PD4KH Amateur radio - Koos van den Hout

I passed my radio amateur exam in March 2013 and I registered the callsign PD4KH (pappa delta four kilo hotel!). PD4KH on qrz.com

I am usually located around maidenhead locator: JO22NC

I like receiving and sending QSL cards. Paper cards via the QSL bureau and digital QSL cards via eQSL.cc, gallery of eQSL cards received by PD4KH.

For now this page contains just the 'hamradio' items from my homepage.


Amateur Satellites
D-Star digitale amateur radio (Nederlands)

2015-03-25 New country for me in amateur radio: Qatar
eQSL confirming contact with A71AE
Confirmation of contact with A71AE
Last evening I saw A71AE active on 20 meter PSK63. After he worked a number of other station I answered his CQ and we had a short but good contact. And I already have it confirmed via eQSL.

2015-03-22 The Heard Island DXpedition book
First I have to describe to 'other' visitors of my pages what a DXpedition is: operating radio from a remote location which is on the wish-list of many radio amateurs who want to make contacts with as much countries/locations as possible. Radio amateurs will visit such a place and set up antennas and radios to make those contacts possible.

I just finished reading the VK0IR DXpedition book. It's a great description of the Heard Island DXpedition in 1997. Just 18 years ago, but a lot has changed. Supporting a major amateur radio event via the Internet/World wide web was a new thing back then. Nowadays, not doing that would be unthinkable.

And, the Heard Island 2015 DXpedition is being planned! I usually avoid making contact with DXpeditions because it's just trying to get through a wall of radio amateurs trying to make that contact (what radio amateurs call a "pile-up") but it can be done, so I may try to get this one.

2015-03-20 Morgen Landelijke Radio Vlooienmarkt
Morgen is het tijd voor de 40e Landelijke Radio Vlooienmarkt in het Autotron in Rosmalen. Ik ga er weer van harte heen!

2015-03-05 A new distance record in HF for me
A new distance record in HF for me this evening: I had a PSK31 contact with someone 5 kilometers away!

My other current distance record is an RTTY contact to the island of Aruba at a distance of 7908 kilometers.

2015-03-02 Cheap clothesline for a dipole antenna
I still had a clothesline with metal core cut in four pieces tuned for 10 and 20 meters laying ready to put in the attic, to replace the UTP network wire.
New dipole antenna from clothesline, tuned for 10 and 20 meter bands - Kvdhout on flickr
New dipole antenna from clothesline, tuned for 10 and 20 meter bands
This evening I found some time to replace the wires and test the results. In the 10 and 20 meter PSK31 frequencies the SWR is now good (if I remember correctly from the antenna analyzer it's around 1:1.2), the SWR meter on the radio doesn't leave the corner anymore. This also means the voice frequencies on 20 meter are now available for me!

2015-02-22 Another weekend, another digimode contest...
Some radio amateurs complain that there seems to be a contest every weekend. And they may have a point: yesterday I found the digimode users 'all' busy with the Russian WW PSK contest so I checked the website, adjusted the macros and joined the fun. Other activities at home also had to be done but I managed to make a total of 38 contacts on the 10 and 20 meter bands during this contest. Given the fact that I made a number of contacts on both bands I entered my log in the single-operator multi-band category.

I saw nobody from the US in this contest, mostly Russian, Eastern European and a few Dutch callsigns. Given the high serial numbers I saw fly by I will not be a winner of anything, but it was nice to participate.

My claimed score is 2398 points with 37 QSO's, 109 points and a multiplier of 22. Check the Russian WW PSK contest site for the explanation of all those.

2015-02-16 Bits from the radio, receiving Radio Data System
I had to have a look at Receiving RDS with the RTL-SDR - Absorptions and indeed it works. Tuning to NPO 3FM:
8203  0A TP:0 PTY:10 TA:1 MS:M AF:89.9MHz AF:90.9MHz PS:'NPO 3FM '
8203  0A TP:0 PTY:10 TA:1 MS:M AF:96.2MHz AF:96.5MHz PS:'NPO 3FM '
8203  2A TP:0 PTY:10 RT:'BNN: Dit is Domien↵                                             ' RT_OK
8203 14A TP:0 PTY:10 ON:8204[TP:0 PS:'NPO     ']
8203 14A TP:0 PTY:10 ON:8204[TP:0 PS:'NPO     ']
Found via Receiving RDS with RTL-SDR - Software radio on Google+

2015-02-15 I played in the CQ WPX RTTY contest
Sunday I noticed a distinct lack of replies to my calls in PSK31 mode on the standard places in the 10 and 20 meter amateur bands. So I spun the dial and noticed a lot of RTTY traffic. This turned out to be the CQ WPX RTTY contest. So I answered a number of CQ TEST calls and exchanged the stunning number of 13 QSOs.

The fun part is that this is a way to make contacts in new places. Normally I don't get through to the US or Canada easily but now I made several contacts there. And I had contacts in Cyprus and Aruba. Now to see which ones I can get confirmed.

One new and puzzling thing to me was receiving EYR as a serial. This confused me but the other side was quite convinced it was a valid serial. But the logrobot for the contest did not accept it so I googled and found out in RTTY numbers can be written as letters. The simple way is to look at a US keyboard for transposing: 1=Q, 2=W, 3=E, 4=R, 5=T, 6=Y, 7=U, 8=I, 9=O, 0=P. So EYR translates to 364.

2015-01-31 Received an image from ISS
Image received from ISS SSTV callsign RS0ISS
Image received from ISS slow scan tv at location JO22NC 2015-01-31 starting 20:47
This chance of receiving images from ISS I took it and tried to recieve one. Not everything worked as planned: recording the audio while receiving the image with qsstv failed, someone tried to transmit on the downlink frequency to contact the ISS and the image is slanted which probably means I need to calibrate qsstv and/or the soundcard.

But, it worked! An image from the international space station!

2015-01-31 World news in my amateur radio contacts
And sometimes world news gets into my amateur radio contacts, even when both sides don't really want that:
Pse QSL via LoTW,eQSLc .. please no bureau now. War here
This was in a contact with a radio amateur operator in the Donetsk region in Ukraine.

2015-01-31 Interesting interference in the 10 meter amateur band
waterfall plot of interference I had the radio and computer running checking for PSK31 signals at 28.120 MHz, the standard frequency for PSK31 in the 10 meter band. Suddenly I saw lots of carriers 5 Hz apart and very precise. I checked the websdr in twente and saw the same signal.

So I tried to make a screengrab of it and it went away. To show up at 27.120 MHz exactly the same and annoying some 27 MHz CB users.

I'm not sure what it was, my first guess was over the horizon radar which is 'famous' for interfering on HF amateur bands. Moving 1 MHz down when the HF propagation maximum frequency is dropping is also a sign of something like over the horizon radar.

2015-01-26 Upgrading a desktop system to Ubuntu 14.04 (for newer amateur radio software!)
Recently I found out I wanted the latest and greatest in some amateur radio software used on the desktop system thompson at home. So I upgraded ubuntu again. This system has run Ubuntu versions 8.04, 10.04 and 12.04, so it does show all those upgrades work!

2015-01-23 Amateur radio and geography
This evening when I had time to play with the radio the HF bands I can use were already going 'silent'. But I left the setup running om 14.070 MHz in fldigi in PSK31 mode. This is the recommended standard frequency for PSK31 in the 20 meter band, so a lot of people will try there first. I saw a CQ call from EA9BO and fldigi filled in the country as Ceuta & Melilla which I did not recognize.
Spanish autonomous cities Ceuta and Melilla
Map of Ceuta and Melilla, from Ceuta-melilla.png, Wikimedia Commons, Anarkangel
Which means one thing: a contact with a new country! I was able to answer his call after he had contacts with a few other stations and he got my signals and we had a short QSO. Afterwards I looked up Ceuta & Melilla which are the two autonomous Spanish cities that are within Morocco.

Again amateur radio learns me new things about geography! I already have looked up a number of interesting city names in eastern parts of Europe because of what I received as the cities of radio amateurs I had contacts with.

Oh and this is the first contact on the African continent.

2015-01-17 Full amateur bands when a contest is going on
Websdr view with a contest active on 20m I like using the Wide-band WebSDR in JO32KF to check the actual conditions on the HF bands and to see if there are interesting voice contacts possible. Today I had a look at the 10 meter amateur band but it has no propagation at the moment. But the 20 meter band is doing fine and as visible in the waterfall display it is busy. A look at the HF contestkalender van PG7V op de Veron site (Dutch) confirms this: the HA-DX contest International Radioamateur Short Wave Contest organized by the Hungarian Radioamateur Society is active this weekend.

I decided not to participate on 20m voice: the SWR of my attic dipole gets to high in the voice part, triggering the SWR warning on my transciever.

2015-01-11 Playing in a radio contest
Yesterday I switched on the radio for a bit and when I responded to a PSK63 CQ I received a four-digit serial number. I assumed some contest was going on and responded with serial 1001 because some contests require 4 digit serials starting at 1001. After that I found out I was right, the UBA PSK63 Prefix Contest was going on. But we had other plans, so that was just one QSO.

Today I had some more time before 12:00 UTC to play with the radio, changed the contest macros a bit for this contest and tried making more contacts. In total I made 10 contacts so it's just a checklog for the others. But I entered it 'for real' in the 10 meter single operator category.

Contesting is more fun than I expected when I first heard about it. And contesting in digimodes has its interesting things. I made all contacts in the 10 meter band, this is becoming my favourite HF band at the moment.

2014-12-30 First HF voice (phone) contact
After a lot of digital mode contacts (QSOs) I actually talked to someone today on HF radio. I heard UR5QW calling CQ on 10 meters HF in SSB (single side band). I was trying to find interesting stations via the Websdr in Twente but I actually heard UR5QW via the radio first and answered and we had a short but understandable QSO.

Searching for interesting signals via the websdr in Twente can be frustrating: it has less local noise than I have at home, so it can be I can understand a station via the websdr but not at home.

2014-12-21 A cold try at working the SO-50 satellite
This evening there was a pass of the SO-50 amateur satellite so I wanted to give it a try again. Since the garden table is dissassembled and stored in winter I don't have a table outside to set up laptop, radio, battery and other things so I went the simple way with the directional antenna, the SO-50 channels programmed into the handheld radio and Hamsatdroid for the prediction of the pass.

I heard the satellite, but had the usual problem of understanding callsigns. I heard one callsign good enough to answer it: 2E0FKL or that's what I think I heard, I am not one hundred percent sure. He did not hear my reply.

Comparing my 3 successful amateur satellite contacts with the 264 logged HF digimode contacts shows me that satellite contacts still have a special skillset and I'm a bit out of it. Next year will bring nicer temperatures for being outside and having the laptop controlling the radio outside.

2014-12-16 Adding my weatherstation to the APRS maps
I still had the wish to submit the Weather station Utrecht Overvecht to the APRS network to get the data on the APRS maps and maybe even added to the Citizen Weather Observer Program.

APRS stands for Automatic Packet Reporting System which allows lots of information to be automatically exchanged. The most well-known one is position reporting, but there is a lot more, including weather stations.

It wasn't very hard to get this done, I just had to find the time to do it. The trigger was the mention of a new APRS server in the Netherlands at Amsterdamse APRS server - PA4TW. I played a bit with the perl modules Ham::APRS::IS and Ham::APRS::FAP. Ham::APRS::IS is for communicating with the APRS-IS network. And Ham::APRS::FAP is for parsing APRS packets. I used this module to make very sure my outgoing packets parse correctly before actually submitting them to the network (and still making a few mistakes in the process).

I used the explanation and example at APRSWXNET information by Philip Gladstone to find out what to submit and in which format. The interesting point is that wind measurements can not be omitted, but since I don't have a working wind measuring setup I have to enter the '...' values to show that the measurement is not available. And temperatures are measured in Fahrenheit so I have to convert first from my measurements.

The current outgoing packets look like:
PD4KH-1>APRS,TCPIP*:/161010z5206.6 N\00507.1 E_.../...g...t045h91b10088http://weatherstation.idefix.net/
And now the weatherstation shows fine: PD4KH-1 weatherstation on aprs.fi and Weather stations near PD4KH-1 on findu.com. Note how aprs.fi converts to degrees Celcius and findu.com stays in Fahrenheit.

2014-12-14 N-cursus radiozendamateur in Utrecht
Bij de Veron afdeling Centrum is vanaf 5 januari 2015 weer plaats voor enkele cursisten die de "Novice" amateur radio licentie willen behalen. Voor mensen uit de buurt die nadenken om dat een keer te halen misschien het ideale goede voornemen voor 2015!

Meer informatie: N-cursus radiozendamateur Fort de Gagel start 5-01-2015.

2014-11-28 Moving the lightning strike detector to the shed
I have noticed the lightning strike detection in Weather station Utrecht Overvecht goes completely mad when I transmit on the 20 meter amateur band. With the detector being quite close to the antenna I can understand this.

The solution will be to find a place to mount the detector in the shed. It will be lower (less reception of the radio energy of the strikes) but it will also be further away from my interference.

That also means the reading of the detector will have to be done using w1retap since that is what I use on the shed weatherstation computer. I was a bit confused whether w1retap supports this counter but I found out it's based on the DS2423 counter chip which is supported in w1retap, as part of a wind speed meter in a TAI8515 weather station, but w1retap will give the count on readout and the conversion is up to the user.

Items before 2014-11-28
This page is created by Koos van den Hout, contact information at the end of my homepage.
Other webprojects: Weatherstation Utrecht Overvecht, Weather maps, Camp Wireless, wireless Internet access at campsites The Virtual Bookcase book reviews, webcam.idefix.net
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