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?