Thursday, March 30, 2023

#CQWW WPX SSB Contest 2023 review


Click to enlarge.


   This is one of the biggest world wide contests for HF amateurradio. The aim is to work as many different stations preferable DX. Multipliers are the different prefixes (WPX=World PrefiX) and DX (stations from a different continent as yours) count for a different amount extra points. Since I had limited operating time this weekend I had no goal, however this changed sunday evening. Propagation didn't look good because of a coronal mass ejection from the sun which wiped out most of the radiosignals on 14MHz and above at friday. It seems the propagation was still not recovered at Saturday. I had to work that day so I was unable to participate at that time, I don't know if I missed something though. 

  I started late Saturday evening and things didn't look allright as far as I could experience. I could barely hear some stations on 10m so I started on 15m. The band was full of DX and the experimental squalo antenna did a good job. I worked my share of DX for shure not knowing what propagation would be next day. I even managed working 2 contacts on 10m with EA8 stations. Quite early I went down to 40m which was also open into Europe and a few DX stations after midnight. At 00:30 I decided to run on 80m. Normally to get a good run it takes about 10 minutes of calling till you get some spots on the cluster. This time it took me only 3 calls to get a good run for about 1 hour, I worked about 100 stations. After a few contacts with DX on 40m I decided to take some sleep to be fresh Sundaymorning. This also because it is always the weekend the clock changes to summertime. 

Setup WPX. Icom-7300 100W, Doublet 2x20m
inverted-V, 10m LFA 4 elem.,
experimental square halo

I checked my last years efforts in this contest and noticed that I heard a lot of DX but couldn't work some of it. This year on Sunday it was different, I could work DX without much problems or calling. Actually I worked some DX I could barely hear, but they could still hear me. Worked CY0S from Sable Isl. on 10m late in the evening. I heard him in a huge pile-up and thought I would never have a chance. But I thought I just try it once....surprisingly I was heard at the first call, it was an easy contact. On 10m with the big 4 element LFA I had this most of the time actually, with the right conditions it probabely is radiating a huge signal. 10m opened early with excellent DX on the band to most of Asia, I never ever worked so much stations from China, Japan, Thailand and some countries in between. Last year I had no luck working 9N7AA from Nepal, it was easy to work him this time. The experimental squalo antenna also did a great job on 20m and 15m. The fun is that it is omni directional so if there are skewed paths, long path or short path propagations I wouldn't know. This way I worked unexpected DX, like PJ2T and J68HZ early in the morning on 20m, normally these are only heard in the evening. Propagation on Sunday was crazy anyway. I had the idea the whole world was upside down. What about Australia on 10m with 5/9 signals late in the evening, normally only heard in the morning. I also worked a Japanese station very late in the evening on 20m, again with excellent signals. It was all really crazy. Anyway, not really that important but to get a good score I think you need to divide your time/contacts equally over the bands if they are open. So, I think I divided it well this time. It was also my goal to go Sunday when I reached 111 contacts on 10m. I decided to try and work 111 contacts on all different bands except 160m. But for fun my last contact of the contest was with YT8A on 160m while tuning my 10m beam on that band. Actually compared to last year I worked almost the same amount of stations but in less time.

Most interesting DX:

10m: BD7MM (China), JT1CO (Mongolia), E27EK (Thailand), JH4UYB (Japan), VJ4T (Australia), 9N7AA (Nepal), 9G4X (Ghana), VU3NPI (India), FR4QT (Reunion Isl.), ZS1OPB (RSA), 8P5A (Barbados), VP5V (Turks&Caicos Isl.), 5Z4VJ (Kenya), V26K (Antigua&Barbuda), CY0S (Sable Isl.), KP2M (US virgin Isl.), TI0RC (Costa Rica), PJ4R (Bonaire), TO3Z (Guadeloupe)

15m: PJ2T (Caracao), V26K (Antigua&Barbuda), P43A (Aruba), CY0S (Sable Isl.), FK8GM (New Caledonia), KP2M (US Virgin Isl.), ZF1A (Cayman Isl.), PJ4R (Bonaire), FY5KE (French Guiana), FR4QT (Reunion Isl.), BD7MM (China), VJ4K (Australia)

20m: 8P5A (Barbados), V26K (Antigua&Barbuda), NH7T (Hawaii), KL7RA (Alaska), ZF1A (Cayman Isl.), PJ2T (Curacao), J68HZ (St.Lucia), JH4UYB (Japan)

40m: UP2L (Kazakhstan), R9GM (As.Russia), A44A (Oman), V26K (Antigua&Barbuda), PJ2T (Curacao), KQ2M (USA), PX2A (Brazil), D4Z (Cape Verde), A71WW (Qatar).

List of DXCC worked during the WPX 2023

Some interesting things I like to mention for the personal archives this contest:

- An increase of Chinese operators. Their modulation is always overmodulated and their english is difficult to understand. But at least they are there!

- Russian stations are back!

- Some stations from continents I didn't expect did show up on unexpected times, Like Australia late in the afternoon on 10m and west-indies early in the morning on 20m.

- Worked my QSL printer from the Ukraine UX5UO Gennady on 15m. Worked OY1R Regin from Faroer Isl, on 80m. 

- For the first time since long in a contest I worked a new DXCC (ATNO) FK8GM from New Caledonia. I applied for a QSL and Eric was so kind to send me one!

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

New digimode CW8

  A publication in the VERON monthly magazine Electron last month is about the new digimode CW8. So far not much is known about this mode since beta testers have to keep this a secret. Test are currently made on the 60m band. It is not known how successful they are. It seems that this digimode is a mix between CW and automation like the multi streams in MSHV. CW8 is mainly being developed for contesting. Decoding is probabely done with a kind of new AI decoder. I've written about this in this blog a few years ago. However 2014 was just to early for the development of software like this. 

Part of the Electron publication
  Some details: 8 streams of CW in 400Hz bandwidth. 7,5 second timeslots. In computer assisted mode (automatic) it is possible to make 2x8=16 QSOs per minute (QSO rate could be 960 QSO/h). Software will be available for Windows and Linux and macOS. Software is already tested with N1MM+ and Write-Log in Windows. Development for Android has been started.

As readers of the Electron magazine we had the opportunity to apply as beta tester. Unfortunately only 120 testers were allowed. Personally I just forgot to apply due to other obligations (job). But so far I heard signals on 60m.

Unfortunately UCIC refuses to give more info on this and wants to be shure the software works well before they will release in to the world amateurradio community. Expect they will have more information at the end of this week.

More info:

#60m CY0S Sable Isl. worked


I saw CY0S spotted on the DX cluster and since I have a day off the job I was able to be on the radio. I didn't have much hope since the new solar panels from our neighbours give me a lot of high QRM (S9+10dB) on 60m as you can probabely see on the waterfall. However the signal lifted a bit and I was able to receive their streams for a new one on 60m.

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Blackbox mystery revealed

 A few posts ago I wrote about this mysterious blackbox. I found the shop were they sold these items probabely 30 years ago. An e-mail to them was friendly answered by Mark from HB Electronica. The box was used to drive a discolight. Of course I wanted at least try this out. I found some old LEDs and connected them to the box. It works well as you will see in the video.

Now I know the purpose I really don't know what to do with this gadget. Any ideas?

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Citizens Band QSL card

First set of cards

 This post is in response to the post on PA2RF Ron's blog. Oh, yes I'm one of those amateurradio operators that started the hobby at end of the seventies on CB.  I started the hobby with just a pair of walky talkies on CB. The thing was that CB was still illigal in the Netherlands in 1979. First legalisation was in 1980 when it quickly became a hype here. I remember that there was a lot of QSL card swapping at school. With 12 years of age was too young for a CB license unfortunately, you had to be at least 14. But in the mean time I already collected QSL cards and listened on my walky talky. I even designed my own QSL which was copied and multiplied with an old stencil machine at that time. I had a lot of fun and almost couldn't wait till I was 14 and buy a license and real CB radio (in the Netherlands we called it "27MC bakkie"). By the time I was 14 I had no money of course, CB radios were far too expensive. So I had to wait till I saved money and bought a second hand one from a classmate. I was already 15 at that time. But wow, what a joy I had. Unfortunately I was mike shy, I wasn't a talker anyway. So this was an issue, I only listened for a year. When 16 another friend had no problems to talk, he took the mike and talked to a complete stranger in the neighbourhood. He didn't know what to say when the stranger asked questions like "what is your QTH" and "What are my S-points". So I grabbed the mike and told the stranger what he wanted to know as I knew the CB language from listening. Away was my fear and the real fun begun...

My first 1979 CB walky talky, still have it.

Second set of cards

I soon "specialized" in DX. First on FM, later on SSB....but that is another story.

Friday, March 10, 2023

VarAC today

 I'm quite enthousiastic about VarAc the last few days. I actually had a few very nice QSOs. Real QSOs, not only 599. However, even on VarAC some only make contact to exchange the most necessary data and disconnect again. 

If someone is not on their keyboard I leave at least a personal message. That works most of the time since I get a lot of messages in return. That way I know it is appreciated very much. Interesting also is that most of the days long path propagation opens to Australia and New Zealand. 

The map shows 10m (pink) and 20m (yellow) bands. This is from after my diner time. About 20-24 UTC. This is typical, actually this time no New Zealand were other days showed about the same propagation including New Zealand. Would be very curious what the map would look like if monitoring over the whole day...

Monday, March 6, 2023

Mystery blackbox?


Bought at an auction. Well actually given to me by the previous owner since there was no bid on it. A mystery blackbox. It features a red LED, a switch with 3 positions, an earphone socket and has room for a 9V battery.

Inside is a printboard with some ICs, transistors, resistors, caps. I see diodes and an electret microphone.

Didn't try to connect a 9V battery yet. I really don't know what to expect. Should I connect an earphone, or is the socket for an antenna of some sort? 

Anyone has any idea about this?

Update 7-March-2023

There was a question in the comments about the text on the solder side. It shows HB WEERT by RJ.

Thursday, March 2, 2023

VarAC session today

 Some fun with VarAC digimode today. When beaconing this morning first station that connected me was KH6ML from Hawaii. He relayed a message for OH8XAT via my station. That message was delivered later on. I had to go for the day at that moment and closed my station. When returning and switching on the station I immidiatly got an relay notice from OH8XAT. So I decided to record it and let you see how VarAC works at my side.

This is really a great digimode with a lot of possebilities. And it does well with very weak signals. A simple antenna and low power can do very well. For instance I worked A65IN (Abu Dhabi, UAE) this afternoon when I got info he used 100W in a balcony mounted magloop. 

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

ChatGPT again

  I asked chatGPT about me. After several answers with all kind of mistakes I got an reasonable reply.

Bas, also known as PE4BAS, is a licensed amateur radio operator from the Netherlands. He has been involved in amateur radio for many years and is a member of several amateur radio organizations in the Netherlands.

Bas is an active operator on a variety of amateur radio bands and modes, including voice, digital, and Morse code. He is also interested in satellite communications and has made numerous contacts with amateur radio satellites.

Bas is an experienced and knowledgeable amateur radio operator, and he shares his knowledge and experience with others through his blog and contributions to amateur radio magazines and websites. He writes about a variety of topics related to amateur radio, including equipment reviews, operating techniques, and antenna design.

In addition to his activities as a radio operator, Bas is also involved in community outreach efforts, working with local schools and youth groups to promote interest in amateur radio and STEM fields. He gives presentations and demonstrations on amateur radio to a wide range of audiences, from children to adults.

Overall, Bas Levering is a respected and active member of the amateur radio community, known for his technical expertise, enthusiasm for the hobby, and willingness to share his knowledge with others.

This is one of many answers chatGPT gave. It let me believe I wrote the book "Antennas for all locations", I was having a website "" and was the software developer of "". Now the above answer still had errors. But it is not bad have to learn chatGPT by chatting with the system. I learned about the faults on several topics through the blog from K0NR, actually it was a real eye opener. Then I came across an article in the March-April edition of the SARC Communicator from Kevin VE7ZD/KN7Q. From this article I learned that you have to correct the answers from chatGPT to learn the system the correct answer. Kevin also warns that it is quite dangerous to use chatGPT for any kind of publication since the system makes a lot of errors. But in time it will learn and get better.

Link to the SARC communicator here:

Picture in the blogpost is AI created with DALL-E 2

#60m Asiatic Russia worked


Legal or not? I've seen this station before. Of course it could be he has a experimental license. Anything is possible...