PACC 2017 report

PACC 2017This year we participated as PA9G in the PACC 2017 contest. We operated as The Three Musketeers (Rob PA3X, Gerald PA9G and me PA8E) as multi-op, single transmitter. I practically moved my entire shack over to Gerald’s cabin in the woods. The big antenna plans we had before turned out to be a little too ambitious. We didn’t had that much lot to cover and as a result we had to work with only one antenna we already put up: the Fritzel FD-3. Because of this choice Continue reading “PACC 2017 report”

Participating in the WSPR-challenge

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WSPR-challenge

PA3FYM WSPR-challenge receiverThere is buzzing a new phenomenon at PI4RCG (our local HAM club): the WSPR-challenge. One prominent club member, Remco PA3FYM, founded this WSPR-challenge with Richard PE1ITR. Essentially they download the whole WSPR-spot-database once every night and parse it in a top 50. The result changes per day. This challenge only consist of reported spots to wsprnet.org. So you can sneak peak at wsprnet.org site to see your uniques. Since wsprnet.org only logs your reported spots, this challenge is actually a RX-only contest.
Continue reading “Participating in the WSPR-challenge”

Radio weekend planned in April

Radio WeekendA few weeks ago Karel, PE2KDK send an e-mail to a few friends with the idea to spend a weekend in a rental house somewhere remote in the woods. All these guys are HAM’s so you can imagine this will be a full blown Radio Weekend! Attending: Karel PE2KDK, Marco PH4M, Henk PE1PEX and me, Jim PA1JIM.
Meanwhile Karel has booked the house for the weekend of 2nd and 3th of April. I immediately checked the contest-calendar to see if there are any contest that weekend but there are not. Rumor is that Henk has a backorder on one of the first Icom IC-7300’s that will come out in The Netherlands. 2016 for me is all about the new Icom IC-7300, so I am looking forward a little extra for this weekend! Maybe I can play with the new rig then for the first time. If the rumor is true and Henk will take the new rig to this weekend, maybe we have to make a schedule when we are allowed to operate it 😉

Can you imagine, a whole weekend just about radio’s, a very low noise level and almost unlimited possibilities to build antenna’s?

The next thing to do is to figure out what kind of antenna’s we want to build that weekend. I do have some green glass-fiber sticks which can be used to build little antenna masts. Each piece is 1,2 meters (almost 4 feet) and you can put them together very easily. Maybe I will take a ZS6BKW with me to cover all 80 to 10 meter bands. I don’t know yet how much space we can use for antenna setup but if it is enough, we could build a beverage receiving antenna for 160 meters. And of course the 40-meter-PA3FYM-antenna (details follow) should be there all weekend!

A radio weekend full of coax cables, antenna’s, rigs and weak radio signals, I am looking forward to it!

ICOM IC-7300: new rig from ICOM

ICOM IC-7300I follow the news about Icom’s new rig: the IC-7300 closely. Actually I’m more a Kenwood lover but there is something with the IC-7300 that I love. It’s predecessor (IC-7200) also is a interesting radio, especially for portable use (holidays etc.). My friend PH4M bought an IC-7200 a few years ago and loves it. I got the change to play with it from time to time and I start to grow a little love for Icom. But I didn’t see much use for an IC-7200 in my current shack.
Back to the IC-7300. In a certain way it’s a revolutionary radio, it’s the first of the big three (Icom, Kenwood & Yaesu) which comes with a complete digital sampled RF-path (aka SDR). Sure, it’s not the first amateur SDR-rig. We know FlexRadio has SDR’s for years now and even Elecraft has it’s KX3. But Icom is the first of the big three to come out with a fully SDR-capable rig.

I kinda like the idea of SDR. It makes the device very flexible because future updates can be feed in as software and you don’t need to do much upgrades of the hardware. And if the software (and processor) is fast enough, it will beat good old hardware in performance. Downside of most SDR’s in my opinion is the “new” look & feel of the rig itself. I don’t want a button-less box on my desk and do all the operating from my PC. I don’t like the thin display from Elecraft either. I still want my SDR-rig to be a good old box with button’s on it, but a little smaller then regular rigs. It’s cool to be able to operate the rig via PC if I want to, but not necessarily.
ICOM seems to understands this completely and build the IC-7300! I’m very curious how the rig will operate. From the various reports I found on You-tube, I got a first impression. At a price of around a 1000 euro’s it is a very interesting rig to expand my shack with. I don’t want to get rid of my beloved Kenwood TS-590 for it, but it wouldn’t hurt to have a IC-7300 next to it… According to some sources, the IC-7300 will be available in The Netherlands in January 2016 (it’s already available in Japan).
So I created a money-box to put in savings. I already have saved 100 euro’s. I figured it will take me a year to get the money for this rig. In the meantime I will follow the news closely and if someone buys a IC-7300 I hope I will be able to spend some time operate one.