The PA0C story
It all started in the late 60's after I moved to Vlissingen (Flushing) in the south-western part of The Netherlands. Already infected by the "electronic-virus" I came in the possession of a WS19 set, which opened the world of amateur radio. Quickly thereafter I build a Nuvistor 2m converter and could listen to local hams also.
The Nuvistor converter was replaced by a dedicated Semcoset AM receiver which improved reception on 2 meters quite a lot.
In 1972 I did my verbal (!) examination and choose the call sign PA0CIS.
In those days the legal age for acquiring a radio license was 18 years and I was the youngest radio amateur in The Netherlands for a while.
My first transmissions took place with a modified crystal controlled PYE AM transmitter, capable of delivering 8W output.
Soon I found our that the antenna was a very important part of the station and installed a custom made three sided "pyramid" on top of our house. The house itself was built on a dike and directly located at the sea shore. The antenna was approx. 35 m above sea level. At the back of the house a large water reservoir was located. An excellent take-off for VHF, given the fact that the antenna had free 360 degree view over mostly water.
Given the excellent results from that QTH 144 Mc became my favorite band in those days and still is.
A crystal controlled transmitter has its limitations and soon a 8Mc VFO was added. Also FM transmit and receive capabilities were introduced by adding some circuitry to the VFO and existing AM receiver.
SSB on 144Mc was in its early days and very promising So I build a separate 144 Mc SSB transmitter (DJ9ZR design, UKW Berichte 3/67) and bought a second hand JR-310 hf receiver from Trio. A home made 144Mc convertor was built into the JR-310, completing the SSB station. With 5 Watt PEP SSB output a whole new world opened up and lots of new squares and countries were added..
Quickly a QQE 06/40 amplifier was built and I engaged in the more serious work, like contesting.
At 10 km from my QTH the dunes reach a height of more than 45m. An excellent /P QTH.
During the July contest of 1973 the dune was activated for the first time. It was a great success.
On the top-left picture I am tuning the JR-310 receiver. The DJ9ZR transmitter is next to it. In the lower left picture also the QQE 06/40 PA can be seen, the aluminum box on the left hand side.
The mast was approx. 7 meter long so the total antenna height was well over 50 m ASL.
/P activity was stopped after the whole mast and tent was blown of the dune during a major storm a year later.
In the lower middle picture also PA0KU is present (white shirt). He provided lots of good advise, beer and mechanical support.
In 1975 I passed my CW examination at the first try and became licensed to operate on HF as well. Full size dipoles for 40m and 80m were added, yielding excellent results with only 100W from my home build Heathkit SB-102 hf tranceiver. For 160 m a 100 m long wire was strung to a small island in the middle of the water reservoir at the back of the house. At the time a special license was needed to operate 160m. A 2 element beam for 20/15/10 completed the station.
A transvertor in combination with the SB-102 replaced the DJ9ZR transmitter. A 4CX250B PA was build to replace the QQE 06/40 PA. With this set-up I seriously engaged in the yearly 144 Mc contests and was no.1 in the single operator section for three years in a row. The best contest being the July contest of 1976 in which 512 QSO's were made in 18 operating hours. An all time record in those days of relative low activity.
A (huge) tape recorder with an endless tape-loop was used as CQ "voice keyer". The tape recorder was used for CQ calls in CW as well. The Morse code was recorded on tape, the 1000 Hz tone was rectified and the DC voltage fed to the keyer input of the tranceiver.
Cassette recorders and (later) a home build memory keyer were a big improvement in usability.
Island Neeltje Jans
In the mid 70's lots of work was going on in the Oosterschelde. An artificial island was made in the middle of the estuary in preparation for the building of the famous "open" Oosterschelde dam.
This island was activated during a contest weekend. We could reach the island by using the boat of one of our club members.
We operated on VHF and HF.
The HF linear I brought (black box, lower right picture) contained 5* PL 519. The mains voltage of 220V (from a huge generator) was quadrupled and directly fed to the tubes. A cheap (but dangerous) way to obtain high voltage.
It was the perfect place for low band DX-ing. No man-made noise what so ever!
A new QTH
In 1977 I moved to Anna Paulowna, in the north-western part of the country.
Here the more serious work with MS, Aurora and EME started after I finished my 2 * 4CX250B PA. Lots of new squares and countries were added to the list. Also 70 cm was taken up seriously with a 2 * 4CX250B PA.
The antenna consisted of 4 * 16 el F9FT. Own echo's could be heard easily most of the time. (later 2* 21 el F9FT for 432 MC were added)
See the list of initials for the EME results.
The elevation control was kind of special. It consisted of 4 cheap channel master rotors mounted in-line. The horizontal elevation boom passes through all rotators, together providing enough torque to elevate the 4 antennas.
The PA0CIS shack in the early 80's.
Lower row left to right: 4CX250 PA, 28/144 Mc transvertor, SB-102, JR-310, recorder for MS
Top row : azimuth control + 30V PSU, low voltage cabinet 4CX PA, 70 cm transvertor + elevation control, 70 cm PSU, HRO receiver.
Change of QTH again
In the late 80's I moved to the The Haque area. I lived a while in Leidschendam with only marginal VHF capabilities. Since 1987 I live in Wassenaar, 10 km north of The Hague. The "old" mast was put up again and activity increased.
The shack was first located in a small attic room of the house
The old operator position.
The 19" rack with all the high power stuff...
From top to bottom:
Water cooled 4CW800 PA
10GHz power supply
Spare one phase 3.5kV PSU
Rhode&Schwartz transfer relais
QBL 5/3500 PA
5.5 kV power supply QBL 5/3500
"low" voltage cabinet QBL 5/3500
28 / 144 Mc transvertor
3.5 kV 3 phase power supply
The telescopic Versatower which contained:
2 * 17 el yagi 144 MHz, with elevation
21 el yagi 432 MHz
50 MHz dipole
FB-13 for 20, 15 and 10 meter.
On top of the house :
long yagi for 1296 MHz
10 GHz dish with 25 W TWT housing and transvertor
In 2003 I changed my call sign to PA0C
Due to an extension of the house the mast was taken down and the shack moved to another (more spacious) room.
For the time the 10 GHz dish was removed and replaced by a single 17 el 144 MHz yagi.
See Current station and My antennas for further information.