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
Tuesday evening we had a good presentation at our radio club about getting active on the QO-100 geostationary amateur satellite. This was a very technical presentation by René Stevens PE1CMO. This amateur satellite is actually a transponder on the Es'Hail2 satellite. The transponder is active on amateur bands: 2.4 GHz up and 10 GHz down. A very interesting and good presentation. And for now I find it very interesting but I'm not going to invest the time and money to get on that satellite. This did remind me that I wanted to get back into amateur satellites as planned for several years. Looking back I see a clear moment when the satellite activity stopped: The last successful amateur satellite contact was 2014-08-10: Success with the new radio and the SO-50 amateur satellite and the first HF contact was 2014-08-29: First PSK31 on HF contacts. It's easier to make a lot more contacts on HF for the same amount of work as one satellite contact. As a first step I took out the arrow antenna and a handheld radio just to listen to some passes. And that showed the well-known problem with satellite passes: They have to fit in your schedule or otherwise you will miss them completely. But there are a lot of amateur satellites to listen to. I had two Fox-1A (AO-85) passes not higher than 23 degrees elevation. And I heard nothing on those passes
Saudisat 1c / SO-50
, but that wasn't a big surprise given earlier experiences and what people have shared. I had one pass of Saudisat (SO-50) which went up to 29 degrees elevation and I heard at least a few callsigns on that pass. And no really bad behaviour, but maybe a Wednesday daytime is better in that regard.
I participated in the British amateur radio teledata group RTTY Sprint75 contest 2019. The special thing with the 75 is that this is 75baud RTTY and not the normal 45baud RTTY. This is a relatively short contest (4 hours) on a Sunday evening and I did not participate in the contest the whole time, I also watched some television with my family. All a matter of priorities. I made 27 contacts on the 20 and 40 meter bands. Since I now have an RF power meter I was able to make sure my output power was right below 100 watts so I could enter in the '100 watts' category and not 'high power'.
After getting to the magic number of getting contacts with 100 DXCC entities confirmed I applied for (and paid for) the ARRL DXCC award, the American Radio Relay League DX Century Club award. So I guess I have to admit I'm a serious DX chaser!
After working on the URE 70 year anniversary special event I also made contact with two new countries: Egypt and Colombia. Egypt is not too far away but there aren't many active radio amateurs in Egypt so this one is harder. This evening SU9JG is active and I got the contact. Right after that I got HK3C in the log from Colombia. Not a very rare country in Amateur radio, but with my current setup I have trouble reaching South America. The definition of 'rare' or 'not so rare' countries (or rather: DX entities, but that's another story) in Amateur radio is based on the statistics gathered by Club Log and published as the DXCC Most Wanted List which is based on the assumption that every active Club Log member wants contacts with all available DXCC entities. Countries with lots of active amateurs such as the United States of America and Italy are at the bottom of the list, countries or entities that restrict amateur radio or are very hard to reach such as North Korea and Bouvet Island are at the top. Update 2019-04-22: And both are already confirmed on Logbook of the World which gets the number of countries confirmed via electronic qsls on Logbook of the World to a round 100, the magic number for the DX Century Club. So, time to start checking my options to get an actual DXCC certificate! I also have three countries confirmed via QSL card which aren't confirmed electronically, so I have to look into the Dutch QSL card checker option one day.
I haven't made an amateur radio contact with a completely new country in a while, but I have worked on getting countries on new bands in the log. This weekend I had the 6-40m longwire antenna out. It did not want to tune on 12 meters but I made contacts on the 10, 15, 17, 30 and 40 meter bands. Some new country/band combinations were added: Moldova, Montenegro, Japan and the Slovak Republic on 30 meters, Estonia on 17 meters, Latvia on 15 meters. I also made contacts with several stations in the URE 70 year anniversary special event. Update 2019-04-15: Tuned the longwire for 80 meters and added Serbia and Norway as new 80 meter countries.
In an otherwise quite filled weekend there was also the EA RTTY Contest 2019. I participated for somewhat over an hour on Sunday and made 28 contacts, 24 on the 20 meter band and 4 on the 40 meter band. Preliminary results: 28 valid contacts, 44 points, multiplier 23, total 1012 points.
After a month with a holiday and a month with one contest I redid the QSO count plot to see the development. before, before, before, before, before
Although FT8 does great work for weak signal reception on HF bands it's also nice for the 2 meter band and the 70 centimeter band. So after lots of tries with the 2 meter band I decided to give the 70 centimeter band another try. But, there is one thing: there aren't many stations active in FT8 on 70 centimeter and even when one is active in the nearby area that station may be on a different FT8 frequency. The real standard is not there yet. Until now I've seen:
I check for activity via the PSKreporter site. My two FT8 on 70 centimeter contacts where on 432.174 and 432.176.
- 432.174 MHz
- 432.176 MHz
- 434.670 MHz
In the past week I made my second 70cm FT8 contact, and again with another amateur in the JO22 gridsquare. So the map for 70cm gridsquares contacted and confirmed isn't very spectacular yet, but I'm going to generate and maintain it anyway. Now in the list of maps at pe4kh.idefix.net.
Every week there is an hour of morse training at my radio club, see article CW cursus op PI4UTR (Dutch). And I'm going there every week I can, as learning morse is an important part of my amateur radio resolutions for 2019. We're training with the G4FON morse trainer which uses the Koch method (order of characters to learn) to learn morse and so-called Fairnsworth timing (playing the dits and dahs of the characters at the high speed but leaving room to think about what you just heard). I am doing ok, now we're getting to the level of 37 characters I have a hard time remembering the newest characters. Constant exercise seems the only way to fix this a bit, making exercises with just the characters I keep making mistakes in, although I can go blank again on new characters when switching to testing the whole set. As soon as I get reasonable low amounts of errors I'll try to raise the speed (by raising the effective speed, the dits and dahs of a single letter still come at 15 words per minute). I want to learn this, with the plan to pass the Belgian CW test some day, and get up to enough speed to be able to participate in morse parts of contests and DX contacts. But there will be a lot of practice before I'm at that level.