Midwinter Fieldday

We had ideas for this since the september Fieldday: Doing a small Fieldday in wintertime when it was cold and if possible with snow!
The last week it has been freezing. The last couple of days we had some snow and temperatures stayed below zero also during the daytime. So today was the right time to do it. It was -7 °C, the fields where covered with 5 centimeter of snow and the sun was shining.

Peter PD1AJJ and I went to one of our favorite fieldday locations in the surrounding polders. When we arrived it was quite busy with about 15 hunters. They were just ready with a Brown Hares hunt so we first had a chat with them. After that we both setup our FT-817's and Outback 1899's and made our first QSO's within a few minutes.

I made two transatlantic QSO's with just 3 watt. First with Robert VE3KZ and 15 minutes later with clubstation VE3MIS. They were both in the Canadian Winter Contest.

Due to the cold the 7Ah battery couldn't give enough power to allow the FT-817 to put the full 5 watts QRP power into the antenna. The maximum output power was just 3 watt. But that is what all the fun is about: making a QSO with a station 6000 km away with less power than a bicycle light uses!!

After a while the sun was covered with clouds and more wind came up. The windchill dropped and we decided to come back another time. No more /P/QRP/Cold for today ;-)

You can see more pictures in Peter's Midwinter Fieldday photo album.

A new record!

Almost everyone has written about it in the last 24 hours: The new sunspots in Cycle 24.
It started yesterday with 26 sunspots. Today it came to a new Cycle 24 record: 31 sunspots. Also the solar flux came to a new maximum: 76.
I hope these sunspots are the real beginning of this new Solar Cycle.

Worked All Europe Contest

Last Saturday and Sunday it was time again to do a little contesting. Unfortunately I didn't had the time to make it a full-time contest weekend. I worked a few hours behind the rig on Saturday evening and on Sunday.

The Worked All Europe Contest is a very nice contest but it's always hard to get through the pile-ups with just 25 watts. Sometimes it was a one-call QSO but some others took much more time.

Sunday morning there suddenly was an opening towards the Caribbean on 40 meters. I was very glad that I could work Peter PJ4NX and Ted HI3TEJ on that band!

Fieldday

The first weekend of September is on the calendar as IARU Region 1 SSB Fieldday. That's why I drove to a nearby field location with a few members of our club PI4VAD.
It was not our intention to participate as a fieldday contest station. We go out for fun and the eyeball QSO's.
This time I was QRV within a few minutes after arriving with my Yaesu FT-817 QRP rig and Outback 1899 vertical. Maybe next time I'll put up my masts and windom antenna. That next time can be the upcoming "Snowball Fieldday". Peter PD1AJJ ans I have some ideas for organizing a cold-winter-fieldday.
On the bands were a lot of stations working in the All Asia DX Contest. I hope that contest will be in another weekend next year.

I've heard him numerous times calling to the same stations as I was on HF but we never met and we never made a QSO. But today Arie PD0ARI dropped us a visit on the Fieldday location. It's always very nice to meet the hams you hear and shake hands for a Eyeball QSO.

All 5/9 ++


Yesterday evening we had a sked on 40 meter with two of our club members who were in F and EA land.
The signals on the band were all very strong. Not a single one was below S9 as you can see in the bandscope above.
Gerrit was working with about 300 Watt from the south of France, Tjakko was working mobile with 100 Watt from Northern Spain, Henk with 100 Watt from Dordrecht and I was running the usual 25 Watt but we could make a nice QSO with the four of us.
That was between 19:00 and 19:30 UTC and a little later I heard some stations from South America on 40 meter. Unfortunately I couldn't log a QSO with them.

Spider-GP

An absolute new design.... the Spider-GP! No more buzzing sounds in your ears during the evening and night. All of this due to this Spider-GP!

Unfortunately, this is only outside and not in the shack...
There seems to be more and more spiders every year. Every morning it's a struggle to to walk outside the house without getting a spiderweb in my face.

There are spiders everywhere and also a few dozen on my Diamond CP-6 vertical antenna. The only problem for DX is that they don't give me a dB extra gain....

Time to do some antenna cleaning soon! If you have an idea, please let me know.

QRP again

It was time again to do some more /P/QRP with Peter PD1AJJ again. As before, it was a nice Sunday afternoon. The sun was shining and it was about 25 degrees Celsius.
We both did it the easy way: A Yaesu FT-817 and an Outback 1899 on the car. So, QRV again within 5 minutes after arriving instead of putting up the mast for my windom dipole....

It's always nice to go outside and do some HF experiments. I don't try to make as many QSO's as possible. It's nice enough to hear that the hams on the other side of the rig are really surprised and amazed that I only work with 3 watt. Today I worked Pranas, LY2J and Alex, UA3QKA. QSL is on it way via the bureau guys!

Router as APRS Digi

The last couple of days I've been busy getting an APRS Gateway and Digipeater up and running.
Most likely (and easy way) to get this done is install some software on a PC by clicking "next, next.. finish". But I wanted to do it very different.
I took a second hand ASUS WL-500g router and flashed it with the OpenWRT linux software. On top of the new (linux) firmware I installed APRS4R. There is also a complete flash image available but the version of the router I have has only 4 MB flash memory. That's why Ive "upgraded" the hardware with an extra 128 MB Memory Stick.
APRS4R is very easy to use Gateway and Digipeater software and doesn't use much resources. The advantage of using a router instead of a PC is that it's consuming way less electricity.
What I still need is a TNC to connect it to a rig. Up until then it's only connected to the internet.

CEPT Novice Licensing updated

Tonight I've updated the CEPT Novice Licensing information with some new countries.
Just for all those hams that are still having a holiday abroad ahead of them....

Again I wanna thank Thorsten DO4TP for supplying me some of the additional information.
If someone has some new or additional information or updates on the CEPT Novice Licensing, please let me know via email or the contact form.

You can see all the information at this page.

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