30 Sep 2014

472kHz activity

This evening, I am sticking on 10m in the hope of the band reopening for real DX or opening very early tomorrow morning.

By now, I usually QSY down to 472kHz, where there is a lot of activity this evening with 49 stations listed on WSPRnet a few minutes ago.

UPDATE 2230z:  Late change of plan. I have QSYed to 472kHz WSPR after all.

10m WSPR - is that it?

The last USA station was K4RCG (5995km) at 1932z. Unless the band opens again, I suspect that the worldwide openings may have ended for the day. With Australia, Reunion, Uruguay, Israel, the USA and great swathes of Europe in the log, it has been a good day on 10m WSPR.

FR1GZ WSPR

Just took a look at http://wsprnet.org/drupal/wsprnet/spots for FR1GZ spots both given and received. It is amazing that he has so many real DX reports in the log. I guess this is partly because Reunion Is is very remote. Already he has been spotted here 14 times and he has spotted me 3 times so far today.  Many of his reports are greater than 16000km .

RSGB president request

Today I was asked if I could provide a photo of my 8.97kHz TX so the RSGB president could use it at a convention in Northern Ireland. I was happy to oblige.

If anyone else needs to use photos from my website at www.g3xbm.co.uk or this blog I am usually happy to say "yes" but it is polite to ask first.

"Poor" 20-30MHz conditions?

Sunspot count has fallen to 160 today and 20-30MHz conditions are supposed to be "poor" yet on 10m VK3KCX (16883km) has been spotted 6 times on 10m WSPR today, spots have been exchanged with FR1GZ (9724km) multiple times, CX2ABP (11127km) has spotted my 2W WSPR more than once and 4X1RF (3519m) has been spotting me multiple times and 10m is wide open to the USA! 10m really is a truly fascinating band.

There is no shortage of Europeans on 10m WSPR either. Not sure if they are being copied by F2 backscatter or Es.

29 Sep 2014

VLF receivers

To detect VLF amateur signals it is pretty essential to use a good receiver (with frequency locking so extremely narrow bandwidths can be received for hours or days on end) and Spectrum Laboratory software. Spectrum Lab has options to lock to one of the powerful MSK signals near 20kHz and this transforms stability.

For reception of natural VLF emissions it is somewhat different as signals tend to be stronger and of much shorter duration. There are several VLF natural receivers on the net. See http://www.vlf.it/romero2/explorer-e202.html for a typical example.

10m WSPR - recent results

Good conditions continue on 10m with WSPR. These are recent results around teatime. There are plenty of USA spots both ways. Currently I use 2W ERP and a Par 3-band end-fed antenna. In recent days 10m has been open to the USA every day.
Recent 10m WSPR results at teatime today.
UPDATE 2000z:  Maybe  this is like last night and the USA have only disappeared for now to return later, but in the last hour G0LRD (25km), G0VQH (15km) and M0MJH (5km) are the only stations spotting me. It is as if "the big DX switch" has been turned off.

UPDATE 2140z:  Still no further DX this evening.I have just noted that 20-30MHz conditions are now described as "poor". Again, I'll leave WSPR running overnight to see what happens WRT Europeans in the early (before breakfast) hours.

6m TEP WSPR

Looking at wsprnet I see VK4TVL and JH1GYE have been spotting each other at a range of 6243km on 6m WSPR earlier today. This is clearly 6m TEP. None noticed on WSPR between the Med and southern Africa or USA to South America. No transatlantic F2 on 6m WSPR seen.

10m - USA today

The first station in the USA, K4RCG (5995km) was spotted at 1218z.  Since that time, there have been lots of USA stations spotted and spotting me. 4X1RF (3519km) has also been spotting me from the other direction.

10m WSPR - excellent start

HB4FL spotted me many times before breakfast starting at 0430z. I was also being spotted in Italy before breakfast. Writing this at 0922z, I see EA is now being spotted. I assume this is Es?

VK3KCZ (16883km) has been spotted a couple of times, so far, although he is running 10W (high power for WSPR).

Sunspot count today is 200 (good, but expect blackouts) and 20-30MHz propagation "normal". Some decent F2 openings are likely on 10m.

28 Sep 2014

Quiet evening on 10m?

At the moment it looks like 10m is now quiet with just locals and the odd European. There seems to be a total lack of North Americans now on the band. I'll be monitoring for a few hours more and things may yet change. 10m has a habit of throwing surprises.

UPDATE 2045z:  Yep, surprises!  Just been spotted on 10m WSPR by three north eastern USA stations. As I half expected, just when the band seems "closed" it opens again to the USA. 10m is indeed a band of surprises!

Long sunny days no more? Until next year.

As the nights get longer and the days get shorter in the Northern Hemisphere, it is useful to know when the sun rises and sets. A useful UK reference is http://astro.ukho.gov.uk/nao/miscellanea/UK_SRSS/. 

It amazes me that we are half way already to the shortest day! I don't want to wish my life away, but I always welcome the time when the days start to lengthen again. Even more, I welcome the return of migrant birds from Africa in April such as Swallows, House Martins and Swifts.

10m WSPR active stations

Active 10m WSPR stations
10m WSPR looks very busy right now.

Note the total absence of stations from South America! This make it look like the band is closed in that direction, which I am sure is not the case.

10m WSPR - plenty of DX about

10m has (again) been good today with plenty of USA station spotted and spotting me. Also, as of 1633z FR1GZ has now spotted me 7 times so far.

UPDATE 1840z: WG2Z (5600km) was still being spotted here at 1826z, but at present there is a shortage of South Americans on 10m WSPR.  This, I think, is  a lack of active 10m WSPR stations rather than poor conditions.  No doubt other modes like PSK31 and JT65 may be "humming" with South Americans! Europeans seem plentiful with several 10m WSPR stations logged presumably Es or F2 backscatter.

USA (again) on 10m WSPR

Right on time, the USA is coming through yet again on 10m WSPR.  K3GEN (5883km) was copied at 1514z and again at 1524z. So far (at 1534z) he has spotted me once.   FR1GZ has been copied 4 times so far this afternoon. KZ8C was copied at 1528z.

The band is opening by F2 to the USA.

UPDATE 1833z:  WG2Z (5600km) is still being spotted here at 1826z at a fairly weak -26dB S/N. The surprise (here at least) is the total absence of any stations from South America so far. I would have expected to spot a few by now.

Sunspots and a return to 10m

Sunspot count today is a respectable 159 (but with blackouts) and 20-30MHz conditions are described as "normal". Having been excluded from my shack for the last 2days (nearly -  granddaughter's cot), I have just returned to 10m WSPR to see how conditions are.

Already EA5WO (1428km) and FR1GZ (9724km) have been spotted here and local G0LRD (25km) has spotted me. Conditions on 10m look normal for late September not long after a weak solar peak. Next year is likely to be harder going.

On current form, South and North America will appear soon on 10m.

27 Sep 2014

Early QRT this evening

As I have a very young granddaughter in a cot in the shack, I have now gone QRT and no doubt missed some choice DX on 10m WSPR! It is always the case that best conditions occur just after I close down, irrespective of the band.

This afternoon, PT2WWV (8873km) was spotted here 20 times. He spotted my 2W WSPR 6 times before I went QRT.  Another new station and country was TA2AEG (Turkey) who was a huge signal but he was using 50W. I don't think he knows that WSPR only needs a few watts. He'll soon realise he can save on his fuel bills!

Sunspots and 10m

Sunspot count today is 203 (high, but with blackouts), yet 20-30MHz conditions are only forecast to be "fair". It remains to be seen how 10m performs today, but already we have seen a wide geographical spread of Europeans on 10m WSPR,  presumably Es, but just possibly F2 backscatter.

Last night the last USA station spotted here was WG2Z (5600km) at 2222z, very late indeed.  SI9AM (1503km) was being spotted early this morning at 0512z here (before breakfast). I only noticed this station as I'd been running WSPR overnight, during which time only locals and GDX copied.

I have the feeling today will be a good 10m day.

UPDATE 1020z: FR1GZ (9724km) copied for the first time today at 1008z.

UPDATE 1342z:   Already PT2WWV (8873km) has been spotted 7 times this lunchtime on 10m WSPR.   He has also spotted my 2W a few times too.

26 Sep 2014

10m WSPR - overnight

As 10m is still wide open I shall leave 10m WSPR running overnight to find out when the opening to the USA/Canada ends.  If it follows the pattern of previous evenings it will draw to a close soon but this is 10m, a band full of surprises.

It will be interesting to see if any Europeans are copied during the night.

I shall check the PC clock sync before I go to bed.

UPDATE 2144z:  KC1AWS is still spotting my 2W on 10m WSPR.

Evening on 10m WSPR

The last USA station spotted here on 10m this evening was at 1902z and that was KZ8C. There may be others later, but at the moment that looks like it for the day.  

EA7KZ is still coming in (Es?) at 2000z and I suspect will be coming through for a while yet.

UPDATE 2040z: Well I was wrong as K9AN was spotted at -24dB S/N at 2038z. A few minutes later quite a few North Americans were spotting me. The opening to the USA and Canada is far from over. The band may have been late coming to life, but it is good now. 10m - another magic band.

Sunspots and 10m WSPR

Sunspot count today is a decent 139 (with blackouts) and 20-30MHz propagation is "good". And yet, 10m has been disappointing.

I started on 10m WSPR quite early but FR1GZ (9724km) has only been spotted 3 times so far and USA stations only started coming through quite late this afternoon.  There have been some Europeans spotted and spotting me as there has been many times in recent weeks. 10m has been rather disappointing today really. Yes,there is DX about, but it is not  what I would call "wide open" as the forecasts might suggest.

10m is another "magic band". It rarely behaves quite as one might expect.

25 Sep 2014

USA at last on 10m WSPR today!

Well, just as I was about to QSY down to 472kHz, blow me if 10m doesn't open to the USA!   N4AU (6976km) was spotting my 2W at -6dB S/N at 1854z and WA9JWL (6360km) at -17dB S/N at 1902z.   10m is an odd band - just when I was about to move off the band, it "comes good".

UPDATE 1922z: Interestingly, KZ8C was spotted by local G0LRD and KZ8C also spotted G0LRD too. But (certainly to this time) Dave has not been spotted by other USA stations.

UPDATE 2116z:   KZ8C (6290km) was spotted here at 1926z. Since then, just local G0LRD.

UPDATE 2153z:   A late spot at 2138z of G6NHU (78km) to end another day on the fascinating 10m band. Now QRT.

Worldwide 136/137kHz grabbers + a simple 2200m RX (kit or ready built)

This link to a very useful list of 2200m grabbers worldwide was found on the website of Yuki JA5FP.   If you are interested in 136/137kHz this list of grabbers may be very useful.  A grabber is a receiver that uploads what it receives to the internet, usually as a spectrograph.

For how to make your own grabber, see how I did it. My grabber is usually only active when I do experiments. See https://sites.google.com/site/sub9khz/vlf-grabbers/vlf-grabber-creation . I used a public folder in Dropbox and pointed my grabber website to this location. In my case I was monitoring 8.97kHz VLF,  or thereabouts, but the same idea will work at any frequency. I used Spectrum Lab or Spectran software to do the actual "grabbing". Other methods are equally valid.

Also on Yuri's site are details of his 136/137kHz receiver. See http://icas.to/lineup/idc-136ii-kit-eng.htm .  This simple, but very effective, receiver uses a divided down HF crystal to give a very stable LO frequency of 130kHz. The output feeds a PC using Spectrum Lab or Spectran software. The receiver is available as a kit or ready built. Ready built the cost (with enclosure and shipped to Europe) is currently $110.  I have no idea if duty is payable.  Kits (less enclosure) is $75 shipped to Europe.

Experiments again - soon I hope

Before too long now, I hope to be able to resume driving again, following my brain bleed over a year ago.

With a bit of effort, I should then be able to resume some VLF earth-mode and 136kHz experiments, looking for my signals from home when out and about in the car, parking up at various sites in the area.

Not many months ago this would have been out of the question, but I am getting better.

10m WSPR - very quiet so far today

Apart from locals G0VQH (15km) and G0LRD (25km) only G6NHU (78km) has been spotting my 2W this morning. It is very quiet on 10m WSPR so far.

Sunspot count today is 76 (still OK) and 20-30MHz propagation expected to be "normal". I would have expected better results today than we have seen so far. It is early days and things may well change.

UPDATE 1128z: At 1058z I was spotted by HB4FL (835km) and PD0OHW (459km). Things may be livening up on 10m?

UPDATE 1302z:  FR1GZ (9724km) was first spotted at 1230z at -25dB S/N. 10m is definitely coming to life.

UPDATE 1600z: FR1GZ has been spotted 15 times so far today on 10mWSPR this afternoon. He has spotted my 2W 3 times. So far, I have seen not a single USA station in the log on 10m. Perhaps conditions are good N-S but not so good E-W?

UPDATE 1845z: No DX (FR1GZ) since 1540z. Still no USA here. I think today the N-S DX was all we were getting.

24 Sep 2014

VK spotted on 10m WSPR today

VK3KCX (16883km) was spotted 4 times on 10m WSPR this afternoon. He was using high power (for WSPR) at 20W but his reports peaked at -19dB suggesting 5W or less would have been fine.

FR1GZ (9724km) has also been spotted 7 times today so far.  He also spotted my 2W at 1338z.

...and today 10m conditions were supposed to be "poor" - VK3, TJ3, FR1 and lots of USA stations - yes "poor" conditions! Wonder what "good" 10m conditions look like?

PA0O (440km) is being spotted again. Still unsure of propagation mode.

UPDATE 1745z: OH5XO (1943km) is coming through now, probably Es?

UPDATE 1900z: 10m is open to Spain. I assume this is Es? The opening seems to be confined to Spain only.   If this was F2 backscatter, I'd have expected a more widespread opening, but I am no expert.

UPDATE  2116z:  EA7IHT (1643km) was still spotting me at 2112z.

10m wakes up

TJ3TS (5478km) in Cameroon was spotting me at 1144z and ZS1ANF (9720km) was spotted here at 1210z. Both are F2 propagation. This was after a very quiet morning on 10m WSPR.

Even with 20-30MHz propagation supposed to be "poor",  N-S F2 seems to be good.   

OH5RM (1860km) has also been spotted several times this lunchtime - this could be late Es or F2.

UPDATE 1240z: TJ3TS was spotted  here a few minutes ago.

Free webcams across the UK (Camsecure)

Sorry, this is NOT amateur radio, but you may be interested. It is a  useful place to look on a rainy day when HF conditions are poor.   See http://www.camsecure.co.uk/Camsecure_Live_Demo_Index.html for a map listing many UK free webcams. You need to click on a county on the map to see what webcams are available in that county.

Hunting around on the site reveals worldwide webcams too.

Return to 10m WSPR and sunspots

The return to 10m WSPR was made just before 0900z, but so far just locals G0VQH and G0LRD are spotting me. At present, 10m seems very quiet, but it is early still.

Sunspot count is 90 (up a little on yesterday) but 20-30MHz propagation is forecast to be "poor".  We'll see.

UPDATE 1045z: Just locals all morning so far. A very quiet start on 10m.  A very disappointing morning so far. Things may change later. We can hope!

23 Sep 2014

472kHz WSPR

I had a very brief spell in the 50MHz UKAC contest this evening, but only worked one local. I was not helped by (a) my poor voice, and (b) using just a V2000 vertical. The latter is fine for Es DXing, but a beam is really needed to work weakish UK stations and I am not going to invest in a 50MHz beam: they are big and really for once a month just not worth the effort.
Initial results on 472kHz WSPR this evening
Instead, I headed down to 472kHz where my very first 5mW ERP transmission was rewarded with WSPR spots from PA0RDT (243km), G3XDV (61km) and M0LMH (223km). There are quite a few stations active on MF this evening, but very few on TX from the UK.

Best MF spot of others so far this evening is F5WK (436km) at -24dB S/N. G3WCB (101km) is the best G so far on 472kHz at -19dB S/N.

UPDATE 2128z:  DJ0ABR (983km) now best DX on receive so far this evening.

UPDATE 2157z:   I will be staying on 472kHz overnight.  Although it would be good to spot, and be spotted, by some totally new stations, I have my doubts. Just going to check PC clock is resync'ed to internet time.

EA7IHT - 10m Es?

The propagation within Europe is quite hard to be sure of at present, but EA7IHT (1643km) may well be Es. It is the right time (teatime) for a brief, isolated Es opening, this is the only Eu DX station seen on 10m WSPR for some time and the distance is right for Es. It is hard to be sure with so much F2 around. My bet is on late Es. Signal level at -27dB S/N was weak.

PA0O - Es, F2 backscatter, or tropo?

PA0O (440km) has been spotted 8 times since 1342z today on 10m WSPR. This is an odd distance and I am unsure of the propagation mode. It would be very short Es skip (and it is late in the Es season) and I would prefer to think this is tropo. He has been copied all afternoon. However, with HF F2 conditions good on 10m WSPR I guess it could be F2 backscatter?

No USA stations have been copied on 10m WSPR since KZ8C (6290km) at 1656z, whereas PA0O has been spotted several times since, tending to suggest tropo.

10m - again wide open to the USA and elsewhere

My first spot (on WSPR) of a USA station was W3PM at 1302z. USA stations have been spotted, or are spotting me, still. FR1GZ has been spotted multiple times (21 times to 1604z) today and he has spotted me 4 times so far, mainly this morning and at lunch time.

10m WSPR

10m WSPR has been good again today with GDX, Europeans from Iberia and DX from much further afield.  Although sunspot numbers have slid a bit, propagation is excellent. FR1GZ (9724km) is the best DX so far, although I see there are USA stations coming through now.

Sunspots

Sunspot count today is 87 and 20-30MHz propagation is "normal". We have already seen F2 propagation today from Reunion Is in the Indian Ocean on 10m WSPR.

Another G1KQH eBay bargain

Our old friend Steve G1KQH has found another bargain on eBay.  As before, you see this as I do - I've no knowledge of the supplier or goods. At 99p it is low cost!

See:
....and another handy tool Roger,


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

22 Sep 2014

10m WSPR - USA wide open again

Each two minute 10m WSPR transmission, at 2W, this afternoon receives 4-8 spots every time and the vast majority of reports are from the USA. We are clearly experiencing very fine conditions. If you want to enjoy 10m at its best get on the band in the next few months and enjoy the very good conditions while you still can as in 12 months from now it will be much harder.

UPDATE 2100z:  This morning a couple of locals (G8AKL and G3ZAY) worked a ZD9 on Tristan da Cunha on 10m.  The DX appears to have ended on 10m WSPR for the day with just locals being copied now.

UPDATE 2145z:  Just spotted G6NHU (78km) as my best GDX today I think. He is using 200mW. Now going QRT here.

10m WSPRing again and sunspots

10m WSPR was resumed at 0844z this morning at the 2W level. Apart from locals, the best DX (as of 0916z) is RA6AAW (2780km) by what I assume is single hop F2 propagation. Spots have been exchanged both ways.

Sunspot count today is 72 (still falling) but 20-30MHz propagation is "normal".

UPDATE 1145z: RA3APW (2443km) running 100mW to an indoor antenna has been spotted a couple of times this morning on 10m WSPR, once at a strong -9dB S/N.   Karen uses an Ultimate 3 beacon into an indoor antenna. I suspect this is F2 propagation. Also OZ7IT has been spotted and I have been spotted in Finland by OH7AI (2000km) and also by UA3ARC (2436km).

21 Sep 2014

Now QRT. The next few years on 10m and 6m.

I decided to go QRT about 10 minutes ago. All kit has been switched off.  In the morning I shall probably return to 10m. Today, the band has been in good shape again.

We are now moving into autumn conditions. With sunspot numbers still being quite high, we can expect excellent 10m conditions for months to come. If anything, 10m is going to be "too easy".

6m is unlikely to support much F2 propagation although N-S paths may open by TEP (trans-equatorial propagation) especially from latitudes closer to the geomagnetic equator. Stations in Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece etc will have much better TEP chances than stations in the UK.

WSPR is likely to help "smoke out" openings on both bands, but when these bands close it is usually quite sudden. What WSPR allows is near continuous monitoring with little need for intervention. As WSPR works with signals some 12-14dB lower than CW, just a few watts should be enough to see if either 10m or 6m is "open". Of course, this depends on stations being active.

PT2WWV - multiple 10m WSPR spots

PT2WWV (8873km) in Brasilia, has been spotted 7 times this evening so far up to 1900z. I suspect he'll be coming through for a while longer. I wonder if he is monitoring too and if he will be able to decode my 500mW TX?

UPDATE 1945z:  PT2WWV has been spotted 11 times so far this evening.

Another G1KQH eBay find - pen multimeter

Another G1KQH eBay find:

At  £15.11 this looks good value with free post and packing. Of course, the supplier is in China.

Time to reduce 10m power to 500mW?

My 2W 10m WSPR is getting me daily spots from the USA now.  I think I should drop to 500mW now to see how it goes. USA spots of my signal will be fewer, but it is probably more than enough for a lot of the stations to still copy me as long as the noise floor is not the limitation at the RX end of the path. Sometimes, especially in urban areas, this can be a real issue.

UPDATE 1725z:  I reduced power to 500mW and my first spot was from AB4DF (6436km) in EM8ti square (at -20dB S/N). Both locals G0VQH and G0LRD also spotted me. I shall stick with 500mW for the rest of the evening on 10m WSPR.  In the next 500mW TX transmission I got 4 WSPR spots with best DX spot being from KD6RF (7547km) near Fort Worth, Texas.



G3TFX visit

Just before lunch, Richard G3TFX called in on his bike. He was on the way to his granddaughter's birthday party in the village.

This is a photo of us in my shack. Richard is on the left. He is a regular visitor.

It was Richard's alertness that probably saved my life a year ago. I shall always owe him a debt of gratitude. Richard has recently returned to the hobby. He is usually on 40m SSB, but is fighting a very high noise level on RX. Already he has worked some impressive DX.

Sunspots and 10m WSPR

Sunspot count today is 75 (falling a bit) and 20-30MHz propagation "normal". I went on 10m today and was immediately spotted in Finland.

Around lunchtime spots were exchanged with N2OTO (Florida) and this afternoon many USA stations have been spotted or were spotting me. I got excited (at first) to see KH6 in the log only to find out that the station was not in Hawaii, but near the Gulf of Mexico. Darn FCC!!!

20 Sep 2014

6m WSPR DX

As G4IKZ (14km) was looking, I decided to QSY up to 50MHz to see what was happening, expecting to be spotted only by G4IKZ.  Sure enough, I got a few spots from G4IKZ but I was nicely surprised to see I had spotted IK1WVQ (1084km) on 6m too at a strong -12dB S/N. This is Es.  So, there is life on 6m too.
6m WSPR this afternoon
With this promising start, I shall remain on 6m for a few more hours in case any other Es turns up.

UPDATE 1500z:  G6AVK (78km) being spotted at 1428z.#

UPDATE 1620z:  Just spots from G4IKZ for nearly the last 2 hours on 6m WSPR.  It may get better around teatime? IK1WVQ was spotted twice early afternoon at up to 0dB S/N.

UPDATE 1720z: G8JNJ/A (184km) spotted me at 1652z at -23dB S/N for my best 6m GDX spot today. 6m has pleasantly surprised me today and all the more reason to leave the V2000 vertical in place.

More low cost parts (via G1KQH)

Once again, I have no knowledge of this supplier or if the goods are genuine, or "ripped off", but the prices are very good. My thanks to Steve G1KQH once again.
Other valuable finds which may prove useful to constructors or groups:
 
5V 100mA regulators per 100 ( I had some of these).
 
Mixed Zeners pack:
 
1N4148s
 
Precision Ref board (ideal for checking Cal of your DMM) could be used for stable VXO supply:
 
If you put the word “Transistor” in the search on Banggood quite a variety of well known general purpose come up at good prices..
 
Orders seem to take about 7 to 10 days to the UK

No storms here

The thunder and lightning that got quite close earlier today seems to have abated, for now at least.   The lightning map now shows storms in the North Sea and Northern France, but not in the UK. This means I can leave 10m WSPR running this afternoon and probably early evening.

See http://www.lightningmaps.org/realtime?lang=en .  Always worth keeping an eye on this for approaching storms. I find these maps fascinating. Although not perfect, they give a good indication of when antennas and rigs need to be made safer.

UPDATE 1341z:  It is raining here now. Storms seem plentiful on the continent, but not in the UK.

10m WSPR - USA again

N2OTO (7088km) in EL96wi square (Miami, Florida) has already spotted me a couple of times. This definitely F2 propagation and not Es. Every day now, the 10m band opens to the USA.

I do hate FCC rules than do away with call USA areas. You now have no idea where a USA station is located: in the past "2" would have been somewhere in/near New York and "4" would probably be Florida or nearby.  Also the FCC seem unbelievably slow releasing the 472kHz  and 136kHz amateur bands in the USA.  Are you all stupid at the FCC?? Get into the real world. The world looks at the FCC and thinks it is daft. When the rest of the world seems "with it" the FCC seems to behave like a backward little baby, slow to grow up, still wanting baby toys to toss out of the pram. Pathetic, truly pathetic.

UPDATE 1223z:  PT2WWV (8873km) is spotting me now from Brasilia, Brazil. He was copying me again at 1315z.

UPDATE 1238z:  Plenty of European activity on WSPR. I assume this is probably Es, especially as lunch and teatimes are peak Es times. Stations from all across the continent.

UPDATE 1252z:   Now spotting ZS1ANF (9720km) weakly at -26dB S/N. This station is just north of Cape Town, which is a beautiful city. We spent a few weeks in South Africa on holiday a few years ago and very much enjoyed it. We experienced no violence, but this can be an issue. You are advised not to go out at night in some parts. We traveled with Saga and never once felt unsafe. I can recommend Saga Holidays. They really are very very good. Excellent hotels, food and travel. No worries and door to door service.

UPDATE 1315z:  My last 2 minute 10m WSPR TX transmission resulted in 10 different spots in 3 continents with my 2W to an indifferent antenna. 10m at its best.

UPDATE 1355z: PT2WWV (8873km) has spotted me 5 times today already.

10m WSPR, sunspots and storms

Just turned on 10m WSPR about 12 minutes ago. Already being spotted by CT1JTQ (1843km) several times and I am spotting  IK1WVQ (1084km). I would have thought Portugal and N.Italy would have been much the same distance. Not so. Portugal is much further.  I assume this is Es?  G0LRD (25km) and I are exchanging WSPR spots at around -14 to -16dB S/N.

Sunspot count today is 91 and 20-30MHz propagation "normal". We should expect some F2 DX later.

The thunder storms are, currently, well south of here. I am still watching the lightning map though. Last night I went QRT but heard no storms overnight.

UPDATE 0942z: Now  EA5CYA is being spotted. Still plenty of EUs around on 10m either Es or F2 backscatter. A great pity I am spotting the same stations . Where is everyone else?

UPDATE 0954z: 4X1RF (3519km) has spotted me for the first time today.  I think this is F layer propagation.

19 Sep 2014

Storms and lightning

Although dry here at present, a look at the lightning map shows there are nasty storms not that far east of this QTH.  I shall have to watch the maps carefully and disconnect antennas, PSUs and PC if it gets close.  Currently, these are configured for 472kHz use.

UPDATE 2200z:  Storms are too close for comfort, so going QRT on 472kHz WSPR overnight and unplugging antennas and PSUs. Although I have spotted, and been spotted, by a wide variety of stations, not one is new.

Back on 472kHz

After messing about on 10m and 20m earlier, I have now QSYed down to 472kHz WSPR. So far M0MLH (223km) and G0LRD (25km) have spotted me and G3WCB (101km) spotted here. As before, I am seeing the same old stations.
Recent 472kHz WSPR spots
Using the PAR triband end-fed (strapped feeders) as a compromise MF antenna with very low ERP.

UPDATE 1812z:   DK7FC (669km) copied on 472kHz WSPR. Stefan is always a good signal with his 1W ERP station. This is considerably higher ERP than I use.

UPDATE 1850z:  F5WK (436km) copied at 1842z.

JT65, JT9-1 and WSPR

After brief outings on 10m and 20m JT65 and JT9-1 (nothing worked but W and LU seen on 20m JT65) I returned to 10m WSPR. I changed power to 500mW on 10m WSPR and was spotted by local G0LRD and 4X1RF. For now I have settled on 1W WSPR and 4X1RF,  G0LRD,  DK6UG and DK8FT are all copying this level just fine so far.  I think the DKs were by Es, although I think the 4X is F2 propagation. So  far today, 4X1RF has spotted me 8 times at output powers between 2W and 500mW.

10m WSPR wakes up

Just when I was about to write off 10m WSPR, it springs into life with spots from CT1JTQ (1843km) and 4X1RF (3519km) - the latter 4 times already by 1008z.  10m continues to be a band filled with surprises, quite unlike other HF bands.

By the way, outside the sun is trying to shine too.

Dinky Toys Club

A blast from the past...

Dinky Toys Club.

My brother sent me this certificate of mine in the post.  To be honest I don't remember joining! I was more into Matchbox Toys. These used to be 1s 6d  and came in packets like large matchboxes.

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dinky_Toys .

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matchbox_%28brand%29 .

Stroke frustrations

Although I can manage digital modes like WSPR, JT65 and JT9-1 OK, I find speech modes very hard work at present: my voice is hard to understand and tires easily. I make errors writing the blogs (usually corrected)  and am clumsy with almost all electronics building work, so the experimental field and bench work I enjoy are, for now, on hold.

By the end of August I was hoping to feel almost no giddiness, but a twice daily 366m walk makes me feel wobbly still. I am told this will eventually go. It can't happen soon enough. Improvements are happening but all too slowly.

To be honest, my stroke, a year on now, is getting me down.  There is so much I want to do but cannot.  It is hard on my wife, children and grandchildren.

10m WSPR - a different day ahead?

Having turned on 10m WSPR about 15 minutes ago, it looks like conditions today are quite different. No DX at all coming through yet, just G0LRD (25km) away spotting me.
Sunspot count is 75 (disturbed) and 20-30MHz propagation is forecast to be "poor". It feels poor although a look on WSPRnet shows some impressive DX into Europe. Maybe it is just a blip?

 Even the weather has changed! Outside it looks wet and autumnal for the first time.  Summer is ended.

Maybe I should try JT65 or JT9-1 on 10m or 20m today?

18 Sep 2014

10m still WIDE open to the USA at 2100z

At 2104z I am still spotting loads of USA stations on 10m WSPR. It is likely the opening will go on for a while yet. This is F layer propagation and not Es. Today has been another excellent day on 10m.hrs

UPDATE 2230z:  No DX on 10m for almost 1.5hrs. Time to go to QRT and to bed - early start tomorrow to see how Scotland voted.

Low cost earth-mode beacons?

G1KQH has found some very low cost TDA2003 ICs.  I use one of these in my VLF beacon shown in my RSGB RadCom article and on my website. Best range is just short of 6km by "utilities assisted" earth-mode.  When fitter again (currently I am not allowed to drive and I am still too clumsy when on my feet and moving because of my brain bleed last year) I intend to continue my VLF experiments. I have used these ICs at 8.97kHz, twice, and sub-multiples of that frequency.  Beyond 20kHz would be outside their spec limits, but they may still work?
G3XBM 5W VLFearth-mode CW/QRSS beacon
Evening Roger,
Used in your LF PA 10p each nuts!
Or you can buy in 10s @ 16p each inc delivery!
Banggood sounds Chinese. I have no idea if these are genuine parts or not. They are advertised as 10W car radio audio parts.

10m - wide open

Loads of USA stations are spotting me, or being spotted, on 10m WSPR. Conditions on the band have been excellent again today. Forecasts for October 2014 are also very good. Enjoy the excellent conditions as a year or two from now it will be much harder going, although with WSPR DX reports should still be possible in the N-S direction.

UPDATE 1830z: Plenty of USA spots still. 4X1RF (3519km) has spotted me 25 times today so far since breakfast time.

Neglecting 630m

With good conditions on 10m, I have been neglecting 472kHz (630m) of late. On MF I run, as you know, 5mW ERP only whereas on 10m this is 2W.

I may go back onto MF this evening as 10m is becoming almost predictable of late. I am told (by G3WKW) that there are far more 10m stations on JT65 than on WSPR. It is certainly true that one does see the same stations again and again on WSPR. At least with WSPR I can set it running and monitor results on the PC in the lounge. This cannot be done so easily with JT65 or JT9-1 where you really have to be "on-hand" to answer calls. With my stroke, I find WSPR suits me well right now.

Sunspots

Sunspot count today is 91 and 20-30MHz propagation described as "normal".  Judging by 10m WSPR results I translate this to be very good. Certainly 10m conditions (using WSPR at least) are as good as I remember. Cycle 24 has a lot of kick in it still.

10m WSPR is "humming"

With 12 spots (already) of FR1GZ (9724km) in the log since before breakfast and he is spotting me too, and with KD6RF (7526km) in the log again 10m WSPR is again "doing the business". These are all F2 propagation I am sure. Nice to see transatlantics just about daily.

Overnight, M0EMM (193km) was a consistently spotted GDX station.

At 1210z  DU1MGA (10674km) in the Philippines was spotting my 2W at -25dB S/N.

This morning, an old colleague, Karen,from Sepura days, was spotted many times running 100mW to an indoor antenna on 10m WSPR: RA3APW (2443km) in Moscow. At best, he was -7dB S/N with just 100mW (measured carefully). Incredible.

Yet again, 10m is in good shape.

17 Sep 2014

10m WSPR - USA again and Brazil

Yet again 10m WSPR has "come up trumps" with several spots of PT2WWV (8873km) in Brasilia by F2 and recently WG2Z (5600km) spotting my 2W. No other USA stations seen here, or seeing me, as yet.

The USA must surely be F2 or F2 backscatter rather than Es?  Interesting that propagation into the USA started coming through after Brazil. Almost like there had to be F2 over the equator for signals to get through, although, at the moment, it is just the one station copying me. I would have expected F2 or F2 backscatter to be far more widespread.

4X1RF and DK6UG are both still spotting me at just before 1800z.

UPDATE 1802z: I spoke too soon: KD6RF (7526km) near Dallas, Texas, running 5W, is now being spotted here at -20dB S/N at 1758z.  GM4WJA (624km) is spotting me now. If the Scots vote to leave the United Kingdom,  presumably they will have to have their own version of OFCOM and new callsigns. It will be interesting to see how Scotland votes.

UPDATE 1836z: Plenty of USA stations spotting me now e.g. WB8ELK/01 (6872km).  PT2WWV has been spotted 5 times already. He has spotted my 2W 2 times so far tonight.

UPDATE 2058z: All quiet on 10m (just locals) in nearly the last hour. Is that it for today? Clock checked and WSPR will be running overnight.

Antennas

I was going to take down my V2000 and replace with a 10m halo to give me better performance on 10m than the tri-band end-fed Par wire to the tree (tree is visible but Par wire is not visible in picture).
However, I would lose 6m, 2m and 70cm vertical coverage and the Par seems to be doing a credible job on 10m, 20m and even on 40m. It is very low for 40m. On 10m it seems to be a few dB down on better antennas, but I can live with this. The V2000 works pretty well on 6, 2 and 70cms.

So, for the foreseeable future, I'll stick with the current antennas. Getting up ladders to work on antennas is currently out of the question (health issues) but lots of kind people would help, I know. 

Although not the world's best, I can cover 40, 20, 10, 6, 2 and 70cms pretty well with the current antennas in the air. Using strapped feeders and an ATU, other MF and HF bands can be covered too. I can also work MF with the earth-electrode system in the ground.

Rotating by hand the 2m/70cm antenna for UKAC sessions is not a problem, judging by results.

10m WSPR and sunspots

Sunspot count continues to slide with the sunspot count today being 85.  The 20-30MHz propagation forecast is "normal" however.

Already TJ3TS (5478km) in Yaounde, Cameroon is exchanging WSPR spots with me lots of times. He has been doing so since well before breakfast time. F2 propagation is looking good on 10m.

UPDATE 1110z:  I see DK6UG (633km) is spotting me now. I assume this is Es.

UPDATE 1114z:   TJ3TS has spotted me 14 times already since before breakfast. Excellent N-S F2.

UPDATE 1124z:  CT1JTQ (1843km) is now spotting me. I assume this is Es.

UPDATE 1337z: OZ7IT (853km) has been spotting me, and been spotted, and a few German stations have been spotted me too. I assume these are all Es. 4X1RF (3519km) has also spotted me 7 times since lunch so far - I assume this is Es or maybe F2 propagation. TJ3TS continues to spot me.

UPDATE 1535z:  Plenty of Es (?) coming through - IK, CT , HB9 etc all coming through.

10m - quiet overnight

10m WSPR was left running through the night but only spots were exchanged with locals. No DX seen here on the band overnight until just before breakfast time.

16 Sep 2014

10m WSPR transatlantic again

As late as 1924z KD6RF (7526km) was being spotted from EM22lr square near Dallas, Texas. There were other USA stations being spotted here earlier too. In addition, CX2ABP (11127km) was spotting me at 1850z (and several times earlier) and there is extensive Es about (this could be F layer backscatter I suppose). Conditions on 10m WSPR remain good.

UPDATE 1955z:  KC1AWS (5308km) was spotting me at 1940z.

UPDATE 2025z:  CX2ABP (11127km) in Uruguay still spotting my 2W at 1958z.

UPDATE 2240z:  Just locals for the last 2.7 hours. The real DX has now ended for the day. I shall leave 10m WSPR running overnight to see what turns up. The clock has just been resynchronized to internet time.

Not ham radio......

See http://qss2.blogspot.co.uk/2014/09/spre-2m-anyone.html .

http://search.savills.com/content/assets/properties/gbetrsexs140087/EXS140087_02_gal.JPG
There is a house on the market (Landmark) in Salcombe, Devon, the seaside town where I was brought up as a child, that is likely to be sold to the highest bidder and the site redeveloped purely for greed and a quick profit.

The house was the home of author Paul Gallico and is in the "Arts and Crafts" style. It is a rare gem. Ideally, it should be a listed building. Locals are being priced out of their own town by those with "loads of money" but very little sense.  The lovely home is on the market for £1.95M - far too much for me!

Please, write to English Heritage to see if the building can be listed to stop redevelopment of the home and site.   Write to customers@english-heritage.org.uk .


10m - a repeat of yesterday?

Conditions on 10m today seem to be similar to those yesterday. FR1GZ (9724km) and I have exchanged spots several times, mainly this morning, and KD6RF (7526km) was spotted at 1436z. TJ3TS (5478km) has spotted me a few times. F2 conditions appear good on 10m again.

Sunspot count today is 92 (gradually dropping) and 20-30MHz propagation is "normal". We have already had excellent F2 propagation on 10m today. I am convinced that the USA is coming in by F2 or F2 backscatter and not multi-hop Es.

DK6UG is spotting me by Es (I think) or F2 backscatter perhaps. Also, probably Es, GM4WJA (624km) is spotting me.

WB8ELK/01 (6872km) is spotting me now.

15 Sep 2014

10m transatlantic - yet again

Surely, these 10m openings - there yet again today - must be F2 and not multi-hop Es? Already spotted are K3NAL (5930km) and KZ8C (6290km).

FR1GZ (9724km) on Reunion Is, Indian Ocean, has also been spotted here several times and TJ3TS (5478km) in Cameroon is spotting me too.

It seems to me we are experiencing decent F2 propagation on 10m, and it is only mid-September. Maybe it is WSPR being so sensitive that openings that would have been missed in the past are now being noticed?

UPDATE 1639z:  10m has been open to the USA all afternoon on WSPR. This must be F2 rather than Es as it is almost predictable.

UPDATE 1845z:  I went QRT on 10m just before teatime as I needed the PC for something else. When closing, the band was still wide open to the USA.

UPDATE 2210z:  I returned to 10m WSPR at 1912z. The last USA station to spot me was AF5ES at 2008z. CX2ABP (11127km) was spotted here at 1944z.

10m WSPR - plentiful Es today

OH, OK, LB9, EC, DK ) seen via Es on 10m already today and maybe 4X is by multi-hop Es? WSPR showing there are still lots of Es openings on the band.

Sunspots

Sunspot count is 120 today and 20-30MHz propagation is expected to be "good".  Already 10m has been open to Australia so good F2 propagation is already evidence of this. Conditions E-W should continue to improve in the coming months even though, on average, sunspot numbers are now falling. Of late, 10m has been better than might be expected.

Nanowaves in Finland

My own red LED and IR experiments have had to stop as my brain bleed last year has left me (for now) too clumsy. People are still active though. In the Cambridge, UK area there are both IR and visible red beacons GB3CAM active from RAF Wyton. See http://www.earf.co.uk/light_beacon.htm .

This was posted on the UKnanowaves Yahoo Group:
Greetings you light headed fellows :)
 .
 Darker times are coming and the sun is going down earlier and earlier here in Finland.

 I've been designing an IR based repeater/beacon. When not in repeater use, it transmits FSK441 and CW. It has 6 of 850nm RX heads 0, 60, 120, 240, and 300 degree directions. This enables some selectivity by choosing best RX head by SNR from the received signals. It scans through all of the RX:s and if it detects an signal, it will switch to the best SNR (this is done by MCU).

 The TX is basically 10 IR leds transmitting simultaneously in all directions (they are spread over circular 360 degree form with 36 degree increments).

 I have 6 credit card size fresnel lenses that I was thought using in front of the six BPW34. I thought that a little off-focuse would make the system less prone about the direction of the signals. What worries me is the sun. This system will be installed relatively high and it is certain that the sun will be focused to the photodiodes time to time. 

 Using a small IR filter in front of the BPW34 probably isn't the the best idea, because all of the energy from the sun is already focused to a relatively small area. Probably the best idea is to use the same sized IR filter than the primary antenna - the fresnel is. I've heard that exposed colour film would do a good job in this? Any experience?

Why I put two subjects under one message is that I just wanted to let you know what I'm doing, hi.  And all the ideas will be taken in!

73 de Janne OH1SDR

PS. This repeater will have THz input and 70cm output and vice versa.

VK5MR (16144km) on 10m WSPR

Having stayed on 10m WSPR overnight I caught an opening to Australia this morning. VK5MR (16144km) was spotted at 0912z today.  I know others e.g. G0LRD, have regularly spotted Australians but I tend to be still on MF early mornings, but not today.

10m WSPR - a good start today

4X1RF has spotted me 4 times already (still only 0722z) and DK0SC was spotting me during the very early hours. I assume DK was Es but 4X may be F2?

UPDATE 0935z: I have now been spotted 11 times already in Israel on 10m WSPR today between 0614 and now.

UPDATE 1015z: LB9YE (1533km) spotted by Es at 1002z. 4X1RF has now spotted me 12 times already today by multi-hop Es or F2, not sure which.

UPDATE 1123z:  Looking at the 13 spots of my 10m signal this morning monitored by 4X1RF there appears to be a slow QSB on the signal with peak levels separated by 90-120 minutes. I shall continue to look for this but there is a pattern. WSPR is ideal for seeing this sort of phenomenon.

14 Sep 2014

Now South America too on 10m WSPR

After loads and loads of spots (both ways) with USA stations on 10m WSPR this afternoon, I now see PT2WWV (8873km), in Brasilia, is being spotted on the band, 8 times so far. 10m has been in excellent shape again. I shall leave WSPR running all this evening and maybe through the night again.  PT2WWV has been spotted at up to 0dB S/N i.e.very strong indeed. He is running 5W.

By the way, 4X1RF (3519km) has spotted me 25 times today. There is also GDX about: G3RCE (185km) spotted several times this afternoon.  Even at 1826z I am still being spotted in the USA.  Incredible 10m conditions again.

UPDATE 1930z:  N2OTO and PT2WWV still both pounding in here.

UPDATE 2010z:   PT2WWV still coming through here. Spotted 18 times today so far and it may continue for longer .N2OTO coming through here,

UPDATE 2110z:  Just locals since 2010z. Is that it for the "real DX"  today? An hour gone since the last DX.

UPDATE 2112z:  I spoke too soon as N2OTO has just been spotted. The opening to the USA is still going on and on...

10m WSPR USA - too many now

The 10m band is so wide open to the USA today on WSPR that I have now lost count of all the stations spotted and spotting me. It feels more like mid-winter conditions. I wonder how conditions have been on 6m? It would not completely surprise me to hear 6m was open to the USA briefly today.

Cameroon again

TJ3TS (5478km) is spotting me again today. He was copying me yesterday too. African stations are few and far between on 10m WSPR, I guess as without a decent internet connection (problematic in some parts of the continent) it is hard to sync time and upload spots to the WSPRnet database?  WSPR seems to be more common in more developed nations.  I think CW is more common as kit is simpler and time synchronization not an issue.

10m WSPR - quiet times?

Well, 10m WSPR is certainly far from quiet again today. These are the spots this afternoon, showing plenty of USA activity. A reminder, I use 2W and an end-fed tri-band Par antenna strung to a tree in the garden and not too high up either.
Some recent 10m WSPR spots today

10m WSPR - 4X1RF

So far today, I have been spotted 25 times already by 4X1RF (3519km) in Israel. If this is Es, what happened to the "sporadic" bit??  Signal reports are generally very strong (up to +2dB S/N) , like a single hop F2?

10m WSPR - USA yet again today

N2OTO (7088km), in EL96wi square (Florida) - damn this FCC nonsense on USA call areas -53spotted me at 1322z today on 10m WSPR. Unless I am mistaken (there have been a lot of stateside spots this summer) this is the 16th USA opening I have caught this summer. The "conventional wisdom" is this is multi-hop Es, but I have my doubts. I seem to be spotted on lots of days, so hardly "sporadic".  Maybe it is F2 backscatter?  2W to my indifferent antenna seems to be enough.KZ8C

In addition, Es to Scandinavia on 10m is still good with OH6GKW spotted.

UPDATE 1400z: I now see that KC1AWS (5308km) was spotting me from near Worcester, Massachusetts, USA i.e. New England.  At 1346z I spotted him too. WG2Z (5600km) was also spotting me. They are coming in thick and fast now from the USA. KZ8C was just spotted.

Free online magazine (part English)

Steve G1KQH has made me aware of a Dutch magazine that is partly in English and you may want to read: see http://www.dkars.nl/index.php?page=magazine .

10m WSPR - brilliant start Sunday

4X1RF (3519km) has been spotting me since the early hours, At the last count 9 times already. Also spotting me be Es was LB9YE (1533km) in the middle of the night. I have spotted ZS1ANF (9720km), FR1GZ (9724km) and FR5ZX (9740km), the latter spotted 5 times already by 0928z,  all by F2 propagation.

Sunspot count today is 164 (more blackouts possible) and 20-30MHz propagation is "normal", although I have already seen very good F2 propagation. I have the feeling today will be another good 10m day.

UPDATE 1020z:   FR5ZX has been spotted 10 times on 10m WSPR so far this morning already at up to -13dB S/N.  FR1GZ has also been spotted several times. F2 over the equator is solid today.

UPDATE 1042z:  Lots of Es from Scandinavia this morning on 10m WSPR.  Date check?  Oh yes Sept 14th and the Es season has ended!

UPDATE 1215z: T5/T61AA (6960km) in Mogadishu, Somalia was spotted at 1114z this morning. This is the second day running Ross has been copied here on 10m WSPR. Es is also still around.  4X1RF has been spotting me all morning. I think this must be F2 as it seems far too consistent for multi-hop Es.

13 Sep 2014

10m WSPR - now Brazil

This has been a splendid day on 10m WSPR.

I was about to QSY when spots were exchanged with PT2WWV (8873km) in Brasilia, Brazil just now. Will stick around on 10m a while longer as anything seems possible.

It would not totally surprise me that much if VKs or ZLs started to come through long path later.

UPDATE 2006z:   PT2WWV is coming in on 10m WSPR very strongly.  Five exchanges so far at 2002z.

UPDATE 2035z:  Will this great 10m day never end? Now OH7AI (2000km) is being spotted here via Es. During the day we have seen Es all around Europe, GDX, near continent by Es, tropo, aircraft reflection or backscatter and really decent long distance DX to all over the place as well. Apparently I missed some VKs on 10m early this morning.

UPDATE 2125z:   All seems quiet on 10m now with just local G0LRD (25km) and I exchanging spots . Will be staying with 10m overnight, hoping to catch some breakfast time DX and maybe some fun during the night. Yet more excitement is possible before bedtime.

UPDATE 2152z:  OH5XO (1943km) using 200mW is now being spotted at -16dB S/N. It goes on and on. What next?

Yet more 10m stateside on WSPR!

I have now lost count how many times the USA has been within reach on 10m WSPR this summer. I think I have caught about 15 openings over the summer Es months.  Almost certainly I have missed some, but WSPR catches these short, fleeting openings.

Today it was near Santa Fe, New Mexico either by multi-hop Es or perhaps F2 backscatter. AF5ES (7920km) spotted my 2W at 1508z at -24dB S/N. So, not strong. No other USA stations were spotted or spotted me around that time.

Today has been excellent on 10m WSPR. 10m really is a wonderful band.I shall be interested to find out what others managed as my antenna is not the world's best and does seem to be somewhat directional, although this is not intended.

UPDATE 1630z: AF5ES has been copied 5 times so far this afternoon. Remarkable. But no other USA stations spotting me or been spotted.  4X1RF and TJ3TS are still spotting me on 10m WSPR.

UPDATE 1640z: I just noticed that KE5HPY (7799km) was spotting me at 1432z. He only spotted me the once.

UPDATE 1646z: W1QG (8604km) in California (I do HATE this daft FCC deregulation that makes call areas useless) was spotted at -25dB S/N.

UPDATE 1712z:  Now spotting K3NAL (5930km) in Maryland. The USA opening is widespread and long lasting. W1QG (California) is now up to -18dB S/N. 

UPDATE 1743z:  Whilst the opening to the USA continues, DO3WBL (692km) is now being copied by Es. AF5ES has now spotted me ten times this afternoon. I am sure it is not over yet either.

UPDATE 1848z:  AF5ES has now spotted my 2W WSPR 11 times in the last 3 hours and there now an Italian being spotted and a Scottish station spotting me by Es.  DK6UG is spotting me at -17dB S/N at 1846z.  All quite remarkable.

10m WSPR - 2 stations from Reunion Is and also Cameroon

FR5ZX (9740km) and FR1GZ (9724km) were copied this morning several times on 10m WSPR. FR5ZX , TJ3TS (5478km) in Yaounde, Cameroon and 4X1RF (3519km) Israel were all copying me on 10m WSPR. These were all F2 propagation.  

ON7KS (295km) was probably via tropo, aircraft reflection, or backscatter as 295km is too close for Es. G8JNJ/A (184km) is tropo with aircraft reflection.

No Es yet today, but it is still early days.

Sunspot count is 157 (with blackouts) and 20-30MHz propagation "normal". 10m is in decent shape with decent F2 propagation about.

UPDATE 1235z:  LB9YE (1533km) spotted me via Es at 1226z and DK6UG (633km) at 1216z - yet another Es opening on 10m.  Also M6NNB (127km) spotted me by tropo. We do seem to be seeing Es at times outside the peak Es months and WSPR certainly helps find these brief openings. LB9YE running 500mW is also being spotted here.
Recent 10m WSPR spots

12 Sep 2014

Return to 472kHz

As 10m seemed to be getting quieter with just locals spotted in the last few hours, I decided to QSY down to 472kHz WSPR.  Even with an ERP below 5mW, my very first MF transmission resulted in spots from 4 stations, sadly all stations were ones who had spotted me before. I'll stay on 472kHz for this evening and maybe overnight.
Recent 472kHz WSPR spots
UPDATE 2020z:  Conditions below 10MHz are supposed to be "very poor". They seem reasonable to me on 472kHz.

10m Es

Yet again 10m Es is "playing ball" with EA7 and DL (645km) copied today.  I am convinced that regular WSPR use will reveal further short Es openings when we least expect them. I hope stations stick with 10m in the quieter months so we really build a picture of 10m Es in the months outside of the peak summer months.
10m unique spots on WSPR Set 12th 2014 - far from a dead band!
UPDATE 1600z:  PA0O (440km) has been spotted just now but unsure if this is tropo or Es.  A good range if tropo but very short skip if Es.

10m GDX - M6FOJ and G8JNJ/A

M6FOJ (103km) has been spotted several times this afternoon. It looks like pure tropo GDX with not a hint of aircraft reflections. G8JNJ/A (184km) has also been seen this afternoon.

UPDATE 1526z: DL2ZQ has been spotted at 1512z at -21dB S/N. Yet more 10m Es today.

T5/T61AA and FR1GZ - real DX

T5/T61AA (6960km) in LJ22pa in Mogadishu, Somalia, East Africa has just been spotted weakly on 10m WSPR. This is Ross who was in Afghanistan.   

FR1GZ on Reunion Island has been spotted many times today, including 10 times, so far, since lunchtime.

UPDATE 1342z:  T5/T61AA is now being spotted stronger.

UPDATE 1540z:  FR1GZ has been spotted 16 times since the start of lunchtime.  He was also coming in earlier in the day too. Excellent. 

10m WSPR this morning and sunspots

I have been active for over an hour on 10m but so far no stations spotting me or being spotted. Things may liven up later.

Sunspot count today is 164 (with blackouts) and 20-30MHz propagation is "poor". Things seem very slow on 10m so far. 164 is a high sunspot number but conditions are disturbed. Let us hope things improve later and even that there is a little Es about. 

UPDATE 0935z:  FR1GZ, G4KPX and G0LRD have all been copied this morning, but spots were not uploaded to the WSPRnet database, sorry. WSPRX did not upload my spots - no idea why! I have now restarted the software.

UPDATE 0942z:  That's better! Since restarting WSPRX I see I am being spotted well by G4KPX and G0LRD.  Clearly WSPRX was NOT working for the first hour or so. My apologies. With FR1GZ being spotted we are seeing N-S F2 propagation.

UPDATE 1018z:   I am still unconvinced WSPRX is uploading my spots on RX.  As an example, EA7IHT was copied at -19dB S/N at 0940z yet this did not appear in the WSPRnet database.Neither did G4KPX. There is still Es about. I may download the V2 version (without scrolling waterfall and WSPR15) onto this Win 7 PC, which I swapped with my wife as she needed the 1TB memory for Picasa pics.

UPDATE 1032z:  My WSPRX upload issue was "finger trouble": I had left the reported band as 630m by mistake. Now corrected. I think this muddled thinking is a result of my stroke.

UPDATE 1214z:  FR1GZ (9724km) was copied at -22dB S/N. N-S F2 propagation. He was copied much earlier in the day too, but the spots failed to upload as mentioned above.

472kHz overnight

I ran WSPR on 472kHz overnight. It ran until about 0320am when the Win 7 PC decided to do updates and closed the PC. No new reports or reporters overnight, just stations that I had seen before or who had spotted me before. All rather disappointing. I feel that radically improving the antenna (and hence ERP) won't make a huge difference. On RX the system works very well and hears most active stations. To be honest, I am losing interest a bit in MF as there are far too few stations active especially here in  the UK.

11 Sep 2014

Over 1000km on 472kHz WSPR RX

This evening LA4ANA (1042km) running 50mW ERP has been spotted 3 times so far. Not strong, but there. Several DLs also in the log too out to 995km.

UPDATE 2220z:  LA4ANA has been spotted 5 times so far.

10m operation

See https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/hf/10m_op .

The above link (on my main website) is my "take" on 10m operation. Although I have never applied for a DXCC certificate I have worked well over 100 countries on 10m with QRP and small wire antennas. There is no doubt in my mind that this is the best amateur band we have. Low cost CB type all mode rigs means it can be accessed at low cost, even buying new. A small dipole is effective and need not be too high.

472kHz this evening and 10m tomorrow

Yet again, 472kHz is proving a real disappointment. Not long ago I found a list of all the stations that had copied me on 500kHz WSPR with very similar ERP to my present 472kHz ERP. The list was about 5 times longer, showing the level of WSPR activity on 500kHz a few years ago. Although I'll leave 472kHz WSPR running through the night I very much doubt I'll see new reporters by the morning.

Tomorrow, I shall try 10m WSPR instead.

Back on 472kHz WSPR

We arrived back from Cheshire about an hour ago. Having checked the post, I decided to come on 472kHz WSPR. Spots so far from G0LRD (25km) and M0LMH (223km). No totally new reporters yet this evening.

G3WCB (101km) has been spotted well.

My old friend G3WKW (Bob) kindly sent a book through the post about one of my stroke problems. Bob has been so kind. Thank you Bob.

Sunspots and HF

Sunspots count today is 161 (blackouts) with 20-30MHz propagation "poor". Today could be another disturbed day.

Returning home

After 3 nights staying in Goostrey, Cheshire with my brother in law and his wife we return home later. Back to WSPR later today. After the blackouts on HF yesterday propagation looks more promising.

10 Sep 2014

FT991 - late 2014?

According to the Yaesu website this new radio is due to be released later this year.


9 Sep 2014

10m transatlantic again

Although away from home and not able to operate on 10m, I see from WSPRnet that 10m was open from the USA to Germany today.

Sunspots

Count today is a good 158 and 20-30MHz propagation "normal"

FT991

The FT991 is unlikely to be available in UK until next year says the MLS website according to G1KQH.  Price likely to be just under £1000. That would be a LOT more than the FT450D.

8 Sep 2014

Sunspots

Sunspot count today is 154 (with blackouts) with 20-30MHz propagation described as "normal". This means some N-S 10m F2 propagation is quite probable.

Yesterday was quite a productive day on 10m with GDX, Es amd F2 all in evidence.  Best DX was CX2ABP in Montevideo at 11127km.

7 Sep 2014

10m Es and F2 - this evening

It was worth waiting for. Since 1834z OH5XO (1943km) has been spotted 4 times already. This is the second station on Es seen here today. I am glad I did not QSY to 472kHz too early.

      OE6PWD 
      OH5XO

Yet again, 10m Es is still with us.

UPDATE 1946z:  Now DK6UG (633km) has spotted me a couple of times. Es a May, June, July phenomenon?  No - with WSPR it is longer.

UPDATE 1958z:   CX2ABP (11127km) in Uruguay is now spotting me via F2. This was a long time coming, but come it did.

UPDATE 2130z:  No DX (Es and F2) for the last hour and a half. Is that it for the day?  Time to go QRT now.

10m Es and F2 today

Es is still there today on 10m in the form of OE6PWD (1232km) spotted strongly (-13dB S/N) at 1238z. ZS1ANF was again being copied at 1240z, 1252z and 1300z. It appears I was using 500mW and not 2W on 10m this morning - wrong settings on FT817 - as I forgot to change from the FT817 settings used on 630m (472kHz) into the transverter on that band.

UPDATE 1342z:  The solar forecast has improved with 20-30MHz propagation now "good" (was fair). Is solar forecasting like weather? Hang up better seaweed or look out the window?

UPDATE 1347z:  There are currently 41 active 10m WSPR stations, but a total absence of stations in S.America at the moment. Great pity as that is where the N-S F2 will be next.
UPDATE 1550z:   There are now 44 active stations on 10m WSPR but still no South Americans on. V53ARC in Namibia (Africa) is the nearest active station. Such a pity. Not copied V53ARC here today though. ZS1ANF seems to be QRT now.

UPDATE 1835z:  No DX seen here since 1300z.  Thinking about QSYing to 472kHz but may wait another hour or so in case some 10m surprises appear. CX2ABP is monitoring 10m WSPR: if the band opens he may copy me. 38 active 10m WSPR stations listed currently - far too few.

10m F2 this morning on WSPR

This morning has started promisingly on 10m WSPR with ZS1ANF (9720km) logged at 1034z by F2 and a few GDX stations out to 184km. All stations were using 5W or less.

Sunspot count today is 170 (good) but 20-30MHz propagation described as only "fair".

UPDATE 1326z:  ZS1ANF has already been spotted 5 times today. F2 seems pretty good N-S on 10m today.

2m contest this weekend

Using my voice in an SSB contest is very hard work, so I tend to have short bursts of operation. It really does EXHAUST me!

Stations worked (from home, 5W 3 el) include:

F6KCZ/P  IN99pi (332km)
ON4KHG  JO10xo
PA6NL   JO21bx

Stations nearly worked (call got wrong or lost) included:
GD8EXI  IO74pc (got "BM" but missed the rest)

Several new UK squares worked too. In the end, I had to give in: my voice cannot yet cope.

10m Es - good yesterday

Yesterday was pretty good for Es with the following stations in the log spotted:
HB4SL
HB9FGQ
SI9AM
OH5XO
OK2SAM

Spotting me was:.
GM4WJA

OK, there were long gaps in between sometimes but it goes to show how WSPR is able to seek out weak, fleeting openings on 10m.  Did someone tell you Es is a May, June, July phenomenon? It is September 6th and I am still seeing Es every day on 10m.

6 Sep 2014

10m and sunspots

Returned to 10m WSPR this morning around 1020z, but so far very quiet with just G0LRD and I exchanging WSPR spots.

Sunspot count is 124 (with blackouts) and the forecast for 20-30MHz is "fair". I'll be lucky to catch any F2 propagation on 10m today but Es remains a possibility around lunch and tea times.

UPDATE 1120z:  Still very quiet on 10m here.

UPDATE 1200z:   Such is Es - out of the blue pops OH5XO (1943km) three times so far. Nothing since, but 10m is still producing daily Es propagation.

UPDATE 1255z:   At 1214z GM4JWA (634km) was spotting my 2W at -24dB S/N on WSPR.

UPDATE 1430z:  SI9AM (1503km) in Northern Sweden copied at 1352z.

UPDATE 1620z:  Since SI9AM at 1352z it has been very quiet here. Even G0LRD seems to have gone QRT on 10m.

UPDATE 1850z: At 1842z OK3SAM (1283km) was coming in here weakly at -26dB S/N on 10m WSPR.   No F2 seen here all day

5 Sep 2014

Yaesu FT991 prices?

Has anyone any idea of the likely UK price of this new radio?

It would be excellent if they released one of the low powered versions (normally available in Japan) for UK and Europe too. I think the lower powers are for some Japanese licence classes? It is a lower powered version I quite fancy. 10W or 30W max.

My FT817 units have been excellent buys as have the VX1 and VX2 handhelds. You could call me a Yaesu fan.

I want to concentrate on operating for the next few years. My stroke currently gives me little choice as building and real field experimentation are out of the question, sadly, for a while.

Evening off radio

This evening I closed down quite early.

My usual pattern, at present, is to go on 10m during the day and then switch to 630m (472kHz) during the evenings and sometimes overnight. Tonight, as 472kHz WSPR has failed to turn up any new stations lately, I watched some recorded TV instead. All being well I shall be back on 10m tomorrow. If 10m is very quiet, I may try JT65 and JT9-1 on 20m.
 
With the ENT examination (see earlier post) today has been quite stressful, although the outcome was far better than I could have hoped for.

Stroke update

Today I had an ENT (Ear, Nose, Throat) exam by camera of my vocal chords. Thankfully, like my MRI scan last month, the outcome was good.  My vocal chords are working fine and it is the communication between my brain and vocal chords that is not working correctly.  I can speak if I pronounce words carefully and slowly. With time, this should improve.

My other remaining symptoms are giddiness (when moving), sick feeling and extreme fatigue. I am still very clumsy, making amateur radio building and antenna work all but impossible at the moment. With time, all should improve. Recovery is taking a LONG time!

10m - very quiet early and afternoon, but lunchtime Es.

Sunspot count is 136 (with blackouts) and 20-30MHz propagation is described as "normal" yet 10m is very quiet with just G0LRD (25km) spotting me this morning. Let us hope things improve soon. 

UPDATE 1156z:  HB4FL (835km) just spotted by 10m Es at 1154z. I just had to be a little patient.

UPDATE 1735z:  Apart from HB4FL at lunchtime, it has remained quiet on 10m all afternoon with just G0LRD copying me. I will stick on the band a while longer to see if things improve. To be honest, I was expecting better on 10m today.

4 Sep 2014

Back on 472kHz this evening

For the last hour or thereabouts I QSYed down to MF (472kHz). I have been trying my various compromise (strapped feeder) antennas and the earth-electrode antenna. Interestingly G0LRD was copying me only 1dB weaker on the earth-electrode antenna than the best of the "wire in the air" antennas. He is probably off the end of the "loop in the ground" (in the line of the wire,  as for a true loop). For a very short while I was reporting the wrong band as I accidentally clicked the wrong button in WSPRX.

Antenna current measures less on the PAR end-fed with strapped feeders yet this seems the most effective of these antennas. ERP is less than 5mW.

472kHz WSPR unique reports Sept 4th 2014 to 2028z
DH5RAE (995km) is my best DX spot so far this evening. I received him. On TX my best spot so far is from M0MLH (223km).

UPDATE 2100z:  Best spot of my 472kHz WSPR signal this evening is now from  PE1RKT (285km).

UPDATE 2140z: DK7FC continues to put out a huge WSPR signal on 472kHz. He was audible by ear at -3dB S/N a little while ago. He runs 1W ERP.

UPDATE 2200z:  Each TX transmission period gets me 4-5 reports,  which goes to show how effective less than 5mW ERP on 472kHz can be.

10m F2 good this afternoon

FR1GZ http://files.qrz.com/z/fr1gz/FR1GZsat.JPG
FR1GZ (9724km) has been copied several times this early afternoon on 10m WSPR by F2 propagation.  

4X1RF (3519km) has copied me 17 times so far on 10m WSPR today.

If there are South Americans active, I expect to see these later in the day. Long distance propagation seems better on 10m today than yesterday.

Currently there are just 22 active stations in the world on 10m WSPR. It is a real pity it isn't 4 or 5 times this number. I am sure openings are being missed due to the low WSPR activity.  Let us hope activity picks up soon on this special band.

UPDATE 1640z: Since FR1GZ earlier, it has been quiet on 10m with just M0EMM (192km) and local G0LRD (25km).

UPDATE 1645z: There is an absence of South Americans on 10m WSPR, but quite a few USA stations. I hope some South Americans come on soon, as I think 10m will be open in that direction soon.