Worked last continent: Antarctica

Last weekend I’ve worked my last continent: Antarctica. I had a CW QSO with RI1ANF on 20 meters. Oleg Sakharov (ZS1ANF) is working on the Bellingshausen station, King George Island (AN-010) and very active in his spare time. You can often work hem in CW. Low and high bands. The good thing: he is a LoTW member, my yesterday QSO is already confirmed. Give it a try when you see him appearing on the DX-cluster. It took me 5 tries and my antenna situation at home is quite poor.

Going vertical

I’m currently testing my EndFed antenna vertical, on a 40ft/12m glassfiber spiderpole. I still got the same QRM as before (S9+ on 40m, S6+ on 20m) but the first results look quite good. This is just an expiriment to see if an vertical antenna will fit my needs. I’m in doubt between the Hygain AV-640 (Cushcraft R8) and the GAP Titan DX. Lenght is not really a problem but I don’t have space for long radials.

Tonight I worked VK2CCJ on 20 meter in JT65. I was missing Australia in the DXCC list. I was missing Oceanea at all. So there is my WAC-certificate. Can’t wait for the QSL card. Let’s send this one direct. nice to know: he was using an mobile antenna!

The first impression of vertical is that the reception of signals is somewhat better. I can’t compare it by real-time switching. Hight will have to do with this, since the Endfed in horizontal polarization will only have a height of 3 meters above the tiles (which actually is a roof, not ground level, see the picture below).

Update (16-okt-2012): I’ve changed the feed-point. Where the EndFed-antenna was fed at the bottom of the vertical pole, I’ve changed the set-up to a sloper configuration, feeding the antenna at 8 meters high. The antenna picks up less noise then before and levels are acceptable now. New noise situation is S3-5 on 40 and 20 meters which is very acceptable. I’ve made the first JT65 QSO’s with the US now.

100 DXCC’s

This evening I was working JT65 on 20 meters. I noticed CE3PG online from Chile. I was missing Chile in the worked countries list, so this QSO makes DXCC100. Thanks Galdino!

Welcome Flex-3000 SDR

After playing with a Flex-1500 QRP transceiver for a while, mostly connected to my laptop when i’m not at home for some days I wanted one for home to. Something with build in antenna tuner would be nice. This weekend I noticed someone was selling his Flex-3000 transceiver. A nice clean box without the hassle of extra cabling. Good to attach it to my 27″ iMac in the living room instead of putting it in the shack on the loft.

Now the only thing left is to buy a decent common-mode choke and a Heil headset.


Sporadic E season started

Around half may the Sporadic E season starts. That brings a few good things for the summer months. The first one is that the 6 and 4 meter bands open. I don’t have a 4 meter transceiver but am able to transmit on the 6 meter band.

The only problem for me is that it’s not allowed for my license class in the Netherlands. The good thing is that I’m visiting Belgium (Antwerp, JO21EE).quite often so I took a saw and a 11 meter dipole and there was the dipole for the 6 meter band. Hanging on the loft under the roof – yes, indoor – I was able to make some QSO’s.

This is the first year I actually listen on 6 meters and now I know why they call it the magic band. I’ve made several QSO’s during the peak of Sporadic E with countries in Europe and noticed some hams where able to make intercontinental QSO’s with the States. Nice! I hoop to get my full-licence this year and since we will move to a new home I have to rebuild antenna’s. Let’s get ready for the 6 meter openings in 2013.

Another nice thing is that the 10 meter band opens to with sporadic E. Not for DX, but for local QSO’s thru out Europe. And i’m still missing some countries over here. With some wires attached to the dipole I just cut for the 6 meter band, I was able to work Guernsey, Corsica (in FM), and Scotland. DXCC’s where my signal normally hops over. Let’s work some more local DXCC’s on 10 meter (and 6 when I’m in Belgium).

My second certificate

When I logged into eqsl,cc, a second certificate was waiting for me. It shows up that 50 countries are confirmed by validated members. My first certificate was handed out to me on March 4th, confirming 25 countries so this upgrade went fast.

Still, my goal is to get my first DXCC certificate this year using Logbook of the World (LoTW). Another one wanted is the Worked all Continents (WAC) certificate but i’m still missing Oceanië. My (JT65) signal does reach countries like Australia and New Zeeland but due to the QRM on 20 meters (S7+) I’m not able to receive them.

The DXCC counter is on 91 worked countries from which 60 are confirmed digitally via LoTW. I’m missing some easy countries like Belgium and Iceland in the list. Maybe I should make some skeds…

Half way to my first DXCC certificate

Today, when logging in to the LoTW application, I saw that I’ve reached 50 DXCC’s confirmed. Thanks to YL2QV for confirming our RTTY QSO on 20 meters. Half way there to obtain my first DXCC certificate. Still missing some ‘easy’ countries like Belgium, etc. My goal is to obtain 100 confirmed DXCC entities in LoTW before the end of 2012.

New expansion: Icom IC-92D

Today I’ve bought a second hand Icom IC-92D handheld tranceiver to discover the D-Star protocol. The local hamshop, RYS, had a trade. This set is very complete, with Icom software, bag, GPS speakermike, interface cable with the original boxes supplied. Good to see the previous owner was carefully and neatly with his equipment!

The Amsterdam D-Star repeter, PI1RYS, had good coverage for portable use in my house in Alkmaar, which is about 20 miles above Amsterdam. I work in the centre in Amsterdam ans in the office on the channel in the centre of Amsterdam – behind the Dam Square – there is good coverage too.

Now find some time to find our more about D-Star.

My first certificate

When I’ve just logged in to my account I saw a certificate was waiting for me, to confirm 2-way QSO’s with 25 country’s. Well, thanks for that. I hope the next one will be the DXCC-100 certificate to confirm I’ve worked 100+ country’s. Currently the counter is on 75 countries with 36 confirmed. Hereby on top of the todo-list of 2012…

Hope the next certificate is less ugly 🙂

Some new DXCC’s

I’ve worked some new DXCC’s this week, when active with PSK31. One of them is Israel, which was still missing. Good to see the 10 meter band is somewhat open now. This is the only HF band I can work, without having noise. On the 20 meter band the noise level is about S5 and on the 40 meter band this level reaches S9.

First JT65 QSO

Although I’ve listened and looked at received signals with the JT65 mode, this afternoon I had my first ever JT65 QSO (using QRP of course) with F6DKQ on 14.076MHz. I used the JT65-HF package with the simplified interface for HF QSOs. It worked a treat.

It took a time for me to figure out the right settings in combination with my Microham Microkey MK2-interface and setting the TX audio level (The ALC meter should not give any kick!) but it worked. Thanks Guy!

QSL card from F6DKQ

PACC contest 2012

Last weekend the Dutch PACC contest was held. I’ve worked for several hours. Saturday from 15.45 till 19.45 (CET) and Sunday from 9.00 till 12.00 CET. Too bad the 10-meter band was closed. I’ve worked 67 stations on the 20 and 40-meter band. All QSO’s where quite local in Europe ans Asiatic Russia. The only station outside of Europe was one in Marocco.

The QSO’s are good for an estimated total of 2046 points. Not bad for my first PACC-contest, especially when you consider that I always have a S9 noise on all bands below 25 Mhz.

Callsign: PD1AKL

Band     Qso    Cancelled  Dup  Point  Penalty  Mult        Score
160M      0            0    0      0        0     0
80M       0            0    0      0        0     0
40M      33            0    0     32        0    12
20M      34            0    0     34        0    19
15M       0            0    0      0        0     0
10M       0            0    0      0        0     0
         67            0    0     66        0    31         2046

The logs are uploaded to LoTW and HRDlog. Verify our QSO here.

Update: Finally, PD0ME confirmed our QSO on LoTW. I was missing the Netherlands over there. Thanks. 🙂

What is Logbook of The World?

Logbook of The World – LoTW  – is an exciting way for Radio Amateurs to confirm two-way contacts they have made and use the confirmations as credit toward various awards.

Because Logbook of The World uses double blind comparison, users cannot see what other users have uploaded unless there is a matched QSO. All files uploaded to LoTW are electronically signed by verified users. Logbook of The World maintains the integrity of the QSO verification process that has long been the hallmark of ARRL awards.

How does it work?

Logbook of The World is a very powerful system capable of collecting and matching QSO data from users all over the world.  When properly configured, LoTW can accommodate a variety of operating situations, such as DXpeditions, previously held call signs and QSL managers.

By using digitally signed certificates with QSO date ranges and station locations for geographic information, Logbook of The World is able to accommodate clubs, QSL managers, Dxpeditions, mobile and rover operators just as easily as it handles the individual user with one call sign and one location.

Does this replace paper QSL-cards?

No, LoTW does not replace paper QSL cards. But it’s an easy way to confirm QSO’s fast. Besides that, LoTW can also be used to request DXCC or WAS-certificates. Many software applications like Ham Radio Deluxe have LoTW support. Besides that: It’s fast. You don’t have to wait months (up to 1,5 year!) for a QSL card via the bureau but new DXCC’s are visible within hours after both OM’s uploaded their logs.

Is it really free?

Yes, LoTW itself is free. It will only cost you 2 copies (license and passport) and a stamp to send a letter to the ARRL headquarters in the United States. Requests to subscribe to LoTW can only done by postal mail to verify yourself. The time between sending my letter and receiving the login credentials was only one week.



I’m Randy, a 39-year old ham living in Amersfoort, which is located about 25 miles east from Amsterdam. Licensed since aged 17 (1997) and active on all bands from 160 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.

The 1th station from the Netherlands on 144, 432 and 1296 MHz in the QRP section and the 2nd station on 144 and 432 MHz in de low-power section based on DAC and NAC results during 2018.