2022-12-25 Chasing DX with well-organized DXpeditions
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!
2022-12-21 Having a "When 10 meter is open, it's really open" day
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.
2022-11-28 I participated in the CQ World-Wide DX Contest CW
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:Read the rest of I participated in the CQ World-Wide DX Contest CWBand 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.
2022-10-31 Surprise DX: Djibouti
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!
2022-10-16 Chasing DX!
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!
2022-09-28 I participated in the CQWW RTTY 2022 contest
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.
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 AthosItems with tag dx before 2021-12-19
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.