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
Today was an ISS contact with Werner-Heisenberg-Gymnasium, Leverkusen, Germany and Schickhardt-Gymnasium, Herrenberg, Germany and most of the contact was going to be within range for me and it was at a usable time. So I set up gpredict to track the ISS and the receive frequency and set up audacity to record the results. Which weren't great since 2 meter reception is now influenced by recently installed solar panels on the house next door.
A nice video I found from Essex Ham via Journey into Amateur Radio (Pete M0PSX) where Pete narrates slides from earlier presentations he gave on his specific journey in amateur radio.
This evening I made an FT8 contact with VK7AC which is a new distance record: 16918 kilometers. Which is an improvement over the previous record: 16581 kilometers to Melbourne. With Australia being huge I'm not surprised distances can be very different. The contact was hard to make but callsigns and signal reports got exchanged eventually. This was on the 40 meter band so that's also a new band for that country. In the rest of the weekend I made more FT8 contacts on different bands and some SSB (voice) contacts to several active stations. Noticable was that several high-power stations were active on the 10 meter band Friday evening enjoying the band opening.
As guessed when I got earlier personal distance records with FT8 on the 2 meter band bigger distances are possible with 'Sporadic E', a condition in which even higher frequencies can be propagated through the ionosphere. This evening G8EOH came back to an FT8 cq on 2 meter and I found out that gave me a new distance record: 342 kilometer.
This weekend had enough time available to be active on the radio. And the 10 meter band was open again, just like the evening opening on 10 meters three weeks ago. This weekend the 10 meter band cooperated most of Friday evening, a few hours Saturday morning and most of Sunday afternoon and evening. Especially 10 meters FT8 was busy and I worked a lot of European countries on the 10 meter band. On Thursday evening I had 15 countries confirmed (lotw or paper qsl) on 10 meter for my call PE4KH, on Sunday evening that number was 25. I added the Faroe islands to the log Sunday (also on 10 meter FT8) when I saw OY1DZ active and had a contact. Not yet confirmed, I have requested a card via the OQRS system in use for OY1DZ and other calls. According to that page the LoTW confirmation will also happen soon. I also got a few voice contacts in the log: special event calls and world wide flora and fauna activations are always nice to have. The flora and fauna location spff-450 activated by SP5KD/P was hard to understand at home so I used the utwente websdr to receive and the transmitter at home to transmit.
This evening another try, this time without the preamp. And tried receiving a linear satellite transponder. This makes things even more complicated as I have to look at one display (gpredict) to have an idea where to aim the antenna and another display (gqrx) for the waterfall display. Maybe both can be on the same screen with a lot of resizing. The first pass I tried was a pass of the FO-29 satellite which has a linear transponder. It was not a very high pass so all reception was through a house. I did hear morse first, and later saw signs of USB signals in the passband. Signals were weak and noise was high. I was almost able to understand one callsign, a 9A.. callsign (Croatia). The other pass I tried was a pass of the SO-50 satellite which is a narrow FM satellite. Signals were weak for narrow FM so I had to keep turning the arrow antenna to get the polarisation right. I could hear spanish and english callsigns. I recorded the SO-50 pass and noted the audio looked very distorted in audacity. Maybe I can improve the audio somewhere in the chain and get things better.
So last year I wanted to get back on amateur satellites and bought some hardware that would enable me to go full-duplex: receive and transmit at the same time. The most important part is to get the receive side working. This evening had a pass of the SO-50 amateur satellite and a pass of the Fox-1D satellite right after another (with some overlap). And it's dry and a reasonable temperature to be outside with laptop, preamp, rtl-sdr stick and arrow antenna. Signal levels on narrow FM are still very faint and hard to hear, so I guess I am at the limits of the rtl-sdr for weaker signals, even with the preamp.
This weekend I had some time to participate in the EU PSK DX Contest. Conditions did not cooperate very well. First I thought local qrm was making me hear only the loudest stations but comparing it to the Utwente websdr I was hearing about 'everything'.Total number of QSO in your log is 41, Including 0 QSO with errors, Valid QSO - 41 Band QSOs Dupes Points Mults 160 0 0 0 0 80 0 0 0 0 40 28 0 56 39 20 13 0 25 21 15 0 0 0 0 10 0 0 0 0 ====================================== Total 41 0 81 60 Claimed score is 4860 points
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.