Recently I came across my old RTTY hamcom modem when cleaning my garage. Built from scrap parts and inspired by Peter PA1SDB at the time we were both experimenting on CB. I even remember we transmitted kind of a RTTY bulletin on CB every sundayevening at that time. And after we got our licenses we regulary were found on the 2 Meter band receiving the local World Link RTTY bulletin by PA3ESF. Most of the HAMs involved used software called Intercom by PA3BYZ at that time. All nice RTTY memories for me, but things can get more crazy as before my first efforts with RTTY and before my time there were the old mechanical Telex machines. There are still HAMs like PE1ARD Arnold who have these telex machines working and use them in their radioshacks, incredible! Find a video here: http://youtu.be/ku_JlxlTLIA and take a look at around 10:40. And so….we’re doing a RTTY contest these days on HF. A antique mode used to do contest inspired by the past I think. As there is a large number of stations participating it is very populair. not really my mode outside contesting, I prefer something modern like PSK or JT65. Most interesting RTTY contest is probabely last weekends CQWW RTTY contest which has lots of DX stations that participate. Unfortenately I had less time Saturday and in the evening 10 and 15m were closed. So I made some QSOs on 80, 40 and 20m. Sunday was better and I could attend the shack in the morning with my harmonic Anneli. When starting the computer I checked the 11m band as always to check propagation possebilities on 10m. I heard an old CB radio friend and made a QSO with him first. After that I moved to 10m and made my first QSO to Japan, the next station was my neighbourstation PA0O Jaap. I made a small sked with Jaap on 70cm FM, Jaap told me that propagation would be not as good as saturday because of a magnetic storm. He told me also he heard Hawaii and Guam on 10m, but it was hard to make the QSO because of the pile-ups. So unfortunate I thought I was too late for DX….well after all I think I did make some:
10m RTTY most interesting DX worked: JR4GPA Japan, KG6DX Guam, NH2T Guam, P49X Aruba, FM5CD Martinique, FR5GS Reunion isl., AY8A Argentina, CW90A Uruquay, 4M5IR Venezuela, HK1R Colombia, HI8PLE Dominican Rep., PY2NY Brazil and of course lots of USA and Canada both east and west coast.
Since I want to be active more with my portable setup this year I took the FT-817 with me in the car today. At lunchbreak I drove to a good DX location which was about 4km from my job in the polder on a dike. I setup the Watson Multiranger 200 antenna on the car and checked the SWR with my MFJ259 analyzer. I found it to be 1:1.1 on 14.200 again like always. First contact was with ID9Z who clearly didn’t like to talk as he called CQ just after giving me a fast report. I tried to call CQ around the QRP frequency and got a reply from EA1FL/P Edu, we had a nice QSO and he explained his equipment was a military radio PRC320 with 30W into a military whip antenna. After a few overs we could give each other 5/8-5/9! I was using the FT817 on 2,5W so actually I could sign PE4BAS/P/QRP, I thought it would be too long but Edu had no problem with it at all. In the mean time I took my mobile phone to record the last over of the contact but something went wrong and at the end I recorded a totally different QSO with…..JX9JKA at Jan Mayen Island. Svein was sometimes a real 5/9 here and I got a signal report of 5/5. Remember I was transmitting only 2,5W in a mobile whip! I’m again really surprised about the little FT-817 and think this is a good start of the portable season. It also interested me in Jan Mayen Island, there is a website on the internet about this Island which has a nice history of Dutch Whaler fisherman searching for new hunting grounds there. The Island is actually named after a Dutchman. If you draw a line from my location to Jan Mayen you will only come across water, so I’m not surprised after all that I could make this QSO. At the link hobbies on that website there is something about the radioamateur station on the island, I don’t know if it is up-to-date as last revision was in 2004.
The horizontal loop antenna has been dismantled and I have to do all radio work now with the vertical. Although I heard a lot of “new” DX this weekend I was not able to make many contacts. It seems the propagation is a little low. I tried on various bands, but not much luck. At least 1 new DXCC has been worked finally with a bit of luck JX9JKA from Jan Mayen heard me on my second call, he was working simplex on 17m. I’ve been trying for 7O6T today on 10m for half a hour, but no luck although he had a good signal. The pile-up was still too big. I hope JX9JKA will upload his log to LOTW some day as he asks 3 USD for a direct QSL!!! I’m sorry but I’m the last one that is buying his QSL. There were some special event stations this weekend from the “mills on the air” activation, although I saw a few on the DX cluster I’ve heard no one!
At the moment we’re very busy with building and so again no time for the radio hobby. Actually I even have no time to remove the horizontal loop antenna. I don’t care but my XYL doesn’t like the ugly wire thing around the garden. I received the confirmation for QSOs on 12m and 17m with D2AM today. Another QSL that disappears in a dark box. At least I’m showing it here on my blog ;-). So different from DX hunting I did on 11 Mtrs years ago. Those QSLs are all in showmaps placed in ringbands at order of DXCC number as used in the 11 Mtr DXing scene. I could do that for these QSLs as well if I had the same feeling with it. But I don’t…..strange.
I had a afternoon off from my job to help my carpenter here at home. Very heavy work, it has to be done. We get doors to the garden which we wished for since we came here. Now a dream does come through. When calling with my little Baofeng HT over the PI2DZL repeater when biking home I got a response from PD2VB Bram. I already wrote about him a few posts ago as I managed my first QSOs with the Baofeng with him via the CoVersity network. Bram told me he did go for the full license, actually I misunderstood as he was going the same afternoon. Today I got a e-mail from him that he got through and did pass the exams to gt his full license. Congrats if you read this Bram, another good CB buddy from long time ago has got his full license.
Last year I wrote about CQfriends, a community website for radio amateurs like for instance facebook without all the irritating advertising. It still exists and is becoming quite populair. You can now upload your logs and they start with a exciting new award program. At the moment they are busy with a voting round for award number #1. The nice thing is that this first award is going to be delivered to the winner personally not matter where he lives! A great publicity stunt I think.
|Photo made when I arrived to send to my XYL.|
I was just finishing diner today when my colleague phoned that the shop I work was on fire. I didn’t believe him at first but he was very seriously and told me could see the smoke from were he did drive. That was a distance of about 15 km. I jumped into the car and was astonished when I arrived. You see for yourself:
Luckely no personal injuries, just material…
Like always this is my last contest before the summer and before I dismantle the horizontal loop antenna. Unfortenately I was a little exhausted from work last couple of weeks. No time for radio except once and a while with my little Baofeng HT on the bike. Besides that family life is getting more and more important as our little QRP Anneli is growing up fast, that means less time for the radio hobby. Anyway I had a difficult start at Saturday having no patience to work real DX, I was so tired I stopped at about 150 QSOs. Sunday was a lot better after a reasonable night sleep, although I didn’t have time till the afternoon I made 410 QSOs in the end with 80 DXCC in total on the list. Working a new DXCC (number 200) was my goal and at the end I managed that. I worked Z21BB (Zimbabwe) and TO7BC (Mayotte Isl.) both on 10m as “new” all band DXCCs. As the propagation was really good I concentrated my efforts on the high bands. I left 40, 80 and 160m for Sunday evening as I didn’t expect to hear many “new” DXCC for me at those bands. One thing did surprise me and that was a QSO with Japan on 20m Saturday evening I heard several VK stations as well on that time, very unusual and I guess it was all longpath propagation. I think I missed a lot of stations as well since I coudn’t be on the radio early in the morning, but as always I had a lot of fun in this DX contest.
10m: JA0JHA (Japan), B7P (China), V55V (Namibia), TR8CA (Gabon), PZ5P (Surinam), Z21BB (Zimbabwe), TO7BC (Mayotte), YB8Y(Indonesia),
15m: VP52V (Turks & Caicos Isl.), JT5DX (Mongolia), TO5K (Martinique), KP2TM (US Virgin Isl.), WH7M (Hawaii)
20m: JE1ZWT (Japan), 9Y4W (Trinidad & Tobago)
80m: UP2L (Kazakhstan)
Snowdrops are blooming in our front garden though it is still more then a month before spring. I think everyone had it with winter at the nortern hemisphere and are desperately looking out for the spring to come. Hopefully we don’t get any snow and ice anymore. Luckely the days are already getting longer. March means I go to the job by bicycle. Before I had my drivers license (long time ago) I did everything by bicycle. But the posession of a car makes you lazy. Now, with the increasing fuel prizes in mind I started to use the bicycle again and leave the car in the garage for as long as possible. Last year I cycled about 1900 Km in total. I checked the bicycle today and want to try the little Baofeng HT together with the mini headset while cycling. The mini headset has been modified as it did hang on TX due to RFI. Luckely there is nice video of this little headset mod.
The results of the PA-beker contest last year are published. I became 2nd again, just 2 multipliers short. Fellow blogger Paul PH0TO (PC4T last year) became 6th, not even the last place Paul. I will do my best to win this years QRP-SSB section. It’s just a matter of persistance I think…