Friday, October 28, 2011

A long activation of Nunspeet - PAFF-033

Using three different bands for short and long distance QSOs

Wednesday October 26 I had planned an activation of PAFF-033. The difference with other activations up till now was that I had quite a bit of time on my hands and that I knew a few days ahead that I would use this time for an activation.

Using Google Maps I had already checked out the area for a good operating spot. I had found a few spots and it turned out that the first one I went for was good enough. The area is mainly covered by a dense forest, which is not the best condition for a radio operation. I found a bit of space, just enough to keep the antenna free from the trees on the northern part of the park.

I was visited twice by park attendants. This surprised me somewhat as the park is not a high profile park at all. The first one did not understand what I was doing but decided it would not be harmful for the park. The second one turned out to be an inactive HAM.. small world.

Station set-up @ PAFF-033

The previous days I had had a lot of fun on 10 meters (my favourite band) so I decided to start there and see how many hunters would be present there. As I hoped, there were a number of DX stations calling in (US, Canada, Brazil and I stumbled upon PJ5) - 10m is great for DX. PY1SX set the maximum QRB for the day (9600km).

For Europe the conditions on 10m weren't that great so after one and a half hours (and only 33 contacts) I went down to 20m. This is a very busy place for WFF. I worked 192 stations in just over 2 hours. As always most of the OM's were from Russia (EU and Asiatic), Italy and Ukraine. A few DX stations came by as well - JH8, UA0, UA9, VE6, UN9 and 4Z. 
Quite a few of the WFF hunters have become familiar callsigns, some are in my log for all my 6 activations.

When 20m started to get slow, around 18:30 local time, I decided to give 40m a try. It was a challenge to find a quiet spot but when I did I worked 69 stations in one hour. 40m nicely closes the skip gap 20m and 10m leave behind (between 250 - 700km).

At 20:00 I closed down the station and headed back home. By that time I had greeted 288 OMs (some came by on more than one band - some even on all three - hi Luciano :) from 43 different DXCC entities.

Thanks all for stopping by and calling in. See you at the next activation.
Lars, PH0NO/P 

Friday, October 7, 2011

Activating Terletse Heide - PAFF-042

With another small gap in my agenda  I was able to head over to the WFF park Terletse Heide on Tuesday late afternoon. The area comprises of an airfield (mainly used by glider planes) and surrounding fields. It is a rather small nature park in between Veluwezoom (PAFF-019) and De Hoge Veluwe (PAFF-005). The area is surrounded by a low fence and trees with the official entrance on the east side of the park via the airfield main building (Terlet entrance).

With the limited time I had available I decided to enter the area from the west and look for a low profile corner of the park. I found a spot that was reasonably free of trees within the park's perimeter.
I took a chair this time, which made the operation a lot more comfortable than previous operations where I was on foot and sat on a rock or fallen tree.

There was no activity at the airfield that day (as far as I could see) and I was able to operate for 2,5 hours without seeing another soul. The weather started out rather grey but soon improved with quite some sunshine until the sun set around 17h CET.

Conditions on 20m were good this day. The advantage clearly being good signal reports on both ends (frequently 9+10dB or more) and a few DX contacts. The disadvantage was the amount of QRM from neighbouring stations.

I started out on a frequency that turned out to be near to a DXpedition RX frequency (I learned this later from I5FLN, Luciano, who was so kind to post a spot on the cluster already at the beginning of my activation). When I moved up 10kHz the amount of QRM was manageable.

My power cable was not functioning properly due to a loose fuse contact. This caused the radio to shut down a number of times at the start of the activation. Somehow I managed to fix this after half an hour or so.

During the 2,5 hours of operation there were quite a number of stations visiting (227 in total), from 35 DXCC entities with DX from the US and Canada as well as quite surprisingly (to me) one ham from the east coast of China (8800km) - my first contact with a Chinese station!

All in all it was a pleasant experience once again. Thanks to all the hunters for calling in.
Lars, PH0NO/P