News items for tag dx - Koos van den Hout

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) 2 years 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 2 years 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 2 years 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 2 years 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 2 years 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 3 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+ 3 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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2015-07-29 New country in amateur radio contact: Oman 3 years ago
eQsl from A45XR Oman
eQsl card from A45XR Oman
I added a new country in amateur radio contacts: Oman.

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2015-06-14 More distance on HF 3 years ago
pskreporter showing KP4DQC at 7179 kilometers Slight adjustment of my highest distance in a PSK31 contact: 7179 kilometer to KP4DQC in Puerto Rico.

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2015-05-31 New amateur radio band activated and confirmed. 3 years ago
eQSL card from DL65DARC I recently built and tested a new lightweight HF antenna. It's an endfed for the 10, 20 and 40 meters amateur bands (28 MHz, 14 MHz and 7 MHz). With my current Novice license I don't have a lot of access to the 40 meter amateur band, only 7.050 MHz to 7.100 MHz. But during testing station DL65DARC was active and heard my reply and confirmed it via eQSL.

I had earlier contacts on 40 meter (while testing the same antenna) but this is the first confirmed one.

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2015-05-24 Playing in the EU-PSK-DX contest 3 years ago
I saw the EU-PSK-DX contest coming up in the PG7V contest calendar and decided to try. My results are nice for a beginning novice with background noise:

Total number of QSOs in your log is 41, Including 0 QSO with errors, Valid QSOs 41
Band  QSOs Dupes Points Mults
160      0     0      0     0
80       0     0      0     0
40       0     0      0     0
20      41     0     84    50
15       0     0      0     0
10       0     0      0     0
======================================
Total   41     0     84    50
Claimed score is 4200 points. I selected the SINGLE-OP 20M HIGH category. When I look at the EU-PSK-DX contest 2014 results I didn't do too bad for 25 watt power, in a noisy (residential) area and with only about 6 hours of actual 'radio' time.
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2015-04-01 New country for me in amateur radio: Afghanistan 3 years ago
Spotting T6T on pskreporter I saw T6T active on 10 meter PSK31 this afternoon, fading in and out. And quite popular with other stations, Afghanistan is a rare country to see active on amateur radio. But one go he saw my reply and we managed to have a short contact. Right after the contact he faded away completely again!

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2015-03-25 New country for me in amateur radio: Qatar 3 years ago
eQSL confirming contact with A71AE
Confirmation of contact with A71AE
Last evening I saw A71AE active on 20 meter PSK63. After he worked a number of other station I answered his CQ and we had a short but good contact. And I already have it confirmed via eQSL.

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2015-03-22 The Heard Island DXpedition book 3 years ago
First I have to describe to 'other' visitors of my pages what a DXpedition is: operating radio from a remote location which is on the wish-list of many radio amateurs who want to make contacts with as much countries/locations as possible. Radio amateurs will visit such a place and set up antennas and radios to make those contacts possible.

I just finished reading the VK0IR DXpedition book. It's a great description of the Heard Island DXpedition in 1997. Just 18 years ago, but a lot has changed. Supporting a major amateur radio event via the Internet/World wide web was a new thing back then. Nowadays, not doing that would be unthinkable.

And, the Heard Island 2015 DXpedition is being planned! I usually avoid making contact with DXpeditions because it's just trying to get through a wall of radio amateurs trying to make that contact (what radio amateurs call a "pile-up") but it can be done, so I may try to get this one.

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2015-03-05 A new distance record in HF for me 3 years ago
A new distance record in HF for me this evening: I had a PSK31 contact with someone 5 kilometers away!

My other current distance record is an RTTY contact to the island of Aruba at a distance of 7908 kilometers.

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2015-02-15 I played in the CQ WPX RTTY contest 3 years ago
Sunday I noticed a distinct lack of replies to my calls in PSK31 mode on the standard places in the 10 and 20 meter amateur bands. So I spun the dial and noticed a lot of RTTY traffic. This turned out to be the CQ WPX RTTY contest. So I answered a number of CQ TEST calls and exchanged the stunning number of 13 QSOs.

The fun part is that this is a way to make contacts in new places. Normally I don't get through to the US or Canada easily but now I made several contacts there. And I had contacts in Cyprus and Aruba. Now to see which ones I can get confirmed.

One new and puzzling thing to me was receiving EYR as a serial. This confused me but the other side was quite convinced it was a valid serial. But the logrobot for the contest did not accept it so I googled and found out in RTTY numbers can be written as letters. The simple way is to look at a US keyboard for transposing: 1=Q, 2=W, 3=E, 4=R, 5=T, 6=Y, 7=U, 8=I, 9=O, 0=P. So EYR translates to 364.
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2014-03-23 (#) 4 years ago
Due to some current events I am interested again in receiving ADS-B signals from aircrafts, I started with ADS-B on the rtl-sdr stick in August 2013. ADS-B antenna 1090 MHz colineair design I still have dump1090 working, and I built a colineair antenna based on the design mentioned on SBS-1 & SBS-3 Mode-S / ADSB Virtual Radar : User Forum xx • View topic - How tu build antenna for sbs-1?. Old electric wire was easy to adopt for this target. The result is clearly visible, I can now see high-altitude aircrafts from beyond Eindhoven and Den Helder.

But I also noticed the most 'interesting' aircrafts are the ones that do not show location information in the dump1090 console display. Some are gliders, such as
Hex    Flight   Altitude  Speed   Lat       Lon       Track  Messages Seen   .
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
4849c6 PH1280   2025      0       0.000     0.000     0     73        0 sec
But others will send high numbers of messages and when I search on the Hex ModeS code I find them listed as militairy aircraft.
Hex    Flight   Altitude  Speed   Lat       Lon       Track  Messages Seen   .
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
ae0403 DUKE37   15000     0       0.000     0.000     0     1840      0 sec

Update: It's remarkable that 'lower Dutch airspace' closes at 23:00 localtime. After that time I see nothing below flightlevel 30000 feet (my guess). Looking at Flightradar for Schiphol shows maintenance vehicles and a few late arrivals.

Update 2014-03-24: Ok, one more extra interesting signal:
Hex    Flight   Altitude  Speed   Lat       Lon       Track  Messages Seen  .
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
4d03cd NATO01   31075     0       0.000     0.000     0     3225      0 sec
One of the Awacs radar airplanes operating from NATO Air Base Geilenkirchen is active, as announced. Lucky you can't hear those very well when they are at 31075 feet. It doesn't announce its location but I think an Awacs radar airplane is perfectly capable of avoiding any plane...

Update 2014-03-25: And the other Awacs plane manages to not get out of range longer than 60 seconds (timeout in dump1090 for tracking a flight), leading to a very high number of messages from one flight:
Hex    Flight   Altitude  Speed   Lat       Lon       Track  Messages Seen   .
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
4d03c9 NATO02   29000     0       0.000     0.000     0     83597     0 sec

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