31 Aug 2014

73 magazine online

Just received this from Martin Mann in Cambridge. For some years Martin ran Cambridge Kits although I think he is now retired. When looking for a particular edition of 73, be sure to replace the year and month with the one you need. The year has to be changed in two places in the link!
"Roger, 
Have you heard of Bill Hoisington, K1CLL, now sadly a silent key?  He was a prolific contributor on UHF to 73 Magazine in the '60s and 70s and is still a good read today, at least for a dabbler like me.  No expensive ICs, ha.  There is a list of his articles at http://mikeyancey.com/73mag/listauthor.php?Author=K1CLL and you can download complete copies of each issue of 73 Magazine as at http://library.vss.pl/lib/mag73/1967/73%20Magazine%20-%201967-07.pdf .  The files are about 30MB and take about 5 min to download, the 73 server being rather slow.  For something a bit meatier the HICKMAN, I. (2002). Practical Radio-Frequency Handbook (3rd ed.) at http://worldtracker.org/media/library/Electronics%20and%20Communications/Electronics%20ebook%20collection%20II/HICKMAN,%20I.%20(2002).%20Practical%20Radio-Frequency%20Handbook%20(3rd%20ed.).pdfis pretty good and only 2 MB.  Do you know any other magazines with back issues on pdf ?  Hoping talking is easier for you now,  
Martin"

Sunspots and 10m

Sunspot count today is 64 (modest) and 20-30MHz propagation "normal". 10m F2 is possible. Es and GDX are still quite likely, although so far on 10m WSPR it has been quiet with just local G4KPX (14km) spotted strongly at -7dB S/N.

There are a couple of signals coming through for much less than 2 minutes that may be Es or even MS. So far, these have not decoded.

G0LRD (25km) has spotted me now at -13dB S/N.

UPDATE 1538z:   PT2WWV (8873km) has been spotted by F2 this afternoon. Earlier in the afternoon,there was Es from Spain.

UPDATE 1835z: Italians now being spotted by 10m Es - IK1WVQ (1084km) and IK3NLK (1136km).

UPDATE 1900z: PT2WWV (8873km) is again being spotted. Not sure if this pure F2 or a combination of F2 and Es. So far, the Brazilian has been spotted 5 times.
UPDATE 2025z:  PT2WWV has been spotted 11 times so far today.

UPDATE 2200z: PT2WWV  has been spotted 19 times on 10m WSPR today so far. I shall leave WSPR running overnight to see when this F2 opening finally ends. 8873km is a decent distance on 10m this long into the evening and darkness here.

472kHz WSPR overnight

Overnight, I ran 472kHz WSPR but only the same old stations spotting and being spotted.  After G3XDV last night, no new stations in the log. Even with 5mW ERP, I don't think I am missing much: this seems enough to reach most stations.

Have now QSYed to 10m WSPR.

30 Aug 2014

Back on 472kHz WSPR - and a new reporter!

About 50 minutes ago, I returned to 472kHz WSPR and was rewarded by a report from a new reporter this summer G3XDV. In the last 2 weeks of MF operation I have been spotted by 16 different stations. A lot more stations, if active, would be in range. Activity seems low regrettably.
Early evening on 472kHz WSPR
UPDATE 2030z:  The last time I looked there were 41 stations active on 472kHz WSPR. This is more than I can ever recall.

Now back to 20m

As 10m was the same as before (plenty of Es) I have returned to 20m WSPR but will try 20m JT65 and JT9-1 shortly. 10m F2 propagation is being seen in S.Europe, but has been absent with me.

UPDATE 1422z:  Best report so far on 20m WSPR is LA9JO (2096km). Nothing outside Europe so far.

UPDATE 1555z:  Just spotted VK5MR (16144km) on 20m WSPR. He was spotted again a little later. This is the best DX today. VK5MR was -23/-25dB S/N with 10W. This means my 2W (ERP less) would be inaudible his end.  He'd need to be around -16dB S/N with me for a chance of him copying me.  In the past, I have been spotted in  Australia on 40m, 20m and 10m with 1W WSPR or less, but not today.

UPDATE 1745z: VK5MR has now been spotted 4 times.

Gone back to 10m

Since about 5 minutes ago, I have QSYed back to 10m WSPR.  OZ7IT and G4KPX are good signals currently. I may try JT65/JT9-1 later on 10m or 20m.

UPDATE 1400z: All very quiet on 10m now with just locals G0LRD and G4KPX.  I may QSY back to 20m?  SM67464 (999km) was the last Es spot before lunch. G8JNJ/A (184km) was spotted at lunch time presumably by tropo and aircraft reflection (GDX).

40m WSPR

For the last 40 minutes I have been on 40m WSPR with the very indifferent PAR end-fed. Plenty of spts given and received, as might be expected. Will QSY back to 10m soon.
40m WSPR uniques in first 40 mins

Mistakes

It must be my stroke, but I seem to make at least one typo with every blog entry that I later have to go back and correct. Sometimes it takes me a while to even notice the error. As an example, "handicap" was "hadicap" for some while in the last post even though the spell checker had pointed this out to me.

If you see typos please tell me so I can correct as soon as possible.

20m WSPR - too easy?

For a change, I QSYed to 20m WSPR where my low Par end-fed is even more compromised, Despite this handicap,  I seem to get 4-6 reports with each 2 minute WSPR transmission.  Reports so far have been all from EU stations.

I may try JT65 and JT9-1 on 20m before perhaps QSYing to 40m. I am getting a bit tired of reports from the same stations!

UPDATE 1032z:  Best DX so far is spotting R2DDX (2493km).

QSYed to 10m

After being on MF (472kHz) overnight, I have at 0815z QSYed to 10m. 472kHz was disappointing with the same reporters. Best DX spot by me on 472kHz WSPR was DH5RAE (995km).

Sunspot count today is 73 but 20-30MHz conditions are expected to be "poor". Sounds like an unlikely day for 10m F2, but we'll see.
10m WSPR early Saturday
UPDATE 0900z:   EA5CYA (1376km) already spotted by 10m Es at 0834z.

UPDATE 0944z: Now Sweden SI9AM (1503km).

29 Aug 2014

472kHz power shown WRONGLY

Since turning on 472kHz WSPR earlier I have been showing the wrong power. On LF and MF (because antennas are usually so inefficient) it is convention to show ERP, not TX power. I simply forgot to change from 2W to 5mW ERP when I QSYed from 10m. This is such an easy mistake to make.

After 1440z the ERP is now correct. My TX power (from the transverter) is actually about 12W but the measured ERP is very low (around 5mW) as the antenna is so poor. I measure antenna current and calculate the antenna's effective height.

UPDATE 1820z: I am still surprised how few G stations are active on TX on 472kHz. G6AVK and G3WCB have both been received this evening.

UPDATE 1945z:  G4KPX has now come on and is being copied.

472kHz WSPR uniques in last hour
UPDATE 2130z: The same old stations yet again tonight. Still no new reporters on 472kHz.

472kHz continued

Still just M0LMH and G0LRD spotting me currently on MF. I shall (probably) stick on 472kHz WSPR for the rest of the day now. Things should liven up after dark.

472kHz WSPR

As 10m is behaving "normally" I have QSYed down to MF (472kHz) to see what daylight propagation is like. I am using the feeder to my 2m halo and V2000 vertical tuned against mains ground and one radial. The very first transmission got me reports from G0LRD (25km) and M0LMH (223km) and it is only 1150z.

10m Es - still good on WSPR

10m Es is good this morning with plenty from Scandinavia already (SI9, OZ and OH) spotted or spotting me.

Sunspot count today is 78 (stable) and 20-30MHz propagation "fair". There is a chance of F2 propagation today. For several days G0LRD (25km) has spotted VKs around breakfast time on 10m. I have been later getting active, so missed these.

28 Aug 2014

10m - quiet here so far today on WSPR

Sunspot count is 82 (disturbed) today and 20-30MHz propagation is forecast to be "poor". It seems unlikely I will see F2 propagation today on 10m, but you never can be sure on 10m. My PC stopped WSPR running around breakfast time (more updates?) and on restarting the software just G0LRD (25km) spotting me so far. Es is always possible.

I may return to 472kHz later today if things stay quiet on 10m.

UPDATE 1950z:  Well, 10m is always a band of surprises! CX2ABP (11127km) was copied several times after tea by N-S F2 and CT1JTQ (1843km) by Es. The PC was off (being swapped) most of the afternoon so I may have missed some of the action on 10m.

UPDATE 2000z:  Will be going QRT on 10m shortly.  472kHz (maybe) tomorrow night.

27 Aug 2014

10m GDX and more F2 and Es

M0EMM (192km) has been spotted at 1114z and 1134z from  IO82sq square, presumably tropo with some aircraft reflections. This morning I am seeing GDX, Es and F2 propagation: this is why the band is so interesting.
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/ad/Mogacapital.jpg/800px-Mogacapital.jpg



UPDATE 1412z:  Is this really meant to be a "poor" propagation day on 10m?  T5/T61AA (6960km) has been spotted many times since lunch. This is Ross (who was in Afghanistan) now in Mogadishu, Somalia, East Africa.

UPDATE 2035z:  Just G0LRD (25km) in recent hours. All DX, for now, has disappeared here.

10m F2 this morning and sunspots

FR1GZ (9724km) was be copied here first at 1056z this morning by 10m F2 propagation.There have beenseveral spots since and he has also spotted me.

Sunspot count today is 81 (disturbed) and 20-30MHz propagation expected to be "poor". Quite surprised to see Reunion Is in the log today, but  this 10m, a band filled with surprises every day.

There is already Es about on 10m with CT1JTQ (1843km) spotting me several times from 1024z.

26 Aug 2014

Yet more stateside and some F2 and Es

What a remarkable day on 10m WSPR! This morning plenty of spots of FR1GZ (9724km) on Reunion Is (Indian Ocean) and several USA stations coming through or spotting me, starting with KB1YMI (5156km) in FN43rl square at 1306z and later KD6RF (7526km) and ND6M (6914km). In most cases, spots were exchanged 2-ways. This is the 11th USA opening that I have caught on 10m this Es season.  I actually find it hard to believe this is really multi-hop Es. Maybe we are seeing a new sort of propagation? The (very brief) openings seem to be too regular for a form of Es.  It is getting late in the Es season now and these openings are just about daily.  Quite remarkable.

Despite the "6" call area, these "6" stations were in Texas and Tennessee. In recent years you can no longer assume "6" stations are in California for example. For non-USA stations (if not also for stations in the USA) this is a bad, backward step,  resulting in lots of confusion. The FCC does seem to be a bit short-sighted.

UPDATE 1915z:  I just noted that VE3GEN (5593km) was spotting me this afternoon at 1524z. As far as I recall, this is the first VE in the log this summer on 10m WSPR. There is still widespread Es on 10m from across Europe.

UPDATE 1935z:  I see WG2Z (5600km) was spotted at 1134z this morning. GM4SFW was also spotted today by Es. Transatlantic summertime propagation seems so common (suprisingly) that it is almost not worth reporting!

UPDATE 2120z:  VE3GEN (5593km) was logging me again at 2046z this evening.  Remarkable, albeit at - 28dB S/N (weakly) and no other transatlantic stations copied around that time. If I count unique occurrences, I think this is 13th (or is it 14th?) time this Es season that I have seen the 10m band open across the North Atlantic.

Sunspots and 10m Es

Sunspot count today is 112 (going lower and with blackouts) but 20-30MHz propagation is forecast to be "good". We should see F2 today on 10m.

Already on WSPR this morning there is 10m Es to LZ1OI (2153km) and IK1WVQ (1084km).  I suspect another decent day on the 10m band is in store.

UPDATE 0905z:  EA5CYA (1376km) now being spotted.

And again! N2OTO spotted on 10m last night

10m was open very briefly again last night transatlantic. Just single spots exchanged (each way) on WSPR with N2OTO (7088km) at around 2242z.  Local G0LRD (25km) also spotted him. This is now the 11th transatlantic 10m Es opening this summer by Es. WSPR certainly helps!

25 Aug 2014

10m - transatlantic YET again today!

This lunchtime, 10m opened to the USA yet again with K9AN (6505km) and KC2GMM (5562km) being spotted here. I think this is the 10th time I have caught a 10m stateside opening this Es season. I am sure that WSPR is helping to discover these brief openings. 

I find it amazing that 10m gets to the USA so often. If this is multi-hop Es (I think it is) similar openings are likely any summer Es season, even right in the sunspot minima.  Some even think Es gets better as we approach the minima, although I am unsure if this is true.

UPDATE 1425z:  EA5CYA (1376km) has been spotted several times since lunchtime by Es. Otherwise mainly locals G4KPX (14km) and G0LRD (25km).

UPDATE 1920z:   GM4WJA (624km) has spotted me several times this evening by Es.  OK2SAM (1283km) has been spotted on Es here at 1906z.

UPDATE 2133z:   LZ1OI (2153km) spotted at -18dB S/N on WSPR by Es at 2018z. There has been Es throughout the day, but it has been absent far more than "there". I guess this is how it is going to be now as we enter the quieter Es months.

Sunspots today and 10m this morning

Sunspot count is 128 with 20-30MHz propagation forecast to be "good". This should be another good day for 10m F2 long distance propagation. I'd expect more Es too at some time.

So far today, just locals G4KPX (14km) and G0LRD (25km) spotting me and being spotted, apart from OZ7IT at breakfast time by Es.  No sign (yet) of F2 propagation.

UPDATE 1045z:  OK2UGG (1164km) has just spotted me by Es.

UPDATE 1050z:  G0LRD tells me I missed VK3KCX at breakfast time this morning by F2.  I think Dave's antenna on 10m is better than mine.

UPDATE 1208z:  No further Es (or F2) seen here since OK2UGG at 1032z.

10m - yet more transatlantic

Very late last night, 10m yet again was open across the Atlantic to the USA.  N2OTO (7088km) was spotting my 2W at around 2312z at -16dB S/N and a little earlier WB2TQE (7097km) was copying me slightly less strongly. Although most probably multi-hop Es, it is just possible it was F2 back-scatter from near the equator. 10m has opened to the USA very many times this summer. I think I have caught 8-9 openings now, and I will have missed a few.

These are just the sort of fleeting openings that regular WSPR operation will reveal.

24 Aug 2014

10m - still being spotted in Brazil

PT2WWV is still spotting me at 2142. I suspect he will copy me even later too. This is now the 6th time he has spotted me this evening.

VLF experiments

My neurosurgeon believes I should now be driving again and so do I.   I am waiting to hear from the DLVA. It is now a year since I last drove or touched alcohol, because of my brain bleed and the op that followed it.

One of the first things I want to do is some 8.97kHz tests from the "new" QTH. I say new QTH, but we have lived there over a year now, although I was in hospital for 3.5 months. This test will involve driving to some local test  sites to see how strong (or weak) my 5W test signal from home is. The drives are quite short.

10m - my favourite band of all

There is something very special about the 28MHz (10m) band. It is hard to put my finger on why I enjoy 10m so much - probably it is the great variety of propagation - but it is, for most of the sunspot cycle, more fascinating than any other HF band. April-September 10m seems to support Es and there is a second Es peak at Christmas/January.  F2, especially over N-S paths seems to be present right to the sunspot minima. GDX (inter-G DX) seems to be possible by tropo or aircraft reflection at almost any time to at least 200km. Of course it is useful for local QSOs too. In all, it is a great band to be enjoyed all year around and at any time in the sunspot cycle.  In the quieter years it behaves more like a VHF band but not completely so with F2 still possible. Es seems to enliven the band for quite a bit of the year too. Another bonus is that antennas are small.   Please, never give up on this splendid band.

UPDATE 2100z: There is still 10m Es and 10m F2 propagation.  PT2WWV (8873km) has recently spotted my 2W WSPR (2050z) at a very strong -9dB S/N.

Yaesu launch FT991 in Japan

Ever alert Steve G1KQH has spotted that Yaesu launched the new FT991 at the Tokyo Ham Fair in Japan as a replacement for the FT897D. See http://qrznow.com/yaesu-ft-991/ .

This looks a very neat, small, multi-band, multi-frequency rig, as long as the price is sensible. In Jaoan, they usually sell a QRP version too. It would be good to see a 20-30W version in Europe too. This would compete well with the (now stopped) IC703 rig by ICOM.
http://qrznow.com/yaesu-ft-991/
The image is linked from the http://qrznow.com/yaesu-ft-991/ site. The image is NOT resident on this site. Please follow the link for details of this rig. I have no further details.

There is no sign of a replacement for the FT817ND rig. I think Yaesu must have abandoned plans, which is a shame.

10m in good shape yet again

Today Es has been good again on 10m. FR1GZ (9724km) was spotted this morning and PT2WWV (8873km) was by spotted by F2 several times already by WSPR.  I have been monitoring 10m most of the day and will continue this evening.

Sunspot count is a decent 124 and 20-30MHz propagation is "normal". I was NOT surprised to see PT2WWV a little while ago by F2.

I have been spotted by several stations around Europe today (Es). Today seems like another excellent day on 10m WSPR.

UPDATE 1945z:  Still plenty of Es about on 10m WSPR.

23 Aug 2014

10m F2 again this evening

Recent 10m WSPR spots
Right on schedule PT2WWV (8873km) was spotted 4 times (already) after tea today on 10m WSPR (1904-1928z).  I think this is pure F2, but there is an outside chance it is Es and F2 combined (first hop Es then F2) as EA5CYA was also putting in an appearance by Es on 10m WSPR. Conditions on 10m have been good N-S of late.

UPDATE 1945z: PT2WWV again spotted. Plenty of 10m Es too.

UPDATE 2020z: PT2WWV has been spotted 9 times already by 2012z.

UPDATE 2115z: PT2WWV has been spotted 14 times so far this evening here and he has spotted my 2W already 3 times. I am afraid that 630m (472kHz) has been abandoned for a few nights whilst 10m is so good. 10m WSPR will be left running during the night.

Sunspots

Sunspot count today is 139 (good) and 20-30MHz propagation is "normal" so there is a fair chance of F2 today on 10m.

10m Es today

The main (N. Hemisphere) months for Es are May, June and July but Es has been good on 10m right through August and I suspect September will still be quite good on 10m. Actually, I suspect 10m Es will be present probably every week throughout the year but at a much lower level.  If stations "stick with" 10m into the quieter months, I suspect far more openings will be detected than in the past. Of course this coming autumn, winter and spring we'll still have F2 to enjoy, probably to all parts of the world on 10m.

22 Aug 2014

10m F2 this afternoon/evening

Not unexpectedly, FR1GZ (9724km) was spotted here by 10m WSPR at 1520z. I was expecting to spot him earlier. OK2SAM (1283km) has been spotted by Es many times this afternoon. LU7YW is on and may spot me later with luck. He seems to be RX only.

UPDATE 1925z:   PT2WWV (8873km) was spotted by F2 3 times after teatime. He has spotted my 2W once.

UPDATE 1940z: As 10m is still open to South America, I have decided to stick with the 10m band and NOT move to 472kHz until later tonight, if at all.

UPDATE 2105z:  PT2WWV (8873km) is still coming through at 2056z. He has spotted me 5 times and I have spotted him 14 times this evening so far. I suspect the band will be open a while longer. There is still a lot of Es around too. Today 10m has been very good.

LNR Precision 5 band HF transceiver - the LD-5

Steve G1KQH has found a link to this new transceiver https://www.facebook.com/pages/LnR-Precision-Inc/229134337165152?hc_location=timeline. It looks a bit like the Elecraft KX3 but I hope it is much less expensive as it only covers 5 bands on TX.
LNR are the people that make the Par line of antennas now. They hope to start taking orders in September. Apparently they had quality issues in China with the 4-band version.

10m, 6m, 630m (472kHz ) WSPR

Overnight, I was on 472kHz but spots (given and received) were from people I'd seen before. No new reports/reporters. After a very brief pause on 6m (just G4IKZ spotting me at 18km) I have now settled on 10m for the day. EA5CYA (1376km) was spotted at 0940z and 0954z by Es. Otherwise quiet so far.

Sunspot count today is 128 (decent) and 20-30MHz propagation is "good".  I think today it is likely we'll see F2 propagation on 10m WSPR today as long as there are WSPR stations active in the right places.
UPDATE 1035z: EA5CYA still there on 10m Es.

UPDATE 1206z : The 10m Es opening is now quite widespread with several different central and eastern European countries in evidence.

UPDATE 1256z:  The 10m Es opening seems to be towards Scandinavia now with spots from SM67464 and LB9YE.

UPDATE 1315z:   OZ7IT and I are exchanging 10m WSPR spots.

21 Aug 2014

Back on 472kHz again

Since about 1930z I have been on 472kHz WSPR using the strapped feeders to my V2000 VHF/UHF vertical and 2m halo. So far just the usual suspects spotted and spotting me i.e. no-one new.

It is likely that in the next week my amateur radio operation will be compromised as we'll have grandchidren here and their parents. For some of the time my shack will be a bedroom. I shall try to run 472kHz WSPR until Tuesday if I can. 10m by day and MF evenings and overnight.
472kHz unique WSPR spots in the last hour.

10m - closed now?

It is now 1857z and there has been no Es here now for over an hour. In the periods I was monitoring 10m, no F2 propagation was spotted. No GDX seen either in the last few hours.

I will QSY to 472kHz shortly I think.

I was thinking of buying a dedicated 10m rig, but unless my voice rapidly soon improves  (SSB, FM and AM are hard work for me because of my stroke) this is probably a waste of money at the moment. For now I shall stick with 2-5W on digital modes, which I can manage with the FT817 rig. JT65 and JT9-1 are my best bets. PSK31 is quite hard as it requires (near) real-time keyboard skills. I rather dislike PSK31 with macros -  you can usually tell when someone is using macros - I much prefer real QSOs. At least JT65 and JT9-1 use very formulaic formats for minimal data QSOs. QSOs are very very basic, but for me this helps at the moment. One reason I enjoy WSPR is it tells you about conditions on a given band and once set up, it just runs with minimal intervention. Some will (rightly) say it is computers talking to computers. At the moment, this is close to what I need. JT65 and JT9-1 are proper 2-way modes.

New band tried with "compromise" antenna.

This afternoon I tried 80m WSPR with the "compromise" antenna (V2000  + 2m halo with strapped feeders) with some success. On 80m I copied M0BLP and PA0WMR although there were very few stations active. I was not copied by anyone. I was going to try 160m but decided there was too little activity.

Later I used 40m and 20m with the Par end-fed.  On 40m, just one transmission resulted in 10 spots in 7 countries. The next transmission resulted in not a single report, probably because I was sitting on the frequency of a very strong station who was TXing at the time?

I later returned to 10m, and spotted EA5CYA (1376km) and LZ1OI (2145km) by Es around teatime. The Spanish station was pretty strong but the LZ was much weaker.

Sunspots and 10m

Current sunspot count is 89 with 20-30MHz propagation "normal". There may be some 10m F2 around on 10m today.  Just QSYing to 10m WSPR now.

Although there will still be 10m Es propagation, I doubt it will be as good as in May, June and July.

UPDATE 1130z:  Already 10m has been open by Es WSPR to CT1JTQ (1843km) and SI9AM (1503km) as well as GDX to G4HZW (209km). Not a bad start and it is not even lunchtime yet.

472kHz WSPR - overnight again

At the moment I am still on 472kHz WSPR having kept the WSPR running through the night. Same stations in the logs - no new reporters sadly - and again GM4SLV (896km) is still giving me daylight spots. Currently I am using the V2000 VHF/UHF vertical and 2m halo both with strapped feeders as my "compromise" 472kHz antenna. Ground is mains earth plus one shortish radial with single ground stake. I may give this antenna a try on 160m and 80m, just for fun.

These are the results in the last hour on 472kHz:
Recent 472kHz WSPR spots
Later I shall QSY to 10m as daytime 472kHz activity is very low.

20 Aug 2014

Spoiling the natural environment, or not?

The beautiful Kingsbridge Estuary
The petition to NOT allow water skiing in the Kingsbridge Estuary is gathering momentum. The last time I looked there were 851 supporters of the "no" vote. If you want to support the campaign, then go to the link and vote. The more people who support the "no" campaign, the better chances we have of preventing this precious habitat and SSSI being ruined forever.

UPDATE 2015z:  856 votes now.  Keep voting!

Back on 472kHz WSPR

After a brief foray on 6m WSPR, I have returned to 472kHz WSPR now. Antenna current is higher than last night (on the V2000 and halo with strapped feeders) and the only difference is the weather. I assumes the ground is wetter. So far, the usual stations although PA3TKF (286km) was a new station to spot earlier, bringing me up to 20 unique spots this summer. Again, I am sure that I should be able to copy lots more stations and they spot me too.

2m WSPR

As I knew G3ZJO and G0LRD were both active on 2m WSPR this morning, I ventured onto 144.492MHz USB dial on 2m. I was immediately rewarded with a spot of G3ZJO (79km). During the morning G0LRD (25km) has spotted me multiple times and I have spotted Eddie, G3ZJO, three times now. Interestingly, Eddies signal was accompanied by up to 6 aircraft Doppler shifted signals. His signal decoded far fewer times than he was visible.
G3ZJO (79km) non-decoding 2m WSPR signals with lots of aircraft Doppler.
In the UK and Europe 144.492MHz USB dial is the frequency of choice, NOT the frequency recommended.  I believe some in Europe have birdie problems on the recommended frequency.

19 Aug 2014

Different 472kHz antenna

Since about 1838z I have been using the strapped feeders to my triband VHF/UHF vertical and halo as my 472kHz antenna.
472kHz WSPR unique spots (of me) so far this summer
Antenna is higher than the Par triband HF antenna with strapped feeder but the antenna current is about the same. If the effective height is a bit higher (it should be) then ERP should be higher too. Initial results suggest in some directions it is down on the earth-electrode antenna but I do seem to be getting more spots at each transmission than on the earth-electrode or Par antennas. G4VJF(151km) is a totally new reporter tonight bringing the number of spots of my 472kHz WSPR this summer up to 16 now.
UPDATE 2032z:   29 active stations on 472kHz this evening.

UPDATE 2044z:   Now 34 active stations on 472kHz.

UPDATE 2055z:   Currently getting about 4 spots per transmission on 472kHz.

UPDATE 2145z:   Now 38 active stations on 472kHz. Will leave 472kHz WSPR running through the night to see how latest (compromise) antenna performs.

Sunspots today

Sunspot numbers are down a bit at 92 (disturbed) and 20-30MHz forecast is just "fair". I think it is unlikely we'll see F2 propagation on 10m today, but you never know on 10m.

Yet again, there seem to be few stations at F2 ranges active on 10m WSPR today. At the time of writing (1302z) there are 32 stations active worldwide on 10m WSPR. FR1GZ is on and he is at classic F2 range.

472kHz WSPR - more on the earth-electrode antenna

Overnight I continued using the earth-electrode antenna on 472kHz. I don't think it is any better than the short Marconi, but it certainly works pretty well, even with a short baseline of less than 15m.
Unique 472kHz WSPR spots this summer on TX
The number of unique spots of my 472kHz WSPR signal has now reached 15 and I have spotted 19 unique stations with my best DX being DH5RAE (995km) using the earth-electrode antenna last night.
Unique 472kHz WSPR spots this summer on RX
The earth-electrode antenna seems far more directional. Several stations orthogonal to the system did NOT copy me (or me them) overnight.

18 Aug 2014

ERPs on 472kHz

I am pretty confident of my "just less than 5mW ERP" on 472kHz (with the very short Marconi) and am a bit suspicious of the claimed ERPs of some stations,, which, judging by the reports exchanged, may be lower than some people think. I think a lot more stations are less than 500mW ERP than they think. Perhaps losses are much higher than they think?

472kHz - earth electrode antenna

Since about 1930z I have been using the (short) earth-electrode antenna on 472kHz.  Baseline is at most 15m, probably less and it runs roughly E-W.  On RX I am seeing F5WK (436km) for the first time and reports exchanged (both ways) with G3WCB (101km) seem to be slightly stronger. Semi-local G0LRD (25km) is spotting me at much the same strength.  PA3ABK/2 is similar on the earth-electrode antenna and the Marconi.   I have yet to spot or be spotted by other stations.

I am matching the loop with a tapped 3C90 transformer and a few turns on a 110mm diameter former, although the Q is so low that this coil is probably not necessary. Antenna current is about 0.4 that with the "short" Marconi vertical. It is probably acting as a loop and I have still to try to work out the ERP.  At this QTH, the earth-electrode antenna looks like a higher resistance than at the old QTH, hence the need for a step-up transformer between transverter and "antenna". At some point, when fit again, I want to try a longer baseline earth electrode antenna and a better Marconi vertical. When fit again - oh please!

I suspect the earth-electrode antenna to be directional, so in some directions it may be better and others worse than the Marconi.  I'll leave it running overnight to see how results compare with the very short Marconi. I suspect results will be worse overall on the earth-electrode antenna, but I may be surprised.

Sunspots today

Sunspot count today is 111 and the 20-30MHz propagation forecast is "normal".

No F2 DX was seen when I was monitoring 28.078MHz JT9-1 all afternoon, although I would expect there to have been F2 propagation on 10m. V53ARC was copied in by CT1JTQ in Portugal on WSPR several times, but not further north as far as I know.

472kHz WSPR this afternoon

After an afternoon monitoring JT9-1 on 10m this afternoon, I have returned to 472kHz WSPR.  To my surprise, at the time I switched on I find I am the only station in the world transmitting on 472kHz WSPR.  Hopefully, this will soon change. G0LRD has already spotted me though.

UPDATE 1605z: Still the only station TXing WSPR on the band but there are now 9 stations monitoring (was 7).

UPDATE 1611z:   Still just me on TX and now only 3 stations monitoring.
UPDATE 1636z:   Just spots from G0LRD so far.

UPDATE 1655z: All spots so far from G0LRD (25km) and I am still the only European TXing on 472kHz at this time.  Maybe more will appear after tea when people get back from work?

UPDATE 1730z:   M0PPP has now spotted me 3 times too. Now 3 Europeans on WSPR TX with 16 stations active (TX and monitoring).

Digital modes this morning

This morning I have been using digital modes JT65 and JT9-1.

I did see one station on JT9-1 on 10m but it did not decode, so I have been on 20m where I've had some success, albeit around Europe.  As well as using WSJTX for QSOs, I'm also monitoring who is copying me with PSK Reporter on JT65 and JT9-1 modes. So far, I have just been seen around Europe today.

So far, solid 5W QSOs with EA7AH (JT9-1) and IW4DBY (JT65) both on 20m.  Presently, I am monitoring 10m JT9-1 but no stations received here over lunchtime.

I may go back to 10m WSPR shortly.

472kHz WSPR "uniques"

472kHz unique stations reporting me this summer so far on WSPR.
My "scores" have now gone up to 16 unique station WSPR reports given and 14 unique station WSPR reports received so far this summer. The latest was Richard G4KPX on both 472kHz WSPR RX and TX.  He is a local (14km) and I thought he'd already seen me on 472kHz, but this must have been on 10m. Richard uses an indoor 472kHz loop on both RX and TX and 1mW ERP. There are some decent ranges here on both TX and RX.  GM4SLV must have a nice low noise RX set-up as he misses very little.
472kHz unique stations copied on WSPR so far this summer.

17 Aug 2014

JT65 and JT9-1

Tomorrow, I may give these modes a better go. In recent days I have reverted to WSPR (which I can monitor in the lounge) but feel the urge for more 2-way QSOs, which is very hard on SSB and CW currently as a result of my stroke.  Hopefully my normal voice will gradually return.  At the moment speaking is very tiring as I get breathless. and forming words is hard going.   CW is also not so easy.  JT65 and JT9-1 are perhaps the best 2-way modes for me right now. They require limited keyboard skills which I can manage.

472kHz WSPR - early evening

Since returning from our younger son and family in Kent, I have turned on 472kHz WSPR both TX and RX. Just some of the regulars on. Otherwise pretty quiet this evening. These are the spots in the first 40 minutes or so.
Early evening on 472kHz WSPR

Largely non-radio day

Son Chris and grandson Edward outside their home.
Although I shall probably go on 472kHz WSPR shortly, today has been a day largely without radio: we went on a train day return to Canterbury to see our son Chris and family. We have done this now 3 times and get about 4 hours with them. It was good.

15th station seen on 472kHz WSPR

No new stations spotting me overnight but I did spot my 15th unique station this summer DJ0ABR (983km) which is a new distance record for me this summer.

16 Aug 2014

472kHz WSPR - immediate success

Since QSYing down to 472kHz WSPR, the reports have been flooding in, even though ERP is less than 5mW.  These are the initial spots since going on to MF.  Note yet again the daylight spots from GM4SLV (896km) way up in Shetland. No totally new reporters yet, but maybe tonight?
UPDATE 1925z:   G8AGN has been spotted as the 14th unique station seen this summer at around -21/-22dB S/N.
14 unique 472kHz WSPR stations received this summer so far
UPDATE 2035z:   Currently 29 stations active on 472kHz WSPR. Hopeful of being spotted by new stations tonight.

10m WSPR - for a little longer still?

It has been very quiet now on 10m WSPR since 1328z when LA3ZA was last coming in here via Es. Apart from local G4KPX, the band has been very quiet on WSPR.  I even checked the gear was working as it seemed too quiet.

I shall stick with 10m until about 1830z, then QSY down to 472kHz again. Currently there are more active stations on 472kHz (22) than on 28MHz/10m (15). Of course these numbers can rapidly alter and http://wsprnet.org/drupal/wsprnet/activity only shows stations spotting in the last 10 minutes, so if you hit a quiet patch, you appear to disappear.

F2 will be hard to see with WSPR as there are so few active stations where they need to be - just 2 in the USA and 1 in South America only. Without stations at F2 ranges on WSPR, WSPR rather loses its point. No F2 seen here on WSPR today, but that may be down to an absence of WSPR stations rather than conditions.

Why do so many stay on 30m (68 active) or 20m (104 active)?  Operating on these bands teaches us very little indeed. Operating on the higher HF bands and 6m teaches us a lot about fleeting openings and propagation. In recent days there has been evidence of MS on 10m WSPR. It tells us a lot about 10m/6m GDX too.

See http://wsprnet.org/drupal/wsprnet/activity .

UPDATE 1606z:  The number of active 10m WSPR stations has now jumped to 22 with 7 in the USA.

UPDATE 1636z:  As it is so dead on 10m, I am going to QSY to 472kHz immediately.

UPDATE 1640z:  Now QSYed to 472kHz WSPR.

Hamspots - a useful resource

See http://hamspots.net/3bjt/ .

A little while back someone introduced me to Hamspots which is a sort of  filtered spotting system for digital modes. You can chose how many bands to monitor and the modes, Very useful to see JT65 and JT9-1 activity on, say, 20, 10 and 6m.

10m Es - GM4AOS

The latest station to be spotted on 10m WSPR is GM4OAS (653km) at -22dB S/N at 1314z using 5W. Apart from the GM, there has been nothing since SI9AM at 1212z. No Es and no F2. I am still on the lookout for real DX on 10m.

10m 200mW

Interestingly, both LA3ZA and SI9AM are using just 200mW on 10m yet they are both coming through fine here on 10m WSPR. SI9AM is a few dB stronger than LA3ZA, which I assume is propagation. I use 2W as my Par end-fed antenna seems to be somewhat of a compromise. I don't want to take it down as it get me on several other bands too.

UPDATE 1200z:  Still waiting for that elusive F2 propagation.  The ZS is not currently listed in the 23 active stations.

472kHz update and QSY to 10m

I QSYed up to 28MHz (10m) mid-morning. Overnight on 472kHz, the same reporters were spotting me, so still just 13 unique station reports on the band this summer so far. 13 is also the number of unique stations I have spotted, although in several cases I am spotting some different stations who maybe don't monitor the band with a low noise floor RX system?

On 10m WSPR SI9AM (1503km) is being spotted by Es and G4KPX (14km) is a local. These are mid-morning.

Sunspot count today is 119 with 20-30MHz propagation "excellent". As long as there are WSPR stations active in the right places, I'd expect to see some F2 propagation. FR1, ZS and LU are on 10m WSPR, so I'd expect to see these in the logs later. Being 10m though, you can never be quite sure! To my mind, there are two "magic bands" - 10m and 6m.

UPDATE 1016z: In the last few minutes LA3ZA (1051km) is being spotted here. Is this opening just towards Scandinavia?

15 Aug 2014

472kHz early evening

The move to 472kHz was made at about 1914z. Spots have been plentiful in both directions (received and given) but so far, no new reporters. I check results on WSPRnet. The first 30 minutes or so are show here.
472kHz WSPR spots - so far this evening
This evening, there are more stations active on 472kHz WSPR than I can ever recall (42). There were even more a little later.
UPDATE 2155z:  G3XIZ (46km) has just spotted me at -15dB S/N for spotter number 13 this summer.

10m Es - Iberia all day

10m has been open by Es virtually all day long to the Iberian peninsula (Spain and Portugal). 10m Es is far from ended this summer. I suspect that even 6m will have been good on Es today.

Somewhat surprisingly I have seen no evidence here (yet) of F2 propagation. I was expecting to copy FR1, ZS or V53 already but no signs. It may be just that there are no WSPR stations active in the right places? Maybe we'll see S.America later? LU7YW is active on 10m WSPR currently and could well be copyable if the 10m band opens in that direction. We'll see within the next few hours.

Later this evening, I shall be returning to 472kHz WSPR, hopeful of more spots and spotters. Probably not before dark.

UPDATE 1800z:   Germany too spotting me at around 1644z.  Still no signs of any F2 propagation on WSPR.

UPDATE 1920z:  27 10m WSPR spots by CT1JTQ today. I have now QSYed to 472kHz WSPR.

SPAM comments

I've just noticed a couple of SPAM comments (these were adverts for dodgy anti-virus help) which have been removed. I am sorry these got there at all. My anti-SPAM catches most dodgy stuff.

Please SPAMMERS take note: comments on my blog are regularly checked and ANY SPAM will be removed as soon as possible. Don't even think about leaving blatant adverts or similar on this blog as they will be removed! You have been warned.

On the subject of warnings NEVER click on links you are unsure of or can't trust. This is a sure-fire way to get your PC compromised or hacked.

Blog numbers

It is hard to see why visits to this and my other Miscellaneous Musings general blog vary so much.

Today, for example, this blog had nearly 900 visits by breakfast time here, whereas yesterday it was less than half this number. It is not as if the content has changed that much. I try to put new content on both blogs regularly. If you have any ideas, please let me know.

Now on 10m for the day

At 1018z I switched to 10m for the day. Even just before this GM4SLV(896km) was still spotting my QRPp signal several times in daylight on 472kHz. Nonetheless, evenings and overnight are more productive on 472kHz.

Sunspot count today is up at 108 and stable with 20-30MHz propagation "normal". We should see F2 DX today on 10m.

UPDATE 1047z:   So far no WSPR spots here on 10m. It is early still though.

UPDATE 1055z:  Spoke a moment too soon: EA5CYA (1376km) has just been spotted at 1048z on 10m Es.

UPDATE 1120z:   CT1JTQ (1843km) spotted me at 1118z on 10m Es.

UPDATE 1405z:  This lunchtime  I've received 10m Es WSPR spots (I run 2W ERP) from, Spain. Portugal and Germany. There is still plenty of Es about on 10m.

472kHz - more reporters

Last evening and overnight, I let 472kHz WSPR run and was rewarded by being spotted by 2 new reporters for this summer. G7NKS (who has spotted me in earlier seasons) reported me last evening and G7MRV (192km) spotted me during the night. For G7MRV it was his first venture onto the band. He was copying Germans at 1141km, an impressive range. This now brings the number of unique spotters of my QRPp signal this summer up to 12. I really do believe my ERP is just under 5mW. There are plenty more stations in range that should be able to spot me.
472kHz - unique WSPR spots to date

14 Aug 2014

At last! A new spotter on 472kHz WSPR

At 1954z I returned to 472kHz WSPR and was immediately copied by G7NKS (46km) as my 11th unique reporter this summer. OK, not too far away, but a new station for this summer.

Storms permitting, I hope to be on 472kHz WSPR all night.

UPDATE NEXT DAY:  I was on 472kHz WSPR overnight.

Widegates, Kingsbridge Estuary, South Devon, UK

I'm sorry for putting this on my amateur radio blog but this is a matter dear to my heart. I come from this area and love it dearly.  Because of  my poor health, I have been unable to get to Devon at all this year.  

There is a proposal to allow water skiing in part of the Widegates area of the Kingsbridge Estuary.  This is an area of special scientific interest and at low tide a place where waders congregate. It is an area that is peaceful and quiet and of international importance.

If you know the area and want to comment, write to the Salcombe Harbour Master adam.parnell@southhams.gov.uk.

Personally, I am against the proposal. I fear the area will be adversely changed for ever. 

Water-skiers are pulled by fast boats which create lots of wake and lots of noise. I may be wrong, but I fear the area will never be quite the same again if the plans are approved. The "for it" campaign people have got lots of  publicity on the TV and in the press. There is a need to counter this. For democracy to work, the voices of both sides need to be heard.

ERP calculation on 472kHz

In an attempt to establish my ERP on 472kHz, I have crunched some numbers. I think it is error free, but no doubt someone will soon tell me!

With a 1:46 step up toroid, I am measuring the DC volts rectified across a 470 ohm secondary load resistor using a small 50uA meter in series with 240k ohms (120k twice) and a series silicon diode. This circuit is straight out of the "LF Today" book available from the RSGB bookshop.

DC current = 30uA
DC voltage across 470ohm secondary load  = 0.6 + (240 x 10E3 x 30 x 10E-6)  = 7.8V
DC voltage (rms) across 470 ohm = 7.8/1.414 = 5.52Vrms
I secondary = 5.52 * 10E3/470 = 11.7mA
I primary =  46 * Is = 46 * 11.7mA = 0.54A

Rrad = 160 * pi^2 * Heff^^2/lambda^^2 = 160 * 3.14 * 3.14 * 2 *2/(630 * 630) =0.0159 ohms

P(erp) = I^2 * R = 0.54* 0.54 * 0.0159 W = 4.6mW

My original guesstimate of 5mW ERP is not far out!

Clearly getting the antenna much higher would help enormously as ERP is proportional to Heff^^2. All one can really be sure of is the order of magnitude. I am running low milliwatts.

Sunspots

Sunspot count today is 68 and 20-30MHz propagation "normal", so 10m F2 propagation is possible N-S although I've seen no evidence here on WSPR yet. There seems little doubt now that we are on the slide down to the next minimum now. See http://www.solen.info/solar/ . This will takes years. The slide downwards tends to be slower than the climb up.

I do hope people stick with the higher HF bands during the whole cycle: we'll learn a lot if people do.

More 472kHz disappointment overnight

Yet again, a disappointing evening and night on 472kHz. The same stations are spotting me and I am spotting them. Reports are quite decent and I would have expected to have spotted, and been spotted by, far more stations by now. Just like 6m , the problem is too few active WSPR stations on the band. Such a shame as 472kHz is a fascinating band and WSPR a superb mode for weak signals.

As long as the storms abate, I shall be back on 472kHz again this evening, ever hopeful. I'd like to be spotted by at least 3 times the number of stations.

10m Es - good (until storms stopped play)

There was plentiful 10m Es about this morning, until I had to disconnect everything at 1205z because of very close storms. Spotting me were OZ7IT and CT1JTQ and I was spotting EA6GF and EA5CYA. Es has been present since (at least)  0850z when I first turned 10m WSPR on.

At the moment (1215z) the storms are only a few miles away - hence going QRT (for now).

UPDATE 1450z:  Storms have move on now.  EA6GF (1428km) is being spotted many times here at decent strengths this afternoon on 10m WSPR.

UPDATE 1511z:  EA5CYA (1376km) now being spotted on 10m WSPR. Thunder is still being heard, but distantly. I shall have to keep checking how close any nasty storms come.

UPDATE 1540z:  Thunder and lightning again very local, so all systems disconnected again for safety.

13 Aug 2014

472kHz WSPR - from 2054z

I have now QSYed down to 472kHz WSPR for the night. In the first transmission there were 3 spots, but sadly all from stations that have spotted me before. I am still hopeful of spotting new stations this season or being spotted by new stations myself.
WSPR spots 472kHz - 13 August to 2120z

10m - teatime Es

It is teatime and 10m is open to Portugal and Germany.  Funny how often Es peaks at lunchtimes and teatimes. I shall stick with 10m until dusk, then switch to 472kHz WSPR.  No DX outside Europe seen here as yet on 10m.

UPDATE 1905z:  German stations and Portugal still coming through on 10m WSPR at 1900z.

More Es and MS on 10m

CT1JTQ  is spotting me again by 10m Es at 1250z.

There is more evidence (short, strong non-decoding bursts on his frequency) that the PD0OHW reports are by MS bursts and probably not Es. The Perseid meteor shower is peaking around now in Europe and this will result in lots of long bursts.

Lawn cut - totally exhausted!

Just cut the rear lawn, well 90% of it, and I am totally exhausted. This is a result of my brain bleed. I still get very exhausted doing any physical activity. A year ago it was all so different.

Please may I get back to health again soon. Amateur radio building/field work is all but impossible at the moment as I am still so clumsy with my hands. I hate depending on others as much as I do.

Back on 10m WSPR

After an overnight session on 472kHz - no new spots or spotters seen, just the usual ones - it was back to 10m this morning with 3 early Es spots by CT1JTQ (1843km). I am suspicious of the spots by PD0OHW (459km).   These may be tropo or even MS as there are lots of short, strong bursts on his frequency this morning. For Es, the skip would have to be very short and tropo/aircraft/MS might be more probable over this sort of range. I see I have just spotted him at 0924z.

Sunspot count today is 80 and 20-30MHz propagation "normal".  F2 has been reported in Portugal, but no evidence here as yet. Conditions on 10m are likely to be "interesting". Basically, it is anyone's guess. There is always the chance of F2 linking with  Es, in which case some real DX is possible.

12 Aug 2014

472kHz WSPR

472kHz unique WSPR spots to 2100z.
At the same time as entering the 70cm UKAC,  I was operating on 472kHz WSPR. No new stations spotting me or being spotted as I write. For my very first transmission I forgot to change my ERP: it should have been 5mW and not 2W which was the ERP on 10m.

UPDATE 2200z:  Still just 10 unique reports received on 472kHz so far this summer. Will leave WSPR running 472kHz overnight in case I spot new stations or new stations spot me. You never know!

70cm UK activity contest

This evening was the monthly 70cm activity contest, so, despite my very poor voice, I entered this for the first hour. Conditions appeared totally flat. In 50 mins I only worked 5 stations and most were locals. In previous sessions I've managed to get my 5W to a 5el to reach about 200km.  Best DX tonight was just 63km. Still I enjoyed myself. Best DX heard was IO81 square.

At the same time I was on 472kHz WSPR with the other FT817, homebrew transverter and Par antenna with strapped feeders.

End of Es season?

It is beginning to feel like the end of the Northern Hemisphere's Es season. Although there are still openings (certainly on 10m) these are harder to find now than 6 weeks or so ago. Last year I was still finding Es on 6m well into mid-September, when I was taken very ill and was in hospital for 3.5 months. This season I have concentrated on WSPR mainly.

UPDATE 1718z:  This afternoon the 10m Es was quite good with several spots from CT1JTQ.

10m - Es or tropo?

I have been on 10m WSPR since early morning (2W ERP) bue so far I have spotted PD0OHW just once at 09450z with -3dB drift at a reasonable -18dB S/N.   At 459km this could have been either tropo/aircraft or Es. This is very short ship for Es. No other signals yet seen and no-one has spotted me yet.

UPDATE 1300z: DB0ZDF (608km) spotted me on 10m at 1208z.  This is definitely Es. So far, the only person to spot me on 10m today.

UPDATE 1302z: DK6UG (633km) just spotted me on 10m. Es again.

472kHz overnight

Overnight on 472kHz WSPR there were the same reporters and reports with no new people receiving my QRP signal. This was disappointing but not surprising. Yesterday evening I triedloading up the feeders to my 6m/2m/70cm V2000 vertical and my 2m halo feeder, but results were about 2dB down on the strapped feeder to my Par end-fed, so this is the antenna I used overnight.

11 Aug 2014

10m Es

Since early morning (0940z) I have been on 10m WSPR, where Es is still there. Not as frequently open, but opening most days at some time. The PA/PD stations are very short skip for Es: it would be interesting to see the traces these stations received: it is just possible these were tropo/aircraft assisted and not Es.

Sunspot count today is 64 (moderate) and 20-30MHz conditions "normal".  Not seen F2 DX yet, and may not today?
10m WSPR results so far today. 2W ERP from me.

Overnight on 472kHz

After all the stormy weather had passed, I returned to 472kHz WSPR overnight. My reward was 1 new reporter PA3ABK/2  in the middle of the night. This brings the unique reporters this season up to 10 now, the same as the number of stations I have spotted on 472kHz WSPR. Results are still disappointing as I know that many more reports are possible in both directions. I think I am spotting and being spotted by most active stations in range. The issue is too few active stations  on 472kHz WSPR.
472kHz WSPR spots of my QRP signal this season so far

10 Aug 2014

472kHz WSPRing tonight

As all the storms appear to be well away now, I shall remain on 472kHz WSPR overnight. I am both TXing and Rxing. TX duty cycle is about 18%.

Apart from M0LMH (223km)  near Harrogate, no other new reporters, or stations spotted, today here since I came back on 472kHz WSPR after the storms. Maybe I''ll be lucky overnight?

GM4SLV (896km) in Shetland has only spotted me once tonight so far. The storms are heading John's way.

I have just re-synced the PC clock to internet time. I am hopeful of some new reporters for this new season. If you get a chance, give 472kHz a go, if only on RX.

A close call (storm) and 472kHz WSPRing again

The thunder and lightning just missed us today. We had heavy rain, hail and thunder but the lightning missed us by a few miles. It is now out over the North Sea.

About to reconnect rigs, antennas and PC. Think I'll give 472kHz WSPR another try.

UPDATE 1644z:  Now back on 472kHz WSPR and rewarded with spotting G3WCB immediately and being spotted by 3 stations on first transmission including M0LMH (223km) as a new reporter this season. Will stick on 472kHz until morning unless more storms stop play.
Initial WSPR spots this evening on 472kHz
UPDATE 1730z:  Currently reading "The Everything Store - Jeff Bazos and the age of Amazon" by Brad Stone, lent to me be a neighbour/friend. Fascinating read about the history of Amazon. Bazos sounds like the boss you would NOT want - a real taskmaster - a very "driven" man with real conviction.

5 miles and closing - QRT time!

With that storm just 5 miles away and hailstones now falling, I have decided to go QRT for now and disconnect everything radiowise. The storm may yet miss us though, but it is too close to be sure.

Only Es from Spain since FR1GZ at 1204z.

The storm epicentre does seem to be missing us. I may not be QRT for too long. Can hear distant thunder, but skies are clearing. Burwell is between Cambridge and Newmarket.
See http://www.lightningmaps.org/realtime?lang=en

FR1GZ (F2 DX) and a storm coming?

1204z saw FR1GZ (9724km) in the log for my first F2 DX on 10m today.  I hope he spots me too although I am running less power (2W ERP) than his 5W. He was only -25dB S/N, not too strong.

Looking at the lightning map, there is a nasty storm currently coming our way. It is over Bedford as I write and moving ominously closer.  Much closer and I shall have to disconnect everything and go QRT until it has passed. Another 20 minutes should tell me if it is coming this way or will just miss us. There are other storms further south too. Today looks like our unlucky day. It is raining hard - not looking promising! Latest flash over St Neots. The storm coming our way from the Cotswolds may be tracking just NW of us and may miss us, again.

QSYed to 10m

Well, 472kHz WSPR ran overnight with absolutely no new reporters, just the same faithful few, so I am giving up on that band for now. I shall return in a while.

In the meantime, I QSYed to 10m where I was greeted with immediate success. Even before changing the settings on the FT817 to 2W I was being spotted in Portugal even when running 500mW out. Since then, I have switched to 2W ERP and am being spotted by DK6UG (633km), CT1JTQ (1843km) and I am spotting EA5CYA and SI9AM.   Plenty of Es about.

Sunspot count today is 111 (decent and stable) and 20-30MHz propagation is "normal" so there is a decent chance of F2 DX as long as I don't have to go QRT because of storms. We are getting highish winds and driving miserable rain, which are the left-overs from Hurricane Bertha, having crossed the Atlantic. I don't think we are seeing the worst of the weather in the UK; other parts are getting hit far harder. At he moment, the worst of the storms are tracking well to the east of us.  See http://www.lightningmaps.org/realtime?lang=en.

Today our son is driving from Dunkirk to Brittany. I hope the weather over there is a little better! His forecast is rain, but not as bad as here.

UPDATE 1122z:  I think I need a new challenge on WSPR - perhaps I should try a totally new band? 10m is fun but again I am seeing just the same stations.
10m WSPR this morning - plenty of Es

9 Aug 2014

WSPR disappointment (so far) on 472kHz

Results to date suggest my ERP is at least as good as in previous seasons yet (up to now at least) very few stations have spotted me. I think there are fewer WSPR stations active? My best DX so far, and my daylight range on TX, suggest many more reports should be possible. Where is everyone?

I hope 472kHz isn't going to disappoint as 6m WSPR did. On 6m WSPR there was a real lack of transatlantic stations.  On 472kHz WSPR there seem to be fewer WSPR stations full stop.

I shall leave the kit running again tonight and hope I get some nice surprises.  Of course, it could be the local noise floor is higher than it was for many stations and they've just given up on the band? At the moment I'm lucky: my sensitivity is rather low, but my noise floor is very low too. This may not last.

UPDATE 2110z:  Since returning to 472kHz WSPR I have spotted just 10 unique stations and been spotted by 8 unique stations. Some years ago on 500kHz I was spotted by nearly 100 unique stations. My setup is not that different. OK this was over several months and in the autumn/winter seasons, but there do seem to be fewer different stations active. I'll certainly stick with 472kHz WSPR to give it a fair chance though.

UPDATE 2134z:  Currently there are 32 stations shown as being active on 472kHz WSPR. 24 of these are European. This is a good number.
472kHz WSPR stations active in last 10 minutes

Obsolete, unsupported software

Steve G1KQH has been at it again, noticing that, as well as no longer supporting XP, Microsoft is also stopping support for older versions of it web browser,  IE.

Update your Web browser. I got rid of IE years ago and moved to Firefox. some still run IE6???


73 Steve
http://www.g1kqh.talktalk.net/


Incidentally, I am told Microsoft Security Essentials got a good review in a recent "Which".   I still use MSE on some machines and have never, yet, had any security issues, although I tend to be careful with dodgy attachments.
 

Back on 472kHz

Meadow at Ickworth
We returned from a walk at Ickworth just before lunch. I have switched on my 472kHz WSPR station, still with the strapped feeders to the Par antenna. I moved up one tap on the 3C90 matching transformer, to get a slightly better match. Initial daytime results are very encouraging with several spots from GM4SLV (896km) and others. No bad weather due before tomorrow.
WSPR reports on 472kHz QRPp today

"Normal service" later today.

After last night's thunder and lightning, I hope to resume "normal service" around lunchtime: we are otherwise busy until then. The weather today looks sunny and calm,before more storms on Sunday. Not sure what band I will use yet - probably 472kHz, but possibly 28MHz (10m).

Sunspot count today is 101 (pretty decent) and 20-30MHz propagation forecast to be "good" so a good day for N-S F2 propagation, as well as Es and GDX on 10m. On 6m only some Es and GDX likely.

8 Aug 2014

Gone QRT - storms

As there is local thunder and lightning, I've had to abandon 472kHz operation. All antennas, rigs, PSU and the PC have been disconnected. Darn shame, but sometimes one has to be safer than sorry.

6m transatlantic - but NOT on WSPR

See http://hamspots.net/10-6/ .

I see on Hamspots that 6m has been open to N.America and the Caribbean this evening but there are NO suitably located stations active on WSPR.  It seems WSPR on 6m is mostly a total waste of time unless stations come on to make transatlantic WSPR tests meaningful. In previous seasons I have monitored SSB and CW and had success copying transatlantics for as long as I can recall.

I am not returning to 6m WSPR in a hurry. It's a great pity. Next Es DX season I think I shall try again on CW and SSB again.

472kHz - on same antenna tonight

I have decided to continue using the same antenna for this evening so I build up more data before trying another antenna configuration over the weekend. So I am still using the end-fed Par antenna with strapped feeders, 3C90 matching coil and base loading coil.

UPDATE 1940z:  Still G3WCB and G0LRD spotting me and being spotted so far this evening

472kHz WSPR so far today

472kHz WSPR unique reports so far this summer (duplicates NOT shown)
So far this summer, a reasonable number of WSPR spots, but an absence of WSPR spots of me from stations outside the UK.

G8ALS on 472kHz WSPR

G8ALS (126km) is consistently receiving me on 472kHz WSPR in daylight. My QRPp signals seem to be a few dB over the noise threshold but he is copying me, which is good. I am still using the end-fed PAR wire antenna with feeders strapped via a 3C90 matching coil and a 110mm diameter indoor loading coil.

Storms to (just) miss us today?

See http://www.lightningmaps.org/realtime?lang=en .   For now, the local thunder and lightning appears to be just avoiding us: it has tracked from Cambridge up into the Fens and seems to be moving NE. This is good news.
http://www.lightningmaps.org/realtime?lang=en
UPDATE 1600z:  There are new storms to the south of Newmarket and we can hear thunder in the distance now.  At the moment these are moving NE as well but I shall disconnect rigs, antennas and PC if they get too close.

UPDATE 1606z:  Lightning now just east of Newmarket and getting closer! Decision on going QRT will be taken in next few minutes.

G3WCB on 472kHz

G3WCB (101km) and I are currently exchanging daytime spots on 472kHz WSPR. He is just copying me (on the noise floor) and he is generally about 10dB stronger than I am. I suspect his antenna on TX is considerably better than mine.

Sunspots

The current sunspot count is 158 (good) and 20-30MHz conditions are "normal",  so I'd expect some decent N-S F2 propagation on 10m today. At the moment, I am sticking with MF (472kHz) , but may revert to 10m over the weekend, weather permitting.

We have thunder and lightning possible as the remnants of Hurricane Bertha pass through over the weekend. See http://www.lightningmaps.org/realtime?lang=en .  Currently, the storms are just missing us here in Burwell.

472kHz antennas and results overnight

The Par antenna (strapped feeders) seems to be somewhat better than the 2m/70cm feeder as an antenna on 472kHz.  I have now received 472kHz WSPR spots from 8 unique stations so far.  The Par seems to be directional as reports from GM4SLV (although plentiful overnight) seem no stronger.
Unique 472kHz WSPR spots so far
Tonight,  I shall load up the feeders to my V2000 6/2/70cm vertical and 2m halo on 472kHz as these are my highest antennas and compare results with previous antennas. Best 472kHz DX spot this summer is still from GM4SLV (896km) up in the Shetland Is.. I suspect the Par will be the best antenna though. Really I should make a dedicated 472kHz vertical but my health does not allow me to do this currently, so compromise antennas are the order of the day!

UPDATE 1102z:   GM4SLV was spotting me at 0948z this morning. This daylight!

UPDATE 1107z:  I am very surprised not to have been spotted outside the British Isles so far on 472kHz.  I have copied PA, DL and F so far here as well as UK stations.

7 Aug 2014

M0EMM - 3-6dB stronger reports on 472kHz with Par antenna (strapped feeders)

M0EMM is spotting me on 472kHz WSPR some 3-6dB better than last night because of the change in antenna. I need to recalculate the actual ERP,  but believe it is still in the low milliwatt region.  I shall leave 472kHz WSPR running overnight so I can see who else is getting my signal and at what strength.

6m - little missed. 630m more of a challenge now.

Since QSYing down to 630m MF, I was wondering what I'd been missing on 6m. A quick check on WSPRnet.org suggests only EU Es out to about 2000km, so I am not missing too much. My biggest concern is the moment I abandon the 6m band there will be a collosal transatlantic opening!

At the moment, 630m with real QRP is much more of a challenge.

UPDATE 1920z:   Now 7 unique stations have spotted me on 630m so far this summer.  Plenty more likely.
Unique 630m WSPR spots of my signal so far

472kHz - getting decent results with Par antenna

472kHz WSPR spots of my QRPp signal so far
Results with the end fed Par 10/20/40m antenna (with strapped feeder) are better than with the feeder to the 2m/70cm yagi. Today M0PPP (182km) and G3WCB (101km) have spotted me in the daytime for the first time this season. I came back to the 472kHz band yesterday.