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 Korea
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.
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 radioItems with tag dx before 2021-02-16
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.