My amateur radio "carreer" started rather early. My father was also a ham (SK 2010, ex ON8RI, DL5YD and DA1YD) and as a kid I was facinated by the fact that he could talk to people all over the world. It was the late 60's, stuff like mobile phone and internet didn't exist yet and the "magic of radio" was still powerful. After spending some years as an SWL I got more and more interested in in electronics and at the age of 15 I built my first receiver : an "audion 0V2" for 80 meter, using a ECC81 tube. Two years later I passed the "no-code" exam and got licensed as ON1YD (VHF-UHF licence), one more year later I took the CW test and got the full licence and my actual call, ON7YD, that I am holding now for over 30 years. Since 2006 I am also holder of the "vanity call" OR7T
After being licensed I enjoyed my new privileges and spent most of my leisure time make QSO's and participating in contests. But after some time I was looking for new chalenges. One of these was operating 40m SSB at night. This may be no chalenge these days but in the early 80's the 40m ham band was a playfield for eastern-Europe and Chinese AM broadcasters, causing a S9+++ QRM level at night and making it very hard to copy any radioamateur signal. Further I got involved in ARDF (Amateur Radio Direction Finding), an allround combination of amateur radio, orienteering and sport. Upto 2007 I regulary participated in ARDF competitions and organized one or two of these competitions each year.
As the 50MHz band became available in Belgium in 1990 I discovered a new challenge. Soon after the band was available I was QRV with a homemade 1 Watt station (best DX with 1W was V51), later upgrading to 10W and 25W (this was the power limit at that time). Over the next years I worked more than 100 countries and a number of "firsts". As the band became more and more crowded and brute force ("black boxes") took over I lost my interest, but fortunately I soon found something new.
In 1997 a longwave allocation was given to the radioamateurs : the 2200 meter band. It is just over 2kHz wide (135.7-137.8kHz), at first glance it seemed too small to be of any use, and practical limitations reduce the ERP to a few 100mW or less. As QRM and QRN level is huge you don't have to beat the other amateur signals, so there is no competition of amateurs against each other but a combined efford to beat QRM and QRN using all techniques we have available. My best DX so far is OH1TN at 1635km. Since 2008 we also have a 600m (501-504kHz) ham allocation and I am also QRV on that band. My distance record on 600m stands at 4074km (VX9MRC).
As soon as I was active as SWL I became a member of the UBA, the Belgian amateur radio society, and the local radio club NLB (Noordlimburg). In our local club I became involved as teacher of the "amateur radio course" and as ARDF manager. From 1984 to 2007 I was holding this last function also on national level, representing UBA in the IARU Region 1 ARDF Working Group. From 1997 to 1999 I was the interim chairman of this working group. In 1999 I was elected as member of the UBA board and became vice-president of UBA, a function I am still holding. As a result I do spend a lot of time working for my society and it takes me quite some time to fill another page in my logbook.
My non-radioamateur activities, for the record :
- Working as a design engineer at a university
- Maried to Rita and father of Marie, Wouter and Lowie