Ramblings

Sep 5, 2010

ZL2JGR coming in loud and clear on 14215 with 55 to 57 around 10 UTC, but didn't have a chance to work him. Later in the evening a short RTTY QSO with N1GKE, the last one as PA2BX. Going QRT now. Packing up and moving on. 373 HF QSO's in the log, 62 DXCC entities and 39 confirmed to date.

Sep 4, 2010

Field Day Contest today and I logged a lot of EDR station on 20 and 40 meters. Unfortunately no EDR Silkeborg, but is was fun anyway.

Sep 1, 2010

Only two nice images from the DWD on 3855 kHz.



Nice touch: they drew hurricane Earl in there.

August 31, 2010

Not much activity today. Tried PSK on 80 meters, but didn't work. Heard CO2NO in RTTY on 20 meters, but too weak. Tomorrow's another day.

August 30, 2010

Another success: finally got some readable text of the weather telex transmissions of the Deutsche Wetter Dienst. Best frequency was 4583 kHz and I got this...

ZCZC 663    
NOXX70 EDZW 300000
CQ CQ CQ DE DDK2/4583 KHZ DDH7/7646 KHZ DDK9/10100.8 KHZ - -

IMPORTANT:
THE BROADCASTING OF METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION FROM
THE DEUTSCHER WETTERDIENST VIA ITS RTTY TRANSMITTERS
DDH7, DDK2, DDK9, AS WELL AS DDH8, DDH9 AND DDH47,
SHALL SERVE TO SAFEGUARD SAFETY AT SEA ONLY, WITHIN
THE FRAMEWORK OF THE INTERNATIONAL SOLAS AGREEMENT.
ANY PASSING ON OF THE INFORMATION OR ITS FURTHER USE,
ESPECIALLY COMMERCIAL, SHALL NOT BE PERMITTED.

The problem before was that this service uses a 450 Hz shift and Fldigi only has the 425 Hz option. I used SeaTTY for the above, but I rather stay clear of Windows software.

Today also marked my first year aniversary of being a ham on HF. Made a single QSO in RTTY with K1MAA, which was fun, because my first QSO was with a US ham as well. Otherwise too busy with NAVTEX and other fun stuff. I'm still a BCB/ute DXer by heart, hi hi.

August 29, 2010

And another nice weather fax image from Northwood, GYA on 8040 kHz.


Also made my first contact on 15 meters, alas in a contest, but at least I got through.

And lastly I started listening to Navtex again on 518 kHz. The Frisnit decoder under Wine works fine and the first station positively IDed was Rogaland Radio....

ZCZC LA54
291934 UTC AUG 10
LGQ
NORWEGIAN NAV. WARNING 315 / 2010
  CHAR 2
  AREA TOENSBERGFJORDEN
BARKEVIK, UPPER LEADING LIGHT
59-06.5N 010-23.9E IS UNRELIABLE
NNNN

I like it that they put their call sign in the messages, because it makes IDing 100% sure. Later I also had weak but readable signals from UGE Archangel Radio, OXJ Faroer Islands and 7TA Algiers Radio. This is fun DXing.

August 28, 2010

Latest thing breaking down: the mouse connected to my shack computer. Sigh!!!

August 26, 2010

Finally a near perfect picture from a weather fax station, namely DWD on 3855 kHz. SeaTTY doesn't save the images right, but this time I was quick enough to take a screenshot. Here it is....

August 24, 2010

Conditions to Japan were good again and on 20 meters I had good reception from JA6AP in SSTV and later a South Korean station too. And that despite my antenna almost falling to the ground. Everything is breaking down here.

August 23, 2010

Running reduces power with my TS440S, so listening more than making QSO's. 17 meters was open to Asia today around 1000 UTC with several Japanese stations in phone and BT4EXPO in RTTY, but too weak to work.

August 19, 2010

Just my misfortune: heard ZA1E calling QRZ, then the TS-440S came down with the dots syndrome. Will definitely have to rebuild VFO 1 and 5 now, but it will have to wait. Poor me!

August 6-11, 2010

We went QRP and portable at the camping Cottenessehoeve in the southern most part of the Netherlands. Has my TS-130V with me, a 12m Spiderbeam fiberglass telescopic mast and a 10 meter dipole. Strung as a groundplane it worked pretty well, but conditions were really disappointing. A recent outburst of solar flares meant high noise levels and little propagation. Monday was the best day, Tuesday the worst. But then again, I did hear a QSO between NL5V and A61AB on 14180 kHz at around 1500 UTC, while I could hardly work any stations in Europe.

August 5, 2010

Today my TS-440S developed the garbled display problem again. It would start up right, then when turning the main know would revert to 30.00 kHz. Resetting didn't help, but leaving it on to turn warm did. Apparently the humid weather shorts something (Evil Brown Glue in one of the VFO's?) and by warming the set up the moisture disappears and removes the short. Will need to open it and check the VFO's and I'm not looking forward to that.

Also something nice: tunes the 160 meter band and heard the Dutch Coast Guard with a weather forecast on 1890 kHz at 2145.

August 3, 2010

Tested the Spiderbeam mast connected to the van today and had one contact with Spain. First test was successful, now ready for camping.

August 2, 2010

Late night session and heard TI8II in SSB. Took a couple of shouts, but made it to Costa Rica with my 100 Watts. Country number 59.

July 31, 2010

My TS-440S is back from the shop and working like it should. Had a couple of QSOs, just to test the rig, but is looks fine. Also finished the PIC based keyer I found the design of on the site of EI9GQ. Works as advertised, so let's build it into a box.

July 26, 2010

Traded a Yaesu power supply for a Kent paddle today with PA3ERE. I had to add a little extra hard cash though, but still a good deal :-) I'm looking for designs for a keyer now.

July 24, 2010

@13987 kHz I heard a rfax broadcast, but couldn't get the picture because of QRM. Will have to check later.

July 22, 2010

Everything is breaking down here: the car, washing machine and now the monitor in my shack. Borrowed my father's one and upgraded the Linux box. Wrong, that also went awry. Installed a fresh version of Kubuntu and had everything up and running within a morning's work. Also installed WSPR and got immediate results: on 20 meter I was heard with 1 Watt as far as Israel (and other places as well: 4X1RF, F4EAN, G8VOI). Reception is a little bit different, because I can't seem to configure the audio channels properly. We'll work on that.

July 19, 2010

Sometimes you just get lucky. Tuned my TS130V to 20 meter and boom!!! KP4JFR coming in loud and clear late at night. First time Puerto Rico.

July 17, 2010

Heard BX3AH on 14228 kHz at 1940 today, but too weak to work in the pile-up that ensued.

July 13, 2010

I am very pleased with myself today. Having sent off the TS-440S (with probably a faulty back-up battery), I pondered why my TS-130V had such poor reception compared to the TS-440S. I posted a question on QRZ.com, but the response was that the band switch would be at fault, most likely.

I did readjust the band switch, but not being satisfied I wondered why the S-meter would only move with the loudest of stations. I checked the service manual and the adjustment for the S-meter was on the IF board. VR2 is the main pot for this, but T5 also needed adjustment according to the manual.

I read on and concluded that the sensitivity is adjusted in the IF amp, which is also on the IF board. T5 is part of it, but the manual said that you need to adjust T1-6 for maximum audio output. Hoping that T3 on the RF board was properly tuned I slowly started adjusting T1-6. Turned out that T6, then T5, then T1 were key in producing the most audio. You connect a dummy load, turn up the volume fully clockwise and adjust the coils with a proper plastic screw driver. I then hooked up my antenna, checked the bands and adjusted VR2 for a more-or-less fair S-reading. Et voila! A very sensitive radio with a properly functioning S-meter. Maybe not factory calibrated, but at least I can hear as much as the TS-440S. I'm tickled pink.

Next step: filter switching adjustment. Stay tuned.

July 11, 2010

The TS-440S had been acting up before, but today was really bad: garbled display, all kinds of funny noises and finally no display at all late at night. I still have warranty, but I rather have a working set.

July 10, 2010

I participated in the FeldHellClub Sprint contest and logged 5 members only, one being WA7NB from Arizona. But I finally managed to reach the 25 members contacted for the FPF award, so I'm going to apply for that.

After the contest the weather changed and we had a hell of a thunderstorm (actually three in succession). On of the guy wires of the main antenna mast broke, but otherwise on real damage done.

July 8, 2010

Too hot to spend much time in the shack the last few days. But today the local QRN on 40 meters was suddenly gone, so I had a nice evening monitoring the activity. A61BK came booming in on 7160 kHz, of course resulting in a huge pile-up. 5100 km on 40 meters is quite nice.

July 1, 2010

Had a nice QSO with SP3JFK in CW on 14055 kHz today. Was slow enough that I could take most of what he sent, but my sending needs improvement.

June 30, 2010

PA0LL had a nice counter knob and it came in the mail today. With a short piece of tube and clamps I could connect it to the inductor and now the tuner is finally finished.

June 29, 2010

Received two finger dimples today. Put one on my TS-440S and JOY!! Really nice to cycle through the bands now. No more sore fingers.

June 28, 2010

Finally worked OZ5JR today in Hell on 7050 kHz. First tried 20m, then 80m, but we finally managed on 40m. Signals weren't great, but the QSO was enjoyable anyway. Actually we could have done 80m, as Jan said he heard my having a QSO with PA0DOC on 3630 kHz.

June 25, 2010

Heard M0CUT calling CQ in CW on 3560 kHz and we was sending quite slowly, so I decided to take the plunge. Wrong!!! It's the QRP frequency, so I was putting out too much and he was doing 5W only, so he faded and I could hardly take him. Still he could take me and he later wrote me an e-mail saying it was okay. Costed me a lot of sweat, though, but it was fun!

June 21, 2010

10-meter night. I tried the FM portion and was surprised to notice a repeater on 26670 kHz coming in loudly. I worked several stations as far as Northern Ireland and Croatia. Also had a direct QSO with an Italian and even with 3 Watts we could still work comfortably.

I had a good night anyway, because there was lots of Feldhell activity on 20 meters and I workd three new FHC-members. I'm up to 20 now.

June 20, 2010

After a day with very lousy conditions I suddenly worked 7Z and T6 within 5 minutes on 20 meter in RTTY. No pile-ups, just calling them got me a QSO. The T6 station was weak and he got my call wrong in the beginning. Later he corrected it, lucky for me. I used the TS-440SAT with 50 Watts and I like the set more and more. My old love loves me again, and I love her!

June 19, 2010

Tim and I went with Wouter (PG2W) to the club broadcast of the VRZA, at Kootwijk Radio. You can see the fun we had in the Photo's section.

June 18, 2010

Reliving the days with my R-5000: listened to RAE on 15345 kHz tonight in German at 2100 UTC. Well, they were actually on 15344.2. Still haven't learned after all these years. Fun!

June 16, 2010

Went to Den Bosch today and bought myself a brand new second hand Kenwood TS-440SAT. Complete with all the filters and not looking too shabby. I got my old baby back (with transmitting capabilities now)!!

June 11, 2010

Got a QSL card from GM3SWK in the mail today. Worked 50 DXCC entities as a novice and confirmed 28 of them up till now.

Conditions on 10 meters picked up during the day. Heard DK0TEN on 28258 kHz coming in loudly at 1130 and EA4Q on 28263 kHz.

And at 1926 my first QSO as PA2BX with ES1TU from Estonia. New country, new band (17m), so not bad for a start.

June 10, 2010

That was fast!!! Agentschap Telecom already updated their database, so I could register my new call sign. PA2BX it is! PA-to-BX, or Holland-to-Taiwan. Now the world needs to know that PD3WHO is history. It was fun while it lasted: "Won't Get Fooled Again!"

June 8, 2010

Trouble in paradise: my server was switched off yesterday, but didn't come back on: PSU failure. Worse was that the HD also crashed. Spent the better part of today restoring an image of the drive and backing-up all the data. That went fine, but the server and weather station is history. Big sigh!!!

June 3, 2010

Did it again: passed my exam for the full license today with 45 questions out of 50 correct! Within a few weeks PD3WHO will be history. Will have to think about a new call sign now. Or shall I simply change de "D" into an "A"?

Heard OY6FRA on 17 meters tonight. Next time.....maybe.

May 27, 2010

Finished the T-match today. It tunes everything from 80 to 10 meters and it's not even that difficult. Now we need to finish it off nicely.

May 26, 2010

Good conditions on 10 meters again, now both to southern and northern Europe. Worked my first Swedish station: SJ7M on 10! Also heard 28292.2 SKCT, OK0EG on 28282.2, EA4Q on 28263.

May 25, 2010

Almost finished the antenna tuner. Found a temporary solution for the connection between the 4 mm shaft of the coil and the 6 mm insulator. Apart from the wiring everything is done now.

May 18, 2010

10 meter is open again. Heard F5ZWE/B at 14.30 on 28242.7 kHz with good signals. At 1712 on 28215 GB3RAL also came in strong. Made my first RTTY QSO at 1727 with EA3NI. Apperently this evening we have sporadic E as well, with some short skip stations coming in as well. Worked M3GFQ at 1744 and he came in with a booming signal. Only one minute later he was hardly audible.

May 15, 2010

Worked on my antenna tuner today as the weather was fine. Put a lot of the casing together and prepared the components.

May 14, 2010

10 meters was finally open when I was behind the set. Heard the beacons SV3AQR and IZ8DXB/B and had a SSB QSO with EA3BFX and two in PSK31, a mode which I normally don't use.

Also had 144.300 MHz on and heard DF0MU calling. Did a QSY to 144.333 and had a QSO with him later. Not the strongest, but my 10 Watts did make it over 112 km far.

May 13, 2010

Boxed my dip-meter today, but then it stopped working. Took it apart, but still no dice. Some days are just wasted. Hopefully tomorrow isn't one of them.

May 12, 2010

Got a QSL card from KH6MB today confirming my RTTY QSO on April 20. So I was really received in Hawaii with my 15 Watts via long path. Great stuff.

May 10, 2010

Today my first SSB QSO on 2 meter with PA3GBK and also my first PSK31 QSO on 10 meters with PA7JS from Ede. I'm going local again :-)

Apr 25, 2010

Called CQ in SSTV on 15230 several times, but no respons, so I tuned my FRG-7 to 15190 kHz at 1800 UTC and there was Radio Pilipinas loud and clear with that cute sounding language they speak on the Philippines. Fun!

Apr 20, 2010

Early start this morning: 0630 behind the set and heard VK2ZF in SSB and KH6MB in RTTY, both on 20 meter. The last one via long path, so 28000 km. A record for me! I called 500 Hz up and I think he came back to me, but too garbled to be 100% sure. Will definitely have to QSL this one to be sure.

Apr 18, 2010

Finally heard my first Taiwanese station: BX5AA, Jimmy from Changhua. Came in strong for a moment, but then faded away. Around 1445 UTC in RTTY on 14084 kHz.

Apr 15, 2010

Boohoo, J28KO came in with a fabulous signal, but before I could work him he was gone. The only ham in Djibouti...... :-(  Also heard V85TX from Brunei, so it was a good night.

Apr 5, 2010

All over the band today: YI9PSE from Iraqi's Kurdistan. SSB on 14190 and RTTY on 14081 kHz.

More fun was TI8II from Costa Rica. Called CQ, but my signal was too weak for him to be heard. Pity.

Apr 2, 2010

9M6JC on 14213 kHz at 1800 UTC. Nice to hear some Asian stations. Too weak to work though.

Also calibrated my TS-130V's frequency read out, which was off by some 200 kHz.

Mar 31, 2010

Nice pile-up on 14200 kHz where DU1VT was working the bands at 1739. I don't really care for that station, but is shows that propagation is quite good today.

Mar 30, 2010

Put the frequency counter from VK3BHR in an enclosure today. Still needs a bottom and sides, but the majority of work has been done.

Mar 29, 2010

Had a first scheduled SSB contact with Paul, VE9NC on 14120 kHz. He wanted to try SSTV, but it didn't work. I still need to get the software working. We ended up having a 20 minute RTTY QSO, before the fading started taking its toll. The power supply was certainly hot after that.

Mar 24, 2010

Sometimes you just have to get lucky. Turned on the set today and immediately saw OX3WS calling CQ in RTTY on 20 meters. Replied and he came back. Difficult QSO because his signal wasn't strong and there was QSB and nearby QRM. But exiting nevertheless and first time Greenland for me.

Also heard T6AF, but couldn't work him. Pity.

Mar 15, 2010

Today I found out that Thompson really works. For the second Tiny Tornady I built a VFO with a 100 pF variable capacitor and a self-wound coil. Hooked it up, but had no idea where I was on the band. Took it apart and measured the capacitance and inductance of both components. Calculated the frequency with Thompson's formula and, you'll never guess, it was right on the dot. Not in the amateur bands (don't tell anyone), but I guess transmitting power must be only a few mW. I found this site where you can calculate it quickly. Handy in case you don't have a calculator at hand.

Mar 14, 2010

Got out my PIC programmer today. The plan is to put together a frequency counter from VK3BHR. It uses a PIC16F84A and I finally got it programmed with WinPic (yes, one of those rare occasions I boot into Windows). The trick was to choose the right oscillator, which in my case was picking the option for the high speed one. No luck with the 16F628A though.

Mar 13, 2010

Went to the yearly Hamfest in Rosmalen, today. Bought some components, coaxial cable and found a new M57713 to fix the TR9000. Most fun was to meet some people from zendamateur.com. Usually we only communicate via the web, but today I met up with PA1BJS, PA5CAL, Steef and some others. Fun!

Mar 7, 2010

Heard the special event station ZS10WCS in RTTY on 20 meters. First time I've heard a South African station. I have heard other stations from Africa, but those were much further up north.

Feb 28, 2010

Had a productive day. Now that I finished the 10m CW QRP transceiver (I gave it a paint job today) I started working  on my BITX20. In the afternoon I tuned 20m and heard a strong Hell signal. Turned out to be TA and the call was VX9NC (special prefix for VE9NC), Paul from New Brunswick, Canada. It took me several tries, but I finally managed to get through to him. We had a nice, but short QSO and I am absolutely thrilled to bits to have worked my first TA Feldhell QSO. This really made my day.

Feb 19, 2010

Not much, but interesting activity on 20m in the morning: heard EA5ON/M in QSO with VK2UZ with reasonably good signals. Later ZL1DB and around 0930 VK6MV from near Perth. Couldn't work any of them, but that will come. Also heard my first JA station, JA8BNP in RTTY on 20m. There is hope for this QRP station.

Feb 15, 2010

Spent a lot of time with my nose in the books, studying for the F-license today. Took a break and found a Dutch net on 7078 kHz in the afternoon. Everyone came in with 55 signals. Fun to hear so many PA-stations on 40 meters. Let's see if we can keep this up.

Feb 14, 2010

Peddling through the broadcast bands and quickly want to know what station you are listening to? Here is your site: haven't had so much fun swl-ing since ten years!

Feb 13, 2010

Fitted a YK-88c 500 Hz narrow CW filter in my TS-130V today. I am getting the hang of morse code. I can take call signs in three to four passes now, including the numbers. Need more practice though.

Feb 11, 2010

Finally got my act together and finished the 10 meter CW QRP rig. Had a variable C installed in the wrong way, so once that was fixed it worked. Calibration will be done at PA0MBJ next week. Also had a nice QSO with OM7OM, who was running 5 Watts RTTY on 20 meters. I reduced to 1 Watt and we were still able to have a readable QSO. Who said QRP is no fun?

Feb 1, 2010

Some conditions today and heard Radio Australia on 9500 kHz with readable signals from 1923 to 1930 UTC. Program was called "Asia Today". SINPO32332.

Jan 30, 2010

Today I reorganized my "shack". Also finished the touch paddle/cw keyer and the dummy load. Feels good to have things in order. Had a Feld Hell contact with Greece and a RTTY QSO with Finland to test QRP RTTY. Everything went fine, so we had a really good day. Also more snow. This winter is really harsh.

Jan 24, 2010

Heard the Italian beacon IW3ICH/B on 14097 kHz, with VVV DE IW3ICH/B JN55WD. And again snow today, although not that much. Melted away during the day.

Jan 21, 2010

Finally some time behind the set. Heard ZB2CD on 20m RTTY, but couldn't work him. Pity. Was ZL2AQQ in a former life.

Jan 16, 2010

Today was the January Simpsons Sprint from the Feld Hell Club, but unfortunately I only made one contact on 20 m with OH2LU. He was fading in and out, so we hardly had a QSO. Wish the contest was at some other hour.

Jan 3, 2010

The shack gets so cold nowadays my TS-130V needs at least half an hour to become a little stable. Had a drift of 0.4 kHz within 30 minutes yesterday. More cold weather on its way.

Dec 24, 2009

HV50VR was active on in RTTY 14084.4, but too weak to work. When the signal started to get stronger there was not a big, but a very big pile-up from NA stations. Bloody hell!!

But the main purpose for me was to test the combination of fldigi and CQRlog and that proved itself. Flawless logging of my RTTY QSO with EA5UB.