Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Goodbye 2009


Two days left. I post this diagram as a postcard wishing you Happy New Year. It sows clearly the trend, through the whole 2009, of a recovering sun. If continuous like this, smiles will come back to the dx-ing world. More info to:

Speaking for dx I have just received the TX5SPA (Austral Is) qsl card reaching with this the 332 current countries. I hope for one or two more during 2010. See you next year!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

SDR remote


Simon Brown (HB9DRV), the author of legendary HAM RADIO DELUXE, made recently an other interesting program. SDR-RADIO is a remote console that can control an SDR receiver remotely  through a network connection. You have all the bandwidth of 150KHz on your screen.

Denis (SV8RV) gave me the chance to test the software, controlling his SDR-IQ from my shack. It gave me   fantastic results! Everything worked smoothly. Functionality and audio just perfect. Like having the receiver next to me. This would be a really powerful tool indeed, combined with an SDR receiver, installed in a quiet site. Take a look on the snap above.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sunspot record


Circle 24 reached a maximum SSN record today. Number 43 is the biggest ever in current circle. So Merry Christmas dear fellow hams and enjoy Santa Claus gift.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Heavy weather out of my door


As the Christmas approaches and the 2009 is going to an end, it is time to relax and enjoy the days with ham happenings. Weather is bad of course but who cares. Clouds are permanently on the sky and the storms follow one after the other. The space weather is really nice instead. Flares, CMEs, sunspots…we have almost everything but not favorable dx conditions yet. Sooner or later they will come.

Today I had a surprise, talking to Mike (SV8KOM) who is in UK. The QSO took place via D-STAR system (SV8S local repeater). D-STAR connecting people… in case propagation does not.

C0906_MI wish to all of you Merry Christmas and a happy New Year with lot of dxing.

BTW TX3A  is coming first dxpedition of the year 2009 in the DX World petition. The “unbelievable couple” deserves your vote.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

After contest

Participating in a contest, so big as CQWW CW, it is always a great experience. Both my station and my location can not compete the big guns but it is always a nice chance to work in cw many dx entities and fill some missing slots. So I made 275 QSO working with long breaks. The 10m band was closed (only 3 contacts). The 15 was the most DX band. The 40 and 20 the most crowded.  Speaking about contest I stopped by  K3LR page to admire a real big gun. Take a look on his operating room and the huge amount of awards on the wall.


I meet him almost in every contest. Recently I got his QSL card via bureau.

KELR1 As CW is not my favorite mode, I should  mention several tools that technology gives to every operator to assist him during the contest. CwSkimer is one of them. Excellent software with tremendous abilities of decoding many calls simultaneously. On the other hand reverse beacons make a great job monitoring the propagation in every band in real time. My friend Denis (SV8RV) has a station  dedicated to these projects, using the QS1R SDR receiver. Denis is living in the same island and his offer is much appreciated. Look for his reports on the sites reversebeacon and pskreporter.


After that you already know that I join every contest proudly assisted!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

DXing goes on….


XR0Y is over. Team is back safely. It was very difficult to copy you. Propagation was very bad, especially for me with a hill blocking me all the west side. In the photo Vicky (SV2KBS) making new friends in Easter Island. Nice snap indeed!


TX3A going QRT this weekend. A grand finale with CQ WWCW contest. What an expedition. My favorite one with great difference from any other. Look their amazing installation and how they managed to deliver big signals around the world. By the way it is the first dxpedition ever sending the logs to the LotW simultaneously with the online logs. This is a progress. It was also quite interesting the lack of any negative comment in the cluster. It seems that they doubtless earned everybody’s respect!

In the mean times new kids on the block show up. VK9XX makes a lot of noise. Good signals in every band, mostly because their bearing is eastward. Fortunately no obstacle in this direction. So a new slot competition has arisen. I count 6 already.

Italian guys are on the air from Ghana. Their call 9X5TT. Good signals also. So there is plenty of pleasure around and the weekend is near.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The unbelievable couple

chester1 George (AA7JV) and Tomi (HA7RY). They are already in Chesterfield. We will hear them on the air as TX3A for a month or so. Two men dxpedition focused on low bands as usually. Their style is out of question. Among other they navigate by themselves across the ocean curing rig and fuel in their small boat. During transmission breaks they fish their lunch in the clear sea. They are two but so effective. If they are as successful as with Mellish reef, many other ambitious dxpeditioners should learn from them. I wish them good luck and good luck to me to work them, as TX3A is a new one and I need it badly.

More info in their page.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

ISS=International Sea Station

It is not the well known spacecraft. It is a masterpiece of technology that will explore the oceans in the near future. Maybe it is an irrelevant topic but I assume that hams are always sensitive to technology developments.

SeaOrbiter is a spectacular project and a life dream of French architect Jacques Rougerie. It is under construction right now and it is expected to launce in 2012.


The new Calypso will be a huge contraction of 51m tall. The 2/3 of it will be under water giving unbelievable stability to the vessel. She will have no engines to move. She will drift with ocean great currents instead. Many pressurized laboratories will be continuously under water collecting data for biodiversity of deep seas. Plenty of experiments will take place during her long trips, giving to science many answers. Due to the special living conditions of the crew even NASA is interested.


For more info about this promising project click here.

PS. BTW the XR0Y team members are in their way to Santiago. Good luck Vicky!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Good news!

sw8nag I am in the pleasant position to present you my new harmonic Nick (13 years old). He got the call SW8NAG. My friend’s Spyros (SV8CS) daughter Anna (12 years old) got the call SW8NAC. It was a double shot. They must be be the youngest amateurs in Greece right now. I wish both of them many many QSO in the days to come.

On the other hand bands woke up recently. I had the chance to check it during the CQ WW SSB contest last weekend. Especially 10m band was open all day long. Many DX stations worked. At last just as we got used that such a thing would not happen again. Of course there is an explanation for that. Solar flux got the maximum of circle 24 so far! Ionoprobe looks like this today. Very exciting indeed.


To not forget. FT5GA sent already theirs logs to the LoTW. Any complains now? And finally my favorite dxpeditioners (look previous post) AA7JV and HA7RY are on their way to Chesterfield, a new one for me! What a wonderful world.

Monday, October 12, 2009

And now Midway Atoll (K4M) on the air

They are safely landed! After several postponements, finally they did. The agony is over.They have only a few days   of operations but they are many and very experienced ones. They will work with several stations many hours every day.  From now and then our antennas point 18 degrees.


So good luck guys,  see you on the pile ups and wish you big big logs!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

DX, CONTEST and other stories

At the beginning of October I have a lot to report. The FT5GA is continuing for 3rd week. The qso are running better now, I have to admit, but still there are complains. I worked them 9 slots so far and so I have not any. Yesterday I worked the frogs on RTTY on 30m! (I really like this nick name and I use it not to mock them).


But new kids show up on the block. TX5SPA, 3D20CR among them. The first of them seems a bit difficult for us but workable. Last weekend we had the CQ WWRTTY contest, one of my favorites. Even we had very heavy weather in south Ionian sea those days I really enjoyed it. Propagation was quite better than previous year. Is that a good sign or  was it just a coincidence? I heard a lot of Japanese and American stations mostly in low bands. The most exciting moment was the call of P29CW on my QRG. It was a real surprise for me. Finally I discovered that behind this cal sign was VK2IR, who is a Greek guy, Tom Horozakis, usually living in Sydney. Thank you Tommy. Sometimes our hobby is really wonderful. As I run this contest just for fun  such surprises are more than welcomed. BTW here are my statistics according to  MixW contest filter.


As many other dxpeditions are coming soon and as propagation seems to bend back, it will be a very exciting winter!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Working FT5GA


They started badly. Lots of lids and idiots on their frequency mocking all the time the activities. It is going to be a tradition for major dxpeditions. People  complaining and nagging almost about everything. But by the time, things are going better. Even sun seams to help (SSN 26 today). Anyway there is plenty of time left and I am sure that finally many hams will have the chance to work them. Especially third week it will be much more easier. So stay cool guys. Save energy for the upcoming peditions. And don’t forget we have CQ WW RTTY contest this weekend.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

DX season started!

Writing these lines the FT5GA expedition has already started transmissions. I am back to main QTH again and so I am a little better organized for the occasion. Sorry if this post looks like a dx bulletin, but I will make with your permission a list of upcoming dxpedions. I have to notice that even I have already 330 current dx countries CFM, there are thee new ones among them!

1. FT5GA 15/09-8/10 GLORIOSO (

2. TX5SPA 28/09-12/10 AUSTRAL ( NEW ONE

3. TX5SPM 16/10-22/10 MARQUESAS ( NEW ONE

4. K4M 9/10-19/10 MIDWAY (

5. XR0Y 31/10-15/11 EASTER ( Greek member in the crew SV2KBS YL Victoria


FT5GA gang taken from their web page:

So I wish you all a good harvest!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

A few days left

The fall is coming and we prepare to move to our winter QTH. This is sad. We will really miss the cottage. Writing these lines it occurred to me that I have never show you my little shack here.


Main transceiver is TS-480HX. Not too many Dx-ing during summer but a lot of rag chewing.This year I had my best score in 6m though.  I worked 61 countries instead of 52 and 42 previous years. Not to forget to add a snap showing me and SV3SJ enjoying summer delights.


Now he he will be in France already. Have a nice winter Nick.

Monday, August 17, 2009

As the summer goes by…


Although summer is going to end, we are happy. No much radio activity must be said as the sun got to sleep again. It is a 38 spotless day streak as I am writing these lines. Even though I can hear KH7XS every morning in my wires. On the other hand we have many good friends on the island. SV2HJQ, SV2AGW and SV2DCD among them. As George and Leo usually come the second fortnight of August, they herald the come of fall. Actually we had some rain just to confirm the fact.


SV3SJ is expected too and probably SV1GH if things go right. There is nothing better than amateur friendship! I am still living in the cottage enjoying quietness and nature. Well… and beers of course. The weather is nice most of the time, a little bit strange but acceptable.

DSC_0241 By the way the photos have taken with my new Nikon D5000. To be honest I have not played yet a lot with my new toy. But the snaps I took, just as a beginner, are very satisfactory.

Friday, July 17, 2009

A strange summer


It is really a strange summer this year. It is wet and not hot. Both of them unusual. During June we had heavy rains and till now the temperature did not rise more than 35 degrees. Such a thing had to happen several years. I spend the days in the cottage and I get lazy as every summer. I use my little shack with my wire antennas. Even though the rig is enough to understand strange propagation behavior in the bands, especially in magic band. It was full of surprises this year. I worked TN5SN (SSB) and JL8GFB (CW). The last one was so clear and loud not distorted signal that made me think that the JE1BMJ theory of Summer Solstice Short-path Propagation should attract more attention. Actually the 21th of June I could hear loud signals in 6m 2 hours after midnight.


But now all this activity, that reminds me F2 propagation and not sporadic E layer, it is decaying as a hot summer day in the cottage. Of course, we have other activities that can fill the gap. Let say Punta Basta…the little beach bar I drink beers every summer. We have to relax a bit as many major dxpeditions are scheduled for autumn.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Space, Sun and Ham


This is the photo of the year in my opinion. Taken during Hubble recent repairs at 14th of May, it gives a compact message of what technology and collaboration can do. Among else our blue planet Earth is easily recognizable in the casket reflection. To create this 3D effect, digital artist Patrick Vantuyne of Belgium combined two slightly offset photos taken by spacewalker Andrew Feustal. It is a really beautiful picture with a sound meaning.

In the mean time, sun seams to wake up. The SFI is 74 after a long time bellow 70 and some tiny spots appear from time to time. It’s activity is very low but at least there is a trend upwards. Anyway last predictions agree that cycle 24 will be a small one. Its maximum is expected at 2013 with a number of no more than 90 spots. After big expectations we are ready for landing. Finally sporadic E in 6m meters seams stronger and more frequent than last year. So no matter what we have something to play with.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Sporadic-E came back

6m propagation came back on time this year. First big event took place in May 2 with sort path opening with prefixes as 4Z, 9A DL. Yesterday we had a wider one with calls like CT3, EA and so one. Magic band has good mood this year. Take a look in yesterday opening as it was observed in real time by DX- Sherlock.


By the way this a good tool watching the sporadic E openings. You will find it following the link:

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A few days to the cottage

We spent a few days to the cottage to say welcome to spring. Things turned out to be quite different than expected. Spring did not came on time. It was very wet and looked like more as winder. Even the fireplace was acceptable!


The plants, as you can see, were not prepared for such a weather but I remained cool and relaxed. I do not know, nobody knows actually, if there is any correlation with the prolonged sun minimum. By the way the signals were not too bad in my portable wire antennas. So no reason to complain at all. It was a nice break anyway.

Monday, April 6, 2009

VK9GMW: a different style dxpedition


The sun continues its leisure. It behaves exactly as the stoke market: When you believe that it has got a minimum it is going lower. We had great expectations for VK9LA but it turned out to be difficult to get heard. At least to Europe. Under such hostile Mellish_106_thumbpropagation conditions, two incredible guys,AA7JV and HA7RY went to Mellish reef. Their equipment is very simple but they are quite noisier than expected.   Their camp is just a small tent on the sand. They are working only with 12V DC from batteries and their power does not exceed the 500 watts. Their antenna system is very small also as you can see in the pictures.  In spite of all these they deliver good signals. In the same time between transmissions they catch fish to fresh up their meals!


I love their shack inside the little tent and their high tech illumination system, hi hi. By any means it is the more likable dxpedition of the year. Congratulations guys. This is a real ham spirit!

Photos taken from their site:

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Bearing 92 degrees

Update 23-03-20009: The European gang landed safely to SYD. Tomorrow they will fly to Lord Howe. Let show begin! (Photo taken from their blog)

VK9LAgang ………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

This is the sort path to VK9LA from my QTH. I am speaking about the Lord Howe expedition that will take off next week.This island looks like a dreamy paradise on earth.lhiview

Although I have this entity already confirmed, I will try to work them in any possible band. The expedition seems to be very well organized and it has a great interest for Greek hams because of the participation of Vicky (SV2KBS). We ballspyramidwish good luck to all. They will make happy lots of amateurs they will work them as a new one. Propagation is very low of course but I hope that the good equipment they have got with them, it will resolve this issue. For more info and news take a look to their blog from time to time ( There are not pictures published yet but I found those to Google earth.The Ball’s pyramid, a nearby islet, is a really nature monument, 562m steep high above the ocean. So meet you all in the pileups!!!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

ITX: the new standard for tiny PCs

Strong enough but tiny and flexible. This the description of the new trend in desktop PC. I was very tempted to see the result. I was always attracted to small configurations. That is why I got The EeePC of ASUS. But this is an other thing: to build a small PC all yourself choosing parts and put it together. Dennis (SV8RV) showed me the way. We discussed a lot and I made up my mind. I chose the well known tiny ITX mobo of INTEL D945GCLF2. This little thing has the ATOM 330 CPU (dual core) already installed and audio and graphics subsystems as well. Important: serial port, parallel port, 6 USB ports and 1GBit Ethernet are included.


For the case I found attractive the proposition of MOREX 3310. Take a look how nice it looks. And also quite practical. It needs only 13.8V to work. This a voltage that is very popular to hams. All power supplies have it and our cars also.


All the voltages are produced from the internal power supply. No fun need. The total power does not exceed the 50W.morex310b

You have to attach a HDD drive of 2.5 inches and a RAM of one GB you and the PC is ready to service. As operating system is better to prefer windows XP or LINUX because are light and reliable. You can even boot from a sick USB whatever operating system you want. The result is really a beauty. Especially if you need a dedicated PC for digital operation that will perform perfectly without claiming a lot of space on your desk. Have in mind that it also perfect for portable operations and its cost just 200$.

Here is the toy finished, which I can not hide, I am proud of. You look its back next to my microphone for realizing size. Admire the connectivity plurality.


Sunday, March 8, 2009

Illuminating meters

It is very common and it happens in every shack sooner or later: a meter gets dark unexpectedly. It is very annoying when it strikes. The good old ones lamps have a period of life. Unfortunately they can not work for ever. Usually their life is quite sorter than the equipment that the meter is embedded. No big deal you can say. Just change the bulb. It is obvious. We all do this from time to time. My friend Tasos (SV8YM) had an other idea instead: To use a bright LED in the place of a bulb. LEDs can give a cold light for many years without any sign of fatigue. But there is a small problem. Their light is focused because of the lens they have. You have to sand the led to eliminate this effect. You must destroy completely the lens and leave the LED with a rough surface in order to defuse more light. You must also add a resistor of 470 Ohm in order to reduce the voltage from 13.8V to what the LED usually  needs that is quite lower. DSC02705 The result is perfect and you have not to worry any more about it. Take a look. The upper meter is illuminated by a bulb and the lower by the LED!


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Hams never bore


I made 870 qso last weekend.This is a small score for such a big test as CQ WPX RTTY. Thousands of participants for all around the world. I met guys that gave me numbers more than 2000. Such big event is not just fun. It is an experience. Even with low propagation conditions I worked a long list of dx stations. Take a look: YN2S, P49X, ET3AA, NP3U, 6K5AQY, XW1B, D4C, 9M2MT, DV1JM, PZ5RA, HI3TEJ, FM5CD and FG1PP. In the end, just an hour before closing, I had a nice surprise. A long skip appeared in 80m that let work a few multies from NA and Caribbean.

In the meantime K5D is alive. A task finished, an other starts. ..and I said to myself what a wonderful world! We never bore.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

What a monster

The first month of 2009 had passed without significant deference in propagation. The sun remains still and sleepy. Recently I had the opportunity to check it during the EPC WW DX PSK125 party. Although there was a lot of traffic no dx stations appeared. I only worked ZL3RG, PZ5RA and WP3UX. Under these circumstances you can not compete Russians in this contest. and I do not have the antennas of CCF (Contest Club Finland)… Take a look and admire. Three elements in 160m and on the top five elements on 80m!pu4

And here OH2BH (Martti) next to the rotator of the monster.marti

Anyway even with low propagation conditions dx is present. We worked VP8YL’s successfully and we hopefully wait for K5D  tomorrow. And we have the CQ WPX RTTY CONTEST  this weekend. So fun is all around…

Friday, January 9, 2009

Chasing E44M and other dx


Just with the breaking of new year we found ourselves chasing DX. Year 2009 came without too many fireworks. There was no mood for celebration during the global economical crisis. Focusing in the ham community we had an other reason not being happy: A snoring sun in its third sleeping year. Nevertheless, even with low propagation, E44M opened the new year dxpedition series. Fortunately this activity takes place in our neighborhood and so even under big pileups, the job was not so difficult for us. Any way the operations are going to end soon, so I wish all the team good luck and safe return home. (pictures taken from E44m dxpedition forum).


But we have more: on January 17 VP8YL, a team of YL will be active from Falkland islands. This is a great event and as we have a Greek lady in the group, SV2KBS Victoria, it makes things even more interesting. I wish them a big success. Finally we have to mention the big event of activation of KP5 (Desecheo) on 12 of February. This is a major dxpedition with well known operators. No doubt it will attract a lot of attention as Desecheo entity is number 5 in the most wanted counties list of 2008. We are anxious to hear them on the air.

So sun willing the new year will make a very good start!