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Hi, nice to have you over on my website! As you can guess from the title above, this site is all about amateur radio! (well... mostly)

On this first page I'll try to do some blogging now and then.

13 july 2009

Microjunk does it again...

After installing the update from Internet Explorer 7 to IE 8 Microsoft again made the default email client Outlook instead of Thunderbird. Although this happened in the past, this time it wasn't as easy to solve as before.
This time everything seemed to work fine except when right-clicking a file and selecting 'Send to Email receiver'. On one of my machines XP kept opening the email window in Outlook, on the other machine I got a window stating there was no standard email client found.

I found the solution here: www.vistatips.com

In short this is the solution:

    Thunderbird must be selected as the default for mail in three (3) places:

    1. Control Panel | Add/Remove Programs | Set Program Access and Defaults
    2. IE Tools | Internet Options | Programs | E-mail
    3. In Tbird itself (e.g., Tools | Options | General)

Number 1 was clearly the solution for both machines this time...

Thanks again Micro$oft...

PS I suppose the problem is the same on Vista as on XP machines, I only use XP pro.

Before some of you smart guys send me any static about wanting to stay with Microjunk instead of Linux, my business runs on software developed on the Windows platform and that is not so easy to change, sorry.

06 july 2009

"You see, wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand this? And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat." Albert Einstein

30 june 2009


forgot to mention it yesterday, soon we'll activate the Minkies Reef, eu099. Keep an eye on www.eu099.be

29 june 2009

Back on the air soon?

logo ham radio FriedrichshafenLast weekend Jan ON4KB, Luc ON7KZ, Andy ON7TS and me went to the hamradio in Friedrichshafen (16th time in a row for me). The fair was a little disappointing, no real new things to see this time (apart from a 44m €28000 tower from Japan...). Moreover it seems there will soon only be a couple of companies left in Germany to sell hamradio gear.
The most positive thing is however that this time (for the first time in many years) we received a warm welcome at the UBA booth. Could it be this depends on the people being at the booth at the moment we arrived?

Next year the fair will be from june 23 till 26. Probably we'll be there again.

The most important thing is however that, still not being on the air from my own shack (or from the car I bought last year), the virus hit me again during the trip. I'll try to get my antenna's up on the tower (HF) and probably the mobile rig in the car (VHF/UHF) in a few weeks!

I'll keep you posted!

13 may 2009

Back or not?

Hi, I just noticed it's almost 2 years ago I wrote something on here... this site was the result of something that started as a joke between ONL Bart, Jan ON4KB and me.
After a while some of us got tired of updating our sites and when Jan stopped his site I had so many links to update that I got discouraged. Most of these faulty links are still on this site and if I ever find the time I'll correct/remove them one by one.

Speaking of time, the K2 I worked on so frequently is nog gathering dust since about 2 years (the main unit is finished and working, the SSB module is halfway built).

In these 2 years the relationship with my girlfriend grew stronger and stronger (life changes...) and I also took up sporting more and more. (Have a look at the picture, yes I bought a new bike and I still need to lose some weight)

This combined with the company I try to run gives me less and less time for ham radio.

But don't worry, I'll be back! Together with some other Ham's we are working on a DXpedition to a rare IOTA island planned for the first half of next year!
10 september 2007

Soon 2 new DXCC entities!

Will there soon be two (or even three) new DXCC entities? According to The Economist there might...

It's now exactly 3 months since our last elections in Belgium and we still have no government. Correction, we have no Belgian government. But don't worry, we still have a Flemish, a Walloon and a Brussels government. So, we have no lack of politicians :-)
Biggest problem to form a new federal government seems to be the disagreements between the Flemish and the Walloon politicians.

Life for the rest of us, seems to go on even without a federal government. It seems even better to me for the moment. As long as they don't agree about this new government they at least don't make any new laws or invent any new taxes :-)

Just wondering what our new prefix will be?
28 june 2007
It's all over again...

Last weekend I visited the Ham-Radio in Friedrichshafen for the 14th year in a row.

I can still remember the first time I went there in 1994 (time flies...) when I was a very 'new' radioamateur. Things were quite different back then, the 'weirdo' level was higher, with some people really dressed as HAMs, wearing (military) transceivers on their backs or hard hats with an antenna. Almost noone would dare to come into the 'Messe' if he/she wasn't proudly wearing his callsign(s) somewhere on his hat or clothing. The parking lot was an assembly of porcupines, every car had at least 2 antennas, the bigger the better. At night you couldn't find a free frequency on any repeater anywhere around Friedrichshafen. Kenwood, Yaesu and some others were competing to have the biggest booth and to present at least one new world class rig (see also Death of a Radio Company). Wimo was already there but didn't have a booth 1/3 the size of the hall. (Wimo keeps growing and taking over the smaller companies, and whether this is always good for us the customers is another question...).

Does this mean we were disappointed in this Ham-Radio? No, of course not, we (ON4KB, ON5HC, ON7KZ and I) had lots of fun and we met a lot of old friends and acquaintances. One of them was Sean EI4GK with whom I was at Little Saltee (EU103) in 2004. Sean is one of the Officers of the Irish Radio Transmitters Society which had a booth at the Ham-Radio for the first time. We missed Lulu and Ingvar from Sweden this time though...

Some things haven't changed over the years though... It has happened several times in those 14 years and again the welcome at the UBA-booth was disappointing... This seems to depend on the people who are at the booth at the moment we arrive. We don't want any hugs or kisses and we don't even want any free drinks but hey guys, when we approach the booth of OUR association, you could at least say hello to us.

As I have written here before I have gotten into building kits since last year and my main goal for this rally was to try and find one or more new kits to purchase. But it seems that noone is building those anymore, I did not find one kit (for HF) on the whole rally... I guess I'll have to look for some new toys via the internet again.

This was the cheapest Friedrichshafen in my HAM-carreer, as I didn't really find what I wanted I couldn't spend the budget I had. (In the meanwhile the budget is spent, I ordered some accessories for my K2 directly from Elecraft but that will be for an other article.)

Now the question: will we go to Friedrichshafen again next year (for the fifteenth time)? Of course, this is our annual pilgrimage... and maybe we could have a little party for this anniversary? Moreover we can't live without the 'Bratwurst mit Brötchen' and the 'Hefeweizen'.

Will I ever go to the Dayton Hamvention instead? I don't think so, at least not as long as all foreigners wanting to visit the US are treated as criminals... If things go on like this, sooner or later we will all need to have a microchip behind the ear like the dogs here in Belgium before we can enter the US. Sorry but Big Brother is watching us enough already.
20 june 2007
I usually don't refer to any non-ham companies here on my site but because this is also about communications and the technique used seemed so amazing to me that I do have to mention this here.

A few weeks ago I was invited to the DIY-shop of one of my colleagues for a demonstration of his new computer system and, connected to it, the new shelf labeling system.
At first I could hardly believe it but their labels are updated by modulating the light of their (existing) fluorescent lights! So no need to install any infrared transmitters or to pollute our RF-spectrum with another radio signal! More info can be found at: http://www.ilid.com.au/

(Just to be clear I am in no way affiliated to Ilid! But if they offered me a rountrip plane ticket to go and visit their premises I wouldn't refuse it [hint][hint])
17 june 2007
The last few weeks most of my 'shack-time' was spent on preparing the lecture I was asked to present at our radioclub about the K2.
Today I have taken the time to do some surfing on the net and catch up with the latest radio news. That is when I encountered this posting on Eham: Death of a Radio Company.
Just read for yourself...
16 june 2007

As some of you know I have taken up an other hobby, or better, an other addiction. Here you can see the 'tool' I use for that.
This is what my bike looks like after a 45 km ride on a rainy afternoon. Don't worry, the biker looked even muddier :-)
03 may 2007
I finally did it... After throwing my TV out of the shack a few months ago, I recently decided to even cancel my cable TV subscription. I just came back from the post office after sending a letter via registered mail to the cable TV company. Cancelling is not as easy as getting a subscription though. It took me 3 phone calls to even get the correct snail mail address to send my letter to [sigh]. Why do all those big companies tend to hide behind their websites? Do they really think they can discourage me this way so I'll not cancel my subscription?

So please guys, don't ask me anymore if I have seen this or that program on TV last night. I haven't and I'm proud of it!!!!

Moreover, this now gives me approximately Euro 160/year more to spend on my different hobbies. (not nearly enough for a K3 though...)

The only thing left to do is find a new use for the old television set. Any suggestions?
28 apr. 2007
elecraft K3

Watch out Kenwood, Yaesu, Icom and all other manufacturers who try to sell us Euro 10000+ rigs! Elecraft has announced the K3!
Not too much info yet but here is the data sheet.
I haven't got time to really analyse all the specs and possibilities but it certainly looks promising!. Way to go Elecraft!!!
24 apr. 2007
20 apr. 2007
Not even 12 hrs after my last post I already got the following comment through the form (left hand side of this page):

   Being shot at????
   Attacked by a dog???
   Details please!!!
   Plenty stuff to update your site :-))

Yes I'm fine, thanks for asking ;-)

So here's the story, a few weeks ago I bought a new MTB (with the black frame), and, of course, like all children with new toys, now I go riding frequently.
Last week, while riding on one of the official MTB-routes near my home, a Jack Russell came and bit me repeatedly in the back of the leg. As the dog ran faster than I can ride (I still need lots of practice), I stopped my bike and defended myself. The dog came back something like 3 or 4 times and every time I kicked it. Finally the dog gave up... I don't think it's gonna make puppies in the first few days :-)

Now for the shooting thing... last sunday I was riding my bike on a public (paved) road when, from my left hand side, I heard someone firing a shotgun. A few fractions of a second later I heard the lead shot whistle a few meters over my head. Apparently the shooter missed because almost immediately he pulled the trigger again. And this time he didn't miss (me). Some of the pellets hit my helmet and 2 or 3 hit me in the arm. Luckily the distance was big enough so they didn't break my skin but they left me with a nice little bruise.

As you can guess I was not really happy so I turned the bike and went to look for the shooter(s). I found the 2 hunters at the other side of the small hill and they weren't even aware they hit me. As I expected they didn't believe me when I told them until I showed them the bruise. I guess their teacher never explained any ballistics to them during their hunting course. As far as I know, even when you shoot up, your bullet or shot shell comes back to the earth sooner or later...

During the discussion they even said I shouldn't go riding on that (public) road on a nice sunny day [sigh]. Finally after I threatened to call the police they started apologizing and decided to try and hit the pigeons they were after in a safer direction.

Lesson learned from the previous post: if you want comments about your website, write something about shooting on it :-)
19 apr. 2007
Tonight I received some remarks via the tamtam from people that are not happy with my site: I still appreciate your constructive criticism!
12 mar. 2007
MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) is putting its course material online as OCW (Open CourseWare).

This a great source of knowledge for all of us interested in technology!

Yet another reason not to miss my TV...

Some interesting links:
8 mar. 2007
Good thing I threw my TV out of the shack... There is a new series of Big Brother being aired here in Flanders...
Do they even find people to watch these things? Can't blame those playing in it, they all try to get rich and famous. [sigh]

Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe. (Albert Einstein)

Back to the K2 this weekend!
06 mar. 2007
Herald of Free Enterprise Exactly 20 years ago, on 6 March 1987, the roll on/roll off passenger ferry Herald of Free Enterprise left the Zeebrugge harbour to set course to Dover. Only a few minutes after its departure and due to a combined number of human errors the ship capsized. 153 passengers and 38 crew lost their lives, most inside the ship from hypothermia in the freezing water. This was the biggest non-wartime shipdisaster since Titanic in 1912.

Many lessons have been learned but one lesson seems to have been forgotten... Soon after the disaster got known to the public, normal (telephone-)communications got congested and became inpossible. But HAM's were there to take over. Soon a network of radio amateur stations was set up under the lead of Claude ON7TK (who later received the 'Golden Antenna' from DNAT and the city of Bad Bentheim).

Today, 20 years later, there doesn't seem to be any organised network of (trained) radioamateurs to do this kind of tasks anymore. Yes, the Rode Kruis Noodnet (Red Cross Emergency network) still has a website but I don't know of any radioamateurs in my region that are currently active in it.

During my activities in car rallies I am regularly in touch with Red Cross people of different ranks and they all seem persuaded that their communications systems can handle every possible disaster... [sigh]. For them, us radio-amateurs are only, as the name says, 'amateurs' or, translated, children with expensive toys. Certainly, we have come to the 21st century and soon in our country there will probably be more cell-phones (with dodgy ringtones) than people. We have satellite communications, we have trunking etc. But most people don't realise that the bandwith on those networks is limited.

Of course we don't regularly have any typhoons or tsunamis or earthquakes in our region, but is this an excuse not to be prepared?

Some of you smart guys will reply:"But we participate in field day twice a year, that is an emergency exercise!" Maybe it is, if you can call running around for 2 weekends to get all needed gear ready (not to forget the barbecue!) being prepared...

And you, are you ready? Or, like most people I know, don't you even have a working flashlight anywhere in your home?


Links for this article:
2 mar. 2007
Finally some more K2-news here...

I have been looking into my K2-problem over and over and I can't seem to find anything wrong. As I haven't got the time nor the courage to take out and rewind the toroids I decided to order them ready made from the ToroidGuy. And, pleasant surprise, turnaround of this order is only 5 days!!! Ordered last sunday (25 feb.) the package arrived this morning! Thanks Mychael!

Now I'll have to find the time to install them...

To be continued!
1 mar. 2007
Have I mentioned the great blogs of Peter ON6TT? They can be found here in English and in Dutch
For those of you who don't know Peter (you must have lived on Mars for the last 15 years...), Peter is a honorary member of the UBA (he was the guy who lobbied to get the Belgian contest stations 2 KW and 2 by 1 callsigns).
During the last 15 years he was active from more DX-countries than most of us can ever dream of.

Moreover listening to Peter handling the pileups from yet another rare location is a joy to the ear.
26 feb. 2007
28 feb. 2007
Added the little utility you can see on the bottom of the left hand side column. Just as an experiment. It's free for now and I don't see any ads (yet).
25 feb. 2007
22 feb. 2007
Changed my contact adress. If you have your own domain name you should use it shouldn't you? As of today my email address is [callsign]@[callsign].be, where [callsign] is MY callsign (of course). This is to prevent spambots from stealing it and using it to send spam to me later. I get more than enough spam already. For those of you who don't understand (the non-HAM's supposedly), you can also contact me via the form at the left hand side of every page.

And before one of you smart guys makes the remark, yes Thunderbird filters the spam very well. But the email client on my PocketPC doesn't filter it at all... (Yes, Bill Gates again).

In a few weeks from now the old @KTK.BE address will cease to exist.
21 feb. 2007
Not much new to mention here but something is bothering me... We all know that Thunderbird is probably the best e-mail client around. But does anyone know how I can get rid of this junk in incoming e-mails?

11 feb. 2007
08 feb. 2007
Since I threw my television set out of the shack I should have more time to finally find that nasty bug in my K2 but now I spend my time surfing the net... Again I found some interesting links I wish to share with you:
06 feb. 2007
31 jan. 2007
Due to some health worries I haven't looked at the K2 project the last few weeks. Upon 'deeper' analysis in the hospital it seemed the worries were far greater than the real trouble. I'm fine now thanks.
So today I started looking at the K2 again and I started with the homework I received from Gary AB7MY at Elecraft to try and find the causes of the spurious signals that come out of my K2 on 10 and 12m.
But, it seems my Digital Multimeter has trouble with the HF-signals. When my K2 is on transmit (on dummy load of course!) it seems to measure voltages even without the leads being attached to anything.... So I guess I'll need a better DMM or a better dummy load?
16 jan. 2007
Received the following comment this morning (translated from dutch): "I just had a look at your site using MSIE6. I don't know whether it is IE6 or your code but I saw some errors on the site. Regards, Bart"
Well Bart, thanks for your comments and rest assured, it is not my code but IE6 that causes this. Have a look at the column at the left hand side of the page... And, no need to try with IE7, it has the same problem. Maybe you could try and find Bill Gates' e-mail address and complain to him?
07 jan. 2007
Added some pictures here and there
03 jan. 2007
After discussing my K2 signal problems with Don W3FPR and Gary AB7MY, the problem seems to need further investigation. As soon as I can find time I'll post more info here!
K2 sn 5549 is apparently not ready to get on the air yet...
02 jan. 2007
Added some comments about the measurements on the K2 transmitter and the way we 'cleaned up' the signal.
K2 sn 5549 is now definitely ready to get on the air!
30 dec. 2006
26 dec. 2006
Did some minor updates to the Elecraft K2-page
24 dec. 2006
20 dec. 2006
updated the links-page
17 dec. 2006
16 dec. 2006
Discovered a problem when using Filezilla, sometimes filenames are swapped when uploading multiple files of this website.
Comments on the Filezilla forum: "it's a server problem"
Comments of my provider:"get an other FTP soft"
As finding other (freeware or open source) FTP software seems easier than changing providers I guess I'll have to get rid of filezilla...
14 dec. 2006
Updated the current projects page with some more comments about the K2
09 dec. 2006
04 dec. 2006

03 dec. 2006
It's alive!!!

Yes! K2 serial number 5549 is alive! What a boost in self confidence!

Yesterday afternoon I did all the regular tests and alignment procedures and all seems to be working correctly. Still a lot of 'work' to do, realign the filters using a spectrum analyser etc.

02 dec. 2006

01 dec. 2006
Finally got my password for the new url.
Time to get the site 'on the air' Not many pictures yet, but they'll be added soon!

29 nov. 2006
So yes, I decided to start with this new website...
Do I have something interesting to tell you? Probably not but I'll try anyway ;-)

Don't worry, most of the links on the left lead to -slightly- outdated pages but as soon as that changes I'll let you know here! (slightly could mean a few years for the moment...). Moreover there are still a few dead links.