News items for tag hamradio - Koos van den Hout

2023-01-29 Having fun with the WRTC 2023 award
Last year a World Radiosport Team Championship was planned again, this time in Italy: the World Radiosport Team Championship 2022 Italy but due to well-known reasons international travel from all corners of the world to Italy wasn't a good idea, so the news was: WRTC 2022 postponed to 2023 ! - WRTC 2022 Italy.

In the first half of 2022 they had an award to promote the event among radio amateurs: WRTC 2022 Award - WRTC 2022 Italy and I participated during those months and got digital awards. Contacts were in different modes (SSB, CW, FT8, RTTY) on a lot of HF bands with special event stations in regions of Italy.

In January 2023 they are doing it again, this time only in CW and SSB and only on bands that are also active in the WRTC contest in July, this time with stations in multiple countries: WRTC 2023 AWARD : January 2023…headset on! - WRTC 2022 Italy. So I'm trying to get different stations in the log on different bands. It's working out fine so far, I even got a new country in CW (Indonesia). I also used the clubstation to get these special event stations on the 80 meter band.

This is fun and a good promotion for the upcoming WRTC.

Result

In the end I made 122 contacts with WRTC special event stations in January 2022.

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2023-01-27 I bought a new radio transciever: the Yaesu FT-991A
Eight and a half years and over 14000 contacts after I bought a Yaesu FT-857D I thought it was time to upgrade. The basic requirements haven't changed a lot: HF, 2 meter, 70 centimeter bands, SSB, Morse, FM, support for computer control. What I wanted to improve on is noise filtering, handling of strong adjacent signals and a waterfall display.

So the choice is the Yaesu FT-991A although I also looked at HF-only radios from Yaesu but decided on this one in the end. This will be the base station radio for a while and I will only use the FT-857D for operating away from home.

The basic installation went fine and I think this is a great amateur radio and good value for money. It is an advanced technological device so I had to dig into manuals and on-line documentation several times to get things set up the way I wanted it.

The good innovation is that the Yaesu FT-991A has an USB port on the back. This USB connection gives the computer 2 serial ports and audio over USB. The first serial port is for Computer Aided Tuning (CAT) control which can control the radio from the computer.

I directly wanted to set up an udev rule to map this to a fixed symlink so I can start rigtctld easily. The new rule:
SUBSYSTEM=="tty", ENV{ID_MODEL}=="CP2105_Dual_USB_to_UART_Bridge_Controller", \
        ATTRS{idVendor}=="10c4", ATTRS{idProduct}=="ea70", \
        ENV{ID_USB_INTERFACE_NUM}=="00", \
        SYMLINK+="ttyCATya"
The ENV{ID_USB_INTERFACE_NUM}=="00", filter only makes this rule activate on the first of the serial ports offered by the CP2105 chip.

My current experience is that the noise filtering is indeed better which helps a lot in the noisy RF environment at home.

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2023-01-21 2022 in amateur radio for me
QSO count for PE4KH until December 2022 Time for an overview of what happened in amateur radio in 2022 for me. Like previous years I will look back at the plans and what happened. Looking back at Closing 2021 in amateur radio the following results are clear:
  • The morse exam finally happened and I passed it.
  • More morse contacts in contests and in general
  • 18 new countries/entities in the log
  • More countries/entities in morse in the log
  • Satellite contacts: none
  • Used the improving propagation
The plans for 2023:
  • Try to get more countries/entities, especially in morse. I am working towards DXCC in morse: 100 entities confirmed.
And one thing is both a result of 2022 and an item for 2023: I ordered a new radio: a Yaesu FT-911A, HF, VHF, UHF all mode at the end of 2022 and it was delivered last week. That will be a separate post.
Read the rest of 2022 in amateur radio for me

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2023-01-16 I participated in the UBA PSK63 prefix contest
PSK63 contest in fldigi Like a bit of a yearly event it was time for the UBA PSK63 prefix contest last weekend.

On Saturday propagation on the higher frequencies was not cooperating a lot so I went to the 40 meter band late in the afternoon. On Sunday things were better, I even got one whole contact on the 10 meter band. A lot of the contacts were in search and pounce mode. On Sunday I ended with the last half hour of the contest calling CQ UBA PSK TEST and managed to get a few new stations in the log. Some of those contacts came at a fast pace with even a small pile-up where I had to ask only one prefix to answer.

I ended with 111 contacts logged, which is a good number for a digital mode contest.
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2023-01-09 I participated in the ARRL RTTY Roundup
RTTY Contest on websdr This weekend was the ARRL RTTY Roundup and I participated. Not for very long because there were other things in the weekend, including the New Year's celebration at my own radio club.

In the end I made 30 contacts, Saturday evening and Sunday evening after dark. On Saturday evening it was hard to find another station, not a lot of signals and a lot of noise on the 40 meter band.

Raw score: 30 Qpts x 21 Mults = 630

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2023-01-03 Getting contacts confirmed at the beginning of the new year
One of the most important ways for me to get contacts confirmed in amateur radio is via the Logbook of The World by the ARRL.

I noticed the LoTW website was very slow yesterday and today, sometimes giving internal server errors. As a lot of radio amateurs should notice this, I had a look around and soon found mention at LOTW is Struggling! - amateurradio which confirms that the site is slow at the moment. There is a way to see how busy the site is processing uploads at LoTW Queue Status Page and the backlog is currently 11 to 13 hours.

According to some comments in the reddit thread this is caused by people uploading their contacts once a year. I've had contacts where it took a while to confirm them because the other side wasn't uploading to LoTW on a regular basis but I never suspected some people do this just once a year.

The upside is I now have a new country confirmed on several bands at once. And maybe more confirmations will show up. I do have some countries in my list with the note 'not a regular LoTW uploader'.

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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!

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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.

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2022-11-28 I participated in the CQ World-Wide DX Contest CW
CW contest filling the bands on a websdr 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:
Band   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: 38184
This 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.
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2022-11-20 I participated in the LZ-DX contest
CW contest filling the bands on a websdr I was planning to make some morse contacts this weekend but when I had time to turn on the radio on Saturday afternoon there was a lot of contest traffic on the morse parts of the bands. This turned out to be the LZ-DX contest.

This was a chance to get some CW contest practise done. This is a CW and SSB contest but I concentrate on CW contesting at the moment. I found out TLF the contest logger supports the LZ-DX contest out of the box so I could start fast.

Propagation wasn't cooperating very well but I did get contacts in the log. The final result:
Band     Qso    Cancelled  Dup  Point  ITU-Mult   LZ-Mult     Score
 80M       0            0    0      0         0         0
 40M      38            0    0    199         7        11
 20M      30            0    0    131         6         9
 15M       0            0    0      0         0         0
 10M       1            0    0      1         1         0
-------------------------------------------------------------------
          69            0    0    331        14        20     11254

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