Sunday, November 26, 2023

#CQWW CW only DX

 Well, almost only DX. I did work some known stations like fellow bloggers VE3VN and VE9KK and some stations from my neighbourhood. But the majority of my contacts was with unusual stations and DX.

I did make a map but it went wrong due to the fact that sometimes stations have the wrong QTH locator placed on their QRZ page. So I will not show it here. Instead a list of the DXCC I worked this weekend.

   Not that I was really very active. Most time was spend on Sunday and being on the radio was on/off. Propagation was not the best. I had some time Saturday evening but the bands were death from 20m and above due to aurora. After all I am surprised I could work this many DXCC.

80 QSOs are not that many, actually I was more listening and searching for interesting DX.

FW5N was not worked. They were on the wrong bands on the wrong time for us. Like 80m/40m when 10m was open. It's a pity but you can't have it all. I'm shure I will meet someone from Wallis & Futuna in the future.

I was able to get my rotorcontrol working from N1MM+, it worked very well on 10m. Besides that I noticed that I start to recognise some letters and numbers in morsecode which is a good sign. 

Friday, November 24, 2023

#CQWW DX CW contest this weekend

 This weekend there is the 48h CQWW DX CW contest. A contest with a lot of interesting DXCC that can be worked. You can find a list on

In the past I was trying to get into the Dutch all time record list for this contest. I'm still in there 3 times. You can find the record list here: (select PA).

This contest I will only chase DX. Most interested am I in FW5N from Wallis & Futuna Islands. This would be a new DXCC for me. For myself and other Dutch operators I made a forecast with VOACAP. Although it is based on my own antennas it can still be interesting to know best times to work FW5N.

Best chance is at 12 UTC on 15m. I really hope I can find this station and make the contact.

Good luck everyone chasing DX...

Sunday, November 19, 2023

Friese 11 steden contest 2023


Although this contest can be internationally participated it is mainly a Dutch event. Shown the contacts made in this contest. Only ON5WL is placed in the USA, don't know why. Made 70 contacts and worked 10 of the 12 multipliers. The 12 multipliers are the 11 cities participating in the famous 11 cities skating tour including a special multiplier Bartlehiem. I missed Sneek and IJlst, probabely there was no activation from there.

Ondanks dat deze contest open is voor internationale contacten is dit toch voornamelijk een Nederlands feestje. Op het kaartje de contacten die ik gemaakt heb. Alleen ON5WL staat ergens in Amerika geplaatst, weet niet waarom? Helaas 2 multies gemist te weten Sneek en IJlst. Denk dat daar geen stations zaten? In totaal 70 contacten gemaakt. Niet gek voor deze contest maar het kan beter. Helaas laten de echte contesters deze contest vaak links liggen. Het brengt niet genoeg punten op of zo? Ik vind het altijd wel een gezellige contest alleen duurt het eigenlijk een uur te lang. De meeste stations werk je al in het eerste uur en daarna is het harken. Van 2 tot 3 is een lange zit, dan lijkt het wel of de meeste stations al vertrokken zijn en is er vaak maar een enkeling die roept. Dit jaar was er een VRZA party aan de gang, de meeste van deze stations hadden geen flauw idee. Waarom niet gewoon meedoen met de contest? Dat had voor beide partijen winst opgeleverd toch? Volgend jaar ga ik gewoon weer meedoen...

Saturday, November 18, 2023

3 new DXCC in one day


I have to say, in the past I only worked a few or even no new DXCC in a whole year. Propagation is really good these days at the top of the solarcycle. And yes, FT8 gives a great boost for the DX hunter. Today was a day with low A and K index which promises very good propagation. In the past week, after work and chores at home, I tried many times for TX7L and ZL7A. Not really hearing much from those stations actually. So I really wanted to try for these in the weekend before the DXpeditions are over. It is just not really easy to work them, not even with FT8. Both DXCC are near the time line in the Pacific Ocean. I anticipated my highest chance would be my morning greyline which would be around 7 UTC in the morning. I was up early long before the greyline was arriving and TX7L could be decoded sometimes already. I had to wait, and wait, and wait. Around 6:30 UTC his signal was increasing but still low about -22. I started calling but it took till almost 7 UTC before I finally got a response, I was in the log on 40m. Through the day I listened if I could hear TX7L on other bands but haven't heard this station again, just to show you how difficult this direction is. ZL7A was the next station I aimed for. He was very loud on 30m but on a normal FT8 frequency which is of course over crowded. I tried for over an hour but without success. I went to look out for other DX around the bands. Then suddenly I saw ZL7A spotted on a 30m DXpedition frequency. So I decided to try it again. This time I was lucky after about 15 minutes. After that I was happy I worked 2 new DXCC in one day and yesterday I already worked a new one with PR0T (Trindade&Martim Vaz). I decided to do some DX on 10m, it just opened. I worked some Chinese stations and was lucky to beat the pile-up to XW4DX (Laos) on SSB. I left the radio on 10m and returned in the afternoon to work some USA/Canada. I noticed the H44WA DXpedition (Solomons) were active on 30m. I really did not expect it but actually they were quite strong and after a few minutes I was in the log. I was surprised by this 3rd new DXCC in one day! About a half hour later I worked H44WA again on 20m FT8.

Thursday, November 16, 2023

My quest to learn CW (1)

Begali Simplex Basic paddle. I'm interested 
to learn sending morse with it.
   This will be my first post about learning CW. It is my ultimate goal in this hobby. Not that I have no fun without knowing morsecode. I just want to be able to communicate with morsecode without the need of a computer with CW decoder. This would especially very handy in emergency situations.

I'm trying to get my mind & will on learning morse for years now. Actually I wanted to learn it before getting 50 years old. Now I'm 55 and finally seriously am practising morse code every day. I am able to recognise all 26 letters of the alphabet, numbers 0-9 and some signs like / . ? =.

Software or website

At first years ago, after some recommendations, I tried the website. But for some reason I cannot learn from that platform. It's way too fast and I think more interesting for those that already learned the code in the past and want to update their knowledge and improve their skills.

I came across a small game app called "morsetoad" on google play about 8 years ago. Tried that and it is really nice. Later I bought the app on my iPhone. I almost finished the game when it became unavailable on apple app store. Tried to message the developer but no reaction yet! It still seems to be available on android however.

Reading some blogs I found "morsemachine". It was surprise that it can be downloaded from G4ILO's (SK) website which is still online. This small piece of software did the trick for me so far, and it is the software I use to practise every day. I started learning the letters in  the first months. Then I learned the numbers and finally the symbols. 

Unfortunately you need a computer to run morsemachine. So I wanted to have something on my phone as well to practise when I don't have a computer nearby. I found "Morsemania" for my iPhone after reading some reviews. It is a nice app and you can learn the letters for free. If you want to learn more you need to buy the app, which I did. You can also learn to transmit morse with this app which I'm trying as well.

Learning morsecode at (online) clubs

Yes, I am aware this is by far the best method. I participated in a online course but never attended it actually because it was at a very inconvinient time. I'm not willing to spend time at all kind of online teams meetings every week to learn the code. It most times is at times I have other things to do. It would be better to get to a physical morsecode learning group or gathering but most of them are far away, I'm not willing to drive several hours a week just to learn morsecode.

The challenges

First challenge was to learn letters, numbers and symbols, I'm getting there. But very slowly. I'm learning at a speed of about 24-26 wpm which is most convinient for me. It's hard to just recognise the sound/rythm of a letter and instantly know what it is. But I'm getting better every day.

Second challenge will be small words. I'm not that far. I even struggle with words of just 2 letters or numbers. I really need to think for a second and that is much to long. I also try to decode beacons which are sending morse code at slow speeds, especially the ones on 10m which you can hear now every day. It is a great excersise but I need to hear it many times before I can get the call and locator. I really wonder how experienced CW operators learned this. How many months or years do I have to practise before I can instantly recognise letters and numbers and decode complete words? What's the secret?

The goal

My goal of course is to communicate at least small messages. Making QSOs but a bit further as the usual 5NN TU 73. Actually I was discussing this in a QSO with PZ5JW Rico on 10m SSB last sunday, very special since he is on CW for 99%. He offered me to make a sked to practise and make a QSO, but I'm not that far and refused. I even do not have a physical keyer or morsekey connected to my radio yet :-(. And yes, my IC-7300 can send morse from its internal keyer but what is the fun of that...

Well, those who want to say something about it, cheer me up or help me with tips, just make a comment...

_ _ ... / ..._ _  

. .

Monday, November 13, 2023

PA-beker contest 2023

 The PA-beker contest is a national contest in the Netherlands. Only dutch stations can be worked. The SSB part took place on 80m and 40m last Sunday. There is also a CW part on Saturday.

I've made detailed reports in the past. Last year I actually forgot this contest. It's a nice contest that lasts only 2,5 hours. You meet a lot of other dutch radio amateurs that you normally do not speak. 80m was in bad shape, 40m was a lot better. Not my best appearance in this contest. However, I'm doing it for fun, not to win.

Sunday, November 5, 2023

#6m Australia worked

Incredible propagation to Australia on 6m this morning. A few years ago Japan was the "holy grail" of 6m DXing. But then the stories came from several OM. The years of the solar maximum could get DX to Australia, New Zealand and many more far away countries. This is the first year I kept the 6m/4m duoband beam in the tower. Even when it will not survive autumn and winter was worth it! 

Today I received Colombia, India and Rodriques Isl. as well. No contact unfortunately. Others reported contacts with Cambodia and Indonesia. It certainly is important to listen/look out for 6m DX propagation this time.

#60m St.Kitts & Nevis worked


Very ocassionally I work a new one on 60m. I have to admit I used to be more active on that band. But these days all bands are open. You have to choose the band with the most interesting DX...besides that most interesting DX on 60m is late at night or very early in the morning.

Saturday, November 4, 2023

Capturing the magic of radio

 These days it is hard to tell people about the magic of radio. Many think it is like listening to the regular (local) broadcast station. But our hobby is so much more. Of course you can call people by phone, or contact people from other countries through the internet. But before we had such technology we had radio. We still have radio and radioamateurs have the possebility to contact other radioamateurs from around the world. There is still something magical talking to people from a far away country. Today I tried to capture some of that magic recording 3 contacts I had early this morning on 28MHz phone (USB). 

First contact was with JH0QEV Kohji who was calling CQ with huge signals. Viewing his QRZ page I found his antenna setup. No wonder he had a good signal here.

Second contact was with FK8HW Tibo. I was really surprised by this station. It was not long ago that I worked New Caledonia for a new DXCC. And certainly this is a new one on 10m for me. Tibo was working with just 10W and a dipole!

Third contact was with JJ2IJU Aki

I also had a contact with YJ0CA Chris from Efate Isl. Vanuatu this morning. No audio recording from that unfortunately.