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
I am usually located around maidenhead locator: JO22NC
The 10 meter amateur band (from 28.0 to 29.7 MHz) is the HF band where I started making the first HF contacts in 2014 but after that HF propagation went down and I had to go to lower frequencies and bigger antennas. But there are short periods of better propagation and this evening I tried FT8 on the 10 meter band again and made two contacts into Norway. I even received signals from Brazil so propagation was ok, mostly along the 'greyline' which is the line over the earth between the areas in the sun and not in the sun and causes some more propagation.
Last weekend I participated in the ARI International DX Contest. Before the contest I was looking at the option of trying the tlf contest software and operating phone (voice) but adding the definitions for scoring this contest to tlf turned out to be not possible at the moment and at the end the weekend was filled with enough other things that only a few hours of operating RTTY were left. Propagation wasn't very cooperative and I first was blaming local interference until I noticed that the same lack of signals was showing in other places and twitter was filled with aurora pictures, so a solar flare had blocked propagation. In the end I made 43 contacts and entered in the 'single operator RTTY low power' category. Low power on an Italian scale: below 100 watts.
A very good bit of info just flew by on the amsat-bb mailing list: Logging Satellite QSOs with Logbook of the World - AMSAT-NA. Complete with screenshots and needed steps, how to create an ADIF file (which I could import into CQRLOG) with the satellite-specific fields set to the values needed by LoTW to make it a valid satellite-contact. CQRLOG has no support for satellite-specific contact information, so for me the workflow for these contacts would be to create an ADIF file as above in LoTW, upload it, and import the ADIF file in CQRLOG and not upload it from CQRLOG. Now to find time, energy and nice weather to get on the satellites again.
The PE4KH website has maps of the locations where I contacted radio amateurs all over the world. The maps with generated images are created by exporting my locators worked/confirmed from cqrlog and using gcmwin for linux with a whole set of different configurations to plot the results. But now the 2 meter band has been added and on that band a 'record distance' is not as far as on HF. On HF my current distance record was a contact with Australia at 16581 kilometers. My current distance record on the 2 meter band is 363 kilometer in Germany. Quite a different scale! So the maps part has been enhanced with a 2 meter contacts map, but gcmwin can't use 6-position maidenhead locators so the map is quite coarse compared to what I want. I don't know the solution at the moment to improve this. The recent qso map PE4KH does show the more precise gridsquares when available in the log, so maybe that page needs distances added.
After the previous measurements showed the balun and dipole under the roof weren't acting as a perfect combination. So time to do a few things better: more windings, less leftover wire and a switch to a voltage balun. Yes, other sources indicate a current balun is better, but I decided otherwise. The Fritzel balun turned out to be a voltage balun after I removed it from the dipole antenna. So I used the instructions at 1:1 voltage balun by VK6YSF to rebuild it as a voltage balun and I made sure the wires were shorter in the end. Getting the shorter wires in the right places in the case did get me some slightly burned fingers! Success is currently defined as "I can transmit a carrier on the 20 meter or 10 meter band and the SWR meter of my radio only goes up a few segments" which isn't very scientific, I will need to do the rest of the measurements with the SWR meter to be sure.
big common mode choke in the mix makes the combination show better SWR curves (still not what I want) but with the frequency with the best SWR still too low. This suggests (to me) two things: I need more windings on the ferrite core and less extra wire length from the core to the connectors. Time for a rebuild.
I finally decided where to put the holes in the case for the dipole ends of the balun. This took some serious pondering! I made those holes, put screws through them and wound the ferrite core with enamelled copper wire. To guess the needed length of wire I first wound it with packing rope, made a small knot at the point where it was enough and unwound the rope to measure the length I used and took a bit longer wire. Using sanding paper I removed the enamel isolation from the ends of the wires and used soldering tin on it. Other parts of this project:
- Building my own balun, part 1: idea and parts needed
- Building my own balun, part 2: measuring the 'old' balun
- Building my own balun, part 3: First work on the case
- Building my own balun, part 5: First tests of the result
- Building my own balun, part 6: Redo and some success: a working antenna again
- Building my own balun, part 7: Better measurements of the result
As planned I participated in the EA RTTY Contest edition 2018. I had most of the time to play radio on Sunday so I decided to participate in the SO20DX (single operator 20 meter band outside Spain) category. I did make two contacts on the 40 meter band when I thought I wasn't going to find any new station the 20 meter band but I returned. And found more stations on the 20 meter band.
Another new country that should not be too hard to get in the log but did not happen until today: South Africa. ZS6ZA was active on 40 meter FT8 and received my answers.