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!).
In April 2022 I added CW included.
PE4KH on qrz.com PE4KH on twitter
I am usually located around maidenhead locator: JO22NC
One of the most important ways for me to get contacts confirmed in amateur radio is via the Logbook of The World by the ARRL. I noticed the LoTW website was very slow yesterday and today, sometimes giving internal server errors. As a lot of radio amateurs should notice this, I had a look around and soon found mention at LOTW is Struggling! - amateurradio which confirms that the site is slow at the moment. There is a way to see how busy the site is processing uploads at LoTW Queue Status Page and the backlog is currently 11 to 13 hours. According to some comments in the reddit thread this is caused by people uploading their contacts once a year. I've had contacts where it took a while to confirm them because the other side wasn't uploading to LoTW on a regular basis but I never suspected some people do this just once a year. The upside is I now have a new country confirmed on several bands at once. And maybe more confirmations will show up. I do have some countries in my list with the note 'not a regular LoTW uploader'.
In Oktober 2022 the Sigi Presch - DL7DF and Crew DXpeditions team was active from Guadeloupe, a set of islands in the Carribian that is an overseas department and region of France. I already had a digital contact with Guadeloupe confirmed, but I really wanted to get more countries in morse so I worked on getting a contact with this dxpedition. I worked them on the 17 meter band in morse on 15 October of this year. With all the costs of such a DXpedition I can imagine they like a donation. And I like to get a real QSL card, so these two came together and there is a card on the way. And I already received a digital confirmation via Logbook Of The World. All contacts will be digitally confirmed eventually, more DXpeditions do an announcement that they will upload all the logs after a while (usually half a year). I think this is a positive development: if you want a physical card or a speedy confirmation you help with the costs of the DXpedition and otherwise you get a confirmation anyway eventually. I will keep an eye on DXpedition announcements from Sigi Presch DL7DF and team!
When I started with HF in amateur radio (below 30 MHz) in August 2014 making PSK31 contacts on the 10 meter band the number of sunspots was falling, the maximum frequency for ionospheric propagation was falling and therefore the possibilities of making contacts on the 10 meter band were dropping. In 2022 we are in the rise of the number of sunspots as part of solar cycle 25. And this year there are clearly moments where I can get interesting contacts on the 10 meter band. Today I had some time to play radio in the morning and I got contacts with China, India, UK bases on Cyprus, Macedonia and Hong Kong. The contacts were in FT8 mode. It is nice to see this. Radio amateurs who have been active for years will tell you about the good times when you can make contacts on the 10 meter band during the day with minimal means. Now I am enjoying this myself and having fun all over the world.
Last weekend was the CQ World-Wide DX Contest CW and I participated in that contest on parts of Saturday and Sunday. I ended with 189 contacts. Daytime I worked on the 10 and 15 meter bands and when those started to dry out I switched to the 20 meter and 40 meter amateur bands. Most of the time I chased stations in search+pounce mode but I also called CQ on the 15 meter band on Sunday afternoon. I will need to practise more with calling CQ: stations came to me at higher speeds than I was used to with running PA900UTR and if I didn't decode the callsign and reacted immediately some give up fast. But my morse is improving, even at contest speeds and I got a nice number of countries in the log. Even countries I didn't have in morse before: PJ2 Curacao, PJ4 Bonaire, CX Uruguay, 3B8 Mauritius, CN Morroco, SV9 Crete. Of those Mauritius is a completely new country in amateur radio for me. I put in some extra effort to get those new countries in the log, with other stations that I know are confirmed countries I give up after a few tries and try to get another call in the log. Radio contesting is about the numbers: both number of contacts and the multipliers. In this contest the number of CQ zones and countries is the multiplier, so I optimise a bit for that number. And I suspect a lot of the other contestants do the same. The overview of my single operator multi band effort:Band 160 80 40 20 15 10 QSO's 0 0 28 33 108 20 Cty 0 0 18 22 31 10 Zone 0 0 5 8 11 6 Pts: 344 Mul: 111 Score: 38184This was one of those contests where I had it all planned beforehand to participate, made sure everything was working optimally and had it marked in the family calendar. Normal things like weekend shopping still needed time, but the family wasn't surprised I spent a lot of time behind the radio.
I was planning to make some morse contacts this weekend but when I had time to turn on the radio on Saturday afternoon there was a lot of contest traffic on the morse parts of the bands. This turned out to be the LZ-DX contest. This was a chance to get some CW contest practise done. This is a CW and SSB contest but I concentrate on CW contesting at the moment. I found out TLF the contest logger supports the LZ-DX contest out of the box so I could start fast. Propagation wasn't cooperating very well but I did get contacts in the log. The final result:Band Qso Cancelled Dup Point ITU-Mult LZ-Mult Score 80M 0 0 0 0 0 0 40M 38 0 0 199 7 11 20M 30 0 0 131 6 9 15M 0 0 0 0 0 0 10M 1 0 0 1 1 0 ------------------------------------------------------------------- 69 0 0 331 14 20 11254
Since passing the morse exam I have continued working on my morse skills. As one of the reasons for wanting to learn morse was to be able to participate in morse radio contesting I still want to increase my speed and accuracy in copying callsigns. Exercising with tools like lcwo.net and Morse Runner helps improve these skills. But I'm also working on these skills 'on-air'. At the radio club I've done morse activations of special call PA900UTR a few times and that went ok. I don't get all the calls right the first time but it is a good experience and it's working out.
All the news about twitter makes me wonder if I want to stay there in the long run. But changing a social network is always a negative experience, you lose contacts. I still remember some several people who I haven't heard much from since google+ and wonder how they are doing! For amateur radio I'm having a look at mastodon as @PE4KH@mastodon.radio. One conclusion is that my own site is more permanent than any social media. My own website survived the rise and fall of google+ while importing my posts so those are still available here. But interaction on my own site is complex and needs constant maintenance to avoid spam.
Usually I switch on the amateur radio setup, and the software surrounding it just to get a feel for which amateur bands are active and what's happening on those bands and maybe get a few contacts in the log. Saturday evening was such a moment. But on the DX cluster I saw a new country (for me) active: Djibouti. On the 20 meter band in FT8. Recently Africa hasn't been too hard for me to get in the log so I joined the loads of amateurs trying to work J28MD and after a while I got the contact in the log with a good signal report. The fun part is I assumed based on the website I would get a confirmation via Logbook of the World months later or after paying for a card. But after somewhat more than 24 hours this contact was already confirmed!
This weekend turns out to be a weekend for making radio contacts with countries / entities I haven't contacted before. Or especially trying to get more of those countries contacted in morse. Friday evening I got Dodecanese contacted in morse, and already confirmed. Dodecanese is part of Greece, but counts as a separate entity for amateur radio. I have had contacts with Dodecanese before on all kinds of frequencies, but it turned out I didn't have it in morse yet. Time to fix that, and I managed to ge the contact. Saturday I got the Comores in morse on the 12 and 17 meter amateur band. The 12 meter contact was easy with clear signals, the 17 meter contact was in the noise and hard. So I'm not completely surprised the logbook of the Comores dxpedition D60AE only shows the 12 meter contact. I also managed to get a contact with Guadeloupe, a French oversees department in the Caribian. I had Guadeloupe before in digital modes but adding morse is good. This contact took a lot of tries, I think I was trying to get this one for nearly two hours. Other people probably are working longer at this, so I am not complaining. Sunday morning I saw the Russian DXpedition team in Benin TY0RU active on 17m FT8. It also took a while of trying and paying attention to the radio to get this contact in the log. There were also other contacts to special event stations or other activities, mostly in morse. Radio contacts with dxpeditions can take a while to get through because a lot of radio amateurs in the world want the special contact, and when the contact finally happens it is ultra short. Exchanging callsigns and a default signal report is enough, and the dxpedition wants to get on to the next contact! I also don't have the ideal callsign for noisy morse contacts: it could be shorter and the H at the end (in morse: ....) can be confused for an S (in morse: ...). Yes, PE4KS is in a few logs out there!
Past weekend was the 2022 version of the CQ World Wide RTTY DX Contest and I participated. Not with any preparation: on Saturday after some other tasks I sat behind radio and computer and looked up which set of macros would work for this contest. But propagation cooperated, especially on the 20 meter band. On Sunday evening after dark I got a nice set of stations in the USA and Canada in the log. I also saw a station from Brunei active but that station never managed to decode my callsign while I tried for a quarter of an hour as this would have been a new country in amateur radio for me. I made 106 contacts in total: 70 on the 20 meter band and 36 on the 40 meter band.