30 Sep 2015

Early spot on 10m WSPR from Reunion Is

It is only 1048z and already my little 10m 500mW WSPR beacon has been spotted in Europe, Asia and Africa . Conditions on 10m are the best I have seen them this autumn season so far.

6m WSPR

After several days with no success at all on 6m WSPR, giving or receiving spots,  I decided to give the band a miss. My usual pattern has been 10m and 6m during the day with 630m (472kHz) overnight. Sod's Law will no doubt apply and my absence on 6m will herald some super TEP and the best conditions on 6m for many years! I can just imagine! Well, it is not the end of the world if it happens.

Sunspots and 10m - Wed Sept 30th 2015

Sunspot number has dropped back a bit to 125, which is still respectable. K=0, so conditions are undisturbed and the propagation forecast for 10m is still "fair". Some reasonable F2 conditions are possible on 10m. If we are lucky there might be a little "out of season" Es on 10m WSPR as well.

UPDATE 0924z:  So far, just local G4IKZ (18km) spotting me on 10m WSPR,  but it is early still. I decided not to bother with 6m WSPR today.

UPDATE 0940z:  Just after writing the update above 4X1RF (3519km) in Israel spotted my 500mW 10m WSPR beacon.  F2. Today should be a good day on 10m.

472kHz WSPR RX overnight

Overnight no new stations were received on MF. Just the same stations, some at good strength.

29 Sep 2015

South America on 10m WSPR

KD0VWO (7412km) monitoring in Brazil has copied my 500mW 10m WSPR beacon again today. This is not the best DX today, but good to see my signal getting to South America. The question is will there be any North American 10m WSPR spots tonight?

UPDATE 2014z:  No signs of any North American spots on 10m WSPR. I shall be going QRT on 10m shortly. Below are the unique stations spotting me on 10m WSPR today. Note that the KD0 is actually monitoring in Brazil and not the USA.
Unique spots of my 10m WSPR beacon today
UPDATE 2042z:  Now QRT on 10m WSPR but will be monitoring 630m RX only overnight.

Even lower price for the Yaesu FT991

Steve G1KQH has just informed me that the Yaesu FT991 is being sold at £991 by Moonraker until stocks are exhausted or Oct 4th. I am sure we will see lower prices still in the months ahead. I can see MLS, Waters and Stanton and others doing battle.

The question is what price will the IC7300 be?  Once this becomes available there will be a price war between the UK dealers to offer the best deals. I expect even now a better deal can be had for the FT991 if paying cash and not looking for terms.

A price war is brewing....

Re-tarring the windmill - NOT amateur radio

The 200 year old restored windmill next door is getting a new coat of tar. The mill currently has a cog problem which is preventing the sails turning in the wind and grinding corn. They are hoping to fix the issue. The picture was taken from our drive. Inside, you can climb to the top (great view), although my health has prevented me doing so since the restoration.

Processing weather satellite images

This is not my thing but others may find this of interest if you enjoy weather satellite images. I am content to put seaweed out the window here or even watch the BBC weather! The latter seems only to be correct if we have a long settled period here in the UK. So, you do as well looking out of the window.

See http://www.satsignal.eu/  .

2m big-wheel and feeder on HF

As an experiment I loaded up my feeder and 2m big-wheel on HF tuned against a mains ground. It matched on 40m, 30m, 20m, 17m and 15m but it did not like 10m. I have still to try other bands. On 15m it was getting USA spots on the first transmission at 2W and on 40m it got 9 spots (all Europeans) in the first TX with no effort. It was receiving well on all the bands I tried and giving plenty of stations spots via WSPRnet. The feeder and 2m big-wheel, tuned with my LDG ATU, would allow me to WSPR on most HF bands. One night I shall try the 2m big-wheel and feeder on 472kHz, using a ferrite rod to resonate it and a 3C39 toroid to match it. It will be interesting to see how this compares with the earth-electrode "antenna".

UPDATE 1427z:  I see my 10m WSPR has been spotted by FR1GZ (9724km) using the 500mW beacon and Par triband end-fed wire. Conditions on 10m are good.

UPDATE 1556z:   LA9JO (2096km) spotted me on 7MHz, for my best WSPR DX, so far, on that band.

The SLOW decline

Well, we are on the down slope of the current solar cycle.

The down part of the cycle is usually slower than the climb from the minimum to the next peak, so we may have a few more years of reasonable conditions.

At the present time, conditions, even on 10m, are quite good. This time next year I think we may be losing 10m (largely) as a DX band although N-S paths may still have some decent openings. I have mentioned before that I have worked LU on 10m SSB even with QRP right at the lowest part of the cycle.

It is a pity that more don't stick with WSPR on 10m as this is a good way to "smoke out" transient openings. Activity levels on 10m WSPR are way down on last year. Next year I suspect there will be even fewer stations on 10m WSPR.

Sunspots and 10m - Tues Sept 29th 2015

Sunspot number is 120 today, a little down on yesterday. K=3, so conditions are more disturbed than yesterday. K reduced to 2 later, so less disrurbed. The propagation forecast for 10m today is "fair" again, although I remain skeptical about 10m WSPR spots from North and South America.

In recent days the 10m band has been good with Africans and South Americans worked on CW.  On WSPR my 500mW beacon has only been spotted in North America on one day this season so far, which is disappointing. 10m, like 6m, is a magic band and one can never be quite sure how it will behave. Although I hope my tiny 10m beacon will be spotted in the Americas, only time will tell.

I shall be on 10m and 6m all day again. On 10m I am 100% TX with the beacon, but on 6m I am looking for others 80% of the time.

UPDATE 1112z:  Best DX on the 10m 500mW beacon today remains 4Z5ML (3572km). No Es seen here today on 10m WSPR and no F2 DX spots from Africa or the Americas. 6m WSPR remains dead here!

Good start on 10m WSPR this morning

As well as local G4IKZ (18km) I have already had spots from a couple of stations in Israel this morning early on 10m WSPR. I assume these are by F2.

On MF I spotted 9 unique stations last night. In all, I have spotted 15 unique stations spotted this season. Best DX on MF remains a German spotted at 995km.

28 Sep 2015

472kHz RX

Using the RX preamp is allowing me to give stations I spot better reports, but my best DX stubbornly still stands at 995km to a German station. There are EA and SV stations active that I have not spotted yet this season. I shall leave the RX on overnight and hope they are active. I think both should be copyable, even with the earth-electrode "antenna". It would be good to copy one of the USA stations too at some point. I have managed to copy one before but never from this QTH on MF.

UPDATE 2148z:  I have now closed my 500mW 10m WSPR beacon until breakfast. Despite the early promise (lots of spots from Israel), not a single spot from North or South America today. With conditions looking good I really thought today would have been better on 10m. 6m was a dead loss yet again. I tend to go on 6m and 10m daytime. I am still active on 472kHz WSPR receive and will remain looking overnight until breakfast. The best nights so far have yielded spots from 12 unique stations on 472kHz WSPR.

Late swallows - NOT amateur radio

Eating lunch at the Maid's Head
Today we went for a walk around Wicken Fen and afterwards we ate at the "Maid's Head" in Wicken  village. In 1982 this thatched pub was badly damaged by fire but it was beautifully restored. Wicken is a lovely sleepy village with nice greens.

We went all around the boardwalk route at Wicken Fen and got back in the car when we saw 4 swallows overhead and quite close. This is, I think, the latest time I've seen swallows up here in East Anglia. I have seen them much later in Devon, but most have gone south by now. There are usually some late younger birds at Wimpole Hall but the latest I saw these was Sept 21st.

Swallow
As I get older, I wonder if this will be the last time I ever see a swallow in my lifetime? Hopefully I shall be around for their return next spring and for many springs to come, but there is something comforting in knowing this cycle will be going on long after I am just dust.

See  http://www.rspb.org.uk/discoverandenjoynature/discoverandlearn/birdguide/name/s/swallow/  .

BBC Radio 4 on Longwave

From Steve G1KQH today:

"End of BBC on the LW?
Of course if they let this go, what will  the crystal set builder have to listen to?
Build another Solid State transmitter that is the answer..

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

Sunspots and 10m - Mon Sept 28th 2015

With a high sunspot number of 154 (K=0) 10m could be in decent shape today. The forecast remains "fair" for 10m today. Although WSPR spotted in Brazil again yesterday, I was surprised not to have been copied in North America by F2. The problem with 10m and 6m WSPR is activity is much lower than a year ago so often openings go unnoticed. This is a great pity as WSPR is an excellent very weak signal mode. With more activity, lots more openings would be spotted on both bands.

Had my mother lived she would have been 98 today. She died of a secondary cancer several years ago now.

UPDATE 1000z: There is already F2 about on 10m WSPR. 4X1DA (3597km) and 4X1RF (3519km) have already spotted my 500mW WSPR signal a few times. Thank you both. On 6m WSPR I am looking for others 80% of the time, but so far 6m is dead with no spots given or received.

27 Sep 2015

Reboot of PC needed

Although I was spotting F5WK (364km) well again this evening on 472kHz WSPR, my spots of him were not being uploaded to the WSPRnet database. My PC was showing that the WiFi was connected but I had no internet connectivity, except that other machines were connecting perfectly well! So, I rebooted the Win 7 PC and now all seems to work - spots of F5WK on 472kHz WSPR are now being uploaded OK. Although the first uploaded spot of F5WK is 1812z, I was copying him well before then.

On 10m WSPR the beacon is stand alone and the PC is only needed to start the sync. I could use the radio pips. The 10m beacon then runs (at least) all day on its own on 10m. I use the PC and WSPR software on either 6m or 630m.

Brazil again on 10m WSPR

KD0VWO (7412km) monitoring in Brazil has spotted my 500mW 10m WSPR beacon again. No signs yet of spots from North America today. Maybe later? Yesterday I was sure I'd be spotted in North America as conditions were better than the day before, but I was wrong. 10m can be fickle.

New blog from Denmark

Jan OZ9QV is back in Denmark and has started a new blog. In the past I have worked with Danes and I much like them. In many ways they are similar to English people, although I guess this is because, going back over 1000 years, we share the same genes!

I remember visiting AP Radio in Copenhagen many years ago and liking that at 3.30pm on a Friday they went to the lab fridge and got out the beers!  The Danish sense of humour is quite similar to that in the UK. I like the Danish people.  Denmark seems a nation at peace with itself.

See http://oz9qv.blogspot.com/  .

QRP Operation

There is a Wikipedia entry about QRP I see (that is where you will find this image). QRP appeals to a lot of people, although when times are hard more power can reach further. On modes like WSPR QRP powers are usually fine.

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QRP_operation .

New EU directive?

Steve G1KQH has just sent me this:

"I thought that was the idea of the EU to break down the barriers, it appears not?:


All the link to the crazy directive are on the bottom of the Blog..

73 Steve

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

At one time the UK leaving the EU sounded a step too far. These days, even a European enthusiast like me wonders. The EU does seem to serve little purpose these days, never agrees a budget, is undemocratic and over-bureaucratic. Maybe it is time for a big overhaul? Perhaps the UK should leave?

No lightning in Northern Europe

Here in the UK, most of us are enjoying a decent spell of settled weather with a big high pressure system overhead.  Looking at the lightning map, it looks storm-free over lots of northern Europe. No doubt things will change towards the end of the week when low pressure systems roll in again. Still, it is nice whilst it lasts. Maybe conditions on 2m and 70cm will be good with some tropo later in the week?

Sunspots and 10m - Sun Sept 27th 2015

Sunspot number is still good at 138 (K=1) and 10m propagation remains "fair".  Although my 500mW 10m WSPR beacon got some F2 reports, I was disappointed not to have been spotted in North America yesterday. Maybe today? Who can tell.

UPDATE 0910z:  Just locals spotting me on 10m WSPR so far. No late Es, or F2, on 10m WSPR seen here as yet. 6m is dead so far today. Overnight 11 different stations spotted here on 630m WSPR with best DX again 995km.

UPDATE 0948z:  Still just local spots on 10m WSPR.

UPDATE 1338z:  Still just locals G4IKZ and G4KPX spotting me on 10m WSPR. No sign yet of any F2 or late Es on 10m WSPR.

26 Sep 2015

No North America on 10m WSPR?

Well, unless things change very late, there will be no WSPR spots of my little 10m beacon from the USA or Canada today. This surprised me as I was definitely expecting an opening in that direction. There was some late Es in the form of DK0SC (827km).

Some life on 6m WSPR and return to MF RX

G4TZX (146km) has been spotted on 6m WSPR a few times. He is in JO01 square, so I suspect we are seeing some help from aircraft on the approaches to London, Heathrow. This is classic tropo/aircraft reflection distance.

MF preamp
It would be good to see some real DX on 6m, but feel this is unlikely as activity levels are low, F2 DX is very unlikely and we are no longer in the peak Es months.

UPDATE 1518z:  Now QRT on 6m WSPR and moved to 630m RX for tonight and overnight. Last night best DX copied on MF was 995km.

First report from Brazil today on 10m WSPR

In addition to locals G4IKZ (18km) and G4KPX (14km) I am being spotted by DX stations on 10m WSPR. As well as many (24 so far today!) 10m WSPR spots from 4X1RF (3519km) in Israel, I have just had a spot from Brazil of my 500mW WSPR beacon.  Thank you to the stations spotting me. I am always grateful for your reports.

Today 10m is in good shape. I am almost certain there will be 10m WSPR spots from North America later. Yesterday, I was spotted in Canada for the first time on 10m WSPR this autumn. Conditions today are better than yesterday, with a higher sunspot number and very undisturbed conditions.

Sunspots and 10m - Sat Sept 26th 2015

With K=0 and a very high sunspot number of 145 it is not surprising that 10m is in good shape today.  Even the solar forecast has conditions on 10m as "fair" rather than "poor". This is the first time they have not been "poor" in many weeks.

UPDATE 1014z:  Quite a few spots already on 10m WSPR from 4X1RF (3519km). I think this is F2. I confidently think I'll be spotted in both North and South America on 10m WSPR later. Today is going to be a good day on 10m. Enjoy it as these conditions will be distant memories all too soon.

UPDATE 1018z:  So far, a total blank on 6m WSPR where I am on RX for 82% and TXing for 18% with 1W ERP.  No spots of UK stations either on 6m.

25 Sep 2015

FT991 price HAS dropped

MLS are selling the FT991 now at £999.95 with free UK delivery.  I was right about the price dropping, but they dropped it sooner than I expected.

There is going to be a price war between the FT991 and the IC7300. This is just the first salvo. I can now see them both below £899 for Christmas.

At the moment I think the IC7300 will be a better radio, but with a price war likely now there will be strong competition between ICOM and Yaesu.  A price of £799 for both would no longer surprise me. ICOM will have more chance of slashing price and still being profitable with their SDR architecture. Personally, I'd prefer 4m to 70cm and 2m, although having 2m and 70cm makes the FT991 more of "a station in a box". It is quite likely there may be early issues with both radios. It is often better to wait a few months until these are ironed out and prices fall a bit.

First North American 10m WSPR spot this autumn

VE1YY (4597km) was the first in North America to spot my 10m 500mW WSPR beacon this autumn.  He has spotted me a couple of times this afternoon. They are back!  At -19dB S/N this not too bad a report either. It suggests he may well of copied me if I was using 50mW as long as his noise level was low.

No doubt we'll get USA and Canadian spots on 10m now until the spring by F2.

UPDATE 1920z:   Have now gone QRT on 10m WSPR until the morning, and now looking on 630m rather than 6m. Will be on 630m RX overnight.

SX-2000 HF (to 4m) QRP transceiver and SunSDR-MB1

This was news to me. I have never seen this before although the post on the website below was earlier this summer.  It looks like a poor man's IC7300 and covers the same range but at QRP power levels. It is an Italian transceiver. Personally I prefer the ICOM. I have no idea about price. It looks like a "back shed job" to me.

See http://www.cqdx.ru/ham/qro-qrp/qrp-hf-transceiver-with-touch-screen/ .

On the same website are details of the Sun SDR-MB1 assembled prototype, which is another rig I have never heard about! There is a video of this at https://youtu.be/SIfvVUw0774 . This rig looks more professional and the YouTube link quotes a price of $5500. This was 3 months ago.

Does increasing ERP on 10m WSPR make sense?

In the past I said that increasing 10m WSPR ERP was probably not worth it. However, I have changed my mind. G4IKZ (not that far from me) runs 5W and a Moxon beam on 10m WSPR. His ERP in the best direction is probably 10-13dB higher than me, and maybe even more.  On RX he will have the gain of the Moxon in his favour. Looking at reports on WSPRnet today, he has been copied by far more stations than me and he is copying some decent stuff on RX too.

No, I think in more marginal 10m conditions the extra would be worth having. For now, I'll stick with the beacon and 500mW, but I may switch to the FT817 so I can run a bit more power on TX and listen too on 10m WSPR. My antenna is a compromise.

10m F2

Already my 10m 500mW WSPR has been spotted in Brazil by KD0VWO (7412km). So far, this is the only DX seen on 10m WSPR today. I remain hopeful that I may be spotted in the USA later today on 10m WSPR.

UPDATE 1415z:  KD0VWO (in Brazil) has copied me several times on 10m WSPR, but 6m WSPR has drawn a total blank so far today with no spots given and none received on that band. I am ever the optimist and will stick on both 10m WSPR and 6m WSPR until this evening. Around 1900z I shall switch to 472kHz WSPR RX.

More Rallies

I have been notified of the following Radio Rallies:

Sunday 27 SEPTEMBER : PENCOED ARC TABLE TOP SALE
Pencoed Rugby Football Club, The Verlands, Felindre Road, Pencoed, Wales, CF35 5PB. Tables £5 each (first come first served). OT 8.30am sellers, 9.30am buyers, £2. C, REF. Madeline Roberts, 01639 885 126. www.mw0prg.co.uk/events.uk.

Sunday 27 SEPTEMBER : BELGIUM AMATEUR RADIO & COMPUTER RALLY
Hall 'LOUVEXPO', rue Michel Debauque, La Louvire (50km S of Brussels). TI 145.600 (rpt), 438.875 (rpt), 439.4375MHz (D-Star). OT 9am. 4000m2 of TS, FM etc. Michel, ON7FI, +32 475 45 45 78, michel.dewyngaert@skynet.be. www.on6ll.be.

A list of rallies can be found at http://rsgb.org/main/news/rallies/

FTSE 100 well up so far today - NOT amateur radio

So far, the UK FTSE 100 share index is up over 2.5% on the day. Yesterday it fell well below 6000, but not quite to the lowest point this year. So far this year it is down over 10%. At its highest it topped 7100.

Sunspots and 10m - Fri Sept 25th 2015

With a sunspot number of 86 and K=2 I think we could see some interesting 10m F2 conditions although the propagation forecast for 10m remains "poor". I am not expecting much on 6m. On both 10m and 6m some late Es remains a (remote) possibility.

UPDATE 1204z:  So far, not a single spot given or received on 6m and just local G4IKZ (18km) on 10m WSPR.

472kHz WSPR overnight

No new stations copied overnight but those copied were at good strength.

UPDATE 0850z:  F5WK (364km) is still coming in on MF. I am still on 630m WSPR but may switch to 6m shortly. Not sure why as 6m has been useless here for days!

24 Sep 2015

10m WSPR comes to life

With 4 spots from 4X1RF (3519km) and one from KD0VWO (7412km) looking in Brazil, 10m WSPR has sprung into life. I think both of these are F2 propagation. I am pretty sure there will be further reports later. WSPR

I am also on 472kHz RX but nothing copied on MF, as yet, this evening.

UPDATE 2000z:  Plenty of stations being copied on MF WSPR. All DX seems to have stopped hours ago on 10m so I shall close down until breakfast on 10m, but I shall be monitoring 630m WSPR overnight again.

ICOM IC7300 transceiver (more)

At the moment, the best value for money for a 100W transceiver looks like the ICOM IC7300. This is an SDR based transceiver that covers HF, 6m and 4m (in Europe). The selling price is expected to be a way below £1000, making it far less than the FT991 from Yaesu. A 10W version of the IC7300 is not available outside of Japan, sadly. The SDR based architecture means BOM (bill of material) costs should be low. Much of the RX processing is done in software. The realtime spectrum scope is a nice feature.

I quite fancy one, but may wait until some of the early problems are ironed out. It would be good to have 50W on 4m too as more and more countries are appearing on the band.

See http://www.icomamerica.com/en/products/amateur/hf/7300/default.aspx .

The image below is located on the ICOM America website and not on this blog. 

August 70cm UKAC results published

I see from the results of this contest that I managed to come 98th out of 162 in the AL section. I was pleased with this as I was just using a 2m big-wheel horizontal omni antenna and was only "on air" for around 40% of the time because of my poor, stroke affected, voice. I was only using 5W pep from my FT817. Activity levels are high in these contests and even if you don't bother to enter the contest you are almost guaranteed a QSO unless you are located in some extreme location.

472kHz sensitivity with a signal generator

With the preamp in front of the FT817 I can copy down to at least -127dBm, which is the lowest the generator will go without external attenuators. Without the preamp, sensitivity is at least 10dB worse. Of course, in reality, external noise will set the real limit. On my FT817, the IPO in/out made little difference to the sensitivity. I suppose the NF was being set  by the preamp. It is definitely worth having the preamp (with filtering) in circuit.

I am so grateful to the kind anonymous person who sent me this preamp. Thank you again. I have no idea who you are but I am extremely grateful for your great kindness. There really are some very kind people around.

Sunspots and 10m - Thurs Sept 24th 2015

Sunspot number has climbed again. It is now 95 (K=3) but 10m is again expected to remain "poor". It is your guess how 10m will be today! 

As previous days have shown, there is still some Es about around Europe, (I am sure we'd see even more if WSPR activity was greater) and F2 DX is starting to occur and even my 500mW WSPR is being spotted at some distance again (Brazil and Reunion Is.).

472kHz WSPR RX overnight with preamp

Overnight, I used the FT817 on MF RX with a preamp and the (short) earth-electrode antenna in the garden. Subjectively, the sensitivity is better and I am able to copy stations at better strength. I will do a straight comparison of sensitivity, with and without the preamp, using a signal generator later.

These are the unique station spots given to others overnight. Many stations were copied many times of course:
Unique 472kHz WSPR stations copied overnight

23 Sep 2015

472kHz RX with a preamp

I am currently looking on 472kHz with the earth electrode antenna but with a preamp ahead of the FT817. Tomorrow I will check the sensitivity with and without the preamp at 472kHz using a signal generator. Already I have copied a couple of French stations at good strength.  Overnight I'll leave the system running to see what I copy. I am not on TX overnight, just RX.

UPDATE 2136z:  I managed to dislodge the laptop power lead, the battery was very low and the PC shut down, so no WSPR for some while. All now plugged in again and working. Initial results are very encouraging.
472kHz WSPR RX with preamp - to 2150z

Another good day on 10m WSPR

10m WSPR has been good again with both F2 and Es propagation. Best DX is again a spot by FR1GZ (9724km). 4X1RF has been spotting me all afternoon.This could well be F2.
Unique 10m WSPR spots today

Visible Light Communications

There is a nice precis on Wikipedia about this. It is some time since my health has allowed me to do experiments with light. My special interest is NLOS data comms. That is sending data over the horizon using light.

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visible_light_communication .

VW chief resigns - NOT amateur radio

The BBC is reporting that the head man at Volkswagon has resigned. He had little choice. The recent cheating with software in US emissions tests is a corporate scandal of the highest order. I think many in the motor trade,especially those at VW, must be worried about prison.

See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-34340997 .

House Martins at Anglesey Abbey - NOT amateur radio


Anglesey Abbey today
Well, there are still house martins around. We saw at least 6 this afternoon at Anglesey Abbey. These may be the stragglers or young ones. They will soon be gone to warmer climes. We also heard long tail tits and saw a buzzard.

The grounds here are very large and there is always something to see at any time of the year. The picture shows pompoms hung in trees made from old dahlia heads. They dig up the dahlia bed Oct 4th. The dahlias have been splendid for a couple of months.

UK National Hamfest

I recently received this reminder:

"25 & 26 SEPTEMBER : NATIONAL HAMFEST
brought to you by the RSGB in association with the Lincoln Short Wave Club. George Stephenson Pavilion, Newark and Nottinghamshire Showground, Lincoln Road, Winthorpe, Newark NG24 2NY (close to junction of A1/A46/A17). Free CP, TS, B&B, CB, C, SIG, Morse proficiency tests on demand, RSGB book stall, RSGB Services & Committees, DF, FM. www.nationalhamfest.org.uk.

A list of rallies can be found at http://rsgb.org/main/news/rallies/"

VW (and others?) scandal - NOT amateur radio

At the last count 11 million VW cars are involved. VW are in trouble big time and it is all their own fault. The executives and many at the top will rightly have to "carry the can" for this mess up. Surely, they had no need to blatantly cheat? Top executives should have known about this - no excuses!

Sorry, but I have absolutely no sympathy for this unethical business behaviour. They deserve to suffer for deliberately deceiving the public and the testers. It would not surprise me if some senior executives get lengthy prison sentences.

I have no sympathy as there is absolutely no place for unethical "carrying ons" like this in the 21st century. VW should have been above this sort of behaviour. They got caught cheating and they must take the full  consequences. This means fines, cancelled bonuses and prison.

Sunspots and 10m - Wed Sept 23rd 2015

Sunspot numbers have risen to 79 today (K=2) and 10m propagation is yet again expected to remain "poor". Yesterday, the USA was spotted in Italy on 10m WSPR and we are really in autumn here in the UK. I am quietly hoping for F2 on 10m further than Brazil here.  Looking back on Sept (so far) we have seen a reasonable amount of 10m Es, despite this not being the peak season. In recent days 10m F2 has been evident, even with my 500mW and poor antenna. I am still waiting for F2 to the USA on 10m this autumn. It will come soon I am sure.

22 Sep 2015

6m UKAC this evening

Tonight was the 6m leg of the RSGB's UKAC activity contests. I only have a V2000 vertical so I am really not equipped for 6m contests. Nonetheless, I came on and worked 3 locals who were strong with me. Being cross polarised I was probably losing many S-points. Again, I was only running about 1W ERP vertical via lossy coax. G4BWP, G6UW and G3PYE/P were worked at good strength. A few stations at decent range were heard but not worked in the short time my voice allowed me to be active. All stations worked were in JO02 square. I may submit an entry, although I shall be at the bottom of the AL (low power) section! I think 6m contests would be more successful with a halo.

Electronics360

Today, I received this email. You may be interested in the link given.

"Hello Roger,
I’ve been spending some time looking at your site   http://g3xbm-qrp.blogspot.com/  . It was very nice to visit your  interesting Website ! Wish you all the best on your recovery process , your will power and strength of mind will help you all along .  
I would like to alert you to my site, Electronics360.
Electronics360 covers the business and technology of electronics as it impacts myriad industries across the global economy. Our editorial staff includes some of the best business and technology experts as well as IHS analysts and researchers who provide their insightful subject matter expertise.
Please visit http://www.electronics360.com and add a link to your  reference section if your readers will find it useful.  If you have any questions or feedback regarding the site, please feel free to contact me at  kasturi.paul@ihs.com .
Thank you for your time!
Best Regards,
Sincerely,
Kasturi Paul"

Good Es on 10m WSPR today

This afternoon there has been some decent Es on 10m. Others, using other modes, have seen some decent F2 DX as well. My 500mW WSPR was obviously not enough or there was low activity on WSPR. I have no idea if 6m WSPR was good for Es as I have not been on that band today. The moral is never give up on 10m Es. It is still there at any time of the year, but not as common as in the peak Es months.
Unique 10m WSPR spots of my 500mW beacon today.

VW should not have cheated - NOT amateur radio

Assuming the reports in the media that VW cheated in emissions tests are correct, all I can say is they must be stupid and they should have known better. If the reports are correct, this is a scandal and is unforgivable. VW should be banned in the USA for this unethical behaviour. Heads will roll, but at a corporate level they should not have cheated. Bad, bad, bad on their part. Almost unbelievable from VW.

See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-34325005 .

A 5MHz proper band a step closer?

Southgate News reports:

"The SARL reports a European Common Proposal (ECP) for an allocation of 100 kHz at 5350-5450 kHz has been accepted. This was a hard fought success with 7 abstentions (Austria, Belgium, UK, Hungary, Ireland, Montenegro, Poland) and 5 against (Azerbaijan, Germany, Romania, Russian Federation and France).  It is now up to the African block to support the agenda item at WRC which starts in Geneva, Switzerland on 2 November. Source: South African Radio League (SARL) http://www.sarl.org.za/ .  The World Radiocommunication Conference 2015 (WRC-15) Agenda and Relevant Resolutions can be downloaded from http://www.itu.int/go/wrc-15"

There is still a way to go, but just maybe we'll see a contiguous 100kHz wide allocation at 5MHz from WRC 2015? With declining sunspots (possibly for a very long time) this would be really good. It was a pity to see the UK apparently abstaining. Maybe OFCOM was under pressure from the UK military? A lot of UK allocations are reserved for military use, more is the pity. The UK military wastes so much spectrum!!

Sunspots and 10m - Tues Sept 22nd 2015

Sunspot number is 68 (K=3) and 10m propagation is expected to remain "poor".

UPDATE 0854z:  Just local G4IKZ (18km) spotting me on 10m so far. Maybe there will be a little Es and F2 later on 10m? I am giving 6m a miss.

Swallows - NOT amateur radio

This morning, there were no less than 6 barn swallows feeding over the allotments about 200m from our house. These may have been passing through and getting a good feed before the very long journey ahead.

The image below is owned by the RSPB.
Fair thee well and see you in April, if nature is willing.

See http://www.rspb.org.uk/discoverandenjoynature/discoverandlearn/birdguide/name/s/swallow/ .

21 Sep 2015

Yet more Chinese copies...

More from Steve G1KQH:


"Now they have copied the Raspberrypi and called it the OrangePi, expect to see loads of them coming our way soon!


Just the same as making us the reactors, they take our designs and copy them selling them back to us.

Steve has also found the support page  http://www.orangepi.org/.

Before we know it they will be ripping off everything and we'll depend on them for everything we consume. Where will this end? Disaster? At some point The West will wake up - if we do not then we are in for deep trouble in a few years' time. Our economy depends on manufacturing and we are destroying this, or rather letting the Chínese do this for us.

10m WSPR: what I missed

It was after breakfast today that I set up my 10m WSPR 500mW beacon, but it was interesting to see what local G4IKZ (18km) was spotting overnight and earlier today on 10m WSPR.  He runs a decent Moxon antenna so in the better directions he probably has an extra 10dB antenna gain over me. This makes quite a difference as he was spotting 4Z5, I, OM, DL and G stations before 0838z. So far, my beacon has been spotted by no-one at all. I need to check it is working!

UPDATE 1146z:  Doh! Guess who forgot to turn on the 10m PA? Since turning the PA on about 30 minutes ago, I have had lots of spots from G4IKZ (18km). This was my problem. I feel so stupid.

UPDATE 1556z:  Only G4IKZ spotting me on 10m WSPR and no spots given or received on 6m so far today. I was expecting better today on 10m.

UPDATE 1645z:  There is some Es on 10m WSPR. IK1SKC (977km) spotted me about an hour ago.

China and our nuclear power - NOT amateur radio

So the UK government is to "guarantee" China's £2 billion investment in a new nuclear reactor at Hinkley Point in Somerset. So, we are happy for China to be involved, have access to all our nuclear details? We must be desperate! Investing in better insulation, clean renewables etc. would render this totally unnecessary.

And what about the spent fuels that need safe storage for a very very long time?

See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-somerset-34306997 .

Internet of Things and 4m

From OFCOM:

"Ofcom is today consulting on plans to encourage investment and innovation in the Internet of Things by using 10 MHz of existing spectrum for new applications. 

The Internet of Things (IoT) is set to enable large numbers of previously unconnected devices to communicate and share data with one another via ‘Machine-to-Machine’ communications (M2M). 

Ofcom’s aim is to encourage M2M applications to use spectrum that will enable them to connect wirelessly over longer distances. This VHF spectrum has different properties to other frequencies, already in use for the IoT, and can reach distant locations which other frequencies may not.

Ofcom believes access to spectrum in this range could open new opportunities and bring benefits to citizens and consumers, especially those in remote and rural parts of the UK. The frequencies being made available span the 55-68 MHz, 70.5-71.5 MHz and 80.0-81.5 MHz bands.

Ofcom is also seeking views on whether any changes to the existing licence products are necessary in order to promote innovative uses in these bands, especially for serving rural and remote locations.

There are already more than 40 million devices connected via the IoT in the UK alone. This is forecast to grow more than eight-fold by 2022, with hundreds of millions of devices carrying out more than a billion daily data transactions.

Today’s consultation closes on 12 November 2015."

See http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/consultations/radio-spectrum-internet-of-things/ .

Sunspots and 10m - Mon Sept 21st 2015

Sunspot number today is 74 (K=3) and 10m propagation is expected to remain "poor". Yesterday conditions were not as good yet my 500mW WSPR was copied nearly 10000km away! I am hopeful for some decent F2 DX on 10m today. I am still awaiting my first WSPR spot from North America on 10m this season.

UPDATE 0904z:  Very quiet on 10m and 6m WSPR so far, with not even the locals copying me.

20 Sep 2015

Drat!!

As I walked out of our bungalow this afternoon, the Red Arrows were in formation flying right over our windmill and on their way to Duxford. Sadly, I did not have a camera.

The image below is not on this website but at the link shown.

GB3VHF off?

Although I can copy beacons in Holland and Belgium on 2m and GB3LEU NW of Leicester (432.490MHz) on 70cms with my 2m big-wheel antenna, GB3VHF in Kent (144.430MHz) was absent when I looked earlier this afternoon (around 1340z). Maybe it is off for maintenance or they plan to co-site the new UHF beacon? Anyway, the big-wheel is great. Beacons are great for checking propagation when there are no active stations about.

Anyone know about GB3VHF please?

Forecasts?

Like the weather forecasts, it is sometimes a good idea to ignore solar forecasts!
Unique 10m WSPR spots today so far
Today has been pretty good so far with FR1GZ (9724km) copying my 500mW 10m WSPR signal for the first time this season. K=7 would have suggested to me that this was unlikely. Like 6m, 10m can give us nice surprises.

UPDATE 1338z:  So far just tropo/aircraft reflection on 6m WSPR. 10m is definitely better than I expected though. As I think the KD0 is actually monitoring in Brazil, I am still waiting for some F2 propagation to the USA this season.

Hirundines - NOT amateur radio

Around this time most of our summer migrant birds are heading south for warmer weather and more insects. Most swifts will have gone now to return here at the end of April or the start of May next year.

Today I saw a swallow and that may be the last this year. Some young birds may be around for a few weeks and it is just possible some may remain in South Devon and South Cornwall all year. Just a few may survive on the coast where there may be insects near seaweed all year. I once saw some swallows in South Devon on Dec 7th but that is very late. No, most are now gone to return next spring, at least gone from East Anglia. Some travel thousands of miles all the way to South Africa - a truly remarkable journey -  often returning to the very same next site they left. Quite remarkable.

The migration of birds is almost miraculous. I am sorry to see them leave but my heart is always glad when they return.

Of course, to some birds we are seen as warm! The Whooper and Bewick swans join us as do the fieldfares and redwings.

There is something good in every season.

Possible FT817 carrier?

A few days ago, Steve G1KQH, set me this link:

"How about one of these to put your 817 in when out portable?
I think I will order a Black one..
 
 
73 Steve
http://www.g1kqh.talktalk.net/"

Sunspots and 10m - Sun Sept 20th 2015

Sunspot number is 61 but with K=7 conditions are pretty disturbed. Conditions on 10m remain "poor". Do not expect much on 10m today! Conditions on 6m are likely to be even poorer. A bit of 10m Es might help.

UPDATE 0958z:  Just G4APB (88km) spotted today on 6m WSPR and locals G4IKZ (18km) and G4KPX (14km) spotting me on 10m WSPR.

19 Sep 2015

10m WSPR today

It looks like there was some Es on 10m WSPR today with a few spots from central Europe.
Unique 10m WSPR spots today
There is 10m Es at all times of the year but it is much less common now. On 6m I have again drawn a total blank with no spots given or received at all. I've been on both bands since before breakfast!

Churches blog updates - NOT amateur radio

Today we visited the delightful Norfolk  town with its greens and fine Georgian houses of Hingham. Hingham is a few miles from Attleborough on the road from Norwich to Watton.

We ate lunch at the Lincoln Tea Shoppe and Bistro which is across the main Norwich-Watton road from the church and just off Fairgreen. On the way there and back we visited several churches and I have updated the church blog to include this.
Earlier this week we returned to Dalham church so I have updated the entry last February for Dalham too.

See http://eachurches.blogspot.co.uk/ .

Sunspots and 10m - Sat Sept 19th 2015

Sunspot number is 62 today (K=4) and 10m propagation is expected to remain "poor" today. With moderately disturbed conditions, it is unlikely that great things can be expected of the higher HF bands today. As always, 10m may throw us a surprise. I am on both 10m and 6m WSPR, ever hopeful.

UPDATE 0915z:  Just local G4IKZ (18km) spotting me, so far, on 10m WSPR.  6m remains dead here! Not sure why I still bother with 6m.

18 Sep 2015

10m F2 this afternoon

Well, 10m has sprung into life on WSPR. I am pretty sure KD0VWO (7412km) is actually monitoring in Brazil judging by the QTH locator. 

As far as I can tell, there is no Es about here on 10m. This looks like F2 propagation. I remain hopeful for the rest of the day. I use 500mW on WSPR and a very average, low 3 band end-fed wire antenna on 10m.
10m WSPR results this afternoon
UPDATE 1530z:  Nothing at all given or received on 6m WSPR since G8VDQ (93km) was spotted at 1602z yesterday.  So far, no further F2 on 10m WSPR.

UPDATE 1840z:  Still no further 10m WSPR DX by F2 or Es here.

Sunspots and 10m - Friday Sept 18th 2015

Sunspot number has risen to 72 (K=3) but 10m propagation remains "poor". Another poor day on the higher HF bands?

UPDATE 1120z:  So far just local G4IKZ (18km) spotting me on 10m WSPR. As yet, no signs here of any Es or F2 propagation. Others with better antennas on 10m may have fared better.

Another UK Radio Rally

The following Radio Rallies are coming soon:

Sunday 20 SEPTEMBER : CHIPPENHAM & DARC 'MINI' INDOOR RADIO RALLY
Neston Village Hall,
Pool Green,
Neston, Corsham,
Wiltshire SN13 9SN.

OT 10am, £2, U16 free (sellers 9am, £5 per prebooked table), C.

Parking on site is limited but disabled spaces will be made available. Main parking please in Leafield Way (trading estate), 5 min walk, not Pool Green Rd.

E-mail g0iue@btinternet.com or 07584 054 924 on the day only.
www.g3vre.org.uk.

17 Sep 2015

QRP commercial rigs

The FT817 successor may be announced at Dayton next year. If correct, this is about 3-4 years too late.

The ICOM IC703 is not being replaced by the 10W version of the IC7300 outside of Japan. Personally, I do not understand the major Japanese manufacturers. Surely there is a worldwide demand for a 5-10W SDR based, radio?

It seems the huge world-wide QRP market is not being well addressed by the Japanese. It is their loss.  I think they are all nuts!

Ten-Tec seem to be struggling with their latest Argonaut judging by recent price cuts. See http://www.rkrdesignsllc.com/products/transceivers-receivers/ten-tec-model-539-argonaut-vi-qrp-1-10-watt-transceiver/ .

No, personally I think we are seeing QRPers getting a rough deal of late.

FT991 price dropping

Yaesu FT991
MLS are advertising a time limited offer of the FT991 and a bundled SMPSU at £1149.95. Now there will soon be an ICOM competitor albeit with no 2m/70cm but with 4m in the European version (and arguably a better radio?) at less than £1000 in the form of the IC7300.

No, I confidently predict the FT991 will sell for less than £1000 before the year is ended.  If you are in the market for a 100W radio it is a toss-up between the IC7300 (SDR based) and the FT991. At the moment, the IC7300 looks better value.

Yaesu may announce a (long awaited) FT817 replacement at Dayton next spring but don't expect to see units in Europe before autumn 2016 or later, is my bet.  The Yen exchange rate has vastly improved (making Japanese goods less expensive to buy) and now the FT991 has a serious rival - result is Yaesu has to drop its price for the FT991 or they lose out. My advise is wait a few months.

Sunspots and 10m - Thurs Sept 17th 2015

Sunspot number today is 67 (not bad) and K=3 suggesting  conditions are a little disturbed. 10m propagation is expected to remain "poor". So far this morning just spots from local G4IKZ (18km) on 10m WSPR, but I remain hopeful that we'll see some F2 later. I am also on 6m WSPR (20% TX 30dBm ERP , 80% RX).

UPDATE 0925z:  Still just local G4IKZ (18km) on 10m WSPR and nothing at all on 6m WSPR given or received.

UPDATE 1725z:   All quiet on 10m and 6m WSPR still.

16 Sep 2015

Meteor Scatter software

Steve G1KQH (font of all knowledge) sent me this a few days ago:-


"Did you see a mention of this software in PW, Roger?

Might be useful via your bent wonky wheel?


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

Elecraft K1 posted to new owner

The Elecraft K1 is on its way to its new owner, who I hope gets as much fun from it as I did in past years.  Over the time I had it, it worked some good DX on CW.  It has not been used since before my stroke. I may put the money towards a new radio at some point in the future. I prefer to do the building myself, but currently my fine motor skills are still not good. Thankfully I can eat most foods OK, although drinks still need to be taken in small sips. Life is tough and I never expected this.

Sunspots and 10m - Wednesday Sept 16th 2015

Sunspot number is 66 today (K=2) and 10m propagation is again "poor". So far today, 10m WSPR has been poor with no Es and no F2 seen here, but see update! This may change. I certainly hope so.

UPDATE 1646z:   EA8BVP (2986km) spotted me a couple of times by (I think) F2 this morning.  I have only just noticed this! Maybe he and others will spot me again later?

15 Sep 2015

Still no 10m Es or F2 on WSPR

Well it is almost 2000z and still no sign of anything apart from local G4IKZ (18km) on 10m WSPR. It was around this time last night that DX was spotted so I'll stick around just in case, although things don't exactly look that promising. I am also on 6m, although that seems a total waste of electricity!

UPDATE 2220z:   No DX on 10m WSPR. Today has been a total dead loss. Tomorrow is a new day though.  I am hopeful that tomorrow will be better. It can hardly be worse than today!  Well I suppose the tree supporting my antenna could blow down or the PSU expires?

More on my stroke - NOT amateur radio

It is almost 2 years ago that I was admitted to hospital.

Stroke - I am still finding things out. The latest revelation seems to be an inability to realise when spellings are wrong. In the past I could easily tell when things were wrong but sometimes it is days before I spot a spelling mistake or that a word is missing in something I've written.

I also struggle with finding some words - I just cannot bring to mind the right word. I know this did not happen before. I have been struggling since Saturday for one word. FRACTAL! Now I have looked it up I shall probably remember it. It is almost as if dragging things up from some parts of my brain is harder than it was.

We had a romanesque vegetable which has fractal patterns but I could not remember the word for the pattern. This is daft, but true.  I do so hate being as I am.

All quiet on 10m WSPR again so far

Just spots from local G4IKZ (18km) this morning on 10m WSPR. Things may liven up later with a bit of Es and F2, but it seems very quiet so far. Es is now out of the main season. F2 openings seem to have started again on 10m.

K1 Sold

Elecraft K1
Today I will get my K1 off to its new owner in Holland. It worked well, but I have not used it since before my stroke. I prefer that someone has it who will use it.

There is one minor fault (which has just occurred) in that the menu button no longer seems to work as it did. I think this is a minor fault and I have declared this to the new owner, who still wants it. 

In the past the rig has been used to work lots of DX including the USA on 40, 30, 20 and 15m. The rig is a 4-band version with internal auto-ATU. The K1 is a decent little radio.

Sunspots and 10m - Tuesday Sept 15th 2015

Sunspot number has fallen to 52 (K=4) and 10m is expected to remain "poor". EA8BVP (2986km) seems to be a regular again by F2 but I think the USA station copying me on 10m WSPR last night was actually located in Brazil. So I think I have still to be spotted on 10m WSPR in the USA this autumn. When the real W spots return we'll really know autumn is here.

14 Sep 2015

First 10m WSPR spots from the USA this season?

So, they are back (or are they?)! KD0VWO (7412km) in GI95rg square is the very first USA station to spot my 500mW 10m WSPR beacon this autumn. He copied me this evening at 2024z, which is quite late.   Decent F2 DX is back on 10m!

As the days go onwards into autumn, winter and spring it is strangely reassuring to be copied in the USA (or maybe not?) on 10m WSPR again. It is a bit like the returning summer bird migrants: all is well with the world! As I have said before, I think the USA on 10m will be OK this season but a lot more doubtful next autumn. We may still be lucky as the slide to the minimum is slower than the climb to the next peak, however small this may be. This season could be the last time in my lifetime that I see decent conditions on 10m. Now that is a sobering thought.

Also copying me was EA8BVP (2986km). I have the feeling this will be an almost daily thing now.

UPDATE 2146z:   Maybe I am being premature as the QTH locator is in Brazil. Perhaps this is a USA station on holiday and not in the USA at all?  The proof will be if I start to get spots from more USA 10m WSPR stations in the days ahead.

2m big-wheel - 3dBd gain without rotating

Since its erection yesterday in its proper home by David G0LRD all seems to be working well.

A quick check this morning and I am able to copy the Kent, Dutch and Belgium beacons on 2m and GB3LEU (NW of Leicester) beacon on 70cm with the FT817 and 2m big-wheel. This is a single 2m big-wheel (not a stack) from Wimo in Germany.

It has 3dBd horizontal gain and is omni-directional.  It is an ideal SSB/CW/data antenna for casual operators like me. "Real" operators would use it and a beam:  the big-wheel to watch all 360 degrees and a big gainy beam to pounce in the choice direction. Being one who does not take the hobby too seriously just the big-wheel suits me and my style of operating! I did not look for other beacons. It is nice not having to worry about a beam and rotator.

I have still to try this antenna (and feeder) as an HF vertical via my ATU. It should work on at least some HF bands.

No Es or F2 on 10m WSPR today, so far

Things have been very quiet on 10m WSPR today so far with just local G4IKZ (18km) spotting me. I am hopeful of some F2 later, but I have seen no Es today on the band here.

UPDATE 1522z:  No signs, here at least, of any Es or F2 propagation on 10m WSPR so far today.

UPDATE 1650z:  Still no signs of Es or F2 propagation here so far today on 10m WSPR.  Meanwhile, 6m remains a total dead loss with no 6m WSPR spots given or received all day.

Sunspots and 10m - Mon Sept 14th 2015

Sunspot count today is 75 (K =3) although 10m propagation is expected to remain "poor".

Churches blog updated - NOT amateur radio

Last week we visited Blythburgh and Ufford Churches. Both are near Aldeburgh on the east coast where this famous shell statue is located.  I have updated the East Anglian Churches blog to include these churches. I may add further photos and text later.

See http://eachurches.blogspot.co.uk/ .

13 Sep 2015

David G0LRD - thank you

Thanks to the kindness of G0LRD, David, who selflessly drove out to my home on a Sunday afternoon, I now have my 2m big-wheel installed in its proper permanent home. David was a complete stranger until today (although we'd briefly contacted on 2m) and I cannot thank him enough for his selfless kindness. The antenna works well on 2m (and even 70cm) and the whole installation looks great.

Years ago erecting this antenna would have been easy but at the moment I am just too wobbly. There are some very kind people in our hobby.

David - thank you.

Tenbox 10m AM transceiver (again)

10m (28MHz) will probably be in decent shape for another 12 months, possibly more. After that, apart from summertime Es and the occasional N-S F2, the band will behave more like a VHF band again.  Even now, it makes a decent band for local natters, when the band is "closed" for DX, especially in the dark evenings. If you are interested in local QSOs on 10m, you might care to start with my Tenbox transceiver (29-29.1MHz is where most 10m AM is concentrated), which is a 250mW AM design. I started this before my stroke. It is really unfinished and it could do with a TX linear amp and a LS amp for the RX. It is a very simple design, based on low cost parts, which can be used as inspiration for your own project. This uses a very simple RX and it is not designed for AM DXing, although it has copied Ws on 10m AM. The RX, although simple, is very sensitive on AM. There is a video on the link below.
 
See https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/hf/tenbox .


Sunspots and 10m - Sun Sept 13th 2015

Sunspot number is 87 today, which is quite respectable, and K=2 which suggests relatively undisturbed conditions. 10m propagation remains "poor" though. I think we can expect some F2 on 10m on a regular basis from now on. On 6m, we might see some Es if we are lucky but 6m F2 is unlikely, although more southerly stations might just catch some TEP.

No 10m Es yet today so far

Unlike yesterday, I have seen no Es on 10m WSPR as yet. Things could change, but it is quieter than Saturday.

12 Sep 2015

10m F2?

EA8BVP (2986km) spotted my 500mW 10m WSPR beacon this evening several times. I think this may be the first F2 propagation seen here on 10m this season. There was no Es around at the time and the distance is right for F2.  Last winter and spring this station copied my beacon just about every day for months on 10m.

Sunspots and 10m - Sat Sept 12th 2015

Sunspot number has risen to 79 (K=3) but 10m conditions are expected to be "poor" again today.

Still Es on 10m WSPR

It pays to have a WSPR beacon running on 10m. Even this late in the season, there is still some Es about and at unusual times. The following stations managed to copy my 500mW WSPR beacon in the last 12 hours:
Unique stations spotting my 500mW 10m WSPR beacon in last 12 hrs
In may cases they copied me several times. These are just the unique stations, not all the reports. In the meantime, 6m WSPR has been very quiet.

For those prepared to look, there is Es at most times of the year. OK, not as common as in the main Es the season, but it is there at times. This is where WSPR beaconing really shows its worth. I hope to continue 10m WSPR beaconing whenever the antenna is available. The overnight results last night convince me more than ever the worth in doing this.

11 Sep 2015

Still quiet on 10m and 6m WSPR

I have been on 10m and 6m WSPR all day but only local G4IKZ (18km) has been spotting me on 10m. No signs of Es on either bands, so far.

Simple 28MHz WSPR (or PSK31) RX

Facebook is throwing up memories from 3 years ago and one of these was a schematic for my WSPR RX for 10m, using low cost 14.060MHz crystals with a Polyakov mixer (injection at half signal frequency) The circuit worked well and could also be used for PSK31. Essentially this is a direct conversion receiver, but it mattered not. Even if you bought all parts new it is very inexpensive.  3 years later I would replace the 2 diodes by Schottky ones as these are now low cost and need less injection than the silicon ones shown.

More rallies

I have been informed of more radio rallies:

"Sunday 13 SEPTEMBER : ANDOVER RAC BOOT SALE
Wildhern Village Hall, SP11 0JE. CP, £2 - Buyers, £8 - Boots, £10 - tables in the hall (book ASAP). OT 9:30/10am, TS, CBS, C, DF, WIN. Martin, M0MWS 07776 181 646

Sunday 13 SEPTEMBER : BRITISH VINTAGE WIRELESS SOCIETY MURPHY DAY
Mill Green Museum, Hatfield AL9 5PD. www.bvws.org.uk.

Sunday 13 SEPTEMBER : TORBAY ANNUAL COMMUNICATIONS FAIR
Newton Abbot Racecourse, Newton Abbot, Devon TQ12 3AF. B&B, C, DF, RSGB book stall, OT 9.30/10am, £2. Mike Dixon, leave message on 01803 557 941, rally@tars.org.uk.

Sunday 13 SEPTEMBER : WEST KENT ARS RADIO AND ELECTRONICS FAIR
Tunbridge Wells Grammar School for Boys, St John's Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN4 9XB. TI, CP, £3, 9.45/10am, TS, B&B, C. Dave, G4OTV, 07795 211 166, rally@wkars.org.uk. www.wkars.org.uk.

A list of rallies can be found at http://rsgb.org/main/news/rallies/"

Sunspots and 10m - Friday Sept 11th 2015

Sunspot number is 42 (K=7 which is disturbed) and 10m propagation is "poor".  It is very unlikely 10m will be any good today. Unless there is some rare Es, 6m is likely to be a total dead loss again today.

10m and 6m WSPR

Just local G4IKZ (18km) spotting me on 10m WSPR today and, so far, no spots at all given or received on 6m WSPR today.

10 Sep 2015

Magnetic Loops on HF TX

It is some while since I used a magnetic loop antenna on HF TX, but these antennas work well, if you can accept their very narrow bandwidth. In fact the sharper the tuning, the more efficient it is likely to be. I used a small magnetic loop made with small-bore central heating copper pipe and was amazed how well it worked with WSPR spots from Japan on 20m with the loop in the shack, which was an upstairs bedroom at the time. Ideal applications are where frequent retuning is not needed such as PSK31, JT65 or WSPR. On 10m they can be very efficient. Even on 20m I was very impressed. Bandwidths are usually measured in kilohertz. Losses have to be kept low if they are to be efficient. Even thin wire will work but the antenna will not be as efficient. As a minimum coax cable or copper pipe should be used for the loop. At QRP powers ordinary air-spaced capacitors work fine to bring the loop to resonance. At 100W these may well arc over.

See https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/antennas/magloop .

Aldeburgh trip - NOT amateur radio

Cottage next to Ufford Church
Today we went to Aldeburgh on the East Coast of East Anglia. We stopped at Snape Maltings for lunch and stopped at Ufford Church on the way there and Blythburgh Church on the way home. Both are famous. At Aldeburgh we saw the famous shell sculpture on the beach. Some hate it, but it is quite dramatic. I like it. It stands about 4m high. At 154 miles, round trip, this was my longest drive since my stroke. At the end I was tired, but it was a lovely day out in the September sunshine.

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aldeburgh .
Shell sculpture on beach at Aldeburgh

Sunspots and 10m - Thurs Sept 10th 2015

Sunspot number is 49 today (K=1) but 10m is expected to remain "poor".

10m promise?

There were early morning (breakfast time) 10m WSPR spots from I and OZ today. Also G4CUI (172km) by tropo. I have a feeling today will be quite productive on 10m WSPR, especially by Es.

UPDATE 2122z:  No more Es seen on 10m since those early spots. Yet again, 6m WSPR has been a dead loss again with not a single spot either given or received!  I thought we were in for a better 10m day but it was not to be, here at least.

9 Sep 2015

QSYed to 630m (472kHz) WSPR from 6m

Today 6m WSPR has been a total dead loss with not a single spot. I have decided to move down to MF (5mW ERP TX 20%, RX 80%). Hopefully it will be more productive, especially after dark. So far this autumn my best DX on RX is 995km, even without the preamp.

UPDATE 1900z:   DK7FC (669km) has already been spotted twice strongly. It is only just going dark here.

All very quiet on 10m and 6m WSPR here today

Well, it is very quiet here today on both 10m and 6m WSPR, with not even the locals and GDX around! Maybe the bands have been deserted? At the moment there are 27 stations shown as active on 10m WSPR in the world and just 13 on 6m in the world.  Of course this does not include those valiantly trying but not being copied.

UPDATE 1412z:  Just one 10m spot so far: Es propagation with a spot by DK6UG (633km) at just before lunchtime. So, there is some 10m Es still, but not much! 6m has remained quiet here all day.

Monarchy - NOT amateur radio

Later today the UK queen will beat Queen Victoria as the longest reigning monarch in British history.

I have mixed views on monarchy: it seems to work here (at least with the current queen who is well respected) and I cannot readily think who would be president if we were a republic.

Yet somehow the idea of rank and privilege grates on me: why should someone be queen just because her "line" is royal? No, I think our queen has served us well, but I have mixed views on the monarchy as a concept.

See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-34177107  .

Sunspots and 10m - Wed Sept 9th 2015

Sunspot number has risen and conditions are less disturbed today. Sunspot number is 47 (K=2) although 10m propagation remains "poor". Although F2 propagation on 10m is possible, late Es remains the best hope on 10m and 6m. At the moment I am not active on 10m or 6m WSPR, but I shall be turning the kit on shortly. My first task will be to mend the 2m big-wheel!

Big-wheel disaster?

Overnight, my temporary mast for the big-wheel collapsed: it was simply resting against the guttering and blew over crushing one of the clover leaves. Hopefully, I can bend this element correctly again.  I shall do this shortly.

UPDATE 1414z:  Averted! I managed to straighten out the bent clover leaf, re-erect the antenna (briefly) and re-test. As far as I can tell, it is the same as before now.

8 Sep 2015

70cm contest using a 2m big wheel

Stations worked on 70cm tonight with 5W and a 2m big-wheel omni
This evening was the September 70cm leg of the RSGB's UKAC contest, so I decided to give it a go with my 2m big-wheel and 5W SSB. The match on 70cms was very good, but I had no idea how it would actually work. Well, the answer is "very well" as you can see by the stations worked. Best DX was 182km. To say I was pleased is an under-statement!  I shall be able to use this antenna again in 70cm contests. I was also able to copy the new beacon NW of Leicester GB3LEU which was pretty good copy on 432.490MHz.

Seasons - NOT amateur radio

As I grow older, the seasons seem to come around much more quickly. The long, light evenings are no more as we start the autumn and the run towards Christmas. Soon the shops will be filled with Christmas tat as the shops cash in commercially.  In some shops Christmas starts now!

It seems no time at all since the spring when the trees were showing that newness of fresh green and the summer migrants were arriving from Africa.

As one gets older I have learnt to enjoy every season. We are lucky in the UK to have seasons and each has its own pleasures if we just open our eyes  and let the seasons flow over us.

Autumn is a season of rich colours, newly turned soil and fresh starts. Winter can have those bright cold days when the trees are bare, or warm evenings inside when the TV and fire beckon. Spring is when the summer migrants return, when the birds make new nests and sing for all it is worth. Buds appear and the bulbs in the garden spring forth with vigor. Summer is when the flowers come into full bloom - and the grass needs cutting very regularly!

Every time of the year is special and should be enjoyed. We will blink and autumn and winter will be gone and those long summer evenings will be here again, but each of us has one fewer year to enjoy.  Those long summer evenings will come and go.

No, enjoy every moment and every season. Enjoy the now.

Syria - NOT amateur radio

I am no politician, but Syria is being torn apart by civil war. An end to the conflict has to be ironed out or the deaths and displacement of millions will go on. The refugee crisis now unfolding is a symptom of the deep unrest in that troubled nation. It is high time the major powers worked together with all sides to forge a fair and lasting peace. No vested interests please, just the well being of all the people in Syria.

It still puzzles me why not a single Gulf state has taken any Syrian refugees.

Sunspots and 10m - Tues Sept 8th 2015

Sunspot number today is 47 (K=6) and 10m propagation is expected to remain "poor" today.  It is very unlikely 10m will be any good today but the band has a habit of springing surprises! Late Es remains the best hope.

Overnight on 10m and 630m WSPR

Not surprisingly only spots by G4IKZ (18km) on 10m overnight and so far this morning. On 630m WSPR best DX was DK7FC (669km) who has an excellent signal on MF.

7 Sep 2015

Virgin Media broadband - NOT amateur radio

Today I got an email from Virgin Media saying that this autumn they will be doubling their broadband speed. It is already pretty good but twice as fast will be amazing. I think this is a general email to prevent us moving to BT Infinity or Sky.

Generally Virgin Media TV, broadband and phones are very reliable, although there have been a few times when the service has been down.

FET regen circuit

I received this email today:

"Hi Roger
                  

I just wanted to thank you for the Feter Regen on your QRP site.  I have managed to waste several weeks building and experimenting with it. This really is a fun project. The first working regen I have made in many years.

Many thanks and thanks also for all the other informative projects on your Web Pages.

Ray Lyford M0BBV

Sorry for the quality of the Image."


I was very pleased Ray built the circuit and had some fun with it. My main regret is not being able to do much experimentation currently as I am still too wobbly. Hopefully this will get better with time. There is also a very simple transceiver based on this circuit on the website.

See https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/hf/regen  .
See https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/hf/feter-80m-qrpp-cw-transceiver  .

472kHz WSPR during the night

PA3ABK/2 (306km) and F1AFJ (607km) copied on 472kHz WSPR overnight and my 5mW ERP was copied by PA3ABK (306km) and local G4KPX (14km). I will give my preamp for the band an outing later this week. At the moment I am still using the (rather deaf) FT817 on RX. I think another 4dB at least is to be had on RX.