Thursday, March 28, 2024

My quest to learn CW (4)

 Steady I go. I try to practise everyday. But this is difficult in weekends when I have so many other distractions. Most CW learning is done at my job lunchbreak. In weekends, if possible, I practise on my phone with the Morsemania app.

So far I find Learn CW online to be the most convenient way to learn. 

Above my statistics. I already started at the end of 2023. But started to learn with CW online in January. So far 46 days, the remaining days were not without CW. I always try to translate all kinds of text and numbers in my head. As you can see I was able to decode till 40wpm, not bad considering the few months I'm learning CW now. However, plain text is another story. 

My main goal is to make a QSO without the help of a computer. That will require a key or paddle. I have a key but hesistate to connect it to my IC-7300. Don't know why actually. Those who know CW tell me that the fastest way to learn morse is to get on the air.

In the mean time I'm now in the process of doing the lessons on 28wpm with effective speed at 8wpm after I finished lesson 40 with 28/7 wpm.

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

DX with the Gainmaster HW CB antenna


Propagation is remarkable at the moment. Or is it the new half wave CB vertical? Did not expect to work the DX on 12m I did! It is hard to capture the map since some DX was near the date line. I really am surprised by this CB vertical. It certainly is way better compared to the 12m full wave loop on my experimental halo antenna. Notice the contact with Luxemburg, this DXCC is into the skip zone for me. It probabely has been backscatter or groundwave propagation, I really don't know since his signal was pretty consistent.

The fun is that at some point I worked St. Eustatius (PJ5) on 12m RTTY. I use DM780 for the occasional contact, since I actually never do RTTY. But for some reason I thought lets see if there is still activity on the old PSK31 mode. Remember 14.070 MHz years ago? Packed with stations like 14.074 FT8 is now... Well, surprisingly there are still PSK31 stations active. I made some QSOs and even made an Olivia QSO. Not too happy with the Olivia mode though, the transmit cycle is too long. Even the IC-7300 with 100W gets warm that way. was a nice experiment. 

Thursday, March 14, 2024

#6m season opener


During the NAC VHF contest PA0O spotted ZD7MY with strong signals. Moments later he was in the log again. I've worked ZD7MY before but it is still magic... is the season starting today. Who knows...

Monday, March 11, 2024

New CB antenna into the tower

  PD8HW Herman donated me an almost new Sirio Gainmaster HW CB/10m antenna. It has been replacing the old half wave GP on top of the tower. The Gainmaster has a somewhat other design, it is not an endfed like the GP. This one is actually a vertical dipole. Not a new design, it is originally called a T2LT antenna. Detailed info on this antenna can be found here:

The mystery of Gainmaster

The antenna will be used for local CB communication. Although SWR is below 1:2 on 12m and 10m as well. I already had very good results DXing on 12m FT modes yesterday, although it is absolutely not ment for DX. Fellow blogger Tom M7MCQ already made a mini review partly about this antenna:


Old Alu GP, not very sturdy.

  To compare antennas I used a webSDR about 25km away. On the GP I barely had a S-meter reading of S5. With the Gainmaster the meter showed well over S5, sometimes S6. There is clearly a difference. To me this antenna looks sturdier as previous used Antron A-99 CB antennas. SWR is below 1:2 between 24-29 MHz here, of course best SWR is at 27MHz.

The Gainmaster HW on top of the tower, can be barely seen with white clouds in the background.

Oh yes, I have to admit. I still love CB. Why not? It is different from HAMradio although not that different. We are all amateurradio operators...

Thursday, March 7, 2024

#60m EP4HR Iran worked


Earlier this evening I also worked TY5C from Benin. The strange thing is that JTDX tells me I already worked Benin on 60. But when I analyze my log there is no TY on 60m in there...strange...