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.

Saturday, October 7, 2023

Todays FM DX

  I recently saw some videos about using a FM repeater on 10m to make contacts to the other side of the Atlantic ocean. But I know with a little luck you're able to make some DX contacts using this mode without any repeaters. I saw 3X1A from Guinea Africa spotted by CN8YZ on 29,3 MHz FM. Well, just for fun I thought to listen there not expecting anything. But 3X1A was clearly there at S5-7 with crystal clear FM modulation. A few calls later I was in the log. 

Looking at the waterfall I saw another strong signal on 29,45 MHz. Tuning there I received CN8YZ from Moroccco with 59+ calling CQ in FM. And one call later I was in his log as well. 

Later I heard PY2HP from Brazil. I was unable to reach him although he was 57 at times.

I did make FM contacts before on 10m. Although I do not hear any stations there regulary. Or should I listen on 29 MHz more often?

Monday, September 25, 2023

Power from the sun causing QRM?

   Does power generating with solarpanels cause QRM? Yes and no. The strange thing is that some solar power installations/systems do radiate noise while others seem not. And of course it is not the actual solarpanel that radiates but the solarcharger, inverter and wiring do if not filtered and earthed well. Besides that many installations use so called optimizers which are known for causing a lot of noise. I will not write about the cause of this all. Only about my own experiences and the things I did to prevent QRM/noise from a solar generating installation at my own home.

Buying a solar system

The dutch goverment wants to have as much "green" energy as possible of course, it will be the same in other countries I guess. To support home owners to buy solar installations for private use we can now buy these VAT free. And of course if you're able to install these yourself it is possible to buy a reasonable installation for about 2000 euro. With the current and rising electricity prices and the increasing amount of electrical things at home this is of course very interesting. I really don't care about the impact on the environment in which I do not believe. See my post here: So we decided to order an installion of 8 solarpanels which we thought to mount on top of our glasshouse. 


Because I wanted to do all installation myself it was a great opportunity to see what I could do to prevent QRM. The inverter is placed behind the wall of the glasshouse on just about 10m from my antennas. I already have much noise from neighbours surrounding solarpanels (they use optimizers) so I really didn't want to have a increased noise from my own installation.

The first challenge was how to mount the panels on the glass. Normally solarpanels are mounted on a roof with tiles. I invented simple aluminium frames on which I could mount the aluminium  mounting rails that were supplied with the panels. I could mount 4 panels per frame. The total weight of one frame with panels would be approx. 100kg. The next challenge was how to mount everything on the glasshouse without breaking the glass. The idea: place the frames on the lower end of the "roof", mount the panels on the lowest rail and hoist the frame up the "roof" with ropes. Luckely the glasshouse consists of aluminium profiles which hold the glass plates sealed with a kind of rubber strip on top. The frames could slide over the rubber strip without breaking the glass. Well, in the end I managed to break four glass plates, but they were easily replaced. Luckely I was able to hoist the frames myself. The frames are secured on top of the brick wall. The lower end of the frames is not yet secured, I have to invent something for that since I cannot secure it to rubber, glass or the aluminium profiles.

Preventing QRM/noise

Time to install the wiring. Of course I already got information how prevent radiation from the system as good as possible. The things I did:

- Prevent a loop with the DC cable. The panels are connected in series. The positive and negative wire are running back as close as possible to the connecting wires in between the panels.

Alu duct running up the wall

- The positive and negative DC wires are running through the center of the 8 panels in between the two frames up to the wall. I mounted the inverter on the other side of the wall. I twisted the wires the whole length to the inverter.

- Where possible I run the twisted DC cable through aluminium earthed ducts. Both frames and  the solarpanel(frames) are earthed to the mains earth.

Large ferrites

- Ferrite material #31 clamps are placed on the start of the positive and negative returning DC cables. Ferrite clamps also placed at the point were cables are going up and on top of the wall.

- Ferrite FT240 #31 torroids placed just below the inverter at the DC wires and the AC cable.

So far I didn't notice any increase of noise on any of our hamradio bands. 

For free

Free energy from the sun. Like it or not but it seems to work well. And it is possible to have it without QRM/noise if you ensure a good installation.

Unfortunately we didn't have much sun last week. But at least 27 kWh in just 6 days. Enough to run at least my radios/computers for free.

Friday, September 22, 2023

Visiting satellite communication ground station

 My dad and I visited the Inmarsat sat communication groundstation last weekend. I has been very interesting. We made some nice photos I would like to share here on my blog. Although not far from my dad his home I never really been in that area. Normally this terrain is closed for public of course. But last weekend there was an open day because of  the 50 years anniversary. Not on the photos (just forgot) was the amateurradio station with the call PA50B. I met some HAMs that also visited the station.

We were not allowed to make photos inside the buildings. But I couldn't resist to photograph this. It is a ESD test device to verify you are entering an important sensitive electronics containing building discharged of any build up static electricity.

In realize now that I the amateurradio station is at the left of the sat dishes. Right of the green building.

I'm shure some amateurradio sat operators would love to get this scrap...

My dad in comparisation to one of the "ears"

Well it was an interesting visit. I was not aware that they not only provide emergency communication for ships but also internet for several ships and planes. At this moment there is a lawsuit going on between inmarsat and the national telecom operator who wants to have more bandwidth for their 5G system. It would be a pity to lose such a life saving communication station because the telecom providers want to believe people want faster internet on their phones...