DXCC #103 UAE, #104 Northern Ireland, #105 Svalbard

Enjoying my day off placing CQ DX calls on 20 & 10 meters. A lot of nice QSO’s passed by, adding 3 new DXCC’s to my list. First Mohammed A61CK from the United Arab Emirates on 10 meters, then I had a nice chat with Robert MI0GDO from Northern Ireland on 20, and Svein JW9JKA from Svalbard also on 20. I got so many 9+ reports today, incredible. In the “very nice QSO” list I would like to add 83 year old Fred OE1SF from Austria. He was a fun guy to talk to, lots of laughs from Vienna. Thanks for pointing out the noisy fan in my power supply, Fred!

Rotor Control, the Easy Way

Today I added a computer interface to my Yaesu G450C rotator. There are several ways to accomplish this but after recommendation by my good friend Rico PA3BVK I went for Easy Rotor Control or ERC made by German company Schmidt Alba. I ordered the kit last week and it arrived only two days later. Anyone with reasonable soldering skills will build this neat little interface in an hour or so. The PCB is small enough to incorporate it in the rotor control box and I decided to put the board just above the main PCB in the G450C box. It’s the board with the 3 orange relays in the above picture. I drilled 4 holes in the back of the box, 2 for the included mounting brackets and 2 larger ones for the power and interface cable jacks. 5 wires needed to be connected to the internal wiring as decribed in the extensive documentation and thats really all there is to it. The controller comes with software for remote control and there’s also a program for guided calibration of the controller. It was a breeze really. The unit talks Yaesu GS232A or GS232B protocol so configuring in Ham Radio Deluxe took about a minute. A great kit, well documented and it comes with everything you need, including power and RS232 or USB cables. Highly recommended for lazy old men that want to point and click their antenna to the correct bearing. Just like me 😉

Angelo from Michigan & Stanley Island

This afternoon made my ham radio year complete.

First I had a really nice chat with Angelo W8ERN from Michigan USA. Angelo is a real ragchewer with a deep voice, taking his time to get acquainted and very interested and courteous. Really the opposite of most ham operators I have met (no offense). Angelo is an outstanding operator, really, very nice to work with. We chatted for some time and after clearing the frequency I heard some distant voice calling something like “the Dutch station 5 up”, so I upped 5 where I heard another “5 up” and after that a “2 down”. Whats happening?

After landing on 28.428 I had an exceptionally nice chat with Stanley VA3AAA operating from HIS OWN ISLAND somewhere in Ontario Canada. He heard my QSO with Angelo and lured me to a free spot on 10m.  The Island is dubbed “Stanley Island” (you can’t make up stuff like this really). Just. Wonderful. Stanley is retired for 25 years and lives on the Island with his family. They are completely self supporting. Power from solar cells and windmills, electricity stored in special batteries. Internet via satellite, used only in emergency situations. Just awesome. I’m really jealous of this guy. Living in a permanent DXpedition without the daily internet news media madness, can you imagine that? I’m floored.

2014 Roundup – Seasons Greetings!

My first year as a licensed ham went beyond expectations. I learned a lot and had tons of fun in the process. I met new friends, joined new clubs, chatted with random people in over 100 different countries. I gained experience as a contest operator for several special event stations like Windmills on the Air (PH14MILL) and the International Lighthouse and Lightships weekend (PA35WO), the monthly VHF locator contest (PI4ZHE) as well as a few contests I participated in with my own callsign. RFI hunting became a new challenge to keep my hobby going. Building antennas with the kind help of new ham radio friends was very rewarding. The fun thing about ham radio is that there are so many different ways to enjoy it. To me, DX’ing on HF SSB is the exciting thing to do. The bigger the pile-up, the better. Others are engaged in digital modes, or pursuing ever better audio on the lower bands or do things with satellites. Excitement for everyone!

Happy holidays, merry christmas and a happy, healthy 2015 to all of you out there!

73s Jan PD2H

CQ on 20

Nice conditions on 20 meters today so I put out a CQ and worked quite a lot of stations. Had a very nice QSO with Predrag YU1FE from Belgrado and we had a talk about sound quality on HF. He recorded me while I switched my EQ on/of and fiddled with the bandwidth settings and has sent me the sound clip by email. You can listen to it here:

Although not quite zero beat, I think the audio of my old Kenwood is doing very well.