23 Nov 2014

Unbelievable prices!

See http://www.banggood.com/T-688-0_5W-UHF-Auto-Channels-Mini-Radios-Walkie-Talkie-Pair-Black-p-920432.html .

I cannot believe these prices. £13.91 for a pair covering 400-470MHz, 500mW, with free shipping to the UK. That is under £7 each for a 70cm transceiver from Bang good.  Just how do they make any profit? Buy 3 sets and it is even cheaper.  Quite remarkable!

The link says T688 but the photo T668. Not sure which is the correct number but the link works.

The rigs run from 3 x AAA batteries (each) and the price does not include a charger.

ARRL propagation forecasts

For those of you who subscribe to the ARRL (not everyone does and I have no plans to renew my subs next year),  the weekly propagation forecasts make interesting reading.  Even more interesting are the archived old forecasts, so we can see just how good conditions are compared, for example, with the same time in 2007.  As I mentioned before, if you are not an ARRL member you will not be able to follow the link, I believe.

ARRL members see http://www.arrlrg/w1aw-bulletins-archive/ARLP054/2007 .

Why am I not renewing my digital subscription with ARRL? 
Earlier in the year I could not use my password and it took a week to sort it out. The online help was no help at all. It took several emails before anyone actually helped me. Most of QST seems to be ads similar to those in UK magazines. I cannot see the value in continuing ARRL membership. In summary, the ARRL seemed a pretty useless organisation. I was NOT impressed.

GQRP Club membership is much better value in my view.

472kHz WSPR - 5mW ERP

As well as TX beaconing on 10m, I have again been on MF (472kHz) but so far no great DX either spotting me or being spotted here using the short baseline earth-electrode "antenna".   Best DX, so far, in daylight, is PA3ABK/2 (306km) being copied here. Things may be better later?
Unique WSPR spots with the earth-electrode "antenna" and 5mW ERP on 472kHz 
UPDATE 1642z:   G3WCB (101km) is now spotting me (1618z) at -22dB S/N. Darkness has just fallen here.  It is a miserable day with lots of rain.

UPDATE 1720z:   DK7FC (669km) is now being spotted here.

UPDATE 1758z:   Several 472kHz DX stations now being spotted including LA3EQ (769km) and F1AFJ (607km).

10m spots of the WSPR-AXE 500mW beacon so far today

The tiny little W5OLF designed WSPR-AXE beacon continues to do a great job with lots of spots again today. Although things were a little slow towards the USA and Canada earlier, there are plenty of stations over there spotting me now. This is a list of the unique 10m spotters so far (to 1600z).  In most cases, stations have reported me multiple times.
Unique 10m WSPR spots with WSPR-AXE 500mW beacon so far today.
UPDATE 2022z:  The last USA station to spot me was AB4QS at 1736z.

MST SSB transceiver kits

See http://www.ozqrp.com/index.html .

A nice line of SSB QRP transceivers for 80, 40 or 20m with power up to 5W.  These kits come from Australia and payment is by PayPal. I have no experience of these kits so have no idea how they perform when bands are busy as in Europe.

It looks like these are easy to build kits.

More 10m USA spots

As the afternoon has progressed. quite a few more USA stations have been spotting me.  As usual, it is the same old stations that have spotted me before like K9AN, W3CSW, KB9AMG plus others. WSPR tends to be like this with similar stations spotting one. I think there is more variety on JT65 and JT9-1 modes.

Sunspots and 10m conditions - Sunday Nov 23rd 2014

Sunspot number today is 64 (a further small fall) but 10m daytime conditions in the forecast remain "good". So far today, my 10m 500mW WSPR-AXE beacon has only been copied in Europe. I expect the band will open to the USA shortly.

UPDATE 1210z:   So far, no spots from the USA yet, although it is a little early still.

UPDATE 1232z:   The first USA station to spot me today was WG2Z (5600km) at 1228z at -21dB S/N. This station is frequently the first and last to spot me on 10m. He must have a good system and antenna.

UPDATE 1338z:   So far, there seem to be fewer USA spotters than recently, suggesting 10m conditions are not quite as good as they have been? Early days still. I'll tell you at 1800z.

Back on MF and 10m WSPR

For one night my shack was being used as a nursery bedroom, so I was unable to use it for radio work. As my son, his wife and their 2 little ones have now returned home, until the week before Christmas, I now have the shack back and have restarted WSPR on 472kHz (using the earth-electrode "antenna") and 28MHz (10m) using the 500mW WSPR-AXE beacon.  On 472kHz I am using WSPR4 software and 5mW ERP.

On 472kHz I am spotting G8VDQ, and G3ZJO.   G3XDV, G0LRD and G8LCO are spotting me so far.

UPDATE 1228z:   On 10m I am being spotted around Europe with best DX (so far) R2AEW (2439km). OH3LMN (1747km) is the person spotting the beacon most (12 times already).

22 Nov 2014

More on the Rosetta mission

John Mullins G0TEV has kindly sent me these links:
Hi Roger

I saw your comments on your blog regarding the Rosetta mission and the subsequent landing of Philae. Personally I thought that it was an amazing achievement. I just hope that the lander can be illuminated sufficiently to recharge it’s batteries and carry out further science.

The following URLs may be of interest.


All continents with the 500mW 10m WSPR-AXE beacon

In the last couple of weeks my TINY little WSPR beacon has now been copied on every continent including Antarctica. I am totally impressed as my antenna is not the best. I can probably gain 6-10dB with a properly optimised 10m antenna. Having been copied so well I will soon need a new challenge!