History / about PH2LB

This page was last updated : 03-Nov-23 15:18:13

A short story long . . . .

The beginning...

From when I was young I liked electronics and listened to shortwave broadcasts and amateur radio transmissions on a old multi band radio. At the age of 14 came in contact with the CB radios through a few kids in my school class but due to puberty new interests (girls and computers) got greater priority. At age 16 I met OM Johan (PD0GFR later DO1GRF) who was also shared my interest in computers and in the years to come he became one of my best friends. Sometimes we made QSO's in his shack but most of the time we worked on computer projects. We lost track of each-other after he had moved to Germany (the change of address card had gone lost in the mail) but early 2008 we met again on a fair and made a few visits to each-other. But due work and family obligations from both sides the contacts got lost again. Late 2009 I had found out that he lost his battle against his sickness and Johan went SK in mid 2009.

In 2012 I needed a new challenge to get me throw the autumn and winter and decided to start learning for my amateur radio Novice license. To support the training and getting more acquaint with amateur radio communication I also picking-up a old hobby of mine : DX listening.

It is that DX listening without a good receiver is like building a house of cardboard, it may stay but with the first rains you may (or better you will) get disappointed. So to be on the save side I looked for a old communication receiver with a less as possible integrated circuits in it to get is far away from my daily work as possible (when people ask me what I do I say "I do some things with computers"). After a few weeks I found a used but reasonably priced Yaesu FRG-7700 communication receiver on http://www.marktplaats.nl/ . And after a short mail exchange with the owner I decided to take the change and bought it.  I logged various 80 and 40 meter amateur radio conversations from all over Europa incl a lot of the modern east-block countries and a few from east coast of the US.

After a few months I updated a few things in the receiver and wanted to add spare parts to my stock. I started looking at markplaats again and found a other "deaf" FRG-7700 with memory module.  Turned out I couldn't resist try to repair it.


So I got 2 working FRG-7700 's at that moment. My first FRG-7700 is working 100% and my second now only got a instable memory board (so got something todo) but for the rest is working fine. 

Eager waiting for the Novice exam...

The amateur radio Novice license training was done at the begin of November, but I was to late for the last exam of 2012. So I had to wait for the next exam which was held on 6 March 2013 (the birthday of my daughter). The time between that I kept practicing my training exams and even started to learn for the F license. On 6 march 2013 I took the Novice exam and answered all the answers correctly and for that day we had 2 reasons to celebrate. And after 3 weeks all the paperwork was done and I'm was official registered novice ham-radio operator with the call Pappa Delta Two Lima Bravo (hmmm the Lima Bravo, where would that come from??).

Hamradio operation procedures, practise and ethics...

But having the license doesn't mean that you are all knowing, the difference between theory and real live is a big gap. One thing I did notice in the courses is there isn't as much focus on the operation procedures as I would have accepted (although, they ex-plane how to answer a QSO, call CQ, use the alphabet etc).

Soon after I got my novice call, I looked around for more information on Operation Procedures and found out that in the past there were special courses for it on various HamRadio club's. Unfortunately non of the clubs gave them any more, so I went looking for information to sell-study. A lot of info I found on the pages of ON4WW (http://www.on4ww.be/op.html) and on the website http://www.ham-operating-ethics.org/ the last, unfortunately offline now. But the ARRL still has the 2011 edition for the document online : http://www.arrl.org/files/file/DXCC/Eth-operating-EN-ARRL-CORR-JAN-2011.pdf (personal I think it's a must read and should be part of the Novice course).

Going HF...

Due to the regulations of the Dutch HamRadio Novice license, it's allowed for the Novice license holders also to work on 3 parts of the HF bands. 40m (7.050-7.100Mhz), 20m (14.000-14.250Mhz) and 10m (28.000-29.700Mhz). And after listening a long time on the HF parts, I couldn't resist it any longer and wanted to realy work those bands. So when the opportunity came to buy a second hand Yaesu FT-897D from another ham which wanted to go bigger, I toke it. Having bought this set I replaced my SWL long wire antenna with a 40/20/10m HyEndFed, allowing me to work on these specific parts of the bands with a max of 25Watt PEP. And soon the first QSO's in SSB and PSK31 where made with countries inside Europe and even with countries outside it. Most of the time I use 5 Watt PEP (the bottom power of the FT-897D) but often I get compliments about the signal. Proberbly has something to do with waiting for the correct conditions)

A new FULL call...

Already been training for the full license and being confident about my acquired knowledge I took the Full License exam on 6 November 2013 and with just 7 errors on the 50 questions I pasted it. On 22 november the Agentschap Telecom processed it, confirm the result and grand the new status. Allowing me to choose my new full license call : Pappa Hotel Two Lima Bravo.

Dit's and Dah's a sound from the past...

Having a Full License doesn't mean I'm finished studying. There is one thing I always found magical about HamRadio, the dit's and dah's you hear on the lower parts of the bands. So when I have time, I'm training listening Morse code by the Koch method and there is a little progress on that part (training at 25wpm is like hell, but why make it easy). But as like most things in life, you have to keep practicing and using it, so my little progress is often reset and have to start over again . 

Note: the standerd codes like the Q codes, pse, k, kn, sk, etc. are no problem, but decoding call signs :-( 


Oldskool rigs but still a computer needed...

Although I work all days with computers as a Technical Specialist / Software engineer, I like the old kind of hamradio's. That's why my equipment list contains old radio's (no tubes) without modern digital stuff in it (although I like a digital readout). Pure analoge and without fancy stuff like DSP's etc.

The computer in the shack I use for documentation, programming for my experiments and for digital modes like FT8 which I like to use for QRP DX. When you spot me, please send me a screenshot of my signal to let mee see how it looks out there. I'm always try to keep it clean as possible.

QSO? QSL!...

One other thing I use the computer for is the CQRLOG program to keep track of my QSO's and track the digital QSL's like with eQSL and LOTW. But I still like to send and receive the oldfashion paper QSL cards by the buro or direct. The design of my QSL card is the work of my YL Eva (many thanks and xxx) which thought my old card could need a update (see was so right).


I prefer QSL card exchange by the bureau. But QSL-cards received by postal mail is also ok, they will be answered by postal mail. It isn't necessary to add IRCs or money for return postage. 

Going outdoors...

Working as a software developer means that most of the time that I work indoors behind a desk and my monitors are the windows to the world. To expand our view on the world, me and my XYL like to go outdoors and setup a field shack where ever we go.To get insperation I would highly recommend joining the public Facebook group : Field Radio. who contains lot of field reports, pictures, Q&A etc. Enjoy the outdoor like we do. Check out the fieldreports on this website

Going up into space (QO-100)

End 2019 my good friend Jan PA0JWZ (now SK) asked me if I was willing to be his sparring partner for a new hamradio project : he wanted to get up in frequency and had read a lot about the ES-Hail2 / QO-100 satelite. Because I was thinking about doing the same and I allready started with the RX of the QO-100, the answer was of-course YES. For more then a year we where looking into variouse options (from cheap to very expensive) to get on the QO-100. We decided to go a AMSAT-DL Upconv6 70cm-13cm converter in combinatoins with a Pluto SDR for the RX path. 

Jan wanted to go for a 4.5 turn helix design, position a little above the LNB (not ideal but a start) and after a few different constructions we where QRV on the QO-100 and on a sunny monday in September 2020 we installed his setup permenant. (full story with more images). The idea was to build another setup (should be /P) for me, but due to work we didn't start it and on 6 Februari 2021 Jan went SK.  

In May 2021 his widow XYL asked me if I could take down the antennes because the last storm generated static electricity on the antenne cables and some trees lost branches and could damage the antennas. After we removed everything his XYL gave me Jan's QO-100 project to have it. Because we worked together on it for so long and she couldn't give it a better destination so it would be used and would keep the hamspirit of Jan alive. I accepted it with honer and told that the project would continue to be improve as we had planned. 

So when I have time i'm setting up the /P QO-100 setup and work on improvements. The latest improvment (July 2021) was a new designed Helix feed which is placed in front of the LNB giving a better signal on the QO-100 (average 7dB lower then the side beacons). Which IMHO is a good signal. In time the design will be published on my website. 

TX : FT818 (1W SSB / 0.5W CW) - Amsat DL UpConv6 - 5 turn Helix - 60cm dish
RX : LNB - Pluto SDR - SDRConsole (Center beacon RX frequency stabelize) 

The next improvement will be a GPS disciplined 10MHz reference oscilator for the upconverter (of-course I want to build it my self).  


It's true...

So where other hams warned me about is actualy true. HamRadio is a addiction and distance and technology is the drugs that keep it running.

Told you it was a short story long . . . HI

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