18 Apr 2014

MF WSPR again - 15m earth-electrode antenna

There are a few G's on this evening, so I have returned to 474.2kHz WSPR to see who spots me. So far G8ALS  (126km), G3XIZ (46km) and G6AVK (78km) have spotted my 5mW ERP signal.  G3XIZ is always a huge signal on MF and the difference between his report and mine is about correct for the difference in ERP.  Chris is always a good CW signal on Sunday mornings.

I shall leave the set-up running overnight in case any more distant stations spot me.

Wake Is (Pacific) again on 10m WSPR

WA2YUN /KH9 (11946 km) on Wake Island in the Pacific Ocean signing WA2YUN on WSPR has again been copied this morning on 10m WSPR along with an Israeli station 4X1DA. No Australians copied here. Solar activity looks good again (sunspot count 296), although HF conditions are  disturbed and the 20-30MHz forecast only "fair".   Nonetheless, I expect USA and Canadian stations will be coming through soon.

Wake Is was famous in WW2 and is, these days, a US pacific base. It is not that far west of Hawaii and a fair bit east of Japan. The direct path is quite close to the pole from the UK.

Signing without the right prefix or suffix is very confusing and it took the internet, and the QTH locator, to determine exact location last time.

I also notice that PY5EJ (9886km) has been spotted around late morning.

UPDATE 1530z:  so far the only USA/Canadian station copied is VE2PEP  at 5037km A very limited transatlantic opening.  PY5EJ (9886km) is a very good signal at -11dB S/N.

17 Apr 2014

Powerline interference

This appeared on  Facebook today:

"Leaked: EN 50561-3 - the latest revision of the interference-disaster-in-waiting 
 
Our thanks goes to our spy in the camp who has kindly and anonymously leaked the latest revision of EN 50561 (EN 50561-3) - the highly dubious "Standard" which will allow a new generation of powerline networking devices to produce an extra ten thousand times more interference than the current generations do, exposing innumerable radio services to impossible levels of interference.

The EMC industry remains deeply concerned about the continuing progress of this laughable standard, which makes a mockery of the European EMC regime. We strongly recommend that all interested parties lodge protest with their national representatives for the appropriate service - and do so without delay.

Link:http://www.scribd.com/doc/215301704/Draf...EN-50561-3
Back-up link, should an attempt be made to pull this from the public domain: http://bit.ly/1e0OXvf 
We recommend you download this without delay."
If this spec is not changed before final release, we will be in trouble if interested in weak signal modes on  HF.

10m stirring into life?

PY2RN spots on 10m mid-morning
PY2RN (9550km) has exchanged 10m WSPR spots with me at around 1030z, suggesting the band is "coming alive" again. It will be interesting to see how it opens transatlantic to the USA and Canada later. Up to now, conditions on 10m today are best described as patchy, certainly not as good as on some previous mornings of late.

Both PY2RN and CX2ABP (11127km)  have been spotted (by me) later in the morning.

UPDATE 1530z: so far, all propagation on 10m here is N-S over the equator into S.America or that way (e.g. EA8) and, as yet at least, not a single N.American station spotted on 10m WSPR. I shall now be surprised if the band opens at all to the USA. Even with a high sunspot count 10m is a fickle band!

UPDATE 1950z: much to my surprise WA9JWL and ND6M in the WSPR log around teatime here. Hardly a massive opening to the USA, but at least 10m did open after all, just.

UPDATE 2050z: no further USA stations spotted. Most DX on 10m is coming in from S.America.

UPDATE 2100z: surprise, surprise WA9JWL just spotted. As I said, 10m is a fickle band!

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10m - late finish last night and early start today

Transatlantic spots were being exchanged here with the USA at 2W as late as 2252z last night and with Israel at 0610z (very early) this morning. I have the feeling that today will be good on 10m WSPR. Sunspot count is extremely high (245) but conditions on higher HF are said to be disturbed with blackouts and "poor" .

Recent 10m WSPR spots
Interesting that since 0612z 10m seems to have gone very quiet. Maybe blackouts? Only G7FYO copyable here now this morning (162km) at -19 to-24dB S/N.

I am periodically checking the WSPR software is still running and the clock spot on internet time. Usually there are several Europeans visible as well as FR1GZ if active.

16 Apr 2014

VHF/UHF antenna arrives

A large package arrived today: my 3el/5el VHF/UHF beam, brackets and feeder cable. I must now await Andrew G6ALB to help me erect it.

We have grandchildren here over Easter, so I am hoping Andrew can help next week or the week after in time for UKAC Tuesday evening contest sessions. I am quite looking forward to having some modest gain on 2m and 70cms SSB/CW/digital. I gather there are also Sunday and Wednesday activity sessions on 70cms.

10m update - 2200z

Well, the PC is still running and there are still lots of WSPR spots from both North and South America. I shall reset the PC clock and WSPR software (DONE) before going to bed so I  hope to catch any very late openings on 10m tonight and early in the morning. A few days ago 10m was open until past midnight local time and conditions this evening look good.

UPDATE 2154z:  8 spots as a result of my 2W WSPR burst at 2154z and 7 of these were from the USA.

PC turned off WSPR - again

Yet again, the afternoon appeared very quiet on WSPR until I realised my main shack PC had decided to close the WSPR program yet again.  I have only just turned it back on again and am seeing W4 and PY in the logs. I thought it very odd not to be seeing any USA transatlantic reports: it helps if the program is actually running!

The turning off seems to be a bi-product of Windows 8.1 as this never occurred with my old XP machine. It is not a major issue.

Station seen since restarting the software:

1602 -16 -1.4  28.126026  0 WB4KLJ FM18 33
1602  -5 -0.8  28.126066  0 PY5EJ GG54 40
1604  -3 -0.8  28.126096  0 WA9JWL EN70 37
1606 -11  0.5  28.126161  1 K3NAL FM18 37
1610 -18 -0.8  28.126080  0 CX2ABP GF15 37
1614  -3 -0.8  28.126065  0 PY5EJ GG54 40
1624 -17 -0.5  28.126079  0 CX2ABP GF15 37
1624 -21 -0.7  28.126089  0 KZ8C EM88 37
1628 -26 -0.5  28.126003  0 PY2RN GG66 30

PY2RN WSPR analysis

Bert PA1B has analysed my recent reception on WSPR by PY2RN to see just how little power could have been used and still be successfully decoded in Brazil - the answer is very little for a lot of the time! Most times even 1mW should have been enough. This of course assumes local noise levels allow decoding to the lowest levels for WSPR at around -30dB S/N. In some cases this may not be possible because of local QRN/QRM.