Sunday, June 13, 2021

Time flies: 10 years as WWFF activator

It is hard to believe but it is 10 years ago that I did my first WWFF PAFF activity on June 27, 2011. I had just upgraded my license after getting back into the hobby in 2010.

Actually sharing the experience of it is only the third post I wrote on this blog.

As I was just back on the radio after 15 years of inactivity, I took equipment with me whenever I could, working /P and /M regularly. That day in June I was in the north of the country for work, staying in a hotel. At the end of the afternoon I was able to get out of the office and head over to national park Lauwersmeer (PAFF-0014). It was only the second day that I was using my new PH0NO callsign. 

I had read about PAFF, probably on the blog of Hans PA3FYG or some other radio amateur website and was curious to see what it would bring to my /P operation.

In that period my FT897d was back to the dealer for repairs. So I only had an FT817nd that I bought as backup radio. With my whopping 5 watts, my end fed wire antennas and a rather thin Spieth 10m fiberglass pole (with extension rods to get the 20m wire off the ground) I was not expecting too much.

I was in for a surprise. It was the first time I had to deal with a pile-up. I logged more than 150 chasers and even one JA7 (mind you, SSB with 5W).

After this first experience I was sold. This started a hobby in a hobby doing many WWFF activities in various countries in Europe and VE, including memorable YNOMY team expeditions to LX, HB0 and GJ. 

Being enthusiastic about the program I was keen to help grow it both in PA and worldwide. I ended up coordinating PAFF and working as part of the WWFF team a couple of months later and up till the present day.

Impressions from 10 years WWFF

In all these years I met a lot of people. There are thousands of WWFF chasers but there is a hardcore group in the hundreds that have become familiar voices. I was also lucky to meet a couple of WWFF-ers in real life both in PA and abroad.

As a sort of commemoration I will be returning to PAFF-0014 on June 27. This year that is on a Sunday which is rather convenient. I will be using the last - so far unused - of the series of P*44FF calls that I have used before: PH44FF.




Monday, May 24, 2021

PAFF-0079 on the high bands

Acceptable weather for a change motivated me to go out to activate PAFF-0079. This reference had had some attention in the past (>500 QSOs) but most of it years ago. Expecting some Es conditions I brought my hexbeam and my 2-4-6m yagi.

Hexbeam and 2-4-6m yagi

It was rather busy in the area with people happy to be able to go out for a walk. It was difficult unfolding the hexbeam without getting in people's way. Ofcourse I got a lot of questions about this rotary clothesline..

The rotary clothesline

I started out on 6m but that band was not really alive. I only worked one EI station. So much for the effort to bring and setup the yagi.

I went over to the hexbeam starting on 15m as that band sounded quite active.. and it was. I logged more than 70 contacts on that band. Most of those were in the UK - there seemed to be a nice cloud over the North Sea. I was also greeted by Len VE9MY and Linda VE9GLF (P2P) and 5 US stations including the usual suspects Tom KG8P and Robert KD1CT.

After about 1.5h I went down to 17m again logging mostly UK stations and VE5. 17m was not too busy so after 30 minutes I went down one more time to 20m. 20m was in an okay state. It was never very busy but I did log almost 150 contacts in 2h. At the start I had the beam pointing towards NA - logging KA8H and W1OW - but I noticed spots to the east so I turned the beam. That probably helped me log 3 JA stations.

A cloudy but dry day out in PAFF-0079

I had skipped the 10m band earlier thinking the Es was not strong enough but I still saw spots on that band (past 20h local time) so I decided to go back up hoping for an opening to SA. With the beam in that direction I logged PU and some 20 more contacts in EU - mostly from south DL to I. 

It was getting late but there was one band to my immediate disposal I had not visited yet: 12m. The first response came from Max IK1GPG, who I just spoke to on 10m. In these last few minutes I logged a few more EU stations and FY to my surprise. 


It was so much fun on the higher bands that I never came around to breaking down the hex and going for the low bands. Normally I make most of my QSOs on those bands. However with a bit more time spent than usual (5h) I still managed to log 286 QSOs from 45 DXCC with 12 P2P.