Monday, November 30, 2009

PRC-320 refurbishment (first coat)

These is a picture of the PRC-320 after the first coat of paint. In the next coat I will try to adjust the tone and use an addtitive to get a matt finish.
Today I have continued the tests with the help of my colleague Antonio (EB1AAL). We measured output power which was slightly more than 20Watts with a rather discharged battery. Ernesto (EA1LQ) was also ready to help and gave us some reports on the modulation. He said that it sounded rather tinny, which is an ususual feature of military transceivers, I have heard.

Missouri from a car park (AB0RJ)

Yesterday I had a quick QSO with Miles (AB0RJ) from Missouri, USA, on the 17m band with my long whip antenna while I was waiting on a car park. Although the signal was strong, the noise level was equally strong so I had to keep the QSO as short as possible. Last night I received his eQSL card, which has a really cool design. Miles, thanks for the qso and hope to see you soon with better conditions.
I have also been in contact with Bob (WB2ICQ), who sold me the stainless spring and quick disconnects that I use with my antenna, because we would like to set a sked for a CW QSO on 40m. That would be a great opportunity to test his rain gutter antenna and my recently acquired antenna parts (including my Yaesu FC-40 auto tuner).

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Kazakhstan (UN7MMM)

I have just received this nice eQSL from Valery in Kazakhstan for the 17m QSO we had a couple of days ago.
I have had several QSOs with him in the past, one of which with the YO/EC1CW callsign, when I was working portable from Suceava, Romania.

Friday, November 27, 2009

PRC-320 refurbishment

This is a picture of the RT320 transceiver after sanding. Today I gave it a first coat of paint, and I will try to show some pictures tomorrow. I got the color from a local paint manufacturer and distributor called Juno. They can reproduce virtually any color with a computer aided procedure called Junomatic. The color I chose is a sort of olive drab.


The other day I went to the Buro to collect my qsl cards and amongst them I found this interesting one from the QRP station ON7LB, which operates in CW only, in this case with 4Watts and a G5RV antenna.
Although the QSO in question was not portable, the card shows a very interesting setup for portable operation. Certainly it is lighter than the PRC-320.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Asia in 17 meters with a mobile whip

Today I made a couple of QSOs with my mobile whip. One of them with the collegue Valery (UN7MMM) from Kazakhstan, with whom I have made several contacts in the past, in different bands.
The other QSO was with RX9FM (operator Vlad) from the city of Perm. From the prefix one would say that Perm is in the Asiatic part of Russia, although this is not completely clear.
Perm is a city and the administrative center of Perm Krai. It is situated on the banks of the Kama River, in the European part of Russia near the Ural Mountains. Perm's 2007 estimated population was 990,200 [3], down from 1,090,944 recorded in the 1989 Census. Perm is served by Bolshoye Savino Airport and hosts Bakharevka air base.
The word "Perm" is probably Komi or Veps in origin. "Parma" is translated from Komi-Permyak language as a hilly place, covered with woods. Alternately, the name may originate from the Veps term "Pera maa" or "Perama" (distant land in English).
The city of Perm is located on the bank of the Kama River upon hilly terrain. The Kama is the main tributary of the Volga River and the one of the deepest and most picturesque rivers of Russia. This river is the waterway which grants the Urals access to the White Sea, Baltic Sea, Sea of Azov, Black Sea, and Caspian Sea. Kama divides the city into two parts, the central part and the right bank part, and it stretches for 70 km along the Kama and 40 km across it. The city street grid parallels the Kama River, travelling generally east-west, while other main streets run perpendicularly to those following the river. The grid pattern accommodates the hills of the city where it crosses them.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Oceania: The sixth continent

I got the eQSL of the colleague Syarif YC1FWO from Indonesia, who has just joined eQSL and received his Authenticity Guaranteed (AG) status. This represents a new country and CQ zone, as well as a new continent for my list.
I made this QSO last Sunday with an FT-990 and a Butternut ground plane antenna from my summer QTH.

Monday, November 23, 2009

PRC-320 counterpoise system

Somewhere I read that the PRC-320 has a very good antenna tuner that will tune almost anything, but especially if you are using the 2.4m whip it is very important to have a good counterpoise, unless you want to talk to yourself.
Today I received my brand new counterpoise system that I plan on using the next time. You can see it on the picture.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

No luck with the PRC-320

I still haven't managed to make any DX with my PRC-320. The propagation was good because I could hear an Australian station from Perth on 18Mhz. Next time I will try with a better counterpoise as so far I have only used a 10-meter wire. If necessary I will also try a longer whip or a long wire antenna.
From my car I made a couple of QSOs with SV9 (Crete) stations. In the picture is John Papadakis (SV9CJO) with his Yaesu FT-2000.
Crete is the largest of the Greek islands and the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. It forms a significant part of the economy and cultural heritage of Greece; while it retains its own local cultural traits (such as its own music and dialect), Cretans identify themselves as Greeks. Heraklion is the largest city and capital of Crete.
Crete was the centre of the Minoan civilization (circa 2600–1454 BC), the oldest Greek civilization. The island is the location of significant ancient history, which provides popular modern day tourist destinations. They include the Minoan sites of Knossos and Phaistos, the classical site of Gortys, the Venetian old city and port of Chania, the Venetian castle at Rethymno and the Samaria Gorge. The Nikos Kazantzakis International Airport is located just outside Heraklion.
For centuries, Crete was known by its Italian name Candia, from the medieval name of Heraklion, Chandax (Greek: Χάνδαξ or Χάνδακας, "moat", Turkish: Kandiye). In Classical Latin it was called Creta and in Turkish Girit.

Fishing rod antenna

This is a video I recorded some months ago, with a quarter-wave fishing rod antenna and my car as a counterpoise. Today I managed to upload it.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Solar powered PRC-320

On Tuesday I made the first tests with my recently arrived PRC-320. As the battery was empty, I had a hard time with the hand crank generator, and was hardly able to transmit.
But today was sunny so I decided to try my briefcase solar generator, which was initially designed for charging 12V batteries, but I adapted for 24V by connecting the two panels in series. The result couldn't have been better.
A few hours charging in the morning gave me enough energy to operate in the afternoon and test the rig properly. I made local CW and SSB QSOs on 7, 14, 21 and 28Mhz with EA1AQ/MM.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A Yankee Sunday

This Sunday was a Yankee day for me as far as ham radio is concerned, and not because I have made many QSOs with the United States. The main reason is that the three QSOs of the day were with stations whose callsigns started with Y, namely YO8THG, YL3FT, and YC1FWO.
I was driving to a house my father has in the countryside just in order to collect a solar power generator that I intend to use with my Clansman PRC-320. A fellow ham (Ernesto, EA1LQ) convinced me to switch on my station in the house and try my favourite band (15m) on both SSB and CW. He looked at the cluster and told me that some Indonesian stations had been spotted on that band.
YO8THG (Geo) from Bacau was the first contact. As he was only working with 100W in SSB, this QSO gave me an idea that the propagation was not bad at all. Then I decided to move to CW and made a QSO with the fellow Yuris (YL3FT).
But the achievement of the day was a QSO with the station YC1FWO from Indonesia (operator Syarif ). I had to wait for quite a bit on the pile-up but it finally paid out. 13,000km is a good record.
Syarif graduated from Padjadjaran University Bandung in 1990. In 1997 he got a Master's degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign (UIUC). Now he is working as a govt employee and sometimes teaching Economics in a university.
He became a member of Indonesian amateur Radio in 1983 (when he was in a high school) and since then he has been active on the air.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


Last Saturday I made three brief qso's from my car, all of them in 15m with a 4m-long whip antenna. Two of them with South America (Uruguay and Brazil) and another one with Senegal (6V7S).
Senegal is a country south of the Sénégal River in western Africa. Senegal is bounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the west, Mauritania to the north, Mali to the east, and Guinea and Guinea-Bissau to the south, and it also encircles The Gambia on its three sides, except that of the Atlantic Ocean.[4]
Its size is almost 197,000 km² with an estimated population of about 12.5 million. Dakar is the capital city of Senegal, located on the Cape Verde Peninsula on the country's Atlantic coast.
Archaeological findings throughout the area indicate that Senegal was inhabited in prehistoric times.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Gambia: the country number 60

I have also received an eQSL from a QSO with the colleague André (C56YK) on 15m. The Gambia represents country number 60 for my eDX100 award.
The Gambia (officially the Republic of The Gambia), commonly known as Gambia, is a country in Western Africa. The Gambia is the smallest country on mainland Africa, bordered to the north, east, and south by Senegal, and has a small coast on the Atlantic Ocean in the west.
Its borders roughly correspond to the path of the Gambia River, the nation's namesake, which flows through the country's center and empties into the Atlantic Ocean. Its size is almost 10,500 km² with an estimated population of 1,700,000.
On 18 February 1965, Gambia was granted independence from the United Kingdom and joined The Commonwealth. Banjul is Gambia's capital, but the largest conurbation is Serrekunda.

Yesilkoy Lighthouse: YC1YLH

I have just received this nice eQSL from a short SSB QSO with Yesilkoy Lighthouse in Istambul, Turkey. This represents my country no. 59 validly confirmed via eQSL.
Yeşilköy (prior to 1926 known as San Stefano or Santo Stefano from the Greek: Άγιος Στέφανος pronounced Ayos Stefanos, rendered in Turkish as Ayastefanos, Bulgarian: Сан Стефано) is a part of the Bakırköy district of Istanbul, Turkey. It is located along the Marmara Sea about 11 kilometres west of Istanbul's historic city centre. Before the rapid increase of Istanbul's population in the 1970s, Yeşilköy was merely a village and a sea resort.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Clansman PRC-320

I have just ordered a Clansman PRC-320 from England. I am looking forward to receiving it.
I also ordered a hand crank generator. I plan on using the set on the amateur bands so I will keep you informed.