Glossary of terms
of the above Solar-Terrestrial Data. In brief: High SFI (> 100) and
low K (< 4) are providing for good HF DX conditions.
Number of countries
My career started as a
I have done that from 1965 - 1974, serving on
board freighters and passenger liners like the s/s Statendam and the
(old) s/s Nieuw Amsterdam. So 'wireless' is rather familiar.
I did my N exam in 2011. My call sign then was
The first QSO with my legacy and
vintage YAESU FT-7 was
on april 23rd 2011 at 09:15 UTC with
F8CSL. A memorable
day to reach the middle of France with only 10 Watts in the antenna.
It was my first QSO after I stopped being a 'sparks' 37 years ago. A
true adrenaline boost.
March 5th 2014 I successfully
passed my F exam. From here on my call sign is
PC4Y. I have chosen PC4Y for a reason: my first ship I
worked on as an independent R/O was the KNSM m/v ATTIS with call
sign PCVY. For nostalgia reasons I just added one dot
to the V and made it a 4 in CW language. The button below gives access to
the F study I did with the help of the VERON ham
radio club and the very useful help from
Some four or five spots in the above map are
incorrect, like the one in Alaska and the one in
the Gulf of Guinea. Apparently these guys have
their coordinates incorrect in their QRZ.com
account. It didn't help to adjust their locator coordinates
Clicking on the above button gives access to a series of
HAM Radio topics and answers from Dave Kesler KE0OG
My logbook is updated in HamRadioDeLuxe with daily updates to LoTW,
QRZ.com, eQSL, HRDlog.net and QRZCQ. LoTW clearly gives the most QSL's but no
QSL cards. eQSL gives nice electronic QSL cards and QRZ.com
is giving disappointing results w.r.t. QSL's. Some figures: On 1
March 2017 I have made 5169 QSO's from both the PD3TRU
and PC4Y call signs. I received 1692 QSL's from LoTW (32,7%),
1465 eQSL cards (28,4%) and 966 confirmed QSO's from
days now on top as per request from many visitors
Friday 8 December 2017. Worked the PI4HAL shack
with Harm PD2GG. We used all the transmitters, not simultaneous
though. The Skanti worked fine on the 80 meter band, but the IC-765
didn't work on that band using the sloping long wire. Harm used the
FT-1000 which we still haven't been able to connect to Ham Radio de Luxe. HRdLuxe support suggested to contact Yaesu. And the FT-897 was
used on the 2 meter band. The ship is literally lighting up like a
Christmas tree. The ship is packed with beautiful Christmas trees on
Wednesday 6 December 2017.
My MFJ-816 arrived today
and I immediately
installed it. I just wanted to see what power goes into my antenna.
I guess I will have to read the manual first as when I tried it on the
80 meter band it showed a forward power of over 300 Watt. That
cannot be right as my RIG only has 100 Watt maximum. I'll come back
when I have more info.
A new flag was added to my flag counter: Antigua and Barbuda. I
was there just one year ago during our Caribbean cruise. Nice. The
flag counter hadn't changed for well over one year.
The previous one was Panama. Now 181 flags have been collected!
Thursday 30 November 2017. Spent the day in the
PI4HAL shack with Karel PC3W and Harm PD2GG. Tried to get to work
the newly obtained FT-1000 with HRdLuxe using the received CAT
cable. Didn't succeed. The FT-1000 wasn't in de RIG list of HRdLuxe.
There were the FT-1000D and the FT-1000MD MkV, but both models
couldn't be used. There was a connection but the frequency on
the HRdLuxe radio screen kept jumping up and down the bands and the
FT-1000 locked and couldn't be tuned anymore. Sent out a support
ticket to HRdLuxe. We'll see.
Weekend 25 & 26 November 2017. Joined the CQ WW DX
contest during the weekend. A few hours spread over the two days.
Worked all the bands. Conditions were fair. And it was a zoo. Nice.
I have made my 5600th QSO since May 2011.
This contest where you give the RST number and the CQ zone
number has a psychological advantage over contests that require
a serial number. No one can see how many QSO one has already
made, where as when a serial number is given the # QSO's is obvious.
This has often prevented me from
joining in hours later than the beginning of the contest as then
already serial numbers up into the hundreds are given, where I start
with 001, which is kind of embarrassing. Most of my working life I
have had so called competitive jobs e.g. sales, consultancy with
billable hours and alike. So I guess competitiveness sneaked
into my radio hobby.
Logs received from all participants:
On Sunday morning, 26 November 2017 I joined the
MARAC sched on
3,555 kHz CW. PI4MRC was leading the sched. There were four other
participants, one from Germany.
Yaesu FT-1000 in the PI4HAL shack
Thursday 23 November. Worked the PI4HAL shack
together with Karel PC3W. The shack is now the proud owner of a
FT-1000 transceiver. In comparison with the IC-765 we both felt it
to be an improvement. We worked Surinam and Bonaire in the 15 meter
band. The FT-1000 still needs to be provided with a CAT interface to
HRdLuxe, but we were told this is going to happen next week.
Tuesday 21 November 2017. Had a few 160 and 80
meter band QSO's CW to Sweden and Ireland. And a 60 meter band USB
QSO. Heard J5T (Guinee Bissau) in the 20 meter band, but the pile up
Tuesday 14 November 2017. Made some nice CW QSO's
in the 160, 80, 60 and 40 meter bands. Conditions seemed favourable.
Saturday 11 November 2017. I worked 4U1ITU (ITU HQ
in Geneva) in the 40 meter band and HRDlog.net added one up in the
number entities worked. Apparently 4U1ITU is a separate entity.
And I modified my TNC-X for Winlink usage. The three LED's that
need to go thru the little holes in the front panel had been cut too
short when I assembled the unit, resulting in the LED's being hidden
behind the front panel. So I finally bought myself three new LED's
to replace the others. Then there is the cumbersome task to remove
the old components, trying to remove the solder tin to get open
holes for the new LED's to be put in. If I only had a solder tin
sucker. Well in the end it all worked out fine and the TNC-X is
lighting up like a Christmas tree.
Friday 10 November 2017. Worked my FT-7 with 10
Watt in the 20 meter band with YU1INO. Was given 569 and he wasn't
any better J
Just wanted to see if the 'old lady' was still working. The
frequency isn't very stable I am afraid.
Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 November 2017. Joined the
Ukrainian CW contest. Made quite a few QSO's in the 20 and 15 meter
bands. Very busy, but good conditions. Here
www.urdxc.org you can see the list of participants who uploaded
their logs (updated every evening).
Wednesday 1 November 2017. Another day on the ss
Rotterdam, but this time in the shack PI4HAL, together with Piet
PE0TPD and Wim PA3CUJ. Hadn't seen them for a while so we spent the
morning talking. Had a few QSO's with the Skanti transceiver, but
Tuesday 31 October 2017. Today and yesterday I
labelled yet another 400 QSL cards to be presented to the QSL
bureau. So I have now labelled QSL cards to all parties whom I had
QSO with in 2017 (until now).
The beauty of printing the labels from HRdLuxe is the advantage
of getting them printed in the right prefix order and multiple QSO's
with one station are printed on one label.
Today I heard Japan and Kuwait in the 20 meter band. Hadn't heard
Japan for a long time.
Saturday 28 October 2017. Spent the day on board
the ss Rotterdam; not necessarily in the PI4HAL shack, but mostly
'touring' the ship with a group of neighbours who wanted to see the
ship. The PI4HAL shack also had a visitor group from Veron A21
branch in the east of the Netherlands.
The Veron A21 group on the port bridge wing of the ss Rotterdam.
Henk PA0HPV on the far left; Hans Remeeus PA1HR in the middle. It
was a busy day on board; I have never seen so many people on board;
visitors, hotel guests and alike.
The group neighbours on board the ss Rotterdam
The box with my 160 QSL cards was put on the mail to avoid
Thursday 26 October 2017. Had a nice morning in the
PI4HAL shack with Karel PC3W. As we hadn't seen one another for
quite a few weeks, we had a lot of catching up to do. We also met
with some visitors.
Unfortunately the QSL cards hadn't come in yesterday. Instead
they came in today. So I wasn't able to give QSL cards to the local
QSL manager in the Veron club house. I can send them however to the
DQB headquarters in Arnhem if needed.
The QSL cards came in fine. They look great and I have already
labelled some 160 cards and bundled them in the right prefix order.
It took me about one hour, so that's not too bad. And.....I made
another 160 meter band QSO. This time with the Czech Republic.
Wednesday 25 October 2017. Again made some nice
QSO's in the 60, 80 and 40 meter
bands using my MFJ-914 in conjunction with the MFJ-925 auto tuner.
Super low SWR. Click on the picture to enlarge. To the far left you
see the front of my 90 Ah battery backup system. Then working from
left to right
you see the MFJ-914; on the shelf you can see the
MFJ-925 and under the shelf you see my vintage SAILOR receiver for
the MF and LW bands. The other transceivers are more to the right of
the shack and cannot be seen on this picture.
Tuesday 24 October 2017. In the afternoon I heard a
Brazilian station and made QSO's with a few East Coast Americans.
Are conditions better today or is it my new coax cable giving such a
good result? Again the solar terrestrial data didn't show a
As I expect my new QSL cards to come in tomorrow, I started to
print the labels for the cards and noticed yet another advantage of HRdLuxe version 6: the labels are printed in the order of the
prefixes and multiple QSO's with one station are printed on one
label! So I now have almost 200 labels to get started. I hope to be
ready around the end of the afternoon as I want to meet the QSL
manager at the Veron club house in the evening.
Monday 23 October 2017. The shipment from Classic
International came in around 10.30 AM. I installed the MFJ-914 and I
could successfully tune the 80 meter band with an SWR <1.5. Haven't
tried the 160 meter band yet. Then I replaced my RG58 coax by the
new H-2000 coax between the transceiver and the G5RV antenna.
When I tuned the 20 meter band I heard quite a few stations and I
have the feeling (wish full thinking?) that all of them gave a
better signal strength than before. So I feel satisfied with the
Later in the evening I also made a 160 meter band CW QSO with
France F5IN. SWR < 1.5. The very first one I
made since I started this hobby in 2011. He gave me 599 and so was
he. In the afternoon I accidently joined a chat group in the 60
meter band; all guys within the Netherlands. I was given some
critical comments on my MFJ-914 / MFJ-925 combination setup. And I
know some (or may be a lot) of my transmit power will get lost in
the tuner system, but what the heck; I can now work the 80 and 160
meter bands! I was advised to use a manual tuner for even better
results. Well we´ll see about that. For the moment I
am happy as it is.
Sunday 22 October 2017. During the WAG contest
(Worked All Germany) I noticed all bands to be open: heard stations
in the 10 meter band, 12, 17 and 15 meter bands and of course the 20
and 40 meter bands. The solar terrestrial data though didn't show
any significant improvements. It has been quite some time ago that I
heard the higher bands to be open.
the evening I had a QSO with Kosovo
Z68BB. It appeared to be
an unrecognized DXCC.
Kosovo that is.
Was informed by Maxi-Print about my ordered QSL cards. These will
be delivered next Wednesday. My H-2000 cables and the MFJ-914 will
come in tomorrow.
Wednesday 18 October 2017.
I ordered H2000 coax flex cable to replace my RG58 cable between my
HF antenna and the tuner/transceiver. I also ordered an MFJ 914 auto
tuner extender to see and try if I can get some better SWR results
in the lower frequencies. The H2000 cable should give lower loss, so
in the end I should be better off. But I know it is a gamble. I'll
let you know the outcome shortly.
During the month of
October one can hear many special event calls from Hungarian
stations with the prefix HA500 or HG500 and the suffix ranging from
A till Z. I think I have worked most of them in the 20 and 40 meter
bands by now. They all refer to Martin Luther who nailed his 95
theses to the church door in Wittenberg (Germany) on 31 October
1517; 500 years ago, hence the 500 number in these prefixes. It can
be seen as the beginning of the Reformation. In somewhat more
On 31 October 1517, Luther wrote to his bishop,
Albert of Mainz, protesting the sale of indulgences. He enclosed
in his letter a copy of his "Disputation of Martin Luther on the
Power and Efficacy of Indulgences", which came to be known as the
Ninety-five Theses. Hans Hillerbrand writes that Luther had no
intention of confronting the church, but saw his disputation as a
scholarly objection to church practices, and the tone of the writing
is accordingly "searching, rather than doctrinaire."
Hillerbrand writes that there is nevertheless an undercurrent of
challenge in several of the theses, particularly in Thesis 86, which
asks: "Why does the pope, whose wealth today is greater than the
wealth of the richest
Crassus, build the basilica of St. Peter with the money of poor
believers rather than with his own money?"
Thursday 12 October 2017. I am happy with the paid
version of Ham Radio de Luxe which I am using now. Found out how to
print labels from the QSO's in the logbook, which is a nice feature
whereby filling in of QSL cards becomes a piece of cake. Just print
the labels and off you go. I have approached ON5UR which is famous
for the design and printing of QSL cards and they will shortly
send an example for review. It will look somewhat like this:
I have received quite a few nice QSL cards in the past 6 years
but I have always been hesitant to send hard copies myself. But I
must admit it is a nice addition of the hobby. Now that I can simply
print the QSO data it will be less cumbersome to send hard copy
cards myself. I have already checked with the Dutch QSL Bureau how
the cards should be presented and now all is geared up to get
started when the cards come in.
Thursday 28 September 2017. Still practising the
Begali paddle. Getting better by the day, but I still haven't had
the guts to use the paddle in a QSO. Still working the straight key
there. Most of the mistakes I make is when I send a call sign, but
that also is getting better. It just takes more time.
Today the DX conditions are terrible. All bands show the
in red. Geomagnetic indicator: K=7. Never seen that before.
And.....I made my 5,400th QSO since May 2011 using
both call signs PD3TRU and PC4Y; did not count the PI4HAL QSO's I
made. Some DX-ers
make over 5,000 QSO in one contest weekend though.
Wednesday 20 September 2017. My 'for-my-radio
hobby-only' PC stopped doing what it should be doing. Ham Radio de
Luxe couldn't add any more QSO's to the database and all sorts of
other small problems started to appear. I guess it is the hard disk
that gave up on me. So I made a drastic decision: I made a copy of
my logbook (5,254 entries) and downloaded the trial version of
6.40.787. Installed the software on my other laptop and
imported the logbook and configured all other settings which is
quite a task. The 'other laptop' was connected to the radio and HRDluxe worked perfectly. There are some additional advantages
compared to the free version, such as automatic upload of QSO's to
more than just eQSL and HRDlog.net. It now also includes QRZ.com and
others. And probably many more advantages, but I haven't yet seen
all the options. When I was satisfied with it all I purchased the
licence and received the activation code. In the evening I modified
the shack as I wanted my 'other PC' close to the radio's and tuner
and alike. As this laptop is larger I had to change the height of
the shelves and grabbed the opportunity to redo some cabling. At
midnight I was satisfied with the looks of it all and everything
seemed to work fine. I have now also the LoTW upload working from
the HRDluxe programme. I never got it to work from the free version,
but it now works fine.
Saturday 16 September 2017. Joined the SAC contest
and only made 40 meter band CW QSO's. Almost nothing in the 20 and
15 meter bands. But the 40 meter band was very busy. Only worked the
Not a super score but given that I only worked the SAC for about
1.5 hours and in one band only I am still satisfied.
Friday 1 September 2017. Harm PD2GG and I spent the day in the PI4HAL shack, meeting quite a few
visitors as it was the first day of the weekend long so called
(World Harbour Days). Nice to see how many people still show an
interest in the use of Morse code.
Friday 25 August 2017. Another 6
meter band (50 MHz) QSO with Bosnia Herzegovina in CW mode. RST 559
both ways. And I am making progress with the use of my paddle.
Sending large text is okay but sending call signs flawlessly is
still an issue. So I continue practising. I work the paddle now with
some 25 wpm.
Thursday 24 August 2017. Another
day in the PI4HAL shack with Frede PA2FM. Lots of visitors and a
nice number of QSO's in SSB and digital modes. Conditions were
moderate to fair. Mostly 20 meter band.
Weekend 19 & 20 August 2017.
Lighthouse weekend. Had a few 2 and 40 meter band QSO's with some
lighthouses in the neighbourhood and Germany. Also some in the 70 cm
Friday 18 August 2017. Another day in the PI4HAL
shack with Harm de Haan during which we made some nice QSO's, some
in PSK, others in CW and USB / FM.
Sunday 13 August 2017. Had a 50 Mhz (6 meter) USB
QSO with Moldavia. 59 both ways. Nice.
See the contest calendar
or the Dutch equivalent
International Space Station.
Real time tracker
I have applied for a registration at
NASA to get an e-mail when ISS passes over my own QTH with a
workable angle. I have already received a few e-mails telling me the
ISS will be passing, but it was mostly at night. There will - no doubt - be next passes
within a more 'acceptable' timeframe.
The following frequencies are currently used for Amateur Radio ISS
contacts (QSOs): Voice and SSTV
Downlink: 145.800 (Worldwide)
Voice Uplink: 144.490 for ITU Regions 2 and 3
(The Americas, and the Pacific and Southern Asia)
Voice Uplink: 145.200 for ITU Region 1 (Europe, Russia and Africa)
VHF Packet Uplink and Downlink: 145.825
UHF Packet Uplink and Downlink: 437.550
UHF/VHF Repeater Uplink: 437.80
UHF/VHF Repeater Downlink: 145.80
Call Signs in Use
The following call signs are available for use on the ISS:
European: DP0ISS, OR4ISS, IR0ISS
Packet Station Mailbox: RS0ISS-11 and RS0ISS-1
Other call signs may come into use as the station and crew change.