25 Feb 2017

IC7300 Brochure and News

There are details on the ICOM, UK site about the IC7300. It is my view this radio is overpriced and I expect the price to be slashed later.

I think it will be head-to-head against the Yaesu FT991A and the IC7300 could easily be sub-£1000 in the UK because of its architecture. If the FT891A is retailing at £699 in the UK, then the IC7300 can be less expensive. I know they are very different radios, but the dealers charge what people are prepared to pay. Too many are prepared to pay inflated prices.

See http://www.icomuk.co.uk/IC-7300/Amateur_Radio_Ham_Base_Stations .

Now on 10m JT65

Since about 1045z, I have QSYed to 10m JT65 hoping to catch some N-S DX. Yesterday was quite good on 10m with South America coming through even with my poor antenna. Today could be as good.

At this point in the solar cycle we get openings less often, but they still occur. I know one Danish station who has been spotting an Australian station regularly on 10m WSPR. Although JT65 is theoretically a few dB worse than WSPR, there seems to be more activity on that mode.

UPDATE 1428z:  LU8DIO (11228km) has been spotted on 10m JT65.

UPDATE 1510z: Now PY2FA (9580km) spotted. This is starting to look like last autumn! There are other stations in South America who were not being uploaded to PSK Reporter Maps, probably because I lost internet connection?

UPDATE 1555z: 2E0CIT (94km) spotted.

Sunspots and 10m - Saturday February 25th 2017

Solar flux is 82 today and the sunspot number is 27 (rising). A=20 and K=2. 10m could be reasonable for DX again today. Definitely worth me QSYing to 10m JT65 soon.

15th country on 6m MSK144 RX

EA2ARD (1010km) was copied earlier on 6m MSK144 calling CQ, making my 15th country spotted on 6m MSK144. This is an impressive mode bringing most of Europe in range at any part of the sunspot cycle and any time of the year.

Several other countries have also been spotted on 6m MSK144 today.

UPDATE 1040z: about to QSY to 10m JT65 transceive (2W).

24 Feb 2017

Now on MSK144 RX

Just a few minutes ago I QSYed to 6m MSK144 RX. As yet, no spots. The RX will be running overnight.

UPDATE 2235z:  No spots yet on 6m.

Landwade walk - NOT amateur radio

Each February we do a walk at Landwade, UK. It is rare to see anyone. There were plenty of snowdrops and aconites out, but very few daffodils yet. As you can see, there is an old church there, which is usually locked sadly. This is a lovely short walk.

Rallies (Australia and UK)

FEBRUARY 26th 2017 : CENTRAL COAST AMATEUR RADIO CLUB RALLY
Wyong Racecourse, Howarth St, Wyong NSW 2259, Australia.
Billed as the largest event in Australia. More information at www.ccarc.org.au
FEBRUARY 26th 2017 : PENCOED AMATEUR RADIO CLUB TABLE TOP SALE
Pencoed Rugby Football Club, The Verlands, Felindre Road, Pencoed. CF35 5PB Tables will be £10 each (first come first served). Doors open at 8am for sellers and the setting up of tables. Buyers will be allowed in when the doors open at 9.30am. Entry fee £2. Hot food will be available in the morning and at lunch time. Hot and cold drinks will be available from the bar (non alcoholic drinks till lunch time). Table bookings through Madeline Roberts Tel. 01639 767056/0773 837 5775.

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

10m JT65

Since about 1012z, I have been active on 10m JT65 hoping for some activity. Solar flux is in the mid 80s, so 10m could be quite reasonable.

UPDATE 1405z: EB8RO (2888km) has exchanged spots with me. I assume this is F2.

UPDATE 1530z: LU6DAX (11594km) in Argentina spotted on 10m JT65. This band is definitely waking up.

UPDATE 1906z: Now going QRT on 10m JT65 and QSYing to 6m MSK144 RX.

2m WSPR overnight

Sadly, nothing at all on 2m WSPR on RX or TX. I was on overnight but will soon QSY to 10m JT65 transceiver I think.

Sunspots and 10m - Friday February 24th 2017

Solar flux is 84 and sunspot number is 18.  A=11 and K=3.

23 Feb 2017

Soccer managers - NOT amateur radio

One job that has zero security is managing a UK soccer team. Leicester have sacked the manager who led them to become Premier League champions last season. In this season they are just above the relegation zone.

See http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/39070927

2m WSPR

After a day on 10m WSPR (no spots) I have returned to 2m WSPR (RX and TX) and will remain on overnight. 144.489MHz USB dial.

Soon be spring - NOT amateur radio

As Storm Doris rages outside, there are signs that spring is not far away. Daffodils are at last coming out in our garden and in our road and last weekend there were plenty of snowdrops out. Aconites are also appearing. The first swallows (birds) should arrive here from Africa in about 6-7 weeks' time.

6m MSK144 RX yet again

Again, I am monitoring 6m MSK144 RX but I have only copied UK stations so far today, presumably by aircraft reflections.

I suspect the "experts"  know the best times and the best routes to catch aircraft reflections as the same stations seem to be copied at similar times each day. This is not the case with random MS.

UPDATE 1440z: SK0TM (1156km) again spotted.

Sunspots and 10m - Thursday February 23rd 2017

Solar flux is 84 today and sunspot number 17.  A=10 and K=2.

10m WSPR TX (500mW)

Since breakfast I have been on 10m WSPR TX 100% with randomised frequencies on each transmission. No spots as yet, but I shall be on all day I expect.

UPDATE 2200z:  No 10m spots all day.

22 Feb 2017

More EbNaut VLF testing

Stefan DK7FC is doing another EbNaut test tonight:

Hi all,

Hereby i'm announcing the next EbNaut attempt for a longer night transmission, starting in a few hours:
f = 8270.100000 Hz
Start time: 22.Feb.2017   18:00:00 UTC
Symbol period: 30 s
Characters: 8
CRC bits: 16
Coding 16K21A
Duration: 11h, 12m, 0s
Antenna current: 700 mA


73, Stefan

QRP and QRP Club

More from Oleg:

Dear Club 72 members and friends,
Thanks all QRPers for activity in the game! See results on the Club 72
web page (Archives in the menu).

Winners in nominations:
R4NX - the lowest temperature in the field position (-13C in the garden)
UT3XT - the unusual original field position (in the forest)
UA1CEG - the original home brew radio in the field (DC TRX 3 W in the forest Wigwam)
RU3NJC - the lowest power in the field (Pixie 200 mW in the field)
OM6TC - the greatest number of QSOs in the field (52 QSOs on the summit 970 m ASL)
ON6WJ - the greatest number of QSOs with field operators in home (6 QSOs)

The memorable certificates has been sent to all participants.
See you all in the next Snowman QRP Game 2018!

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.

6m MSK144 RX

As usual, I am monitoring 6m MSK144 RX in the background, So far only EI7BMB (462km) spotted in the last 12 hours. I assume this is aircraft reflection rather than random MS.

UPDATE 1712z: Spots of stations in G, GM and GD today so far, but nothing yet outside the British Isles.

Sunspots and 10m - Wednesday February 22nd 2017

Solar flux is 82 today and the sunspot number 19.  A=4 and K=3.

Given up on 10m?

It would appear that most have given up on 10m and migrated to lower frequencies where there are easier pickings. Understandable, but a shame as it means there are now far fewer people around to catch the openings that still do occur on 10m.

For a long time I have recommended digital modes like WSPR or JT65 running in the background. Only low power is needed.  WSPR creates its own beaconing format, but sending "B callsign locator" in JT65 appears on PSK Reporter Maps, so you can soon see where your JT65 signal is being copied. Yes, 10m DX is still there, but harder to find now than a few years ago.

But, are you man enough to take the 10m challenge?

I have said before, but if all you want to do is chat to friends around the world you can do this by video for nothing on the internet. Amateur radio is about learning and pushing the boundaries. For many years 10m will be that final HF frontier.

Care to join us?

Back on 10m WSPR

For about 15 minutes now I have been back on 10m WSPR TX (100%, randomised frequency, 500mW). It will be interesting to see if anyone spots me on 10m WSPR. As yet, no spots.

21 Feb 2017

UK Pound to Euro exchange rate - NOT amateur radio

It is my view that the Euro will lose value this year so the UK Pound will buy more Euros. Of course, I could be entirely wrong! The reasons for thinking this are:
  • Greek debt is still a big issue and there will be fewer nations able to bail them out.
  • Several nations are disillusioned with the Euro project and are worried by totally free movement within the EU.
  • Several nations are in favour of tariff-free borders to trade but are nervous of ever closer integration.
  • I think the UK will show the world it can succeed outside of the EU.
No, several things point to an improved exchange rate. As for the US Dollar and the Japanese Yen exchange rates, I am less clear.

By the way, in last year's EU referendum I voted to "remain" in the EU. I believe the EU faces a difficult year ahead and this year will be "crunch time".

10GHz made simple

The HB100 Doppler radar modules can be bought for just a few UK pounds on eBay. These are the modern day equivalent of the Gunnplexers of old. A range of 161km has been achieved with one of these at the focus of a dish antenna on wideband FM.

In conjunction with a separate LNB converting down to 600MHz and a wideband FM RX and you have the makings of a low cost 10GHz system. This was recently used by G4HJW to cover a 10km path. I think Bernie was using just the HB100's own antenna. The HB100 is basically a small PCB unit.

At least one UK station is trying to design a stand-alone 10GHz transceiver based on the HB100 module. Watch this space!

Sunspots and 10m - Tuesday February 21st 2017

Solar flux is 80 today and the sunspot number 25 . A=10 and K= 1

6m MSK144 RX again today

At the moment I am on 6m MSK144 RX again, but only receiving G stations (G3RED and G4CLA) so far today. No real DX as yet, although both these stations are at a good range.

UPDATE 1422z: Now 5 stations received including GD and EI. I suspect these are aircraft reflections.

UPDATE 1648z: SK0TM (1156km) now spotted on 6m MSK144.

20 Feb 2017

Back to 6m MSK144 RX again

After a day on 2m WSPR, I have returned to 6m MSK144 RX. This is my log for the last week on 6m MSK144 RX.

In all, 14 countries have been copied on 6m MSK144 RX.

Cambridge Botanic Gardens - NOT amateur radio

Today was very mild at 16 deg C. We visited the Botanical Gardens in Cambridge to see the orchid display in the hothouses. It is the first time I felt warm this winter. I dispensed with my coat.
Outside, there were lots of snowdrops out, but very few daffodils. Another few weeks and the daffodils will be out. Everything seems late this winter.

VLF amateur messages

From Eddie G3ZJO:

"Hi All
Since my last post Stefan DK7FC has been sending data using EbNaught on 8270.100 Hz. A 2 letter message was decoded by RN3AUS near Moscow a real first for Amateur operation.
Overnight on 17the Feb 2017 Stefan set the following challenge.
Let's risk something more again and try:

f = 8270.100000 Hz
Start time: Saturday 18.Feb.2017   18:00:00 UTC
Symbol period: 30 s
Characters: 7
CRC bits: 16
Coding 16K21A
Duration: 10h, 24m, 0s
Antenna current: 700 mA
By this time I was set up and operational for EbNaut after several Spectrum Lab freezes using the latest software release, and I had decoded theEbNaut files received by RN3AUS.
Next morning I loaded the overnight capture for decoding and concentrated intently on the computer screen.
Wow, in just 7 seconds ................... DREAMER
What a wonderful message for this iconic event on Sub9KHz, I didn't give thought to the significance of the test being 7 characters, expecting a dry radio call or expression. What could be better on the frequencies where we "are all dreamers and will never get any further than our own garden fence".
Today I can reveal the message as RN3AUS received it also and posted to the VLF Group. Currently there are 3 stations receiving EbNaut on VLF in addition the the 2 developers, Paul Nicholson and DF6NM plus DK7FC the TX'ing station.
DF6NM decided to run an EbNaut TX test concurrently with DK7FC on the night of 17th Feb. After the initial shock of decoding DK7FC I gave thought to looking for a 2 symbol decode, again in seconds appeared his message, a decode over a distance of more than 900Km. A surprise decode since I have not been able to spot his signal on my Spectrogram.
73 Eddie G3ZJO"

2m FSK441 - not

Yesterday evening I was all prepared to give 2m FSK441 RX a go. Then I discovered this mode was not supported in WSJT-X V1.7, so instead I stayed on 6m MSK144 RX.

I think the assumption was 2m MS users would migrate to a new mode, but they appear not to have done so yet. As the previous post shows, I went to 2m WSPR instead and had quite a bit of success on RX and TX.

2m and 10m WSPR

For a change, I returned to 2m WSPR and 10m WSPR. Already I have been spotted and I have spotted others, on 2m WSPR, but nothing on 10m.
2m WSPR - spots today so far (at 1620z)

Sunspots and 10m - Monday February 20th 2017

Solar flux is 78 today and sunspot number 23.  A=10 and K=2.

19 Feb 2017

2m UKAC results published

The results for the first 2 months have been published. I am currently 60th out of 98 in the AL section. This is not bad considering my low power (5W), my omni antenna and usually being on for less than 40% of the time because of my poor voice. If I am at home, I try to go on most months.

Smartphone mod into a walkie talkie

Southgate News brought this to my attention. How to convert a smartphone into a walkie-talkie without internal mods. A neat idea. Maybe this could be done using an amateur handheld?

See https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/linc-the-smart-walkie-talkie-smartphone#/ .

House quiet again - NOT amateur radio

Over school half-term we have been very busy and had all the 4 grandchildren to stay. It is lovely to see them all, but I get very exhausted these days. This evening, the house is quiet again, just leaving the (clean) mess to tidy up. Tomorrow!

6m MSK144 today

Three countries spotted today so far (EI, G OZ) today on 6m MSK144. Next week, I might give 2m random MS a go (RX only).

QRP and QRP Club

The weekly update from Oleg:

Dear Club 72 members and friends,

Weekly QRP Rendez-Vous report (February 19, 2017)
Visitors  of  the  week:  R1CAF,  RA1M, RW3AA, EA5EQ, US5ERQ, UA1CEG,
UR7VT,  DK1HW,  OH6NPV,  US3EN,  RV3GM, EA2EFI, UR4MME, DH0DK, G3XJS,
SP3LRS,  OK2PDT,  SM5CZQ,  RV3DSA/0,  RU3NJC,  ON6KZ,  OM6TC, UA1AQC,
UR5EFD,  RD6MZ,  UA4NU,  R2FAE,  RX3DOR,  EA8/DK6XM/p, SV2BBK, R4YES,
EW7BW/1, UA0SBQ, F6EAZ, SA4BLM, UR0ET/p, R2AJA, R9WY, IK2RMZ, UW5EKR,
IZ0RQF, IT9IFI, 9H3FC, EA6BB
Congrats!
R2AJA and IZ0RQF became Honor Frequenters (regular visitors)
See full Visitors and Frequenters lists on the Club 72 web page.
Comments...

See full WQR Report on the Club 72 blog page (link from web site).
Thanks  ALL for activity and comments! See you on next QRP Rendez-Vous
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.

Stroke Update - NOT amateur radio

Sadly, no real improvement in the last year. I still feel very giddy when on my feet, tire easily, my voice is poor, and I stress more easily than before. Although I drive it is much harder than before my stroke. Overall, I have plateaued.

Life is hard, but could be worse.

My main problem is people think I am fine. Inside I feel very unwell, but outwardly I look well.

Sunspots and 10m - Sunday February 19th 2017

Solar flux is 76 today and sunspot number 13.  A=16 and K=2.

18 Feb 2017

Maggie - NOT amateur radio

Maggie is a very old horse who lives in a field near our old home. Here she is being kissed by one of our granddaughters. Earlier, she gave Maggie some carrots, feeding her from her hands.

I am sure Maggie knows and loves young children, as much as they love her.

My main website

A reminder that my main website is at www.g3xbm.co.uk where, if you drill down, you will find details of my projects. There is also a YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/user/G3XBM. Hopefully, you will find something of interest. The blog gets updated most days whereas my main website and YouTube channels far less often.

PSK Reporter Maps back again

At the moment I am just on 6m MSK144 RX and no other bands. PSK Reporter Maps seems to be OK today. I have spotted OZ, HB9, G, GW and DL stations in the last 12 hours.

UPDATE 1035z: Now EI spotted.
UPDATE 1535z: It is surprising just how strong the MSK144 signals on 6m are. This suggests much weaker signals could be copied but the bursts, although short, are actually very strong.

Sunspots and 10m - Saturday February 18th 2017

Solar flux is 74 today and the sunspot number 14.  A=20 and K=2.

17 Feb 2017

Now 2 more countries on 6m MSK144

With GW and GJ spotted on 6m MSK144 my total tally on this band and mode has increased:

EI, GD GM, G, GW, GJ, ON, PA, OZ, SM, F, DL, HB9,  and I, I have now spotted 14 different countries in just a few weeks on 6m MSK144 RX.

PSK Reporter Maps - issues?

PSK Reporter Maps (see https://www.pskreporter.info/pskmap.html) has helped to show me where I was reaching on 10m JT65 and spotting on 6m MSK144. Of late, I have had a few issues with the maps not loading, despite other pages loading. This could be a local issue, but I wonder if others have noticed similar?

Sunspot and 10m - Friday February 17th 2017

Solar flux is 74 today and the sunspot number is 23. A=9 and K=4.

Now 12 countries on 6m MSK144

This morning, I am again on 6m MSK144 RX and 10m WSPR TX. HB9Q (794km) and EI7BMB (462km) have recently been spotted on 6m and last night GM6NX (507km), for the 12th country, was spotted.

Meanwhile on 10m WSPR TX (500mW) no spots as yet.

High blog visits again - NOT amateur radio

Yet again, the visits to two of my blogs are sky high at the same time as visits from Russia has peaked again. Co-incidence or probing?

16 Feb 2017

Southgate News and CQ Magazine

Southgate News reports that CQ magazine in the USA is soon to host a 137kHz and 472kHz column.

See http://southgatearc.org/news/2017/february/cq-to-introduce-mf-lf-column.htm#.WKX2zYXXLIU

11th Country on 6m MSK144 RX

Just spotted my 11th country on 6m MSK144 in the form of GD0TEP (381km). This was most likely aircraft reflection.

Simple 10GHz

Yesterday I received this, which may interest those setting out on 10GHz:

Hi Roger,
We report our experience with HB100 module.
Please visit the Facebook page "HB100 10GHz"

Thank's

73, Nino IZ8WLZ

Sunspots and 10m - Thursday February 16th 2017

Solar flux is 74 today and the sunspot number 23. A=3 and K=2.

6m MSK144 RX

6m - MSK144 RX this morning
So far today, 3 countries spotted: Germany, Denmark and France with the best DX being F6ECI (811km) in JO05 square way down in France. This was at 0847z.

I am also on 10m WSPR TX (500mW) but no spots as yet.

UPDATE 1940z: No spots today on 10m WSPR.

Visit from old work colleague

Yesterday, I had a visit from an old work colleague G3TFX.  As well as a good chat, it also gave us a chance to check the sensitivity of his FT817.

Blog visits - NOT amateur radio

Yet again, visitors to this blog are up again, which coincides with lots of visits from Russia. Odd. I did not realise my humble blogs were so interesting!

UPDATE 2210z: Even my churches blog has received a lot more visits in the last 24 hours. I hope the Russians enjoyed it!

15 Feb 2017

Russian hacking? - NOT amateur radio

It is funny, but the number of visits to my blogs increases a lot on some days. When I check, the visits from Russia also are much greater on those days. I suspect hackers are looking to see if the blogs are worth hacking. Of course I could be entirely wrong.

Any dubious comments are soon deleted and I have little of interest to hackers on my blogs. If you see anything odd, please let me know.

By the way, my Miracle Whip Yahoo group seems to attract Asian women promising much. I wonder why?

Several Russians have been very kind to me. Like Americans, I have found individuals to be warm and kind. In every society there are "rotten eggs" sadly. I am sure the UK has many too.

Another example of false news? - NOT amateur radio

I first saw and heard this many years ago. Although funny, I have great doubts about its authenticity and suspect this is yet another "false news" story doing the rounds. Caveat emptor!

10m WSPR TX (500mW) and 6m MSK144 RX

All day I have been using the above.

On 10m WSPR I was spotted by DK6UG (633km) this morning.

On 6m MSK144 RX I have spotted OZ1PIF (850km) and a couple of UK stations, the best of which was M0CKM (174km) on the south coast.

Sunspots and 10m - Wednesday February 15th 2017

Solar flux is 74 today and the sunspot number 15. A=2 and K=1.

14 Feb 2017

Recording 6m MSK144 pings

David G0LRD  has told me that WSJT-X V1.7 allows me to record MSK144 6m spots as WAV files so I can go back and examine them later. I have turned on this feature now, allowing me to check these tomorrow, assuming I get some spots!  Today I spotted 5 different countries on 6m with MSK144.

UK Commercial Radio - NOT amateur radio

Southgate News reports that UK Commercial Radio stations are freed from the shackles of OFCOM. Am I surprised? No.

See https://www.gov.uk/government/news/radio-released-from-shackles

Rugby on TV - NOT amateur radio

I am not a great rugby fan, but my son is. His son plays for his school and he likes to watch. The picture shows him this weekend watching rugby on the bedroom TV, complete with beer and crisps. When his family comes to stay, he certainly makes himself at home.

Sunspots and 10m - Tuesday February 14th 2017

Solar flux is 75 today and the sunspot number 16. A=4 and K=0.

70cm UKAC contest tonight

A reminder that the second 70cm leg of the monthly UKAC activity contest organised by the RSGB is tonight from 2000-2230z. Although I only have a 2m halo fed with lossy coax as an antenna on 70cm (it matches well) I try to go on briefly and work a few stations, mostly locals.

See http://www.rsgbcc.org/cgi-bin/contest_rules.pl?year=2017&contest=70cmsukac&seq=

This is preceded by an FM activity contest.
See http://www.rsgbcc.org/cgi-bin/contest_rules.pl?year=2017&contest=70cmsfmac

UPDATE 2045z: 5 contacts made with 5W, 2m halo in 30 minutes. Best DX G4CLA (105km).


6m MSK144 this morning

SK0TM (1156km) in JO86 square was the best DX on 6m MSK144 this morning. I was spotted by M1BXF/SDR (14km) when I was briefly on 6m MSK144 TX a few hours ago.

I am also on 10m WSPR TX (500mW 100% TX), but no spots yet.

UPDATE 1135z: DK8NE (704km) in JO50 square was spotted on 6m MSK144.

UPDATE 1922z: EI7BMB (462km) spotted on 6m MSK144 earlier. All quiet on 10m WSPR.

13 Feb 2017

10th country on 6m MSK144 RX

ON4BCV (325km) marks the 10th country spotted so far on this band/mode. I suspect this was aircraft reflection rather than random MS. This mode amazes me as it allows DX to be copied at any time on a dead VHF band with a very simple set-up.

East Cambs 2m FM Net

This is on 144.575MHz FM (yes 144) at 2000z Mondays, vertical, and is open to anyone. Regulars are G4NUA (Cambridge) and G3KKD (Quy). The chat covers anything and we usually finish about 2030z. This started life as an AM net.

If there is QRM we usually QSY downwards in 25kHz steps to find a clear channel. When there is a lift we can sometimes hear stations in the Midlands.

Jigsaw - NOT amateur radio

This 1000 piece  jigsaw (of a world map) took us over a week to do. The most difficult parts were the flags and the oceans. There is no doubt that our geography knowledge improved.

Sunspots and 10m - Monday February 13th 2017

Solar flux is today 75 and sunspot number 18.  A=3 and K=0.

300GHz bands

Although not currently allocated, the THz bands offer incredible data rate possibilities. Now there are ICs which could open up these bands.

See https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/02/170205190911.htm

10m WSPR TX and 6m MSK144 RX again

Today, I am TXing in 10m WSPR and RXing on 6m MSK144. Yesterday and overnight, nothing on 10m WSPR . On 6m MSK144 RX M1BXF (14km) and G0BBB (210km) spotted.

UPDATE 2035z: So far today, 3 countries copied on 6m MS144 with the best DX being OZ1PIF (850km) in JO65 square. This is a great mode for hearing DX at any time!

12 Feb 2017

First UHF Radio

My very first UHF radio was a version of the synthesised FM320 Australian UHF FM CB mobile made by Philips. This was a 70cm amateur version. It was called the FM321. It produced 4W on TX and used channel numbers. I remember someone from Philips discussing producing an amateur band version, at an IEE conference I think.



Ergonomically it was excellent. It only got used at home, never mobile. It worked some impressive DX on UHF FM simplex. I cannot remember when it was sold.

If I am honest this was one of the best radios I ever had. It had no memories, no fancy gismos, but it worked well.  If my memory serves me, I used this with a TV J-Beam antenna (hand rotated) which still had about 10dB gain in the 70cm amateur band.

Spaghetti Harvest BBC Spoof - NOT amateur radio

See http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/april/1/newsid_2819000/2819261.stm .

Way back in 1957 the BBC ran a spoof Panorama programme about the spaghetti harvest. The programme was narrated by Richard Dimbleby. It was the first time, I think, that TV had been used to pull an April 1st stunt.

Getting older - NOT amateur radio

Looking back at some old emails, I came across this photo of my university days. I can remember a few names, but it was nearly 50 years ago! This is me 3 rows back on the left side with hair!

10m WSPR

For the last day I have been on 6m MSK144 RX and 10m WSPR TX.  EA4BPN (1334km) spotted me on 10m WSPR yesterday when I was running 500mW.

"Kent" grandchildren - NOT amateur radio

My wife with the "Kent" grandchildren earlier today. It is interesting comparing our two sets of grandchildren. At the same ages our two boy grandchildren are interested in the same things. I guess this is a phase of middle childhood.

Sunspots and 10m - Sunday February 12th 2017

Solar flux is 75 today. Sunspot number is 18.  A=5 and K=1.

QRP and QRP Club

From Oleg:

Dear Club 72 members and friends,

Weekly QRP Rendez-Vous report (February 12, 2017)
Visitors of the week: SM2FIJ, OK2PDT/p, RV3GM, YU1KM, PA3DEU, UA1CEX, GI3TME,  UR7VT,  UR0ET, F6ABG, US5ERQ, UW5EKR, UY1IF, UA1CEG, OH6NPV, DJ2DW,  EA8/DK6XM,  F5SSI, RW3AA, R1CAF, DK1HW, OH5LP, F8WBD, SP9AMH, EA6BB,  EW1CY,  DL1HSI,  OK1FAO, UR3VZ, SM7RYR, DF3QE, DF6IA, RU3NJC,
R1OA, OM6TC, RV3DSA/0, UR4MME, IZ0RQF, RY3AAA, R2AJA, 9H3FC
Congrats!!!
F6ABG, OK1FAO, R3VZ, UR4MME became Honor Frequenters
See full Visitors and Frequenters lists on the Club 72 web page
Comments...
See  full version of the WQR Report on the Club 72 blog page (link on
the web age available).
See you all QRPers on the next Rendez-Vous round table!

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.

11 Feb 2017

Amateur ULF: 5 wavelengths on the 101km band?

From Stefan DK7FC:

Hi all,

Meanwhile my 1 week taking transmission, starting  01.FEB.2017 23:30 UTC on 2970.000000 Hz at 150...170 mA is completed. I tried to leave a trace/peak into a range beyong 3 wavelengths.

Renato Romero / IK1QFK is running a 5 uHz FFT spectrogram on 2970 Hz. He's using a well working E field antenna in Cumiana/Italy.
The spectrogram is running since christmas evening 2016, available at
http://www.webalice.it/rromero/live_cumiana/last-LFtest_2970.jpg

There are time markers in 1 week intervals.


I can see a dash, a trace right on the frequency. It appeared 2 days after i started transmitting, which is expected with an FFT window time of nearly 3 days. The SNR was up to 12 dB during the visual observation of incoming spectra.
Partly, the trace disappered during the transmission time (destructive interference with QRN). However i can see a resulting trace of a high average SNR and exact (!) frequency stability relative to the other traces beeing present in the spectrogram.

I would tend to call it a serious detection of my signal. Spectrogram experts, what's your opinion please?

The distance is quite exactly at 5 wavelength on that 101 km band!
It would be a
first detection on ULF (0.3...3 kHz) between DL - I !

73, Stefan

Analogue or switch mode PSUs?

Although I have a linear PSU, I am thinking of getting a new PSU  to complement the one I have. Although I mostly use QRP, it would be good to get one that will power a modern 100W rig. I think this means one that can run 25A without overload.

SMPSUs tend to be smaller, but can be noisy both electrically and because they tend to have fans. Linear PSUs tend to be larger, but often don't have fans.

Any recommendations?

At the moment W&S are offering a special deal on a linear PSU with a 2 year warranty.

Growing amaryllis - NOT amateur radio

Our amaryllis is growing and now has 8 flower heads from 2 stems.

It has been great fun watching it grow and flower. I think next week will be the peak.

On 10m WSPR TX and 6m MSK144 RX

At the moment I am receiving on 50.280MHz MSK144 and transmitting on 10m WSPR.  My 9th country received on 6m MSK144 in the form of PE1FYH (325km). I suspect the Netherlands station was received by aircraft reflection rather than MS.

UK Charity Bags - NOT amateur radio

This is a UK thing. I have no idea what happens in the rest of the world.

RANT -

I hate charity collection bags (dropped on UK doorsteps most weeks) emblazoned with this or that registered charity name and numbers, but buried in the small print you see that the collection is by a private company who will donate so much a year to that charity.

Basically this is a CON. No doubt they make huge profits and are able to claim back their "gift" against tax. How can this CON be allowed?

My wife is taken in and so I guess are most who receive such bags in their doors most weeks.

- RANT ended.


I have started a petition. Please respond by clicking the link.

5 sponsors are needed for this petition to go public.

Sunspots and 10m - Saturday February 11th 2017

Solar flux is 74 today and the sunspot number 18. A=8 and K=2.

10 Feb 2017

Donald (Mr Men style) - NOT amateur radio

See http://www.thepoke.co.uk/2017/02/08/donald-trump-mr-men-cartoon-just-superb/

I am no great fan of USA politics (to me it is all about being money rich), but great politicians are able to laugh at themselves in any nation. Those who think they are above humour deserve to fail. Sadly there are too many politicians who take themselves far too seriously both in the USA and in Europe (including the UK).

The great politicians are the gentle giants who go into power, not for self-glory, but for the greater good of the society they live in. Sadly we have very few in 21st century politics who will go down in history as great leaders.

I understand why many in the USA voted for their latest president. I also understand why so many in the UK voted to leave the EU.

UK Rally this weekend

FEBRUARY 12th 2017 : HARWELL AMATEUR RADIO SOCIETY RADIO AND ELECTRONICS RALLY

Didcot Leisure Centre, Mereland Road, Didcot, OX11 8AY. Talk-in using G3PIA on 145.550. Free parking nearby (disabled parking next to Leisure Centre). Doors open at 10am. Admission £3 (children under 12 free). There will be radio and electronics stalls, Special Interest Groups and an RSGB Bookstall. Refreshments will be available all day. Details for both traders and visitors from Ann, G8NVI by email to ann.stevens@btinternet.com www.g3pia.org.uk

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

Breakfast - NOT amateur radio

I enjoy breakfast. The picture shows today's: ham, an egg and potato cake all cooked without fat.

Sunspots and 10m - Friday February 10th 2017

Solar flux is 74 today and the sunspot number 15. A=6 and K=2.

6m MSK144 RX- give it a go!

6m MSK144 RX so far today
G8EPQ (77km) and HB9Q (794km) copied on 6m MSK144 this morning. I think the former was aircraft scatter and the latter random MS.

It amazes me what just appears on 6m in this mode at any time, irrespective of conditions. Mine is a very basic setup with just an FT817, a V2000 vertical omni and RG58 coax and free software. If I can copy these so can anyone! Give it a go.

UPDATE 1318z: GI4SNA (488km) has been spotted on 6m MSK144 - my 8th country.

UPDATE 1845z: LA3EQ (768km) and F6ECI (811km) spotted on 6m MSK144. LA3EQ is a new country on this mode on 6m. Random MS?

UPDATE 2240z: And another country spotted on 6m MSK144!  This was OZ1PIF (850km) - probably random MS.

9 Feb 2017

Late winter flowers - NOT amateur radio

This winter things are very late. Snowdrops are now appearing and I have only just seen a few daffodils out. At a guess I'd say we are 6 weeks behind last year.

This is a view of a quiet lane in our village. This cottage dates from the 1700s at a guess.

As yet, we have had no snow this winter; a few flurries, but nothing that has settled. In the past we could expect a week of snow on the ground. These days snow is rare here. It is definitely wetter and milder.

Sweden on 6m - random MS?

SC7C (1155km) near Kalmar, Sweden was copied this evening for my 7th country heard on MSK144 on 6m. I suspect this was random meteor scatter. Yet again, at +5dB S/N, the ping was strong.

The UK Pound - NOT amateur radio

At the moment the pound is holding up fairly well against the Yen, Euro and the US Dollar. OK, it dropped following the BREXIT vote but, for now, it is not falling. What happens when Article 50 is triggered is anyone's guess. My guess is the Euro will lose value this year. Against the Dollar and Yen I am uncertain how the pound will do.

Rally - N.Ireland

FEBRUARY  11th 2017 : BALLYMENA AMATEUR RADIO CLUB RALLY

Ahoghill Community Centre, 80 Cullybackey Road, Ahoghill BT42 1LA.

There is free parking on site. Doors open at 10.30am and admission is £3. There will be trade stands, Bring & Buy and a prize draw. Light refreshments will be available. Please note this is a Saturday daytime rally Hugh Kernohan, GI0JEV 0282 5871 481 or email HKernohan@aol.com

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

6m MSK144 RX

Overnight I remained on 6m MSK144 RX and I am still on this mode and band this morning. M6GAN (122km) and DK9WI (508km) spotted, by aircraft reflection I think.

UPDATE 1430z: EI7BMB (462km) also spotted in the last hour. Aircraft I'm pretty sure.

Sunspots and 10m - Thursday February 9th 2017

Solar flux is 73 today and the sunspot number is zero. A=5 and K=0. Although conditions are not disturbed, with an absence of sunspots I expect 10m will be quiet due to a lack of activity.

8 Feb 2017

6m

Outside of the Es season, 6m appears very quiet. With Es, I find that with a few watts and a simple antenna it is easy to work all over Europe and North Africa on SSB. Last year and the year before my 2W was copied in Israel and I copied Kazakhstan on WSPR.

Since discovering 6m MSK144 I have learnt that DX is possible at almost any time. Most of my MSK144 reception has been aircraft reflection, but some remarkable DX seems to have been by random MS. Judging by the reports, I am sure I could work MS DX by MSK144 in a decent MS shower.

OFCOM and 5G frequencies

OFCOM has published a paper outlining its proposed 5G frequencies.

See http://ofcom.cmail19.com/t/ViewEmail/i/7261046CD05FE3E5/59D1BD3EA2F08127C67FD2F38AC4859C

NEXIT? - NOT amateur radio

Will the Netherlands be next to swing to the right along the lines of the UK and the USA? According to the BBC this is possible.

Like many, I feel ashamed about the populist view of immigrants. The USA is a nation of immigrants. In the past the UK welcomed in true refugees such as the Huguenots and German Jews. Yes, there is a difference between a true refugee and an economic migrant. I hope this swing to the right is a blip. Basically a large swing to the right is dangerous. Think of Hitler.

In my view refugees fleeing war, famine, etc. should always be welcomed. These are desperate people who need our love and kindness. How would we feel if the "shoe was on the other foot" and we were the refugee?

The common thread in the UK, USA, The Netherlands and France seems to be a disillusion with globalisation and a wish to control who comes to a particular country, and the fall from grace of career politicians. All need to wake up or this move to the right will gather pace.  I am not a right winger, but I can see the common man at odds with those in power. There is a danger of nations turning inwards.

See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-38891753 .

VHF/UHF DX Handbook

Southgate News brings news of a free digital download of this famous book from the 1990s.

See http://www.trpub.net/assets/applets/VHF-UHF_DX_Book.pdf

Sunspots and 10m - Wednesday February 8th 2017

Solar flux is 71 today and the sunspot number 11. A=7 and K=1. On average, solar conditions are declining progressively towards the next minimum, although in January conditions improved a little.

See http://www.solen.info/solar/ .

6m MSK144 (50.280MHz) RX

Overnight I was on 6m MSK144 RX only on 50.280MHz. So far only M6GAN (122km) spotted, presumably by aircraft reflection rather than random MS. This was in the hours before sunrise.

So far, I have spotted 6 countries on 6m MSK144 in totally flat conditions with Italy being the best DX and my 6m set-up is very average, if anything below average!

UPDATE 1930z: Best DX on 6m MSK144 today are EI7BMB (462km) and F4GTG (654km).

7 Feb 2017

Local museum kiosk - NOT amateur radio

As I mentioned yesterday, the local museum and windmill next door had a new entrance kiosk erected yesterday. It has still to be fitted out inside, but they made good progress building it. It was all done within a day.

OFCOM

As usual, they have produced a monthly update.

See http://ofcom.cmail20.com/t/ViewEmail/i/075B54357750E53A/59D1BD3EA2F08127C67FD2F38AC4859C

2m UKAC tonight

Just a reminder than the next 2m leg of the RSGB's monthly activity contest is this evening 2000-2230z. Activity levels are usually high and it is a good chance to work a few new squares. It is preceded by an hour long FM activity contest.

UPDATE 2125z: 8 QSOs tonight in 5 squares with 5W and a big-wheel omni antenna in 47 minutes. Then I had to stop because of my poor voice!
2m UKAC - stations worked with 5W tonight in 47 minutes
See http://www.rsgbcc.org/cgi-bin/contest_rules.pl?contest=2mukac .

Sunspots and 10m - Tuesday February 7th 2017

Solar flux is 72 today and the sunspot number 15. A=13 and K=1.

Weak signal modes compared

My old work colleague Bob G3WKW kindly sent me this link knowing I'd be interested. It compares the decode capabilities of various weak signal modes.

See http://destevez.net/2016/10/simulating-jt-modes-how-low-can-they-get/ .

6m MSK144 this morning

Despite an S4 noise floor which I'd not had before (a ticking sound) I still managed to spot DK9WI (508km) and G6GAN (122km) on 6m MSK144 this morning. I assume these are aircraft reflections. My antenna is still the V2000 vertical omni fed with lossy RG58 coax.

UPDATE 1400z: F6ECI (811km) spotted strongly about an hours ago.

6 Feb 2017

Return to 472kHz WSPR (5mW ERP)

After being on 6m MSK144 RX I have now returned to 472kHz WSPR with 5mW ERP from the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground. At the moment the PC is on battery power so the noise floor on RX is low. I shall probably turn on the SMPSU overnight.  I spotted a DL this morning on 6m MSK144 but he did not get uploaded to PSK Reporter Maps suggesting I lost internet connectivity for a time.

UPDATE 2016z: These are the initial spots of me so far this evening on 472kHz WSPR.
472kHz WSPR spots so far

UPDATE 2055z: LA2XPA (1310km) has spotted me yet again on 472kHz WSPR. LA8AV (1035km) has been spotted here again on 472kHz WSPR. Sometimes he is very strong. MF conditions appear to be good tonight.

Simple yagi for wi-fi router

This was first seen some weeks ago and I saw it earlier today in an email from Twitter. It shows you how to make a simple add-on yagi for your wi-fi router.

In my case I get sufficient range with the router "as is". You might find it useful if you need to increase the range in a certain direction. It is a simple idea, which I like.

See https://hackaday.com/2017/01/24/a-simple-yagi-antenna-for-your-wi-fi-router/ .

Sunspots and 10m - Monday February 6th 2017

Solar flux is 72 today. Sunspot number is 22. A=15 and K=2 .

Museum changes - NOT amateur radio

As many of you know, we live right next door to Burwell Museum and its restored windmill. Today they are erecting a new entrance kiosk. There is a lorry unloading and people working on it right now.  The museum is amazing and houses so much in its various parts and is well worth a visit. It is probably one of the best, if not the best local museum in the whole of the UK.

6m MSK144

No overnight random 6m MS spots but G4CLA (104km) and G0GGG (210km) spotted this morning. I assume these are either tropo or aircraft reflection.

UPDATE 1230z: G8RLZ (123km) near Reading has been spotted. I assume this is off aircraft. Nothing seen from outside the UK yet on 6m MSK144.

5 Feb 2017

Spring hints - NOT amateur radio

Already there are signs of spring.

Yes, we are still in the depths of winter, but snowdrops are well out and there are now plenty of aconites, although very few daffodils yet; in a few weeks these will be out too. This is a quiet lane in our village, taken on a walk this afternoon.

Already the evenings are drawing in an hour later. Still winter, but hopeful signs.

QRP and QRP Club

More from Oleg:

Dear Club 72 members and friends,

Weekly QRP Rendez-Vous report (February 5, 2017)
Visitors of the week: UR7VT, US3EN, RA1M, UA1CEG, RV3GM, DK1HW, RW3AA,
UA0SBQ,  R1CAF,  OM6TC, RA3AL/m, US3ERQ, RU7KD, UR8QV, RU3NJC, G3XJS,
EA6BB,  UA1ADF,  RV3DSA,  ON6KZ,  R2FAE,  UA4NU, Z35M, OH5LP, SV2BBK,
DL8NGC, IZ0RQF
Congrats!
UR8QV became Honor Frequenter
See full Visitors and Frequenters lists on the Club 72 web-page
Comments...
See full WQR Report on the Club 72 blog page

Warning!  the  last date for Snowman QRP Game results is February 10.
Fill  the declaration form on the "Snowman" page of the Club 72 site,
please.

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.

Successful message decode of an amateur signal at over 3 wavelengths at ULF

Paul Nicholson has successfully decoded a message on 2.97kHz from DK7FC using clever analysis.

Hi Paul,

Am 25.01.2017 19:30, schrieb Paul Nicholson:

> f = 2970.000000 Hz
> Start time: 25.Jan.2017   07:00:00 UTC
> Symbol period: 30 s
> Characters: 5
> CRC bits: 16
> Coding 16K25A

Decoded at Bielefeld via DL4YHF (303.8km).  Copied 'DK7FC' with
Eb/N0 +4.5 dB and constant reference phase.

S/N 19.1 dB in 29.8 uHz, -60.1 dB in 2.5kHz.

Just excellent! Thanks for working out the decode!
My call passed over 3 wavelengths on ULF, that's a dream! I am sure we will manage even more.

Very interesting to see the high Eb/N0 relative to yesterday. From the calculator it should have been weaker. And the QRN didn't look much lower than yesterday, at least from here.
Some there's a relatively high uncertainty down there, and the risk of getting no decode when coming to close to the limit. The stacking is an advantage again.

I'm still working on the recordings from the weekend.  Gained a further
3dB by using very strong hum filtering, a threshold only 1.5 times the
mean amplitude and narrow notches.  Enough to suppress not just the
harmonics but also the sidebands of the harmonics.   Still no trace
here in Todmorden - yet.  Still some permutations of polarisation
and azimuth to try.
Am 23.01.2017 18:52, schrieb Paul Nicholson:
Still no trace of the signal here.  But tweaking the blanker
isn't going to go from 'no trace' to 'significant detection'.
3 dB is very significant! Congrats to that. It will also help to get better results from Renatos data. But as far as i remember he is offering the stream with the blanker already applied.
We could ask him to disable it temporarily, if that helps. If he knows what we're trying, he will do it i expect :-)

We are having fun with this!  Constantly pushing at the limits.
Oh yes, and also a lot to learn about the optimisation work for the different bands.

73, Stefan



Sunspots and 10m - Sunday February 5th 2017

Solar flux is 72 today. Sunspot number is 22. A=11 and K=3.

10m does not look that promising, but 10m has a habit of throwing surprises!

6m MSK144 RX and 10m WSPR

This morning I am on 6m MSK144  (RX only) and 10m WSPR (500mW 100% TX, randomised frequency).

Overnight I was on 630m (5mW ERP) using the earth-electrode "antenna".  I am informed by LA3EQ that LA2XPA (1310km) has a beverage antenna on 630m RX and that he lives on an island. His MF noise floor is low. This probably helps explain why he can copy my weak MF signal.

UPDATE 1200z: G4YHF (77km) spotted on 6m MSK144. Nothing yet on 10m WSPR.

UPDATE 1915z: Apart from EI4DQ (576km) and a couple of Gs, no DX as yet on 6m. I am about to go QRT on 10m, but will remain on 6m MSK144 RX overnight. I may go briefly on 6m TX as well as RX for a period.

UPDATE 1923z: I have now gone QRT on 10m WSPR but I am for a while only transceive on 6m MSK144 (15 secs TX period). M1BXF/SDR (14km) copied me about 10 minutes ago on 6m MSK144.

4 Feb 2017

Growing Amaryllis - NOT amateur radio

We usually get an amaryllis bulb as a gift at Christmas. This last Christmas was no exception. They are great fun. Ours is now 68cm tall and both flowers have started to split. There is a chance both will be fully in flower next week. I thought one flower would have been out last week.

Amateur Radio Blog

This is always worth a look as there is usually something of interest.

See http://www.amateurradio.com/ .

Norway spot (again) on 472kHz WSPR TX

For the third evening in a row my 5mW ERP from the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground has been spotted in Norway by LA2XPA (1310km) on 472kHz WSPR. Tonight has started well. PA7EY (306km) has also spotted me on 472kHz WSPR.

UPDATE 1912z: LA2XPA has already spotted me 3 times on 472kHz WSPR this evening.

UPDATE 2145z: LA8AV (1035km) has been spotted despite my S8 noise floor when the PC is on the SMPSU. He must be a very good signal. BTW, LA2XPA (1310km) has now spotted me 4 times this evening on 472kHz WSPR.

Winter cheer - NOT amateur radio

This is a gloomy time of the year. Although there are hints of better days ahead with the days lengthening, we have had a very wet and gloomy January. February has started much the same. This moorhen had some much needed colour. Days are lengthening about 4 minutes a day presently.

472kHz WSPR yesterday evening and overnight

Although LA2XPA (1310km) copied me lots of times again, I don't think conditions were quite as good as the previous night. In all, I was spotted in 4 countries on 472kHz WSPR (5mW ERP) by 10 unique stations. In all, I spotted 14 unique stations in 6 countries on 472kHz WSPR RX in the last day.

Sunspots and 10m - Saturday February 4th 2017

Solar flux is 74 today and the sunspot number 39. A=18 and K=3.

3 Feb 2017

First daffodils - NOT amateur radio

Last autumn we saw our first daffodils out at the end of November 2015. This year, we have only just seen the first daffodils fully in flower. Things are much later this year. At Anglesey Abbey the snowdrops and aconites are at last coming out.

Back on 472kHz WSPR

After the great successes of last night, I have gone QRT on 10m JT65 and started up on 472kHz WSPR (5mW ERP). At the moment I am on battery power, so the noise floor on RX is very low. I doubt I can repeat the successes of last night, but you never know.

UPDATE 1950z: LA8AV (1035km) has been spotted 3 times already at up to -13dB S/N. There is a chance he could copy me.

UPDATE 1954z: Despite the FT817 being a bit "deaf" on 472kHz, I still hear most of what is going on.  I think this proves sensitivity on this band is limited by external noise, so S/N is more important than basic rig sensitivity.

UPDATE 2000z: LA2XPA (1310km) in Kristiansund, Norway has already spotted my 5mW ERP. Promising again this evening.

UPDATE 2238z: LA2XPA (1310km) has spotted me 5 times so far this evening. At the moment conditions on 472kHz seem similar to last night.

UPDATE 2315z: Judging by the spots this evening and yesterday from Norway, I can only conclude that those receiving me up there must have a very low noise floor.

QRP and QRP Club

More from Oleg:

Dear Club 72 members and friends,

just  reminder  about Snowman QRP Game this weekend. February 4 and 5 both in period of 9 to 13 UTC. Not competition, just for enjoy. Every QRPers  can operate in Home or Field or both categories. Declare QSOs results  separately  for  Home  or Field positions. Each gamer become
Winner and get certificate. Also there are lot of nominees for special marks.  See  details  and  last  years  results on the Club 72 page -
www.club72.su

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.

Rally this weekend

32nd CANVEY RADIO AND ELECTRONICS RALLY, Feb 5th (Sunday)

The Paddocks Community Centre, Long Road, Canvey Island, SS8 0JA.

Doors open at 8.30am for traders and 10.30am for the public. There is free parking and the venue has disabled facilities including space outside main doors for disabled visitors. There will be trade stands, special interest groups and an RSGB bookstall. Refreshments, including Mark's famous bacon baguettes on site. Details from Vic Rogers, G6BHE, 0795 746 1694 or Dave Speechley, G4UVJ, 01268 697 978, g4uvj@btinternet.com.

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

HF conditions - use the higher bands

For about a day, I went on 20m JT65. It was too easy, with spots all across Europe and the USA even with 2W and a poor antenna on 20m.

HF conditions are not as good as at the sunspot peak, but they are often better than people realise: of late the sunspot number has been in the 40s or higher and the solar flux has been above 80. Even 10m is capable of supporting DX, although few realise as they leave the higher bands and go for easy pickings on 20m or lower.

My strong recommendation is try digital modes on 10m. OK, it is not as easy as a few years ago, but DX still pops up. 10m remains "open" far more often than is realised, even in the quiet solar years What is needed is activity!

Amateur radio is about self training and exploring the boundaries. If you just want to speak across the planet you can video conference for free with Skype on the internet. 10m with digital modes and QRP is much more fun.

Sunspots and 10m - Friday February 3rd 2017

Solar flux is 75 today. Sunspot number is 40.  A=21 and K=4 .

Great night on 472kHz WSPR

472kHz WSPR TX last night - a great night!
Last night was, without a shadow of a doubt, the best night so far this season. My 5mW ERP from the earth-electrode "antenna" in the ground was copied by 4 different stations in Norway with LA2XPA (1310km) in Kristiansund copying me 23 times - amazing. My best TX DX was a spot by LA9IY (1393km) in Trondheim. In all, 13 unique spots on TX.

I had to pinch myself this morning!

2 Feb 2017

Trinity St, Cambridge - NOT amateur radio

Cambridge is famous for its Backs and Colleges. This is a view along Trinity Street. Lots of bikes!  Kings is about 400m further along on the right.

Back on 472kHz WSPR

At 1418z I closed down on 14MHz JT65 (2W) and started up on 472kHz WSPR (5mW ERP from the earth-electrode "antenna"). It usually takes about 10-15 minutes for the transverter crystal to settle before I get reports.

Initial 472kHz WSPR spots today
UPDATE 1810z: LA1TN (1269km) was copied in the last hour on RX. This is the best DX this season on the band. LA8AV has also been received.

UPDATE 1905z: LA2XPA (1310km) spotted me an hour ago. This is my best TX DX this season by some way! At last my 5mW ERP has blasted through the 1000km barrier at last.

Sunspots and 10m - Thursday February 2nd 2017

Solar flux is 76 today and sunspot number 28. A=29 and K=4.

20m JT65 still

Being lazy, I left the rig and PC on 20m JT65 overnight and it is still on as I write. My own signal is being widely spotted around Europe.  Oregon, USA and Brazil are currently the best DX on RX. Personally, I find 20m no real challenge.

1 Feb 2017

Swans - NOT amateur radio

A few days ago we went for a walk at nearby Anglesey Abbey and saw these mute swans near the water mill.  They are always there.  In the summer the flowers are out in the herbaceous border, although at this time of  year they look dead.

As mentioned before, things are much later this year.

Moved to 10m, then 20m JT65

First I moved to 10m JT65. Then I moved to 20m JT65. I called a couple of stations calling CQ but without success. Of late, I have been beaconing to see where I am getting - all over the place! 20m really is too easy! I only use a low end fed antenna.
20m initial spots on JT65
UPDATE 1446z: At the moment, the best DX on 20m JT65 RX is Cuba, but on 20m JT65 TX I am being widely copied in the Eastern USA as well as right across Europe and Russia.

UPDATE 2108z: Lots on 20m JT65, which is still running in beacon mode. Too easy! I'll probably stay on 20m until tomorrow now.

472kHz WSPR

A few minutes ago I QSYed from 6m FSK144 RX to 630m WSPR (5mW ERP). The PC is on battery power so the RX noise floor is low.
472kHz WSPR this morning so far

Sunspots and 10m - Wednesday February 1st 2017

Solar flux is 77 and the sunspot number 42. A=24 and K=3.