Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Blogroll maintenance!

 Short notice. I removed a few blogs from the blogroll that were not updated for over a year. Some of them are SK, others just stopped writing or are at other (social media) platforms.

I removed blogs from the following Hamradio callsigns:


Is it unfortunate? Well, I don't know. All things come to an end. Blogging about HAMradio was a "hot" thing years ago. There are so many possebilities to contact others and write about your adventures on the internet. You just have to pick one the suit you best. For me it is still this blog.

Monday, January 30, 2023

Who needs a dedicated 160m antenna anyway?

  Neighbour station PA4O Peter was active in the CQWW 160m CW contest from Luxemburg last weekend. Of course Peter asked a few times if I was able to work him there.  I told him that I would do my best. Normally my dedicated 160m band sloper antenna is down for summer. After my yearly tree cutting session I install it again. So, that's what I did last weekend. But unfortunately the sloper didn't work as advertized. Probabely a loose or interrupted wire up in the tower. And of course it was raining, no option to do maintenance on any antennasystem. The only option that was left is trying to use one of my antennas for 160m anyway. I tried the inverted-V doublet in the past but knew it was very ineffective on transmit. The multiband halo could be tuned to 1:1,5 but I immidiatly noticed it did not receive as well as the..... 10m band LFA antenna. The 10m LFA could be tuned very well actually and receive on 160m was pretty good. A quick search on the internet on how this is possible didn't give me any results. Am I the first one trying this? Everyone will tell that this is impossible and the system probabely has so much loss that working stations is very difficult anyway. But I can tell you that I worked with 100W CW about 50 stations with S&P. I even made it to VO1AC in Canada. And of course I was 599 at LX/PA4O in Luxemburg. Who needs a dedicated 160m antenna anyway?

Well, just kidding of course ;-)

Sunday, January 22, 2023

TBDXC no more.

   I just received an e-mail from Pete MM0TWX that the True Blue DX Club has ended. Including the nice TBDXC marathon that is. You can find more info as long as it is online on the website: https://www.tbdxc.net/

Pete came to the conclusion that amateurradio without using FT8 isn't possible for most HAMs. Only a few die hards are DXing with SSB/CW only. But it is just less as anticipated. It was a noble thought I think, but you can't fight the change in this hobby. It is how we DX these days....

I've never been a member but I really liked the marathon. I use whatever mode I'm able to use to DX. But I always prefer SSB. Unfortunately these days that is not always possible. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

What is experimental radio research?

   Experimental radio research refers to the study and exploration of new and innovative technologies, techniques, and methods in the field of radio communication. This can include the development of new modulation schemes, the use of novel materials and devices, and the investigation of new frequency bands and propagation methods. Experimental radio research is a way to test the limits of radio communication systems, to find new ways to improve current systems, and to explore new possibilities for future technologies. This research can be conducted by academic researchers, government agencies, and private companies, and it often involves the use of advanced equipment and facilities, such as high-powered transmitters and specialized measurement equipment. But also hamradio can contribute to this research by doing experiments using homemade kits, very low power or high power and SDR. Some specific areas of experimental radio research include cognitive radio, software defined radio, RF energy harvesting, and wireless communication in extreme environments.

Sunday, January 15, 2023

#60m TN8K Rep. of the Congo worked

 Not particular proud of this contact. Wish I could do it another way. TN8K finally showed up on 60m FT4 when I actually had time to listen. But I didn't see them at all. FT4 being not the most sensitive mode of course. Later in the evening I did receive some weak signals covered by QRM. I managed to get a report 2 times but was unable to receive his RR73. However, it seems he did receive mine at the second contact.

I have to write, regarding the reports they gave, they seem to have a incredible receive. They also have a live log online. I checked my first contact, not in the log. tried again and yes....in the log.

Of course it prevents working dupes. On the other hand the title of this post could also be... "The way we work DX on HF these days". If you search on google you will quickly find their live real time log on the internet. It is just a matter of trying and even without an RR73 you will know if you are in the log by looking at this log.

Of course that is not the meaning of this, but it is possible. Interesting to see that TN8K makes FM contacts on 10m at the same time. Propagation has to be really good it seems. At least I worked my first 60m new one of 2023 today.

Monday, January 9, 2023

The bumpy road working Crozet Islands

 For those that don't know were the Crozet Islands are located, it is a group of 6 sub antarctic islands roughly located between Madagascar and the Antarctic. Is is a nature reserve and of course there are no residentials. The chance to work a HAMradio operator from there is almost impossible till some researcher or tourist with license is stationed on the island. This only happens once in several decades. Currently this DXCC (HAMradio approved country) is nr. 2 on the most wanted list. At this moment Thierry F6CUK, an experienced HAMradio operator, is on the Island Possession for 3 months as FT8WW. Working him as small station is now starting to be possible as most of the "big guns" have been working him the last couple of weeks.

One of my neighbourstations PA4O reported about 2 weeks ago that he worked FT8WW. But unfortunately he didn't show up in the log. Seems to be someone wanted to be funny and pretended to be FT8WW, something that's called pirating and is easy to do in digimode. Pirating seems to be very common these days, although I can't imagine the fun of it?

Well, I started to try contacting FT8WW last week. Actually every day of the week I tried and called with no luck, too many were calling Thierry. Yes, even with a digimode like FT8 this is very, very hard. Several layers of callers on just a slice of about 2800Hz. You need to be very lucky to make the contact. And although Thierry writes he will be on the island for 3 months, the HF license is only valid 3 weeks till the 26th of January. Besides that the weather on the island is very rough and he already lost a few antennas due to very high winds. So it is important to get at least one QSO in the log to confirm this very important new one.

So, I saw FT8WW here last evening, actually too late. Signals were barely readable, sometimes not. In the mean time I had a chat via messenger with PB7Z Bernard who was watching the frequency as well. Unfortenutaly it was even worse at his side, probabely because he was using a vertical which picks up too much noise. I decided to call below Thierry's frequency.

Suddenly he came back to me. But no RR73 was received. However, this station works with 2 streams out of MSHV and it could be that my RR73 was on the stream I didn't see. Not shure about this I decided I should try again. The signal lifted a bit and PB7Z decided to try a few calls as well. Bernard has a bit more power as me but receive is worse unfortunately. But he was lucky somehow, FT8WW came back to him.

But Bernard didn't see him anymore. So I quickly decided to be his remote RX station and directed him via the chat to TX RR73. Because he didn't see it I send him the screenshot from what I received. A moment later the QSO was made:

If you think why you don't see PB7Z's signal, I was calling at that timeslot and unable to see him. Anyway, this was one of the most unusual ways to make a QSO with a remote RX via messenger chat. I doubt anyone has done this before. And of course the die hard DXers will say this is not valid because Bernard could not see FT8WW. But these days there are more DXers that make use of remote webSDRs to receive the DX, they don't tell because they are afraid of the discussion that could follow. Essentially what we did is just the same as remote RX via another receiving station like a webSDR.

Back to my own efforts. I did manage to get a reply second time. But look at the small "*" sign at the end of the decode. They are probabely false decodes.

And again no RR73. I decided to wait a little till signals would improve. At that moment I struggled to see any signal at all...I actually told Bernard I would try another time although he told me I was probabely in the log, I didn't believe him.

I got a reply for the third time and again no RR73. Also again probabely a false decode (that's what the "*" at the end of the decode tells us). Although I was unable to see the second stream again. Time to go for a sleep and see if I'm in the log next day. I signed off with Bernard on the chat.

Today I checked FT8WW's online log

To find out that I am in the log, hurray! One of these contacts made it. Probabely the first one since that was a real decode for shure. To be shure I will put all 3 QSOs in the log.

Yes, it was a bumpy road for shure. But finally worked this very rare DX (at least right now) and my first All Time New One in 2023.

Friday, January 6, 2023

How to win a hamradio contest with low power

 Contesting is a popular activity among amateur radio operators, and it can be a lot of fun! Here are a few tips for how you can be successful in a contest with low power:

- Choose a contest that is friendly to low-power operations. Some contests, such as the QRP (low-power) category of the ARRL Field Day event, are specifically designed for low-power operations.

- Make sure your antenna is efficient. A good antenna can make a big difference in your ability to make contacts, even with low power.

- Pay attention to propagation conditions. If the ionosphere is behaving well, you may be able to make contacts over long distances even with low power. On the other hand, if the ionosphere is unstable, you may have a harder time making contacts even with high power.

- Use a high-quality microphone and speech processor. A good microphone and speech processor can help you transmit a strong, clear signal, which will make it easier for other stations to copy your call.

-Take advantage of any available multipliers. Many contests offer multipliers for contacting stations in different countries or regions, so try to work as many of these as you can.

- Keep a positive attitude and have fun! Remember, the most important thing is to enjoy the experience and make new contacts.

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

2022 statistics

 Time to review my log. I never worked 180 DXCC in one year before, That certainly is a highlight of this year. 

Actually I made less QSOs compared to the previous years. That is only because I didn't do as much contests. I concentrated on working nice DX and as much as possible my prefered mode SSB. 

Unfortunately the main graph website I used in the past "grafiektools" is offline, the website redirects to "chartle.nl" which has not as many graphic possebilities. Besides that I had to design everything over again. Luckely it went well so I can present some graphs again.

I was surprised to see that I worked more QSOs as ever on 10m instead of the usual 80m. I was also surprised to see that I worked almost an equal number of QSOs on 30/17/12m. Actually I thought I made a lot more QSOs on 30m, but I didn't. I think the problem for me is that SSB is not allowed on 30m.

I want to see myself as experimental station. However, sometimes I have not enough time to do everything. I've experimented with more digimodes in the past. As ever the majority of QSOs is with my favorite mode SSB. At least one QSO with Q65 was made with a German station and a new mode was introduced with VARA or Dynamic, a product from the digital mode software VarAC. Surprisingly I didn't make a single QSO with RTTY. 

You will not see January in this graph, the number of QSOs in this month was 0. Overall I made less QSOs this year. Only oktober, due to the CQWW contest, was my busiest month on the radio it seems.

And finally my DXCC numbers so far:

Well, this post is just for archive purposes. It might be impressive for some readers, for others this is just peanuts. I think the numbers don't say much. I had fun, that is most important in this hobby.

Monday, January 2, 2023

Agenda 2023

Agenda 2023

As always for archive purposes...

My radiohobby agenda for 2023. Feel free to copy.

I always have to balance my time between my family and hobby. With a agenda and planning I want to prevent conflicts if possible.

11/12 Feb. 12-12 UTC 24 hrs PACC 2023 contest (SOAB QRP)

25/26 Mar. 00-24 UTC 48 hrs CQWW WPX SSB 2023 contest

28/29 Okt. 00-24 UTC 48 hrs CQWW DX SSB 2023 contest

12 Nov. 10-12:30 local time PA-beker contest SSB section 2023

19 Nov. 11-14 local time Friese 11 steden contest 2023

25/26 Nov. 00-24 UTC 48 hrs CQWW DX CW 2023 contest

09/10 Dec. 00-24 UTC 48 hrs 10m ARRL 2023 contest