31 Mar 2016

QRP Marathon

From Oleg:

Dear Friends,
keep your QRP activity over April

welcome all QRP operators to take a part in the QRP Marathon "Look In the Horizon" over all April month. See rules on the Club 72 web page. Sign-In form will be open at 00 UTC April 1'st.
Honor certificate will be send to all participants.
Wish you good luck with collection of "LUK" points!
www.club72.su
Wish you all the best, 72!
Oleg "Mr. 72" RV3GM / KH6OB

Quiet on 10m WSPR today

Although I've been on 10m WSPR TX and RX since mid-morning, I have seen no DX as yet. M0JEK (68km) has been spotted a couple of times, but otherwise it has been very quiet here so far today. Judging by the Doppler, I think the reception of M0JEK was aided by aircraft.

Cynical, me? - NOT amateur radio

OK, I know I am becoming a grumpy old man but I was not impressed by the latest statements that the exchange of nuclear waste with the USA would benefit cancer sufferers. To me, this sounds like "spin" which we can well do without. We are NOT stupid.

See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-35930906 .

Over 1000km on 472kHz TX (5mW ERP)

It's funny, but I had a feeling that last night was going to be "the night". LA8AV (1035km) managed to decode me on 472kHz WSPR in the early hours at 0020z. This is the best TX DX on 472kHz this season and I was pleased, yet again, to break the 1000km barrier. As before, I am still using the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground.  I find the results incredible. Only 1.5 hours later the PC decided to close, presumably to install updates. On RX, I am using the same earth-electrodes with the barefoot (and slightly deaf) FT817, with no preamp externally.
630m WSPR last night - note LA8AV (1035km) at 0020z

Sunspots and 10m - Thurs March 31st 2016

Solar flux is 83 today and the sunspot number is just 12 (K=3). The forecast for 10m propagation remains "poor" again. I am not yet on 10m WSPR, but will be shortly.

30 Mar 2016

QSYed to 630m WSPR

A few minutes ago I went QRT on 10m and am now active again (5mW ERP 20% TX, 80% RX) on 630m (472kHz) for the evening and overnight.

472kHz WSPR this evening to 2030z
UPDATE 1840z:  Just the single spot on 10m WSPR all day.  Already spots given and received on 472kHz WSPR.

UPDATE 2135z:  LA8AV (1035km) has been spotted 7 times so far this evening at up to -22dB S/N. If he is spotting others then there is an outside chance he might copy me at some point during the night.

IC7300 price

Still I reckon that the UK price of the ICOM IC7300 is too high.

With a simple SDR architecture I believe the price should be some way below £1000, but the dealers will keep prices high if buyers are prepared to buy at the high price. What I am saying is the price is what it is because some in our community want this rig and are prepared to pay. I like the IC7300 at a fair price.

Dealers are not greedy, just following the rules of the marketing jungle.  It is only because some are prepared to buy at a high price that the dealers charge this price. All dealers will plead poverty and say their hands are tied by the Dollar prices and exchange rates.

Charge a fair price (dealers make a fair and reasonable profit) and the IC7300 will continue to sell well.  At some point this year there will be an ICOM-Yaesu price war between the IC7300 and the FT991 . ICOM is better placed to win. In the meantime, I shall wait and I hope others will do too.

See http://www.hamradio.co.uk/amateur-radio-main-equipment-pc-302.php.

As I have said many times, the IC7300 is a nice radio at the right price.

The reviews of the IC7300 should make interesting reading.
See http://www.eham.net/reviews/detail/12742 .

EU referendum in June - NOT amateur radio

My intention was to vote to remain IN, although I am less sure than I was. At the moment I really have no idea which way I shall vote. Any result would not surprise me. The IN campaign has been very negative so far. They need to be sending a more positive message or people will vote OUT. There are lots of messages about the risks of leaving and very few about the positives of staying IN.

OFCOM Plan

Well this is reassuring. OFCOM has a plan of work.

Someone said I should go easy on OFCOM as there are administrations that are worse in Europe. Well, let us hope they have improved since I dealt directly with them a few years ago. At that time they were totally useless. I can only judge by what I see and experience. If I am wrong then so be it. I certainly hope they have improved.

See http://www.ofcom.org.uk/about/annual-reports-and-plans/annual-plans/annual-plan-201617/?utm_source=updates&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Ofcom-confirms-its-work-plan-for-2016-17&utm_term=annual%20plan%2C%20ofcom%2C%20strategy%2C%20communications

Cambridge, UK, Concert - NOT amateur radio

My XYL's concert is in Cambridge this Saturday evening. It should be good. Tickets will be available on the door. For the first time they are using the new concert hall at the Leys School, Trumpington Rd..

Clicking on the poster will bring up a larger image.

See www.cambschoral.org.uk .

Gone home - NOT amateur radio

Our "Kent" grandchildren and their mum and dad returned to their home near
Canterbury today after a few days with us. We have our next guest staying tomorrow for the weekend. Busy!

The first photo shows me with the "Kent" grandchildren outside the windmill next to our home.

The other photo  shows Edward with the "London" grandchildren who came for the day on Monday. In the background is Jo, who is the mum of the "London" grandchildren.

Sunspots and 10m - Wed March 30th 2016

Solar flux 87 today but the sunspot number is only 13 (K=2). 10m propagation is expected to remain "poor" today. I have returned to 10m WSPR for the day. With such a low sunspot number (but relatively undisturbed conditions) it will be interesting to see what 10m brings, if anything, today.

UPDATE 1010z:   I see that HA9AL (1455km) was spotted at 0930z so there is some short-skip on 10m.

UPDATE 1358z:  No further 10m WSPR spots given or received all day since HA9AL earlier today. At the moment 10m seems dire, but I shall stick with the band until this evening, ever hopeful.

UPDATE 1612z:  Still no further 10m WSPR spots.

29 Mar 2016

Going QRT on all bands shortly

As we have guests, I shall probably go QRT on all bands for the night. I shall be back on 10m WSPR tomorrow morning. Although I am still active on 10m WSPR at the moment, there is now little chance of any DX as it is getting late. There is a chance I may copy some Gs but little else on 10m WSPR this evening.

I shall be on 10m WSPR from mid-morning tomorrow and probably get back on 472kHz (630m) WSPR tomorrow when it gets dark. 

UPDATE 1835z:  Now QRT on all bands. No spots here on 10m all day - a real disappointment.

10m WSPR - still quiet

It is nearly the end of the afternoon and there have been no 10m WSPR spots here all day. We are now seeing the effects of falling solar activity. The band does open from time to time, but it is much harder on 10m than a few years ago. Roll on the Es season!

Stroke - NOT amateur radio

One of the after-effects of my stroke 2.5 years ago is I get profoundly exhausted. Very little physical or mental activity and I am exhausted. As an example, our bird table blew over in the recent winds and fell apart. In years past fixing this would have been trivial but these days it has become a major job and by the end I was shattered.

My fine motor skills are still poor and ladder work is all but impossible.  I seem to be less tolerant these days too.You cannot imagine how frustrating this all is.

Life is much harder these days.

Sunspots and 10m - Tues March 29th 2016

Solar flux is 87 today and sunspot number just 23 (K=3). 10m propagation is again expected to be "poor". I think today will be another disappointing day on 10m, but the band often throws surprises! I have been on 10m WSPR for about 10 minutes so far.

UPDATE 1035z:  No 10m WSPR spots so far.

28 Mar 2016

QRT on all bands

As we have people staying, I decided to go QRT on all bands until after breakfast. I shall probably return to 10m WSPR sometime in the morning. 10m WSPR was very quiet today.

Big Es openings are unlikely before May on 10m and 6m. I shall soon return to using the 500mW 10m W5OLF WSPR beacon so I can use the PC and FT817 on 6m WSPR at the same time.

QRP

More from Oleg:

Dear Club 72 members and friends,

QRP Rendez-Vous weekly report (March 21 to 27, 2016)
See full report with "soapbox" and picture here -
http://qrp-club72.blogspot.ru/

Visitors  of week: UR7VT, OH6NPV, R1CAD, UA1ADF, G6HUI, RD6A, DL8NGC, DL3NAA,  DL1IE,  M6KET, HA7REM, GM0WED/p, OK1ACP, UT2LP, OM6TC, R1OA, UA2FAI,  UA4NU,  RV3GM, UA0SBQ, UA1ASB, LA3ZA, LZ1HM, DL4KE/m, UA9WM, UT7MT, RD6MZ, DF2SJ, DL4FO/p, RU3NJC, SM2FIJ, UI8CM, UA1CEG/p, UT8NR, ON6KZ, DL4HG, UA1CEX, UA4HQM, UR0ET, UR5EFD, RC4A/m

G6HUI, RD6MZ, DL4HG entered in the honor "Frequenters" list
See full Visitors and Frequenters lists - www.club72.su
Welcome  all  QRP  operators to "rendez-vous" each Tuesday, Thursday,
Saturday  at 9.00 UTC on 14060 kHz (alternative 10116 kHz if contest)
+/- QRM, QRL, keep RIT for xtal stn's.

72! Oleg RV3GM / KH6OB "Mr. 72"

Windmill and Museum Open - NOT amateur radio

As it is a bank holiday here in the UK, our local museum and windmill in Burwell, Cambs are open. It is a very fine museum and windmill.

There is an Easter Egg Hunt for the little ones, but there is loads here always to interest youngsters. Our grandchildren love it.

We can see the windmill and museum from our kitchen and lounge. Ours is the bungalow on the left in the photo. As you can see, we are very close!

See www.burwellmuseum.org.uk .

Irish 2m contest

See http://www.irts.ie/cgi/st.cgi?test_calendar .

If you are in range, you may be interested in this contest this afternoon organised by the IRTS in Eire. There is an FM section too. It runs Easter Monday and in August.

Winds - NOT amateur radio

It has been very windy over much of the UK in the last 12 hours. It was worse in other parts than here although Storm Katie was enough to blow over our bird table and I notice quite a few fallen branches on the ground when I walked to our local Co-op shop earlier.

The winds are subsiding as the storm slips into the North Sea, leaving behind sunny intervals and blustery showers. We have all the family due here later.

Sunspots and 10m - Mon March 28th 2016

Solar flux is 88 today. Sunspot number is 23 (K=1) and the forecast for 10m propagation remains "poor".

UPDATE 1635z:   No 10m WSPR DX seen here all day.

10m WSPR all night

Partly because I forgot to QSY to MF night, I stayed on 10m WSPR overnight. I did a resync to internet time at breakfast, although it should do this automatically every 10 minutes.

UPDATE 1005z:  No spots on 10m WSPR since yesterday and even these were just G stations.

UPDATE 1122z:  Just a single 10m WSPR spot from local G4KPX (14km) this morning at -16dB S/N.  No DX.

27 Mar 2016

East Anglian Church Blog Updated - NOT amateur radio

I have just updated the East Anglian Churches Blog with our local church here in Burwell.

It was designed by the architect responsible for the world famous Kings College Chapel in Cambridge.

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

Sunspots and 10m - Sun March 27th 2016

Solar flux is 86 today. Sunspot number is 23 (K=3) and the forecast for 10m propagation remains "poor" again. I have not been on 10m WSPR very long.

UPDATE 1104z:  So far just local G4KPX (14km) spotted on 10m WSPR.

British Summer Time - NOT amateur radio

If you are in the UK did you remember to switch to BST? We lose 1 hour but get this back in the autumn. At least we get lighter evenings.

Late switch from 472kHz WSPR

I have only just moved to 10m WSPR from 630m WSPR where the best DX overnight on RX was EA5DOM (1525km). On TX my best DX on 472kHz WSPR was PA7EY (306km).

26 Mar 2016

10m WSPR - spotted in Brazil yet again

Yet again, I was spotted in Brazil, with a late spot at 1928z as well as earlier in the afternoon. 

I have now QSYed to MF for the night until after breakfast.

UPDATE 2012z:   Lots of 472kHz WSPR spots received and given. Best DX on 472kHz WSPR RX so far this evening is LA8AV (1035km). On 472kHz WSPR TX (5mW ERP) the best DX so far is a spot by G3KEV (232km).

More OFCOM rubbish?

See http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/consultations/undueinterference/statement/ .

See the "note to stakeholders". They can't even get their dates right!!

I very much doubt we'll see them reduce the noise pollution in the radio spectrum. OFCOM - get off your backsides and DO SOMETHING USEFUL.

Pronouncements ring hollow. Actions speak louder than words.

Red legged partridges - NOT amateur radio


We frequently get these birds wandering around our close. There are also 3 Mallard ducks that appear regularly. Red legs now far outnumber ordinary partridges. I think red legged partridges were introduced but they are now widespread in the UK.

Last night on 472kHz WSPR

Last night I was active on TX (5mW ERP) and RX on 472kHz WSPR using the earth-electrode "antenna" in the back lawn. My best DX on TX this season was LA3JJ (993km) who spotted me several times last night. This is the second Norwegian (if I remember rightly) station to spot me on the band this year.

Southgate Amateur Radio News

There is often something of interest here and I frequently link to posts that I found of interest. Check it out from time to time.

See http://www.southgatearc.org/news/ .

Sunspots and 10m - Sat March 26th 2016

Solar flux is a low 85 and sunspot number is 24 (K=1). The forecast for 10m propagation remains "poor" again today.

Even with yesterday's "poor" forecast I was spotted in Brazil and conditions today are a bit better today than yesterday. I've been on 10m WSPR for just over 1 hour now.

UPDATE 1346z:  No 10m WSPR spots as yet.

QRP

A bit late to remind you about this Saturday, but it serves as a reminder for the future! From Oleg:

Dear Club 72 members and friends,
new member in the Club 72 -
op. Georgiy R2FAI (# 84)

Also reminder about Saturday QRP Rendez-Vous at 9.00 UTC around 14060,
alternative 10116 kHz if contest QRMs.

72! Oleg RV3GM / KH6OB "Mr. 72"

25 Mar 2016

Return to 472kHz WSPR

Just after dark, at about 1900z, I turned off the 10m WSPR and QSYed down to 472kHz (630m) where I shall remain all evening and night.  Last night the best DX on 472kHz WSPR RX was EA5DOM (1525km). We'll see what tonight brings. On TX (5mW ERP) and RX I am still using the earth-electrode "antenna". I am on RX for 80% of the time.

To Brazil (again) on 10m WSPR

KD0VWO (7412km) monitoring in Brazil spotted me on 10m WSPR this afternoon. With a low sunspot number, it again shows the value of WSPR. Such brief openings would go unnoticed otherwise.  G3JKV (123km) was spotted. The report from Brazil was better than the report I gave G3JKV.

Spring? - NOT amateur radio

There are probably another 6 weeks before we see the trees coated in fresh green, the blossom well out, and fields of yellow rape. Already the first sand martins are returning to Devon and there has even been a report of a returning swallow in Devon. It will probably be into April before I spot swallows up here in East Anglia. Usually I see my first swallows here April 7-14th. Swifts are not usually seen (by me at least!) until the end of April.

These returning migrants bring joy to my heart: long after I am gone they will still be doing this journey as their ancestors have done for thousands of years. I admit there have been times when I never thought I'd see this spring.

Lackford Lakes - NOT amateur radio

Before lunch we visited Lackford Lakes, a nature reserve not far from Newmarket. There were plenty of water birds plus we heard at least 2 chiffchaffs, which have probably just got back from Africa although some of these now over-winter in the UK.  Driving through Lackford there was a red kite overhead. We also saw a tree creeper in the reserve.

Sunspots and 10m - Fri March 25th 2016

Solar flux is 85 today and the sunspot number up a little at 25 (K=1). 10m propagation is expected to remain "poor" today.  I have been on 10m for a few hours now but no spots as yet.

24 Mar 2016

IC7300

See https://twitter.com/Icom_UK?cn=ZmxleGlibGVfcmVjc18y&refsrc=email .

ICOM is now telling the world that the IC7300 is now on sale in the UK.

The picture on the LHS is a cropped version of that tweeted by ICOM_UK.  It will be removed if required as I have no wish to infringe copyright. It is shown here in good faith. I like this radio, but not the price!

2m WSPR?

Yesterday I received an email about 2m WSPR, to which I replied. It has got me thinking. I've not tried 2m WSPR since I had the big-wheel horizontal omni up, so I ought to have another go. The last time I tried was with Bob G3WKW. The main issue was rig drift, even with a TCXO. As I recall, even after a full day we only managed 1 spot! We are about 140km apart. It will need a long test. I guess I can check the frequency by using GB3VHF.

MLS selling ICOM IC7300s from today

Southgate News reports that MLS are selling IC7300 transceivers from today. It looks a nice radio but I think it is selling for too much. My opinion, others may disagree.

See http://www.southgatearc.org/news/2016/march/ic_7300_announcement.htm .

Stroke update - NOT amateur radio

Today I had to visit the doctor for my check-up. Blood pressure and chest were fine and my PSA levels were lower than in December and "no action is required".

Overall, I still feel wobbly on my feet, thin liquids are hard work, my voice is poor and I still feel not as I was. Any improvements are hard to see. I guess this is how it is going to be now and I'd better learn to adapt.

Sunspots and 10m - Thurs March 24th 2016

Solar flux is 86 today and sunspot number just 14 (K=2). 10m propagation  is again expected to remain "poor". I QSYed from MF to 10m about 30 minutes ago, more in hope than expectation!

UPDATE 1252z:  10m never to amaze me! I was expecting nothing today and see that 4X1RF (3519km) has already spotted my 2W 10m WSPR 10 times already. It certainly shows that 10m is open far more often than casual SSB or CW use would suggest. Some of 4X1RF's 10m spots have been remarkably strong too.

UPDATE 1356z:  The spots from Israel seemed to stop after lunch. I am now beginning to wonder if the 10m band will open to S.America. Anything, it seems, is possible!

UPDATE 1626z:  No more spots on 10m since lunch.

QRP Club

From Oleg:

Dear Club 72 members and friends,

Firstly, reminder about Thursday QRP Rendez-Vous at 9.00 UTC on 14060 +/-  QRM,  QRL,  keep  RIT for xtal op's. All comments send to "mr72" e-mail, please.

Welcome all QRP operators to annually April QRP Marathon "Look In the Horizon". See details on web page - www.club72.su

72! Oleg RV3GM / KH6OB "Mr. 72"

 

23 Mar 2016

Time to QSY to 630m (472kHz) WSPR

Apart from 4X1RF (3519km) there been no DX on 10m WSPR here today. It is time to QSY I think to 630m. It will take a few minutes to swap bands and do a re-sync to internet time, if need be. 630m never fails on RX and TX.

UPDATE 2002z:  I have now moved to MF for the evening and night and within the first few minutes copied stations in Germany and Norway on 630m WSPR RX.  Signals are not yet strong.  Nobody has yet spotted my 5mW ERP signal. It is some time since I used the external preamp on RX. A slightly deaf FT817 on 472kHz seems to be no handicap.

More from OFCOM

OFCOM, yet again, adding so much value. They really must need help - said with a great degree of sarcasm.

See http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/consultations/amendment-regulations-2015/statement/?utm_source=updates&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=amendment-regulations-2015-statement

Riverside walk - NOT amateur radio

This morning we did a walk from Mildenhall to the village of Barton Mills and back to Mildenhall along the River Lark.  It was classic kingfisher country, although we saw none. Instead lots of mute swans, mallards and Canada Geese. A delightful walk and probably my longest walk since my stroke a few years ago (4km).

Mildenhall is better known for its US airbase, which is closing. I am not sorry as I found this base very threatening. Mildenhall is actually a very pleasant Suffolk town with some fine buildings, church and museum. Barton Mills is a delightful village too.

10m WSPR DX

4X1RF (3519km) surprised me by spotting my 2W 10m WSPR many times today. G4CUI (172km) has also spotted me on 10m WSPR. Not too bad for a band many would choose to ignore as a dead loss.

Sunspots and 10m - Wed March 23rd 2016

Solar flux is 87 and sunspot number a very low 13 (K=4). The forecast for 10m propagation remains "poor" and I really am not expecting much on 10m WSPR today. I've been on 10m WSPR for about 15 minutes but no spots, well not yet anyway. 10m is always a band of surprises so who knows what the day will bring? I hopeful of some Gs, maybe some short-skip and just maybe some South Americans, but the latter are unlikely.

22 Mar 2016

Packhorse Inn - NOT amateur radio

We ate lunch with our son (pity the other one wasn't there too) at the Packhorse Inn in Moulton near Newmarket. The food was very good and it was very busy, which is always a good sign. This is our third visit. This medieval packhorse bridge is just a few metres away.

QSYed to 630m (472kHz) WSPR

At about 1846z I moved from 10m down to 630m WSPR for the evening and night. It is getting a bit late in the season for new MF stations, but I remain ever hopeful. At some point I really must count all the spots with 5mW ERP on 472kHz WSPR this DX season. As you will recall, I am only using the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground. I have managed to hear stations all over western Europe with this "antenna".  It has reached Norway and Germany on TX.

Before too long I shall  move to 6m WSPR as activity on MF will drop off and the Es season will  really be with us on 6m. In previous years I have got to Israel, 4X1RF (3519km), several times on 6m WSPR with just 1W ERP to an omni vertical antenna. Mind you, 6m is more of a daytime band, so I will have to think about a band at night - maybe 40m.

I may try an E-field probe on 136 and 472kHz next season. These are tiny, but effective, RX antennas if carefully positioned in the garden. I suppose I could even do several bands scanning on RX. My old work colleague Bob G3WKW has used a Raspberry-Pi as a 10mW WSPR TX beacon switching across several bands. He has achieved some remarkable results - all credit to him.

UPDATE 1918z:  G4GIR (53km) is a newcomer on 472kHz WSPR - well he's new to me, I think. We just exchanged spots. Also in the RX log already is LA8AV (1035km) in JO59cs. I do like 472kHz WSPR - even with my set-up I seem to get very decent results. It is a great pity more don't join in the fun. As I have said many many times, if I can get out OK then anyone can! My "antenna" proves you do NOT need lots of wire in the air and a ground the size of a football pitch. No, a very small system works. The transverter I use was homebrew and is shown in the latest edition of the RSGB book "LF Today". It is also on my website at http://www.g3xbm.co.uk . This is very simple and several versions have been built. No, before you ask, I do NOT do a PCB for this. It has an output of 10-15W although my measured ERP from the earth-electrode "antenna" is very low. To a half decent antenna just think what you could achieve!
WSPR on 472kHz already this evening

10m short-skip

EA1FAQ (1249km) spotted me on 10m WSPR at lunchtime. A few hours later I noticed the shack PC had closed the WSPR program and shut down, presumably to install updates. I did a time resync and restarted the WSPR program about 1 hour ago. I have no idea when the PC shut down, but there have been no more 10m WSPR spots.

Our rear garden - NOT amateur radio

This was our rear garden taken this morning. In a few weeks time all the blossom will be out. In the distance, in our neighbour's garden, is an apple and plum orchard.

More on the IC7300

See http://yo9irf.blogspot.co.uk/2016/03/icom-ic-7300-review.html?utm_source=amateur-radio-weekly&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter .

YO9IRF takes a look at the IC7300. MLS is offering this for sale but at a price over £1000, which may interest "early adopters", but is much higher than most are prepared to pay, I believe. Expect the price to drop soon. Even with  the dollar and yen exchange rates, I think a much lower price should be expected and demanded.

£799 would seem a fair price to me. Don't forget that early radios are often riddled with bugs that later get sorted. This is the first time the transceiver will have been mass produced so it is quite likely this will occur, although not inevitable. Personally, I can wait.

I found this via Amateur Radio Weekly at AmateurRadio.com. Always a good source of data.

Sunspots and 10m - Tues March 22nd 2016

Solar flux 89 today. Sunspot number is 25 (K=2) and the forecast for 10m propagation remains "poor" today. Yesterday, with similar conditions, my 2W 10m WSPR was spotted many times in Brazil and Israel. There was also some short-skip in the early morning on 10m.

UPDATE 1035z:  No spots on 10m WSPR here as yet.

21 Mar 2016

That balloon again!

The Bristol balloon is now over North Africa, having been all around the globe.

See http://tracker.habhub.org/#!mt=roadmap&mz=0&qm=All&f=UBSEDS14&q=UBSEDS14

Frog (or is it a toad?) - NOT amateur radio

For the first time since last summer we saw this fellow in the garden. I think it is a frog rather than a toad, but I am no expert. Last year we saw these most times we were in the garden. This one was about 10cm long, maybe less. We have no ponds in the garden so I don't know where it comes from.

Hambay - free ads to sell amateur gear

Southgate News reports there is a new site (from April 2016) with free ads to sell amateur gear. It is linked here in good faith. Not having ever used this site caveat emptor, buyer beware.

See http://www.southgatearc.org/news/2016/march/new_uk_amateur_radio_free_ads_site.htm .

FTSE 100 - NOT amateur radio

After early losses, the UK share index has climbed a bit and is in positive territory (just) as I write this.

Early Es on 10m?

Barely 15 minutes on 10m WSPR and I am exchanging strong WSPR spots with DK1MAX (891km). Is this short-skip Es? Nothing else yet copied and this was a total surprise. I was not expecting spots until much later.

UPDATE 0934z: Now spotting OE6PWD (1232km) on 10m WSPR. Surely this is Es. Perhaps I should try 6mWSPR today?

UPDATE 0954z:  4X1RF (3519km) is now spotting my 2W 10m WSPR. This is early and promising. I suppose this could be double hop Es, although single hop F2 is more probable, I think. HA9EL (1455km) has exchanged 10m WSPR spots and this could mean there is a chance of multi-hop Es.

UPDATE 1334z:  4X1RF (3519km) has spotted my 2W 10m WSPR no less than 10 times so far today.

UPDATE 1832z:  Several late spots from Brazil on 10m WSPR.

Pasties - NOT amateur radio

We bought some meat from Waitrose on a "3 for £10" deal, which was good meat at very good prices. As there is some beef left over from the stew at lunch yesterday, the plan is to make some homemade pasties for lunch.  My wife will do the pastry and I'll do the rest. I love pasties!

The pasty is famous in Cornwall. At one time it was a favorite with tin miners with savories at one end and jam at the other - a complete meal in your hand. Some of the best pasties in the world are made by Ivor Dewdney in Plymouth.

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

The image below is NOT on this site and will be removed if linking it is a problem.
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/b/bf/Cornish_pasty.jpeg/1024px-Cornish_pasty.jpeg

Sunspots and 10m - Mon March 21st 2016

Solar flux is 88 today. Sunspot number is 25 (K=2) and 10m propagation is, yet again, forecast to be "poor".

I QSYed from MF to 10m WSPR at 0915z. No overnight surprises on 472kHz.

20 Mar 2016

Back on 472kHz WSPR

At about 1925z I QSYed from 10m down to 630m (472kHz) WSPR. I shall be on 472kHz WSPR for the evening and night with 5mW ERP from the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground. I am on RX 80% of the time.

UPDATE 1940z:  I see that G0LRD (25km) spotted me strongly on 472kHz WSPR.

UPDATE  2200z:  It helps to have the "upload spots" box ticked!  I was wondering why WSPRnet had others spotting me but I was, apparently, not spotting anyone. Then the penny dropped. Doh.

QRP Club News

More from Oleg:

Dear Club 72 members and friends,
See full QRP Rendez-Vous weekly report and "soapbox" on blog page -
http://qrp-club72.blogspot.ru/
Visitors  of  the  week: UA1ADF, UA6BFE, DL4ZBY, G3UD, OE6GWG, DL4AM, RD7K,  DF3QE,  RU3NJC, RV3GM, UA1CEX, UA9MLY, UR0ET, R1CAF, UA1CEG/p, OM6TC,  UX3MC,  OH6NPV, UR7VT, UA1ASB, DF5SF, Z35M/p, G3KJC, YU1WC/p, RX3DIT, VR2/RV3DSA, IZ1ELP, G3VBS, G3VXJ, RA3AL/m, R2FAE, EW1CY, ON6KZ

OE6GWG  and  G3VBS became Honor Frequenters of "rendezvous" -
Thanks for activity!
See you ALL on next "rendezvous" round tables!

72! Oleg RV3GM / KH6OB "Mr. 72"

Chinese 40m Pixie Transceivers

Looking in eBay recently I see that a 40m Chinese Pixie can be obtained for just £2.27 including free postage from China. Last year I bought one from a different supplier and it worked first time. I have no idea how they do these and make a profit at this price.

At these prices you cannot go wrong. If it goes wrong you've only wasted the cost of a coffee in a cafe. The amateur kit market is a tough one. If the Chinese can do kits at low, low prices what hope do the likes of the revamped Heathkit have? No, being in the amateur radio kit market is not for the faint-hearted.

Crystals

Often people want to buy crystals, but find these very expensive these days. There are alternative ways of getting specific frequencies these days using synthesiser chips, but some crystal frequencies can still be obtained inexpensively. GQRP club has a good range at reasonable prices (especially crystals for QRP frequencies) but Kanga UK also do a good range.

Return to 10m WSPR

10m WSPR beckoned and I returned at around 1015z. On 40m WSPR I was spotted in the USA late in the night.  Conditions on 40m have been better and it was an uneventful night.

UPDATE 1330z: 4X1RF (3519km) has spotted me 4 times on 10m WSPR so far today. I assume this is single hop F2. No other spots given or received on 10m WSPR so far.

UPDATE 1936z:  Several spots from Brazil on 10m WSPR. Who needs a high sunspot number?

Sunspots and 10m - Sun March 20th 2016

Solar flux is 89 today and sunspot number is 26 (K=2). 10m propagation is forecast to be "poor" again, although I rarely find this is so!

Quy - NOT amateur radio

Quy, Near Cambridge
Every year they hold the Fenland Country Fair near here. At this time of the year it is very quiet. A few years ago I saw some kingfishers here. Today, a buzzard and a couple of little egrets flew over.

19 Mar 2016

QSYed to 40m WSPR

I have now gone QRT on 10m WSPR and QSYed to 40m WSPR for the evening and overnight period. Plenty of reports (15) of my first transmission. No great DX, but plenty of reports.

Getting ready for summer? - NOT amateur radio

Burwell Cricket Team getting ready for summer?
As we walked past today, it looks like the Burwell cricket team was getting ready for the new season.

Tan House, Burwell, Cambs




The Tan House is the biggest house in the village and was once the home of Francis Pimm who was at one time Foreign Secretary in the government.

Sherwood tests

See http://www.sherweng.com/table.html .

When it comes to comparing radios, the best place to look is the Sherwood Engineering page. Here, the main parameters of each rig are measured so you can see how they compare. This is the page to look.

See also https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zbgHVwNF9W8&feature=youtu.be&list=PLRSwUN4qr1LpSG3CfFHy_L5z917EJYBKd .

So, 10m WSPR surprised me again!

Really, I was expecting very little on 10m today and I go and spot Australia (again) and get spotted many times in Israel. This seems to happen so often!  Even with low sunspot numbers, lowish solar flux and disturbed conditions, 10m, yet again, surprises. No wonder some also call 10m a "magic band" like 6m. This really is a case where WSPR still shows the band is good for real DX.
10m WSPR so far today
UPDATE 1322z:  LU8EX (11208km) has recently been spotted. So far today, 10m has been pretty good.

Sunspots and 10m - Sat March 19th 2016

Solar flux is 91 today. Sunspot number has dropped to 29 (K=4) and 10m propagation is again forecast to remain "poor".  Unless we get a surprise, 10m is not looking good today. Perhaps the best I should expect are Gs?

UPDATE 1022z:  Not surprisingly, no spots on 10m WSPR as yet.

Return to 10m WSPR

After an evening and night on 630m WSPR (no surprises) I returned to 10m WSPR a few minutes ago. As yet, no spots.

18 Mar 2016

Moving to 472kHz WSPR

Well, what a disappointment 10m WSPR has been today.  Just 2 spots from G4CUI (172km) earlier and nothing else all day. I am about to QSY to 472kHz WSPR where even my 5mW ERP gets spotted and I always spot DX.

I shall stay on 472kHz WSPR overnight until breakfast time.

UPDATE 1705z:  I have now moved to 472kHz WSPR.

UPDATE 1840z:   G4FKK (106km) has spotted me many times so far tonight. As yet, I have not spotted others tonight.

OFCOM added value?

See http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/consultations/mobile-coverage-enhancers/statement/?utm_source=updates&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=mobile-coverage-enhancers-statement.

OFCOM busy again. These people do so much. How do they find the time?

An aging mainly male hobby?

My comment on ours being a hobby mainly of older men has received quite a few comments on amateurradio.com. Not sure of your view, but our hobby will have to change in the coming years or it will fade away. What interested us may not be the same for young people in the 21st century.

There are some ideas here which we should think about.
See http://www.amateurradio.com/hobby-30-years/#comments .

One example from CN8VY:

Roger,
I agree with you 100%.
Ham is missing one after the other all the game-changing opportunities: the wifi-wireless revolution, Drones becoming general consumer goods, solar and alternative energy, the need of a fitter lifestyle (trecking and extreme sports), the global outcry for Solidarity, etc
All the items I have mentioned here are of concern to men, women, kids all over the world. We ham are unable to contribute seriously to them and “surf” the wave and get newbies. Let me make myself clear with one example. If you go to a public park anywhere in North America or Europe, set up a small solar panel or a wind generator, start using a small radio to send GPS data or weather bulletrins, you will get a lot a lot a lot of attention and interest. You will see teens and young active adults come and ask you about the set up. Initially, they don’t care at all about RF. They are attracted by the solar stuff and the resilience to power shortage. This is the good starting point to convert may be 10% of them to ham.

More on that Bristol balloon

Southgate News reports that this balloon has crossed the Pacific Ocean.

See http://www.southgatearc.org/news/2016/march/uk_student_balloon_crosses_pacific.htm.

Some notes on WSPR 4 from G3UDI

This came from Bob G3UDI:

A few notes on WSPR-4
Downloading software Follow George M1GEO: http://www.george-smart.co.uk/wiki/Compiling_WSPR Linux and Windows. Another useful site is VK2TPM: http://blog.marxy.org/2014/11/wspr-on-ubuntu-1410.html Linux only. I used older instructions as here: http://www.george-smart.co.uk/w/index.php?title=Compiling_WSPR&oldid=5027 I am using Linux Mint-17 and have no direct experience of running WSPR under Windows.

Issues WSPR-4 is a bit flaky, particularly in uploading to the database and maps, in both Linux and Windows. There is a newer version, WSPR-X, and this appears to be even more flaky according to various forums.

Uploading Spots to WSPR database: Spots are held in file ALL_WSPR.TXT. This file is a complete log of all WSPR activity rx and tx. It can be cleared from the gui. The location of the file is not too obvious: ~/.local/share/WSPR/ALL_WSPR.T

XT They are uploaded to the WSPR database. Confusingly there are references to the "old database interface" although this is the working interface. 1. In real time: check "Upload spots" box in WSPR gui; starts from the time when the box is checked. Sometimes data is not shown in interface, but it is always registered. 2. To upload all new spots manually. Open site http://wsprnet.org; click on "Database" in top right- hand corner; scroll to bottom of Database; click on Link to old database interface. Enter callsign and Maidenhead locator. In the box labelled "Location of ALL_MEPT.TXT" enter the location of ALL_WSPR.TXT. Then click on "Upload spots".
3. To upload all new spots automatically.

1. Obtain a copy of curl. In linux : sudo apt-get install curl . This is a general program for transferring data to/from a server, with a huge number of options. 2. The key command is, all on one line: curl -F allmept=@Desktop/ALL_WSPR.TXT -F call=g3udi -F grid=JO02de wsprnet.org/meptspots.php Desktop/ALL_WSPR.TXT is the location of ALL_WSPR.TXT, callsign and Maidenhead locator are obvious, allmept is the receiving file at the wsprnet target. The rest of the mumbo-jumbo are curl options. 3. Under Windows the procedure is similar. 4. See attached for my Linux script and the Windows option of N8FQ, taken from the WSPR site. Also screenshot of operation using HiQSDR + Quisk software.

Bob g3udi 18/3/2016


Dull again - NOT amateur radio

Spring flowers
We have had a mild, wet winter here in East Anglia, UK. There have been more muddy, wet puddles than I can ever recall. I have lived in this part of the UK since 1970.  They were forecasting a very cold winter. Mind you, they said this last year! At some point they will be correct. Most spring flowers came out very early.

It re-enforces my view that the most reliable forecast is to look out of the window! We had rain last night, but I don't think it was forecast.

Sunspots and 10m - Friday March 18th 2016

Solar flux and sunspot number are both 66 today. K=3 and the forecast for 10m propagation remains "poor" today.

UPDATE  1045z:  Not surprisingly, no spots on 10m WSPR, as yet.

UPDATE 1218z:  Just a single spot of my 2W by G4CUI (172km) on 10m WSPR, so far. It is very very quiet here at the moment with no DX spotted or spotting me.

472kHz WSPR overnight

Last night, I followed my usual pattern and closed down on 10m and 6m WSPR and went on 630m WSPR overnight.  My 5mW ERP WSPR on MF was copied in Norway again by LA3EQ (769km). Otherwise nothing special, although I was copied in Belgium and Holland again on 472kHz WSPR.

I have now QSYed to 10m WSPR (2W 20% TX, 80% RX).

17 Mar 2016

Ickworth (National Trust) - NOT amateur radio

Lambs at Ickworth


As members of the National Trust, we are very lucky to have several properties with fine grounds nearby.  Today, as the sun was shining, we went to Ickworth not far from Bury St Edmunds. Although there were lots of lambs, the daffodils are still not out, in the main. A few are, but most are still in bud. All the NT places nearby are very different. We also made use of our free "tea for 2" voucher which came with a card.

Back on MF WSPR overnight

As it now after dark, I have gone QRT on 6m and 10m WSPR and QSYed to 630m (472kHz) until after breakfast tomorrow.  So far, the best DX on RX is LA1TN (1269km) and on TX (5mW ERP) G6AVK (78km).

On 6m and 10m WSPR

Local G4NUA (12km) was exchanging strong spots with me on 10m, so I decided to swap to my W5OLF 10m WSPR beacon (500mW) and use the FT817 to go on 6m WSPR at the same time (1W ERP vertical). The W5OLF beacon takes about 20 minutes to settle before I start getting reports.

UPDATE 1718z:  No reports, well not yet anyway, of my 500mW beacon on 10m WSPR. G8VDQ (93km) has been spotted several times on 6m WSPR.

10m and 6m Es

The sporadic-E (Es) season will soon be with us in the northern hemisphere. This usually peaks May to July, although there are openings less frequently outside these times. I shall probably return to 6m WSPR soon in the hope of catching some short-skip DX on the band. If I go on 6m, I shall return to the W5OLF beacon on 10m. This stand alone 500mW WSPR beacon runs 100% TX but randomises the TX frequency within the WSPR window. In previous summers I have been copied by 4X1RF (3519km) on 6m WSPR. Although the conventional wisdom is that this is multi-hop Es, I have my doubts. Es yes, probably, but some sort of chordal hop?

630m (472kHz) WSPR overnight

G0MRF (103km) was very strong and consistently spotted, but otherwise the same stations spotted and spotting me. With 5mW ERP I think it unlikely I'll be spotted by anyone else now this spring on 472kHz WSPR.

Sunspots and 10m - Thurs March 17th 2016

Solar flux is 92 today. On average this is gradually decreasing. It is typically below 100 now. Sunspot number is 53 (K=5) and the 10m propagation forecast remains "poor". Although I have been on 10m WSPR since about 0700z, I am not really expecting great things, although I have frequently been proved very wrong on 10m.

UPDATE 0850z:  No 10m WSPR spots as yet today, although it is very early.

16 Mar 2016

Amateur Radio Balloons

See http://www.southgatearc.org/news/2016/march/ubseds14_flying_across_pacific.htm .

Quite a few radio amateurs are "into" balloons. These often contain tracking systems so they can sometimes be recovered. Tracking the flights and constructing the lightweight electronics is a challenge. Southgate News reports on one such flight. Some of the distances covered are remarkable.

Ads from the past

AmateurRadio.com has an interesting post with old ads from 73 magazine back in the 1960s. As the post says, we have come a long way.

See http://www.amateurradio.com/50-years-ago-ads-73-magazine/#more-44841 .

Summer bird migrants returning - NOT amateur radio

The wheatears have started arriving back in Devon and soon it will be martins and swallows. The long winter will soon be behind us.

See http://www.devonbirds.org/news/bird_news/devon_bird_sightings .

The image below is not on this site but at the link below. It will be removed if a problem.
http://www.devonbirds.org/images/library/dbn/public/stoke_point_male_wheatear_10617_0.jpg.

Wheatear in Devon

Our hobby in 30 years?

Although I cannot speak for other countries, here in the UK ours is a hobby mainly of older people and mainly men.  When I was fitter, I gave several talks to local radio clubs in East Anglia and without exception it was mainly OAPs who came along. OK there were a few youngsters and women, but the vast majority were older men.

Amateurs and SWLs are a dying breed, unless we can attract young people into the hobby. I am 67 and will be dead within 30 years, probably a lot sooner. An aging population will not buy so many rigs, will not support magazines etc. Numbers will fall, activity will fall, interest will drain away.

In 20-30 years we will be very much in uncharted territory. What will our hobby be like in years to come?

Sunspots and 10m -Tues March 16th 2016

Solar flux is 93 today. Sunspot number is 44 (K=2) and the 10m propagation forecast remains "poor", although I rarely find an absence of 10m DX even when the forecast is "poor".

A lot of 10m seeming dead is people taking a casual look, hearing no stations, and moving down the bands. If on SSB or CW call CQ.  Better still, go on WSPR - little power is needed and if DX is about you will find it!

10m WSPR again

After being on 630m (472kHz) WSPR overnight - no new stations - I have now returned to 10m WSPR for the day. No 10m WSPR spots as yet, although there was a strong (no Doppler) signal as I switched on: this was drifting a lot and did not decode.

UPDATE 1212z:  Still nothing here on 10m WSPR so far today.  It is disappointing.

UPDATE 1424z:  Still no 10m WSPR spots here all day.

UPDATE 1512z:  Just a couple of spots of G4CUI (172km) on 10m WSPR so far and no DX so far.

FTSE 100 roller coaster - NOT amateur radio

The roller coaster ride continues. Presently, the FTSE 100 UK share index is up 0.49%. This is budget day in the UK so a lot can change later. I am still expecting big falls once the punters wake up in the real world with all its problems. I would not be surprised to see the FTSE 100 at 5000 rather than around 6169. It will recover later, but we have uncertainty ahead.

15 Mar 2016

Return to 630m WSPR

At about 2100z I switched from 10m WSPR to 630m WSPR (5mW ERP) using the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground. I see I've been spotted by G4FKK (106km) and I have spotted a couple of Norwegian stations so far.  Best DX on RX WSPR, so far, is LA1TN (1269km).  It is now 2125z.
472kHz WSPR spots to 2135z

Back on 10m WSPR

At about 0914z I returned to 10m WSPR.

I was on 630m (472kHz) last night but the PC closed the WSPR program around 0100z to do updates. I only recently did a scan and program restart.

As conditions look disturbed, I am not too hopeful about 10m WSPR today. If I get spotted at all, it is likely to be by G stations only. On 10m WSPR I am using 2W 20% TX and on RX for 80% of the time.

UPDATE 0924z:  No 10m WSPR spots as yet, although I am not surprised.  It is very early and conditions are not good.
UPDATE 1120z:  Still no 10m WSPR spots.

UPDATE 1145z:  4X1RF (3519km) has spotted me a few minutes ago, so there is life on 10m WSPR! I assume this was single hop F2.

UPDATE 1356z:  KD0VWO (7412km) monitoring in Brazil has spotted me on 10m WSPR.

UPDATE 1515z:  Several spots from Israel and Brazil today on 10m WSPR, as well as an exchange of spots with my old local friend Ted G4NUA (12km). As I have said very many times, 10m has a habit of throwing surprises. Today I thought I'd be lucky to get even G spots but spots have come in from real DX locations!

Syria and Russia - NOT amateur radio

See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-35809087 .

I am no expert on Middle East politics but this move by Russia surprised us all. They still keep their bases in the region, but I think no-one (except maybe the US military?) was expecting this. Does it make peace in the country more (or less) possible? I only hope that all players work towards a peaceful and fair outcome for all in this war-torn land. The people of Syria have suffered too much.

PCB supplier?

This came to me last evening via Steve G1KQH:

This link came from an article I read in PW recently, could be useful especially for a club:


73 Steve

Sunspots and 10m - Tues March 15th 2016

Solar flux is 93 today. Sunspot number is 57 (K=4) and 10m propagation is yet again expected to be "poor". 

At the moment my shack PC is doing a scan so I am not active on WSPR on any band.

14 Mar 2016

Tree Surgeon - NOT amateur radio

Tree Surgeon at work
If you look carefully there is a man 40 feet up this tree, in a Cambridge park today, with a chain saw. Rather him than me!

Disappearing Patio - NOT amateur radio

See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-35800866 .

Thank goodness no-one was sitting on this patio when it disappeared into a 300 foot mine shaft!

Still quiet on 10m WSPR

Apart from a single spot for G4CUI (172km) this morning, nothing spotted, or spotting me, on 10m WSPR today. I am sure it is a lack of activity rather than poor conditions.

QRP Club

From Oleg:

Dear Club 72 members and friends,

QRP Rendez-Vous weekly report (March 7 to 13, 2016)
Visitors  of  the  week: R2FAE, RV3GM, OH6NPV, UA1ASB, UR7VT, ON4ADR, UA1CEG,  RU3NJC,  OM6TC,  RD7K,  HA7REM,  DL6YAU, RA7RA, RW3AA, Z35M, IT9QAU, UY1IF, UA4NU, UA1CEX, ON6KZ, G0RGU
RA7RA became QRP Rendez-Vous Honor Frequenters!
See  full  Visitors  and  Frequenters  lists,  also  QRP  Rendez-Vous
schedule here - www.club72.su

72! Oleg RV3GM / KH6OB "Mr. 72"

Sunspots and 10m - Mon March 14th 2016

Solar flux is 95 today. Sunspot number is 43 (K=2). The forecast for 10m propagation remains "poor" today.

I have been active on 10m WSPR since about 0715z.

UPDATE 0912z: So far just G4CUI (172km) spotting me on 10m WSPR.

10mW WSPR by G3WKW

My old work colleague (of long ago) Bob G3WKW has been experimentally frequency hopping on WSPR and has achieved remarkable results with 10mW from his Raspberry Pi. He has been hopping 160m to 10m. Note the spot by K9AN on 15m! Not bad at all for 10mW and a stand-alone PC.
24hrs hopping with 10mW WSPR by G3WKW

13 Mar 2016

Return to 630m (472kHz) WSPR

For about 30 minutes now I have returned to 630m after a day on 10m WSPR. The first and second stations spotted were in Norway and Germany. Both these were stations I have seen before.
472kHz WSPR spots so far this evening
UPDATE 2222z:  Best DX on 472kHz WSPR TX (5mW ERP from earth-electrodes) so far tonight is PA7EY (306km). Best DX on RX so far is LA1TN (1269km).

U3AC - NOT amateur radio

Mondays this term I have been attending a University of the Third Age course in Cambridge. I go into, and out of, Cambridge on the bus using my (free) bus pass.  I am doing a course called "Living with less". Although I often disagree with the lecturer, I find the course informative.

As I usually have some time after the course, I get a bite to eat in different places in the city. At the moment my favorite is Le Patissier, opposite St John's College. This is a small place, but prices are reasonable and I have found the service very good.

Spring at last

Rear lawn after first grass cut
The Met Office (our UK weather bureau) treats the start of spring as March 1st. Well, there was no doubt that here it is now spring. Today I cut the back lawn for the first time since the autumn.

It was a day of b's: bench, beer (on the garden bench after doing the lawn), buzzard (overhead), bees, butterflies, blooms and blossom. Today really felt like a spring day. We have had a mild, wet winter but it has seemed endless. Today, the garden was calling.

Oh to be in England now that spring is here.  Honestly, there were times when I thought I would not see it.

This is another view of the rear garden in which you can see the V2000 (6m, 2m and 70m vertical) and the big-wheel (2m horizontal omni) antennas. If you click on the image you may be able to make out the 2m halo and maybe my wire for 10m, 20m and 40m. Not visible is the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground which I use on 472kHz TX and RX.  With 5mW ERP using the earth-electrode "antenna" on 472kHz WSPR I was received in Norway again last night.  Next autumn I must get a long wire for LF/MF strung up!

Another OFCOM cock-up? - NOT amateur radio

Southgate News reports on what some will see as another sign of OFCOM incompetence. Why did we chose the old standard?

See http://www.southgatearc.org/news/2016/march/millions_of_tv_sets_may_become_obsolete.htm .

OFCOM? Fruitcakes.

Stroke update - NOT amateur radio

It is hard to see any improvements now 2.5 years after my cerebellum brain bleed. If improvements are occurring then they are so small they are not noticeable. I still feel giddy on my feet and I still feel sick most of the time. My liquid swallow is still poor as is my voice. I still get exhausted very quickly.

If any improvements now come, they are a bonus, but I guess I have to adapt to life as it is now, much though I would like my "old" self back. It means I am very restricted when using voice modes like SSB and FM on the air: every QSO is hard work. This is one reason why I am a fan of WSPR: I don't have to use my voice. Field experiments and building have had to take a back seat, although who knows in the future?  We are blessed with a great hobby and, despite my poor health, I am able to enjoy it still.

A very simple QRP transceiver for 80m CW - the XBM80-2

I received this yesterday from Martin G0PJO:

Hi Roger,

G0PJO's rig in the field
I thought you might like to know that the QRP rig works and I’ve just returned from the field (the only place I can put up my 80m dipole) having had a successful QSO with G3XVL just over 4.5 miles away in Ipswich. He gave me a report of 599. The only issue that I had was with the audio level on receive. I’m using a crystal earpiece and I really had to listen but we managed a 30 minute+ QSO!

Many thanks for publishing the design.


Martin

G0PJO

This very very simple transceiver for 80m CW is on my website. See the direct link a https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/hf/80m_xbm80.  There is also a video link. 

For all my projects go to http://www.g3xbm.co.uk . Because of my poor health I have not built anything original for some years.  I very much hope to get back to experiments soon.

Sunspots and 10m - Sun March 13th 2016

Solar flux is 95 today and sunspot number 56 (K=1). The forecast for 10m propagation remains "poor".

UPDATE 1100z:  So far this morning on 10m WSPR I have just been exchanging spots with G4KPX (14km). No DX seen on 10m WSPR as yet. With moderately undisturbed conditions and quite respectable sunspot numbers and a solar flux of 95, we should expect some DX on 10m WSPR.

UPDATE 1435z:  Best DX so far today on 10m WSPR is G4CUI (172km). No real DX seen yet.

UPDATE 1708z:  Apart from a couple of spots of my 2W 10m WSPR by KD0VWO (7412km) monitoring in Brazil, there has been no DX on 10m WSPR here today.

12 Mar 2016

Jews - NOT amateur radio

I have great respect for all people whether they are Jew, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist or whatever. But, I must relate an incident yesterday.

We were in NE London and my wife was taking a very innocent photo of a squirrel up a tree. We happened to be outside a synagogue. A Jew driving a car stopped us and asked us to stop taking photos. My wife was very angry. Clearly the person was fearing we were taking photos with a view to attacking the synagogue. Nothing could have been further from our minds.

If any race in the UK wants to minimise risks they should blend into our culture and not try to be a race apart: NE London is full of Hassidic Jewish people in their unique dress. In 15 minutes of trying I managed to get 2 Jews to acknowledge my existence. They prefer to live separate lives. No, the Jewish community is its own worst enemy sadly.

One of my good friends is Jewish. In my illness she has been kindness itself.

By the way I managed to shake hands with the man. Shalom my friend.

10m WSPR so far today

Most 10m WSPR spots have been of G stations with the odd short-skip Scandinavian (Sweden and Finland), So far today, nothing outside Europe spotted or spotting me. I guess this is a combination of falling solar activity and disturbed conditions today.

A friend of mine G3TFX worked an Israeli early lunchtime on 28.495MHz SSB on an otherwise empty band.

The SLOW road to 136kHz and 472kHz operation in the USA

Some things are just unbelievable. Take for example the USA which still has no general access to the 136 and 472kHz bands, which many nations have had for years. This is supposed to be the greatest nation on earth.  Not if the FCC has anything to do with it.

See http://www.southgatearc.org/news/2016/march/2200_and_630_metre_operation.htm .

As my own limited tests with very low ERP have proved time and time again, even a very low ERP limit would be useful on these bands. No, the FCC has blocked all general access to these bands. I have had an article for QST accepted awaiting the release of the 472kHz band in the USA. At the last count, they have held this for 3 years already! No, I am not impressed with the FCC. Like OFCOM over here, they seem to be a bunch of bureaucrats who are afraid of doing anything.

Sunspots and 10m - Sat March 12th 2016

Solar flux 94 today. Sunspot number 61 (K=4) and 10m propagation is forecast to be "poor" again.

Early inter-G on 10m WSPR

I QSYed from 630m WSPR to 10m WSPR at breakfast time. Already G4CUI (172km) has been spotted on 10m WSPR 2 times. No DX stations as yet, but it is quite early.

11 Mar 2016

Artist at work - NOT amateur radio

My "London" granddaughter, age 4, busy with her paints. She comes home from school and just entertains herself, just like her cousin. I think they both love art and can just turn off and concentrate.


The second photo shows me on their settee with both the London grandchildren.

New reporter on 630m WSPR

We are now home again after 2 nights in London.

G4GIR (53km) has already spotted me 4 times on 472kHz WSPR (5mW ERP) even though I only went on the band since we arrived home. It is good to see a few new people on the band.

UPDATE 1840z:  G4GIR has now spotted me 6 times so far tonight on MF.

10m WSPR so far today

As you can tell, I am not currently on 10m WSPR but should be back on the band on Saturday again. I hope to go on 630m WSPR tonight after dark (5mW ERP). Often when HF is not so good, MF is better.

On 10m WSPR, KD0VWO monitoring in Brazil is copying EA5 and EA1 this morning, but not further north as far as I can tell.

UPDATE 1212z:  I see that GM4FVM (7592km) has been spotted by KD0VWO monitoring in  Brazil.

More FTSE 100 - NOT amateur radio

This morning, as I write, the UK FTSE 100 share index is up 1.64% on yesterday as mining stocks recover.

As Hugh warns in an earlier post, are we in for a shock soon? I am still left thinking we are living in cloud cuckoo land. At some point,we are going to see a massive crash.

Parakeets - NOT amateur radio

We are "grandchildren sitting" in Stoke Newington, London, but are back home today. One difference is hearing parakeets first thing in the morning. There are lots of these in nearby Springfield Park. I see these Australian birds have now reached Plymouth. They are becoming naturalised and spreading widely. At one time these escaped cage birds would have been rare indeed here in the UK.

It is hard to believe that collared doves first appeared in the UK in 1955. Little egrets were virtually unknown in the UK before the late 1980s and now they are all over the place.

There are different species of parakeets, but I think those spreading are from the same core stock, but this may not be the case: several escapees may have survived and bread in the wild in the UK.

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

More from OFCOM

OFCOM has allocated new spectrum for programme makers and special events. I suppose we should be grateful that OFCOM has done something useful.

See http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/consultations/new-spectrum-audio-PMSE/statement

Sunspots and 10m - Fri March 11th 2016

Solar flux is 95 and sunspot number is 61 (K=3) and 10m propagation is again expected to be "poor". We will see how 10m WSPR turns out later. On the face of it, 10m looks like yesterday but with more disturbed conditions, so I am not that hopeful.

10 Mar 2016

Sunspots and 10m - Thurs March 10th 2016

Solar flux is 96 and sunspot number 61 (K=2). 10m propagation is forecast to remain "poor" again.

9 Mar 2016

10m WSPR today

A bit disappointing on 10m WSPR today. Maybe tomorrow will bring better results? As the solar activity gradually declines, 10m DX will be harder to find. It is there, at least on some days, and this is where WSPR really will prove useful.

FTSE 100 - NOT amateur radio

The FTSE 100 ended the day up 0.34%. I am still expecting large falls but so far this has not happened. Sentiment is pushing it higher but reality should push it well down.

I can't help thinking we are living in a parallel universe where reality does not apply.

With all the debt and uncertainty in the world, I think those who invest in the companies listed in the FTSE 100 are living their lives with their eyes and ears closed. At some point, reality will set in and the brown stuff will hit the fan big time and all hell will let loose. At some point, the world faces a MASSIVE re-adjustment and no-one will be immune.

Growth cannot continue in a world with limited resources. Also, living on debt cannot go on for ever. When interest rates are very low it may make sense, but what happens when these rise? China is a real danger and so apparently is Japan. 

Sunspots and 10m - Wed March 9th 2016

Solar flux is 95 today. Sunspot number is 48 (K=2) and the forecast for 10m propagation remains "poor".

70cm UKAC activity contest last night

Last night was the 70cm UKAC activity contest which is a monthly event organised by the RSGB.  I started out (5W pep) using my 2m big-wheel but swapped to the 2m halo as the match was better on 70cm. This maybe because the coax feeding the halo is far more lossy than that to the big-wheel.  It meant my ERP was even lower because of the feeder loss.

In all I worked just 3 stations before going QRT after less than 1 hour because of my poor voice. There were very few portable stations heard. No great DX was heard or worked on this occasion.

Some of the locals who were doing "search and pounce" such as G2XV. The CDARC station was strong but they were moving so I did not work them. A few others were missed too. I expect there will be more out on hilltops when the weather gets better.

8 Mar 2016

China meltdown? - NOT amateur radio

Is China's stock market a threat to the whole world? This video is frightening.

Broadband - NOT amateur radio

Just had a free upgrade on broadband from Virgin Media on their cheapest package. I am pleased. It was even faster when I tried it earlier - and this is over a wi-fi connection for the last bit. The TV internet connection is separate and not included, so this is the speed on a laptop in the lounge. It is more than enough for us.

EU referendum - NOT amateur radio

See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-35751919 .

It seems a bit suspicious that the banks and big business want us to vote IN. At the moment I am in favour of IN, but I could well be persuaded otherwise if the facts are clearly presented without the spin.

ICOM IC7300 UK Price

I am certain the UK price will fall once the "early adopters" have had theirs.  Considering the architecture, this price is highEven with a less favorable exchange rate than of late, they have room to shave a few hundred pounds I am sure and still make good profits. It will depend how well it sells at the £1049 price. There is sure to be a price war against the Yaesu FT991. Both rigs have merit.

This came to me via Steve G1KQH. 

7300= £1049

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

Enormous Jordanian refugee camp - NOT amateur radio

The size of this is truly staggering.

See https://www.facebook.com/bbcshorts/videos/1140808579272340/ .

2m VHF beacons

So far, I have not tried listening to the 2m Cornish, N.Ireland and Scottish beacons with the big-wheel horizontal omni antenna. I must give these a try. I expect I shall only hear them via MS or lifts and possibly aircraft reflections. On my 3el 2m beam the N.Ireland beacon was right on the edge. Normally I can copy the Kent beacon as well as beacons in Holland and Belgium.

GB3NGI (N.Ireland) 144.482MHz Ballymena
GB3MCB (Cornwall) 144.469MHz St Austell
GB3ANG (Scotland)  144.453MHz Angus

See http://www.microwavers.org/maps/2m.htm .

UPDATE 1517z: A casual listen on each frequency (probably not for long enough) and none was detected. I shall try again and listen for each for longer. I remember the GB3RMK Scottish beacon on 6m could always be copied by MS pings for a few seconds every 10-15 minutes. I was using a wire dipole at the time.

FTSE 100 - NOT amateur radio

At the moment the UK share index, the FTSE 100, is down 0.83%, although it is trying to come back. Further falls are likely as there is so much uncertainty about. At the moment it is bouncing around  6130.83.

UPDATE 1610z:  At the moment it is sliding again and stands at down 1.17%.

How did I miss this?

This is a quote from Wikipedia:

In March 2012 Hytera acquired the German company Rohde & Schwarz Professional Mobile Radio GmbH from the German electronics group Rohde & Schwarz, which is now known as Hytera Mobilfunk.[3] In addition, there are Hytera subsidiaries in the USA and in the UK.

This was news to me. I am not sure how I missed this. In my business life we bought quite a bit of test gear from Rohde and Schwarz. I assume they only bought the mobile radio business.

Returned to 10m WSPR

After being on 630m (472kHz) WSPR overnight with a few new people spotted and spotting me, I returned to 10m WSPR at breakfast time. So far,  no spots given or received on 10m WSPR.

UPDATE 1616z: So far today, the only 10m spot has been G4CUI (172km). All very quiet.

Sunspots and 10m - Tues March 8th 2016

Solar flux is 92 and sunspot number 61 today. K=2, which is less disturbed than yesterday. The forecast for 10m propagation remains "poor" today.

7 Mar 2016

QSYed from 10m to 630m WSPR

About an hour ago I moved down to 630m (472kHz) WSPR as 10m seems to have closed for any DX now. Best DX on RX tonight on 630m (472kHz) is LA1TN (1269km). On TX (5mW ERP) the best DX is G8LCO (58km) only, so far. I am still using the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground on both RX and TX. On RX I am just using the FT817 without a pre-amp externally.

UPDATE 2112z:  Best DX on TX (5mW ERP) is now DL-SWL/W (701km). I wonder if any of the Norwegians will copy me tonight?

UPDATE 2218z:  These are the 472kHz WSPR RX spots so far (unique and in distance order).

K prefix

Stations in Cornwall are being allowed to use K in their prefix this year only. K stands for Kernow, which the ancient name for Cornwall.

An old work colleague, Richard G3TFX, worked the Poldu club station when they were using the special prefix on 40m SSB in recent days. I have still to work a Cornish station this year, although I have not really been trying.

See http://www.southgatearc.org/news/2016/march/k_for_kernow_st_pirans_day.htm .

10m WSPR - still no spots

It is now 1542z and I have given and received not a single spot on 10m WSPR all day. Conditions seem to be dire here today. Not even a G station! I'll stick with 10m WSPR until dark, but think spots are unlikely on 10m WSPR today.

Probably I shall QSY to 630m this evening. Even my very low ERP on that band seems to get spots.

UPDATE 1806z:  Just a single spot all day on 10mWSPR - by OZ7IT (853km) at 1734z.

Historic Amateur Video

My thanks to Amateur Radio Weekly and Steve VE7SL for pointing me to this video made in the 1920s.  Although a lot of the video is of people messing around and just having fun, there are some shots of 1920s radio gear and early QSL cards. A fascinating video, copied from an old 16mm film. Amateur radio 90 years ago - well before the Wall St Crash and WW2. An age when everything was fun? Certainly radio was still new.

See http://www.qsl.net/sccara/SCCARA%20in%20the%201920's.mp4 .
This is on the SCCARA website.

Sunspots and 10m - Mon March 7th 2016

Solar flux is 95 today and the sunspot number 68 (K=5). 10m propagation is forecast to be "poor" again. There was a visible aurora over a lot of the UK last night.

UPDATE 0936z:  Although I've been on 10m WSPR since about 0700z, no spots given or received as yet. There were no 10m WSPR spots overnight. Conditions are considerably more disturbed than yesterday.

QRP Club

More from Oleg..

Dear Club 72 members and friends,
See weekly report of QRP Rendez-Vous on the page -
http://qrp-club72.blogspot.ru/
Visitors of week: UR7VT, OH6NPV, RV3GM, UA1ADF, UA1CEX, HB9DAX, DK1AY, RV3UF,  HA7TF,  UR0ET,  F6ABG,  RD7K,  RK4NAR, UA1ASB, UA1CEG, OM6TC, SM2FIJ,  RN4NAA,  RA1M, G4HOM, DL5DAL, PA0PJE, DM5MU, OE6GWG, OK2BJR, RU3NJC,   UA0SBQ, SM7RYR,   DL2XL,  F5SJB,  HA7TF,  DL3XZ,  ON6KZ, 5B/UR4MCK/p, UA4NU, G3KJC, G3ASG, R2FAE, R1OA

G4HOM became Frequenters of QRP Rendez-Vous

Full "Visitors" and "Frequenters" lists see on the Club 72 web page -
www.club72.su
See  you  ALL  on  the  QRP  round tables "Rendez-Vous" each Tuesday, Thursday,  Saturday  at 9.00 UTC on 14060 kHz (alternative 10116 kHz) +/- QRM, QRL, keep RIT to hear XTAL stations.

72! Oleg RV3GM / KH6OB "Mr. 72"