Newsletter Interview Questions
AJ8B: How did you first get interested in amateur radio?
As teenager I got a new friend and he used CB radio. Quickly I was interested in the use of antennas and the possibilities for contacts over a greater distance to our neighbor town 30km away. I was a bit fascinated of the electronics and within a year I had built power supply and got a “big” antenna on my roof. Now I talked with friends in most of Denmark and participated in local club with foxhunting and other radio activities alike. The year was 1972 and I was 18 year old.
1973 was the year when I joined the army and I was lucky to be picked for the Jutland Telegraph regiment. Here I was found ready for learning the Morse code and be a radio operator. The first 3 month it was only classroom training in Morse code and, of course the other military things. Then, the first time I get to listen in a HF radio, I was completely sold. It was a very whole new world for me to explore and every time I had a chance I turned on the radio. One of the other soldiers was a radio amateur with his own OZ call sign and he told me that it was possible to make this wonderful thing from my own home.
1974 I started the technical training and in 1975 I went to the final Test at the “Danish Post & Telegraph Service” (Now Danish Energy Agency). I got my C-License with medium technical skill and Morse at 60 wpm.
My HAM Radio career has started.
AJ8B: When did you get on the air?
My residential was in an old house on the top 3rd floor in the middle of Haderslev. The owner of the residential was a nice and friendly man and so were the neighbors, so I got permission to put up a W3DZZ dipole antenna. And I bought my first radio station with CW in mind. It was a Ten-Tec Argonaut 509 and I loved that radio from the very start. Both the receiver and transmitter did a really superb job and I especially was happy with the silent QSK. That fantastic pin-diode QSK was my reason to buy exactly that radio and I still own a Ten-Tec with super QSK but now its name is Eagle.
My very first QSO was December 19th at 12:30 UTC. 80m band was used and I had contact with DM4ZEB in former Eastern Germany. 30 minutes later I got in contact with SP1GPI in Poland.
My debut on the radio waves had happened!
AJ8B: Do you have a favorite band or mode?
Do I have a favorite mode – sure – I only have one mode: CW.
About favorite band I cannot tell. I only work on the HF bands and they often are so different in depth and width of the sound that they all can give me surprises. Some days the 40m is flat and there are no signals that can make a sound, only noise. Other days it is like an adventure giving me ZL with good signals and a completely big room with more clear signals around without interfering. Although I do have roofing filters, I seldom use them sharper than 450 Hz.
I think I had the greatest band-experience in 2012 when I was active from Greenland as XP2I. Early in the morning September the 14th I had some nice openings on 160m band inside the Aurora belt. I managed to work both EU and NA stations with band closing about every 10 mins for about 5 mins. In November I was back and made some more QSO’s on 160m. My distance record was the contact with EY8MM Nodir in Dushanbe, Tajikistan more than 7200 kilometers away.
AJ8B: In reviewing your QRZ.com page, I see that you have been very successful using CW and in contests. Any secrets to your success?
Here you see my two “secrets”: rhythm and endurance.
That is my keywords and I think that a contest QSO is all about rhythm – nothing more. It’s nearly like working DX where you are just one of hundreds in a pileup. In DX-ing the keywords are rhythm and frequency. In contest you only have rhythm.
Endurance is what I use in the middle of the night when the QSO rate is not measurable, the sleep is pressing and the excuses for a break are many. In these long boring night-hours I sometimes go crazy and increase the Morse speed more and more until reaching my personal maximum speed with my paddle. Sometimes that is spreading some wake-up waves and more stations come in with fast speed. I get instantly awake and happy when a new multiplier suddenly comes out of the loudspeaker – so to say – out of the blue. That is worth waiting for.
AJ8B: What license levels do you have in Denmark and what do you hold?
In Denmark we have only three levels of license nowadays. A, B and D.
The D license is for VHF/UHF only and power limit is 50 Watt. No technical skills and no home build radios on the frequencies.
The B license is for All bands and power limit is 100 Watt. Limited technical skills test.
The A license is for all bands and power limit 1000 Watt. Extended technical skills test. CEPT.
I am holding the A license including the CEPT.
AJ8B: Describe what you are currently using at your home station:
I am living in an apartment in the middle of the old town with many restrictions for the buildings. So I do not have any chance to put up antenna here where I live. Another place in town, at my family, I have put up a simple 21 meter long wire attached to a 12 meter fiberglass mast and mounted as Inverted-L. An UNUN 9:1 is placed at the bottom feed point and I use it for all bands 160-10m with varying success.
In 2011 I started again with amateur radio and I bought a Ten-Tec Eagle. Also I had a great experience with Ten-Tec and I loved the little radio. In 2012 I gave myself another radio for Christmas, a 4 year old Elecraft K3. It was a jump up in quality and still the K3 is THE #1 radio for me.
AJ8B: When I first worked you, you were on a DXPedition to Cape Verde, D44EE. How/why did you choose D4?
I am very interested in traveling and have always liked to explore other territories. Nowadays we all are so privileged to have the possibility for travelling all over the world and these possibilities I use as often as possible.
When traveling with radio I mostly travel alone. It’s cheaper, it’s easier and it’s more challenging.
In 2015 I wanted to seriously participate in the ARRL Int. DX Contest. So I looked for an exotic place like Azores islands, Canary islands and Madeira. After a lot of e-mail contacts to OH I EA CT amateurs, I found out the islands were all occupied with no places left for me. Cape Verde came to my mind and the D4C station is famous. I wrote to many different contacts on the islands and one of them told me to try contact Angelo D44BS who live in Praia, the Capital of Cape Verde.
Angelo was kindly inviting me to use his station for the contest and I prepared the journey with train, flight and hotel. Angelo is a well-known radio amateur in Cape Verde for many years and is holding the D44BS call sign together with the D4CBS and D4A. Angelo is the beholder of the CQ 5-Band WAZ Award #1.
It turned out to be one of the most enjoyable and exciting tours and the contest score gave me 8th place in the world for DX stations (Lo Power All Band). I was using my Elecraft K3 100 Watt together with Angelo’s 2elm 40m beam plus 3 elm 20-15-10m and 80m dipole.
AJ8B: Had you been on other DXPeditions? If so, how does D4 compare?
XP2I – Greenland five times 2012 and 2013 – CQ WPX, SAC, LZ DX, CQ WW
ZF2EE – Cayman Islands two times – 2014 and 2015 – CQ WW and WAEDC
9H3EE – Malta two times – 2015 and 2018 – CQ WW and CQ WPX
ZA/OU2I – Albania two times – 2015 and 2017 – CQ WPX and CQ WPX
IT/OU2I – Sicily one time – 2014
D44EE – Cape Verde two times – 2015 and 2018 – ARRL DX and ARRL DX
I cannot tell which one was best, but I can tell that Sicily (IT) was no good because I had no good antenna. And also Malta (9H) was a sad experience because the stormy weather on broke my fiberglass mast more times and I had an unusual high noise level so I could not hear stations calling me. Especially US stations were very disappointed because they could hear me but I did only hear noise.
D4 is very good for radio and the noise level in the middle of the capital was no problem. I had nearly constant pileup from US and that is where I really feel the Flow.
AJ8B: Where there any challenges to the D4 DXpedtion?
Because I visited Angelo and Zizi, and were using their shack and antennas, I had no problems whatsoever regarding operation. License was easy to get and I got an “EE” call sign that I like best.
Bringing my Elecraft radio didn’t give me any troubles in the customs area and the hotel where I slept was small and cozy at a good price.
AJ8B: What equipment do you prefer when you are on a DXPedition?
I do prefer my Elecraft K3 with my Palm Radio paddle at the bottom and my Lenovo Thinkpad computer with UcxLog program. I can have it all in my suitcase, which I do not have as hand luggage, and only two places (Cayman Islands and Albania) wanted me to open the luggage and explain what it was.
In Malta and Albania I brought my own antenna. It is a 10 meter mini fiberglass mast from www.DX-Wire.de in Germany, only 67 cm long so it just fits in my big luggage. Only in Albania it has done a good job.
On Cayman Island I rent a condo with antenna the first time and next time I had an appointment with Andrew and was invited to use the ZF1A club station antennas.
In Greenland I was using my Ten-Tec Eagle and I was welcomed by Jesper OX3KQ, also a huge contester. He helped me getting to the clubhouse placed in the mountains and showed me all the antennas and how to heat the small shack. It was very comfortable and with great hospitality.
In Praia at D44BS I brought my Elecraft and used Angelo’s antennas.
AJ8B: Do you have any DXPeditions planned in the future?
Surely I am returning to Albania. It has been two nice experiences in the WPX contest. I got a plaque in 2015 for the CQ WPX World Winner – Contest Expedition. And I got two good friends in Tirana, ZF1F Fatos and ZF1U Edmond. Also I have met OH2TA and OH2BH in Albania building a new radio station for contest use.
And hopefully I will visit Angelo and Zizi again for ARRL DX Contest. In 2015 I was #8 DX and #3 AF. In 2018 I was #6 DX and #2 AF. Next time I will do better ;o)
AJ8B: What advice do you have for those of us trying to break pileups to work DX?
Rhythm, rhythm and rhythm. If you have difficulties getting in contact you need to listen.
Do the operator use a fixed scheme for the receive frequency and can you figure that out. Does he sweep up or down the pileup? Some time it is best to stay on the same TX frequency and other times you have to try following his receiver.
With “Rhythm” I mean your rhythm relative to the DX. It is essential to start your transmission at just the right moment – the moment the DX start listening.
When I’m at the narrow end of a pileup, my senses are very sharp. When I have sent TU my brain changes to reception and I often get caught by the call sign that starts right now. However, one (or many) powerful stations may come in and press the original signal and sometimes I have to change the concentration to another call sign that I can capture.
Here you may listen to a pileup I tried to serve – I call EU. http://www.oz1bii.dk/dx-d44ee.htm
AJ8B: Any QSLing hints?
I prefer LoTW and then eQSL. If you need paper QSL, ordering via OQRS is the preferred way for me.
I upload all logs to LoTW, eQSL and ClubLog and it will be done as soon as possible after my return home.
Direct QSL cards can be sent, but in Denmark we have almost switched to exclusively digital mail and that’s why letters are very expensive to send. A normal letter abroad costs 5 USD.
I am grateful for donations via my webpage, but there are no requirements at all.
AJ8B: What coaching/advice would you give new amateurs?
If you find the airwaves exciting then GO FOR IT.
There is no short way to learn Morse code, but you will get thousand fold back the energy you lay in training. It’s all worth it.
I was lucky to join the telegraph troops when I was serving in the Danish army and in that way I got some very professional training in both radio skills and Morse code. But for most pre-radio amateurs the greatest success will come in a local club where you may get an Elmer with the same interests as you. He is the one who can give you the biggest step towards The World’s Best Hobby.
Listen to a HF radio and do feel the Magic.
Participate in a HF Contest and do feel the “Flow”.
(PS. Flow – as explained in a great article by Brooke Allen, N2BA – https://brookeallen.com/ )
AJ8B: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything you would like to share with us?
Thanks for reading my story. Hopefully we do meet on the airwaves.
Vy 73 de OZ2i