News items for tag hamradio - Koos van den Hout

2021-04-07 The NTP ham clock is ticking 4 days ago
esp32 based NTP ham clock on breadboard Recently the parts for the NTP ham clock I saw in the Electron magazine arrived: an ESP32 module and a TFT display. It took a bit before I had time to actually do something with them but recently I put the modules on breadboard and started making the needed connections. There are not a lot of those, only 8 wires need to be connected between the ESP32 microcontroller and the TFT display.

After some fiddling it worked and I managed to program it all with the settings I like, such as the right timezone rules for the Netherlands, 24 hour display on both clocks and it fetches the NTP time from the NTP server in the shed so it doesn't rely on outside connectivity.

Now to find a case for it and wire it neatly.

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2021-04-05 I participated in the EA RTTY contest 2021 6 days ago
RTTY Contest on websdr Last weekend was the EA RTTY Contest 2021 edition. I decided to participate because I appreciate the contests organized by the Unión de Radioaficionados Españoles.

Participation time was somewhat limited due to other things happening in the easter weekend. In the end I made 79 contacts and entered my log in the 'SINGLE ALL LOW POWER DX' category. As 'low power' is defined as 'below 100 watts' and my RF amplifier isn't working at the moment this is the fitting category.

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2021-04-04 New country in the logs: South Korea 1 week ago
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.

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2021-03-28 Chasing awards: the full set of SX1A .. SX9A in the log 2 weeks ago
With some alerts set to get the last of the Special Event Station series to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Hellenic War of Independence against Ottoman Turks in the log I now have the full set: at least one contact with each of the special event stations.

Which means the website will generate a nice digital certificate for me which I could print out and hang on the door of the room where I have my radio setup. But that door is already filled so I'll just keep the digital certificate and leave it at that.

It was fun chasing them! My thanks to the organization behind this.

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2021-03-27 The paddle works on the radio too! 2 weeks ago
Making a video about my new paddle is one thing, actually using it with the radio is another. I have seen radio amateurs buy expensive morse gear and finding out that learning morse is hard.

I connected the paddle to the radio via the nanokeyer I built and called CQ in a part of the 20 meter band where I expect other users with slow speed.

After one CQ I got an answer from PA5ABW Ab. The same person who taught me morse code!

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2021-03-27 I bought a secondhand morse paddle and made a video about it 2 weeks ago
For a while I had a notification set for someone selling a morse paddle. Finally one came along at a reasonable price so I bought it.

And.. I mentioned this detail to some people at work. Who had an idea of what a morse key is, but didn't know about morse paddles. So with my big mouth I said "I'll make a video about it". This was triggered by the fact that I recently learned about OpenShot non-linear video editor which is available for Linux too.

So I created a video. And found out making a video of 30 seconds is a lot more work than 30 seconds. I watched some tutorial videos about OpenShot first and thought about what I wanted to show. I haven't added spoken comments because I didn't feel like doing those too.

The video isn't great, I can see several beginner mistakes. But I get the point across of what a paddle does. There is a continuity problem because I used sunlight. Which isn't very constant. And I made several clips because I didn't think I would get everything I wanted to show right. But now there are changes in light and a bit in camera angle, even with using a tripod.

And our neighbours were busy hammering indoors, so that can be heard too.

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2021-03-24 New country in the logs: Hong Kong 2 weeks ago
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.

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2021-03-14 I participated in the EA PSK63 Contest 2021 4 weeks ago
As a number of years before I participated in the EA PSK63 Contest 2021. This is a contest organized by the Spanish Amateur Radio Club Unión de Radioaficionados Españoles and I appreciate their work in this and other contests.

Contacts were made Saturday afternoon/evening and Sunday morning. I decided to go for both 20 and 40 meter band to improve my contest results.

In the end I made 148 contacts, 58 on the 20 meter band and 90 on the 40 meter band. To my surprise when I started Sunday morning there was very little activity on the 20 meter band, but the 40 meter band was already filled with noise, probably from nearby solar power installations. With a bit of timing and luck I could work around the noise peaks and make contacts with the stronger stations. Later in the morning there was a lot more activity on the 20 meter band and new stations rolled in.

It was good to see a lot of to me new Spanish callsigns in this contest. I guess amateur radio in general and contesting has grown in Spain.

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2021-03-07 Chasing amateur radio awards 1 month ago
A fun bit of amateur radio is the possibility to get awards for making contacts. There are awards like the American Radio Relay League DX century club for making contacts with at least 100 'countries' or the awards linked to summits on the air which are awards for making contacts from or to a number of mountain tops.

There are also awards for making contacts with special event stations. Currently there are several special event stations on the air celebrating 200 years of Greek independence. So far I have found two award options linked to those stations, but there may be more.

Special event stations are usually linked to a special event, such as this historic event for Greece. It is a way to notice things in history or other events that you normally wouldn't notice.

Special Event Station (SES) series as SX9A, SX8A, SX7A, SX6A, SX5A, SX4A, SX3A, SX2A and SX1A to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Hellenic War of Independence against Ottoman Turks. and The Greek Revolution of 1821 We celebrate the 200th anniversary of Hellenic War of Independence Special Event Call 01-31 March 2021 and 200 Years of Greek Independence Award.

It's a good thing they all have websites where you can see your progress and download the digital awards.

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2021-02-27 Ordered parts for an NTP ham clock 1 month ago
Today the Electron magazine of the Veron amateur radio club came in, the March 2021 Veron Electron (Dutch).

As I was browsing the magazine and reading articles I came across an article about building an NTP ham clock, consisting of an ESP32 module and a TFT LCD display, and the rest is all in software.

I directly wanted to build this, as this combines two of my interests: amateur radio and NTP time synchronization. It displays both the local time and the UTC time on the TFT display, just like PyHamClock does on my screen.

The article is based on the same project at W8BH projects which gives me a good descriptive pdf.

So I ordered an ESP32 module and ILI9341 TFT LCD display from an aliexpress seller and now I wait, because this will take about a month.

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