Dec 13, 2015

The yearly DIY meeting of the CTARL, but I just went there to pick up my kits and have a chat. Too tired to hold a soldering iron, but it was fun anyway.

David (BV2FP) told me he heard that Jack BU2BA had passed away. I went back to my mother-in-law's house and made a quick visit to Jack's family to make sure what happened. He indeed passed away on October 19, during the day when he was home alone. Probable cause was heart failure as he wasn't ill or showed discomfort. This hits home hard: Jack has kids who are about the same age as mine and he was only a couple of years older than me. Even though we had only contact once or twice a year I do remember him fondly as he was the first Taiwanese ham I met after we moved back.

Only 51. Way too young. RIP my friend.

Nov 20, 2015

25 degrees at noon, but in the sun it was much hotter. Had a quick lunch operation to catch VK9WA, Willis Island, which is a new country for me. Got them easily on 10 meters, but 17 meters was a bit more difficult, partly due to the split of 10 kHz. I used the dual receiver option of the KX3 with VK9WA in my left ear and the split frequency in the right ear. Worked like a charm and DXCC 138 is in the log.

Nov 19, 2015

Portable from PL04ou and had a first today: hooked up my KX3 to a laptop and worked JA1RZD, Ken in Japan using Olivia. It had been too long since we had a QSO. At 5 Watts the KX3 became hot, but at 3 Watts comfortably warm and Ken had 100% print all the time. I peaked 579 and he 599, but QSB made me 519 and he 559.

Nov 13, 2015

Worked BH3COZ/QRP today on 15 meters and that was a QRP-QRP contact as I was operation portable with the KX3.

Oct 30, 2015

Portable again from the school grounds. Worked SE2T and PA1FP, but not much else going on today.

Oct 29, 2015

Another nice portable operation. 6 meters was closed, but on 12 meters I heard Bert, F6HKA and we had a nice QSO. I worked 7K1JRC and then it was time to go home.

Oct 25, 2015

After the CTARL and the CRA there is another amateur radio club in Taiwan, namely TAMSAT (although they are closely associated with the CTARL). Today was an activity day with lectures and the making of a Mini-circuit's PGA-103 low noise pre-amp.

The opening of the day by BV2OL who is a teacher at the college where the activity day was organized.

BX1AD came from I-lan to hold a talk about the Hope-satellite range which was launched last September. This was indeed a very interesting talk.

BX2AI introduced webSDR receivers and since I am using those too I was able to add some information to the talk.

In the afternoon we put the PGA-103 pre-amp together. All components were of the SMD variety, so a magnifying glass and extra light were more than necessary for the - mostly - old eyes that put together the kit. Here BX2AN and BV2BJ in action.

BV2AP took care of the testing with an R&S spectrum analyser.

22 dB gain on VHF, a little less on UHF and above.

A big thanks to BV2OL (middle), BV2AP (right), flanked by BV2FB.

Oct 24, 2015

This Saturday morning the noise levels were suddenly a lot lower than normal and a little noise blanker could get rid of it. Luckily for me the CQWW SSB contest was going on and I made a few contacts, two of which with Serbia.

Oct 14, 2015

Another successful portable operation, again from my school grounds in PL04ou. It was quite windy, so I put my MP1 on a tripod and guyed it to prevent it from falling over. Worked four stations, one being YB16IARU which was manned by hams from Taiwan who were there for the conference. But the best one was T2GC from Tuvalu, a new DXCC country for me.

Oct 5, 2015

A portable operation today: back in PL04ou. School was slow going and I had some extra time on my hands. I set up my KX3 and MP1 during lunch break and decided to settle on the 15 meter band. At 0700 I started scanning and made 3 QSOs: Japan, Indonesia and Russia. The last one was European Russia and I was quite pleased with this QRP QSO.

I also tuned to 20 meters for a bit and worked BG8FT in Sichuan. Four QSOs in an hour: not a bad score.

It almost wasn't to be as the batteries in my paddle had leaked, but luckily school had a spare set for me to use. The straight key didn't work with a stereo cable, so will have to look into that. So I was a bit ill prepared, but luckily it did work out fine.

Oct 2, 2015

Surprise! My P.O.Box was filled with a QSL card today. Idaho confirmed now, which makes it to almost half of the WAS in the bag.

Sept 10, 2015

So we met again: despite the noise YC1UUU was coming in quite nicely on 20 meters and the passive audio filter made his signal quite enjoyable. I keyed him my SKCC number and he keyed his back, so 91 on the list. Thanks Yon.

Sept 4, 2015

Time for a QSO: heard YC1UUU on 15 meters and the KX3 with 10 Watts could reach him fine: 559. Unfortunately he didn't give me his SKCC number.

Sep 3, 2015

Trimmed the 2x5 meter dipole a bit and SWR at 14 MHz is 1.6:1 right now. The noise level is S3, but stations are coming in, so I can't complain. At night I heard a station near Georgia on 20 m and a German one on 17 m, all with readable signals. Since the SSN is only 41 it shows that the setup is working.

Sep 1, 2015

Sad day today: Dutch Public radio left medium wave by switching off 747 kHz and 1251 kHz (Radio 5). The pirates took over the frequency immediately. Let's see how long they can keep up.

Put up a 20 meter dipole today, but the resonant frequency is still too low, so it needs some trimming. Maybe tomorrow.

Aug 25, 2015

Went to the CTARL meeting today and collected 91 cards and 2 return cards. Two new countries bring my DXCC total to 111. More than half were Japanese cards!!!

July 1, 2015

After four years in PL04ou, a.k.a. Longtan, we moved into our own house in PL04pv, a.k.a. Daxi. A little bit to the north and a little bit to the east. A quieter neighbourhood and more possibilities for great antennas. Unfortunately my future shack looks like this at the moment. There is a lot of work ahead before we're back in business.

May 25, 2015

A QSO today!!! Tuned the set during a computer transfer and found 15m SSB crawling with stations. ON8KW came through with a nice signal. Had a nice QSO with Kurt.

Later PI4AMF came through on 21.275, although his signal was not as great. He had troubles hearing me because of QSM, but we still had a QSO.

May 23, 2015

Made one RTTY QSO, but the bands were not in good shape. At night I wasn't feeling well and I decided to check out some software and got WSJT-X working. Monitored some JT65 on 20 and 17 meters, but it wasn't exciting enough for me to make some QSOs.

May 22, 2015

Unbelievable, but I made my first QSO in almost three months. Since my keys are already packed I hooked up my laptop to the IC-7200 and called CQ in Olivia on 20 m. Of course Ken was around and I had a half hour chat with him. Nice.

April 5, 2015

I haven't been able to catch them on 518 kHz yet, but on 12579 they came in loud, although not so clear due to fading: NMO NAVTEX from Honolulu, Hawaii:

2015-04-05 08:21:10> ~~~~~O~{}O GMDSS SITOR FEC BROADCAST
2015-04-05 08:21:10> ~
2015-04-05 08:21:15> FR~Q~~~CI~~{}RQYMT KHZ~~
2015-04-05 08:21:18> ~~~~{}UOMP ~K~Z
2015-04-05 08:21:31> ~ MMCMMMMMMMM~~~~E~~{} AT 0130, ~-,$ 2030 U~~~Z~~E~{}TI~~~~C PQEPN PUEPN QE~~
2015-04-05 08:21:34> ~~~~{}P UTC
2015-04-05 08:21:49> FREQUENCY (-1.7 KHZ).
2015-04-05 08:21:49> 
2015-04-05 08:22:04> S~~~~~~{}HIS STATION, PLEASE W~I~~~~O:
2015-04-05 08:22:05> 
2015-04-05 08:22:08> ~~~~~~{}NG OFFICER
2015-04-05 08:22:21> U.S. CO~~~~~~{}UNICATION AREA MASTER~~~~~~{}C~~~~~~{}BOX 560
2015-04-05 08:22:26> PT REYES STATION, CA 94956-0560
2015-04-05 08:22:40> ~~~ 9,9,:!#02~ ##0 .~+ ~.~:62./+~?:~!~#!+ .60.~ #06. ##!+888~~~~~,~{} HAS A T
2015-04-05 08:22:52> OLL FREE 2~~~~9~~{}TELEPHONEPH~N~ L~~~~{}MBER IS 877-662-4636 (877-NMC-INFO).
2015-04-05 08:22:52> 
2015-04-05 08:22:54> 
2015-04-05 08:22:57> PHONE: (415) 669-2047
2015-04-05 08:23:01> FAX:   (415) 669-2096

Also heard a test transmisstion on 8416.5 at 13.15 UTC

2015-04-05 13:15:37> RYRYRYRYRYRYRYRY~~~~T~~{}
2015-04-05 13:15:41> TESTING DE NMC VA
And a little later....
2015-04-05 13:30:27> CQ CQ CQ DE NMC/NMO NMC/NMO NMC/NMO
2015-04-05 13:30:33> CQ CQ CQ DE NMC/NMO NMC~~NMO NMC~XNMO
2015-04-05 13:30:40> CQ CQ CQ DE NMC/NMO NMC/NMO NMC/N~O
2015-04-05 13:30:48> BT~~~~X~~~{}FZPN02 KWBC 051130 
2015-04-05 13:30:50> HSFEPI 
2015-04-05 13:30:55> HIGH SEAS FORECAST FOR META~EA XII 
2015-04-05 13:31:07> NWS OCEAN PREDICTION CENTER WASHING~ON~D~MI~~~~~{}RT UTC SUN APR 05 2015 

March 26, 2015

Did some NAVTEX DXing in the past few days, but no new stations heard on 518 kHz. So last night I set the dial to 490 kHz and heard a new station for me, XVT Da Nang Radio from Vietnam and a regular one from 518 kHz, Pyong San Radio from South Korea. 490 kHz has NAVTEX in local languages, so Vietnamese and Korean respectively.

February 25, 2015

Saw PA7RA on the cluster and he had a decent signal on 20 meters. We had contact with Skype and were successful in exchanging our SKCC data. Finally caught him!

Februay 24, 2015

Another DXCC in the log: Z81X from south Sudan on 10 meters. Wasn't difficult to catch.

February 22, 2015

Two new SKCC numbers today: PA3JD and YB8HU/1 and a new country: Mexico by means of XE2B who came in with a wonderfully strong signal on 20m late at night in the ARRL CW contest. DXCC135.

February 13, 2015

Could hear myself on the webSDR in Twente with a 459 RST. My good friend and QSL manager Wouter - PG2W - could only give me a 349, but at least I could copy his SKCC number, so that is another one for the list.

Februay 10, 2015

Two SKCC numbers today: 7K1CPT was working portable, but he had a really nice signal on 12 meters. He sent me this photo later and told me he was working on the river bank of the Arakawa river in Wako City, just north of Tokyo. Portable operations in Japan can use 50 Watts only, but he still put out a very nice signal from the side of his 12m yagi.

At night I caught K7IRA in the grayline on 40 meters and we had a nice exchange, too.

February 9, 2015

Another lucky catch: F6IRG on 10 meters during mid-afternoon. SKCC member, so number 80 in the log. And to double the fun 9J2BO came in very weak, but I gave it a try and Brian came back to me. First time Zambia and another SKCC number for the list.

February 8, 2015

A nice new DX SKCC QSO with DL3ASM.

February 6, 2015

Second QSO with BD1IIJ and this time he gave me his SKCC number. 

February 5, 2015

The Russian cluster beacons on 40 meters came in quite well tonight. Normally I can hear only 2, but tonight there were 4, no less. Unfortunately the noise on 40 meters masks a lot as can be seen in this image from the waterfall of Fldigi.

February 4, 2015

After a long day out, tired and in a cold shack I still managed to make four QSOs, the last one being with the a new SKCC member DS4QXF from Wanju, Korea. We had a nice QSO, so that made my day. Thank you Kiho.

February 3, 2015

Lousy conditions today, but at night I had a QSO with Gene in Taitung on 40 meters, in CW. We exchanged SKCC and FISTS numbers and signals were so strong that we had somewhat of a ragchew QSO. Really nice and we should do this again.

February 2, 2015

Just tuning around and I found JY9FC without a pile-up and no split. We was weak but after 5 minutes I got him (or he got me) and we had a short exchange.

January 31, 2015

Yesterday horrible conditions, but today on 20 meters there was an late afternoon opening to Europe and I got good signals from DJ2TI in Olivia. Afterwards I also had a short chat with VK3WHO, whom I hadn't spoken to in a long time.

January 29, 2015

Two new SKCC numbers today: VK4MDX and HA4AA, whom I heard quite coincidentally on 17 meters.

January 27, 2015

Last night I didn't work anybody, but tonight it was party night! First worked LU5OM on 20 meters and after him on 40 meter another four SKCC members, all from the US and two being K3Y stations (/6 and /7). 26 to go to C. Tired but happy now.

January 25, 2015

Had a good night on 40 meters, last night and a good night on 40 meters, tonight. Last night I worked SKCC member W7HJL, who forgot his SKCC number, but I keyed it to him and he promised to remember it. Tonight I turned on the set and immediately worked EW7LO with an outstandingly good signal. R3DE from Moscow also had a stellar signal and it was easy to work him, too. I then called CQ and worked KC7QY, OH7UG and N7DRW, all SKCC members. Three new numbers in less than 45 minutes! Must be a record for me. 31 to go till C.

I also tuned 160 meters for the CQ160m contest and heard lost of Chinese, Japanese and Koreans. There was also a pipeline between Taiwan and Arizona as I could hear N7DD and N7AT with fair signals around 1420 UTC. First time I have heard trans Pacific signals on 160 meters.

Today we also had the annual CTARL year's end luncheon and this year I got some green tea in the raffle. More important I talked to BV6HJ about a tower on our new house and how to go about it. Will cost some money, but then he can deliver a rock solid solution.

January 21, 2015

Worked JA1SEW/2 in Olivia 8/250 on 15 meters and we had a really nice QSO. Then I saw Stan ZL2BLQ on the SKCC sked page and we finally had a QSO that worked. SKCC 65 on my list towards C.

January 20, 2015

Fun! Had an afternoon Olivia QSO today witn Ken, JA1RZD, on 20 meters, but at night I saw him spotting US stations on 40 meters. Center frequency is 7071.5, USB, Olivia 8/250. We tried it and after our QSO BG5OE came back for a first QSO in Olivia with China. It seems 7073.5 and 7074.5 are also good frequencies to try.

January 14, 2015

Had to do some measurements in our new house and took my trusty Sangean receiver with me. The medium wave was full of stations and easy to receive in the house itself. Longwave suffered from mains noise, but I could still hear a lot. Our powerhouse AP on 250 came in clear and strong. Outside on the roof 20 meters was empty, but 40 meters was full of stations and signal strength was more than adequate.

Back to long wave and I heard a beacon I never hear in Longtan: WK on 340, which is in Chuanghua county, not that far from Taizhong. I think I'm going to have a fun time in Daxi.

January 10 , 2015

First QSO of this year, today, with VK5CZ. The sun was shining, 10 meters was open and Ian had a good signal. On top of that we had a nice short conversation that was a little more than a 599 exchange. Cheers, Ian.