May 20, 2020

Only one QSO today on RS-44, but a good one and with a new DXCC entity: AP2AUM from Pakistan was a not so easy catch in SSB, but he did get my call in the end, so that's number 15 on the list.

May 18, 2020

Late night pass of RS-44 at 1422 AOS and I heard OH5LK and answered him. He gave me a QSL, so YEAHHHHHH, I did it. Then I found out I forgot to hit record..........so I didn't record this catch. I'm crying right now.

Luckily he confirmed our QSO via the AAR29 logbook, but I guess for this one I have to get his QSL card as confirmation. Distance between PL04PV & KP30ON is 7832 km, so again a record and I beat the one with UA1OEJ by over 700 kilometers.

May 11, 2020

Worked four RS-44 passes today and worked some regulars and first timers JA2GLJ, JL1CGT, JA1GZK, YB1TJ and R9LR. But the best pass was the last, late in the evening. When the bird appeared I immediately heard UA1OEJ and he was strong enough to work, so I did. New DXCC, because he is in European Russia and also a distance record of 7123 kilometers!!! It was all done at an elevation of between 1 and 2 degrees, and even UA1OEJ was surprised by that.

Here is a clip of the QSO.

Later on the same pass I also worked 4S7AB from Sri Lanka, so that one is also in the log.

May 10, 2020

Nice surprise tonight: the linear transponder of Huskysat-1 was activated for general use. When I saw that on Twitter it so happend that the bird was flying by from south to north. Called CQ but nobody answered until I saw JR6RMK calling CQ, so I answered him. It was a high pass, so difficult at times, but we made it. Also worked JG2TSL and both QSOs were in CW.

Here is a short clip of the QSO. It just so happened that the bird was spinning, so the quality of our signals were not that great.

May 3, 2020

It was "Satellite Sunday" with 16 QSOs in the log.

First pass of RS-44 today gave me a new DXCC: India by means of VU2LBW in SSB. Also worked Kob E21EJC and JK1AFI, the last one in CW.

Then FO-29, today working in SSB. This old bird is still going strong. Worked JH7JHX, DV2JB, HS3ANP and DU9JJY.

In the evening the SO-50 pass was not the best, but still worked E21EJC, DV2JB, JR6DI and newcomer BA4VE, who had a great signal.

Immediately after was a 7° eastern pass of RS-44. I could get in, but it was difficult (buildings, mountains and noise). No QSOs this time.

The second RS-44 pass was a high one to the west of me and it gave me another DXCC entity: UN6LN from Kazakhstan in CW loud and clear! 5713 km, so no distance record, but fantastic nonetheless. Also worked JK2XXK  (SSB), JH0RNN (CW) and 9M2CQC (SSB), the last two being new contacts for me.

All-in-all a great Sunday.

May 2, 2020

Another two passes of RS-44. Went CW on the first and worked BD5EUA and JK2XXK, but the second, westerly, pass was more interesting. Heard UA1OEJ in CW and tried to work him, but he was at LOS. His grid is KP94vn and that's a distance of 7123 km between us!!!!! European Russia for the first time!!!

Still broke my personal record with a QSO with RV9CHB in MO06hs, which is 5943 km from my QTH. Later in the pass I worked DV2JB, UA0STM, HS3LSE, HS3ANP, E21EJC.

Here is a short clip from the QSO with RV9CHB

May 1, 2020

A new linear sat from the Russians: RS-44. Heard the beacon today on the first morning pass and worked E21EJC, DV2JB, JA4GVA and UA0STM in SSB on the second pass. This bird's power is 5 Watts, so very powerful, although it spins quite a bit, so lots of fading.

The beacon simply transmits the ID as "RS44". MP4

At night the first pass was to my east and I worked JA1VDJ, JR6RMK and JA3FWT, all in CW. This bird has a big enough footprint that I might be able to work Alaska and Australia, but those pesky mountains are in the way. Need to finish my portable setup, soon!

The second night pass opened with UA0ADX in CW who immediately became my distance record with 4167 km. Also worked JA7KPI, JM1CAX, HS3LSE in CW and DV2JB
 and HS3LSE - again - in SSB. Heard YD0NXX at LOS.

Apr 20, 2020

Had some fun and worked some stations on IO-86 tonight. There was a special call active from the Philippines and John DW9ILS was the operator. We had a short QSO and he recorded it for everyone on Twitter to enjoy.

Apr 15, 2020

IO-86/24593/FM: first QSOs for April on the best FM sat there is. Worked YC7VVA, DX9ILX and YD8RPJ. Thank you gentlemen.

CAS-4B/15646/SSB: I don't do much SSB operations, but tonight I was too tired for CW, so SSB it was. Worked JR6DI and JS6DRQ in SSB and heard Steve JS6TMW calling CQ in CW.

Apr 9, 2020

Amazing what you can do with an ordinary Canon EOS 750D DLSR and the cheapest Canon 250mm zoom lens.

This was the moon that accompanied me home from a hard days work tonight. Didn't get the colors quite right, but the details you can see are fascinating!

Mar 30, 2020

First project made using the brake I fabricated a fortnight ago: a stomp box style control for my portable rotator. A bit rough around the edges (literally), but the learning process was fun. Have a better idea about the planning process that goes into a thing like this, now.

Mar 29, 2020

First test with the GSM yagi. Used a RTL-SDR+wideband preamp. Gain of the antenna about 15dB, but no signals on the waterfall. Goestools for GK-2A had high vitavg both with (img1) and w/o (img2) preamp. Probably too much local overload.

Mar 27, 2020

Look at what I picked up today from Evercomtech: evercomtech.com/YAGI-02.html I especially like the warning label that I found in the box. Prepping it now for deployment on Sunday.

Mar 20, 2020

Brake

Mar 16, 2020

Spring has arrived in Taiwan! Our Japanese hen has laid her first egg of the season.

Falconsat-3 didn't want me for the only pass I could monitor today.  It turned its butt towards me: 26 frames received only. Luckily there was no new mail.

Mar 13, 2020

Haven't hunted for a new satellite in a while. But tonight, for the first, just about ten past eleven (UTC) Grifex on 437.480 MHz. More than two and a half minutes between data bursts, so only two received. 9k6, so Direwolf could handle it.

Mar 4, 2020

Feb 28, 2020

Went tomb sweeping this morning in my wife's hometown in Miaoli. Pity I didn't bring my camera, so had to use my phone to capture this gorgeous swallow giving us an impromptu concert from above a Buddha image.

Feb 26, 2020

Bummer: my Jumbospot's 0.96" OLED display is EOL after only a month of use. The hot spot itself is still usable like nothing happened. Of course, I can use the Pi-Star's dashboard, but it was handy to look at the display while working at my desk.

Feb 21, 2020

Falconsat-3/71881/FM --> I guess I had my first digipeat QSO (or whaddayacallit) with JA6PL just now. We exchanged a couple of messages and then the bird disappeared for me. Used UISS, but still a lot of things to learn, like when use F5 and when F7? Still...good fun!!

Feb 20, 2020

CAS-4B/14815/CW   Difficult pass tonight with lots of power line noise and weak signals from this bird. Still.....worked BH4PVP (1st QSO), BD5EUA and JR6DI.

Feb 19, 2020

EO-88/16742/CW --> Despite the huge amount of pain in my foot & leg I was able to get myself to the shack. I hardly work over EO-88, but it was flying over and I called CQ. The only other station around was.........JR6DI, our satellite beacon in East Asia. Always nice to work him. The video of the QSO is here.

Feb 17, 2020

Just back from the ER: beginning case of cellulitis. Two IV drips later I was well enough to go home. Added bonus: I tested negative for the Wuhan corona virus.

Total cost: US$17 and that's it. You have to love Taiwan because of this.

Feb 16, 2020

CAS-4B still has CW beacon problems.

CAS-4A/14751/CW  local QRM and signals were not strong for this pass. Worked @JR1UIU/1 and thank for this OMs patience, because I simply couldn't get his call easily.

BTW, why is FO-29 not active when I have a Sunday off?

SO-50/92272/FM  Difficult pass, but worked BD9BU, DU1AU (both for the 1st time) and JR6DI. Also heard JR3LNG, UA0SUN and an HL1 station which was drowned out.

Feb 15, 2020

CAS-4B seems to have some trouble as the CW beacon was only putting out a continuous carrier. The digital telemetry was also weaker than normal. Linear working as usual.

Luckily CAS-4A/14740/CW a few minutes later was trouble free. Tnx to JM1CAX  and JH1JBP for the CW QSOs.

Feb 12, 2020

Feb 5, 2020

Who says space communication doesn't suffer from lousy conditions: two passes of Falconsat-3 tonight and only 25 frames received. Signals would just not come in at all, so very frustrating not to be able to fill holes and download messages.

Feb 2, 2020

After three days of satellite QSOs time for some good old CW on HF. Worked JS2AHG which is the 2nd call sign for JE1TRV who is SKCC member 561T. Pity I already had his number in the log. I still need 9 contacts with SKCC member for my Centurion. Who can help me?

Jan 31, 2020

Another busy day for the postman. Luckly E21EJC's mail came in today. He had forgotten to write the address on the envelope, but since I informed the post office about it they traced it down and were able to deliver it.

The two straight keys in use at the moment: a flame-proof CBJ26003A hooked up to my IC820H and a Chinese D117 army key hooked up to my IC7200.

SO-50/92037/FM --> Nice pass tonight with all the regulars around: JS6DRQ, JR6DI, JA3FWT, JR6RMK and new to me JR6UEK. Arigatō OM, nice to meet you.

CAS-4B/14513/CW --> "It's Friday night and the workweek's through, the boys get together for a round or two........" Non-stop CW with JA6UMJ, JH4MPR, JR6RMK, JR6DI and JA2MYA at only 5 degrees. Used 7 Watts for most of the pass, except before LOS when I really needed 40W.

CAS-4A/14513/CW --> This pass was a bit more difficult and there were some guys doing high-speed CW. Count me out, but thanks to JR6RMK and JR6DI for the slow-speed QSOs.

Jan 30, 2020

The postman had it busy on his first delivery after Chinese New Year: four QSL cards in the mail.

The sun is out and the bands are clean. No need for the ANC-4 today. But only 13°C and it's cold in the shack. Who said the subtropics always have warm weather. 20m is active with lots of CW. Worked BG7XWF whom I worked on AO-91 and SO-50 before. Also worked BG8TFN.

Jan 29, 2020

Short clip of the ANC-4 cleaning up power line noise. Little dip in the signal, but better s/n ratio. Tried a 1m vert. noise pick-up ant close to power lines, but didn't do anything.

[video here]

Jan 28, 2020

In amateur radio you make friends for life!!!! Just had a QSO with JA1RZD, Ken from Tokyo, the first one in 2.5 yrs!!!!! As if nothing happened we went on 14107.5 kHz in Olivia 32/1000 and chatted for more than an hour, like we used to. The ANC-4 helped mitigate local QRN.

Taking a break from satellites, but not from CW. Just made a QSO with YU1XA on 40 meters. I'm in the dark, he's still in day light, but coming in a true 599. That's almost 9000 km!! Feeling the magic of HF tonight. Haven't felt that in a long time.

Always funny when people hear my name is Hans and automatically assume I speak German. But it doesn't matter, being from the Netherlands I do but not well. Thank you Frank SP6JZL for the German SSB QSO on 40m just now. 100W into a wire is not much, but it did bring us together.

Jan 27, 2020

I'm back on DMR! Bought a Jumbo Spot from BI7JTA (awesome service) and now using PiStar instead of the DV4mini. Works great! I programmed in TG98006 (AMSAT) and TG2045 (Technoronde in Dutch), so I'll be hanging out there for now.

Jan 25, 2020

IO-86/23395/FM -->  Forgot to record this pass, so I'm a bit sketchy about the stations I contacted. It was only a 3.3 degree pass with sudden LOS, so no time to take notes. Worked YF3BNG, YC8FXI YC8NYJ and YG3EMH.

Jan 24, 2020

IO-86/23379/FM --> Always fun to work this satellite. Only a 5 degree pass, so a mere three minutes to work some stations. Thanks to: YF3BNG, YC8FXI, YC8VFB and YG3FEO (the last two being new contacts).

Jan 20, 2020

NOS, only US$10 a piece. Change the M-type connectors for BNC and you got yourself a nice diplexer.

They are not easy to open; quality of the hardware is mediocre. Once you get in you'll find a Diamond branded PCB.

A quick search and it seems this is the same as the Diamond MX-72D, retailing at US$ 39.95 (https://gigaparts.com/diamond-antenna-mx72d.html)

Haven't used gEDA for a long time, but you never forget, it seems. This quick schematic of the diplexer took me less than 45 minutes to make. Not sure about the values of the capacitors, just copied them from the cases. Does anybody know what values 4C, 2CO, 9C and 18J are?

Boxed up now, ready to go up the tower in line with my 2m beam.

Diplexer: USD 10
Enclosure: USD 7
Connectors: USD 3
Hardware: peanuts

USD 20 spent and hopefully now the few desensing problems I still had will be gone.

Jan 17, 2020

Some time to get on the birds today:

SO50: worked JR6DI, JS6DRQ and JA4GVA

CAS-4B: worked new one JS6TMW and JA4FVC

CAS-4A: worked JS6TMW again.

Jan 13, 2020

First Taiwanese sat QSO confirmed with a card.

Jan 11, 2020

Not much telemetry, but strong signals from Strand-1. Gotcha!

Jan 10, 2020

Two new ones for the Gotcha! list: 1Kuns-FP and Innosat-2.

Jan 8, 2020

New one for the Gotcha! list: CP-7 (DAVE).

Jan 7, 2020

Jan 6, 2020

Found the reason why the SWR of the new LFA 2 meter yagi was so bad....

Made in China and it didn't last a year. Will have to buy from RS next time.

But everything is fine now. SWR up in the mast 1:1.1, down in the shack 1:1.2. Tried EO-88 at night, but nobody around. Still good signals until almost the horizon. Worked AO-92 at around 10 at night and heard and worked BU2EP and JR6DI. Signals peaked at 30 dB over noise and got 56 DUV frames in, so the new antenna is definitely working better than the old one. I already detect an itch to build a 70 cm version as well.

Jan 5, 2020

Sunny and not too warm, but most important: no wind. So I put the newly build 2 meter LFA yagi in the tower today, which didn't go smoothly at all. Will have to rething how I mount the cross boom, because it doesn't slide well in the U-bolts. On top of that when I tried the new antenna in the shack I got an SWR of 1:2.4. I suspect a loose N-socket, so will have to investigate tomorrow. Luckily I have an easy week and lots of time to experiment.