History

 

 

Read all about a historic Es opening between W7 and VE7 and Europe


 

When I was 10 years old (1965), my oldest brother got a simple diode receiver as a present for his birthday. After some time he started to assemble the simple kit which was no more than a ferrite rod, variable capacitor, resistor, OA79 diode, a lot of wire and a high impedance earphone. This was called the Philips Pioneer. I didnít know what it did, and even with the help of the neighbour, who was an electrician by profession, the radio only generated silence. So the Pioneer was stored in the attic and soon forgotten.


I guess like most other kids of that age, I was searching and looking for all those mystery things that were kept in the attic. On a rainy day later in 1966 I found the Pioneer and started to reassemble the kit. My parents told me not to expect too much as all previous attemps did not produce any noise at all. Maybe this was the start of my ham career.
Up until now I feel a challenge when someone tell me not to expect too much when I start with a new project or facet of our interesting hobby, but the Pioneer came to life. One of the very first things I heard was Radio Veronica (192 meters wavelength) which was a broadcast pirate station in the North Sea. It felt great building your own radio and showing it to others. The disadvantage of the Pioneer was that it didn't work in the living room with all the wire I put on the attic. So I was looking for a better solution with my Pioneer.


I soon discovered that connecting the antenna socket to one lead of the TV's twinlead antenna wire and using the earth connection to the mains neutral gave very good reception. Yes, it was a bit tricky finding the neutral and not the phase of the mains socket but I survived.
After some weeks of listening to the many broadcast stations, mostly during every free hour from school, I discovered that using my hand on the ferrite rod and the many windings I could also change the frequency of the radio. So I started experimenting with less windings. Doing so I found coastal stations like Scheveningen Radio (PCH) and many ships communicating in AM and CW. The morse code was especially making me mad. It would be fantastic listening to all those secret messages if I could decode them. In a local shop I found a little book that described the code. It was easy to learn the alphabet, but it was difficult to recognise the characters all apart, and quite a lot of "ships" did not use a nice tone like some did; at that time a lot of stations used modulated CW, as far as I remember it was called A2 modulation.


After a few weeks I could read most of the weather reports of some coastal stations. My mother really motivated me but after some months she start asking the doctor if it was healthy for a boy listening to the radio that much...I still don't know the answer!!!!
When I made the coil on the Pioneer smaller again I could hear even more morse code; they all used very strange words and codes. I also often heard a man saying in AM (A3) modulation: "test test Pee A zeerroo Golf Juliet Mike testing". When I showed this to my father he told me he knew this man. He worked for the same company my father and that I should keep it secret that I hear this station. Because this was a private station and my father didn't know if that was all allowed, this was in 1967. As the man was doing so many tests I thought it might be helpful telling him that I could hear him. Because he was working the same shift my father did, I could predict the times he was on. Was this my first step to investigate propagation?
So I muster up and took a bike ride to visit him as he lived only 600 meters away from my home. When he opened the door I can tell you, it was like meeting a Hollywood star; that man I was hearing for so many weeks now. I told him I heard him on my radio. He was quite surprised and showed me his station. I still remember the racks with all those glowing tubes, the heat and the fantastic brass Morse key. So PA0GJM was the first ham I ever met and he introduced me to the fantastic world of ham radio.


I saved all my money to become a member of the VERON and with the help of my parents I soon became NL380, a registered SWL. I also met more amateurs and I was very lucky to get in touch with PA0ZHB who became a friend for many years. He told me a lot of stories and organised a No.19 Wireless set for me. Wow, I can tell you this was a treasure for an eleven year old boy. PA0WIR (silent key) made me a power supply and an inverted L wire antenna on the roof. Because of the ham community that helped me so well was mainly active on VHF (144MHZ), I couldn't hear them. So my second homebrew project was a converter with 6x 6AK5 tubes. It converted from 144MHz to 7 MHz. PA0RSX was the designer of it. It didn't perform well and was very unstable. But I could hear the nearby hams and maybe it is still the reason I am mainly interested in VHF bands.
So I studied electronics and created many converters, antennas and power supplies. 

I repaired some old radio's and TV sets. With the little money that I got I was able to buy the best converter that was available those times. A Semco UE22 Mosfet converter. It was my best piece of equipment for many years. And I still have it on the shelf. Look here for pictures and the diagram. 

Until 1974 I was happy as a SWL and didn't think of getting my own license. Because of the pressure and help of PA0VSS I took the test and obtain my class C license. The first QSO I made was in CW. Very strange, because with the introduction of new prefixes in PA-land you would expect hearing a PE0 with phone. My call was PE0VST. Six month later I became PA2VST and had my class A license.
Yes, the CW test was easy.


I have done all the things on VHF that you can think of - Tropo, Aurora, Meteorscatter, Es and EME. On these pages you will find some of my remarkable contacts. I was the first PA that made EME QSO with one 10el. Yagi. This was with K1WHS. The sked was made by letters via slow mail services. It was the same feeling hearing and working Dave K1WHS as when I first met PA0GJM. In 1988 we obtain the 50MHz permit and up until now it is my favorite band.
On my pages you probably will find something to interest you. And whenever you feel the need, please contact me.
I hope you will have the same feeling about ham radio as I do. Even with todays internet and great IT world it can't replace all the pleasure I have with my toys. (equipment!)

Good luck and 73's,

Peter

  

Look and listen to great 144 MHz. contacts!  
Listen to one of my best contacts I made on 144 MHz with a homemade station.
Only the FT221 was used as exciter. The audiofilter I used was made with four opamps.
PA was 2x 4CX250 with 3 kV on the plate! Yes, they didn't become old with me.

KH6HI on May 25, 1985 during my moonrise


Listen here for a fantastic Es contact on 144MHz.



In 1985 I was very active in the France EME contest.
I used 4x 15 el. Yagi and 800 Watt which was classified as QRP!
And with a very close finish I won...