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Who's PA8W

 
Hello fellow Hams and ham radio listeners!
Welcome to my website.

You will probably have worked me if you visit this website, in that case I want to thank you very much for the contact.
On this website I want to show you a little about how I practice and enjoy hamming.

This particular page is meant to give you an impression about who I am and where and how I live.

About the photo on the right;
No, I am not a lucky b... who's operating old radios from a flying Lancaster bomber.
This photo was taken in the Imperial War Museum in Duxford England, where they have a lovely collection of old radio equipment.
In one corner, this copy of the Lancaster's radio room is available for taking a nice picture...

Biography:
I was born in 1957 in the Netherlands, and as soon as my parents let me hold the soldering iron, I was connecting batteries, lamps and switches.

A little later, I was building small cigarette-box FM-transmitters using the OC171, and building basic receivers, audio amplifiers etc.

Ok, I admit, things got out of hand later when I disrupted the reception of a live soccer game on television for my entire neighbourhood...
Ok, I didn't make friends testing my drive-in loudspeakers again and again in our garage, shaking the neighbours tools from his wallboard...

But:
I did manage to turn my hobby into my profession,
and:
I did turn my profession into my own specialized pro-audio company in 1994, making a decent living and enjoying every minute of it.

So mothers and fathers, don't despair if your son or daughter sometimes trips your mains fuse at home.
Just keep your flashlight within range and keep in mind that this son or daughter may one day fix your electric wheelchair or get your computer virus free and running again...

When I started hamming in 2009, my first goal was to make worldwide QSO's on HF in SSB.
Due to the small space available for antennas, I had to find small but effective antenna solutions and because of my professional interest in audio and intelligibility, I focused on optimizing my audio to make my station sound "big".

"Your power is in your Audio" is what was reported to me lots of times.
As a minimalist, I get great satisfaction out of tweaking and optimizing a basic setup.

QRV on 10m, 15m, 20m, 17m, 40m, and on 80m, I worked more than 100 DXCC entities and more than 35 North American states in my first 6 months of hamming in 2009, all in SSB. Not a bad result for 100W and small antennas I guess.

From 2012 on I focused on Radio Direction Finding technology.
Starting off with a classic design (Roanoke doppler) I discovered that it had some serious drawbacks.
So first I got rid of the primitive hard antenna commutation, improved the switched capacitor filter, redesigned the phase-comparator, doubled the pelorus resolution twice, added specific functions, etc.etc.

After that I turned to a microcontroller to further enhance performance and user interface.
RDF40, RDF41, RDF42 and RDF43 are the result, plus a very nice mapping program (RDFMapper)  written by my friend Jonathan Musther in New Zealand, to present the bearings of multiple stations on a single map for easy triangulation.

On the left picture some of the approx. 130 meteorological radiosondes I recovered testing my radio direction finders.
September 2020: Personally I did not participate in the Dutch National Balloonfoxhunt, but teams #1 and 3 used PA8W dopplers... 

September 9, 2018 : Winner of  the Dutch  National Balloonfoxhunt.
Teams # 2 and 3 also using PA8W design dopplers!

After participating in the Dutch annual Balloonfoxhunt for a few years, sometimes finishing as #3, this time me and my friend PA0TGA using the RDF40 and RDF42 doppler RDF's were the first team to get to the balloon transmitter.

With a fixed RDF42 at my home QTH and my good old RDF40 in the car, and RDF-Mapper running on a laptop to show both bearing lines plus our own position,
we were able to stay right underneath the ballon for most of the 3,5 hours long flight.

The initial challenge of this Balloonfoxhunt is to first pinpoint the secret launch spot.
Once that is secured, some track predictions give us an indication where to go to intercept the balloon.
In this case we drove up north to Apeldoorn, where we were a little behind, and we proceeded east following the balloon until we were right underneath.
This way we had to stop a few times to let the balloon pass by and so after quite some time we were a little over the German border waiting for the balloon to burst.
After the burst we had to speed up to 150kmh to stay close and managed to be at about 2km distance when we heard the transmitter land at the other side of a small river.
7 minutes later we were at the landing spot in the woods.
 
53 teams arrived there in total, over a time span of about an hour, which is the largest number since the Balloonfoxhunt started 40 years ago.

My appreciation and thanks go to the organizers of the Ballonfoxhunt,
to Jonathan Musther who wrote this magnificent RDF-Mapper for me,
to Patrick PD2PC who provided me a pretty good second bearing from Assen with the help of a friend,
and of course to Tonnie PA0TGA my team mate.

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