About PA9X, from CB to HAM

PA9X, born in 1972, active with radio since 1974

Good to meet you!

My name is Jean-Paul Suijs, PA9X. I was born in 1972 in the city of ‘s-Hertogenbosch, in the province of Noord Brabant, about 80km east of my current QTH. My current QTH is the small town of Vlaardingen (locator grid JO21ev), between port city Rotterdam and the North Sea coast. Vlaardingen is known for having harboured the largest herring fishing fleet in the world. It’s inhabitants are known as the ‘Herring Heads’.

I have been busy with radio since I was only a two year old little toddler. At that time, my father owned a Philips AM/FM and shortwave receiver. An analogue one, with big and shiny futuristic aluminium tuning knobs. I discovered when turning this tuning knob, something special happened.

From CB to HAM

CB on on 27 MHz was legalized in The Netherlands in 1980. My dad got us a permit and a 22 channel 0.5 watt FM CB radio, with a futuristic looking tall vertical antenna with radials on top of the roof. At the age of 8, I was intrigued by the fact that making radio contact was so easy. But even more intrigued by those foreign voices, which my mum explained as CB’ing Italian and Spanish truckers from the nearby highway (which it wasn’t, it was genuine DX!). But unfortunately, local CB became more of a swearing competition. After two years both radio and antenna were sold.

The CB years

In 1987 a neighbour was tidying up his attic and found two old CB base radios that he gave to me and my eldest brother. We bought a DV27 mobile whip, and mounted it next to the window. Unfortunately both radios had blown up end stages, but we could still listen local QSO’s. After a month or so, we wanted more, we wanted to transmit! My eldest brother and I went to the annual radio flee market. We both bought a used 22 channel 0.5 watt FM CB radio. He put his one in his car, and I hooked mine up to a mobile whip near the bedroom window. Unhappy with its range, the mobile whip was soon replaced with a GPA27 1/2 wave base antenna on the roof and the radio’s end stage tuned to produce a massive 2 watts.

The first DX

I discovered DX’ing, when I made my first QSO with an Austrian station on a summer evening. Only 2 watts FM on the GPA27. That was my start for learning more. Soon a new modern CB radio with SSB, the Ranger RCI-2950, shortwave receiver Yaesu FGR-7700, longwire antenna for listening and a directional antenna for transmitting completed my station. People might know me under my 11m callsigns 19YB113, 19TI001, 19AT072 and 19DX072.

When my wife and I bought an apartment in the year 1999, it was not suitable to continue my hobby and sold some of the equipment. But when we moved to a bigger house in 2003, the radio fever returned. I bought a used Kenwood TS-440 transceiver, put up a 5/8 wave vertical antenna and started DX’ing again.

Stepping into amateur radio

The limitations of 27 MHz made me study for the Novice class amateur radio registration. I passed the exam and became a registered radio amateur and discovered a new world on HF with my callsign PD1JP.  HF propagation was always my biggest interest. I started to build my own antennas, preferable from scrap and ‘unusual’ materials.

The Novice class registration limited my operations to 70cm, 2m, 10m, a part of the 20m and the 40m band. After a few years on these bands, it was time to move up to the Full class registration which gives access to ham bands. After five months of study with a good teacher, PA3S Steef, I passed the exam and registered my current callsign PA9X.

PA9X with his 3 element cubical quad for 10 m bandDX, propagation and antennas

I love DX. My favorite band is 10m, however I am also active on other HF bands. In the summer 6m attracts most of my attention. In years of less solar activity, I move to 60m band.

My main mode is SSB. But when 10m is open, I always like to move up and do AM or FM. I am also active with digital modes. When I am not listening, I am doing WSPR, FT4 and FT8 on HF, VHF and UHF.

Propagation and space weather intrigues me. I have learned a lot about it. It enables me to predict HF propagation, which gives me some advantage when DX’ing.

Many amateurs build their own electronics. I am more of a mechanical guy (I have a college degree in mechanical engineering). Building antennas is what I like. Preferably from scrap metal, some wood, used plastics and other materials that you would usually put in the garbage collector.

My family

I met my wife in 1998, and we got married in 2007. Our son was born in 2002, he is a musician and studies Media (TV and Film). Our daughter was born in 2005. She is a caring and creative girl who makes inspiring drawings, paintings and writes novels and comics. She is a law student.

Official at VERON

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VERON is the Association for Experimental Radio Research in The Netherlands. I was member of the VERON Central Board (HQ) from 2014 to 2017. Also chairman of the VERON Public Relations Commission, supervising the VERON ICT Team and chief editor for the VERON main website and social media channels. I am still active as an author for the VERON website and Electron magazine.