PA1JIM/AMHow cool is it for a ham to temporarily change your call to aeronautical mobile (PA1JIM/AM) during a once in your lifetime experience? Even more so when you can do that from an airliner at 38000 feet up in the air? The other day my good buddy and associate at Pepper IT-solutions VliegPiet made me an offer I could not refuse: to join him as captain in the cockpit of a Boeing 737 on a return flight from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport to Sevilla, Spain.
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A71AE QatarFirst week of September I left for a little one week holiday with the family to Belgium near Froidchapelle. We rented a little cottage and I was able to get QRV as ON/PA1JIM. I packed an extendable antenna mast, a 1:10 MTFT balun from WiMo, my Kenwood TS-590 and forgot the antenna wire. When we arrived in Belgium I inspected the garden behind the cottage, it wasn’t big but big enough to put up a vertical. Just before this holiday I bought 30 meters of Aircell 7 coax, so I could put the vertical as much as 30 meters away from the cottage if needed. After a visit to the local supermarket I got 30m of clothing line which could serve as antenna wire.
First try was just a few meters from the cottage. It worked, but there was a loud QRM on 40m. Probably from the cottage. So after two days I decided to put the vertical a little further away, behind the fence of the park. It worked just okay, the loud rattle on 40m was down to S0. Unfortunately there was really bad propagation which let me to PSK31 for some QSO’s. Best one I worked was PR7BCP, Brasil. Other interesting stations I worked were SQ9UM/1, Sovjet Militairy Order of Malta and Roger Moore (!) M0AUI. At the end of the week I logged 50 QSO’s. Not a lot but I only put in a few hours of time and really enjoyed everyone of them.
I really enjoyed working PSK again. Sometimes this mode is a little lost between all the CW and RTTY I’m working normally.

Field DayA while ago Mark, PA4M and I planned a ‘field day’ of our own. Last Sunday would be the day if the rain wasn’t too strong. We picked a spot near the Gooimeer in the center of the Netherlands. We were in the middle of some farmers land. Mark did bring his homebuilt end fed for 20m and I bring a 1:10 MFTF-balun with the same 10 meter of wire as the end fed. This way we could compare both antennas.
Also I did bring the BuddiPole for it’s first run on new mast and tripod.

The IARU-contest was still going strong, so after setup the antennas and my Kenwood TS-590 rig Mark gave the key a spur and kicked 57 contacts in the log. Pretty nice when you take the bad conditions in consideration.

Too bad we didn’t hear any USA/Asia/Oceania. But after all a great day to be outside and testing our equipment!