2021-03-24 New country in the logs: Hong Kong
It is always good to have a bit of luck and get a contact with a new country. This evening I saw a call from Hong Kong pop up on my screen with FT8 traffic and made the contact with a bit of a hickup since it was hard for me to receive the transmissions. The signal report showed that my signal made it across easier, so I had confidence and the contact was made. After that I saw a station from Ghana, which had more trouble decoding my signals, but after a few tries that contact was valid too. Ghana is not a completely new country for me, but it was new on the 40 meter band. Now to wait for digital confirmation (both show they use Logbook Of The World) and see if I can get a QSL card. Update: I just noticed I didn't write about a few new entities from recent months. In February I also got Anguilla in the log (an island in the Carribean) and confirmed. This was a case of turning on the radio on a non-standard time and seeing a new country and getting the contact. In March I saw notifications for activity from the UK bases on Cyprus (which are two British overseas territories housing military bases because of the strategic location of Cyprus) which I have been chasing for a while and the contact was made. Update: All contacts mentioned above confirmed.
2021-02-16 Finally Armenia confirmed in amateur radio
Getting new countries in the log is one part, getting those countries confirmed is another. Armenia had been 'evading' me for a few years because there aren't a lot of active radio amateurs in that country and the first ones I had contacts with decided to want money for a QSL card or digital confirmation. I decided to keep trying and in December 2020 I got a new station in the log: EK3GM and that station confirmed via Logbook of the World. So now I have that country confirmed, making the total 127 countries contacted, 120 confirmed via Logbook of the World. Update 2021-02-17: And being active in the CQ WPX RTTY contest last weekend caused another confirmed country that I have been 'chasing' for a while: Tunesia. Contest station 3V8SS was very active, I got in the log and now I have 121 countries confirmed via LoTW.
2021-01-01 Closing 2020 in amateur radio with a plot of the number of contacts and a review
Time to plot the number of contacts in 2020 and a review. I made no specific resolutions for 2020 but looking back there were positive developments.Read the rest of Closing 2020 in amateur radio with a plot of the number of contacts and a review
Plans for 2021:
- The Kenwood TS480-SAT is at a remote location with good antennas for most of the HF bands. This enabled me to work new countries and get more voice and morse contacts in the log.
- I was active on amateur satellites a few times, including from Austria.
- The morse speed improved and I got on the air more with morse. Including a few morse contests.
- I tried to follow the Bulgarian Saints 2020 stations and I had at least one contact with one of the stations in 10 out of the 12 months of 2020. In 8 months I had at least one contact in morse with the station of that month. So I earned the Bulgarian Saints diploma 2020.
- In general I made more contacts in this year than in any other year. The endfed antenna is now mounted outside in such a way I can leave it there, which makes getting on the radio for a few contacts easier. There were also more special event stations active this year.
- I had radio contacts with several new countries.
- The box with outgoing QSL cards is now empty!
- I'm active as QSL manager for my local club, this is fun and my part of keeping the club running.
- Keep practicing morse, try to pass the morse exam.
- More satellite contacts. Weather permitting...
- Morse and phone in contests.
- Order new QSL cards and keep on sending them.
2020-12-21 Contests can help other things, and other DX updates
I like participating in radio contests. Not to win them, but to improve my own score and have the fun of making a high number of structured radio contacts in a short time. There is also the factor that radio contests bring out participants in places that are normally hard to reach for radio amateurs. Last weekend I was tuning on the 20 meter band looking for phone contacts and I heard a Canadian station giving out the abbreviation Quebec Charly (QC) as an exchange. I looked it up and found out the RAC Canada Winter contest was running. I made the contacts and spun the dial looking for other Canadian stations, because I never had a confirmed voice contact with a Canadian station. That doesn't mean I haven't talked to Canadians over amateur radio, I had a really nice chat with a Canadian who knows the area where I grew up a few months ago. That's totally different from a contest contact and also very nice to have. In total I got 3 different Canadian stations in the log and I entered my log. It won't be the winner in the DX category, but I appreciate the fact that the Radio Amateurs of/du Canada organize this so I do my part in making the scoring possible. And yes the first LoTW confirmation already came in, so I now have Canada confirmed on phone. Other DX update: Patience helps, I now have the earlier contact with Cuba confirmed.
2020-11-25 New "country" in amateur radio: Jan Mayen
I still have a (short) list of European "countries" that I not yet have an amateur radio contact with. Jan Mayen was on that list and I set a specific alert in HamAlert to let me know when signals are seen from that part of the world. Today the alert fired and I had time to operate the radio. JX2US was active on 20 meter FT8. I joined the load of stations calling him and got an answer and a valid contact after trying for a while. Jan Mayen is a very northern island belonging to Norway, but for amateur radio it is a separate entity. Jan Mayen has no permanent residents. According to the JX2US qrz page he does amateur radio in his spare time outside work in shifts.Read the rest of New "country" in amateur radio: Jan Mayen
2020-11-03 New countries in amateur radio: Cuba and the Seychelles islands
For most Dutch amateurs the first countries they have HF contacts with outside Europe are in North and South America. For some reason my DX from home has a slant to the east, so a lot of the Americas is still on my 'wanted' list. This weekend I was active on the remote radio which has a 10-12-15-17-20 meter band antenna and I heard a Cuban station on 15 meters phone. After a number of tries I had the contact so that was my first contact with a Cuban station. I also heard a station from Vatican City (for radio this is a separate entity) making contacts but it had so many stations responding I did not get through even with trying for almost 20 minutes. Update 2020-11-04: Another new country in the log: the Seychelles islands. A country name that I usually associate with bad corners of the Internet at work is now a positive development as I got S79KW in the log with a very marginal FT8 contact on the 20 meter band, but I saw his final '73' report so it should have been logged on the other side.
2020-05-24 Going for countries on other amateur bands
In the past few days I used the long-wire antenna with tuner to get on 'other' amateur bands. I added contacts on the 17 and 15 meter bands to several countries around my country. Some of those countries were new on those bands, so that's nice. No spectaculair new distances or countries, but a good flow of new contacts.
2020-05-17 New countries in the log, now waiting for confirmation
Two new countries in the log, now the wait is for the amateurs on the other side to confirm the contact via Logbook of the World. Or maybe not, but both seemed solid contacts. First was to the island of Curacao, part of the Netherlands Antilles. A lot of Dutch stations will have Curacao in the log because the Americas are the 'easy' DX but with my antenna position it has always been easier to get to the east. Second one was to Kenia, which was a sort of surprise contact, I suddenly saw signals from a station there without any other indication that there was an opening towards Africa. In other amateur radio experiences I've also had some really nice 10 meter openings recently. This is remarkable at the bottom of the sunspot cycle, but I guess sporadic E and other special propagation modes help. So I got some new countries on 10 meter. Earlier North Macedonia and today Albania.Read the rest of New countries in the log, now waiting for confirmation
2020-05-03 New country in the log: St. Lucia
In my earlier activity on the 60 meter band I had a "maybe" contact to St. Lucia. This is one of the islands in the West Indies in the Eastern Carribian Sea. But in the end the "maybe" contact was no contact. Ok, fine with me, on to the next chance. That happened Friday evening in a 10 meter opening: I came to the radio with the computer decoding FT8 signals ready to go to bed, but I saw J68HZ active as only non-European station, answering European stations. So I had to try! After a number of tries I got a reply with a very weak signal report, so I kept my fingers crossed for the next exchange and it came, closing the contact. And the next evening the contact was confirmed, giving me a new DXCC entity.
2020-04-29 More 10 meter band funItems with tag dx before 2020-04-29
This month is somewhere near the absolute minimum of the solar cycle but today FT8 is active on the 10 meter band. I listened to other things on the 10 meter band but when I heard some morse I soon found out it was a beacon from Italy. It would have been nice to do some other mode than ft8 on the band. But I made the possible FT8 contacts and got bigger distances than yesterday. In the evening I got Asiatic Russia and Belarus in the log.