Thursday, February 23, 2023

The mysterious MZV72 station?

 Worked this station tuesday evening after I was intrigued by the callsign. 

The question is: is it a pirate or a military cadet station?

Worked royal airforce cadets before on 60m digital and phone. But they always had a MRE call. Searching on the internet didn't reveal much. After posting it on the 60m FB page DB6LL Hartmut came with something he found at He discovered the stations locator (if real?). I discovered more:

There seems to be a MZV11 and 40 as well, all from the same locator. When searching for other stations on this locator I found the call M72ZV and M40ZV as well, looking the same but more in amateurradio call format. So I found G3TXL Angus from this area with exact the same locator. I decided to write him an e-mail for clarification since his locator is exactly the same as the MZV stations he would probabely know. Angus was very fast responding to my e-mails and didn't know about the stations. However he happened to know another HAM who's also in the military and at least knows about cadet stations. He assured the MZV stations are legal and cadet station. The locator they use is probabely not their real locator and they change calls regulary. It is a secret from which part of the military this is. As far as I know in the Netherlands we are allowed to contact any user on the HAM bands that is legally transmitting there. It might not be allowed in other countries.

Sunday, February 19, 2023

ARRL DX CW Contest

 Just participating in this contest for a short time. Working USA/Canada only is a bit.....well....boring. But anyway, I had a goal: working fellow blogger VE9KK. I did work him on both 10m and 15m. I also worked blogger VE3VN again on 15m. I found that the fun would be concentrating on the far away west-coast of both USA/Canada, so I did. I only worked 10m, 15 and 20m. Most contacts were made on 10m. 75 QSO in total.

Yellow=10m Lightblue=15m darkblue=20m

Monday, February 13, 2023

#60m Equatorial Guinea worked


No luck working Bouvet Isl. I got a message from Bernard PB7Z that he worked them around 18:30 UTC when they were loud. When I went to my radio and had everything switched on they were gone. I doubt if I had any chance to work them at all. Bernard has high power and a 2 element SteppIR. I only have 100W and my experimental halo. Till hours after 3Y0J left 17m FT8 I saw still people trying desperatly. Well, I'm shure there will be another chance in the future. 
Just when I wanted to finish the day and before I switched off I saw 3C3CA spotted on 60m. I did not see them before and it would be a new one. 15 minutes later I was lucky, another new one on the 60m band. A good day after all.

Sunday, February 12, 2023

PACC 2023 contest review

Event: PACC 2023
Section: QRP mixed

Logger: N1MM+ 

Station: Icom IC-7300 at 5% (5W)

Antenna 1: Experimental multiband halo
Antenna 2: 10m LFA @14m

Antenna 3: 
2x20m inverted-V doublet

Had fun in this yearly contest. My goal was to beat my 2021 score and QSOs. And that's what I did. Propagation was excellent for QRP. Strong signals on the bands. Unfortunately I didn't have a 160m band antenna ready this time. I used the 10m beam which I loaded through my Palstar tuner. It works because I made 4 contacts, but of course that was very difficult since I think only a few percent of the power was radiated. With 5W that's not much. Best bands were 80m and 40m with excellent strong signals from Europe and even outside Europe. I found myself in a few nice pile-ups which were incredible difficult on CW but easy on SSB. The fact is that I should learn CW and not rely on CW skimmer. In that case my score and QSO count would be at least doubled. Anyway, although I had to stop early due to circumstances I'm satisfied with the result for now.

Red=SSB Green=CW (Click on map to enlarge)
Dutch contacts in PACC

Of course the majority of contacts with QRP are made within the Netherlands. Most participants are from The Netherlands of course. A lot of stations knew my name (is not that difficult hi). It is nice to know some names from radioamateurs, who also read my blog or have a blog themselves, as well. Over the years you meet the same radio enthousiasts in this contest over and over again. I have to write that propagation within the Netherlands on 40m was very strong this time. Of course that is a good thing when QRP. But I worked some DX as well. One of the highlights was K1ZZ which I worked on 10m, 20m, 40m and 80m. I think he has incredible RX on his side to hear my tiny QRP signal across the ocean. 

Time to take part was limited. I tried to be at the radio as much as I could. But I also have a family. Of course all kind of things happened on which I could not turn my back on. Due to circumstances I had to stop already on 10:15 UTC Sundaymorning. Well, 16 hours of contesting time was good enough I think.

Well, the PACC isn't really a DX contest. Although DX can be worked, I did in the past. But with 5W it was limited this time. If you are QRO in this contest it is no problem of course. However, 34 DXCC in a weekend with just QRP is not that bad I think. Most important, I had fun, the bands were interesting and I had some really nice contacts that were sometimes not (only) 5 by 9.

What I learned from this past contest is that receive is the most important thing of your station. It was interesting to experience that some stations that were real 59 or 599 on my side could not be worked while others with lower signals had no problem to hear me. I also learned (actually I knew this of course) that a better score in the QRP mixed section can only be achieved by learning the CW skills. And last of all, I learned that my experimental multiband halo is a solid performer. I could work most stations on 20m and 15m without any problems, when calling on CW on those bands I had immidiate pile-ups which gave me a lot of problems of course...Unfortunately I think my log will be the one with the most penalties for not logging the exchange right. Really, it is my fault, I apologize, I should really learn the art of CW...

Thursday, February 9, 2023


 Thanks to DARU magazine I found this very nice picture from the layers that play a big role in our hobby.

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Differences calculating propagation to Bouvet

 Trying to figure out best times to work the 3Y0J DXpedtion at Bouvet Isl. I think the best way is using the VOACAP tools. Interesting but though I see some differences between best times for FT8 and SSB. Not shure wat is causing this. Understanding propagation is far more difficult as knowing about certain ionized layers that reflect our radio signals. Jari OH6BG from the VOACAP website made a dedicated page for propagation calculations to Bouvet.

Generally this is what I found for my location:

Of course you can find more on the site/prediction. Jari tells in a video, link is on the site. I suggest you watch the video for detailed info. I did watch the video and tried to find the highest SDBW90 with a MUF above 50% and as small possible difference between the SDBW10 and 90. This is what I got:

Band  -  Best time shorth path - Best time long path

10            14-17 UTC                    12 UTC

12            15-17 UTC                    12 UTC

15            17 UTC                          9-12 UTC

17            7 and 17-20 UTC           15 UTC

20            20-24 UTC                    8 and 18 UTC

30            20-24 UTC                    02 and 20 UTC

40            20-24 UTC                    -

60            21-03 UTC                    -

80            24 UTC                         -

It is interesting to compare it to the general VOACAP prediction. It is the same site but more detailed. You can choose more options like mode and power. I decided to make a FT8 and a SSB prediction for my location and antenna situation. CW will be in between I guess. I wanted to know if there are differences between the calculations.

This is what I got for FT8:

At the center are the best possible band and time to work 3Y0J.

This is what I got for SSB:

Notice the 1 hour difference in best possebility. Strange isn't it? But overall it reflects the best possible times as predicted by the dedicated page. Of course I realize that all calculations are based on past average experiences and measurements. A small change of propagation can completely change the whole prediction. Let's hope propagation will be good this month.

More info:

Monday, February 6, 2023

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and how it will affect HAMradio

 Some of you readers will have to suspect something, others will not. Last month I generated two posts almost completely with AI. Even the pictures were made with AI. No one commented yet but those two posts were one of the most read last month. It does raise some questions. Do other bloggers make use of AI? Is this affecting everything you read on the internet? Is AI always right? Is AI affecting HAMradio in the future?

I discovered AI is already affecting HAMradio. VE4VR William already made a experimental setup using ChatGPT. See and hear for yourself:

Original article:

Artifial chatbots are not new. But they get better every year. In time you will not know if you're talking to a real person or a artificial bot. 

Saturday, February 4, 2023

VarAC video, how it works

 I got a lot of comments about VarAC when I mention it. Most times people want to try it but find it difficult to start a new software package and configuration. It is hard to explain in a few minutes how it works and what it really is and does. But this video from Tech Minds explains everything very well. If you like to know more about the VarAC package I recommend to watch it.

I would not say that is better as FT8. It is just what you want. Do you want to communicate with people or just exchange signal reports? I got some comments that JS8Call (another similar digimode software package) is more sensitive and so better for DX. From what I experienced that is not true. VarAC is just as sensitive and very robust. But there are differences between the packages. It is just what you like most.

Thursday, February 2, 2023

UKEICC 80m SSB contest February rehearsal for the PACC 2023


A picture says more as thousand words. I really like to participate in this contest to rehearse for the upcoming PACC contest which is held in the weekend of  11/12 February. In the past I've been at number one. This time I was at four in the unassisted section. Have I lost my touch? Everything is depending on propagation of course. But though this contest is to fine tune your contest skills. Excellent because within an hour the contest is over, next day you receive the facts and it is possible to download the above certificate. Here is my UBN report (UBN stands for Unique callsign, Bad callsign, Not in log):

UKEICC 80m SSB contest using 6 char grids

Date: 01/02/2023

Mode: SSB


Power: Low

Callsign: PE4BAS

Operator: PE4BAS

Locator: JO33JK

Total QSOs: 48

Potential Points: 167

Actual points: 155.04

Points per QSO: 3.48

Longest scoring QSO: 1055.84 km with EI2JHB

Highest points QSO: 15.00 points with GM5GEI



No Dupes!



No NILs!

Bust exchanges


No busted exchanges!

Bust Calls 


PA1U - QSO was with PA8U

Call        Date       Time     Rcvd   Dist   Dist  Mult  Pos'ble Actual  Comment                         

                       UTC      Loc    Km     Pts         Pts     Pts                                     

G2AA        01-02-2023 2001     IO92KO 539    2     2     4       4.00                                    

PC4H        01-02-2023 2001     JO22IH 188    1     1     1       1.00    No log submitted by PC4H        

OZ4NA       01-02-2023 2002     JO46WR 416    1     2     2       2.00                                    

G3KNU       01-02-2023 2003     IO93QN 492    1     2     2       2.00                                    

G3R         01-02-2023 2003     IO83SJ 615    2     2     4       4.00                                    

M0VQP       01-02-2023 2003     IO92NG 532    2     2     4       0.00    Logged time violation           

GM4M        01-02-2023 2005     IO75XT 747    2     2     4       4.00                                    

EI8CE       01-02-2023 2006     IO62HI 960    2     1     2       2.00                                    

G4NBS       01-02-2023 2006     JO02AF 474    1     2     2       2.00                                    

G3ZBU       01-02-2023 2007     IO91UB 551    2     2     4       4.00                                    

PA0AWH      01-02-2023 2008     JO21UT 195    1     4     4       4.00                                    

G4BYE       01-02-2023 2008     IO91VW 502    2     2     4       4.00                                    

MM0MUN      01-02-2023 2010     IO87WD 700    2     2     4       4.00                                    

GW7BZR      01-02-2023 2011     IO73UF 738    2     2     4       4.00                                    

DM6EE       01-02-2023 2011     JO52KJ 298    1     2     2       2.00                                    

G7NJX       01-02-2023 2012     IO81OH 694    2     2     4       4.00                                    

DD5XL       01-02-2023 2013     JO40VX 342    1     1     1       1.00    No log submitted by DD5XL       

M1CJE       01-02-2023 2013     IO91CJ 626    2     2     4       4.00                                    

EI8KN       01-02-2023 2014     IO62IE 959    2     1     2       2.00                                    

OZ5E        01-02-2023 2014     JO46XC 360    1     1     1       1.00    No log submitted by OZ5E        

SM5CSS      01-02-2023 2015     JO89LS 940    2     2     4       4.00                                    

GM0TKB      01-02-2023 2018     IO88IP 854    2     2     4       4.00                                    

EI7CC       01-02-2023 2018     IO63WG 860    2     2     4       4.00                                    

GM4JYB      01-02-2023 2019     IO88JM 842    2     2     4       4.00                                    

G4DZL       01-02-2023 2020     IO92IS 546    2     2     4       4.00                                    

M0KYB       01-02-2023 2020     IO91BN 624    2     2     4       4.00                                    

PA1U        01-02-2023 2022     JO22GF 203    1     1     1       -6.96   QSO was with PA8U               

OE6MMD      01-02-2023 2025     JN77PC 928    2     1     2       2.00    No log submitted by OE6MMD      

S57KM       01-02-2023 2026     JN76HD 987    2     2     4       4.00                                    

GM1X        01-02-2023 2028     IO67IN 999    2     2     4       4.00                                    

M5G         01-02-2023 2029     IO92JO 545    2     2     4       4.00                                    

M4T         01-02-2023 2030     IO82RJ 638    2     1     2       2.00    No log submitted by M4T         

GU0UVH      01-02-2023 2031     IN89VR 747    2     2     4       4.00                                    

EI3CC       01-02-2023 2033     IO62KE 947    2     1     2       2.00    No log submitted by EI3CC       

PE1EWR      01-02-2023 2036     JO11SL 310    1     2     2       2.00                                    

DH5NZE      01-02-2023 2036     JO41XO 296    1     1     1       1.00    No log submitted by DH5NZE      

EI7GY       01-02-2023 2037     IO63WG 860    2     1     2       2.00                                    

G6UBM       01-02-2023 2040     JO01CE 514    2     2     4       4.00                                    

EI2JHB      01-02-2023 2043     IO54JC 1056   3     1     3       3.00    No log submitted by EI2JHB      

GM5GEI      01-02-2023 2045     IO77WS 839    2     1     15      15.00   QSO with Bonus station          

DL3RAR      01-02-2023 2047     JN68IV 653    2     2     4       4.00                                    

EI5G        01-02-2023 2050     IO62JH 950    2     2     15      15.00   QSO with Bonus station          

G4FNL       01-02-2023 2051     IO90WU 554    2     2     4       4.00                                    

GM0V        01-02-2023 2052     IO85AT 742    2     1     2       2.00                                    

G4FJK       01-02-2023 2055     IO80EW 764    2     2     4       4.00                                    

ON8WI       01-02-2023 2056     JO20LX 301    1     1     1       1.00    No log submitted by ON8WI       

SP9CRT      01-02-2023 2057     JO90GC 891    2     1     2       2.00    No log submitted by SP9CRT      

G4ANS       01-02-2023 2059     IO82QV 632    2     1     2       2.00    No log submitted by G4ANS

There are two things that went wrong. I got a busted call; I noted and heard PA1U but it should be PA8U, this is my fault. Although PA8U could tell me that I heard his callsign wrong. The other is 0.00 points for M0VQP. Not shure what "Logged time violation" is? Anyone knows about it?

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

The 3Y0J bandplan collides with VarAC

Screenshot from part of the VarAC package

 The title might be a little cryptic for some of you. 3Y0J is the callsign from a DXpedition to Bouvet Isl. VarAC is a upcoming popular digimode. The DXpedition will probabely be QRV within a few days for about 2 weeks. I didn't notice it before but through the VARA HF users fb page I became aware of it. The bandplan for the 3Y0J Dxpedition has two FT8 frequencies that are exactly on the VarAC main calling frequency. It is not clear to me why they have choosen these frequencies anyway since  DXpedition normally use pre defined FT8 frequencies. Anyway 14.105 MHz and 21.105 MHz are used for calling, ping requests and beaconing by many VarAC users. Since the broad 500KHz VARA signal is at the centre of the waterfall it is not the DX chasers that have a problem, but the DXpedition will have QRM. Something to consider when calling 3Y0J on FT8. Here is the bandplan:

3Y0J bandplan, click to enlarge

Since VARA is a very robust mode I don't expect VarAC users will have much QRM from the FT8 callers. Most of the users are unattended stations anyway. Beaconing and messaging goes automatic.