19 Aug 2017

Burwell Fen - NOT amateur radio

We went for a brief walk this afternoon up near the "cock-up" bridge on Burwell Lode. We saw several birds including some swallows, a tern and 2 mute swans as well as these fine highland cattle with big horns. Although the fens are bleak, they have a certain beauty, especially the wild fen skies. Burwell Fen is now owned by the National Trust.

Diversity in our hobby

Southgate News brings to our attention a piece by the RSGB president. There is little doubt we have to work on this if our hobby is to survive and thrive.

Before my stroke I used to give talks at several clubs in East Anglia. Certainly at that time we, in the UK, had, in the main, a hobby for older white males. I do not know if things have improved since then, but they needed to.

Just think, in your club what happens when the older members are too disabled to get to meetings? Will your club still exist? No, we have to encourage more younger people into the hobby. They need to be fostered and encouraged so they stay. Is radio really no longer the magic it was to the majority of us?

See http://rsgb.org/main/blog/news/2017/08/17/diversity-in-amateur-radio/  .

Sentence intonation - NOT amateur radio

Have you noticed that younger people tend to go up at the end of a sentence? It rarely fails: if a sentence goes up at the end then the person saying it is probably under 30 years old, like. 😉

FT817 and FT817ND

These little rigs from Yaesu have basically remained unchanged since 2000. They cover all bands from 160m-70cm (not 4m or 1.25m), all modes, 5W. With transverters, mine have been used from VLF upwards on all available bands. They work well, but I was surprised Yaesu did not do an upgrade in time for the last sunspot peak. Also, I was surprised they had no real competitors. These days there are a few SDR radios around, but the FT817 reigns supreme.

With mine I have worked the world including some great handheld DX. For base station use I recommend the Z817 auto-ATU. I tried the Elecraft auto ATU but prefer the Z817. I am very happy with the FT817, although the early ones had PA failures with low voltage. This was fixed (I think) in the FT817ND.

See https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/hf/ft817 .

Still good Es on 6m

After a brief transceive period before breakfast, I am again on 6m FT8 RX. So far, plenty of early Es about. Best DX on 6m FT8 RX is SV1QEZ (2402km).So far, 5 countries spotted on 6m FT8: England, Spain, Slovenia , Italy and Greece, but it is only 0835z.

UPDATE 0900z: Now 7 countries spotted with the best DX on 6m FT8 RX SV9RGI (2776km) on Crete.

UPDATE 1332z: Another excellent Es day on 6m FT8 RX. The photo shows the stations copied so far today on 6m. This mode has really "taken off".
UPDATE 1935z: Even more 6m FT8 spots!

10m WSPR TX (500mW)

So I returned to 10m WSPR TX just before breakfast. Already DK8FT (898km) has spotted me. Not sure of the reason, but I wonder if weak signal digital modes, or different monitoring patterns, are finding Es paths open we would have missed in the past?

UPDATE 1322z: 12 unique 10m WSPR spots, so far, with best DX spot being by CT7AEZ (1618km).

UPDATE 1614z: 16 unique spots today so far of my 500mW 10m WSPR beacon. A good Es day.

UPDATE 1752z: 17 unique spots today, so far, on 10m WSPR with reports as widespread as Spain, Faroes and Belarus. A great day.
UPDATE 1940z: Now 18 unique spots of my 500mW WSPR today.

UPDATE 2210z: 19 unique spots. Time to go QRT on all bands.

Sunspots - Saturday August 19th 2017

Solar flux is 81 today. Sunspot number is 41. A=21 and K=4.

18 Aug 2017

Now QRT on all bands

Even though propagation was still good, I decided to go QRT for the night. All being well, I'll be back on again at breakfast time - storms permitting.

Still good 6m Es

Well I went into the shack with the intention of going QRT. Instead 6m was wide open, so I had a QRP QSO (1W ERP) with EA7AH on FT8.  I see I was also copied in southern Portugal on 6m FT8. The gear is still on.

And another one.....NOT amateur radio

Donald has fired another one! Still there are over 200 million people left in the USA.

See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-40980994 .