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 twitter
I am usually located around maidenhead locator: JO22NC
I was wondering until the last moment whether to do it or not but eventually I did participate in the CQWW RTTY Contest in the last weekend. Seeing other radio amateurs get ready on social media helped me decide and jump in. I made 165 contacts on the 20 and 40 meter band. No new countries! I was seeing decodes from a station from Thailand but he did not decode my replies. It was also interesting to see how some stations that couldn't hear me at one time were almost easy to contact at other times. But not the one from Thailand, that one never came back. I only worked search and pounce, looking for other stations available for contacts. Some stations had major pile-ups but coming back later helped. Getting my log in a format that I could upload was a bit of an issue. I selected the CQWW-RTTY contest in the contest setup of fldigi, and it logged the CQ zone numbers and state in the right windows. But on the export to cabrillo there is no option to export those values. Workaround: select the right adif part of the log and use the CQ WW RTTY DX Contest ADIF to Cabrillo Convertor. I did have to fix my one US contact since the state wasn't exported correctly. Update 2020-10-04: My raw score before log checking is 22579 points according to 2020 CQ WW RTTY Contest raw scores. Update 2021-04-10: Final score: 162 valid contacts, 1 US state, 13 zones, 53 countries: 21373 points. Ranking #23 the Netherlands.
Solar Cycle Progression - NOAA / NWS Space Weather Prediction Center and zoomed in to the time when I made my first contacts making the screenshot in this article. And indeed, August / September 2014 was part of the last peaks of cycle 24, and it went mostly downhill from there. So my experience that I made my first HF contacts on 10 meter and soon had to go to lower frequencies to get any propagation matches those measurements.
Dit weekend was ik weer eens behoorlijk actief met amateurradio en als ik ging zenden was dit eigenlijk iedere keer onder de 17 MHz, dus binnen het VDSL spectrum. Ik was actief net boven 14 MHz (20 meter band) en net boven 7 MHz (40 meter band). Iedere keer als ik naar een andere frequentie ging verbrak de VDSL de verbinding en moest die opnieuw opgebouwd worden, ook als ik binnen dezelfde band opschoof. Ook waren er in de nachten nadat ik actief geweest was nog onderbrekingen. Dit keer ook opvallend: het 'geheugen' van de VDSL verbinding is veel korter. Een avond later kreeg ik weer een onderbreking als ik op dezelfde frequenties actief werd, ik was gewend dat dat bij meer dan een week was. Al met al is de VDSL dus een stuk gevoeliger voor het soort storingen wat amateurradio veroorzaakt (korte storingen op wisselende frequenties). Ik dacht dat dat in DSL termen "impulse noise". Nu begrijp ik ook dat de firmware met 'optimized for KPN' modem driver die ik nu gebruik anders reageert op dit punt dan de versie die ik gebruikte voordat er problemen met rare verbroken verbindingen kwamen. Geen vooruitgang dus. Wanneer komt er glasvezel naar de huizen? Glasvezel veroorzaakt geen storing op radiofrequenties en het raakt niet verstoort van nabij radiogebruik.
After lots of other things a weekend where I made time for amateur radio. I set up the endfed antenna and used a mast to raise the antenna at the end of the garden a bit, which hopefully increases the range a bit. The big new thing was the last radio contact of the weekend: I decided to get on the air with the paddle as an exercise in morse. After looking for a contact at a reasonable speed where the exchange would be more than just callsigns and signal report I heard someone call CQ on the 40 meter band at about 20 words per minute. So to exercise my sending and not try to decode everything at 20 words per minute I cheated and used the computer to decode most of the morse code. I answered with my call and some basic information, with the printed CW QSO example in front of me. The other radio amateur had the patience to listen to my relatively slow speed (12 words per minute) and I had the contact. So I ended with a good - ..- which is morse for TU which is the abbreviation for "Thank You!" Earlier in the weekend I made lots of FT8 and some FT4 contacts, just getting more calls in the log. I saw some for me new countries active. I managed to get French Guadeloupe as a new country in the log, and Saint Julia on a new band. My notifications for the Bulgarian Saints showed me that LZ595IP was active in PSK31. I haven't used that mode in a while. I made the contact, so now I have that call in morse and PSK31, still looking for other modes.
A few weeks ago I tried the Baofeng UV-5R on a satellite pass again to at least receive signal. It did receive something but kept closing the squelch during reception even at squelch level 0. This seems to be a common problem with this model radio. I decided to put some money into a handheld radio that can do full-duplex. My original Wouxun seems to have developed serious issues receiving on the 2 meter side, but it has served me very well as a handheld radio over the years. So based on reviews about the Wouxun KG-UVD8D/KG-UVD9D models and how their full-duplex capabilities worked in combination with satellites I decided to buy one of these. The current model is the KG-UV9K which adds airband receive capability. I ordered one from bamiporto which came after a few days. Based on the settings in AO-85 & Wouxun KG-UV9D - more testing I set mine up and tried a number of passes. The passes on satellites AO-91 (Fox-1B) and AO-92 (Fox-1D) all failed. The passes weren't too high and during busy weekends so there was a lot of competition for the uplink. With only 4 watts I am a bit limited there. The difference between the Baofeng UV-5R and the Wouxun KG-UV9K in handling audio from satellites with the squelch full open is clear: with the Wouxun I only get an interruption when I let go of the transmit button. Yesterday evening I tried a high SO-50 pass. A southwest to northeast pass, which gave me the option to stand in the front yard with radio, antenna and a smartphone with the W1ANT satellite tracker. I had trouble understanding some stations but could hear others fine who seemed to understand most stations fine, given the contacts I heard. In a gap I called F5ERS/P which turned into a good first contact and after that G0ABI called me and that was a good second contact.
Saudisat 1c / SO-50
I'm still trying to learn morse and I currently make too many errors while sending with the paddle at a reasonable speed (12 words per minute). Digging into the documentation for the winkeyer protocol showed me the option to get the morse it thinks I sent back to the computer. This is even a supported option in winkeydaemon, the -e option.-e Turns on winkeyer's 'echo' feature and makes the daemon echo transmitted CW to all active clients (see '-p'). Test this feature with the 'netcat' utility: 'echo | nc -u 127.0.0.1 6789'. This creates an active, echo-only client ses‐ sion.And indeed I can test my work:$ ./winkeydaemon -s 13 -e $ echo | nc -u localhost 6789 CQ CQ DE PE4KHThis could be used to write a morse trainer program. For now I use it to test whether I paddle what I want.
Again this year one of the important radiocontests for me: the IARU HF contest was this weekend. I made both SSB and CW contacts on several bands. I made 22 contacts in morse. I concentrated on SSB during the day, aiming to get some nice contacts in the log. There were good 10 and 15 meter openings which is always nice in a contest. I haven't done a lot of contesting on those bands so those enabled me to get more multipliers and a higher score. In the end I made 159 contacts, with a claimed score of 343 qso points * 74 multipliers = 25382. Update 2021-04-10: I did a check of results in several contests. My results for the IARU HF contest 2020: 153 valid contacts, 73 multipliers, score 23798. Ranking #63 for the Netherlands. This gives me a ranking of #9 in the 'Single operator unlimited, mixed mode, low power' category. Which isn't a very busy category.
Some time ago I saw announcements of an igate build project from PI4RAZ, the amateur radio club in Zoetermeer. An igate is a system that receives APRS messages and forwards them to the Internet aprs servers. There is a distinct lack of APRS coverage here in Utrecht, so more places that receive those messages and pass them to the Internet are a good idea. A specialized repeater to repeat them on the air would be even better, but that needs a special radio license which is one step too far and expensive at the moment for me. The electronics came in months ago, but time to pick up the soldering iron and start with the hard part wasn't available. I started this monday with that hard part: soldering a VHF module on top using something close to surface mounting. Just with a lot more space between the soldering islands than real surface mount. Still needed good light and a magnifying glass to check my work constantly. I only had to desolder one small blob of solder which went in the wrong direction. After that I soldered the resistors. That went fine. After that my eyes were too tired, but the first step has been made.
As I mentioned before I have some future cycling goals which include some form of long-distance cycling journey, with serious influences from the book Computing Across America. Naturally amateur radio will play a part in such a cycling journey, just as Steven K. Roberts had on his trips. Via the german amateur radio club DARC I found this bit in the "Deutschland-Rundspruch 24/2020":DK3JB erreicht erstes Ziel auf seiner Funk-Fahrrad-Reise Hans-Gerhard Maiwald, DK3JB, hat nach mühsamer und beschwerlicher Fahrt, teilweise auch wegen schlechter Radwege, am 15. Juni gegen 21 Uhr sein erstes Ziel, Kappel im Hochschwarzwald, erreicht. Dabei legte er ohne E-Unterstützung 580 km mit seinem 40 kg schweren Radanhänger zurück. Dem 72-jährigen OM geht es gesundheitlich gut. Hans-Gerhard gelang es, den weitaus größten Teil der Strecke permanent mit seinem TH-D74 in APRS aufzuzeichnen. Dabei hat sich der 1200 g schwere 12 V/20-Ah-Lithium-Ionen-Akku sehr bewährt. DK3JB hat zahlreiche Verbindungen in FM und D-Star vom Fahrrad aus getätigt. Durch Ludwigshafen wurde er von mehreren Funkamateuren gelotst und seine Route mitverfolgt. Hans-Gerhard bleibt bis Sonntag in Kappel und radelt danach vorerst an den Bodensee weiter.And I found out more about the cycling tours between Siegen and Friedrichshafen in Germany via Funk-Fahrradtouren of DK3JB and it is very inspiring to me. There is also an article DK3JB wieder mit dem Fahrrad unterwegs nach Friedrichshafen - funkamateur.de with information about this tour in 2020 (all in German, which I can read but not really write). He has done this tour several years already, I found an article from the June 2008 trip: Mit Fahrrad, Zelft und FTM-10SE durch Süddeutschland (pdf). After having read a book about cycling through Europe with the Rhine as one possible route, this confirms my earlier thoughts. Combining recumbent cycling, amateur radio and a nice ride through Europe is the direction I'm thinking.