Long time no update. A lot has happened.

My last post was in January this year. It’s August now. Lots of things have changed around here.

First of all i changed QTH. I now live in a place where i can mount a larger antenna IF I WANTED TO. In fact, if i wanted to get back into some serious radio i WILL have to build a new antenna because my previous antenna got lost in the move. But do i want to? This i will explain later.

Then i changed job. Where before i was working from home and never left the house, read: lots of time for radio, now i have to travel every week. So when i am at home i want to be with the family, work on the garden, the pool, the BBQ and not lock myself up in my office again to do some radio.

Then, and that’s the most important at the moment, the sun has gone really quiet lately. I know the cycle is going down, but i didn’t expect it to go down this dramatically. This was a very short and very unpredictable sun cycle. So to spend money on a tower and an antenna when there is hardly anything to listen to, no. That’s not the plan.

Let’s see. For the moment i just let my SDR create some daily heatmaps and maybe at some point, when the winter comes and conditions pick up again, i will decide to build or buy something.

UPDATE!

A second heatmap server has been installed. This time i used a leftover Raspberry Pi and a RTL-SDR adapter. This one is going to cover everything from 24MHz to 1.7GHz. At least, that’s what i understand the RTL adapter can handle.

Glad to be back on HF

Couple of things to report:

1) I got bored on 11 and 10m because “propagation was bad”. I don’t know if i got lucky, but the last week i was ONLY on 10m making lots of really nice DX contacts. Worked several new countries. So what is the cause? Propagation or the quality of the radio? Check out my log for the new DXCC. And all this with my 1,25m “dummy load”.

2) Regarding PLC noise, Wimo boxes and stuff like that. Check this video. This is with an idle PLA and no Wimo, just the NR from the radio itself. Amazing. On the HAM bands i hardly have any PLC noise, but if i get some i know the radio can handle it.

11m useless because of PLC noise, back to 10m

10m_bpAs you all know, after all you are following this blog, i am suffering from PLC noise in my house. This makes it virtually impossible to make any contacts on 11m. Yesterday, despite the bad conditions on 10 and 11m, i started to listen to and follow the cluster for 10 meter activity. After all, the PLA’s around me are all notched for 10m.

10 meter suprised me. My first contact was with TY1AA, Benin country. That was surprising since a lot of people were calling and, as you know, i am running very minimal conditions (12W output and a mobile antenna).

This actually motivated me to make a few more contacts. Was quite fun. There is actually something out there besides 11 meters. Although it was again the regular “EA3HOE, your 5-9, 73” it was better than nothing.

Maybe i have to start to look for a decent HF set again…