D-Star near Lac de Annecy

A D-Star experience while on holiday.

This summer I have spend my holidays in the French Alps at Lake Annecy. We had parked the family on the south border of the lake and where surrounded by mountains.


Grotere kaart weergeven

On the way to the final destination, we could already use the D-Star repeater HB9IAC on 145.7625 MHz.

With my ICOM IC-E880D transceiver securely mounted in the car, a qso could be made with PI1DSA, the D-Star repeater in Amersfoort (Netherlands)

But…

This D-Star repeater had no possibility to connect using the D Plus network functions. So linking to PI1DSA by using PI1DSABL in the UR field did not work. We needed to use the original and standard D-Star routing functions. Thus in stead of linking to a Reflector (like REF017 A) we needed to put a stations call in the UR field or /repeater.

And so we did. By placing UR:PA0ETE, R1:HB9IAC C, R2:HB9IAC G, MY:PA3ANG in the field the D-Star routing function will find PA0ETE as last heard on PI1DSA B and thus routes my signal to PI1DSA B in Amersfoort. Guess what… John aswered my call and we had a solid QSO!

The great advantage of the E880 as new generation D-Star equipment, most of these fields, so not all, can be loaded automatically by just pressing some buttons. You can program the E880 (using internet and a pc) with all known D-Star repeaters and very simple select a destination repeater.

HB9IAC C is located on a mountain top near Geneva.

  • Callsign: HB9IAC C
  • City: La Barillette
  • State: Lake of Geneva
  • Country: Switzerland
  • Website: http://www.iapc.ch
  • Gateway Enabled: YES
  • DSTAR Monitor Enabled: YES
  • Frequency Information:
    2 Meters: 145.76250MHz -0.600

During my stay in the French Alps, a JARL organised D-Star contest was held. I worked apart from local Swiss (HB9) people also radio amateurs from the US, Japan, France the UK and of course some folks from the Netherlands. It was possible to reach the repeater troughout the French Alps all the way to the Mont Blanc. Making D-Star QSO’s on more then 2000 meters ASL was great fun I must say. And remember with CD quality modulation.

For more D-Star related information goto:
www.d-star.nl, www.dstarvlaanderen.be or www.dstarinfo.com.

Elecraft KX1 – extreme portable qrv on Curacao Island.

Introduction

The Elecraft KX1 is an extreme versatile, ultra-light and powerfull HAM Radio transceiver. I took it with me during a short holiday to the Netherlands Antilles in March 2008. The KX1 has an onboard antenna tuner and with the transceiver you can transmit CW with the bulid in keyer. My KX1 is configured to work on the 40, 30 and 20 meter amateur bands. Apart from transmitting, you can also listen to phone amateur radio station and even broadcast station on frequency bands close the configured HAM bands. For more information surf to Elecrafts website.

Carrying the rig around

For transportation of the rig and the additional equipment and accessories such as antennas, spare batteries and earphones, I bought a photo camara case at my local photography shop. This bag can easily carry all stuff needed to take the KX1 with you while hicking, bicking or riding and you can even take it has hand luggage on the plane! Included in the case are:

  • KX1.
  • Paddle.
  • Earphones.
  • 8 Lithium cells AA, 1.5Volt. (spare)
  • 2 Antennas (7m = 23ft of wire on reel).
  • BNC to banana adapter.
  • BNC 50 ohm terminator.
  • KX1 reference card.
  • The 2 wire antennas can be used in a dipole configuration connected to the KX1 using the BNC-banana adapter. The 50 ohm terminator is usefull to adjust the KX1 internal tuner before tuning the Buddistick.

    In the pictures below you can see how everything fits in the bag. Click on the pictures to enlarge.


    Accessories in the front.

    KX1 in main compartment.

    Including a VX2 porto.

    And the paddle in a bag.

    It is even possible to store my Yaesu VX2 handy in the same bag. In that case I will also put some small V/UHF antennas in the pouch.

    PJ2/PA3ANG

    The intention to go to Curacao was not to activite this Island or to start a big DX pile-up. I was only QRV for some limited periods of time and used not the wire antennas but a Buddistick in stead. Here you can see the setup and even the OM while being on the air.


    Buddistick
    facing the ocean .

    Setup with KX1.

    Logging using a Palm T|X
    and pen + paper.

    PJ2/PA3ANG.

    The log

    I made in total 12 QSO´s in CW and mostly on 20 meters. In the log are:
    W1AEC, VC3E, TI8/DL4MO, 8R1AD, KA3ARF, V25OP, K8CW, K0RU/M, EA5/UT2X, HK4CZE, OM4MF and VP5/W5SL.
    The last two are on 40 Meters.

    In fact I should have used the callsign PJ2/PA3ANG/P/qrp as I was running only 2 watt RF on battery power.