PE4BAS Projects

On this page you will find some projects. Some I did in the past and others right now. I'll try to date them as accurate as possible. You can click on the different colored bigger words in the text or on the small pictures to see zoomed pictures or get to links. If there are questions, please don't hesistate to ask me by e-mail. (baslev at yahoo.com)

Project year: 1998  1999  2000  2001  2002  2003  2004  2005  2006  2007  2008 

(1998)
My license is valid from 1998. As it was only a beginners license I bought a simple VHF/UHF Handheld Alinco DJ-5G and a HB9CV for 70cm. Later that year I bought a Kenwood TM-G707 Dual band FM transceiver. I experimented with some homemade antennas and finally bought a directional dualband antenna MASPRO which I set up vertical. Really nice contacts where made, even some DX on FM. The biggest project that year was my homebrew hamcom modem completely made from junk electronics. I used it a lot with a program called Intercom made by PA3BYZ.

 

(1999)
I also connected my TNC packet modem, which I used before on CB. As I was already experienced with packetradio it was simple to make a good set up for packet on the HAM bands. On packet I continued the experiments I did already on CB with packetradio since 1994.
I worked packet with SP6.11 till SP9.01 on old MS-DOS computers. And later TSTHOST 1.36 till 1.43b. With Windows XP on a new computer I made a step to WinPack 6.51 and after some updates 6.70, a program that also supported the use of HTML in messages. I contacted former G4FJQ (Allan, not active as HAM operator anymore) who was busy to make a automated HTML writer at the time with XpHTMLcv and later PD0RZH who was experimenting with WINPICS. Lots of experiments where made with packetradio and the use of HTML. Also experiments with APRS where made, the program used was UIView. A very interesting story about it. I was just downloading some new maps to implement in the APRS program and found an Italian station (I1SU) on one of the maps situated nearby my village driving a camper.He was transmitting a call frequency on APRS and I was able to make a contact with him. Many experiments could still be done, but I lost some of my interest in it. So I completely quit packetradio since 2002.

 

(2000)
I made a set up to
connect the radio with the soundcard for all other modes, and did some contacts in RTTY, SSTV and some early WJST. Anyway, I missed DX and was collecting some money for a real HF radio. Finally I had enough money to buy a Icom IC-706MK2G and a new world opened. In 1999 I did pass for me technical license which granted me access to the 6m. I put another antenna on the mast for 6m, 2m, 70cm a Wilson W2000. And a triplex filter helped to connect both radios to the antennas. The directional antenna was turned horizontally for DX. With this setup I made a lot of contacts on 2m and 6m. I also made a HB9CV for 6m, but the vertical was most of the times a lot better. On 2m I even made one CW QSO with Germany, special to me as I don't know a thing about CW, I did it with the computer and the popular Hamscope program.

 

(2001)
Listening to a QSO on 2m did open my ears for sattelite. I wanted to try this too. First with my original setup, but later I got an 2x20 elements circulair polarized 70cm yagi from PA3DHP. He didn't use it and I could. I made a lot of contacts via UO14 and AO27. And with the yagi in 45 degrees elevation signals where most of the time S9.

 

(2002)
Then at the end of 2002 I moved to another house across the street, I dismantled the mast and my shack. I already bought a second hand versatower for the new setup. I thought it would be up and transmitting within a few weeks. But it became 3 years before I was able to get a signal in the air again.

 

(2003)
In the mean time at 2003 the technical license without CW was enough to get access to the HF and so I needed another station. But I needed to rebuilt some parts of the house including the new shack. The
antennamast was still down in my garden overgrown by grass.

 

(2004)
Within these 2 years I had only 1 nice project. I was able to get into a hot air balloon at 5-September-2004 and made a few contacts on 2m. A nice experience, but unfortenatly there were not many stations on air at the time. At the end of 2004 the building license, we need in the Netherlands to place a mast, was complete. We finally managed to begin with placing the mastfoot.

 

(2005)

Grounding
This time I wanted the installation as good as possible. With a proper grounding system and lightningprotection. Before I had secured the groundpost in concrete and the mast up I buried
20 radials in the ground, for future use. I searched the internet for tips & tricks and found some interesting sites and did read some interesting books as well about grounding. Grounding is a difficult thing at a amateurstation and often you cannot see any direct effect. Three important things I learned is:

1. The main ground in your shack should be at the antennatuner.
2. A proper RF ground is nearly impossible if the shack is not within a few meters from the ground rod.
3. The ground should not be connected to the protective earth of the house installation.

A 12 Mtr grounding rod was buried in the ground connected with the mastpost and with the main grounding in the shack with "heavy gauge" copperwire (35mm2). I also connected a counterpoise to the main grounding point as my shack is on the second floor and it is not possible to get a good RF ground. This is to get the equipment to a rf ground potential. I made a quarterwave counterpoise for every amateurband including the WARC bands. I got this idea from several pages on the internet. The earth connection from the home electricity net was disconnected to avoid a potential problem with other electronic equipment nearby in the shack. All equipment is grounded to the main grounding point just behind the antennatuner.

Power supply problem
Then another problem came up. Since I changed the electricity in the house including a new fuse cabinet. Switching the ASTRON RS-50A power supply on resulted a switched of automatic fuse. The switch on current asked for loading the capacitors was too high. I found 2 different solutions to the problem. A commercial one and a homemade one. The commercial one was a switch on current limiter made by FG elektronik in Germany. I found one on the internet and installed it. It was doing the job, but too sensitive for RF. If you like the sound of a switch on/off relay in the ritm of your voice I highly recommend it. But I did go for the second solution, I opened the power supply and modified it myself with very good results. I didn't have any problem since.

I found a second hand Diamond CP-6 multiband antenna on the internet and after reading eham reviews on it I decided it was the best antenna suitable for me and put in the mast. First contact on 20 Mtr was with the USA, so that went right. I enjoyed a lot of QSO on 80, 40, 20 and 15 Mtr. But above 21 Mhz it was not much, of course because of the low sunspot number these years. I still had a 6 element log-per yagi which I did built for 11 Mtr use, I refer to my antenna projects for diagrams. But it was easily converted in a antenna for use between 24 till 30 Mhz. With good results, if there is propagation I'm able to make contacts with stations I don't even hear on the Diamond CP-6. Of course there is a lot of experimenting to do with antennas and I am not satisfied with my setup at all. Unfortenatly there is no space in my garden for a proper 20 Mtr beam, or a nice SteppIR beam. So I have to do with it for now.

 

(2006)

PACC
Next project was to take part in the biggest contest of the Netherlands, the famous
PACC. It was for the first time for me and a nice opportunity to test the antenna system. For the first time I was trying to use a digital logbook on the computer called FLE, a logging program specially made for the PACC. It worked fine, I was very satisfied with it. I worked 143 stations and 54 multipliers and became 4th in my class (H = first time) and I think that is not bad at all. See also my PACC log on these pages.

Ham Radio DeLuxe
On the internet I was reading about Ham Radio DeLuxe. A free program with logging possebilities and connection to the radio. Since I still used a paper log and eQSL and LotW is an issue now a decided to go for the program. I needed a modem to connect the computer to the radio. And with my experience with packetradio and soundcard connection this could be not more difficult I thought. Since I wanted the modem to be connected to a USB port for future use with a laptop I was counting out what it should cost me to buy a USB serial converter and parts for a Icom CT17 modem clone. Well all with all it costs more money and time (and a headache) to buy parts than to order a plug-and-play modem at ZLP electronics I found out. So I ordered one that had a USB connection and plugged it in, and it played since ! Ham Radio DeLuxe is the program for me. I soon found out the possebilities and it is really good. Easy to use. I finally got my logbook “digital” and uploaded it to eQSL and LotW.

Next project is to hook up my good old soundcard modem again for some PSK31 which is also implemented in the program. I even tested the sattelite part of the program and it works fine. I managed to QSO with PE1ITR via the AO-51 sattelite, the antenna was my good old 2x20 elem. circulair polarized antenna.

 

(2007)

More HF activities
2007 was a HF contest and SES year for me. First time experiments were made to take part in a 160m band contest. At least 30 new DXCC where made on this band in a few weeks time. I took part in several contests and did work a lot of nice new DXCC, although we are at the low side of the sunspotcycle. And of course I took part in the PACC 2007, with a better result (18th place, but in another category) as last year. I also started with some digital modes and made some succesfull QSOs. Finally in December I was active as Special Event Station PA25HSG, celebrating the 25th anniversary of our local radioclub.

Equipment
Some new equipment was bought like a headset with pedal TX switch, a laptop PC special for radio use, digital modem (the good old soundcard modem was not as good as I thought and this one has VOX TX inside), a digital voicekeyer, a new PALSTAR antennatuner. At the end of the year the Diamond CP-6 I had on the mast for 2 years now broke, I already made some repairs after the stormseason (January/February) but this time I didn't even try. A major contest was approaching and I needed an antenna fast. I remembered that I had my old 11 Mtr GPA half wave antenne somewhere in the corner of the gardenshack. I did made a 1:9 balun in it, and carried out some experiments in the summer. Not that I was impressed, but when I put it up into the mast above the 6 elem. logper. it did a better job then the Diamond CP-6 and most important I had no problems with rain anymore like I did with the Diamond.

QSOs made in 2007 approx. 3000 including the SES activation in December. What the next project is, well I don't know for certain. Total I have some thoughts about converting the 6 element logper. into a 5 elem. 6 mtr yagi and put up my old 5 elem. 10m yagi beneath it in the mast. Or convert the 5 element 10m into a 5 element 6 mtr yagi?

(2008)

Going digital and HF contests
2008 did bring a lot of changes. First of all I did a made a lot of "digital" contacts in PSK and other modes. Using HRD + DM780. I even reached the 6th place at the biggest dutch contest of the year, the PACC in the SOAB LP SSB category. Well, then we decided to move to another house with more space and a bigger garden.
I had to remove the antennemast again...well you can imagine with all the concrete what kind of work was involved. At the end of the year I started again from a new location which is Roodeschool (JO33KJ). I also decided that this is my last project description on my homepage as I started with a weblog. You can read all of my new adventures and projects at: http://pe4bas.blogspot.com

Lots of projects to go. Amateur radio is FUN !