest? Dat had voor beide partijen winst opgeleverd toch? Volgend jaar ga ik gewoon weer meedoen...

Saturday, November 18, 2023

3 new DXCC in one day


I have to say, in the past I only worked a few or even no new DXCC in a whole year. Propagation is really good these days at the top of the solarcycle. And yes, FT8 gives a great boost for the DX hunter. Today was a day with low A and K index which promises very good propagation. In the past week, after work and chores at home, I tried many times for TX7L and ZL7A. Not really hearing much from those stations actually. So I really wanted to try for these in the weekend before the DXpeditions are over. It is just not really easy to work them, not even with FT8. Both DXCC are near the time line in the Pacific Ocean. I anticipated my highest chance would be my morning greyline which would be around 7 UTC in the morning. I was up early long before the greyline was arriving and TX7L could be decoded sometimes already. I had to wait, and wait, and wait. Around 6:30 UTC his signal was increasing but still low about -22. I started calling but it took till almost 7 UTC before I finally got a response, I was in the log on 40m. Through the day I listened if I could hear TX7L on other bands but haven't heard this station again, just to show you how difficult this direction is. ZL7A was the next station I aimed for. He was very loud on 30m but on a normal FT8 frequency which is of course over crowded. I tried for over an hour but without success. I went to look out for other DX around the bands. Then suddenly I saw ZL7A spotted on a 30m DXpedition frequency. So I decided to try it again. This time I was lucky after about 15 minutes. After that I was happy I worked 2 new DXCC in one day and yesterday I already worked a new one with PR0T (Trindade&Martim Vaz). I decided to do some DX on 10m, it just opened. I worked some Chinese stations and was lucky to beat the pile-up to XW4DX (Laos) on SSB. I left the radio on 10m and returned in the afternoon to work some USA/Canada. I noticed the H44WA DXpedition (Solomons) were active on 30m. I really did not expect it but actually they were quite strong and after a few minutes I was in the log. I was surprised by this 3rd new DXCC in one day! About a half hour later I worked H44WA again on 20m FT8.

Thursday, November 16, 2023

My quest to learn CW (1)

Begali Simplex Basic paddle. I'm interested 
to learn sending morse with it.
   This will be my first post about learning CW. It is my ultimate goal in this hobby. Not that I have no fun without knowing morsecode. I just want to be able to communicate with morsecode without the need of a computer with CW decoder. This would especially very handy in emergency situations.

I'm trying to get my mind & will on learning morse for years now. Actually I wanted to learn it before getting 50 years old. Now I'm 55 and finally seriously am practising morse code every day. I am able to recognise all 26 letters of the alphabet, numbers 0-9 and some signs like / . ? =.

Software or website

At first years ago, after some recommendations, I tried the website. But for some reason I cannot learn from that platform. It's way too fast and I think more interesting for those that already learned the code in the past and want to update their knowledge and improve their skills.

I came across a small game app called "morsetoad" on google play about 8 years ago. Tried that and it is really nice. Later I bought the app on my iPhone. I almost finished the game when it became unavailable on apple app store. Tried to message the developer but no reaction yet! It still seems to be available on android however.

Reading some blogs I found "morsemachine". It was surprise that it can be downloaded from G4ILO's (SK) website which is still online. This small piece of software did the trick for me so far, and it is the software I use to practise every day. I started learning the letters in  the first months. Then I learned the numbers and finally the symbols. 

Unfortunately you need a computer to run morsemachine. So I wanted to have something on my phone as well to practise when I don't have a computer nearby. I found "Morsemania" for my iPhone after reading some reviews. It is a nice app and you can learn the letters for free. If you want to learn more you need to buy the app, which I did. You can also learn to transmit morse with this app which I'm trying as well.

Learning morsecode at (online) clubs

Yes, I am aware this is by far the best method. I participated in a online course but never attended it actually because it was at a very inconvinient time. I'm not willing to spend time at all kind of online teams meetings every week to learn the code. It most times is at times I have other things to do. It would be better to get to a physical morsecode learning group or gathering but most of them are far away, I'm not willing to drive several hours a week just to learn morsecode.

The challenges

First challenge was to learn letters, numbers and symbols, I'm getting there. But very slowly. I'm learning at a speed of about 24-26 wpm which is most convinient for me. It's hard to just recognise the sound/rythm of a letter and instantly know what it is. But I'm getting better every day.

Second challenge will be small words. I'm not that far. I even struggle with words of just 2 letters or numbers. I really need to think for a second and that is much to long. I also try to decode beacons which are sending morse code at slow speeds, especially the ones on 10m which you can hear now every day. It is a great excersise but I need to hear it many times before I can get the call and locator. I really wonder how experienced CW operators learned this. How many months or years do I have to practise before I can instantly recognise letters and numbers and decode complete words? What's the secret?

The goal

My goal of course is to communicate at least small messages. Making QSOs but a bit further as the usual 5NN TU 73. Actually I was discussing this in a QSO with PZ5JW Rico on 10m SSB last sunday, very special since he is on CW for 99%. He offered me to make a sked to practise and make a QSO, but I'm not that far and refused. I even do not have a physical keyer or morsekey connected to my radio yet :-(. And yes, my IC-7300 can send morse from its internal keyer but what is the fun of that...

Well, those who want to say something about it, cheer me up or help me with tips, just make a comment...

_ _ ... / ..._ _  

. .

Monday, November 13, 2023

PA-beker contest 2023

 The PA-beker contest is a national contest in the Netherlands. Only dutch stations can be worked. The SSB part took place on 80m and 40m last Sunday. There is also a CW part on Saturday.

I've made detailed reports in the past. Last year I actually forgot this contest. It's a nice contest that lasts only 2,5 hours. You meet a lot of other dutch radio amateurs that you normally do not speak. 80m was in bad shape, 40m was a lot better. Not my best appearance in this contest. However, I'm doing it for fun, not to win.

Sunday, November 5, 2023

#6m Australia worked

Incredible propagation to Australia on 6m this morning. A few years ago Japan was the "holy grail" of 6m DXing. But then the stories came from several OM. The years of the solar maximum could get DX to Australia, New Zealand and many more far away countries. This is the first year I kept the 6m/4m duoband beam in the tower. Even when it will not survive autumn and winter was worth it! 

Today I received Colombia, India and Rodriques Isl. as well. No contact unfortunately. Others reported contacts with Cambodia and Indonesia. It certainly is important to listen/look out for 6m DX propagation this time.

#60m St.Kitts & Nevis worked


Very ocassionally I work a new one on 60m. I have to admit I used to be more active on that band. But these days all bands are open. You have to choose the band with the most interesting DX...besides that most interesting DX on 60m is late at night or very early in the morning.

Saturday, November 4, 2023

Capturing the magic of radio

 These days it is hard to tell people about the magic of radio. Many think it is like listening to the regular (local) broadcast station. But our hobby is so much more. Of course you can call people by phone, or contact people from other countries through the internet. But before we had such technology we had radio. We still have radio and radioamateurs have the possebility to contact other radioamateurs from around the world. There is still something magical talking to people from a far away country. Today I tried to capture some of that magic recording 3 contacts I had early this morning on 28MHz phone (USB). 

First contact was with JH0QEV Kohji who was calling CQ with huge signals. Viewing his QRZ page I found his antenna setup. No wonder he had a good signal here.

Second contact was with FK8HW Tibo. I was really surprised by this station. It was not long ago that I worked New Caledonia for a new DXCC. And certainly this is a new one on 10m for me. Tibo was working with just 10W and a dipole!

Third contact was with JJ2IJU Aki

I also had a contact with YJ0CA Chris from Efate Isl. Vanuatu this morning. No audio recording from that unfortunately.

Monday, October 30, 2023

#CQWW SSB Contest PA6AA "explorer" section review

 This year I took part in a group of hamradio contest enthousiasts, our contestcall is PA6AA. In 2017,2018 and 2019 we built a complete contest station near the coast here in northern Netherlands. But due to personal circumstances it is not possible to do so anymore. The new "explorer" section gave us the possebility to form a conteststation connected via the internet, everyone was operating from their own radioshack. In theory you can have 6 stations on air at the same time. We had 4 stations available. Time is a issue of course, not everyone could operate the whole weekend. In the end it is just a hobby and we all have our private life as well. Operating from home is also a disadvantage, it is easier to have breaks for tea, coffee, lunch, diner etc. and no one that replace you at the radiodesk at those moments. That means in the end we just had brief moments with 4 stations on air at the same time.

PA4OES full moon

  Respect for PA4OES and PD1RP who begun in the middle of the night right at the start of the contest (local time 02:00). Personally I started at 06:00 local time, early enough for me. At the start I operated most time on 160/80/40, it went reasonable though not really big runs. It all is about getting spots on the DX cluster, but even when I got a spot I didn't get real pile-ups. I think this counted for the other members of the crew as well. Luckely I did get my share of 10m operating, which did went well on Saturday but less on Sunday probabely due to propagation disturbing issues, I saw the A-index suddenly rising to 19 which isn't a good sign. I really didn't hunt DX actually, although I worked some interesting stations. Noticable is my contact with KC1XX on 160m, the only transatlantic QSO I made on that band. I worked several USA stations on 80m and 40m, on higher bands this is not unusual.  

PD0ME antennas

  Working from home and being in contact via chat is something else as working together from a contest location. But it went well, we had a lot of fun. Change or exchange of bands could be discussed and went without any problems. If someone wanted to have time off it was no problem at all. This is great and it is the way we should do this next time as well. In the end this is just a hobby. If you want to do contests to win you need a whole other approach; planning, propagation research, lots of power, more operators that work in shifts etc. I think we did well in this new "explorer" section for a first time. It certainly is something I want to do again, the other members certainly think the same. I'm shure we can beat our score next year, just have a goal and have a lot of fun again!

Here are some facts:

6 band QSOs were made with: 9A1A, 9A5Y, DP7D, ES5G, EW5A, KC1XX, LY4A, LZ9W and RL3A. Well done!

Thursday, October 26, 2023

#CQWW SSB contest upcoming weekend

  Upcoming weekend there will be one of the biggest phone (SSB) contests held for hamradio. It is a big chance to make contact with a lot of countries (DXCC) you normally do not hear on the amateurradio bands.

Personally I'm not participating to win. I want to have fun, good runs and work excellent DX during the contest. Highlights for me are working other bloggers or known hamradio friends. In the past we organised a real contest station with a few friends, build it in one week. I've reported about that in the past. Unfortunately things are changed in our private lives and we are unable to do that anymore. This year we use the contest call PA6AA with the same group of friends we will participate in the new "explorer" section. That means we will be operating from our own shack from several locations in the Netherlands. Our (N1MM+) logs will be connected via a private network on the internet to prevent being on the same band and work dupes.

Well, of course I participated with my own call for the last years. Last year I did work on all bands but did choose the 10m Low Power section to submit my score. A good descision because I became number 1 in the Netherlands, 17th in Europe and 37th worldwide. Not bad I think...

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Finally QSO with G3XBM


A long time wish to work hamradio blogger Roger G3XBM. I finally made a QSO with him on 80m. He was working with 2,5W QRP into a earth electrode antenna.  I also received him on 160m yesterday.
Because of a stroke some years ago Roger has troubles with his voice. Digital modes is actually the only way to make QSOs right now. I will update the worked hamradio bloggers award page soon.

Monday, October 23, 2023

Inverted-L with autotuner

 Last year I had no 160m antenna when participating in the CQWW SSB contest. Next weekend there will be the big contest again, I wanted to be shure I could use 160m without tuning a alternative antenna this time. So I got the advice to try a inverted-L. Then I thought why not an inverted-L fed with an autotuner?

The CG3000 autotuner just needs a random (long enough) wire, not close to a half wave on any band. So I made a wire of about 25m long (1/2 wave on a non amateurradio band). As counterpoise I have four radials about 10-15m long, one of them is connected to my neighbours fence. I placed some ferrites on the coax and the 12V supply to prevent possible RFI on RTX.

Since I have no good experiences with verticals I expected a lot of noise on all bands. I was actually surprised I had less noise on 60m, considerable less noise from my neighbours solar system. On 160m I had some hum noise exact on 1840KHz, not shure it was from my neighbourhood or elsewere. 

Besides that this antenna performed very well on 12m surprisingly, although the noise level is higher as on my multiband halo. Difference between the halo and vertical on DX (outside Europe) was about 1-2 S-units. Inside Europe the halo wins. On 80m I tried to receive the 10mW PA0RYL beacon on 3555,555 CW. It was well received on my inverted-V but not audible on the inverted-L. Logical because the inverted-L is not suitable for NVIS. But the main reason I build this antenna is 160m. I had reasonable results. At the greyline I received A71XX, but no QSO, I made a QSO with RV9CX in Asiatic Russia a distance of about 3400km, not bad. Later in the evening I received ZS1J from South Africa, no QSO unfortunatly. I think the inverted-L does well enough for the contest next weekend.

I will test the inverted-L this week when time allows. I will be primarely on 160m FT8 I guess.

Saturday, October 14, 2023

Inverted-V rebuilding

 One of my neighbours asked me yesterday to remove one of the wires of the inverted-V. He had to cut some trees that were hanging over his garden. Luckely he also removed a branch that was in the way of my inverted-V. He was also very kind about the wire hanging in the trees again after he was ready. The trees are actually on the property of another neighbour, asking him he agreed it was no problem at all. So I have official permission now ;-). 

After a lot of cutting/sawing I rebuild the inverted-V and was able to actually hang the end 3 meters above the old hanging point. Of course the apex is still at 12m. Very happy with the renewed inverted-V I hoped for some nice contacts.

But then....I heard my neighbour starting a large chainsaw. Not shure what he was going to do I decided to see what was happening. He was cutting another tree, oh far as I could see it was the tree that holds the end of the inverted-V. Oh my, I took a run to notify my neighbour before the tree would fell..., so lucky it was a tree just 2 meters further away....

Actually it was my second choice tree but it was just too far away to attach the wire. Lucky me a chose another one.

But wait, the story is not over. Jaap PA0O notified me that E6AM from Niue in the Pacific had been worked on 30m by him. So I just though I give it a try...

I could just barely see/hear their FT8 streams. But some magic happened and I was able to decode my report... Niue is my 276th DXCC worked.

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

#6m Senegal worked


   As seen in the screenshot picture it was hard to receive 6V/IV3JSG at all. I kept trying and suddenly a small uplift of propagation.

I really don't know what to expect on 6m. Will there be F2 propagation soon? Certainly working DX on 6m in Oktober is special to me.

I now count 120 DXCC worked on 6m.