2022-04-23 New country in amateur radio: Iran
A notable and rare country in the log today: Iran. I've seen Iranian calls on the air a few times but it is rare. Today I saw EP2C on the air in FT8 in the 17 meter band and got the contact. Confirming it is the next step: they have a QSL manager so I'll have to pay a few euros to get a paper card. Although the call seems active on Logbook of The World.
2022-04-10 A contact with a Brazilian radio amateur in morse on the 10 meter band
As noted before Brazil was a rare country for me on 10 meter until a few weeks ago but it got easier to get those contacts with the 10 meter band getting better due to the changing sunspot cycle. I changed this even more yesterday with a morse contact with PY2ZEA on the 10 meter band. I heard him calling and getting a lot of short contacts into Europe. At first the signal started fading into the noise but about 20 minutes later it came back slowly and with more calling cq for new contacts. I gave it a try and on the second attempt he got my call correctly and we exchanged some messages. More than just a signal report and a call, I told in morse that this was my first morse contact into Brazil.
2022-04-06 I participated in the EA RTTY contest 2022 last weekend
Last weekend was the EA RTTY Contest 2022 edition. At the last moment I decided to participate because I appreciate the contests organized by the Unión de Radioaficionados Españoles. Conditions were good: I made contacts on the 20 meter amateur band Saturday afternoon, on the 40 meter amateur band Saturday evening and even got contacts on the 10 meter amateur band on Sunday morning. Hasn't happened a lot in the last few years: contest contacts on the 10 meter band. Including a contact with a station in Brazil which was a bit remarkable: I had my first contact with Brazil on the 10 meter band only 2 weeks earlier! For most Dutch amateurs Brazil is 'easy' DX, but my antenna points mostly to the East / South. In the end I made 135 contacts which is a nice score for this contest.Read the rest of I participated in the EA RTTY contest 2022 last weekend
2021-12-19 New entity in amateur radio: Mount Athos
Today I added a special 'country' in my list of countries I have had contacts with. I had a contact with Mount Athos which is an autonomous area in Greece with special rules. The wikipedia entries on Mount Athos and Monastic Republic of Mount Athos have all the details so I won't repeat them here. The story goes that Mount Athos has no phone lines and therefore it seemed a good idea to give the monks that live at one of the monasteries on Mount Athos access to amateur radio so they can contact the outside world in an emergency. As autonomous area with some rules different from Greek law it is seen as a separate entity for ARRL DXCC so 'everybody' chases for a contact with Mount Athos. The monks do make it somewhat easy to get the contact, the radio station was running in FT8 fox/hound mode today. The next bit is getting it confirmed, and they really like a donation to the monasteries to get the confirmation.
2021-12-13 New countries in amateur radio: Dominican Republic and Belize
Again amateur radio is good for learning geography: two new countries in the log where I really had to look up where they are! This time in the Carribean: the Domican Republic and Belize right after another. In FT8 mode, on the 20 meter band. Usually the Americas are hard for me which is logical with my home antenna. The house is between the antenna and the north-east direction. The Dominican Republic is already digitally confirmed. I'm waiting for confirmation of the contact with Belize. I also checked some other unconfirmed countries and send out a kind e-mail in the hopes of getting another country confirmed. The chase continues ;)
2021-10-23 More 10 meter openings, and another new country
Things are going well with amateur radio: today I managed to make contacts with Australia and Indonesia on the 10 meter band in FT8 mode. That was a nice opening to the east, probably with some greyline on their side. It was morning here, so after the greyline for me. And later when 10 meter was silent I tried the 20 meter band, where a station from New Caledonia answered my call. I realized later that was a new country/entity for me, by that time the contact was already confirmed! Update 2021-10-25: Actually looking at maps made me realize New Caledonia is quite far away: the distance was about 16330 kilometers! I will need to tweak the generated maps on pe4kh.idefix.net a bit to actually show the worked gridsquares in New Zealand and New Caledonia.
2021-10-17 New countries in amateur radio and enjoying 10 meter openings
I am sitting behind the radio running FT8 on the 10 meter band and it's open in some interesting directions. According to PSK reporter my signals have been received in India(!) but I haven't made any contacts to India on 10 meters. The interesting contacts I have made on 10 meters were a few new countries on that band: South Africa, Swaziland, Lebanon and Georgia. Earlier Swaziland was completely new for me thanks to the 3DA0RU DXpedition visiting there. I also got the DXpedition to Sao Tome & Principe in the log: S9OK.
2021-09-18 New countries in the log: Trinidad & Tobago, Taiwan and New Zealand
I haven't written about new countries I had contacts with via amateur radio for a while, but today I finally got New Zealand in the log, which has been on my wishlist for a while. Indeed all countries that I don't have in the log yet are on that wishlist, but ranked according to Clublog New Zealand should be the 'easiest' for me. This morning I had a contact using the FT8 mode with ZL4AS on the 40 meter amateur band. This means a contact over a distance of 18726 kilometers. And by the time I write this the contact is already confirmed via Logbook of The World. The previous new country was Taiwan, last Wednesday using FT8 on the 20 meter band. That contact was with amateur station BU2FF who also confirmed very fast. And a while ago I had a contact with a station in Trinidad & Tobago but I haven't seen confirmation yet. So I am still going strong with contacts on amateur radio, sometimes finding that rare opportunity for a new country.
2021-04-24 Getting some new countries on the 17 meter band, 10 meter opening
With a bit of trying and retrying I tuned my home endfed to the FT8 frequency in the 17 meter amateur band. I'm chasing 'slots' on that band: countries I haven't worked on that band before. Today I got the Balearic Islands, Wales, Kenya, Indonesia and Lebanon in the log, all new on this band for me. Before that there was a nice 10 meter opening during the day, where I worked several European stations. Nice to see good propagation! Update 2021-04-25: On Sunday I tried FT8 on 17 meters again, this got me Thailand as a completely new country! And Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania new on the 17 meter band.
2021-04-04 New country in the logs: South KoreaItems with tag dx before 2021-04-04
Another case of having luck and being at the radio at the right time and frequency: I saw a few stations from South Korea show up in FT8. Tried making contact with more than one of them and the second or third station became stronger after a few minutes and with some trying the contact was made with HL5BLI. It was a really short opening, five minutes later I saw no traces of stations from South Korea. Update 2021-04-05: And the contact is confirmed on Logbook of the World too.