Amateur Radio

 

We have a summer house at a lake in the Rhein valley. When I have the opportunity to spend some time there, I usually setup a little portable station to operate mostly on 10m and 15m in SSB as well as on VHF/UHF in FM and SSB. From my station I have a nice view over the lake.

The pictures below show the house with the 3 antennas, which are presently installed:

  • a Diamond X5000: this is a tri-band 2m/70cm/23cm vertically polarized stacked omni-directional antenna.
  • VHF-Eggbeater antenna: this is an omni-directional antenna which is circularly polarized towards zenith (optimum for the reception of weather satellites at 137 MHz) and horizontally polarized in the direction of the horizon (optimum for 2m SSB).
  • a W-210 from WIMO:  this is a tri-band HF trap dipole for 10m/15m/20m. You can barely see the wire but only the 2 traps on each side of the dipole.

As you can see the horizontally polarized HF dipole is placed very close to the top off the roof. Usually you would expect that it needs to be mounted much higher, however as the house is made of wood the antenna still works nicely and when the 10m band is "open" very nice contacts all over Europe are possible. You can see in the reports further below on this page, so far most contacts on HF were with stations east of the summer house. I am not sure whether this is due to the fact that the lake is east of the house and therefore my antenna works best in that direction or simply that the general propagation conditions towards east were more favorable. Probably it is also true that more stations in the eastern part of Europe were active during those times. More trials have to check this.

To complement this portable station I usually bring my YAESU FT-726 transceiver from home, which covers the bands: 15m, 12m, 10m, 2m, 70cm. For reception of the other HF bands I use a YAESU FRG-7700 receiver. To receive the weather satellites on VHF I use an ICOM PCR-100 black-box receiver which is controlled by a laptop. The laptop also runs the software for decoding and visualizing the weather pictures.

Finally I am planning to setup an APRS beacon at the summer house, possibly together with a weather station.. Recently I acquired a second hand ICOM IC-T8A and already assembled an OpenTracker module. Stay tuned for the completion of this little project.

 



In the summer of 2006 I operated the /p station during a short opening of the 10m band on August 9th. With only 10 Watt output power I could talk to stations from 24 different countries. Please see the table below as well as the maps with the contacts:
9A                     Croatia
DA-DL             Fed. Rep. of Germany
EA-EH              Spain
EU, EV, EW     Belarus
F                       France
G, GX               England
GM, GS           Scotland
HA, HG            Hungary
I                        Italy
LA-LN             Norway
LZ                    Bulgaria
OE                   Austria
OF-OI              Finland
OK-OL            Czech Republic
OZ                    Denmark
S5                     Slovenia
SA-SM            Sweden
SN-SR             Poland
SV-SZ              Greece
UA-UI1,3,4,6   European Russia
UR-UZ, EM-EO  Ukraine
YL                    Latvia
YO-YR            Romania
YT-YU, YZ       Serbia & Montenegro


Also in August of 2007 I operated the /p station during another opening of the 10m band. Luckily the opening just happened when we had 5 days of bad weather and thus it was a fun way to make use of the time. During the winter before I had refurbished a surplus 11m band power amplifier which allowed me to use this time 50 Watt output power. Between August 4th and 9th I worked more than 50 stations from 24 different countries. Please see the table below as well as the maps with the contacts:
9A                     Croatia
DA-DL             Fed. Rep. of Germany
EA-EH              Spain
ER                    Moldovia
EU, EV, EW     Belarus
F                       France
G, GX              England
HA, HG           Hungary
I                        Italy
LA-LN             Norway
LY                    Lithuania
LZ                    Bulgaria
OF-OI              Finland
OH0                 Aland Is.
OM                  Slovak Republic
OZ                    Denmark
SA-SM             Sweden
SN-SR             Poland
T9                    Bosnia-Herzegovina
UA-UI1,3,4,6   European Russia
UA2                 Kaliningrad
UR-UZ, EM-EO  Ukraine
YL                    Latvia
YO-YR             Romania


In September 2007 I operated the /p station during a 2m contest. I used the 2m Eggbeater omnidirectional antenna which is horizontally polarized. I worked 57 stations from 25 different squares (see the picture below). The greatest distance bridged was to a station in UK which was 584km away. I worked stations from the following 10 different countries:
DA-DL         Fed. Rep. of Germany
F                   France
G, GX           England
HB                Switzerland
LX                 Luxembourg
OE                 Austria
OK-OL          Czech Republic
ON-OT         Belgium
PA-PI            Netherlands
SN-SR           Poland


As you can see in the picture to the left our summerhouse is located in the centre of the Rhein valley. As the valley is flat I can reach quite a number of repeaters mostly on 2m and 70cm band. If you want to contact me via one of the repeaters, chances are best to reach me on 2m via DB0ZH, DB0VD or DB0XK. On 70cm band I am sometimes monitoring DB0ND, DB0UU, DB0MA, DB0RO or DB0NP. On 23cm band I can only reach a single repeater which is DB0RO.


10m FM repeaters
 

Channel No.

Output / Input QRG
in MHz

QTH

Call sign

QRA
locator

QRB / distance

KW2

A29.670/E29.570

Feldberg/Taunus

DB0FT

JO40FF

93 km

KW4

A29.690/E29.590

Ludwigsburg

DF0LBG

JN48OV

78 km

 
2m FM repeaters
 

Channel No.

Output / Input QRG
in MHz

QTH

Call sign

QRA locator

QRB / distance

RV48

A145.600/E145.000

Feldberg/Taunus

DB0FT

JO40FF

93 km

RV49

A145.61250/E145.0125

Valsberg/Strasbourg

F5ZAU

JN38OI

148 km

RV50

A145.625/E145.025

Heidelberg

DB0ZH

JN49IJ

18 km

RV52

A145.650/E145.050

Pforzheim

DB0UP

JN48IV

59 km

RV52

A145.650/E145.050

Pirmasens

DB0VP

JN39TE

65 km

RV53

A145.6625/E145.0625

Darmstadt/Melibokus

DB0VD

JN49HR

39 km

RV54

A145.650/E145.050

Karlsruhe

DB0UK

JN48EX

47 km

RV55

A145.6875/E145.0875

Hohe Brach

DB0PE

JN49SB

87 km

RV56

A145.700/E145.100

Kalmit

DB0XK

JN49BH

26 km

RV58

A145.725/E145.125

Wissembourg

F5ZCO

JN39WA

59 km

RV60

A145.750/E145.150

Frankfurt/Main FMT

DB0HTV

JO40HD

84 km

RV62

A145.775/E145.175

Böllstein

DB0VB

JN49LR

52 km

RV63

A145.7875/E145.1875

Hoherodskopf

DB0HK

JO40OM

126 km

 
70cm FM repeaters
 

Channel No.

Output / Input QRG in MHz

QTH

Call sign

QRA locator

QRB / distance

RU690

A438.625/E431.025

Feldberg/Taunus

DB0FT

JO40FF

93 km

RU692

A438.650/E431.050

Heilbronn

DB0SS

JN49OD

61 km

RU694

A438.675/E431.075

Bruchsal

DB0RB

JN49HC

35 km

RU698

A438.725/E431.125

Donnersberg

DB0ND

JN39VP

56 km

RU700

A438.750/E431.150

Feldberg/Taunus

DB0FT

JO40FF

93 km

RU702

A438.775/E431.175

Ortenau/Renchtal

DB0ORT

JN48BN

96 km

RU702

A438.775/E431.175

Idstein/Taunus

DB0IDS

JO40DF

93 km

RU704

A438.800/E431.200

Darmstadt/Melibokus

DB0UU

JN49HR

39 km

RU710

A438.875/E431.275

Karlsbad/Ittersbach

DB0XQ

JN48HV

57 km

RU716

A438.950/E431.350

Karlsruhe

DB0UX

JN48EX

47 km

RU717

A438.9625/E431.3625

Hambach/Maxburg

DO0ACR

JN49BH

26 km

RU718

A438.975/E431.375

GrossUmstadt

DB0IO

JN49LU

62 km

RU720

A439.000/E431.400

Leistadt/Bad Dürkh.

DB0NIX

JN49BL

26 km

RU722

A439.025/E431.425

Mannheim

DB0MA

JN49GL

11 km

RU730

A439.125/E431.525

Landau

DB0RO

JN49AF

35 km

RU732

A439.150/E431.550

Sinsheim

DB0NP

JN49KF

35 km

RU735

A439.1875/E431.5875

Langenbrand

DB0LAB

JN48HT

66 km

RU746

A439.325/E431.725

Wiesb./Hohe Wurzel

DB0VA

JO40BC

82 km

 
70cm DSTAR repeater
 

Channel No.

Output / Input QRG in MHz

QTH

Call sign

QRA locator

QRB / distance

RU756

A439.450/E431.850

Feldberg/Taunus

DB0HRF

JO40FF

93 km


23cm FM repeater
 

Channel No.

Output / Input QRG in MHz

QTH

Call sign

QRA locator

QRB / distance

RS25

A1298.625/E1270.625

Landau

DB0RO

JN49AF

35 km


At my /p QTH (portable location) I frequently use my little SAMS (Short Amateur Message System) pager to monitor the activities on the HF bands as well as via the satellites. SAMS is an Amateur Radio service which is basedon the POGSAC (Post Office Code Standarization Advisory Group) standard and just as all Amateur Radio services it is free of charge. It transmits short numeric as well as alphanumeric messages with a data-rate of 1200bd using FFSK modulation (Fast Frequency Shift Keying) with a maximum deviation of  4 kHz. A standard pager (in German: Funkruf Empfänger) needs only small modifications to be used for SAMS. The change consists of the replacement a few components and of a re-tuning to 439.9875 MHz, which is the unified frequency for all SAMS transmissions in Germany. After registering your unique device ID in the SAMS network you can configure your SAMS to determine, which message types you want to receive. The SAMS network is synchronized and uses as a backbone the Packet Radio network of the Radio Amateurs. Other ham radio amateurs can also send me personal messages to my SAMS pager either through the packet radio network or an Internet-to-Packet Radio-Gateways like DB0BI in Bielefeld or DB0FHN in Nürnberg. Fortunately I have a good coverage with 3 SAMS transmitters close. These are DB0CPU in Mannheim (JN49FL), DB0FLX in Darmstadt (JN49HV) and DB0IE in Karlsruhe (JN49EA).


Sometimes I am also operating an ultra small ATV station here on the lake. It is a modified remote controlled toy. Together with my daughter, who is the captain of this boat, we added a small colour camera and FM ATV transmitter to the fire-boat. It is fun to watch the live view from the boat just like sitting in it. We can watch it on the screen of a laptop placed on the lake-front while chasing "the ducks" on the lake.

If you click on the icon on the right you can see a video, which was taken during the first trials. The boat transmits the video signal in the 23cm Ham Radio band and the corresponding receiver delivers a composite video signal output. This analog signal is converted to digital by a USB frame grabber module and then displayed and stored on the laptop. Please note that the download of the video file may take a moment as it is 1.5 MByte large. A fast internet connection certainly helps here.

In summer 2010 I restored an old sailing boat which I had inherited from my father. Interestingly it was built by him in the year when I was born and thus meanwhile is 46 years old. It is completely built from wood and based on a kit from Graupner called Gracia. If you click on the picture to the left you will download a description with more pictures which includes also the original documents used to build this beautiful boat.


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