Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Delighted to have a QSO with famous blogger Bas PE4BAS on 40m

I was delighted to have a QSO with the famous amateur radio blogger, Bas PE4BAS, on 40 metres on Monday. We had an 11-minute chat on lower side bands. Bas wasn't strong with me - a 53 maximum - and I had some local electrical noise (probably Christmas lights!) on the first QRG, 7.107, so we then moved to 7.110 where we had better luck.

Bas is blogging about ham radio longer than me and his blog has found worldwide fame. We worked in December 2009, when my call sign was EI8GHB. This latest QSO was our first conversation in over six years, and our first with my call EI2KC.

Bas PE4BAS in his station in The Netherlands.
In addition to being a great blogger and a passionate radio amateur, Bas is also a really lovely guy. A great ambassador for the hobby.  I'm already looking forward to our next QSO.

In the meantime, if you haven't seen it already, don't forget to visit Bas's blog here:

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Enjoying some European contacts using JT65 on 80 metres

I had a little bit of fun on 80 metres tonight using the low power JT65 mode. Having chased some of the special event IARU and YOTA call signs during the day, I found the bands a bit dead this evening and decided to see if anyone was on JT65. To my surprise, 3.576 was quite busy with signals. So I gave it a go.

The above video was made while making a QSO into England during a good run of contacts. I had eight QSOs tonight - which might not sound like much - but every QSO on JT65 takes at least four minutes, so it's not bad. I had contacts into England, The Netherlands, Germany and Austria. All QSOs were made with 14 watts from my transceiver, transmitted into my home brew 80 metre inverted v dipole.

All of the stations that heard my signal on JT65, reported on pskreporter.info.

My small signal was heard all over Europe and even in the United States, as you can see from the above map. One of the great joys of using JT65 is because it's a slow-paced, relaxing mode, you can do something else while making contacts. In this case, I was making a YouTube video! The "live" recording caught me unawares towards the end!

A portion of my log today, showing a lot of IARU and YOTA SES contacts.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Storm Desmond takes his toll on my hexbeam

The latest winter storm to pass over Ireland, called Storm Desmond, brought extremely strong winds and heavy rain to the country. Unfortunately, my hexbeam did not make it through this one. It has survived many storms, but Desmond was too strong.

Three band wires snapped during the storm.

As you can see in the above photo, I've lost three out of five bands due to the storm. Three separate band wires snapped during the high winds. The hexbeam has a great ability to flex in strong winds, and even with the wires placed in such a way as to allow for this flexing, sometimes the strain on the antenna is just too severe.

At the moment, I am able to use 20m and 17m, but there is a higher SWR on 15m, 12m and 10m.

I'm not sure what I will do to repair the antenna. I feel that maybe stronger wire is part of the solution. I'm just glad that there are no ATNOs (All-Time New Ones) coming up this month because I don't know when I will get a chance to repair it.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The EI2KM contest team - CQWW CW 2015

CQ TEST . . . EI2KM team and supporters during the CQWW CW contest.
This is a photo taken during the CQWW CW contest with the EI2KM team at the QTH of Doug EI2CN in County Louth. From left to right are Brian EI8EJB, Declan EI6FR (with headphones, operating the radio), Stephane F5UOW, Anthony EI2KC, Adrian EI2KJ (seated with beard in foreground), Alain EI2KM/F8FUA and Doug EI2CN.

Below you can see some more videos from the contest. The first one shows me operating on 80 metres, using (for the first time) a four-square receive antenna. What a joy that was!

And in this video shot by Alain EI2KM (F8FUA) you can see a better view of the station.