23 Jul 2017

QRP and QRP Club

The latest report from Oleg:

Dear Club 72 members and friends,

Weekly QRP Rendez-Vous Report (July, 23, 2017)
First of all, I'd like to thanks a lot my friends who donated for Victor RU3NJC heart trouble operation. God bless you all!
QRP Rendez-Vous e-mail group (reflector) created for all regular visitors. Send request to become the group member to "mr72 (at) club72.su" e-mail, please. All QRPers are welcome to join active QRP group!

Visitors of the week: RV3DSA/0, RV3GM, YL3GU, OH6NPV, UA1CEG, UR5EFD, G3XJS, RW3AA, G3JFS, G4AFI, EA2EIE/m, UY1IF, UR5IFM, ON4ADR, RX3DOR, UA1CEX, RV3UF, HB9DAX, DK2HZ, MM0CYR, ON6WJ, RA7R, RV9WMZ, RU3NJC/3, UR7VT, F5SSI, EA2EFI, R1CAF, R1CAN, UA4NU, RW3XZ, RW3DF, IT9IFI, US3EN, SV8CYR, DK1HW, RX3PR, UR0ET/p
Congrats!
ON4ADR, MM0CYR, F5SSI became Honor Frequenters (regular visitors)
New Visitors are welcome -
YL3GU, G4AFI, DK2HZ, RW3XZ
See full Frequenters and Visitors lists on the Club 72 web page
Comments...
See  full  version  of  the WQR Report including A LOT of pictures and
comments on the blog - https://qrp-club72.blogspot.ru/
Thanks  all  QRPers  for  activity  and  comments,  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.

QRP transceiver kit

This 5W QRP kit has been brought to my attention. I have no idea how easy it is to build. It covers 2-30MHz.

See http://www.m0nka.co.uk/ .

Sunspots - Sunday July 23rd 2017

Solar flux is 69 today and the sunspot number remains zero. A=16 and K=3.

10m WSPR TX - good Es

My 500mW 10m WSPR beacon has been on all morning. With lots of spots from across Europe this is another good Es day.

6m JT65

There has been plenty of European Es on 6m this morning. At one point I got excited about a USA spot, but as I was the only one to spot him, I assume this was a false decode sadly.

22 Jul 2017

High numbers, even without the hackers from Eastern Europe - NOT amateur radio

Visits to this blog are already well up today, and this is without our "friends" in Eastern Europe doing their regular probe. I have no idea why.

Sunflowers out - NOT amateur radio

This morning I noticed that our sunflowers were out. In the accompanying photo you can hardly see them! "Our" windmill is in the background and the red berries on one of our rowan trees are visible on the left. The sunflowers are just visible (if you look hard!) towards the right.

Trump - NOT amateur radio

So Donald has now been in office for 6 months. In an electoral system such as that in the USA you get the person voted for by most. What amazed me was that so many voted for him. Let history be his judge.

Storms coming?

A quick look at the lightning map shows that storms are still some way away. I have decided to leave my 10m WSPR and 6m JT65 systems connected, but will review this later.

UPDATE 1300z: At the moment the local weather forecast shows no storms are likely here.

Hamsphere Virtual Amateur Radio

Already, I have posted that I prefer "the real thing" to virtual amateur radio.

As conditions worsen I expect more people will turn to systems like Hamsphere. Earlier this week I got an email offering Hamsphere membership for 15 Euros for returning users. This is quite tempting.

See http://www.hamsphere.com/ .

Grandchildren coming later, so less amateur radio

Our "London" grandchildren arrive after lunch. It means that amateur radio takes a back seat for a few days, although I can still go on 10m WSPR and 6m JT65 RX or beacon mode. My usual Monday night sked on 2m FM is out as one of them sleeps in the bedroom near my shack.

Sunspots - Saturday July 22nd 2017

Solar flux is 69 today and the sunspot number still zero. A=14 and K=2. Luckily there is good Es in Europe.

6m JT65

As it was busy with Es from all across Europe, I decided to stay RX only on 6m JT65 for now. Already I have spotted stations from all over Europe by Es. At the moment, this is the best day this year for 6m Es. At the moment I have not spotted any stations beyond Europe on 6m.

UPDATE 0924z:  XT3TCD (4423km) in West Africa has been spotted. This station has been spotted by others so is not a false decode. Of course, it could be a pirate! It is possible by Es.

10m WSPR TX - early Es

As usual , I turned on my 10m WSPR beacon (500mW) just before breakfast. It is now only 0845z and already I have had 10 unique reports, mostly Es. This is very early.

UPDATE 1108z: The photo shows the spots received for my 500mW 10m WSPR beacon so far today.

UPDATE 1357z: Been spotted again by SP9LJE (1261km). On all his reports (not others) the drift is bad.  I presume this must be his end.

21 Jul 2017

Blackberries - NOT amateur radio

No, not the personal organisers, I'm talking about fruit.

There is a wild blackberry bush just outside our garden. When they come to stay these next few days, our "London" grandchildren will really enjoy picking the ripe ones and eating them. These are wild fruits and they taste delicious.

"Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness" - well almost!

Swifts - NOT amateur radio

This morning I saw no swifts. Usually in August you just realise they are not there any more. Screaming swifts in the skies are part of a UK summer. It saddens me when they go, but they will be back next year.

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

UPDATE 1530z: Spotted a few swifts lunchtime.

Rally on Sunday

23 JULY 2017 : FINNINGLEY AMATEUR RADIO SOCIETY RALLY
The Hurst Communications Centre, Belton Road, Sandtoft, Doncaster DN8 5SX. Doors open 10:30am. Free parking. Massive indoor /outdoor trader's area. Hot food and drinks all day. Major traders and club stalls - microwave components to QRP kits. All on one level. Admission £3. Contact Kevin G3AAF Mob: 07831 614640 - email Kevin@avery03.fsnet.co.uk

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

10m WSPR TX

Although I am beaconing (500mW) TX on 10m WSPR, nothing reported today so far.

UPDATE 1130z: No spots still.

UPDATE 1838z: Well it was a long time coming but SP9LJE (1261km) has spotted my 500mW 10m WSPR beacon a few times this evening.

6m JT65 RX

I stayed on 6m JT65 overnight. In the last 12 hours just Gs and near continent, possibly by aircraft reflection or tropo. No Es seen here yet on 6m.

UPDATE 0930z: Another station in Puerto Rico was spotted here late last evening. WP4G (6800km) was spotted on 6m JT65. So, a couple of Caribbean stations spotted.

UPDATE 1112z: I keep getting what I assume are false decodes which appear as a station in Algeria in the middle of the Sahara Desert!  As he was spotted by no-one else, I am ignoring these.

UPDATE 1840z: As it seemed very quiet I went on 6m JT65 TX (1W ERP) and was spotted in Southern Europe. There is (at last) some Es on 6m here.

Stroke update - NOT amateur radio

Some are interested to know how I am progressing since my stroke in September 2013.

Well, things are much the same: I still feel very tired (no, exhausted) after quite brief physical or mental exertion - normally this is after about 15-20 minutes. My voice is poor.

I am able to drive, but I estimate it is now about 5 times harder. I also drive slower as 50mph seems like 70 mph. It is as if my brain takes longer to process things. Also, subtitles seem to change too fast and I find it hard to keep up.

Although most foods are fine, I take an age with drinks, especially tea and coffee. For some reason cold drinks are easier.

Daft things are I find spelling harder, my writing is poor now and I feel tired much of the time. I think I get more anxious too.

Outwardly, I look "well". Others do not realise that life is a real struggle most of the time.

Overall, I find it hard to see improvements now. In most ways I feel like I did a year ago.

See https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/stroke

Sunspots - Friday July 21st 2017

Solar flux is 69 and the sunspot number is again zero. A=7 and K=3.

Luckily, Es is livening up the higher HF bands although I find WSPR activity disappointing.

20 Jul 2017

10m WSPR

As usual, I have been on 10m WSPR TX (500mW) since breakfast. Es has been good with widespread reports from around Europe.

UPDATE 1458z: SM5ISM (1288km) remains my best DX on 10m WSPR TX today.

UPDATE 1640z: DJ9PC/1 (825km) has received me at an astounding +7dB S/N. Es! Assuming a low noise floor, uW power levels would be enough.

UPDATE 2126z:  22 unique stations spotted on 10m WSPR today.

Summer colour - NOT amateur radio

A few weeks ago our lawns were green. Then the sun really shone and patches turned brown. Slowly they are recovering.

By mistake, we bought impatiens for our front garden instead of begonias. Luckily they have been a good splash of colour.

Our sweet peas look healthy, but we have yet to see a single flower. My brother down in Devon has also had a disappointing sweet pea show this year. We both bought these as plugs from a well respected seed supplier.

6m JT65

Since breakfast I have been on 6m JT65. At first I was transceive but for the last hour or so I have been RX only. Plenty of 6m Es.

UPDATE 1332z: Most of the 6m spots have been Southern and Eastern Europe, presumably by Es.

UPDATE 1638z: UT8IO (2720km) in Ukraine is the best DX today so far.

UPDATE 2138z: KP4EIT (6830km) in the Caribbean has just been spotted on 6m JT65.

Sunspots - Thursday July 20th 2017

Solar flux is 72 today and the sunspots number is again zero. A=4 and K=2.

19 Jul 2017

QRT and disconnected

As I had received no new reports on 10m WSPR TX for nearly 2 hours and 6m JT65 looks like the best DX on RX was the Azores and Canary Is, I decided to go QRT. 

No storms are forecast here but you never know. I should be back on tomorrow at breakfast time.

I noticed that ONs were calling KP4 earlier on 6m JT65, so there was some real DX around.

BBC salaries - NOT amateur radio

The BBC was made to disclose (by the government) the salaries of their top stars and presenters. Quite a few earn more than £500k a year and some over £2M a year! Sorry, but I think this is insane and immoral: I am sure there are people who could do as good a job on much lower salaries.  BBC? Big Bangs Corporation or Big Bonkers Corporation.

Remember we pay for these people with our licence fees. Shame!

Crab Apples - NOT amateur radio

Last year we had a very poor crop, but this year our crab apple tree is full (on the left)! Someone said that every other year will be good with a poor season in between. This may be an "old wives tale", but it does seem to fit. A friend of my wife makes crab-apple jelly and she gives us a jar. She will not be short this year.

Solar conditions - improving?

On average, solar conditions have improved these last few months. In the longer term, we are definitely on the slide towards the next minimum, but there will always be days when things are far better than average.

Of course, there is no correlation between solar activity and Es (as far as I know). Certainly some great Es has been seen in periods of low sunspot activity. 10m, 6m and even 4m and 2m can suddenly spring into life with some quite remarkable signals. DX out to several thousand kilometres is not unheard of by Es on 10m and 6m.

In my experience just a few watts and simple antennas are all that are needed to work all over Europe on 10m and 6m from the UK in the Es season. As Es can occur (less often) at any time of year it is worth beaconing on 10m and 6m with WSPR or JT65 in the quieter months as people often just give up.

See http://www.solen.info/solar/ .

10m WSPR

Today has been very fruitful on 10m WSPR with plenty of spots by Es of my 500mW beacon. OZ9QV (864km) has spotted me many times. All spots have been by Europeans by Es I think.

UPDATE 1522z: In past seasons I seem to recall more Es from Northern Europe later in the season. This may be incorrect, but perhaps the things that trigger Es are more common in Northern Europe later in the summer?

Pound to Euro exchange rate - NOT amateur radio

Some time ago I predicted that the UK Pound would strengthen against the Euro before then end of the year. At the moment it is weaker. Only time will tell.

My assumption was the Euro still has problems especially with Greece and fewer "rich" contributors once the UK leaves the EU. As I said before, I am no financial expert and may be totally wrong.

Most of the burden will be on France and Germany, both of whom want the EU to succeed. If Greece defaults Germany will be most hurt.

6m JT65 - now RX only

For a while now, I have been on 6m JT65 but RX only. Earlier, I was also on TX and reached Austria and the UK.

Sunspots - Wednesday July 19th 2017

Solar flux is 78 today (down) and the sunspot number has returned to zero again. A=7 and K=1.

Storms over - for now

We had thunder, lightning and rain overnight, so I do hope my brown patched lawn starts to improve! I turned on 10m WSPR TX (500mW) and 6m JT65 at breakfast time. There seems to be plenty of Es to Eastern Europe on 6m. Plenty of early Es spots of my little beacon on 10m WSPR too (Italy and Germany).

18 Jul 2017

Storms coming

Looking at the weather, it seems likely we'll have thunder and lightning later, so everything will be turned off and disconnected later this evening. I am resisting as conditions on both 10m and 6m are so good currently.

See https://www.lightningmaps.org/blitzortung/europe/index.php?lang=en .

UPDATE 1937z: Most of the storms are still SW of London, so I think I'll leave things connected until dark. Most or all of the 10m WSPR spots stopped an hour ago here.

UPDATE 2015z: The storms are now reaching London. I reckon they will reach here in about 2-3 hours.

UPDATE 2125z: QRT and everything disconnected.

Spectrum Pollution

Southgate News reports on Don Beattie's speech at Friedrichshafen in which he drew attention to the extreme pressures of noise pollution (getting worse) in many areas. It is no use having spectrum allocated to the Amateur Radio service if the spectrum is unusable.

See http://iaru-r1.org/images/PR_Communications/FHN-opening-address---G3BJ.pdf

Electric cars: the future? - NOT amateur radio

I like the idea of electric cars. Less pollution, economic, quiet. However, I am still concerned about range between charges.

Some models now claim ranges of up to 300 miles. I wonder if this is like mpg claimed figures which rarely match "real world" conditions. I expect these figures are in summer, new battery, no lights on, no air-conditioning, just a driver, no luggage. I also expect replacement batteries will be very expensive.

Unless there is a major breakthrough in battery technology that comfortably does 300 miles in real world driving, I do not think electric cars will really take off.

For some time I have wondered if the answer might be smaller batteries and power charging from a buried cable in main roads. The battery would only be used "on its own" on minor roads.

There is lots of research into batteries and lots of money invested.

QRP and QRP Club

More from Oleg:


EURAO

Until I saw a posting on the Southgate News page I had never heard of this organisation. I had to resort to Google to find out who they were! Apparently there is a meeting with the IARU late this year.

See http://www.eurao.org/en/welcome

10m WSPR TX - early spots

My little 10m WSPR beacon (500mW) is being widely spotted around Europe by Es this morning. It looks like today is going to be a good day both on 10m and 6m.

With good Es so early I am wondering if 4m or even 2m will be open for Es?

6m JT65

Quite a bit of Es this morning on 6m. This is early, so bodes well for the day. 2 hours ago I was briefly on 6m JT65 TX and was copied in southern Europe. Most of the time I am RX only on 6m JT65.

UPDATE 0904z: Best DX on RX (ignoring my pirate supposedly in "Indonesia") is UN6T (5211km) in Kazakhstan. I am pretty sure this is genuine as he was widely spotted in Western Europe and the Middle East.

UPDATE 1734z:  I was out this afternoon, so went QRT and disconnected the rigs and antennas in case there were storms. These now look unlikely until later, so everything is on again (10m WSPR TX and 6m JT65 RX). There seems to be a lot of Es about.

Sunspots - Tuesday July 18th 2017

Solar flux is 84 today (still quite respectable) and the sunspot number 13 (down). A=27 and K=3.

17 Jul 2017

QRT on all bands

At about 2122z I went QRT on all bands and turned off the PC. Storms permitting, I intend to be back on around breakfast time tomorrow. I shall probably be active again on 10m WSPR TX (500mW) and 6m JT65 (mostly RX, but occasional TX with 1W ERP).

Puerto Rico on 6m JT65

A few hours ago KP4EIT (6830km) was spotted here and by a few others in the UK and Europe. I am pretty sure this was genuine. Otherwise it has been a very quiet day on 6m JT65 with just one station in Sweden spotted this morning. The Caribbean station was spotted calling CQ just once.

Baking - NOT amateur radio

Last night our "Kent" son and grandchildren came to stay briefly before they go off to Australia to see their relatives on my daughter-in-law's side. This is one of my granddaughters busy baking.

10m WSPR TX and 6m JT65 RX

Apart from a spot on 10m WSPR in the middle of the night, no evidence of Es today on either 10m or 6m. Yet more evidence of a UK pirate or false decode on 6m JT65 as I was (yet again) supposed to have received an Indonesian station on 6m.

Sunspots - July 17th 2017

Solar flux is 86 today. Sunspot number is 26.  A=41 and K=4.

QRP and QRP Club

From Oleg:

Dear Club 72 members and friends,

Weekly QRP Rendez-Vous Report (July, 16, 2017)
Independently of poor condition we keep activity over QRP Rendez-Vous
periods. Actually, we have 5 new "rendezvous" visitors and two regular
visitors  became  our  Honor  Frequenters  this  week. I only ask all
visitors  try to invite other QRPers to connect to "rendezvous" round
tables.
If you'd like to get the "72 Newsletter" regularly or become a member
of  the  "QRP  Rendez-Vous" discussion group (reflector) ask RV3GM by
e-mail - mr72(at) club72.su - please

Visitors  of  the  week:  UA1CEG,  ON6KZ, RK8W, G3XJS, OH6NPV, OM6TC,
UA0SBQ/p,  RW3AA,  DL9LO/m,  F5IN, G3JFS, UR5IFM, DL4HG, DK4AN, RA1M,
US3EN,  US5ERQ,  UY1IF,  DK1HW/p, EA1TG, R1CAF, PA0PJE, F5OYV, UR7VT,
UR0ET, HA2PP, UA4NU, RZ4NWA, F5DM, UA1CEX, R1CAN, RW3DF, RV3GM

Congrats!
PA0PJE and HA2PP became Honor Frequenters
New Visitors - RK8W, DL9LO, EA1TG, F5OYV, F5DM
See  full  Visitors  and  Frequenters  lists  on  the  Club 72 page -
www.club72.su Some comments...
see full version of the WQR Report including all comments on the blog
page - https://qrp-club72.blogspot.ru/ Thanks  all  for  activity and comments! See you on next "rendezvous"
round tables.

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.

Regen RX PCB

Yesterday, I received this email. I had no idea that Andy had made a PCB of my little regen RX.



"Hi Roger,

I saw your blog post a couple of days ago which reminded me that I had produced a little PCB of your design to test it out.

It works very well for the small number of parts used. The tuning was quite broad with the polyvaricon used but I was still able to resolve cw fairly easily down on the 40m band.

I am quite sure I still have one or two of the unpopulated PCBs knocking around in the shack should anyone want to try and build this regen.

These single evening projects that result in a useful working radio really give 100pct enjoyment factor.

Keep those designs coming !

73's
De Andy"

WSPR - how QRP can you go?

It is well known that some people use low milliwatts or even microwatts with WSPR. My antenna is not the best on 10m, but certainly with Es I could run low milliwatts or even microwatts and be copied at good ranges when the band is open. Some of yesterday's reports were plus dB S/N even with 500mW, implying there is 20-30dB in hand.

OFCOM statement about local mobile communications on ships

OFCOM as released a statement about localised mobile communications on ships.

See http://ofcom.createsend1.com/t/ViewEmail/i/451A88C0BEE0D1772540EF23F30FEDED/59D1BD3EA2F08127C67FD2F38AC4859C

16 Jul 2017

FT8 digital mode

This new digital mode is available in a beta release of WSJT-X. Although keen to give this new mode a try, I think I'll wait until it is formally released, although I am told it is already being widely used on 20m.

Western Backway - NOT amateur radio

Kingsbridge, Devon has very old pedestrian walkways that go around the town. This is Western Backway that also has a mill leet, although the mill closed long ago. Not many visitors are aware of these.

Sunspots - Sunday July 16th 2017

Solar flux is 90 today (high) and the sunspot number 34. A=4 and K=4.

10m WSPR TX

Since before breakfast, I have been on 10m WSPR TX (500mW), although no spots received yet.

UPDATE 2022z: 10 unique spots of my 500mW today on 10m WSPR.

6m JT65

I was briefly on RX and TX, but I am now just on RX. Plenty of EU Es in evidence with stations in southern Europe being copied.

Last night briefly I was also JT65 TX (1W ERP) and was copied in southern Spain and the UK.

15 Jul 2017

Back on the air

This time, I decided not to take any radios to Devon. I did last year, but hardly used them because of my poor voice.

On my return home I have been active on 10m WSPR TX (no spots) and 6m JT65 where I copied a few stations in southern Portugal and Spain, but no-one copied my 1W ERP.

Model Village - NOT amateur radio

On our way home, we called at Bourton in the Water to visit the model village. It was worth a look.

See http://www.bourtoninfo.com/tourist-attractions/the-model-village/ .

Sunspots - Saturday July 15th 2017

Solar flux is 91 (high) and the sunspot number 58 (quite high). A=4 and K=1. At this stage of the solar cycle these are good numbers.

Home again - NOT amateur radio

After nine days away from home (7 in Devon and 2 stopping on the way) we are now back home again. The grass needs cutting and those annoying brown patches in the grass, although smaller, are still there! Obviously we did not have enough rain.

OFCOM annual report and accounts

The annual report and accounts for 2016/17 is now available from OFCOM.

See http://ofcom.cmail19.com/t/ViewEmail/i/F38DFBC79600293C2540EF23F30FEDED/59D1BD3EA2F08127C67FD2F38AC4859C

14 Jul 2017

A dead simple regen receiver

There are plenty of designs out there (try Googling "regen"). but I offer you this simple design with very few parts. It works. You may be surprised that something so simple can hear so much.

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

Sunspots - Friday July 14th 2017

Solar flux is 91 today and the sunspot number is 55. A=4 and K=1.

13 Jul 2017

The 2m Fredbox

This was designed in 1974, when I was still "green behind the ears". It got rebuilt much later and still worked well.

The Sixbox came much later.

See https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/vuhf/fredbox .

Rethink over climate deal? - NOT amateur radio

Is Donald having second thoughts over climate change? I certainly hope so. On this the USA is at odds with the entire world and that can't be good for one's ego. He sounds and behaves stupidly in the eyes of the rest of the world. Come on Donald! You'll look better (more presidential) if you come into line.

See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-40597244 .

Sixbox 6m AM QRP transceiver

As we slowly progress to "quiet sun" years, it is worth remembering that our VHF bands are useful for local QSOs. Some years ago I designed and built the Sixbox which was a very simple AM transceiver for 6m local communications. It should be easy to build and develop further - maybe with more power and a loudspeaker amp added. I am pretty sure this has been shown before.

See https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/vuhf/sixbox

Groundsman's hut - NOT amateur radio


Bolt Tail in the distance. This groundsman's hut at Thurlestone Golf Club is being rebuilt. It was a corrugated shed. I expect the next time I see it, it will be completed!  The second view is a typical Devon scene with Burgh Island in the distance.

OFCOM and 5.8GHz Wi-Fi

OFCOM has made a decision regarding 5.8GHz Wi-Fi in the UK. This now legally increases the number of 80MHz Wi-Fi channels from 4 to 6 in the UK. Their hope is the extra spectrum will help broadband.

See http://ofcom.cmail20.com/t/ViewEmail/i/380368699EAB7D432540EF23F30FEDED/59D1BD3EA2F08127C67FD2F38AC4859C

Virtual Amateur Radio? - NOT yet

On the Southgate News page is a link to a French blog extolling the virtues of virtual ham radio such as HamSphere. These use the internet rather than the ionosphere, so it is not real radio, just a simulation. You can still communicate world-wide, exchange QSL cards etc..

At the moment this not for me: I prefer the challenge of real radio and have moved over to JT65, WSPR etc. to still catch 10m and 6m DX. It is definitely getting harder and I might turn to virtual ham radio for some QSOs in the quiet years ahead.

See http://southgatearc.org/news/2017/july/10-reasons-to-go-to-virtual-amateur-radio.htm#.WWcvIbpFzIU

See also: https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/virtual/hamsphere

Sunspots - Thursday July 13th 2017

Solar flux is 90 today (high) and the sunspot number 43 (high for this part of the sunspot cycle). A=4 and K=1.

12 Jul 2017

How simple can you make a rig?

This is a question I asked myself a few years ago. Here I am talking about a complete transceiver. Inspired by a design from W2UW, I designed and built the FETer transceiver for 80m CW. It worked remarkably well.

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

Friedrichshafen this weekend

14-16 JULY 2017 : HAM RADIO SHOW, FRIEDRICHSHAFEN
Messe, Friedrichshafen, Germany Trade stands, special interest groups and IARU Member Societies all have stands in the main hall. Large flea market. Lectures take place each day, some in English. There will be a large RSGB book stall. www.hamradio-friedrichshafen.de.

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

This probably the biggest gathering in Europe. It is the European Dayton.

Better weather - NOT amateur radio

Yesterday it rained heavily. Today couldn't be more different: blue skies, sunshine and warmth. We are off to one of our favourite National Trust places - Coleton Fishacre near Brixham.

See https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/coleton-fishacre .

Sunspots -Wednesday July 12th 2017

Solar flux is 91 today and the sunspot number 27. A=8 and K=1.

11 Jul 2017

PC language - NOT amateur radio

So an MP has been suspended for using a word that is no longer politically correct. All I can say is, "what is this world coming to?". Clearly she just said the words in error and deeply regretted this.  People are not allowed to play conkers in case they hurt themselves. Yet, we can house people in dangerous tower blocks.

Sorry, but I think we are becoming stupid. We should worry about real issues.

By the way I well remember a 4 hour training course at work on lifting heavy boxes. For the previous 38 years I had managed to lift heavy test gear without training. Oh, in the last minute of the training I got to lift a box! The course was more about my manager being seen to have given the training than really making things safer.

All I can say is rubbish!

Cattle Egrets - NOT amateur radio

These birds are getting more common in the UK. They have yellow beaks unlike little egrets that have black beaks.

This is probably due to climate change. Another 20 years and they will probably be common.

At the moment there are cattle egrets 2 miles from where we are staying in Devon, although I have not seen them. Well, I may have, but the one I saw was too far away to ID positively, although it was very close to a cow.

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

History of the BBC

It is hard to think that the BBC has been going for almost 100 years. It started in 1922. I hope it manages to be independent of government interference in the years ahead.

Around the world it has gained a reputation for honesty. So, governments of all flavours keep out!

Just imagine the celebrations in 2022!

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

Cellphone power harvesting

Southgate News reports on a cellphone design that uses power harvesting to minimise power consumption. I suspect this is a "proof of concept" project rather than a practical design. Clearly, it requires a major name to introduce power harvesting to minimise power usage. Most cellphones use milliwatts or even watts of power on TX.

See http://southgatearc.org/news/2017/july/battery-free-cellphone.htm#.WWT3UrpFxMs

No coastal walk tonight! - NOT amateur radio

As it is still raining heavily, I think we'll give our after-dinner coastal walk a miss this evening. I suspect watching TV is more probable.

UPDATE 2020z: The rain stopped so I managed to walk out to the cliffs and back. With breakers crashing on the beach, it was a very different kind of evening.

Seats - NOT amateur radio

When my dad retired, he got a job with the National Trust running a job creation scheme maintaining the coast paths near where he lived in South Devon. When he died (1987) they put up 2 seats in his honour. They are still well used today! On each there is a small plaque which I expect few read. Nonetheless, it is a fitting memorial for all his hard work. He loved this area in the South Hams of Devon and so do I.

More OFCOM stuff

OFCOM is auctioning microwave spectrum. After all, all they (allegedly) seem to be interested in is money.

Amateur radio? What is that then?

See http://ofcom.cmail19.com/t/ViewEmail/i/ED1113E2A6F4FFBB2540EF23F30FEDED/59D1BD3EA2F08127C67FD2F38AC4859C

Looking west - NOT amateur radio

This is a view looking west from the coastal path in South Devon looking towards Cornwall in the evening. It threatened rain which didn't come. Today we are expecting lots of rain. Mind you, this is Devon "where it rains 6 days out of 7". This is how I remember it! So far, we have been lucky with good weather every day. Today was the exception with heavy rain all day. The rest of the week looks better.

Sunspots - Tuesday July 11th 2017

Solar flux is 92 today (decent). Sunspot number is 32 (respectable for this part of the cycle).  A=9 and K=3.

70cm UKAC activity contest

Being the second Tuesday in the month tonight is the 70cm activity contest starting at 1900z and lasting for 2.5 hours. Unfortunately I am unable to enter this month.

UPDATE 1635z: With lots of rain, I suspect the number of 70cm /P stations will be down this evening.

10 Jul 2017

Post Office Travel Card - NOT amateur radio

The UK Post Office offers a prepay travel card which appears quite good. As my old card expired last month and I changed my address, they promised to send me a new card, credited with the money left on the old card. No card arrived and I got an email saying they were experiencing very high loads and apologies. Today I got an email asking me to call their customer services number. All I can say is CRAP!! To say I am annoyed is an understatement.

Sunspots - Monday July 10th 2017

Solar flux is 91 today (good) and the sunspot number 31 (respectable). A=28 and K=4.

Gone away? - NOT amateur radio

For the first time in a week, a certain eastern European country seems to have lost interest in this blog and gone away. There are visits from there, but I suspect these are real people rather than trawling bots.

9 Jul 2017

Devon - NOT amateur radio


I am spending a week in South Devon, were I was brought up. The coast is stunningly beautiful. The weather has been good so far, so a coastal path walk each evening has been possible. I know I posted a very similar view a few days ago, but thought readers might enjoy it again too. Where we are staying is just a short walk from this point.

Pixie CW QRP transceiver

Some time ago I bought a Pixie kit from China. It was really bought to test my building skills since my stroke. In years past this would have been trivial. The kit was so low cost that even if it had to be thrown away it would not matter.

As it turned out, it worked first time. A QSO with a local a few miles away proved all was well. The crystal supplied was 7023kHz, but a very kind person sent me a 7030kHz crystal, which is the 40m QRP CW frequency.

I see from Southgate News that the Banbury Club is running a Pixie Challenge.

See http://www.banburyares.co.uk/Documents/Pixie.pdf

QRP and QRP Club

Another weekly report for Oleg:

Dear Club 72 members and friends,

Weekly QRP Rendez-Vous Report (July, 9, 2017)
News! News! N
ews!
Special "rendezvous" discussion group (reflector) created for all QRP
Rendez-Vous round tables visitors. To connect this group send request
to - mr72@club72.su - including your name, call, e-mail, please.

Visitors  of the week: UA1CEG, RV3GM, US5ERQ, RA1M/mm, RU3NJC, UR0ET,
UR5EFD,  G3XJS,  UY1IF,  UA1CEX,  RA7RA,  IU0AHC/IS0,  PA2JJB, HA7SG,
OH6NPV, US3EN, I5/DK1HW, UA0SBQ, R1CAF, LY2BAW, DL6ZB, IT9GAK, G3JFS,
DL9FI,  EA2EFI,  ON6KZ,  R1CAN,  MM0CYR, UA4NU, OM6TC, EA7JUK, R2AJA,
F5UKL/p, F3MB, R4NX
Welcome new Visitors
IU0AHC/IS0, PA2JJB, HA7SG, LY2BAW, DL6ZB, IT9GAK, DL9FI, F5UKL/p
See full Visitors and Frequenters lists on the Club 72 web page
Comments...
... see full version of the WQR Report including a lot of comments and
pictures here - https://qrp-club72.blogspot.ru/
Thanks all for comments and activity!
See you on 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.

Sunspots - Sunday July 9th 2017

Solar flux is 87 today. The sunspot number is 24. A=3 and K=2.

QRP DXing from the great outdoors

Here in the UK we have enjoyed some great summer weather. Maybe it is time to try your QRP SSB rig out portable. During the summer Es season some stations can be worked with a very modest QRP portable station: no big antennas, just a whip on the rig can be enough. I find a counterpoise can make a lot of difference. Always be mindful of "humans" who may not understand. 😉

F2 DX on the higher HF bands is getting harder, but Es is a different matter.

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

8 Jul 2017

Cornish rally this Sunday

9 JULY 2017 : CORNISH RADIO AMATEUR CLUB RALLY
Penair School, Truro, Cornwall TR1 1TN Car parking is available on site. Doors open 10.30am and admission £2 There will be traders, Bring & Buy and club stalls. Catering is available. Contact Ken, G0FIC 01209 821 073 for more information.

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

2m SSB

Certainly here in the UK, 2m SSB is far less active than 30 years ago. Even FM can be quiet. Apart from contests and big lifts 2m can be very quiet. It was very different back then. I had (and still have) an MX2 2m SSB 200mW handheld. Back in its day it worked some impressive DX handheld.

See https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/vuhf/mx2 .

Beetles - NOT amateur radio

Saw these last night on a walk. At first I thought they were feeding or collecting nectar, but I think they were mating.

See http://www.uksafari.com/soldierbeetles.htm .
Apparently their nickname is "bonking beetles". 😉

Sunspots - Saturday July 8th 2017

Solar flux is 81 today and the sunspot number 25. A=5 and K=1.

There is a large sunspot growing. See http://spaceweather.com/ .

7 Jul 2017

Home - NOT amateur radio

My family has been in this area for centuries. It s humbling to think my ancestors looked on much the same view in the reign of Henry VI in the 1400s.

Sunspots - Friday July 7th 2017

Solar flux is 80 today and the sunspot number 11. A=7 and K=1.

OFCOM

They have issued a statement about commercial multi-user gateways. Don't get too excited: it is not good for your heart!

See http://ofcom.cmail19.com/t/ViewEmail/i/A7E73F6AB9A1B7EB2540EF23F30FEDED/59D1BD3EA2F08127C67FD2F38AC4859C

6 Jul 2017

Thunder - QRT!

There is some thunder about, so I have gone QRT and disconnected everything.

See https://www.lightningmaps.org/?lang=en#m=sat;r=0;t=3;s=0;o=0;b=;n=0;y=53.9231;x=-12.5879;z=5;d=2;dl=2;dc=0;

Rallies this weekend

8 JULY 2017 : LAMFEST in aid of the Yorkshire Air Ambulance
Elsecar Heritage Centre, Wath Road, Elsecar, Barnsley S74 8HJ Doors open from 10am to 4.30pm and admission is £2. Tables are free. Contact Clair Marsh on 226 361 700.

8 JULY 2017 : STOCKPORT RADIO SOCIETY RALLY
Walthew House, 112 Shaw Heath, Stockport, Cheshire SK2 6QS Doors open from 10am to 3pm. Admission is £2 and there will be catering on site. There will be trade stands, special interest groups and an RSGB bookstall. There will be a raffle held on the day. Contact: Heather Stanley, M6HNS on 07506 904 422 or by email to info@g8srs.co.uk

8/9 JULY 2017 : 2017 uWAVE ROUND TABLE
Finningley ARS, The Hurst Communications Centre, Belton Road, Sandtoft, Doncaster DN8 5SX A 2 day event with presentations, demos, test lab, and buildathon of a nanowave optical transceiver. Updates are on www.g0ghk.com and www.facebook.com/g0ghk

And STILL they wait....zzzzz

In the USA the FCC has still not released 137 and 472kHz to radio amateurs!! Frankly this is almost unbelievable. The FCC seems so unbelievably S L O W. At this rate many potential users will be dead i.e. those over 30 years old before these bands are released.😟 

I suspect most at the FCC know absolutely nothing about radio. This is demonstrable by the time taken to make radio related decisions. Come on FCC - get a grip!!!

I am losing all faith in the USA. First you elect Donald, seen by many in the world as a bad joke, and your main radio regulator appears useless to many of us in the rest of the world.

See http://www.arrl.org/news/band-plan-proposed-for-eventual-472-479-khz-use .

Sunspots - Thursday July 6th 2017

Solar flux is 73 today and the sunspot number 11. A=3 and K=1.

10m WSPR TX

Although I have been on 10m WSPR TX (500mW) since before breakfast, no spots so far.

Yesterday on 10m WSPR I was spotted 117 times by 12 unique stations, all Es around Europe.

UPDATE 1140z: Before going QRT about 30 minutes ago (storms) I had been spotted by no-one all day! Still thundering.

6m JT65 RX

At present, I am on 6m JT65 receive only. Best DX is Morocco. Storm risk may cause me to go QRT later.

5 Jul 2017

Less 6m JT65 "beaconing"

As I have had a few comments about my 6m JT65 "beaconing" mode, I have decided to RX more and "beacon" less.  During the Es season, when just 1W ERP can span a very long way, occupying a JT65 channel (around 150Hz wide) can be seen as anti-social. When the band is quiet, I think sending "B G3XBM JO02" is fair, especially if well away from 50.286MHz but still within the JT65 window. PSK Reporter Maps show where my signal is being received.

For now, I shall continue with 10m WSPR TX (500mW) as this takes up far less bandwidth and the TX frequency is randomised within the 200Hz WSPR window.

Spotting pirates and false decodes on 6m JT65

When you are supposed to have received an exotic DX call on 6m JT65 it is worth looking to see who else copied the call and in what area. Some of the calls supposedly were seen only by me, suggesting false decodes. When several others spot the same DX call it is often a pirate nowhere near where the DX is supposed to be.

Some really long 6m JT65 DX is genuine: for example the 13 (thirteen) Japanese stations spotted a few weeks ago were genuine, but one has to be careful. Some exotic calls are actually pirates just down the road.

UK 60m band(s)

At present in the UK, we have a number of secondary bandlets at 60m, but not the WRC 15kHz wide allocation. Our primary user is the military who seem to be in no hurry to change things.

Purely personally, I'd like to see the WRC allocation available in the UK as I find multiple bandlets very confusing. I know we have more power and plenty of choice, but I am a QRPer and having a common allocation would be better in my personal view. I fully accept my views may not be widely accepted.

In the quiet years ahead the 60m band will become more and more important. I have said many times before, it would be good if CEPT countries allocated a wider 60m band. I think we are happy to be secondary users.

Sunspots - Wednesday July 5th 2017

Solar flux is 72 but the sunspot number zero again. A=4 and K=1.  Es on 6m, but nothing seen as yet on 10m WSPR, although I think this is my antenna largely.

6m JT65

I have been on 6m JT65 transceive (1W ERP) since before breakfast. Plenty of European Es spots.

10m WSPR

Since before breakfast, I have been on 10m WSPR TX (500mW). Although I have spotted Finnish stations on 6m JT65, there are no reports as yet of my 10m WSPR. As I have said before, my antenna is probably poorer on 10m, but also I think the 2 minute TX time causes some spots to be missed. It would be good to have a version of WSPR with 1 minute periods WSPR1? This would be an ideal mode for Es when signals can be strong but openings brief.

UPDATE 1728z:  9 unique spots of my 500mW 10m WSPR so far - all Europeans by Es. So far, just Denmark and Germany on 10m WSPR.

4 Jul 2017

2m UKAC activity contest - July

Luckily I had an email reminding me of the 2m activity contest (UKAC) this evening. Best DX was the Isle of Wight at 213km. Not bad with 5W and an omni antenna in 45 minutes.

More from OFCOM

The latest news from OFCOM.

See http://ofcom.cmail19.com/t/ViewEmail/i/92C41206C0E3975D2540EF23F30FEDED/59D1BD3EA2F08127C67FD2F38AC4859C

QRP and QRP Club

More from Oleg:

Dear Club 72 members and friends,

op. Peter G3JFS became Club 72 member.
His membership certificate # 99 of July 4, 2017.
Dear Peter, we wish you good health and keep your high QRP activity!

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.

Climate Change and Mr Trump - NOT amateur radio

Please someone, tell Donald that climate change is not a hoax. Most on this planet are convinced that concerted global action is needed. The Paris climate agreement was a step on the way. Together we have some, albeit slim, chance of leaving a better world for our children and grandchildren.

See http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/professor-hawking-warns-trumps-actions-could-push-earths-climate-over-the-brink_uk_595a1f7de4b05c37bb7f666d?+UK+070317

See also http://unfccc.int/paris_agreement/items/9485.php

6m JT65 again

After another day with Japan copied on 6m JT65, I am again on 6m JT65. It would be good, no remarkable, if my own 6m JT65 signal was spotted in Japan. These very long paths to Japan soon disappear in the next few weeks.

UPDATE 0809z: Plenty of 6m JT65 spots within Europe, but no signs (yet) of anything further afield.

UPDATE 1604z: I am again supposed to have spotted a station in Indonesia on 6m JT65. As before, I do not believe this. I am sure this is a UK pirate, unless proved credible. Funny how all the spots are in the UK and not one in Europe.

UPDATE 1635z: I am supposed to have spotted VU5SGO (7156km) in India on 6m JT65. Judging by others who he has been spotted by, I think this is either a false decode or a pirate too. Pity.

UPDATE 1852z: Now I am supposed to have spotted AR6FDG (6099km) in Pakistan on 6m JT65. Only 2 G stations are shown as having spotted him. UK pirate? Also JW7QIA (2917km) which is believable. It is quite hard to know which are genuine.

New webpage about HF conditions

Yesterday, I added a new page to my main website. This is about HF conditions.

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

All the pages on my main website may be accessed at http://www.g3xbm.co.uk.  Here, if you drill down, you will find a wealth of data and projects.

Sunspots - Tuesday July 4th 2017

Solar flux is 72 today. Sunspot number is zero. A=5 and K=0.

Bee on lavender - NOT amateur radio

This bee (and lots more!) were busy on a lavender bush at Anglesey Abbey near here yesterday.

3 Jul 2017

Again! - NOT amateur radio

Yet again, my blogs are being targeted by interested parties in a certain eastern European country. One of my blogs has already had 5 times the normal level in a day!! I hope the account is secure and they soon go away.

UPDATE 2102z: At the moment visits to this blog are running at about twice normal levels at this time. I wonder why? 😜

6m JT65

Today, I am on 6m JT65 (1W ERP) transceive. There is already Es about from eastern Europe mainly.

UPDATE 0858z: EA8DBM (3015km) spotted my 1W ERP QRP 6m JT65 a few minutes ago.

UPDATE 1740z: JG2BRI (9445km) was spotted on 6m JT65 this morning. First Japanese station spotted for a while on 6m JT65.

Sunspots and 10m - Monday July 3rd 2017

Solar flux is 72 today and the sunspot count is 11. A=18 and K=1. As I have not been on 10m since last week (6m instead!), I may drop the references to 10m.

QRP and QRP Club

This was the latest from Oleg. I get these most weeks:

Dear Club 72 members and friends,

Weekly QRP Rendez-Vous Report (July, 2, 2017)
Visitors  of  the week: US5ERQ, RV3GM, UR5EFD, UY1IF, Z35M/p, SM2FIJ,
UA1CEG,  OM6TC,  G3JFS,  UR5EFD,  UR0ET,  UA0SBQ/p,  OH6NPV, RA1M/mm,
LA8BCA/p, ON4ADI, PA0WDW, R4NX, ON6KZ, US3EN, UA4NU, RW3DF, UA6BFE/p,
R2FAE,  ON6WJ,  ON4KCY,  RW3AA, HB9DAX, EI2CN, UR5IFM, RZ4NWA, R1CAN,
RU3NJC, YL2TD
Greetings for new Visitors - ON4ADI, EI2CN, YL2TD - you are welcome!
See full Visitors and Frequenters lists on the Club 72 web page
Comments...
see  full  version  of the WQR Report including a lot of comments and
picture on the blog - http://qrp-club72.blogspot.ru/
See all QRPers on the 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.

Family gathering - NOT amateur radio

This weekend my wife's brother and his wife celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with a party in Cheshire. It was a good chance for my wife to catch up with relatives not seen for a while.

2 Jul 2017

Family clock - NOT amateur radio

This clock, recently restored, has been in my wife's family since the 1700s.

It is not worth much, but it is good to think it has been cherished all that time.

Sunspots and 10m - Sunday July 2nd 2017

Solar flux is 71 today and the sunspot number 11.  A=11 and K=4. Although I am not active on 10m currently, there is plenty of Es in evidence on 6m.

For the longr term solar slide see http://www.solen.info/solar/ . Actually, June was slightly better than expected, although overall there is a gradual slide.

6m JT65

At the moment, I am on 6m JT65 transceiver (1W ERP). I am being widely spotted in Europe by Es. Nothing seen further afield. I have been on since about 1045z.

UPDATE 1542z:  My most distant report on 6m JT65 today is from OH4SS (1805km) in Finland. Nothing outside Europe.

UPDATE 1900z: EA8DBM (3015km) spotted my 6m JT65 just over an hour ago. I think this was Es.

They are back! - NOT amateur radio

Even though I was away a couple of days, at least a couple of my blogs have had a monthly visit from hackers in a certain country in eastern Europe looking for vulnerabilities and seeing if the blogs are worth hacking. Welcome back!

This seems to be a monthly "probe" when visits go through the roof. This blog is of little interest I suspect and next week numbers will return to normal. Sad! I take a look at the visit numbers and the countries and I can always tell.

From what others tell me, I am not alone. Sad people, just go away.

Away - NOT amateur radio

There have been no blog updates since Friday as we were away at my brother-in-law's 50th wedding anniversary in Cheshire. It was an occasion for my wife to meet up with her cousins and relatives at an occasion other than a funeral! Luckily the sun shone and everyone had a good time.