Sunday, December 11, 2016

First PA44FF activity from Deelerwoud (PAFF-0055)

This morning I went out to activate PAFF-0055 Deelerwoud using my temporary callsign PA44FF.

Weather was okay with some drizzle but almost no wind. I arrived at the nature reserve rather early (for me anyway) at 8am UTC. To my surprise there were already quite a few people out in the reserve.

Spiderbeam 18m pole with EFHW for 40m
I started on 40m using a half wave end fed almost completely vertical (20m long on an 18m pole). I brought my Ameritron mobile amp as I was expecting bad conditions - forecast had been rather poor.
It turned out there was an Italian contest going on that completely filled 40m with s9 signals. Luckily I found a spot at the end of the band around 7.198.000 I stayed there for about 40 minutes logging almost 60 chasers, until I could not bear the QRM anymore. 

Running the FT857 with a Heil headset and an Ameritron mobile amp (approx 300w)
Higher bands seemed rather dead so I focused on 20m next. It was really lively on 20m but DX was sparse. The next 2 hours I did not have time to enjoy my sandwiches and just enough to sip my coffee once a while. I logged over 200 calls in under 2 hours on 20m.
DX included 4Z, R9, OD5 and to my surprise JA.

Before packing up I decided to give 40m one more try. It was even worse than earlier in the morning. The FT857's filtering is rather basic but with one big wall of sound all over the band I think there was not much to gain anyway. I gave up trying and went down to 80m. The antenna is not very effective on this band but I did log 4 chasers.

Weather improved during the activity
I went back to 40m, hopped over the band trying to find some gaps at the lower and upper end. Including the short diversion to 80m I lost about 45 minutes. When I found some usable spots in the end I logged another 30 chasers in the last half hour.

In total I was busy for about 4h. Subtracting time for antenna changes and finding spots on 40m I was really QRV for 3h. In that light the 296 calls from 39 DXCC I logged is quite a lot. If it weren't for the contest on 40m, I am sure I would have logged a lot more chasers on that band. The band actually seemed quite good (hence the strong contest signals).

Judging from the 2h continuous stream of chasers on 20m, it seems that the special call does attract some extra attention. The fact that it was Sunday morning might have contributed as well (I am not that often active /P during weekends).

Anders SA2CLU inquired about my set-up today. So I will just add two more pictures. The first one is just to show how effective something small can be. These are the two antennas I used: end fed half wave antennes for 40m (home brew) and 20m (commercial). 

End Fed Half Wave antennas for 40m and 20m
They are only small if you forget about the Spiderbeam pole I am using of course. The 18m pole does attract a lot of attention from passersby.

The 40m antenna is just a bit too long for the 18m pole. So I slope the last bit of the wire away from the pole. It ends up where ever I can attach the transformer. This time just 30cm or so off the ground. In the first picture on this page you can just make out the transformer box in the bushes behind the car. Below a zoomed in picture of this simple set-up.


  1. Well done Lars, if you are active another weekend please let me know. Like to work you with the special call. 73, Bas

    1. Tnx Bas. Ik zal je laten weten wanneer ik weer ga. Hangt van werk en thuis af. Deze maand iig nog. 73, Lars

  2. Ondanks de slechte condities op de HF banden en je bestede tijd heb je toch een mooi resultaat geboekt. En dat nog met dat druilweer. Toppie! 73 Hans, PE1BVQ

    1. Tnx Hans. Ja was een goede ochtend om even radio te spelen (behalve die contest dan). Wordt vervolgd! 73, Lars