Member Spotlight – Hans-Andre “Andy” Ahrens
When were you first licensed ? June 1974 in Hannover at the age of 16 years, that was at the time the minimum exam age in DL. No multiple choice, three parts plus CW at 12 wpm. In summer 1973 I joined a 2-week intensive licence-course of DARC held in a state educational institution with accommodation.
In addition to theory and first steps in CW, there were fox-hunts and learning of the practical radio operation. Many thanks to my CW-teacher Rudi, DL3FF (ex DK5OS, OK3QQ); the others went already SK. I had to wait for the exam until my 16th birthday but used the meantime to achieve the required CW speed.
How did you become interested in radio? My father gave me a self-built crystal radio when I was about 4 years old, good for listening to the local am radio station. I was fascinated by the fact that it worked without batteries and with so few components. Later I got a Radio Experimental Kit, leading finally to a regenerative RX with a car radio pentode. (…) Much later it was his initiative (he was no ham) to sign me up to the license course! For many years Ham Radio to me is no more hobby as in early days but became an important part of my personality.
Favorite Radio Activities and Locations ? CW on/around the QRP frequencies, JT-QSOs, sometimes CW-contests (non-sportive style only), Sporadic E on 6m.
I’m not that much interested in working „wanted“ DXCC entities. No Navassa? So what?
Experimentation with the equipment or its settings is also important to me. I like hamspots.net , WSPR and Reverse Beacon Network to check how strong and far my signal goes. Sometimes a surprising consolation if there were no takers of a CQ in CW or Digital.
Member of any radio organizations or clubs ? DARC, FISTS, G-QRP, NAQCC, DL QRP AG.
Transceivers and Antennas: Home: ICOM IC-703+ with 250 Hz CW-Filter, 2x8m (2x 24ft) stealth dipole in the attic; more on QRZ.com, Field: IC-703+, self-assembled KX1, MP1 sometimes with MFJ-1954 10 ft telescope, Vacation/fix: same as home but 10m fishing pole vertical matched with 1:4 UnUn and internal ATU.
Bands, Modes and most worked countries: (last 7yrs of my log) About every 2nd qso is on 20m, followed by 15m, 10m then 40m and 6m.
Describe some of your favorite Field Radio experiences ? In the early 80s I had many nice CW-contacts on 20 and 40m when vacationed on a campground near Bari, Southern Italy (I7), having 1W CW from a TenTec PM2B (RX was wide as a barn door) to a linked Inv. Vee dipole feeded on a 20 ft fishing rod close to saltwater. Few CW-QSOs with my KX1 from the northern coast of vy beautiful blossoming Madeira Island.
Due to the climate my Field Radio activity in Germany is limited to the months April-October.
One of your frequent setup locations is the former Berlin Tempelhof Airport. What is significant of the site and why do you choose to transmit from there? Berlin has many parks and forests, this newish park is roundshaped with 2km / 6500 ft diameter, has 386 Hektar / 953 acres. At my (almost center) position there’s no annoying man made RF noise. Also no RF obstacles, therefore it‘s nice for low angle radiation; last year I reached VK via long path with 5W. BTW: The Airport was in Service 1923-1998. Most of the 270.000 flights during 11-month Berlin Air Lift 1948/49 took place here, a logistical tour de force.
What languages do you know and what benefit are they when using the radio? Besides English, I speak some Italian, enough for a fluent communication. During my many vacations there a 2m HT was the key to follow up eyeball qsos with local hams; highly recommended! In the 80s I had many RTTY QSOs in Italian with my old teletyping machine.
What are some of the most memorable transmitting locations you have been? Sicily was a great experience in every sense. I lived/worked there in 1987 and had my Drake TR7 with me; antenna was a fishing rod vertical pi-matched to 50 ohms. The rod was fixed to balcony railing, I was surrounded by close buildings but it worked mysteriously fine compared to such a situation in Germany. I was told: “the closer to the equator, the better the ionization” … (i.e. now I live somehow in the wrong place).
During my studies in the 80s I was also QRV from DK0TU (Technical University Berlin); some years of QRO from the top a of a ten-story building. Fellow hams made also Meteor Scatter and Moonbounce from there.
Most Memorable QSO(s)? First qso was 20m SSB on exam day with a ham in Rome; I had too much stage-fright to start with CW. First non-local QRP-QSO was in the 70s on 28.500 MHz AM, I used a pimped CB Walkie Talkie running 200mW into a GP in the attic, got 53 from DK7LJ/EA6/m .
On the sometimes rough road to my QRP DXCC there were many remarkable contacts that remain in my memory, especially those made from field locations.
Any Future Hobby Plans or Goals? Finding an undisturbed, easy-to-reach Field Radio QTH open 24/7 which allows space demanding temporary antenna setups and operation. No man made noise, suitable for low-angle radiation, i.e. no RF wall by trees or houses, no power lines, metallic fences…
Trying a (shortened?) Delta Loop for 20m; Early morning long path CW-QSOs in Oceania Contest. pse pray 4 rain-free wx and outstanding hf condx on 20m!
Joe Armstrong, K9ATG kindly invited me to join FR after stumbling upon the keyword “Outdoor“ in my self introduction thread of another ham related Facebook group, vy tnx!
Note from Joe K9ATG: The pleasure is all mine, my friend. Thank you de K9ATG Joe.
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