www.pg2p.nl
It's all about hamradio

Welcome to www.pg2p.nl; here I will try to inform you about my activities as hamradio amateur. 

Who still remembers the famous date August 31st, 1974? That was the day radio died as they say at radio Veronica.

But for me that was the day radio started because somehow it triggered my interest to everything related to radio. The neighbour of one of my aunts had an FM transmitter and I really loved to be there when he was transmitting. I also started to listen to the local radio pirates and their DX-ing during the late hours. Unfortunately my parents didn't want me to get a transmitter or get involved so it was a no-go area for me for a while...

So it took some years (I guess it was 1981 or so) when a schoolfriend got a Senfor Skyline SM-2008 27MC transceiver. What fun it was to talk to other people without knowing them or even knowing who you would be talking to in the first place. Of course I spent some time after school at my friends place. But again my parents told me I could not have a CB transceiver...

Time went by and it was around 1989 that I bought my first 27 MC transceiver, a Midland 77-104. In the meantime legislation allowed us to use 4W FM and 40 channels so it was even more fun (though I still like QRP operation hi!). Two years later I got my first car, a silver coloured Ford Fiesta and of course I had to put a big magnetic mount on top of the roof. 


I was studying electronics and of course it didn't take long for me to start building a 3m transmitter, the (in)famous Stentor. It was a matter of time before I wanted something else so with aid of advertisements in Free Radio Magazine I found myself a schema and PCB for a 50W PLL stereo transmitter. Those were the days a lot of solder was spoiled, hi!

Via one of my friends I also got involved into a local radiostation and I spent quite some hours there. Years went by, different radiostations, different places to work, different work environment and somewhere in 2006 I finally decided to go for my novice license.

So I started to study the materials and passed the first time. PD0PRS went on air and since I had a day-to-day commute of 45 minutes single trip I have made quite some nice QSO's on one of the repeaters around here (PI3AMF). But as the novice license restricts you to a couple of HF bands (40m (partially), 20m (partially) and 10m) and the 2m and 70cm bands with a power output of 25W ERP I decided to take the (for me at least since I am not interested in CW yet) last hurdle by going for the full license.

In november 2011 after a non-optimal time of preparation I took the test but failed; 16 errors which means one too much. After checking the results I found out that there was a mistake in the exam and one answer was counted to be false while it was true. Of course I objected but couldn't wait for the official answer so in the beginning of december I re-took the exam and passed with 6 mistakes. The day after Christmas I finally could exchange my old callsign for a new callsign (PG2P).

And since then I've got the possibility to discover even more new aspects of this great hobby.

73! Paul, PG2P

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I mentioned a couple of articles ago I want to become active on 23cm; nearby there is an excellent 23cm repeater (PI6NOS) which happens to have been rebuild a couple of months ago. 

So after having played around with the Alinco HT I decided I wanted to have a mobile rig with the main possibility to work 23cm; the biggest question however is where to find one as they seem to be very rare within Europe. As a matter of fact I overheard a conversation on PI6NOS about acquiring second hand rigs via an auction site in Japan. So I sniffed around an found a nice Icom IC-3700 (not to confuse with the SDR transceiver Icom IC-7300 :-) )

The rig seemed to be released for the Japanese market only (the user manual is written in Japanese so very hard to understand hi!). I was curious to see what state the rig would be in, but it was absolutely in as good as new state.

When I tried to make a first QSO with it the transceiver switched frequency as soon as my counterpart wanted to answer. Oh oh, did I in the end buy something that was not in a good shape after all? But when I turned the microphone around the mystery was solved; the microphone apparently has a alpha numerical keypad on the back of it, including a LOCK key...

After having pressed the LOCK key I was able to make a QSO, and to be honest I am very glad with this purchase... So glad that I decided to keep this rig within the shack and look for another 23cm only mobile rig to be able to play around with it when in my car.

The auction site also showed a Kenwood TM-541. The price was okay so I ordered it as well; it arrived just before New Years eve. The set clearly was in a worse shape than the Icom but all by all it still looks good. The only bad thing is a "nervous" PTT switch and a small piece of plastic broken of of the frontpanel. Now the next problem would be what antenna to use. With a bit of googleing around I found a Diamond SGM-805N; and together with a Diamond magnet mount it accomplishes my mobile setup for 23cm.

Time to play around I would say...

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It has been quiet for a while but this doesn't mean I have not been active.

Two weeks ago I thought it would be a good idea to fire up the Flex 1500 and run WSPR; the result was surprisingly good...

TimestampCallMHzSNRDriftGridPwrReporterRGridkmaz
2014-02-06 08:36 PG2P 14.097111 -26 0 JO22pj 1 VK2QN QF56hf 16573

67

So 16573 km with 1W output power!

Last week I was off and the XYL and I went for a short break at a holidaypark in 't Loo Oldebroek (JO22XK). As usual you always take too much stuff, but what I was using for the hobby that week was a Wouxun handheld transceiver, the FT-817 and an end-fed wire for 10, 20 and 40m. Though my expectations were low conditions on 10m were surprisingly good. The first station I heard was a station in Cuba; unfortunatelly he was not able to hear me yet. So I continued and was able to work WB2REM and K8CW (by the way when I mention QRP it means I do not have a lineair hi!).

After several attempts the Cuban station (CO6LC) could hear me and we made a very fast and short QSO... Next station I worked was KF4QXG who was awaiting his new transceiver. All by all 4 SSB QSOś with distances varying from 6461 up to 7791 km with only 5W of output power.

The next day I didn't have any luck at all. But based upon the way the antenna was hanging (one end connected to the window handle at the first floor, the other hand connected to a 40 cm wooden pole behind the house in the woods) I'm happy with what I achieved.

When we returned home there was a message that there was a package waiting for me at the local postoffice. Of course I already knew what was coming, the AA0713 Antenna Analyzer from Fox Delta. This analyzer should be connected to your PC. Together with the software (which can be downloaded free of charge) youŕe able to create beautiful SWR diagrams of your antenna situation. Very nice if you have multiband dipoles and want to know exactly where the dip is.

To conclude this recap I'm now busy trying to get my FT-950 and Microkeyer II to transmit CW from DM780. Up until no luck... That is I have implemented the recommendations from Microham but no matter what I try the transmitter refuses to switch to tx automatically. If I press the MOX button on the transceiver before I want to start sending CW I do see and hear the morsecode being transmitted but the interface somehow doesn't trigger TX/RX. Should be simple, something with DTR/RTS settings but up until now I haven't figured it out yet... Anyone having the same experience?

 

 

 

 

 

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Since I acquired a Heil Proset Plus with the HC4 & HC5 elements I must say I’m very happy with it; together with my Yaesu FT-950 it makes a good combination for contesting, DX QSO’s (both HC4 element) or just ragchewing (with the HC5 element).

The reason for buying the Proset Plus was because I wasn’t completely happy about the Yaesu MD-200 microphone, especially when it comes to contesting and DX QSO’s. It looks like the punch in the middle of the spectrum is somehow not high enough. Of course I can change it by adjusting the equalizer settings in the FT-950 itself but I don’t want to keep on changing these settings for contesting/DX-ing on one side and ragchewing on the other side.

So I tried to improve my audio quality by acquiring a W2IHY 8 band equalizer and W2IHY EQPlus. By the flip of the On/Off button on the equalizer I could switch between contesting/DX and ragchewing. But my current antenna setup led to RFI on the audio signal. W2IHY states that their products are built to be used in transmitting environments where RFI and less-than-perfect ground systems can compromise the performance of audio equipment.


And that’s where I left it and got the headset. I’ve never really used it since last Saturday I was in the shack and decided to give it another go. By going through the manuals step by step I setup the equalizer and EQPlus. One of the good things of the EQPlus is, without a doubt, the Downward Expander which should be turned up that far until no noise is being heard. In this case the adjustable compressor doesn’t pick up noise and starts amplifying it. No input signal means nothing to do for the compressor and thus no noise transmitted.

After I setup everything I decided to monitor myself on my good old FT-817 but this was not a good idea; it sounded very bad so I decided to use the monitor output of my FT-950. And that was a much better indication.

The 2nd QSO I made (with a French station) lead to an unsolicited comment about good audio. So that makes me wonder if it really makes such a difference. Then I decided to try to break a pile-up for an English special event station. One call and he heard me above local English stations… Nope, I wasn’t running a lot of power and my antenna situation isn’t perfect (indoor multiband dipole). I wonder if it has anything to do with the setup as it is right now or just pure luck. Coming weekend there’s a Spanish contest. Maybe it’s a perfect moment to test the setup a bit further.

And the RFI is still there (on 40m and 80m). It could well be it’s the microphone cable which is connected to the 8 bands equalizer. Time to replace that one as part of the chain I would say.


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Only watch this youtube video when you're alone in the shack....

 

 

 

 

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  • I will listen, and listen, and then listen again before calling.
  • I will only call if I can copy the DX station properly.
  • I will not trust the DX cluster and will be sure of the DX station’s call sign before calling.
  • I will not interfere with the DX station nor anyone calling and will never tune up on the DX frequency or in the QSX slot.
  • I will wait for the DX station to end a contact before I call.
  • I will always send my full call sign.
  • I will call and then listen for a reasonable interval. I will not call continuously.
  • I will not transmit when the DX operator calls another call sign, not mine.
  • I will not transmit when the DX operator queries a call sign not like mine.
  • I will not transmit when the DX station requests geographic areas other than mine.
  • When the DX operator calls me, I will not repeat my call sign unless I think he has copied it incorrectly.
  • I will be thankful if and when I do make a contact.
  • I will respect my fellow hams and conduct myself so as to earn their respect.
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Today conditions seem to have improved quite a bit both on VHF/UHF as well as on HF. 

During the day I've been running WSPR on 20m with a power output of 5W and an indoor dipole antenna and as a surprise ZL3XX was capable of decoding my signal multiple times throughout the afternoon.

 

TimestampCallMHzSNRDriftGridPwrReporterRGridkmaz
 2012-03-14 13:42   PG2P   14.097175   -28   0   JO22pj   5   ZL3XX   RE78kr   18549   37 
 2012-03-14 15:56   PG2P   14.097115   -26   0   JO22pj   5   VK2XGJ   QF55jl   16645   68 
 2012-03-14 08:06   PG2P   14.097108   -28   0   JO22pj   5   VK2MKD   QF56od   16616   66 
 2012-03-14 07:50   PG2P   14.097104   -14   0   JO22pj   5   VK2UX   QF56hf   16573   67 
 2012-03-14 07:58   PG2P   14.097086   -25   0   JO22pj   5   VK4XDB   QG62jk   16164   57 

2m wise one of the German repeaters on 145.78750 MHz (the same frequency as PI3AMF) could be received when (of course) PI3AMF was not transmitting.

Also 4m showed some nice propagation. This afternoon I heard a QSO between some OM's in Amersfoort and Friesland. Since 4m is quite new for HAMs in the Netherlands it's nice to see how the signals behave.

It's time to grab the mike....

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