Holiday in OZ-land (Denmark)

Our place in DenmarkThis summer we went for a long (three weeks) holiday to Denmark. Near the town of Ebeltoft and near the beach of Egsmark we rented a house. When we where packing for this holiday, the initial idea was to not bring all my HAM-gear with me. Propagation isn’t brilliant at the moment and the car was already almost fully packed. But at the last moment I couldn’t resist and packed the trusty Icom IC-7300 and the FYM-deltaloop anyway. After a Continue reading “Holiday in OZ-land (Denmark)”

Radio Weekend 2016

Icom IC-7300 main shack rig

Let’s do a Radio Weekend!

A while ago I planned Radio Weekend with a few HAM-friends; Karel PE2KDK, Marco PH4M and Henk PE1PEX.

Arriving

On Friday Marco and Karel picked me up and we put all my gear into a Fiat 500 (new model). After a 1,5 hour drive we arrived at the Hunehuis in Darp (JO32CT). That is in the east part of the Netherlands. While it is quite a remote location (especially relevant for low QRM on the radio bands) there are enough possibilities to build antenna’s.
After picking out our operating area we left for some groceries and later that afternoon we explored the lot to find good antenna positions. We had all kind of wire antennas like a G5RV (short and long version), a ZS6BKW and a MFJ1777. Also we took 2 verticals. A 40 meter mono-band and a 10 meter long multi-band vertical. First we shoot some ropes in the trees with a crossbow and pulled up the long G5RV. In the front yard we put up the multi-band vertical.

On air

Then we went on air on Friday night and were astonished because of the lack of QRM. Consequently the IC-7300 became an even more excited radio to work with in this environment. While tune in on really low signals, I was able to copy (not just my ears, also FLdigi) even the smallest signals. Rather a great experience! Therefore I immediately start searching for some rare DX-stations. Due to the involvement in searching for DX, it became 01:30 AM in no time.

Saturday

After a few hours of sleep I was back at the radio at 06:30 AM. Rather working DX then sleeping! After working a few DX-stations we headed outside again for some more antenna experiments. On the backside a 40 meter vertical was set up and in the front we hung up a MFJ-1777 wire antenna.
Because we played radio for a whole day, we went out for a bite that night in a local restaurant. When we came back I searched some more for DX-stations. I couldn’t keep my eyes open at 1 o’clock so I went for bed.

Sunday

Due to a little more sleep this time I was QRV again on Sunday morning around 07:30 AM. Still a few hours left for searching DX. Around lunchtime we broke everything up and headed for home.
First of all it was an absolutely great Radio Weekend. The location was about to be perfect, antennas where almost perfect and the company was, without a doubt, perfect!
As a result of this we will be returning on this location again somewhere next year. I think about putting up a vertical array then for transmitting and a beverage for receiving.

Spring cleaning

Icom IC-7300 main shack rig

Early spring cleaning

The spring cleaning of 2016 is early this year. Lot’s of other stuff going on, but a visit to our local HAM club last week turned things up side down. Marcus, PA2DB from the Hamshop payed a visit to our “Radio Souterain” and he did bring a demo model of the Icom IC-7300. I already had my eye on one but didn’t see the rig live yet. Of course it got quite busy when the rig was connected to an antenna in our shack. I waited a little and after a few hours (when most members went back to the bar) I got 15 minutes playtime.

First impression

First thing I noticed was the low QRM the rig picked up. In the shack there is also a Kenwood TS-870 which can give up to S9 of noise (it is a environment with a lot of industrial QRM). The IC-7300 showed S1 noise tops. And when I use the NR and NB the noise even got out of the QSO’s I was able to receive. Really impressive for such a small rig.

Fast waterfall

Second thing I noticed is the really fast waterfall. There must be quite a lot of research put in to designing the sofware and layout of the menu’s. To my surprise it took me 2 minutes to figure out the menu structure and I could find my way around the IC-7300.
And finally I noticed something else: since a long time I had fun again searching HF for stations. I could spend hours operating this little piece of genius but there where more people who wanted to play with it.

Make a decision

Back home this experience got me thinking. I looked around in the shack and I saw all the great radio’s I purchased in the last years. I owned a Elecraft K1. Never use it much. The idea was to go outside to the nearby nature parks and do some morse code. Together with the BuddiPole. But there is so less time to spend on radio, I never got to go out. I owned a TM-D710 in the shack. Great rig! But I’m really not that much of an VHF/UHF-guy. Local repeaters tire me more and more. APRS is fun but then again, I hardly ever use it.

Kenwood TH-D72

My kind of new Kenwood TH-D72 I use daily when riding my bike to work. It has been fun for a year. But the local repeater got so busy, I lost interest. I got a great HF rig, the Kenwood TS-590. For years my solid work horse. But for some reason it doesn’t get me excited anymore. It’s a great rig, don’t get me wrong. But I think I like something new.

And action!

A little voice in my ear whispered: why not selling everything? Leave the old, embrace the new! Sounds like a plan! Spring cleaning came early this year.
Thursday afternoon I photographed every item and put it on a Dutch eBay for sale. It rained e-mails and phone calls! Friday (a day later) I sold everything! Everything except the good old 590. I got a few potential buyers who come take a look next week. I think it won’t be long before it is sold too.
In the meantime my order for the IC-7300 is out. Of course placed at the Hamshop. Not yet available yet, but first shipment arriving the Netherlands is expected next week (around the 29th). I’m really excited. Fun in the hobby again!