23 Apr 2014

LNR FX-4 transceiver?

See http://www.lnrprecision.com/ and scroll down the page.

This looks "Chinese" in origin and I am wondering if this is a badged product?  It looks a bit like a poor man's KX3. It is a 4 band, 5W QRP CW/SSB transceiver.  In the USA it retails for $450. It is clearly aimed at backpackers.

See https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.519456908132892.1073741827.229134337165152&type=3 for some images of the little rig.

DC0DX on 472kHz WSPR

Several spots during the night of DC0DX (467km) running 10mW ERP on 472kHz WSPR. There may have been later spots but sometime during the night the Win 8.1 PC decided to stop the WSPR software running (again). I have reset the clock and restarted the software on 474.2kHz USB dial.

22 Apr 2014

472kHz WSPR unique reports over last 2 weeks

Looking at the results over the last 2 weeks, I see that I've had reports of my 5mW ERP (15m spaced earth-electrodes) from 8 different stations. Best DX is F1AFJ at 607km followed by reports from 3 different Dutch stations. I'll leave the set-up running overnight in case I get any new stations reporting me.

HF wire fallen down

My Par 10/20/40m end-fed has, this afternoon, fallen down, explaining the high SWR on 10m just now. I think I must have knocked it when seeing if the brackets and pole for the 2m/70cm yagi will fit OK outside the guest bedroom window (they will).   My son, or maybe Andrew G6ALB, will be asked to help re-erection. It has come adrift at the 40m trap I think, so should be easy to fix.  Just need to remake the joint and ask someone to climb a tree (with a small ladder) to tie the end off.  I am just too wobbly for ladders, more is the pity.

I was thinking of fitting the wall brackets for the 2m/70cm antenna myself, but this will prove too hard in my current poor state of health I have decided. I am too clumsy and wobbly (stroke).

For the coming days I'll have to concentrate on 472kHz instead using the earth-electrode antenna.

Interestingly, by about 1516z, there were no USA or Canadian stations being copied here but I was getting/giving decent spots into South America, even with the antenna half down and a poor match on 10m. It appears there was some 10m propagation to the USA for others.

6m super DX

The evening of June 25th 2007 was a very memorable one here: K1TOL (Lefty) was worked on 6m QRP CW from the old QTH when I was using just 2.5W from the FT817 to my V2000 vertical fed by a long and lossy length of RG58 coax. ERP could not have been more than 1W. His big antenna certainly helped, but this was a great contact in the log. The mode was multi-hop Es.

K1TOL's 6m QSL card

2m/70cm antenna

Today I unpacked my 3/5el beam for 2/70cm, the wall brackets and the coax leads. I am missing a small SMA female to SMA female connector  (just ordered from eBay) to join the 20m long Westflex coax to the small patch lead to the FT817.

As far as I can tell, I have everything I now need, when the SMA connector comes. I shall have to wait until Andrew G6ALB can come over to help with the wall brackets. At the moment my health is still too poor (too giddy/clumsy)  to do the erection on my own, sadly.

Better 10m conditions today

With a sunspot count of 168 and a forecast of "good" 20-30MHz propagation, 10m should be good, and it is. I can say with quiet confidence that 10m will be good to S.America very soon and to N.America this afternoon. The good times are very much still with us!

Already this morning I have spotted EX1UN (5423km) and VK8TH (13800km), twice now in Darwin N.Australia, and have been spotted (Es I assume) by IZ6QZB. All between 1016z and 1040z.

At 1038z CX2ABP (11127km) was spotted (Montevideo, S.America).

21 Apr 2014

10m today

10m conditions today are best described as "mixed". On N-S paths at least the band has been open but nothing was copied here from the USA and Canada. Today was much more typical of conditions further down the cycle: NEVER write the band off, but openings are much more likely to be N-S (or S-N) than E-W. Tomorrow conditions could bounce right back or we could see poor conditions for many weeks. It  is only by holding faith with 10m that we will find out how it really behaves in the "quiet years" ahead. This is where WSPR beaconing will prove so very useful.

Just spotted PY2WG (9562km) on WSPR and this sort of path will be typical of the paths likely to be manageable with far lower solar activity. PY2ZX  spotted my 2W at 9555km at 1952z and 2004z..

2004z seems to be when the band died out for N-S DX, unless it was the Win 8.1 PC just going crazy again! I am monitoring WSPR.net on the lounge PC so I can watch TV at the same time. A quick shack visit is needed.

UPDATE 2145z:  WSPR software was working fine, no DX since 2004z, but I have gone QRT now.

RSGB Bennett Prize - G8PF

In the last few days I received my prize from the RSGB for my article last year on earth-electrode antennas for the 472kHz band. Because of my ill health I was unable to pick up my prize at the RSGB's AGM in Manchester. It was posted instead.

The prize was in 2 parts: (a) a certificate and (b) a lovely copy of The Times Atlas of the World.

The certificate
To say I was thrilled is an under-statement: I never thought that my article would merit such an award. I was both honoured and humbled.   RSGB, at times I criticize you, but  I am greatly indebted and thankful.

10m WSPR - local only so far Easter monday am

10m WSPR spots to 0940z today - all local
Only G0LRD (25km) - 13 spots so far -  is copying me this morning on 10m at 0952z.  No signs yet of Asian stations despite sunspot count of 192. The forecast for 20-30MHz is "poor" with disturbed conditions and blackouts.

By lunchtime, only  EA1KV and GM4WJA were vaguely DX stations spotting me. Condition so far today have been very poor indeed  on 10m.  David G0LRD, from Fowlmere, is testing a new 10/6m loft fan-dipole. There were about 24 decent spots from him by lunch, but little else of note. 4X1DA (3597km) was coming through at 1210z, which is very late indeed.

UPDATE 1800z: My Windows 8.1 PC still does odd things with the WSPR program, sometimes not uploading RX spots etc.  Since resettng the clock and program I am uploading my spot of V53ARC and I see I've been spotted in Brazil, S.America.