Have fun reading about my chase for DX, contesting and other Ham Radio items.
April 20: VP6EU Presentation by Ronald/PA3EWP.
Went to the monthly club meeting this evening to see the Pitcairn/VP6EU presentation by Ronald PA3EWP.
Ronald is a regular visitor of our club and every time he has been abroad to activate a rare DXCC entity we invite him to come over and tell us all about it. Many beautiful pictures and video give you a good idea about the ins and outs of the DXpedition. Again, Ronald did not disappoint us! TNX for taking the time and effort!
I wanted to wait with the news, as published on the ARRL website March 31th, that Midway and Kure Island were deleted from the ARRL DXCC Entity list because I thought it was an early April Fools day joke. Apperently it isn't and these two will only count for contacts made earlier then 25 August 2016.
The list now counts 337 Entities and positive effect is that I need one less for the full house(ALL DXCC Entities worked and confirmed).
Think it would make sense if Scarborough reef would be on the deleted list soon as most of these rocks are under water and calling this a country is a laugh!
DXCC I need:
FT5W – Crozet Is.
KH3 - Johnston Is.
KH5 - Palmyra & Jarvis Is. (only heard the K5P DX-pedition once and it did cost me balun)
I arrived at the station 3 hours prior to the start of the contest. checked 40 and 80 and they seem to be in good shape.
Checked SWR too and everything seemed to work as it should. 30 minutes to the start and I am in contact with a station on 40 meters in Phone when I see the SWR meter make a strange jump. Bad swr and no point of resonance to be found. Had to do without 40 meters till it would be light and we could investigate what was wrong.
Contest started and it went not all that good....just short runs and lot's of CQ. Not the pile ups that we were used to have in these big contests. At daybreak I had just over 300 QSO's, a bit of a dissapointment. We took the tower down and tilt it over to have access to the Balun which we thought had gone bad. A new one installed and same problem. Possible a bad connector but the one in the tower is difficult to access with a soldering iron so we connected a new coax and all worked well again. Friends arrived short after we had done some S&P on 20 meters and after coffee I went home to return Sunday morning.
80 meters was in better shape and when running I was called by PJ4DX and YN2KW and a bunch of US stations too.
Some 40 meters before I headed home again as today I had family obligations for the rest of the day. PD2JAM and PA4M were active till Sunday evening with 800 QSO's when going QRT. Looking forward to the WPX-CW!
March 24: Ready for CQ-WPX contest.
WPX will start coming night at 0000z.
March 21: Sleepless nights for DX!
TU7C, 5U5R and 9G5X, they have all three come to an end but what a thrill it was to hunt them and make as many contacts as I could. Most challenging were the lower frequencies of course but I guess I did quite well for a station with a doublet in the crowded City. Disappointmen along the way as TU7C got me on 80/RTTY as PA3GKI (callsign does not exist) and 5U5R
send me a report several times but eventually did not hear/read my confirmation on 40/RTTY .But that's all in the game and on the other hand I got some lucky shots too when I got them first call several times choosing a random split frequency. Excellent operators, persisting and skilled, hat off for them. Now I have to get adjusted to a normal night routine again as my Biological alarm-clock went off at 3 AM for the last 14 days.
March 14: DX from Africa.
These are exciting days as there are 3 big DX-peditions ongoing from Africa (5U5R, 9G5X, TU7C).
I love to make sport of making as many contacts as I can but I must admit that I have focused mostly on the first two so far.
When I get home from work I first check the bands they are on and if they are audible or not. I am a lucky guy as I work part-time and can spend a lot of time on the radio when others are still at work. I am sure that working a DX-pedition during the week days is more easy then in the weekends. Having said that I lost some sleep during the last few days as well as I tried working 5U on 80 meters. No success so far after spending many hours in the shack! The 102 feet Doublet works great and I made 9 contacts with 5U5R so far, 5 QSO's with 9G5X and only 1 with TU7C. (but TU guys started later). Let's try another night!
February 25: At the Contest station.
Left home early to take the 20 minute drive to our Contest station. At arrival it started bad as my car got seriously stuck in the mud which, as I heard later, was a results of soil investigation. The farmer was kind enough to help me out with his car. I had turned the heater on and erected the tower earlier so when back inside it was warm enough to light up the amplifier as well. Checked the DX-cluster for VP6EU from Pitcairn island and they were on 7180 (SSB), I could hear them on the rotary Dipole. Called a couple times up 10 KHz and minutes later I heard the operator give me the report. I stayed till early afternoon but conditions were not all that good. Just a couple contacts with Caribbean Stations who were in the REF contest and 9J2BO from Zambia, the only station audible at that time on 10 meter/CW.
February 24: Another 160 meter QSL.
Received this card today from contacts in the 2016/2017 CQWW160CW contest.
February 23: My antenne for 10 to 80 meter.
An often asked question during conversations with other Ham's is if an antenna in a strange shape or place will work. This is often the case if anyone has a small spaced property and cannot putt up a Yagi or large dipoles for different bands. A compromise antenna is a common choice and there is a big variety available at commercial stores. If those do not fit in the property you have to make something yourself and this can be challenging.
Most have been reading about the basics of antenna building and read about the do's and don'ts. The common antenna statements are true but what will you do if you have no other choice then, for example, let
the open wire feeder run close to metal objects or through a chimney.......will it work? Experiment with the antenna and see what works for you!
That is what I did when I moved to a house in a block of five, in a crowded city. I could and would not want a Yagi here so I decided to make a doublet and tune that in the shack for the HF bands. At first the Dipole was mounted between a pole on the Chimney to a pole on the Backyard Fence. The 450 ohm feeder ran parallel to the antenna and over the roof tiles back to the house. Through a metal window and into my shack. This worked very well from 10 to 40 meter but I wanted 80 meter too. Next I build the antenna like you see in the picture below. Only difference, at first the new dipole (31 meters) ended into a tree at the front of the house. When this tree was cut a couple years ago I connected the last part of the antenna to a fishing-pole and let the rest hang down a bit. The feeder goes through the old (unused)Chimney channel and straight into my shack on the topfloor of the house.
How does this work?
This antenna works from 10 to 80 meter but I must say that it performs best from 20 to 80 meter. It does work on the higher frequency bands too but I suppose the take off is very scattered because the antenna is way to long.
I frequently use 400 watts from my Ameritron Amplifier and no complains from my neighbours. A little RF can be detected on my PC speakers, different bands. Further it does surprise me again and again what I can work with this antenna. VP6DX from Ducie Island in the South Pacific was a DX-pedition in 2008. I worked them with this antenna on 40 and 80 meter in CW and SSB. That is long distance DX! Ofcourse they were on a good spot and had superb working antennas...but still. Just two days ago I worked the VP6EU DX-pedition from Pitcairn Island on 80 CW and earlier,.. on 30 meter CW.
A very positive thing about a wire antenna is that you don't lay awake at night when a storm hits your area. That was very different when I had a Yagi for 10/15/20 meter, living on the big Lake property (see weblog 2004).
I am happy with the situation as it is not a big object and it works on the bands I want.
Enjoy your antenna building and see what works for you!
Antenna Tuner: AEA AT-3000 (3 KW)
February 18 and 19: ARRL and Pitcairn Island.
I would have a full weekend planned so there would only be limited time to operate in the ARRL-DX-CW contest.
Mainly during the nights but eventually only stayed up first full night as conditions lacked the second.
Most contacts were S&P contacts but with so many US and VE stations CQ-ing it went like a train.
After checking the bands late Saturday evening I decided to set the alarm at 0400z because signals were way more down then the night before. When I woke it still wasn't that great but good enough to work a bunch of the
spotted stations. Taking a short break from that I saw VP6EU from Pitcairn island on the cluster on 30 meter/CW. Let's see if I can hear them. Yes, just audible but heared him handing out 5NN to European stations. I set the 2nd VFO to 4,5 KHz up, a bit above the big crowd pile up. Surprisingly enough it only took me 2 calls to get through. Later in the afternoon when home again I made some more 20 meter contacts in the contest.
Ended with 303 QSO's....had fun!
February 17: XE2X QSL.
The CQ-160-CW, end January, went very well for me. I made a contact with Jorge/XE2X and as I did not have Mexico confirmed yet on Top-band I thought I should send a direct card. Wooow.....the Postman made me happy today. Beautiful card really! Thank you Jorge!....73 from Holland.
February 11 and 12: PACC contest.
This is a 24 hour contest and we would be active from PA8A's shack, just like in previous years. Callsign would be PG6G and operators or Site kicks include: PA8A, PA8F, PA4M, PA4B, PD2JAM and PA3GVI.
Around 1000z we gattered, installed the laptop and were ready to go. Enough time to have a cup ahead of a weekend filled with SSB and CW on the main HF bands. You would obviously start at the highest band open and with no spots being returned from the Reverse Beacon system on 10 meter we decided that 15 would be a good choice. Mmmm...really a slow start here so we quickly switched to 20 meter after 30 minutes. That went much better and we switched bands as soon as we found the rate taking a dramatic turn down hill. We took a short time to enjoy the Chinese food late afternoon but further on we were constantly there. I was very pleased with Mark on my sight during the long night shift. This way we could both sleep, even if this was just short. Low bands went good and K9AY loops delivered a couple US stations. Conditions seemed not good and most contacts were made with European stations, Asiatic Russia, Ukraine.....
Looking at our log from last year we found the number of contacts on 40 and 80 meters not satisfying so we made sure we switched bands and mode frequently. Over all we found rates on CW being multiple times higher then SSB, I guess most still prefer the old mode! Sunday at 1200z was the end of the contest and we left home satisfied having 1420 QSO's in our log.....286 Multipliers and a claimed score of 402.402 points.
Transceiver: Yaesu FTDX-5000MP
Amplifier: Drake L4B/Drake L7
Logging software: Laptop with N1MM+
Antennas: 3 Element yagi up 25 meters(10/15/20), Inverted V dipole(40/80/160), RX-K9AY loops system(160/80)
Mark/PA4M in action.
February 7: Pirate...PY0F/PP1CZ.
When you get active on the HF bands and hunt DX you eventually will work a pirate station.
Right, someone who pretends to be a exotic DX station but really isn't. This happened more then once for me, P5/XXXX being one of them. So Yesterday I heard PY0F/PP1CZ on 20 meter in CW and could make a contact at 1416z. When Leo had uploaded the log I could only find my previous QSO on 15 meter, strange! I did send an e-mail to Leo and he responded quickly....see below!
Ooh well....work them first...worrie later!
January 31: HC8GR QSL.
A couple weeks ago I found out that I did not yet have HC8 confirmed on topband, so why not send a direct card.
Today, just 2 days after a successful CQ160CW I received a, 160 meter/CW contact, QSL card from the Galapagos Islands.
The contact was made in 2009......happy I have this one confirmed as activity from Galapagos is very low since a couple years.
January 27 till 29: CQ-160-CW
Back in the past I used to have a large antenna for Topband and I share many nice memories of that time. This Radio Amateur band is such a mystery to me and I love to operate there and experience the challenge of noise and the thrill of working DX.
So, this weekend was the CQ 160 meter CW contest and we would operate from the PG6G contest station. Our team found new operators to join and Mark/PA4M is a CW guy as well. So we could be in this one together. Joop/PD2JAM helped to erect the
90 foot vertical on friday afternoon, hours before the contest would start at 2200z. A bit of a challange to get a good SWR but
eventually we were satisfied and good to go. Unfortunetly, no time to putt up the Beverage antenna. The vertical proofed to be a good receive antenna in the past. The first night went pretty good with about 530 QSO's in the log at daylight. DX from the Carribean could be heard and worked but just a few US and VE made it into the log. I drove home for a shower and to take some rest and I returned at 1530z. Just short before Sunset the band was already in action and I quickly found a clear frequency. It started slow but eventually all fell in place and the band also opened to North America that night. Mark operated under his own call-sign, this way he could experience the pile ups too.
DX worked: XE, A4, HZ, 3V, 4Z, HK, PJ2, P4, C6, KP2, ZA, TF, EY, ZF, CN and many US and VE.
Band QSOs Pts StP DXC
1,8 940 5099 28 68
Total 940 5099 28 68
Claimed Score : 489.504 Points
Taking the 90 foot vertical down after the contest on Sunday morning. (PA4M video)
January 22: HA-DX contest.
Made 76 contacts in the HA-DX contest in CW 80 meters section.
January 20: No Amplifier output.
Late afternoon and I play a little radio. Worked 5R8IC on 17 meter in CW bearfoot and bands seem in pretty good shape. Decided to put out some CQ's on 17 meter in RTTY but have no output on the old AL-811 Amplifier. Tested the cables from the radio to the Amp and from there to the PWR/SWR meter. 572 Tubes light up nicely and hear the switch of TX relay..TX light goes on as well. I guessed it would be the relay contacts and after putting some Kontakt-spray on those it all worked the way it should!
January 19: UA4WHX tour.
Vlad/UA4WHX was on tour again from early december 2016 untill mid Janaury 2017 from 9 different DXCC in the West Africa region. He got arrested (not for long) in Senegal but short after continued providing contacts and later other Countries. I tried making as much contacts with him as I could, as long as it was a new band or mode. Often conditions lacked and Vlad shifted bands quickly, mostly of the time working simplex and made his band changes
visible via the DX-Cluster which made it easy to track him and make a quick contact.
The following callsigns were activated and contacts were made:
- 5T5TI from Maritania: 40 meter CW +SSB.
- C50VB from The Gambia: 40 meter CW.
- CN2VB from Marocco: 17 meter CW+SSB+RTTY, 20 meter RTTY, 30 meter CW+RTTY, 40 meter RTTY, 80 meter CW. - 6W/UA4WHX from Senegal: 17 meter RTTY+SSB, 40 meter CW.
- D44TVB from Cape Verde: 40 meter RTTY. - EA8/UA4WHX from Canary Islands: 30 meter CW, 40 meter SSB, 80 meter CW+SSB. - CT9/UA4WHX from Madeira Island: 17 meter RTTY+SSB, 30 meter CW+RTTY, 40 meter CW+RTTY+SSB.
- CT8/UA4WHX from Azores Islands: 17 meter CW+RTTY, 30 meter RTTY, 40 meter CW.
- EA9/UA4WHX from Ceuta: 17 meter CW, 30 meter CW+RTTY, 40 meter CW, 80 meter CW.
January 1: First contacts in 2017.
Out early this morning but just as the days before conditions were crap!
Bands sounded dead, as if there was no antenna attached at all. But, I could hear PJ2/KB7Q from Curacao Island and ZB2FK on 40/CW and quickly made contact. Little later putt out some CQ's and made a contact with Nick/UR5VR.
On the internet I found an interesting article about the Mercator World map and the true size of countries.