29 Mar 2015

New soldering iron on order and beating disabilities

Based on recommendations, I ordered a new Antex soldering iron which should arrive later this week. In the meantime I'll try to assemble (find!) my kit for both VLF earth-mode and optical comms field work.  I am still getting very tired, so don't expect too much too soon.

The first tests will be very modest to get me back into "the swing of things".  Unless my health starts to make a big improvement, I fear I may have to live with some of my symptoms for the foreseeable future, if not for ever. This would be such a pity as there is so much I want to do. Compared with some though, I have been lucky. If at all possible, I really want to beat my disabilities. I hate being so useless. I remember my "old self" full of energy.

472kHz WSPR

I have remained active all day on MF, but WSPRnet only shows stations spotted in the last 10 minutes, so if there is no-one else spotting you, you do not get shown as being active. This is a pity, as it does not encourage people to take a look. Instead they may look elsewhere. I don't know why there is this 10 minute rule, but personally I find it unhelpful. It would be better to show all stations active, whether or not they are being reported.

UPDATE 1845z:  G4AYT (114km) has been copying me weakly, but consistently, for some time. He is located on the North Kent coast (JO01mi).

UPDATE 2022z:  M0PPP (182km), in IO93gm square, has been spotted here consistently this evening on my earth-electrode "antenna" and deaf FT817 RX on 472kHz WSPR.

UPDATE 2145z:  PA0RDT (243km) is now spotting me.

10m USA WSPR spots - none yet

It is currently 1512z and, so far, no sign of my 10m 500mW WSPR beacon being spotted in the USA. Based on recent days when openings have, on the whole, been poor, I guess I should give it several more hours to see if the band does open across the North Atlantic to the USA and Canada. Local time is now an hour later as we are now on BST. here in the UK. It will remain light here until around 7.30pm local time.

UPDATE 1706z:  Still no sign of any spots on 10m of my 500mW WSPR beacon by any USA stations. Maybe later?

UPDATE 1902z:  Still no sign at all of any spots from the USA. Unless USA stations start to spot my 10m WSPR soon, I suspect today will be another fruitless day to the states.

UPDATE 1930z:   I think there will be no 10m USA spots of me today.  Still no USA stations spotting me still on 10m WSPR.

UPDATE 2008z:   EA8BVP (2986km) has spotted my 10m 500mW beacon 99 times today, but no USA spots the whole day. I suspect EA8BVP may have closed down as his last spot of me was at 2002z.

Fell at the first fence!

Well, what a brilliant start! NOT.

My soldering iron has failed and I cannot find the replacement as my wife packed everything when I was in hospital, so I cannot do anything that involves soldering, which is just about everything with field work. So, as I cannot afford a new Weller soldering station, I shall have to invest in a new Maplins sourced soldering iron or soldering station. Just trying to find bits in boxes has just about flattened me too. I am now exhausted.  Bother, and I was so looking forward to this day.

Any recommendations for a decent soldering iron, not Weller?

VLF experiment?

VLF 5W TX beacon (as now)
Although I still feel unwell because of the after-effects of my stroke, I feel in the mood for some field work for the first time in a very long time.

I'll try to optimise the match of my VLF earth-mode QRSS3 beacon to my earth-electrodes as a first step.  This alone will probably exhaust me as it will probably mean re-winding a 3C90 toroid.

I can transmit a crystal derived, stable signal at 8.97kHz. Once done, I'll copy this on another PC in the lounge running Spectran software. If this all works, I'll go to my nearest test site to see what copy is like using a RX loop and preamp.

Sunspots and 10m - Sun March 29th 2015

Sunspot number has dropped back a bit to 82 today and 10m propagation is again expected to be "fair"., which is the same as recent days.

EA8BVP (2986km) has spotted my 10m 500mW WSPR beacon many times already this morning, but nothing reported from elsewhere as yet.

UPDATE 1106z:  I see that TA2AEG (2547km) has also spotted me a few times now as well.

28 Mar 2015

472kHz WSPR

No new MF stations spotting me, just the same ones! My best spot this evening is currently from PA3ABK/2 (306km). We'll see if I am spotted by any new reporters overnight or if I spot any new DX. Somehow I doubt this.

I need to switch back from the earth-electrodes to my strapped feeder antenna to compare results. I've been using the earth-electrode "antenna" for several months now.

10m WSPR spots from the USA today

KD6RF (7547km) was the first USA station to spot my 10m 500mW WSPR beacon at 1454z today.

UPDATE 2004z: So far I have been spotted by 5 different USA stations on 10m WSPR and 10 different stations in 4 continents today.

UPDATE 2126z:  The last USA WSPR spot of me was at 1956z by K3GEN (5883km). I suspect this will have been the last USA spot tonight, but I will continue beaconing for a while longer.

UPDATE 2204z:   No further USA spots since K3GEN at 1956z.  I think we can assume the USA opening on 10m has ended.  Will now go QRT on 10m WSPR but will stay on 630m (472kHz) overnight.

Stroke update on energy levels - NOT amateur radio

I am still suffering the after-effects of my Sept 2013 cerebellum brain bleed. My main symptoms remain that I feel permanently slightly drunk (in a slight fog), my speech is still poor as is my swallow of thin liquids, and my energy levels are still very low with the slightest physical or mental activity exhausting me.  I thought the latter might be low B12 levels, but supplements have made no difference. My fine motor skills must be better as I built a 40m Pixie kit recently and this would have been impossible a year ago. I can drive OK, but I have to concentrate hard.  Driving long distances is still not possible.

Overall, progress is being made on my recovery, although it is taking much longer than I was expecting. I guess these days the improvements are very small and harder to notice. At the moment, the exhaustion is the hardest thing to accept as I was a very active person.

UK clocks change tonight

The UK changes over to British Summer Time tonight, so we get a hour less in bed, but it is lighter in the evenings.

I change all clocks in the house except the one in the shack that stays on GMT.  For a few days, I tend to forget and enter my log an hour wrong!  Habit.  I always keep my log in GMT although in the UK it is no longer compulsory to keep a log. I still like to keep a paper log of the more important QSOs