News items for tag dx - Koos van den Hout

2018-04-06 And a contact with South Africa, new country 1 week ago
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.

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2018-03-30 More FT8 on the 2 meter band 2 weeks ago
I have now tried FT8 on the 2 meter band several times. One time I received a message via FT8 to try it on the 70cm band too but I haven't figured out the right frequency on that band yet.

DX contacts have been made into England, France and Germany. Furthest 2 meter contact at the moment is 323 kilometers. From the doppler shift I see the most probably reason for these distances is aircraft scatter, which means I'm using big metal reflectors in the sky to bounce my signal, without even paying for an airplane ticket.

I'm looking forward to 'E-skip' and other phenomena that can make 2 meter radio signals reach larger distances. I wonder what that will bring me.

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2018-02-19 Again new countries in amateur radio in a pair 1 month ago
This evening another two new countries in my amateur radio log: Lebanon and Gibraltar. First OD5ZF from Lebanon and 4 minutes later ZB3M from Gibraltar. That makes three pairs in two months.

These two were both in FT8 mode on the 40 meter band. FT8 is very good at fast contacts at low received signal levels.

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2018-02-18 Two new countries in the log and I participated in the Russian worldwide PSK contest 2018 2 months ago
Two new countries in the PE4KH log: Oman and India. Oman was Friday afternoon when I was home early and decided to turn the dial over the 40 meter band to make some phone contacts and heard A41CK call. Who took my call on the second try!

India was late Friday evening. The call VU2NKS showed up in FT8 and it had a direct pile-up (lots of people answering). But with some persistance from my side and good operating skills from the other side the contact was made.

And this weekend was the Russian Worldwide PSK Contest so I participated Saturday afternoon / evening and a bit Sunday right before 12:00 UTC. I managed to start Saturday 12:00 UTC sharp calling CQ. Which worked at that time for getting contacts. I chose the 40 meter band category because I expected most radio time this weekend would be after sunset.

In the end I made 64 contacts. Not a very high score, but I had times were several contacts happened in short succession so I am improving in digimode contesting.
Band  QSOs Dupes Points Mults
160      0     0      0     0
80       0     0      0     0
40      64     0    388    28
20       0     0      0     0
15       0     0      0     0
10       0     0      0     0
======================================
Total   64     0    388    28
Claimed score is 10864 points
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2017-12-24 First radio contact with Armenia 3 months ago
As if one new country today wasn't enough, I also managed to get Armenia in the log with station EK1KE also in FT8 mode.

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2017-12-24 First radio contact with Australia 3 months ago
Map from pskreporter with Australia A special first for me: an amateur radio contact with Australia, with VK3EW who seems to be a serious DX chaser. For me, this is almost the other side of the world.

This was an FT8 contact, which is a digital mode specific for making contacts with very weak signals using the minimal exchange of information to have a valid contact. I think the neighbours have heard my happy shout after I saw the first response come back to me. The exciting part was making it a full contact complete with signal reports exchanged.

The distance of this contact is 16581 kilometers! The scaling of the generated maps at PE4KH amateur radio has been adjusted to make this contact visible.
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2017-11-01 DAB services scan 1 November 2017 5 months ago
DAB+ logo Tijd om weer eens een DAB services scan te doen. Een extra reden was omdat bij de scan op de Pure DAB+ radio zelfs de Vlaamse multiplex binnenkwam.

Bij de scan met de Noxon USB stick kwamen die niet meer binnen (en waren tegelijkertijd aan het wegvallen op de Pure radio), maar die heeft weer even de Duitse landelijke multiplex gezien. Maar de regio's Noord/Oost en Zuid kwamen dit keer niet in de scan. De typische volgorde van kanalen komt trouwens omdat de Noxon software de scanvolgorde nog altijd geoptimaliseerd heeft voor de Duitse situatie en dus de scan begint bij 5C.

Met alle testen met lokale radio via DAB+ is dat nog steeds niet in de buurt actief geworden.

Opvallend is dat MTVNL op 5B opduikt. Op 12B had ik wel MTVNL maar volgens Muxxi zonder services (0 CU in gebruik).
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2017-10-30 I participated in the CQWW DX contest 5 months ago
This weekend was the CQ World Wide DX Contest. This is indeed another phone (voice) contest, so I connected headset, footswitch and the remote head of my radio. I had some time to participate on Sunday early afternoon and Sunday evening. On Sunday afternoon the logical band to try was 20 meters, on Sunday evening 40 meters. In the end I made 51 contacts.

All I did was 'search and pounce', checking for stations calling CQ that I could understand good enough and transmit my call back to them in the hope they would hear me. Some stations had me on the first try, some took several tries and some never heard me. The DX that got away was a Kazakhstan station who could not decode my call even after several tries.

I used the yfktest contest software for Linux again. This wasn't very hard as yfktest has a standard definition for the CQWW DX contest.

I heard both serious contest stations and single operators just calling CQ on the air. Interesting was to work OH1LWZ/M who according to his qrz page is really contesting mobile from his car or bicycle.

For next time I have to check the compression and gain settings for SSB on my Yaesu FT-857D radio when using the headset.

Claimed results:
Band    QSO    Qpts   Dupes Countries Zones
-------------------------------------------
  20     40      48       0      15       5
  40     11      19       0       9       6
-------------------------------------------
 ALL     51      67       0      24      11
===========================================
 Total Score: 2,345
A few times I heard the contest call PA0AA of my radio club who worked very hard to get the antenna at the club ready for contesting, but only in the background when I was trying other calls. It would have been nice to get them in the log.
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2017-06-02 Radio Caroline back on AM 10 months ago
Radio Caroline will be awarded a license to transmit on 648 kHz AM. From the Radio Caroline website where I can't deeplink to the right article (Home - Am Licence):
AM LICENCE ‐ A KILOWATT ON 648

We are pleased to announce that Ofcom have informed us that our application for an AM licence has been approved and that a licence will be awarded.

The basis of our application was that our traditional heartland was Essex and Suffolk, where the signal from our ships made first landfall and that we wished to entertain on AM, an audience that we have not been able to serve in this way since 1990.

We said that this audience may hear music radio of a style they remember and in some cases presented by the same people they remember.

That in essence is what we intend to do.

We can now announce that our AM frequency will be 648 kHz with a power of 1000 watts. This is ERP or simply the power radiated by the aerial.

A transmitter was imported from the Continent a few days ago and is now being modified to suit the frequency. There are further hurdles, but as you can see progress is being made.
The frequency (648 kHz, once BBC 648 / BBC Europe / BBC world service) isn't very good for local community radio (needs big antennas) so one 'big' station is a better idea. I think reception in the Netherlands will be possible when local interference is minimal.

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2017-02-15 JT65/JT9 on 30 meters, even getting a new US contact 1 year ago
Today I threw out the longwire antenna and tuned it for the 30 meter amateur band (10.100 - 10.150 MHz). I first tried the PSK part of the band but that was completely silent. I tried the JT65/JT9 part, and that part was buzzing. And beeping, and other sounds. I made several contacts in Europe in the morning which was as expected. But in the evening the computer/radio was still running and I noticed some US callsigns, and answered one, and had a JT9 contact with K8SIA.

After that it was time to get the longwire antenna back in the house again. All in all another good experience with the 30 meter band.

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2017-02-06 I participated a bit in the Vermont QSO party 1 year ago
Vermont counties map
Vermont Counties map, from Vermont county map - Wikimedia
I still try to make radio contacts to far away places even with current radio propagation at low levels. At the moment the last hours of the afternoon before sunset seem to give options towards the west (USA and Canada).

Last week I got home early one day, fired up the radio for PSK31 on 20 meters and saw K2EQ again.

This Sunday I saw in the fldigi screen:
CQ Vermont QSO Party K1VMT K1VMT
and answered with my call without having any idea what the Vermont QSO party is about, but having Vermont in the log would mean a new US state.

The exchange was made and I dug up from the noise that the answer included LAMoille which is a county in Vermont. It all made a lot more sense when I viewed the Vermont QSO party website. I kept an eye open for CQ's from other Vermont stations but never saw any. So I entered my log with one entry for the Vermont QSO party.
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2016-12-11 New band in amateur radio: 17 meters (18 MHz) 1 year ago
This weekend I had some time to 'play radio' and used the LW-10 longwire antenna for 6 to 40 meters because I wanted to try the 30 meter band. But there was no activity on the 30 meter band in PSK modes. So I tried other PSK31 frequencies as programmed in fldigi and ended up at 18.100 MHz and had a few contacts with Greece, Russia and Spain.

The 17 meter band is from 18.068 MHz to 18.168 MHz and one of the WARC bands, named after the World Administrative Radio Conference in 1979 which allocated small parts of the spectrum in 10 MHz (30 meter), 18 MHz (17 meter) and 24 MHz (12 meter) to radio amateurs. Partly on a secondary basis (10 MHz), partly as primary user (18 MHz and 24 MHz).

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2016-11-11 DAB services scan 11 November 2016 1 year ago
DAB+ logo En dit keer wel DAB multiplexen ontvangen die eigenlijk te ver weg zijn, zoals MTVNL Noord-Limburg/Noord-Brabant op 9C. Die is zelfs bijna storingsvrij, multiplexen op 6B en 7A worden wel gezien in de scan maar geven geen geluid wegens teveel fouten.

NPO is voor de hoofddiensten (Radio 1 en andere diensten die ook via de FM beschikbaar zijn) overgegaan op betere foutcorrectie (EEP 3-A in plaats van eerder EEP 3-B). Dit was een enorme klacht bij de overgang van de NPO multiplex van DAB op DAB+ in 2013, de foutcorrectie bij de NPO werd minder wat ontvangst aan de rand van de dekkingsgebieden moeilijker maakte.
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2016-10-30 Testing an antenna for the 2 meter and 70 centimeter amateur bands 1 year ago
Diamond X-30N antenna mounted on painters pole in the window of our dormer, CC-BY-SA
Diamond X-30N antenna mounted on painters pole in the window of our dormer, CC-BY-SA
I have the idea to put up an antenna for the 2 meter and 70 centimeter amateur bands on the dormer on our house and camouflage it as best as possible. With this idea in mind I could not resist the offer of a secondhand Diamond X-30N antenna for a very reasonable price. I know there are antennas with a lot better gain but I also wanted to minimize the visual impact. I had the time to test the antenna and used the painters pole I used earlier in TV DX experiments, receiving DVB-T television from 167 kilometres away.

On the painters pole out the window the antenna is even higher than the PA0FBK j-pole antenna, which made me try an experiment: participate in the Zondag Avond Roep Ronde (ZARR) radio amateur net which is operated from Maren-Kessel (near Den Bosch) which is a considerable distance on 2 meter. Earlier I was unable to hear the CQ calls for that net on my own radio while hearing them via a nearby 2 meter SDR (mounted at serious higher elevation than my antenna).

But this time I heard the call when the directional antenna of the net manager was pointed in my general direction and he heard my answer, so I had a nice contact on 2 meter FM.

This position of the antenna is quite temporary and I brought it back in after my participation in the amateur radio net. But this makes a better place for the antenna on the roof of the dormer and some camouflage to make it less visible a good idea.

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2016-07-09 An actual 10 meter contact with my PE4KH callsign 1 year ago
Checking around the bands where I can do PSK31 I noticed actual activity on 28.120 MHz (10 meter band) and had a contact there with IZ8OYV. Just one answered CQ and no other contacts.

The sunspot cycle is clearly past its peak with days without any active sunspots showing up, and this lowers the maximum frequency at which radio propagation in the ionosphere happens. So currently a 10 meter contact is very rare where the first HF contacts I made at home in August 2014 were all on the 10 meter band.

Update 2016-07-11: And two more 10 meter contacts in the log.

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2016-06-19 I participated in the Ukranian classic RTTY contest 1 year ago
Without a lot of preparation I participated in the 2016 Ukranian classic RTTY contest contest just to see how I would do and maybe get one or two new interesting entities in the log.

The radio interference was active all weekend on 40 meter so I participated only on the 20 meter band.

In the end I participated for about just over 3 hours and made 64 contacts. Interesting new entities were Venezuela (new country) confirmed, Pennsylvania confirmed and North Carolina confirmed (new US states). Confirmations come in quick via eQSL and LoTW!

I updated the Veron afdelingscompetitie with the results. And all the other usual places where I upload the logs of my radio contacts. Already the first confirmations via eQSL are coming in and visible in my eQSL received at PD4KH / PE4KH collection.
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2016-04-17 New country in amateur radio contacts: Brasil 2 years ago
With lots of my fellow amateurs making contacts all over north and south america this should not be hard but while I have heard amateurs from south america I haven't been able to make any contacts south of Puerto Rico up until today. I saw PT7DX active on 20meter PSK31 and tried to answer him a few times. On the third try it worked and we had a short contact in which I thanked him for the new country.

The fun part is that I saw KB6NU in the US complain about HF propagation around the same time.

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2016-04-10 New country Japan 2 years ago
eQSL card from JA8AHA for PSK31 contact New country today in amateur radio contacts: Japan. Another one of those lucky contacts without any planning, I just had the longwire antenna out to try if I could get a signal in the 6 meter band.

I saw a call from Japan, answered it, answered it again after raising the power level and the contact was made.

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2015-09-25 New records for me in amateur radio 2 years ago
This evening I hung the endfed antenna outside, in the hopes of being able to make a contact with a station in Algeria I saw calling. But the station went away, or the signal doesn't make it to my endfed while being ok on my attic antenna.

eQSL card from YB6HAI But I received a very interesting reply when I called CQ for new contacts: YB6HAI from Indonesia. New distance record: 9923 kilometer. And a new country.

The contact is already confirmed.

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2015-09-02 In Utrecht wel L1 radio, maar geen RTV Utrecht via DAB+ 2 years ago
Net een scan gedaan met de Pure DAB+ radio op zolder. Opmerkelijk is dat wel de regionale multiplex Zuid op 7A goed doorkomt, waardoor ik nu L1 radio (Limburg) en Omroep Brabant kan ontvangen, maar niet de regionale multiplex West op 8A krijg waar 'onze' regionale zender RTV Utrecht in zit. Soms ontvang ik regionale multiplex Oost op 6B waar wel RTV Utrecht in zit voor de oostelijke helft van de provincie Utrecht. Maar dat is dan marginaal en vandaag dus niet.

De opbouw van regionale multiplex west op 8A gaat langzamer dan de andere regionale multiplexen vanwege de kosten volgens Radio Royaal binnenkort via DAB+ in de Randstad - radio.nl
Dat het DAB+net voor de Randstad slechts matige dekking krijgt, heeft alles te maken met de kosten. Op dit net dienen namelijk 18 verschillende partijen, zowel publiek als commercieel, te gaan uitzenden. Sommige partijen willen helemaal niet uitzenden via DAB+, maar zijn het wel verplicht, terwijl anderen weinig financiële middelen hebben. Daarom is gekozen voor een netwerk met een minimale dekking, waardoor net aan aan de licentievoorwaarden wordt voldaan.

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