Welcome

I’m Randy, a 38-year old ham living in Amersfoort, which is located about 25 miles east from Amsterdam. Licensed since aged 17 in 1997 and active on all bands from 10 meters up till 3cm tough VHF, UHF and SHF are prefered in (SSB) voice, ATV, CW and weak-signal/DIGI modes.

On the day to day job I work as Independent technical consultant specified in Linux Infrastructure  solutions. Also doing some hands-on support stuff for repeater group Hobbyscoop, the annual Ballon Fox Hunt and trying to promote HAMNET-activities with a group of ham’s throughout the country.

Achievements:
The 3th best station from the Netherlands on 432 MHz. The 5th best station from the Netherlands on 144 and 1296 MHz (based on DAC and NAC results) during 2018.

Again good tropo to Spain

Today, there is good tropo propagation to Spain, again. Last time activity went up in FT8 on 144 MHz, this time stations also moved to 432 MHz FT8. Spain is a new DXCC for me on 432 MHz. Also one new grid already confirmed via LoTW on 144 (EA1MX in IN73). Loud signals from stations 1.000km+ away.

March 2019 NAC contest on 144 MHz

Only worked two hours. 28 QSO’s in 18 grids. ODX: GD8EXI (705km). My result: 6th place in the Netherlands.

March 2019 VHF-UHF-SHF Contest

Active on 144, and a bit on 432 and 1296 MHz in the C-SO-LP class.
Temporary results: 1st place 144 MHz, 3th place 432 MHz and 3th place 1296 MHz.

Februari 2019 NAC contest on 432 MHz

36 QSO’s in 20 grids. ODX: GI6ATZ (791km). My result: 2nd place in the Netherlands.

Februari 2019 NAC contest on 144 MHz

39 QSO’s in 22 grids. ODX: SK7CY (639m). Good to hear that Conrad (PA5Y) is back. My result: 3th place in the Netherlands.

WSJT-X: Error Loading LotW Users Data

When startin WSJT-X v2.0, an error is shown saying: “Error Loading LotW Users Data”. Dit is due to Windows systems not hndling Intermediate CA’s correctly when retrieving the LotW user data file thats been served from a secured website.

The solution is simple.
  • Start WSJT-X and click on file -> Open log directory.
  • Than, manually download this file and place it in the WSJT-X log directory.
  • The SSL error should be gone now.
  • Counting down till IC-9700

    In a few weeks from now, the new Icom IC-9700 will arrive. The local HAMShop gave an estimate of beginning 2019. The Japanese manual is ready, but I’m still waiting for a translated English version. I had some questions about the new rig, but most of theme are answered.

    • It does have +12 Volt bias to feed external preamps via coax.
    • It is missing PTT out via an RCA connector.
    • It seems it does not wide-band receive.

    Let’s wait for another few weeks till the transceiver, announced September 2017, will arrive to it’s first customers.

    Good Tropo to Spain

    Today, very good Tropo conditions appeared which led to good activity on the 144 MHz. FT8 frequency. I was able to work multiple stations in Spain. Al stations where 1.000+ kilometers away. Since Spain is new for me on 144 MHz. this brings the total DXCC worked on 25. Total grids is now 73 in 144 MHz.

    November 2018 NAC contest on 144 MHz

    Terrible conditions towards the UK. Stopped early. 35 QSO’s, 15 grids, ODX: SK7CY (639km).

    October 2018 NAC contest on 1296 MHz

    It could be the Dutch Worked all Provences award, so many Dutch stations were QRV tonight. Amongst them some new stations, including Tonnie (PA3GLL) from Losser, which made his first QSO’s tonight on 23cm. Welcome!

    In total I counted 15 Dutch stations and worked 12 of them. I didn’t really spend time on the ON4KST chat since I was busy repariring radio’s. The CQ-slave was on to generate some traffic on my frequency as Run station, which worked quite well.

    Tropo propagation was okay tonight, but I expected to work more UK stations. The score: 28 QSO’s, ODX was SK7MW as always (617km) with 16 locators.

    Half way VUCC award

    The most difficult VUCC award to get is obviously the 144 MHz one. For 50 MHz one summer with Sporadic E should be enough to fulfill the 100 maidenhead grid locators one. For 432 MHz, 50 grids are enough, for 1296 MHz only 25 locators are required, for 2330 MHz only 10 and higher bands only 5 locators will do. For bands above 1 GHz, one active contest weekend should be enough to fulfill the requirements.

    The VUCC award rules

    The VUCC award rules

    In total I worked about 90 maidenhead grid locators on 144 MHz. Via Logbook of the World (LoTW), 52 are confirmed. WSJT-X in combination with JT-Alert as Worked Grid Indicator is really helpful in FT8, since it will also show of the operator is using eQSL and/or LoTW to get your QSO’s confirmed fast without the hassle of sending analogue paper cards you receive after a year to the US. I wish there were more stations using LoTW, in particular on the higher bands.

    Update one week later. Worked 10 grids extra of which 8 already have been confirmed via LoTW. This wek the antenna was heading towards 210 degrees (France).

    October 2018 NAC contest on 432 MHz

    Very good tropo conditions towards North-East. On 144 MHz I worked stations 1580km away (see this post). During the NAC, I managed to work 55 stations in 27 grid locators. ODX: SE6R (JO58RG) 779km and ended up as best Dutch station tonight. I think for the first time ever during the 432 MHz NAC.

    Since the antenna was fixed to 40 degrees I did not work as many German stations . Also I didn’t see any French stations on the cluster. I hoped to work GD (Isle of Man) but almost inaudiable. The same for a GJ station from Jersey.

    Monster tropo conditions

    This evening there were outstanding tropo conditions. Monster tropo, as I like to call it. While running the Nordic Activity Contest on 432.190 MHz, FT8 was running aside on 144.174 MHz.
    The ‘new grid’ and ‘new country’ alerts sounded when LY2J (1200km) in Lithuania was visable. We had a 2-way contact. Later on, the same alert was there for EW6X (1580km) in Belarus. We also had a 2-way contact.
    My 2-meter station is running 400 Watts into a 9-elements LFA mounted at about 18 meters height. Two new DXCC on 2-meter and many more new grids this night. Let’s see what tomorrow evening brings…

    Update 10-Okt: Both QSO’s are already confirmed via LoTW. Thanks!

    IARU Region 1 432 and up

    432 MHz: 57 QSO’s, ODX 723km
    1296 MHz: 18 QSO’s, ODX 467km

    Noise is becoming a problem on 432 MHz to. I ran the contest without pre-amp on 23cm. This was very noticable. On Sunday I quickly build one and used this indoor. The Icom IC-9100 is somewhat deaf.

    I expected more participants from the UK and Scandinavia.

    Antenna on 70cm: 19el LFA. Antenna on 23cm: 120cm dish. Power: 432 MHz was 75 Watts, power on 23cm was 120 Watts.

    October 2018 NAC contest on 144 MHz

    50 QSO’s, 23 Locators, ODX 706km