Sunday, July 30, 2023

Handles for my IC-7300

 Bought second hand on internet marketplace. Sold as not scratched and damaged. Well, they were not damaged but certainly scratched. So I gave them a spraypaint job. Several layers later they looked pretty well.

I would never buy these new. If needed (I did not) I would make them myself. But this was a nice opportunity.

I think they look cool. My opinion of course...

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

#6m South Africa worked


I was not shure about a valid QSO. But contacted Paul via the internet. He assured me I was in the log. He didn't give RR or 73 because he wanted to go to the next stations as fast as possible. To be honest a RR73 or 73 is of course not needed for a valid contact. But it is nice to let the opposite station know that the report was received.

Saturday, July 15, 2023

ERC V4 USB rotorcontrol build into Kenpro KR600 controller

   This is one of the things I always had in mind. Especially when working remote I could not turn the antenna, so I was bound to one direction or had to go to the shack to change the direction of the antenna.

An ERC Version 4 USB rotorcontrol kit was kindly given to me as a gift by a friendly HAM who doesn't want his callsign on my blog. It was already assembled but due to change of rotors he didn't need it anymore.  The ERC kit can be bought as a kit with conventional components and as ready build in SMD. The SMD version doesn't need an extra power supply, the build kit does need an external 12V supply. So does this kit. 

The shack, not really a good workplace...
Since I didn't assemble the printboard myself I first checked all the solderpoints which made shorts here and there. It was quickly solved by soldering those points again. A quick check supplying 12V was without any problems. The manual tells to supply the printboard with an external 12V wall wart, there is a connector shipped with the kit. And even wires to connect the board to the rotor are there. Included is a CD with all information you need in English and German. The first thing I did was to search for the right diagram, at first I thought I needed the KR400 diagram but comparing the diagram from the KR600 manual it didn't look the same. In the end you should follow the KR600S diagram. Printed both the diagram and the connection points on paper. I then had to decide were to mount the board inside the rotorcontrol housing.

  I quickly found a good place at the side, I could use one existing screwhole. The second hole and the hole for the USB connector had to be drilled. Of course, stupid me, I drilled the largest hole on the wrong place and ended filing it till everything could be fit. Just before that moment I decided that the separate 12V supply could be easily fit into the control housing. So I modified an 12V wall wart and just fitted it on the transformer with double sided tape. The output went to a large ferrite because I wnt to be shure I will not have interference from this "thing". Before mounting the board into the housing I connected the needed wires and made shure I encoded the wires with the numbers on the connection points information diagram.

The wall wart above the transformer and the connection to the printboard

The connection points information with the warning not to use the rotor power supply.

The next thing I had to do was to find out were all the connections should be soldered to. You have to be shure because otherwise the printboard can be damaged or the rotor could be turning in the wrong direction. 

The diagram with the point were the wires should be soldered to.
I was most worried about the numbers 1 and 4. At first I though exchanging those would let the rotor turn into the wrong direction. But after all it is all AC voltage, so it doesn't really matter if you exchange connections. Actually everything was soldered without any problems really. All connections were reasonable reachable with the soldering iron.

Final placement and points nr. 1 & 4 connection

Note that points 1 wires are soldered before the diode to the LED  and points 4 wires to the printboard which is connected to the other side of the LED. The diode on the lightbulb is a previous modification to have DC voltage on a 24V green LED bulb ( The green LED is there to replace the original lightbulb.

When everything was in place it was time to check the whole installation. For that I made a video to show how it is done.

Well everything is working fine. I decided to use HRD rotator for daily control of the rotor since I use the HRD radiocontrol and logbook most of the time.

Looks like this on my screen...

I can now finally turn my antenna while not in the shack...

Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Noctilucent clouds in relation to solar maximum

NLC seen at my QTH in 2019

This is a kind of opposite post to the one I wrote in 2019 . This ES season brings us noticable less good propagation to Japan and USA till now. Somehow generally they think that NLC and PMSE certainly have something to do with propagation at high latitudes. But the way this mechanism works is not really known.

This year there are almost no NLC visible. Due to the active sun that is hitting Earth's upper atmosphere with lots of extreme ultraviolet radiation. These high energy photons make it harder for ice crystals to form in the mesosphere, thus suppressing NLCs.

Luckely it is not the only form of propagation. We are almost in the solar maximum and F2 propagation is expected on 50MHz later this year. We'll see what it brings us. 

More to read:

Sunday, July 9, 2023

#6m Namibia worked


I had no luck last year. But this year, just in between 2 thunderstorms, it did happen. Finally worked V51WW from Namibia. I also noticed ZS6NK who was handling QSOs one after the other. According to ZS6NK received me well. But unfortunately no QSO this time. I'm shure that happens another day.

IARU 2023 HF contest


My small effort in the IARU HF contest. I seldom participate in this contest because it is in the middle of the summer and it is way too hot in the shack. However my goal was to work PJ5C on as many bands as possible. I was lucky and worked them on 20m/15m and 10m CW. This is also the first time I made more CW contacts compared to SSB in a mixed category. I stopped early at 100 QSO. 

Saturday, July 8, 2023

#60m Chile worked


It is hard to sleep these days since at this moment the weather is very hot in the Netherlands. We are not really used to this (yet). It gave me the opportunity to work this new one on 60m

Monday, July 3, 2023

DXpeditions from known HAMs

 It is always nice to announce DXpeditions from HAMs you know or have often contacted. Neighbourstation PA4O will be active from St. Eustatius as PJ5/PA4O together with PE6Q (PJ5/PE6Q). In the IARU contest the upcoming weekend they will use the contest call PJ5C.

Of course I hope to contact them on a couple of bands. Preferable 60m and 6m. But any other band will do of course. More info:

Hartmut DB6LL which is a very active 60m DXer was unshure if he could get his radio equipment to Helgoland Isl. EU-127. This morning he texted me he was on the airport and waiting for clearance. Thumbs up for him because he managed to setup the station. I already worked him on 60m this evening. Helgoland is about 120km from here.

Hartmut send me a photo from the "shack" at Helgoland. Wishing him a good DX and a fun vacation.

Saturday, July 1, 2023

6m/4m propagation first day of July


At the end of the 1st of July I can look back on a very good 6m/4m DX day. 3 new DXCC on 6m and 1 on 4m. I write this post just before local midnight and I still see stations on 6m right now.

#6m Guernsey worked


I though I worked Guernsey (Channel Islands) years ago. Not shure though, I searched in my logbook but only found Jersey C.I.. Again a unexpected new one on 6m.

#4m Lebanon worked (x2)


#6m India worked


#6m Georgia worked