I passed my novice radio amateur exam in March 2013 and I registered the
PD4KH (pappa delta four kilo hotel!).
I passed my full radio amateur exam in March 2016 and I registered the callsign
PE4KH (pappa echo four kilo hotel!).
PE4KH on qrz.com
PE4KH on hamqth.com
I am usually located around maidenhead locator: JO22NC
I upload logs to eQSL.cc during and after being active on the radio. I upload logs to ARRL Logbook of the World, www.qrz.com on a regular basis. I like paper cards via the QSL bureau so I send those out when requested or when I think the other party will appriciate one and I will respond when I receive a card. Notifying me via e-mail that you would like a card is also possible.
I appreciate SWL reports for QSOs.
gallery of eQSL cards received by PD4KH and PE4KH.
Antenna rotor project
D-Star digitale amateur radio (Nederlands)
Recent contact (QSO) map for PE4KH embedded using google maps
Mapped HF contacts by PE4KH gridsquares contacted (red) and confirmed (blue)
Mapped 10M contacts by PE4KH gridsquares contacted (red) and confirmed (blue)
Mapped 15M contacts by PE4KH gridsquares contacted (red) and confirmed (blue)
Mapped 17M contacts by PE4KH gridsquares contacted (red) and confirmed (blue)
Mapped 20M contacts by PE4KH gridsquares contacted (red) and confirmed (blue)
Mapped 30M contacts by PE4KH gridsquares contacted (red) and confirmed (blue)
Mapped 40M contacts by PE4KH gridsquares contacted (red) and confirmed (blue)
Recently it seems radio noise levels on the HF bands have gone up again so I spend more time trying to make contacts in JT65 mode since that mode is more robust against noise than PSK31. To do this I use the WSJT-X software under Ubuntu Linux. WSJT-X is written by Joe Taylor KJ1T. The Ubuntu hams packages had WSJT-X 1.1 and I frequently ran across the problem that it crashes when the Internet connection to pskreporter is impossible when sending spots. In my setup the Internet connection drops regularly when I'm active with JT65 or PSK31 so that was an annoyance. Logged as Ubuntu bug #1673040: wsjtx crashes when internet connection is interrupted. But this weekend I was listening to Linux in the Ham Shack Episode #184 and in the presenters talking about re-installing a Linux system for amateur radio I heard two words: wsjtx ppa. As soon as possible I looked it up and found WSJTX General Availability Release PPA, followed the installation instructions and upgraded to WSJT-X 1.7. The main improvement is that it decodes better so I may make further contacts. Sofar it hasn't crashed on an interrupted Internet connection. I see one problem: it doesn't like talking to my radio via rigctld, giving an error. When I stop rigctld as started by Cqrlog and let WSJT-X control the radio directly via hamlib things work fine. And suddenly Cqrlog sees the QSO in progress and logs it when done.
With the hardware available it's now time to test the first part of the software setup: whether I can have running software defined radio. To (re)install Gqrx I followed the instructions at Install Gqrx SDR on Ubuntu Linux. The first 'sudo apt-get purge --auto-remove' steps removed a lot of software and the latter 'sudo apt-get install' steps added newer (or maybe the same) versions. But I was glad to do a full reinstall, I have had weird problems with gqrx versions before. The laptop on which I am doing this has had an install of gqrx before, but was upgraded from Ubuntu 14.04 LTS to Ubuntu 16.04 LTS in the mean time, so a clean reinstall seemed a good idea. I plugged in the RTL-SDR stick and checked whether no drivers were installed, which was indeed still correct. The kernel messages:[156490.915435] usb 2-2: new high-speed USB device number 7 using xhci_hcd [156491.111136] usb 2-2: New USB device found, idVendor=0bda, idProduct=2838 [156491.111141] usb 2-2: New USB device strings: Mfr=1, Product=2, SerialNumber=3 [156491.111143] usb 2-2: Product: RTL2838UHIDIR [156491.111145] usb 2-2: Manufacturer: Realtek [156491.111147] usb 2-2: SerialNumber: 00000001To make sure the drivers aren't loaded, I have a /etc/modprobe.d/local-blacklist.conf with:blacklist dvb_usb_rtl28xxu blacklist rtl2830 blacklist rtl2832 blacklist lirc_devTo test it with the 'minimal' setup I started with just the RTL-SDR and a simple antenna, and Gqrx. Enabled remote control in Gqrx and added a radio 'gqrx-sdr' in Gpredict with host 'localhost' and port '7356' (default for gqrx remote control) and Radio type 'RX only', PTT status 'none'.
I still want to get active on amateur satellites again, but the main reason is that the amount of work per contact is a lot more than for example in a digimode contest. But I still want to make those 'special' contacts, especially when the amount of local radio noise on HF is bothering me. One of the most important improvements in making contacts on amateur satellites is working 'full duplex', meaning receiving signals while transmitting. The expensive way to reach that goal is buying a second amateur radio capable of receiving in FM and SSB modes in the 2 meter and 70 centimeter amateur bands and having computer aided tuning so gpredict can control the receiving frequency. The less expensive way to reach that goal is using software defined radio. The good news is that Gqrx SDR can be controlled by other software which as the page shows is intended for remote control by Gpredict. All I needed now was reception hardware. Since the first RTL-SDR device I bought is always in use for receiving ADS-B signals from airplanes I decided to buy another cheap one to get me started. So it was on the shopping list for a recent visit to a hamfest. At the hamfest I found a RTL-SDR stick with mcx connector and an mcx to bnc cable. But the same guy also sold cheap low(ish) noise amplifiers with SMA connectors and a 9V battery connector for power. So at one of the booths selling cable assemblies I found an mcx to male sma cable and a female sma to bnc cable, and a male to male sma cable. The plan is to put this all together in some metal case to shield the lna from the outside world. Maybe also shield the amplifier from the RTL-SDR stick so it won't pick up any extra noise. Should this work it would be possible to think of an upgrade with better SDR hardware and/or a pre-amplifier at the antenna side.
We stayed in a holiday park in Germany for 6 days and I decided to bring radio, tuner and the 6-40m antenna. So I was DL/PE4KH for a week and operated PSK modes a few times. In total I made 11 contacts. The 'radio environment' was about as noisy as I am used to at home so no improvement there. Disconnecting the power supply for the television and the cable modem in the bungalow helped a bit in reducing the radio noise. The interesting part was on Thursday evening when I only heard noise on the 40 meter band and decided to give 80 meter a try. It was active with PSK signals, including from callsigns I recognize as regulars on 20 and 40 meter PSK. My best guess is that 40 meters was unavailable for others too! The interesting part was that the antenna tuner was able to tune the LW-10 antenna for 80 meter. I do guess a lot of power was lost in the tuner as I only was able to make contacts with stations that came in very strong for me. For the next time:
- Make sure fldigi on the laptop knows about all possible PSK and RTTY home frequencies, including those on bands I don't use a lot.
- Both batteries I brought got depleted really quick when transmitting with 50 watts. I need more battery capacity.
As I process the eqsl confirmations that come in after the Russian Worldwide PSK contest 2017 I start to notice some callsigns are showing up regularly in (digimode) contests. My highest number of confirmed contacts via eqsl which are related to contesting come from YO9AGN, S58X, S51AF, RA3GZ, HG3FMZ, EA3HKA, 9A4FS. But the number one callsign I have confirmed via eqsl is not a contest station but the Veron club station PI4AA where I try to call in to the net almost every month.
This weekend I had time to use the radio and after trying to get some more contacts on the 30 meter band Friday evening I decided to participate in the ongoing digimode contest in the weekend. This was the weekend of the Russian Worldwide PSK contest 2017 (https TLS certificate is broken at the moment). I had fun doing it, had 124 contacts in the contest. I now have two new countries in the log: Kuwait and Suriname. And Kuwait already confirmed via Logbook of The World. I just uploaded the log (with the last contact rejected as it was too late):Band QSOs Dupes Points Mults 160 0 0 0 0 80 0 0 0 0 40 52 0 320 28 20 71 0 223 33 15 0 0 0 0 10 0 0 0 0 ====================================== Total 123 0 543 61 Claimed score is 33123 pointsComparing it to my results in the Russian WW PSK contest 2015 I did a lot better. At that time I still had limited access to the 40 meter band which limited my options for PSK traffic.
Today I threw out the longwire antenna and tuned it for the 30 meter amateur band (10.100 - 10.150 MHz). I first tried the PSK part of the band but that was completely silent. I tried the JT65/JT9 part, and that part was buzzing. And beeping, and other sounds. I made several contacts in Europe in the morning which was as expected. But in the evening the computer/radio was still running and I noticed some US callsigns, and answered one, and had a JT9 contact with K8SIA. After that it was time to get the longwire antenna back in the house again. All in all another good experience with the 30 meter band.
I noticed recently the number of radio contacts made by my new callsign PE4KH which I started using in March 2016 was getting close to the number of radio contacts made by my previous callsign PD4KH between March 2013 and March 2016. A typical rise in contacts, mostly due to my skills improving and participating in contests. So I wanted to view the rise per month and did some searching how to ask the cqrlog databases and plot the results. Oh, and now PE4KH has more contacts after a few new contacts logged in PSK31 mode on the 20 meter band today.
I still try to make radio contacts to far away places even with current radio propagation at low levels. At the moment the last hours of the afternoon before sunset seem to give options towards the west (USA and Canada). Last week I got home early one day, fired up the radio for PSK31 on 20 meters and saw K2EQ again. This Sunday I saw in the fldigi screen:
Vermont Counties map, from Vermont county map - WikimediaCQ Vermont QSO Party K1VMT K1VMTand answered with my call without having any idea what the Vermont QSO party is about, but having Vermont in the log would mean a new US state. The exchange was made and I dug up from the noise that the answer included LAMoille which is a county in Vermont. It all made a lot more sense when I viewed the Vermont QSO party website. I kept an eye open for CQ's from other Vermont stations but never saw any. So I entered my log with one entry for the Vermont QSO party.
A posting about reading 433.920 MHz signals triggered the idea I had ages ago to decode those signals and see what weather stations are available nearby. The original posting 433,92Mhz ontvangen (Dutch) was about receiving remote controls (KlikAanKlikUit) and had a screenshot of some Linux software for receiving those signals but no name of the software (that would be useful information). But a simple google search found me rtl_433 on github which receives and decodes all kinds of signals on 433.922 MHz. I downloaded it on the raspberry pi for radio experiments, and it is working fine receiving weather information from probably nearby weather stations. At least one outside temperature and humidity sensor, one inside temperature and humidity and one wind and temperature sensor. This last one could be nice for my weather station!2017-01-27 21:00:27 : HIDEKI Wind sensor Rolling Code: 15 Channel: 4 Battery: OK Temperature: 3.6 C Wind Strength: 5.31 km/h Direction: 67.5 °and a rain sensor:2017-01-27 21:01:05 : HIDEKI Rain sensor Rolling Code: 0 Channel: 4 Battery: OK Rain: 648.2 mmThanks for sharing, neighbours!