|DJ2PJ - The Station|
DJ2PJ's shack, some 5 x 5 metres in size, is located in the basement of a house, built in 1972 on a small piece of land 28 metres long and 18 metres wide. The building lies in a densely populated residential area. The location is in no way a place for optimal or even near-optimal DXing.
The station concept reflects the operator's conviction that amateur radio, while being a technical-communicative hobby, should always be treated as a two-legged pet: one leg being experimentation (new radio modes, new operating and technical concepts...), the other one competition (DX, contests...). Should one of these parameters be missing, amateur radio would run the risk of dissolving in the abundance of other attractive communicative applications which our modern world readily offers (PC, Internet, smartphones, tablets...). This means that, at least partially, an amateur radio station should always be in a process of change (on the basis of experimentation and optimisation) and never be seen as something static or final.
On shortwave, the following radio modes are covered: radio telegraphy (CW), radio telephony (SSB), radio teletyping (RTTY), slow-scan television (SSTV), Hellschreiben, the different phase-shift keying modes (PSK), mainly PSK31, PSK63, PSK125 and SIM PSK, most of the multi-frequency-shift keying modes (MFSK, WSJT, WSPR, and PSKReporter. For principal reasons I do NOT use FT8, FT4 etc anymore. DJ2PJ routinely tries out new digimodes whenever they come into existence. In 2019, CW has been the mode most frequently operated, followed by RTTY and SSB. All other modes play a subordinate role in daily radio life, but are practised regularly.
For some of the above-mentioned modes, great attention is directed to working DX, i.e. contacting stations in far-away countries and territories. Ragchew contacts are nevertheless very much and always welcome.
The picture below shows the complete station:
Working position A consists of a YAESU FT-1000MP Mark-V and a veteran YAESU FT-1000D transceiver, each one delivering a power output of about 200 watts. The Mark-V is preferably used for CW, the digimodes, FSK-RTTY, and SSTV in connection with a microHAM microKEYER II (which operates an external sound card and the WinKeyer by K1EL, completed by a KENT twin-paddle). The FT-1000D (equipped with all available filters) is the working horse for mainly SSB and in some cases (e. g. contests) also CW. As the CW output of the microKEYER II has been made switchable, it can be used for both transceivers. New filters (500 and 250 Hz) for the second and third IF had been installed to make the FT-1000MP Mark V more selective and, thus, more efficient for DJ2PJ's most-frequented modes CW and RTTY.
Working position B provides an ICOM IC-746, which, in addition to the shortwave bands, also covers 50 and 144 MHz, and a KENWOOD TS-60 all-mode 50-MHz transceiver (only used on DXpeditions). CW and FSK-RTTY is realised by another microHAM microKEYER II.
Working position B serves the purpose of acting as the platform for QSOs on 144 MHz and, maybe later, also on 50 MHz.
As adequate switching for the PTT and ALC lines is provided, each of the three shortwave transceivers can have its RF-power amplified by a single-valve (3CX1200A7) AMERITRON AL-1200 linear, set to deliver some 600 watts output in CW and SSB or 400 watts in RTTY, while a driving power of less than 20 watts is applied. The linear amplifier is fired up, however, for less than 1% of contacts made. As for the digimodes, the power rarely exceeds 50 watts. It belongs to the station philosophy of DJ2PJ to never use any excessive power, except in extraordinary pile-up situations and the like. In the great majority of cases, the RF-signal is fed through the amplifier ("barefoot operation") and makes its way to, mostly through, a MFJ-989C Versa Tuner V which also serves as antenna selector and dummy load. Its antenna tuning facilities are only made use of should the standing-wave ratio (SWR) become critical (band edges and the like).
Antennas.DJ2PJ normally makes use of a rotable MOSLEY CL-33M with three relatively wide-spaced trapped elements for 20, 15, and 10 metres.
The CL-33M (see right picture below), with its fairly good broadband characteristics, good front-to-back (F/B) ratio, and a friendly SWR throughout all three frequency bands, has found its place on a mast which rests in a special steel construction fastened to the roof truss of the house (thanks to DJ3WJ for this construction). The mast can be lowered by means of a pulley block until it stands in the first floor of the house. This makes servicing antennas on top of the mast relatively easy. The mast is secured by four strong nylon ropes.
Antenna rotation is accomplished by a CREATE RC5A-3 rotator which is equipped with a worm drive, a very robust and "silent" device (a necessity for nocturnal DX-work...).
Height above ground of the CL-33M is a little more than 13 metres. There seems to be no influence by metal house installations etc, also no RF in shack. The CL-33M is a very efficient DX-antenna, even in comparison with the wonderful KT34XA and DJ2UT-yagis I had been using over more than fifteen years.
A TONNA 17-element longyagi installed above the CL-33-M yagi very efficiently covers 144 MHz . Activity on 2 metres is focused on Sporadic-E and Aurora. Only on rare occasions tropospheric contacts are made.
PCs and Software
Today's amateur radio with its high technical and logistical demands is unimaginable without computers and programs. In working position A an AMD Athlon2 X3 455 (3x3.3 GHZ) (4096 MB DDR3 RAM, 500 GB HDD) PC is in use. A microKEYER II and its Urouter programme create five virtual COM ports delivering and receiving all necessary signals for communicating in the different modes, including the constant stream of radio-command signals for displaying and controlling transceiver status. The PC still works on the basis of Windows XP Professional.
At present the following communication software (always newest versions) is in use (working position A):
Other (utility) software generally used at DJ2PJ:
A word on logging. DJ2PJ has made more than 120,000 contacts since 1954, the majority of which documented in paper logs, supported by a very safe but somehow tiring retrieval system. Even though, it was contrary to reason to subsequently type all these contacts into a computer database (which would take many months). That's why DJ2PJ still notes down his QSOs on a (individually designed) paper log, although, since 2006, he is additionally (!) using electronic logging with the very nice and simple XMLog logging program by W1ECT (see above).
My thanks to Club Log. I had finally brought myself to convert my pre-2000 paper logs (e. g. 1955-1999) to the electronic ADIF format, at least as far DX and other "system-relevant" contacts were concerned, and to join Club Log for uploading the complete log. One of the most positive experience I made in amateur radio during the last few years!
|Initially published: 2005|
Last revision: 6th February 2020
©2017 by Hans-Dieter Teichmann