24 Apr 2017

Macron win in France? - NOT amateur radio

He is the book favourite to win the final contest against the far right Le Pen in France. As Trump and BREXIT warned us, experts are often wrong.

Overall, I hope Macron wins.

There is a lot wrong with the EU, but Macron has the chance of putting these things right. If Le Pen wins then the EU project is dead and with it European security in the next 50 years. France needs Macron in my view.

Now on 6m JT65 (1W ERP)

As of 1340z I moved to 6m JT65 in beacon mode sending "B G3XBM JO02". I want to see how this compares with WSPR.

I am still on 10m WSPR (500mW TX, 100%) at the same time with the little beacon on a different antenna.

UPDATE 1510z: 2 stations spotted on 6m JT65 with best DX G6NLZ (153km) towards the south coast of England in JO00kw. No spots of me yet on 6m JT65.

A great quote

I found this on Steve M0MVB's website:

"You see, wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat." - Albert Einstein

Looking for swifts - NOT amateur radio

Swallows are more common as we enter the back end of April. Four flew past the window earlier.

The next are swifts. Several have been seen in Devon and even a few up here in East Anglia, but they are not common yet. As yet, I have not seen one this year.  By June they are very common, but they do not stop long.

Cuckoos should be about soon, but I have not heard any. They often lay their eggs in reed warbler nests up the lode (waterway) not far from here, but we rarely hear cuckoos these days.

See https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/bird-and-wildlife-guides/bird-a-z/s/swift/ .

First 6m WSPR spots this year

M0MVB (33km) has spotted me several times on 6m WSPR. No great DX, but at least I know the system works. Meanwhile my 500mW 10m WSPR beacon has been widely copied in northern Europe.

Moved to 6m WSPR

As the Es season seems to have started, I have QSYed to 6m WSPR (1W ERP) and put the 500mW 10m WSPR beacon on 10m (100% TX).

UPDATE 0942z: I see that OZ9QV (864km) has copied my 500mW 10m WSPR a couple of times.

UPDATE 1022z: Several 10m WSPR spots but nothing yet on 6m WSPR.


This was on Space Weather earlier:

"SOLAR WIND ENGULFS EARTH: A solar wind storm is underway around Earth as our planet enters a high-speed stream of gas flowing from a large hole in the sun's atmosphere."

Be on watch for auroral openings.

Sunspots and 10m - Monday April 24th 2017

Solar flux is 82 today and the sunspot number 43. A=41 and K=4.

As I said in an earlier post today, I think our Es season has started and we can look forward to several months of good propagation on 10m, 6m and 4m. Es openings are mainly up to about 1500km, but most seasons Es openings bring in the USA, Caribbean and South America even on 6m. The conventional wisdom is this is multi-hop Es, but I have some doubts over this preferring some kind of chordal hop involvement.

Althurium - NOT amateur radio

My wife has a way with orchids and those we have live for years.

I had to look this house-plant up as I did not know its name. It is not an orchid - well I don't think it is! As you can tell, I am no plant expert!

10m WSPR (2W) transceive

After success yesterday, I am on 10m WSPR today running 2W (20% TX) with the rest of the time on RX. Before I switched to 2W on the FT817 I was spotted on my 500mW beacon overnight in Italy and Germany on 10m WSPR. I think this is the start of the Es season.

UPDATE 0816z: Several spots of my 2W 10m WSPR by EW2ABC (1812km).

UPDATE 0833z:  DF4UE (758km) reporting me at +7dB S/N - has to be Es.

23 Apr 2017

Tulips - NOT amateur radio

We have had a crazy few months. Daffodils were about 6 weeks late, but most things are now early! Today, we visited Ickworth, near Bury St Edmunds. Most tulips were past their best and another week and we'd probably see none still in flower! This one would be over within a week.

QRP and QRP Club report

This came in from Oleg:

Dear Club 72 members and friends,

Weekly QRP Rendez-Vous Report (April, 23, 2017)
Visitors  of the week: HB9DAX, RV3GM, UA1CEG/p, US5ERQ, DK1HW, UR7VT,
New Visitors - DL8MEL, F5OYS - you are welcome!
See full Visitors and Frequenters lists on the Club 72 page.
Some comments...
See full WQR Report including comments and pictures on the blog page -
Thanks  ALL for activity and comments.
See all QRPers on the next QRP Rendez-Vous

72! Oleg RV3GM / KH6OB "Mr. 72"

This is a periodic Newsletter of the Club 72. Don't reply to Newsletter address! Send any requests or news to
mr72@club72.su please.

Dunnock - NOT amateur radio

We get fewer small birds in the garden these days. I did see a robin feeding a new born on the lawn earlier today. A robin was flirting with a nestbox in the garden yesterday. I think it is sitting on eggs. There was activity there this morning.

Our most common birds are pigeons and blackbirds. There are smaller birds around, but they are not as common as they used to be.

The bird shown is a dunnock or hedge sparrow. These birds tend to lurk, but we see quite a few on our lawns.

See https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/bird-and-wildlife-guides/bird-a-z/d/dunnock/ .

Geosynchronous amateur satellite next year?

At the moment, 2018 seems the likely launch date of a Middle East satellite that includes a 250kHz wide linear amateur transponder. Now, it has to get into the right orbit and work. If successful, the 2.4GHz uplink and 10GHz downlink would enable very wide coverage around the world with small, fixed antennas. If it works, it could change amateur radio for ever. There are a lot of uncertainties.

See https://amsat-uk.org/satellites/geosynchronous/eshail-2/

6m MSK144 RX again

Yet again, I have chosen 6m MSK144 RX this morning as well as 10m WSPR TX again. This mode/band (MSK144/6m) never seems to fail unlike 10m WSPR that has been very poor of late with an absence of even locals.

Lack of activity, not conditions, seems to be the main reason why 10m seems "dead". If we don't use it, it may be allocated to CBers before the next peak. We have a wide allocation and could you really blame the FCC or OFCOM if they decided to reallocate? We'd only have ourselves to blame. As they say, " use it or lose it".  In this day and age, we deserve to lose it sadly.

UPDATE 0915z: On 6m already 22 stations spotted in 11 countries.

UPDATE 1035z: Surprise, surprise! Some 10m WSPR spots at last!
On 6m MSK144 RX the score is 25 stations in 12 countries spotted so far today.

Where do you buy HB100 10GHz modules?

Someone in Australia asked this recently. There are many sources on the internet at rock bottom prices. Remember the price includes a screened box,  dielectric resonator oscillator, PCB, 2 PCB antennas and a RX mixer! Think modern Gunnplexers. Incredible value!

Some are as low as $2.32 each with free shipping!!

See https://m.nl.aliexpress.com/search.htm?listType=keyword&keywords=hb100#/. This link is Dutch, but I am sure they have an English site too.

Sunspots and 10m - Sunday April 23rd 2017

Solar flux is 82 today and the sunspot number 29. A=54 and K=4. I am not expecting much of 10m WSPR today again. Indeed it has been many days with no WSPR spots lately. No spots yet again on 10m WSPR yesterday. 

22 Apr 2017

6m MSK144 RX and 10m WSPR TX

I only try 10m WSPR TX as this uses a different rig, no PC and a separate antenna, although it is days since anyone spotted me on 10m! It is a different story on 6m MSK144 RX where I have already spotted 18 stations in 6 countries so far on by this mode. Best 6m DX so far is IK0XBX (1355km) in Umbria, Italy. This mode and band never fail me. Conditions can be poor, but with this mode I still copy all over the place.

UPDATE 1225z:  23 stations in 11 countries on 6m MSK144 RX so far today. Best DX (also a new country) is EA6VQ (1424km) in the Balearic Is.

UPDATE 1508z: now 30 stations in 8 countries spotted on 6m MSK144 RX today so far. This is more stations than I can ever remember.

UPDATE 1822z: The score on 6m MSK144 RX is currently 31 stations in 12 countries.

Sunspots and 10m - Saturday April 22nd 2017

Solar flux is 82 today and the sunspot number 39. A=18 and K=6. I am not expecting much of 10m WSPR today, indeed it has been days with no WSPR spots lately.

HB100 10GHz frequency agility

Steve G1KQH sent me this link:


You may recall that the HB100 is a very low cost Doppler radar module that can form the heart of a wideband FM 10GHz transceiver.

UK Rallies this Sunday

Digby Hall, Hound Street, Sherborne, Dorset DT9 3AA. There are disabled facilities at this venue. The doors will be open between 9.30am and 3pm. There will be trade stands, a Bring & Buy, RSGB bookstall and stands for RSARS and RAFARS. A programme of talks will take place on the day. Refreshments are available on site. Details from Bob Harris by email to wjh069@gmail.com [http://yeovil-arc.com/qrpconvention]

Hugh Ripley Hall, Ripon, North Yorkshire, HG4 2PT. Doors open to stallholders at 7.30am and to the general public at 10am. Entry is £2 on the door, under 16s are free. Enquiries can be made via email to rally@ripon.org.uk www.ripon.org.uk/content/ripon-rally-2017

Wildhern Village Hall, Tangley, Andover SP11 0JE Doors open from 10am to 4pm, with disabled gaining access earlier. Admittance is £2. There are tables in the hall and outside pitches. Hot food and drinks available. Contact Paul, G4KZY on 07775 738 200 or by email to paul.g4kzy@gmail.com.

21 Apr 2017

C5 solar flare

Southgate News reports that there was a C5 solar flare a few days ago. This was expected to mainly miss the earth, although conditions were disturbed yesterday.

See http://southgatearc.org/news/2017/april/massive-explosion-on-the-sun.htm#.WPm7WoWcHIU

Growing up - NOT amateur radio

Our grandchildren are growing up all too fast!  This is one of them in pensive mood.

If you have any, then my recommendation is enjoy your time with them as they are only young once.

OFCOM Consulting on 700MHz

OFCOM wants to free up spectrum at 700MHz early and they are consulting on this.

See https://www.ofcom.org.uk/consultations-and-statements/category-1/support-pmse-equipment-owners?utm_source=update&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=pmse700mhz

Sunspots and 10m - Friday April 21st 2017

Solar flux is 82 today and sunspot number 26.  A=30 and K=2.

Just maybe there will be some 10m WSPR spots today?

6m MSK144 RX abd 10m WSPR TX

Well, more in hope than expectation, I am on 10m WSPR TX (500mW, 100%) as well as 6m MSK144 RX. On 6m, 3 stations in England so far with the best DX 210km. No spots on 10m thus far, although I am not really expecting much on 10m.

UPDATE 0805z: Now 6 stations in 2 countries on 6m. Best DX now 507km.

UPDATE 0925z: Now 7 stations in 2 countries on 6m.

UPDATE 1124z: Now 13 stations in 4 countries on 6m.

UPDATE 1934z: Now 17 stations in 9 countries in last 12 hours on 6m MSK144 RX.

20 Apr 2017

Blossom - NOT amateur radio

This blossom was on a path a few days ago. It is lovely when here, but so ephemeral.

The blossom on our ornamental cherry lasted just a few weeks. The grass soon looked like snow!

The lilac next door and some of our roses are already in flower about a month early.

6m MSK144 yet again

This mode is ideal for me. I put the RX on 50.280MHz and monitor what is spotted on PSK Reporter Maps on another PC in the lounge. Most signals come in strongly by reflections off the ionised trails of random meteors. Even with my poor antenna and coax I usually spot at least 10 countries on 6m most days. The pings may only be a few milliseconds long but WSJT-X V1.7 (free software) decodes the signals. Most signals I get are in the -1 to +3dB S/N range i.e. strong.

As it uses a different antenna, rig and no PC, I am also on 10m WSPR.

UPDATE 0840z: 12 stations in 3 countries so far on 6m MSK144 RX today. Nothing again on 10m.

UPDATE 1434z: 14 stations in 3 countries so far on 6n MSK144 RX and nothing still on 10m WSPR.

UPDATE 1634z: 15 stations in 4 countries on 6m MSK144 RX in last 12 hours. Nothing on 10m WSPR.

Sixbox 6m QRP AM transceiver

Some years ago I did a 6m version of my 2m Fredbox QRP AM transceiver. This had more power than the 2m version and a tuneable receiver. It was built on a piece of copper laminate, but not a PCB. It uses readily available parts, so it should be easy to duplicate. Using a super-regen RX, this is more of a "cross town natterer" than a rig for DX.
See https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/vuhf/sixbox .

Stroke update - NOT amateur radio

It is now over 3.5 years since my cerebellum brain bleed. In all honesty, I never doubted a full recovery, so it is really disappointing that my voice is still very poor, I am still giddy when walking and that I get tired so quickly.

Other subtle effects are that I think others say one thing and I find they said something else. I find driving much harder nowadays. Often people don't understand me when I speak and I find it very tiring repeating myself. I am more emotional than I was and in many ways I must be harder to live with.

In many ways I'm lucky not to have more serious disabilities. My main problem is others think I am fully OK - indeed I look fine - but inside I still feel unwell.

Improvements, if they are still happening, are now very slow and hard to see. Still, I am grateful that most of me still works. Life goes on: I never give up.

Sunspots and 10m - Thursday April 20th 2017

Solar flux is 80 today and sunspot number is 14.  A=15 and K=6.

Negative Mass - NOT amateur radio

Apparently, scientists have created a fluid with negative mass.

See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-39642992

19 Apr 2017

Nesting bees - NOT amateur radio

These bees were spotted yesterday at Brampton Wood, UK in a hole in a tree. A few hundred there?

There were lots of bluebells out too.

The bees were on the RHS path going around the edge about 400m from the car park. There were several warnings of nesting bees, but they did not bother us at all.

6m MSK144 RX

I have decided not to go on 10m WSPR TX today, although I have returned to 6m MSK144 RX.

UPDATE 0933z:  So far, 15 stations in 8 countries spotted on 6m with best DX IS0BSR (1603km).

UPDATE 1156z: 18 stations in 9 countries in the last 12 hours on 6m MSK144 RX.

UPDATE 1256z:  20 stations in 10 countries spotted so far in last 12 hours on 6m MSK144 RX.

UPDATE 1542z: 22 stations in 11 countries spotted so far in last 12 hours on 6m MSK144 RX. 12 countries spotted on 6m MSK144 RX in the last day.

Sunspots and 10m - Wednesday April 19th 2017

Solar flux is 85 today. Sunspot number is 12.  A=7 and K=5.

Of late, 10m has been disappointing. I have not had my 500mW WSPR beacon spotted now for a couple of days. I think this is due to a lack of activity as much as conditions.  I remain convinced that if more stations were on WSPR we'd find out that many paths are useable, but people think it is bad and just give up. Meanwhile, the CB bands at 27MHz continue to have activity.

UK General Election - NOT amateur radio

OK, if I was Theresa May I guess I would have been persuaded to hold a General Election on June 8th. The opposition parties are in a mess and there is a good chance the ruling Conservative Party will win a few more (or a lot more?) seats.

However, General Elections often result in surprises. 52% voted OUT in the recent EU referendum, but most wanted a return to "good old England" with control over our laws and borders. I suspect most would prefer us to still be in the single EU market without tariffs.

It would not totally surprise me if this General Election threw up a few surprises. This is a chance for the Lib Dems to start a comeback. Personally I think Labour is committing suicide.

2m UKAC results

The latest results have just been published and I am now 51 out of 131 in the AL section. This is up. Considering I only use 5W to a big-wheel omni and I am usually on for less that 40% of the time because of my poor voice, this is fine. I only really go on to exercise my voice and see if I can reach new squares. The contest is always fun and people are friendly and helpful.

See http://www.rsgbcc.org/cgi-bin/vhfresults.pl?Contest=144MHz%20UKAC&year=2017

Decluttering - NOT amateur radio

My daughter-in-law runs a decluttering business (SpaceinMind) in North London. She has a special offer.

As usual, clicking the image brings up a bigger, clearer image.

See www.yourspaceinmind.com

70cm antenna

A lot of people are plagued by noise on HF. Not only that, HF conditions on F2 are likely to be poorer in the coming years, so people look elsewhere for their fun.

70cm is quiet here and there is always activity on SSB in the RSGB's UKAC activity contests each month. If you are looking for a really low cost antenna for the band raid your XYL's wardrobe! The antenna linked is easy to make, low cost and definitely works.

See https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/antennas/70cm_moxon .

UK Pound - NOT amateur radio

The UK pound seems to be gaining ground against most major currencies including the euro and the US dollar. BREXIT talks are at an early stage, but talk of a UK pound "melt-down" seems premature.

See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business/market_data/currency/default.stm

More on International Marconi Day

From Jos:

Hi Roger,
More on Marconi Day...
Kind regards,

18 Apr 2017

Brampton Wood - NOT amateur radio

This morning we went bluebell hunting. One of the nearest places was Brampton Woods which is 900 years old at least. It is a very large, ancient wood. Nowadays it is a nature reserve. We saw plenty of bluebells.

The wood is some way out of Brampton, famous for the Samuel Pepys connections. We ate lunch at a pub mentioned in his 1600s diaries.

Marconi Radio International

Although I have no more data, Southgate News reports that Marconi Radio International will be on the air tonight (Tuesday April 18th) and looking for SWL reports.

See http://southgatearc.org/news/2017/april/mri-on-air-on-tonight.htm#.WPXR1YWcHmI

6m MSK144 RX and 10m WSPR TX

Repeating the pattern of yesterday, I am on 6m MSK144 RX and 10m TX with my 500mW WSPR beacon. Best DX on 6m MSK144 RX this morning is IS0GQX (1595km).

As yet, nothing (again) on 10m WSPR.

UPDATE 0848z:  So far 7 stations in 6 countries spotted on 6m MSK144 RX today.

UPDATE 1600z: 15 stations in 9 countries spotted on 6m MSK144 RX so far today. Nothing on 10m WSPR still.

UPDATE 1814z: No spots on 10m WSPR. On 6m MSK144 RX 17 stations in 9 countries spotted today.

Sunspots and 10m - Tuesday April 18th 2017

Solar flux is 75 today and the sunspot number remains zero.  A=4 and K=1.

QRP and QRP Club

From Oleg:

Dear Club 72 members and friends,

Weekly QRP Rendez-Vous Report (April, 16, 2017)
Visitors  of  the week: HB9DAX, IV3BTY, US3EN, US5ERQ, UY1IF, UR5EFD,
DK4AN, EA2EFI entered in the Honor Frequenters list (regular visitors)
New  visitors:  IV3BTY,  DL2EEJ, IZ3SOI, F6BWO, US2UM, IK2YSE, R3MAI,
See full Visitors and Frequenters lists on the Club 72 web page
Some comments...
See full WQR Report with comments and pictures on the blog page -
Thanks  all for activity and comments! See you all QRPers on the next
QRP Rendez-Vous!

72! Oleg RV3GM / KH6OB "Mr. 72"

This is a periodic Newsletter of the Club 72. Don't reply to Newsletter address! Send any requests or news to
mr72@club72.su please.

17 Apr 2017

North Korea - NOT amateur radio

If North Korea continues its missile tests Mr Trump will retaliate. They risk a bombing of their nuclear test facility and the consequences could be catastrophic not only for the Korean peninsula.

If the USA was instrumental in putting a "spanner in the works" last time, it is unlikely they will repeat this trick. Of course, we have no proof of their involvement and the missile may have failed on its own.

I have mixed feelings: we do not want an unstable regime to be able to fire nuclear weapons on South Korea, Japan or the USA, but at the same time I do not trust Mr Trump to do the wise thing. I hope he is well advised and that he listens. He has a tendency to "fire from the hip".  Somehow I don't think this will work with North Korea.

See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-39623882

10m WSPR TX as well as 6m MSK144 RX

As I use a different antenna, rig, and the PC is not needed, I can use my 10m WSPR beacon (500mW, 100% TX, randomised frequencies) on 10m at the same time as looking on 6m MSK144 RX. As of about 10 minutes ago, I am also on 10m WSPR TX.

UPDATE 1828z: No spots all day of my 500mW WSPR beacon on 10m. I have a feeling this is as  much to do with activity as conditions. With more stations active I am sure openings would be spotted. I shall leave the beacon running for a few more hours.

Early roses - NOT amateur radio

This year, our roses are in flower very early. The daffodils were late but everything seems to have accelerated in the last month. This rose is at the front of our house and gets plenty of sun.

Sunspots and 10m - Monday April 17th 2017

Solar flux is 74 today and the sunspot number zero. A=4 and K=1.

Back on 6m MSK144 RX today

After another disappointing day on 10m yesterday, I am back on 6m MSK144 RX today. Already spotted 17 stations in 9 countries on 6m, mostly by random MS pings. Great mode!

UPDATE 1308z: Best 6m DX is currently IK5GQK (1239km) in Tuscany, Italy. Currently spotted 27 stations in 11 countries on 6m MSK144 RX.

UPDATE 1553z: 29 stations spotted so far today in 11 countries on 6m MSK144 RX. Best day yet.

UPDATE 2120z:  A very good day on 6m MSK144 RX!

Crab apples - NOT amateur radio

Last year, we had very little blossom on our crab apple tree. This year we have loads. My wife gives the fruits to a friend who makes crab apple jelly, which is delicious. This should be a good year!

16 Apr 2017

Windmill - NOT amateur radio

Our local windmill and museum opened today, for the first time this year, with an Easter egg hunt. It was busy. It now opens Thursdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays until late October. The windmill is literally "over the garden wall". This photo was taken from our lounge.

10m JT65 transceive

10m JT65 (2W) has been my band/mode of choice today. I have been active for about 2 hours, but nothing spotted so far on RX or TX on 10m.

Another month we'll be well into the northern hemisphere Es season when lots of Europeans can be expected.

UPDATE 1948z: Just a spot of me from G0LRD (25km). Otherwise no 10m spots all day.

Easter - NOT amateur radio

All Christian churches celebrate today as Easter Sunday. This year the western and eastern churches (that use different calendars) celebrate Easter on the same day. The next time this happens is 2025.

I went to church with my wife today. I used to go regularly. Sadly, I did not feel moved. To me the words were meaningless and empty. I deeply wish I still had my faith, but I feel lacking in faith.  Something deep inside tells me there is some truth in all this but right now I cannot discern it.

Sunspots and 10m - Sunday April 16th 2017

Solar flux is 72 today. Sunspot number is 11.  A=6 and K=2.

Tenbox - simple 10m AM transceiver

Years ago, before my stroke, I started work on the Tenbox, a very simple AM transceiver for 10m. As this used a super-regen receiver, this would really only work on AM and not be suitable for DX. It was to have been a "cross town" natterer. Sadly, my stroke got in the way and the rig was never completed.

I had intentions of making this in the style of the old Heathkit lunchbox rigs of old. It would make a nice club project on a simple PCB. When I left it, it needed a loudspeaker amplifier and another 10dB power on TX, maybe a simple linear amplifier.

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

Failed missile test - NOT amateur radio

So, the North Korean missile test failed. I am not that surprised as I feel the USA had something to do with this. Of course, I may be totally wrong, and indeed I hope I am.

The Trump administration would be unable "neutralise" the North Korean nuclear threat without unpredictable consequences, but the USA Secret Service was probably in a position to do something to put a "spanner in the works".  Of course, the USA never uses such underhand techniques.

See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-39612095 .

15 Apr 2017

Sunspots and 10m - Saturday April 15th 2017

Solar flux is 72 today. The sunspot number is 11. A=14 and K=2.

North Korea - NOT amateur radio

OK, I am not a great fan of North Korea. I visited South Korea in 1994 and it had a vibrant economy even then. It would be good if those in North Korea were able to enjoy the same freedoms.

What worries me about the North Koreans is their nuclear weapons. They want to develop these.

As I speak the USA has not taken any action, despite threats. Personally, and I may well be wrong, I think a more likely scenario is deliberate hacking so that any nuclear tests fail and no political capital can be made from the tests.

See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-39604361 .

Easter Egg Hunting - NOT amateur radio

Whilst here with us the "Kent" grandchildren had to have an Easter Egg Hunt in the garden!

More 6m MSK144 RX

9A4ZM (1298km) is another new country on 6m MSK144 RX. I have lost count of all the countries now spotted on 6m using this mode.

Today so far 15 stations in 9 countries spotted on 6m MSK144 RX and it is only 0940z!

UPDATE 1224z: So far today 17 stations in 10 countries on 6m MSK144 RX.

UPDATE 1736z: 22 stations in 13 countries now today on 6m MSK144 RX. Best day yet.

14 Apr 2017

Tulips - NOT amateur radio

It is hard to think that in the 1600s tulip bulbs were worth more than houses in Holland until the price crashed and lots of people lost lots of money.

We have had a strange spring. Daffodils were late, but now are mostly dead. Tulips are mainly dying now. I saw my first swallow earlier this year than previous years here in East Anglia.

Our garden always looks at its best at this time of the year. The blossom is largely out and the green on the trees is "spring fresh".

VLF Transmitter

This image has been posted before.

The link takes you to my 5W transmitter that I used a few years ago from my old QTH to cover 6km by utilities assisted earth-mode. I tried a test using this TX over a 32km radiated path without success.  A test in 2014 from the new QTH was a total failure! The TX is based on a TDA2003 audio IC. It used a keyer to produce a preprogrammed message in either CW or QRSS3.

At some point I want to do more VLF tests but my health has been against this. I need to improve my earth-electrode "antenna" before doing more tests.

See https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/vlf/8-97khz-earth-mode-transmitter

Home quiet once more - NOT amateur radio

After a busy couple of weeks we are alone again. All grandchildren have now departed. We love seeing them very much, but when they go we return to calm! It was pretty "full on" and I am exhausted. As the old saying went, "nice to see them come, nice to see them go".  In years to come we will miss these visits.

Yet again on 6m MSK144 RX

6m MSK144 RX is easy and ideal to monitor in the background whilst dealing with a houseful of people. So far today PSK Reporter Maps shows 10 stations spotted in 7 countries, but at least one more nation has been spotted that was not uploaded.

UPDATE 1450z: 17 stations in 9 countries so far today on 6m MSK144 RX.

UPDATE 2120z: 20 stations in 10 countries on 6m MSK144 RX in last day. The system is still running and will be left on overnight, although I seem to spot most stations in the period between 0600 and 1000z.

Sunspots and 10m - Friday April 14th 2017

Solar flux is 73 today and the sunspot number is 12. A=5 and K=3.

13 Apr 2017


We moved to the present QTH a few years ago. This is an aerial photo of the old QTH. We moved 300m!

USA amateur numbers up (again)

According to the latest FCC figures, the number of amateur licences in the USA is up again. I think this contrasts with the numbers in many countries where amateur radio is seen as an "old man's" hobby with few youngsters entering and staying in the hobby.  I have said this many times, but we need to understand the dynamics or our hobby will simply die out in the next 20 years. What got us into the hobby is not the same today.

See http://www.govtech.com/em/disaster/Emergency-Communications-Driving-Increase-in-Amateur-Radio-Operators.html

Stables visit - NOT amateur radio

Our younger grandson (aged 8) enjoys riding and today was given a tour of one of the best stables in nearby Newmarket. He had a great time. They have a pool for the horses which cost £1M. There are only 3 of these in the whole country.

Solar storm?

Southgate News reports that we might get a glancing blow from the results of a solar storm. This may hit us over Easter.

See http://southgatearc.org/news/2017/april/easter-storm.htm#.WO8_H4WcHIU
See also http://www.solen.info/solar/

Sunspots and 10m - Thursday April 13th 2017

Solar flux is 72 today and the sunspot number 13. A=6 and K=2.

6m MSK144

Once again I am on 6m MSK144 RX where 9 stations in 6 countries have been spotted in the last 12 hours (EI, GD, G, F, LA, HB9). This band/mode never fails

UPDATE 1442z: 2 new countries today on 6m MSK144 RX including 4O6AH (1788km) in Montenegro. So far today 20 stations in 11 countries on 6m MSK144 RX.

UPDATE 1629z: 23 stations in 11 countries today on 6m.

12 Apr 2017

Baking - NOT amateur radio

We have 2 of our grandchildren staying this week. They are a handful, but it is usually "clean mess". They enjoy baking as the photo shows. This is them making a cake. The floor loves it :-)

OFCOM consulting again

OFCOM is again asking for inputs.

See http://ofcom.cmail19.com/t/ViewEmail/i/4A7BC273EB8C8121/59D1BD3EA2F08127C67FD2F38AC4859C

Sunspots and 10m - Wednesday April 12th 2017

Solar flux is 73 and the sunspot number 12. A=12 and K=3

6m MSK144 RX again

This morning, I am again on 6m MSK144 RX. So far, 3 stations spotted in 3 countries (EA, F and G).

UPDATE 1320z: 8 stations in 5 countries spotted so far today on 6m MSK144 RX with best DX EA3AQJ (1221km) in Catalonia.

UPDATE 1850z: 14 stations in 8 countries so far today on 6m MSK144 RX.

11 Apr 2017

70cm UKAC

Tonight I was only able to be on for about 15 minutes because we had visitors. As usual, I was only running 5W to my 2m halo - totally unsuitable for the band. Nonetheless I still worked G4CLA at 105km.

Outside St Johns - NOT amateur radio

If I have already posted this, please accept my apologies.

This picture shows 2 of our grandchildren last week outside of St John's College in Cambridge. The "Bridge of Sighs", which is world-famous, is to the right just out of shot. There is also a "Bridge of Sighs" in Venice.

EME - moonbounce

VE7SL has been busy again with moonbounce using 140W on 2m with JT65. Steve has a modest station and yet again shows that moonbounce, which used to be for a very few, is now possible for more stations.

It still needs careful optimisation and is never easy. Certainly it still remains beyond me. All credit to Steve.

6m MSK144 RX again

Since breakfast, I have been on 6m MSK144 RX again. So far, 9 stations spotted in 7 countries. Best DX is IS0BSR (1603km).

UPDATE 1006z: S51AT (1250km) brings the total today so far to 10 stations in 8 countries spotted on 6m MSK144 RX.

Sunspots and 10m - Tuesday April 11th 2017

Solar flux is 73 today. Sunspot number is 13.  A=5 and K=2.

Islay, Scotland activation

Southgate News reported that GS3PYE/P, the Camb-Hams group, is again off to Scotland May 6-12.

137kHz transverter

Click circuit to enlarge
It is some time since I tried 137kHz. In fact, I have not tried this band at this QTH. The last time I used this band was at the QTH we moved from in summer 2013, shortly before my stroke. I need to try this band from this QTH.

If you are starting up on the band you may want to look at my TX transverter. With my 20m spaced earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground this was regularly copied by G8HUH some 250km away on WSPR. The ERP with this "antenna" is only about 30uW.  Sadly, the FT817 is deaf at 137kHz.

As you will see, it is very similar to my 472kHz design although this is a transmit only design. It is designed to be used with the FT817 at 500mW.

See https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/mflf/137khz_tvrtr .

Repairs! - NOT amateur radio

With springtime comes lawn cutting and hedge cutting. Although the lawnmower was fine, the cordless hedgecutter seems to have seized blades. Sadly the blades did not respond to WD40, so I shall have to try to separate the blades and clean them. Unfortunately the screws used have non-standard heads and I shall have to see if my neighbour has the right sort. I thought they were Allen keys but they are the sort of head you find a lot these days in things they would rather you replaced. I shall have a go at mending. You can buy these screwdrivers, so I may invest in some.

10 Apr 2017

QSYed to 10m JT65 transceive

In the last few minutes I have moved from 6m MSK144 RX to 10m JT65 (2W) transceive.

It remains to be seen whether I spot anyone or anyone spots me. Conditions may allow some N-S DX as long as there is activity!

UPDATE 1635z:  Still no 10m JT65 spots.

UPDATE 1930z: With no 10m JT65 spots I have now gone QRT.

70cm UKAC tomorrow evening

Tomorrow evening is the next 70cm leg of the RSGB's activity contest. Although we have visitors, I can only run 5W, and have no suitable 70cm antenna, I hope to come on briefly.

See http://www.rsgbcc.org/cgi-bin/contest_rules.pl?contest=70cmsukac

Dandelions - NOT amateur radio

Although officially a "weed", dandelions and daisies are everywhere now. These signal spring and that we are no longer in winter. To me, they are cheerful flowers.

Sunspots and 10m - Monday April 10th 2017

Solar flux is 73 today. Sunspot number is 13.  A=18 and K=1.

QRP and QRP Club

More from Oleg:

Dear Club 72 members and friends,

Weekly QRP Rendez-Vous Report (April, 9, 2017)
Visitors  of  the week: UA1ADF, US3EN, UR5IFM, RA7RA, RX3DIT, US5ERQ,
New Visitors:
F6EAH, SV8CYR, ON4AEF, IK3EDT, SM5ABM, G3JFS - you are welcome!
See full Frequenters and Visitors lists on the Club 72 web page.
Some comments...
see full WQR Report on the blog page -

Thanks all QRPers for activity and reports.
See you on next "rendezvous".

72! Oleg RV3GM / KH6OB "Mr. 72"

This is a periodic Newsletter of the Club 72. Don't reply to Newsletter address! Send any requests or news to
mr72@club72.su please.

New country on 6m MSK144 and new DX record

IS0AWZ (1596km) was spotted on 6m MSK144 RX this morning. This yet another new country and a new DX record on this band/mode I think. So far 6 stations in 4 countries on 6m MSK144 RX today.

UPDATE 0900z:  8 stations in 5 countries so far spotted on 6m MSK144 RX this morning.

UPDATE 1345z: 12 stations in 7 countries so far today on 6m MSK144 RX.

Warmest place in the UK on Sunday - NOT amateur radio

Well, apparently Cambridge was the warmest place in the UK yesterday. Temperatures exceeded 25 dec C. Today it is still bright and sunny but much cooler.

9 Apr 2017

Enjoying the sun - NOT amateur radio

We have had a decent few days with a high pressure system overhead. Today, temperatures reached 23- 24 deg C. Tomorrow it is likely to be much cooler and duller. We ate lunch in the garden for a change.

This blackbird was obviously enjoying the good weather. It stayed in this position for quite a while.

Sunspots and 10m - Sunday April 9th 2017

Solar flux is 73 today, but the sunspot number is zero again. A=16 and K=4.


Some time before my stroke in 2013, I designed a simple WSPR beacon for 10m that used low cost 14.060MHz QRP crystals doubled. These pulled up sufficiently.

This beacon was copied all across the globe. It uses a DSB transmitter, so the power goes out on two frequencies so the power in the WSPR slot is half. With the Es season approaching you may like to build it. 10m should be fun May-September in the Northern Hemisphere.

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

The PA could be replaced by paralleled 2N3904s instead of the 2N3866 to get more power for a few pence. 2N3904s are very very cheap. If you look at my Tenbox (also on my website) you will see the idea. Don't forget the emitter resistors so power is shared!

New country on 6m MKS144 RX

S59A (1287km) is a new country on 6m MSK144 RX. I have spotted most of Western and Northern Europe on this mode. I am still on this band/mode.

UPDATE 0944z: 6 stations in 3 countries spotted so far on 6m MSK144 (G,S59,HB9).

UPDATE 1325z: 11 stations in 5 countries on 6m MSK144 RX now.

UPDATE 1540z: 12 stations in 5 countries now.

8 Apr 2017

What will solar cycle 25 be like?

The brief answer is no-one knows. Some have predicted a long period without sunspots but some have suggested the peak could be similar to cycle 24.

In truth, we'll have to wait and see. It seems probable we are unlikely to see the massive peaks that some of us remember. If we see a peak at all, it is likely to be a modest affair.

See http://www.solen.info/solar/.
See https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/12/21/solar-cycle-25-amplitude-prediction/
See http://spaceweather.com/ .

Sunspots and 10m - Saturday April 8th 2017

Solar flux is 66 today and sunspot number 27. A=10 and K=3.

UK Rally


Norbreck Castle Exhibition Centre, Blackpool FY2 9AA. There is car parking at the venue and a talk in station will be in operation. There will be trade stands, a Bring & Buy, special interest groups and an RSGB bookstall. Doors open 10.30 with disabled visitors gaining access 15 minutes earlier. Dave, M0OBW 01270 761 608 dwilson@btinternet.com (www.narsa.org.uk).

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

Ham Radio Horizons

According to Southgate News,  this magazine is now available online.

See https://archive.org/details/hamradiohorizons

Back on 6m MSK144 RX

Since just before breakfast I have been in 6m MSK144 RX. So far, 6 stations in 4 countries spotted with the  best DX SM0NKZ (1404km) in Sweden.

UPDATE 0938z:  Now 7 stations in 4 countries on 6m MSK144 today so far today.

UPDATE 1240z: Now 19 stations in 11 countries today on 6m MSK144 RX. Best DX is EA5WU (1423km).

UPDATE 1852z: Now 22 stations in 12 countries.

7 Apr 2017

Marsh Harriers and Bittern - NOT amateur radio

This afternoon we drove to Lakenheath Fen. This is 21.6 to 23.6 miles from here depending on the route.

We saw 3 marsh harriers and heard a bittern boom. There are lots of chiffchaffs around now. Sadly, no cranes.

There was a glossy ibis there which we also did not see. On the North Norfolk coast my son with his family saw some seals up close and his first swallow of the year.

Sunspots and 10m - Friday April 7th 2017

Solar flux is 85 today and the sunspot number 38. A=7 and K=2. What will 10m bring today?

Swallows return

Today we spotted our first swallow (bird) this year flying N-S over the allotments behind Burwell Museum at breakfast time this morning. In a few weeks they will be common!

April 7th is one of the earliest times I have seen these up here, although there have been reports in Devon a few weeks ago. There were days when I thought I would never live to see this day. The cycle of life goes on.

See https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/bird-and-wildlife-guides/bird-a-z/s/swallow/

10m JT65 again

G4KPX (14km) spotted me earlier this morning. I shall be sticking with 10m JT65 most of today again, although I am unsure of HF conditions. 10m has been quite good of late.

UPDATE 2200z: G6SSN (75km) spotted me on 10m JT65 and called me this afternoon, although I was beaconing at the time.

6 Apr 2017

Alien planet with atmosphere - NOT amateur radio

The BBC reports they have detected a planet in a distant solar system that has an atmosphere. With a surface temperature of 370 deg C it is unlikely to support life as we know it.

See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-39521344

Cambridge Concert - NOT amateur radio

My wife's concert is coming up.

Cambridge Grand Arcade - NOT amateur radio

A few days ago we walked through the Grand Arcade in central Cambridge, UK. This is a covered pedestrian area, so ideal for wet weather shopping. As usual, there are plenty of stores which you find in most big cities and very few independent shops. Probably the business rates are too high?

Return to 10m JT65 (2W)11448km

Quite late this morning, I returned to 10m JT65 transceive running 2W. As yet no spots.

UPDATE 1400z:  Still no 10m spots today so far.

UPDATE 1530z: Still no 10m JT65 spots here today. The rig and PC will be on for several hours yet.

UPDATE 2114z: G0LRD (25km) is my best TX DX today. LU1ECO (11448km) was the most distant station on RX.

Sunspots and 10m - Thursday April 6th 2017

Solar flux is 83 today and the sunspot number is 37. A=10 and K=1. Yesterday was good on 10m JT65 with my 2W spotted in Brazil for the first time this year.

Eating out - NOT amateur radio

Most of the last week we have had the "London" grandchildren staying. A few days ago we went to Cambridge and ate out at a small independent cafĂ© called Le Patissier which is opposite St John's College. The food was good, prices reasonable and staff friendly and this is the fourth time I have eaten there.

5 Apr 2017

New amateur record at 970Hz

From Stefan DK7FC:

"Hi ULF friends,

Saturday night i build an active E field receiver optimised for ULF. It is using a BF862 front-end as a source follower and a LT1028 with 20 dB gain. There are 3 RC filter stages cutting off at 10 kHz. Furthermore there are two isolation transformers in series, 4:1=>1:10. In the center they are parallel resonated. This gives a further good low pass filtering and some additional gain below 3 kHz. It was a quick construction without thinking to much, soldered at night, 02 AM local time. The antenna probe is a 1m long steel rod (for welding) with 2 mm diameter. The antenna height above ground was just 2m. There were no trees in a radius of 20 m.

For transmitting i'm again using the modified 5 kV mains transformer. At 970 Hz, the antenna impedance is 342 kOhm! So i can just run 15 mA antenna current which means 3 nW ERP. The new ALC build inside SpecLab holds the 15 mA accurately and protects the transformer that way! SpecLab is a very well usable tool for transmitting on VLF/ULF, thanks to DL4YHF!!
The transmit frequency was 970.005 Hz.

I didn't expect much, thought that this distance may be to optimistic. The last signals were very weak on my tree grabber in 3.5 km distance. But that tree grabber is using loop antennas and they are not sensitive in that frequency range. So there was a certain chance to see a trace, maybe in 212 uHz???
I drove to JN49JL00EB and built up the receiver there because it is a quiet location, a nice region for a walk and, there is a good restaurant not to far!!!!!! So it was easy to spend some time there and let the Raspi (using a GPS module on the right soundcard channel, with PPS+NMEA) record for nearly 3 hours at 24 kS/s.
This is the path between TX and RX: http://no.nonsense.ee/qth/map.html?qth=JN49JL00EB&from=jn49ik00wd  A distance of 7.2 km, or 0.023 wavelengths or 14% of the distance to the far field border. So it is still a near field experiment.
It is about twice the distance i've managed in the last test.

Now i'm back in the shack, analysing the recording and to my surprise i can see a strong trace of 30 dB SNR in 424 uHz!!! See attachments in 424 uHz and 3.8 mHz.

All this makes me much more optimistic to reach farer distances. I tell you i will crack the far field border on that 309 km band! That would be a distance of 49.3 km.

There must have been some local thunderstorms not to far away, because there was QRN in the observed spectrum. So the SNR can be improved a bit by doing the next test in the late morning hours. Also the resonance of the transformers seem to be a bit to low, so maybe i can reach a bit more sensitivity when optimising that resonance. It could further help to rise the effective height of the antenna. Flat fields rather than the deep forest is the region to select now....

73, Stefan"

OFCOM and mobile repeaters

OFCOM is consulting on mobile repeaters.

See http://ofcom.cmail19.com/t/ViewEmail/i/26E022FC8AA20F74/59D1BD3EA2F08127C67FD2F38AC4859C

Tawny mining bee - NOT amateur radio

For several days now, I have seen little mounds of soil with a hole in the middle in my grass. For a while I thought this was ants then I saw a bee. Further research has pointed me to Tawny Mining Bees. These are solitary bees that don't live together. They are small bees with ginger hairs.

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

10m JT65

Although no spots seen as yet, I have been on 10m JT65 today. We are nearing the start of the Es season which should see 10m and 6m open to lots of Europe from the UK even with QRP SSB.

UPDATE 1920z:  No spots all day, at least not showing on PSK reporter maps. Still running overnight, so might catch some aircraft reflections later?

UPDATE 2032z: PY2RSA (9473km) spotted me on 10m JT65 not too long ago. Not shown on PSK reporter maps was a spot of an N0. This may have been because I lost internet connectivity for a period. I have since gone QRT.

Sunspots and 10m - Wednesday April 5th 2017

Solar flux is 93 today and sunspot number 75. A=20 and K=2.

4 Apr 2017

OFCOM Update

Every month, OFCOM produces a "Communications Update". This is the latest version.

See http://ofcom.cmail19.com/t/ViewEmail/i/8EAFA4273AD97B72/59D1BD3EA2F08127C67FD2F38AC4859C

St Johns, Cambridge - NOT amateur radio

The colleges at Cambridge University are always worth a visit, but they look so good in spring. This was the view of St Johns this afternoon. We just missed the rain.

Sunspots and 10m - Tuesday April 4th 2017

Solar flux is 106 today. Sunspot number is 97.  A=4 and K=3.

See http://www.solen.info/solar/ for a summary of the latest solar data. Last month, the smoothed sunspot number declined to 22.6, but this month has got off to a promising start.

2m UKAC this evening

A further reminder that the RSGB organised 2m leg of its activity contest is this evening from 8pm(1900z) UK clock time. The contest runs for 2.5 hours. Activity levels are good on SSB and it is a great way to work new squares. Although a contest, I have always found people very friendly. I usually stay on for well less than an hour because of my poor voice.

See http://www.rsgbcc.org/cgi-bin/contest_rules.pl?contest=2mukac

UPDATE 2032z: Just a few QSOs as my granddaughter was in the next room so I stayed on even less than usual. Best QSO was 183km (with my 5W QRP and omni), but I heard further and could have worked more if I had stayed on a little longer.

10m JT65 transceive

As conditions were quite decent yesterday, I stayed on 10m JT65 and am still on that band and mode. No spots this morning so far, although it is very early.

UPDATE 1635z: DL5XL (567km) spotted me this morning. Es?

QRP and QRP Club

More from Oleg:

Dear Club 72 members and friends,

Weekly QRP Rendez-Vous Report (April, 2, 2017)
Reminder about new Rendez-Vous schedule:
Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays
9.00 UTC - 14060 kc
18.00 UTC - 7030 kc
alternative 10116 kc if QRM or poor condx
+/- QRM, QRL, keep RIT for xtal QRPers
Strongly recommend to use QRP Chat during "rendezvous"!

Visitors  of  the  week:  R1OA,  US3EN, UR5EFD, RV3GM, DK1HW, US5WAF,
RU6UR and RD2A became Honor Frequenters (regular visitors)
New Visitors - US5WAF, DJ5RE - you are welcome!
Some comments...
See full WQR Report on the blog page -

72! Oleg RV3GM / KH6OB "Mr. 72"

This is a periodic Newsletter of the Club 72. Don't reply to Newsletter address! Send any requests or news to
mr72@club72.su please.

3 Apr 2017

RSGB's 2m UKAC tomorrow evening

Tomorrow evening is the 2m leg of the 2m Activity Contest. As we have grandchildren staying, I will have to make my entry even briefer than usual.

Grandchildren - NOT amateur radio

Most of this week we have our "London" grandchildren, although we spent most of the afternoon with our granddaughter having an x-ray! She fell over the weekend and hurt her arm. We were afraid she'd broken it but all was well.

The photo shows her looking pretty happy!

Sunspots and 10m - Monday April 3rd 2017

Solar flux is 107 today and the sunspot number 75. These are high numbers. A=8 and K=1. All these figures are better than yesterday. I urge you to try 10m digital modes as propagation could be quite decent.

10m JT65

Quite late on yesterday, I moved to 10m JT65. Last evening several South Americans were spotted on 10m JT65, so conditions were quite decent on 10m. I am on 10m JT65 now.

UPDATE 1937z:   Lots of South Americans and Italy on 10m JT65 today.

2 Apr 2017

Windmill next door - NOT amateur radio

We are very lucky to have a good view of our local restored windmill from our home. Every day usually someone comes to take a photo. It is about 200 years old and fully restored. Not many are lucky enough to look at a working 4 sailed windmill whilst eating breakfast! It is literally "over the garden fence". The hedge is in our garden.

10m JT65 after 20m JT65

After all day on 20m JT65, I have (rather late) moved to 10m JT65, changing at about 1615z. On 20m most of the spots of my 2W were from Europe with a few from North America. On RX the best was Brazil.

UPDATE 1622z:  No spots on 10m JT65.

UPDATE 2112z: EU7FBB (1931km) spotted on 10m JT65 earlier this evening. I left things running on 10m overnight.

Sunspots and 10m - Sunday April 2nd 2017

Solar flux is 99 today and the sunspot number is 79 (both are high figures). A=16 and K=3.

1 Apr 2017

Devon Birds - NOT amateur radio

Certainly swallows (birds) are being seen in increasing numbers in Devon. Cattle egrets are also being increasingly seen. The cattle egret sightings remind me of the first  little egret sightings in Devon 30-40 years ago.

I suspect several species will become far more common in the years to come e.g. bearded tits, bee-eaters. At the same time, some will be lost. Before 1955 to see a collared dove in the UK would have been amazing. Nowadays they are one of the most common birds in our garden.

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bee-eater .

472 and 137kHz allocations in the USA nearer

The latest news from the FCC suggests the USA is nearer allocating the LF and MF bands to amateurs at last.

I used to think OFCOM was bad, but the FCC seems even worse. It is years since most countries had access to these bands. If the FCC was concerned about other users they could have set very low ERP levels and allowed amateur operation on a strictly "non-interference" basis.  Instead they waited and waited. They are still waiting!

The FCC seems, at least to me, to be a bunch of pen pushing idiots who know little about radio. Perhaps I am being unfair? In many ways I think of the USA as having fairly liberal policies on the use of the spectrum, but the FCC seems to do themselves no good at all over these bands.

See http://www.arrl.org/news/new-bands-fcc-issues-amateur-radio-service-rules-for-630-meters-and-2-200-meters

See also http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2017/db0329/FCC-17-33A1.pdf

April Fool's Day - NOT amateur radio

Certainly here in the UK, April 1st is April Fool's Day when people usually play tricks. Often there are spoof news items in the papers or on TV. Apparently one UK paper did a piece on Prince Harry saying he had got married in secret.

Sorry, but all here will be "straight" with no April fools stories.

10m JT65

Just before 0900z I QSYed to 10m JT65.

UPDATE 0910z: No spots as yet on 10m JT65.

UPDATE 1330z: Still no 10m JT65 spots today.

UPDATE 1350z: With no spots at all on 10m JT65, I think it is time to QSY.

Sunspots and 10m - Saturday April 1st 2017

Solar flux is 91 (quite high) and the sunspot number 65 which is also good. A=28 and K=3. 10m is again forecast to be "poor".

31 Mar 2017

Blog Hacking - NOT amateur radio

It looks possible that my blogs are being probed by hackers. This seems to have been attempted much of this week.

See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-39401637

UK Pound against Euro - NOT amateur radio

Yet again, the UK pound is stronger against the euro. Some were expecting it to tumble. The last time I looked it was up another 0.5%. Early BREXIT days. but my gut feeling is the euro will weaken further later this year.

20m JT65

Hoping the band is still usable, I have QSYed to 20m JT65 (2W). So far I have only been spotted by S52NR (1318km).

UPDATE 1734z: Spotted by 5 Europeans so far, but nothing further afield.

UPDATE 1755z: Now 8 Europeans spotting me, although I think the band is closing now. I may leave it running overnight to see what happened early Saturday.

UPDATE 1810z: Now 14 Europeans spotting my 2W 20m JT65. The band is still open.

UPDATE 1848z: Now 18 Europeans spotting my 2W on 20m JT65.
UPDATE 2020z:  K1GUY, in the USA, spotted me on 20m JT65 about an hour ago.


It certainly seems that HF conditions get better nearer the equator. http://www.hamqsl.com/solar3.html shows a diagram of MUF (maximum usable frequencies) and going closer to the equator does seem to help. I am definitely no propagation expert!

"Near miss" asteroids - NOT amateur radio

http://spaceweather.com/ gives details of asteroids that are quite close to Earth. Most, thankfully, are quite a way away. Near miss is being a big generous!

Rally News


Hack Green Secret Nuclear Bunker, French Lane, Nantwich, Cheshire CW5 8AL
Doors open 10am. Sale of amateur gear, electronic equipment, comps, military radio sets and vehicle spares. Refreshments are available on site. More details from Lucy Siebert on 01270 623 353 or by email to lucy@hackgreen.co.uk

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

Food in North Norfolk - NOT amateur radio

If I have posted this before, please accept my apologies!
When in North Norfolk, about 1 hour from here, we usually eat at "The Old Reading Room" in Kelling. The food is nothing special, but the service is by the same good Norfolk people who have been there for years. The place is filled with second-hand books, chutneys and jams. Lots of locals eat there. We love it and have been going there for years.

Sunspots and 10m - Friday March 31st 2017

Solar flux is 86 today (not bad). Sunspot number has dropped back to 33. A=23 and K=5. Yet again 10m is forecast to remain "poor".

Remember though that 10m often surprises and some of my best days on 10m WSPR have been on days when the forecast suggested otherwise!

10m WSPR transceive (2W)

In the end, I decided to go on 10m WSPR this morning. I have been active since breakfast running 2W (20%) with the rest of the time on RX. As yet, no spots.

UPDATE 1024z: Some life!

UPDATE 1148z:  Just local G spots of late on 10m WSPR.

UPDATE 1348z: No further spots, yet, on 10m WSPR. I wonder if the high Doppler on local spots is a result of aircraft approaching Lakenheath, Mildenhall or Cambridge?

UPDATE 1644z:  No further spots all day on 10m WSPR.

UPDATE 1810z: With no further spots, I think I am going to QSY, maybe to 20m WSPR or 20m JT65.

30 Mar 2017


Everything is now off until after breakfast tomorrow.  As yet, I've not decided what band to try on Friday.  Maybe 10m JT65 or WSPR? It depends on the K-index. If this is low, there is a chance of some DX on 10m.

Otherwise I may return to 6m MSK144 again as this is largely (entirely?) independent of solar conditions. Certainly 6m MSK144 has been a total surprise, but I like the challenge of 10m: there is still life there, but it needs activity to prove this.

Post BREXIT letter UK pound up - NOT amateur radio

OK it is very early days, but the day after the letter triggering the BREXIT process the UK pound is up against most currencies including the euro and US dollar.

UPDATE 2025z: The UK pound is still up against most currencies. Against the euro it is up over 1% in the last day.

Going home - NOT amateur radio

After a few days with us, my brother returned home today by train. Here he is with me in our front garden. The primroses get replaced with begonias in the summer.

New Beam, but not for me thanks

Thanks (again) to Southgate News comes information about a new beam from SteppIR. Covering 40-6m I am sure it will appeal to some. To me it is still huge and my neighbours would be appalled. I prefer to use low power and simple antennas. Luckily we are all different!

See http://southgatearc.org/news/2017/march/new-steppir-beam-huge-signal.htm#.WN0DTYWcHIU .

OFCOM annual plan

OFCOM has just released its annual plan.

See https://www.ofcom.org.uk/about-ofcom/annual-reports-and-plans .

QRP Marathon

From Oleg:

Dear Club 72 members and friends,
just  inform  about  annually  QRP  Marathon "Look In the Horizon" in
April.  See rules on the Club "72" web page (
club72.su) Registration
page  will  be open in 00.01 UTC April 1'st. Add your QRP QSOs on the
on-line  form daily and  collect  "luk" points depend of distance and
both stations power. Memorable certificates for all Marathon'ers.

72! Oleg RV3GM / KH6OB "Mr. 72"

This is a periodic Newsletter of the Club 72. Don't reply to Newsletter address! Send any requests or news to
mr72@club72.su please.

60m (5MHz)

It seems that several administrations have reduced the total 5MHz spectrum available and the power limits permitted when making available the 5MHz WRC15 15 kHz allocation. The RSGB, working with OFCOM and the UK military, has been trying to avoid this (see the GB2RS news last week).

Really I'd like to see the WRC15 allocation released in the UK too as soon as possible, but with the other "channels" still available. As a seasoned QRPer the power levels really don't bother me. 5W would be fine!

Many times we (I) take for granted the work done on our behalf by volunteers at the RSGB. A quiet thank you. You know who you are, HI.

6m MSK144 RX yet again

As you can tell, I love this mode. I was on 6m MSK144 RX overnight again. In the last 12 hours I have spotted 9 stations in 6 countries on 6m MSK144 RX. In the last day I have spotted 13 stations in 7 countries on this band/mode.

UPDATE 1308z: Now 12 stations in 9 countries spotted on 6m MSK144 RX in the last 12 hours. Best DX today is SM0NKZ (1404km).

UPDATE 1528z: Now the totals on 6m MSK144 RX are 15 stations in 10 countries in the last 12 hours.

Sunspots and 10m - Thursday March 30th 2017

Solar flux is 83 today. Sunspot count is 53. A=21 and K=5

29 Mar 2017

2.97kHz amateur DX

By careful analysis over 9 days in 25uHz bandwidths, Paul Nicholson has proved beyond doubt that DK7FC was copied in Todmorden, UK on 2.97kHz. This is with amateur powers and amateur (i.e. small) antennas.

Article 50 and leaving the EU - NOT amateur radio

Article 50, the trigger to leave the EU, has now been invoked, with 2 years ahead to negotiate our exit from the "club".  Although we have some tough decisions and negotiations ahead, the UK pound has not collapsed. If anything it is a little stronger against the euro. Although I voted to remain in the EU, I am pretty sure we'll be fine in the UK.  The rest of the EU faces quite difficult times ahead. In truth, Europe needs us as much as we need them.

At Anglesey Abbey - NOT amateur radio

As we are having some new windows fitted, I took my brother for a walk at Anglesey Abbey this morning. Although cloudy, it was quite mild. Many of the daffodils there are dying now.

More nations get the WRC 5MHz band

The Netherlands is joining the growing list of nations gaining access to the 15kHz wide international WRC15 amateur allocation at 5MHz (60m) although, you will have read, the UK will not be joining the list anytime soon. We have non-contiguous bands at 5MHz that allow access to more spectrum with higher power. Personally, I'd prefer a contiguous allocation and the power limits do not bother me.

Solar storm

It looks like we are in a solar storm. Although this will pass, HF conditions will have been affected. Luckily modes like MSK144 on 6m are little impacted. I guess the chances of lower latitude auroras improves, but I am no expert.

See http://spaceweather.com/

Sunspots and 10m

Solar flux is 85 today and the sunspot number 51. A=28 and K=4.

Probing again? - NOT amateur radio

Yet again, 3 of my blogs have seen exceptional activity for a third day and yet again this coincides with much increased views from Russia. I have no problem with people from any country who genuinely are interested, but this looks like bots probing. Highly suspicious.

6m MSK144 RX overnight

The 6m MSK144 RX was left running overnight, but nothing until breakfast-time when F6ECI (811km) was spotted in JN05 square very strongly (+10dB S/N). The bursts may be short, but they are usually strong when they occur.

UPDATE 1132z: Currently 7 stations in 4 countries spotted today.

28 Mar 2017

6m MSK144 RX

Although I have not been on long, EA2ARD (1010km) has already been copied.

Gardening - NOT amateur radio

The weather these last few days has been glorious, so it has been a chance to do some gardening. My brother John has been up for a few days and busy doing "odd jobs" which I used to be able to do, but struggle with these days. Here he is putting some new top soil in the garden.