23 Jul 2014

6m then 10m WSPR - no Es here (right frequencies help!)

Overnight until 1115z, I was on 6m WSPR before QSYing down a band to 10m WSPR. Although locals G4IKZ and G0LRD were spotting me on 6m, no-one is currently spotting me on 10m. There appears to be no Es on either band at present. It is very quiet on 10m WSPR.

Sunspot count is 40 (creeping up again) and 20-30MHz conditions are described as "fair". We just might see some F2 DX on 10m today. if we are lucky.

UPDATE 1158z:  Just spotted that I had the wrong frequency for 10m WSPR!  For some reason I was 3kHz  too high. No idea why. It remains to be seen now if this now results in 10m spots.

UPDATE 1205z:  First spot of my 2W was from WG2Z (5600km) just outside of New York by multi-hop Es (I assume).  Report was -22dB S/N, not too bad.  This is now the third time I have caught North American DX this summer on 10m.  WSPR is excellent for spotting such DX on the band. Sadly there is zero 6m WSPR activity from the Eastern USA at this time, so trying 6m WSPR is a waste of effort at the moment with regard to transatlantic DXing.

22 Jul 2014

Back on 6m WSPR tonight

One of the great advantages of WSPR is it can be done silently and activity can be monitored in the lounge. Tonight I am WSPRing on 6m in the shack and watching progress in the lounge on WSPRnet whilst the grandchildren sleep, peacefully.

G6AVK has spotted me 5 times so far and local G4IKZ plenty of times, but no Es on 6m here since this morning. Tomorrow, I shall go back to 10m.

6m UKAC this evening

As my little grandson is asleep in the adjoining room, I was unable to stay on the 50MHz UK activity contest for more than a few minutes tonight.  In the short time I was on I heard plenty of QTH locator squares (JO02,JO03, IO81, IO82, and others). It would appear quite a number of stations must be vertically polarised like me. The next chance of being in this 50MHz UKAC is about a month away.  If I can, I'll come on 6m to see what can be worked. My voice is not good, so I'll have to limit talking to about 1 hour.

One way to see the windmill next door

There was a man dangling from a rope painting the cap of our local windmill. I felt like telling him there are easier ways of seeing the windmill! Rather him than me.
Someone suggested I string a long wire to the top of the mill from my bungalow next door. But what happens when the cap turns and the sails go around?

6m - GDX WSPR this evening

As well as lots of local spots from G4IKZ (18km), I see there are GDX spots from G8PMA (90km) this evening. As far as I recall these are the first spots from this station. They are at quite a low level (around -27/-28dB S/N). The was no Doppler, suggesting pure tropo?

UPDATE 1920z:  G6AVK (78km) is spotting me at -21/-26dB S/N.

6m WSPR

Since just after 1030z I have been on 6m WSPR. Apart from a couple of spots from OH7AI (2000km) early on, all spots have been by local G4IKZ (18km). I shall stay on 6m but really 10m is a much more productive band for Es and the occasional F2 DX.

Sunspot count today is just 16 and 20-30MHz conditions only "fair", so 10m F2 is unlikely.

UPDATE 1620z:  From 1054z up to now, the only 6m WSPR spots have been by G4IKZ (18km), all rather boring now on 6m. 

UPDATE 1640z:  Later tonight, if I can creep past my sleeping grandson in the adjoining bedroom, I may give the 50MHz UK Activity Contest a brief go this evening. Brief as it will strain my voice to stay on too long.  I am vertically polarised, so this will compromise my chances and I can only use 5W maximum.

Overnight 10m Es and GDX

Overnight, I left 10m WSPR running. It was a productive night with 10m Es more or less all the time with spots from GM, DK, SI9, SM, LA3 and OZ. I also spotted similar Northern European stations plus PD0OHW. I am glad I left the kit running as this was as good as it gets on 10m ES around Europe.

I still don't understand why later in the Es season the openings are more northerly in direction. It is similar every year.

G8JNJ/A (184km) was copied during the night a couple of times too (GDX).

21 Jul 2014

Staying on 10m WSPR overnight

As the lightning map looks very clear, I have decided to leave 10m WSPR running overnight.

Although it has quietened down in the last 30 minutes, I can still see lots of watery traces, probably GDX, coming through, but not decoding.  We'll see if any of these decode during the night. If the good Es conditions continue, I'd expect some EU decodes during the night.

Should there be any storms, I can be QRT very very quickly. 

UPDATE 2230z:  No decodes in last hour. Bedtime.

HF JT65 and JT9-1

A few people have suggested I try these modes more seriously. I have used both these modes in the past but never too seriously. As I cannot do much building or "in the field" experimenting until my health really improves, these modes will provide me with a "no talking" challenge for the autumn - my voice is still poor making modes like SSB challenging. I can manage VHF and UHF contests for short periods, but it really strains my voice and voice modes are best avoided. Unlike WSPR which is an excellent beaconing mode, the JT modes are 2-way so allow proper QSOs, if rather rubber stamp. WSPR is a few dB more sensitive but JT65 and JT9-1 use 1 minute transmission slots.

10m Es - still good here at 2100z

Well, 10m has been in good shape all afternoon and evening here.

This afternoon it opened well to the USA east coast by Es and it is still wide open to great chunks of Europe as I write. This is a great Es day on the band - in my opinion the best this season. Mind you, I have been on 6m WSPR a good part of the last few months and only recently moved down to 10m in a more serious way. Today I might have tried 6m transatlantic WSPR but there were very few USA stations active on the mode, so I stuck with 10m. 10m is a far more productive Es band, but being nearly half the frequency, that is to be expected. 2W WSPR, even to my indifferent antenna, is enough.

UPDATE 2112z:  Best DX in the last 15 minutes is TF3HZ (1837km) up in Iceland. Still lots from continental Europe coming through too. LA3JJ (993km) in Norway is a very consistent signal.

UPDATE 2135z:  My 2W is still being spotted on 10m WSPR, now by DK0SC (827km) at a strong -9dB S/N.  The 10m band is still humming.  I shall have to go QRT before too long, more is the pity.