News items for tag hamradio - Koos van den Hout

2022-07-20 I redid my 'recent QSO map' with leafletjs and openstreetmap tiles
Screenshot pe4kh qso map faroer island My todo-list for hobby projects has had an entry 'redo maps in sites using leaflet' for a while and on an otherwise calm evening I got around to it. The first thing to upgrade was the recent contact map for PE4KH which shows an overview of places where I had the last 150 contacts plotted on a map, with some details per contact.

I'm not good at javascript programming at all so I just look for examples that come close to what I want and I adjust them until they do what I want. Luckily I found some good geojson examples and I managed to get the points on the map. After a bit of massaging, trying and reading I managed to add the popup with the location. The next and harder bit was adding default and non-default icons. Eventually I got my brain wrapped around the bits needed for that too. After that the test version got deployed to production and you can look at it now.

Documentation and code snippets used: The main reasons for switching to leaflet are that google maps was limiting free access to maps although they seem to have mostly reverted this plan and I wanted to promote openstreetmap.

The general conclusion is that sites with maps do need regular maintenance, if hosted leaflet goes away or stops this version, if the rules for using hosted openstreetmap tiles change or if something else happens I have to adapt the site, maybe even quite fast.

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2022-07-16 Trintelhaven revisited
Friday I had the day off and a plan together with Kees PA5Z to visit the location Trintelhaven again, just like we visited the location Trintelhaven in the summer of 2019.

This time the plan was to test some different antennas and make morse contacts. Driving there wasn't too big of a problem although you really have to use navigation to get through Lelystad, it's like through-traffic from the main highway (A6) to Enkhuizen isn't really promoted.

We got there fine, looked for a nice spot, found all the work machines we saw on the previous visit gone so there was a nice spot again. We selected a secluded field not to close to someone working on a boat, far away from everything else.

Endfed antenna set up at Trintelhaven
Endfed antenna set up at Trintelhaven
We set up my endfed antenna with one end up in the trees and the other end supported by a metal pole. On testing this antenna worked fine again. I redid all the soldered connections in it after it failed me a few weeks ago.

I called CQ in the 20 meter band in a spot where one can usually find slow morse and got some contacts with nice people in the log. One with SM6RWJ in Sweden, one with WB2YVY Kurt in the state of New York in the US and one with LA9FG Nol in Norway near Aalesund.

Kees PA5Z en Koos PE4KH behind the radio
Kees PA5Z en Koos PE4KH behind the radio
Kees also made some contacts. His nicest contact was with SK6SAQ the amateur radio station at the World Heritage Grimeton radio station. After a few morse contacts the radio Kees brought stopped working, it switched off and restarted when trying to transmit morse. It wasn't very clear what caused this.

As planned we took turns on the antenna sending morse, while both listening for answers and writing down the callsigns and the replies that came, including first names and weather reports: it was cloudy in Norway.

A nice day out. Sending standard messages and writing down what was coming back is getting easier after all our morse training!

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2022-07-10 I participated in the IARU HF contest
CW contest filling the bands on a websdr This weekend was the IARU HF World Championship contest and I participated after fully planning this in advance. I made sure my contest logger was set up and communicating with the remote radio and its morse keyer in advance.

I participated on the 10, 15 and 20 meter bands. The original plan was to also include 40 and maybe 80 but there was enough to contact on 10 and 15 on Saturday evening, so I only got around to the 20 meter band on sunday. In total 182 contacts: 20 in SSB (speech) and 162 in CW (morse).
Band   160   80   40   20   15   10
QSO's    0    0    0   58   83   41
Mult     0    0    0   24   33   16
                                   
Pts: 586  Mul: 73 Score: 42778     
I managed to make a few contacts outside Europe, not a lot of real DX.

Calculation when entering the log: Raw Score: 453 Qpts x 73 Mults = 33,069 (181 QSOs) so there is a difference in opinion between TLF and the ARRL contest website. The difference in number of contacts is due to one duplicate. The difference in Qpts (QSO points) is due to a difference in the scoring rules. As the ARRL contest website is up to date with the current rules I think they are right and I need to have a look at the TLF ruleset.

Hearing and understanding the morse went ok, I don't think I have a high number of errors.

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2022-06-11 Finally CW included on paper
Today the updated registration documents and card arrived with the much wanted "CW included". I passed the exam on 18 April 2022 and informed Agentschap Telecom on Tuesday 19 April 2022 about passing the morse test.

In the autoreply from Agentschap Telecom there was a remark that changes in existing certificates or registrations can take up to 8 weeks to process. At almost 7 weeks they lived up to their promise.

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2022-06-05 Having multiple wsjt-x instances available from CQRLOG
I'm currently also doing some contacts with a special event station call and I wanted to separate the wsjt-x history for my normal call from the history for the special event station call, just like I split the log databases in CQRLOG.

For the non-amateurradio persons: I have my own callsign, PE4KH which is linked to me. It is also possible to have one extra temporary callsign. Those are usually linked to an event or some other reason for a 'special' callsign. Temporary callsigns in the Netherlands have either the digit 6 or more than one digit.

There is an option for multiple profiles in wsjt-x but those are just for the settings (including callsign) but not for the logging location. This means all different profiles share the same history and will show the same countries as 'new' or 'already contacted'.

When I was looking at the options for starting wsjt-x with different settings I noticed the -r --rig-name <rig-name> Where is for multi-instance support. option in the help. With this option, all the logging is in ~/.local/share/WSJT-X - <rig-name>/ which is what I want.

The next challenge is to start wsjt-x with the extra commandline paramater from CQRLOG. It seems the 'path to wsjt-x' setting doesn't accept commandline parameters. So I created a script ~/bin/ses-wsjtx with:
#!/bin/sh

/usr/bin/wsjtx -r ses
Changed the 'path to wsjt-x' setting to /home/koos/bin/ses-wsjtx and now I get what I want.

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2022-05-30 I participated in the CQ WPX CW contest
CW contest filling the bands on a websdr Last weekend was the CQ World Wide WPX Contest CW organized by CQ Amateur Radio magazine. The term 'WPX' stands for 'Worked All Prefixes'. The objective of this contest is to get contacts and exchange information with as many different other radio amateurs using morse code. Points are awarded for each contact, based on which amateur band and whether they are in the same or different continents. Multipliers are calculated from the number of different prefixes contacted. The prefix of my callsign PE4KH is PE4 which is a different prefix from for example PE3. This is a 48-hour contest.

A good reason for me to participate was to practise my morse in contesting skills. Those skills still need work as I had trouble understanding the serial numbers. But with a bit of asking for a retransmission or guessing from the previous/next serial it sort of worked out for me. I felt like I had a lot more trouble understanding the serial numbers compared to a week ago in the King of Spain CW contest.

I guess my call PE4KH is now in the list(s) of regular contest calls. When my callsign is repeated completely, it's never a PE4KS. In morse, an H is four dots .... and an S is three dots .... In the first few contests I had to correct PE4KS a few times, or ended in the log with the wrong call, so this feels to me like my call is now more familiair.

I got 102 contacts in the log. I operated Saturday afternoon and parts of the evening, and late Sunday evening, wrapped around things like sleeping and other things in the weekend. I got one new country in the log: Mongolia. And I made my first morse contacts to Japan, China and Malta. The score table:
Band   160   80   40   20   15   10
QSO's    0    0   31   71    0    0

Pts: 144  Mul: 84 Score: 12096

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2022-05-23 I participated in the King of Spain CW contest
CW contest filling the bands on a websdr Since I have been learning morse code and passed the morse exam I notice I get more enjoyment out of contacts in morse code than out of contacts in digital modes. In digital modes (FT8) it is the computer doing hard work decoding and there isn't much variation, in morse I do the decoding and contacts can be from very simple confirmations of callsigns to longer chats about things.

This also means I like chances to make morse contacts. One of the simple ways to make more morse contacts is to get involved in an amateur radio contest with morse. Last weekend was the His Majesty The King of Spain CW Contest and I participated. Before the contest I tried to build a contest scoring file for TLF Linux contest software. During the contest I found out the file wasn't correct as the score wasn't calculated correctly but I will debug that later.

I participated Saturday evening and I made 41 contacts: 37 on the 20 meter band, 3 on the 10 meter band and 1 on the 40 meter band.

That's 41 in total, which is not a lot: the minimum number to get a digital certificate in PDF format is 50 or 100 contacts. But I'm not doing this to win anything, I'm doing this to get more experience in morse and morse contesting.

I still have trouble decoding morse at 'contest speed' so I use a morse decoder on the computer. There are moments it's a lot better at decoding a callsign at speed than I am, but sometimes I decode a serial number better than the computer does.

This also mean I do all of this in 'search and pounce' mode, where I look for stations calling CQ TEST at a signal quality where I can decode the callsign with help from the computer, and I can hear whether they get my callsign correctly.
Read the rest of I participated in the King of Spain CW contest

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2022-05-18 A nice 10 meter opening to Italy, getting more WRTC stations in the log
Today when I had time to use the radio I noticed the 10 meter band was open. I had some nice contacts and saw II3WRTC on 10 meter FT8 and made the contact. II3WRTC is one of the WRTC 2022 Award stations and before today I had a lot of those in the log but none on the 10 meter band.

I changed this quickly with II3WRTC on 10 meter SSB too, II9WRTC on 10 meter CW and II3WRTC on 10 meter RTTY.

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2022-04-23 New country in amateur radio: Iran
A notable and rare country in the log today: Iran. I've seen Iranian calls on the air a few times but it is rare. Today I saw EP2C on the air in FT8 in the 17 meter band and got the contact.

Confirming it is the next step: they have a QSL manager so I'll have to pay a few euros to get a paper card. Although the call seems active on Logbook of The World.

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2022-04-20 I passed the morse exam in Belgium
In October 2018 a morse course started at my local radio club under the leadership of Ab PA5ABW. Around March 2020 the people still going strong practising morse thought they had a chance of passing the morse exam in Belgium. But that pandemic happened, borders closed and gatherings of radio amateurs were impossible.

Why go to Belgium? The Dutch telecommunications authority does note whether you have 'CW included' or 'CW not included' but there is no exam possibility in the Netherlands. So in the past doing the exam in Belgium, presenting the certificate to the Belgian telecommunications authorities to get it converted to a certificate the Dutch authoritities accepted and converting that certificate to a Dutch 'CW included' note was the way.

When there was an option of a Morse exam in April 2022 in Belgium again there was a note the Belgian telecommunications authorities were not willing to do the 'conversion' for foreign radio amateurs who weren't living in Belgium. This seemed to kill the route to get the much coveted 'CW included'. After writing an article about this a suggestion came to 'skip' the Belgian telecommunications authorities and present the Belgian certificate to the Dutch telecommunications authorities. Later there was news from the Veron amateur club: Morse examen doen in België voor een ‘CW included’ aantekening kan nog steeds with a statement from Agentschap Telecom (Dutch telecommunications authorities) stating they would accept the certificate from the UBA club in Belgium at this time.

So when that became an option we registered for the exam in Belgium and kept practising. Personally I had to change to using actual pen and paper and not a keyboard because the exam would be using paper!

Between October 2018 and April 2022 we practised for about three and a half years. That means I practised morse in one way or the other for almost every day of the week.

The three of us went to Diest last Monday and all passed the test. On Tuesday I sent scans of all the needed documents to Agentschap Telecom to get those three letters removed from the amateur radio license document, going from "CW not included" to "CW included".

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