13 Jul 2020

Bees - NOT amateur radio

These bees were busy last week at Anglesey Abbey, which is owned by the National Trust. After many months, most National Trust gardens are again open.

We go to Anglesey Abbey quite often as it is very near. We are NT members, but you have to pre-book. Social distancing is never a problem.

Spring album - NOT amateur radio

Every three months my wife produces an album to help us remember what happened in each season. She has done this for many years. We have well over 40 albums now.

We also do the 365project in which we take a picture every day. We have done this since 2013. It is amazing to see how the grandchildren have changed. It is totally free although you can pay $19.99 a year for total privacy and more albums.

See https://365project.org/

The future of amateur radio

In recent years there has been a shift to digital communications using modes like FT8. Whereas in the past, radio amateurs focused on speaking to people across the world, there is far less of this now. People may make "rubber stamp"  brief contacts, but there is far less chatting. Most of us can enjoy video chats across the planet for free on the internet. Speaking across the world is no longer magic. What "turns on" younger people is not the same as in the 1950s or 1960s. We have to find out what this is and forget what attracted us.

Southgate News has a link to an interesting piece in IEEE Spectrum talking about the issue in the USA. I think this is mirrored across the planet.  The main issue is amateurs globally are getting older and there are fewer youngsters coming into the hobby. In 20 years' time the hobby we love could just fizzle out.

See http://www.southgatearc.org/news/2020/july/the-uncertain-future-of-ham-radio.htm#.Xwxp2ojYq00

6m FT8

At about 1340z, the 6m FT8 gear was turned on. As usual, running 10W to the V2000 vertical omni. Already quite a few transatlantic spots on RX and TX. After 18 minutes, 42 spots of me!  Already 6 stations "across the pond" have spotted me!

Judging by the reports this looks like E layer.  It could be double or triple hop Es, but I suspect some other sort of E layer propagation.

6m FT8 RX spots from the USA at 1444z
UPDATE 1504z: Spotted by 8 stations in the USA on 6m FT8 today.  Best DX spot was by KX4R (6801km) and loads of USA stations spotted on 6m FT8 RX, far more than Europeans!

Late start on 10m WSPR TX

Rather later than normal, I have turned on my 500mW 10m WSPR beacon using the indoor loop antenna in the shack. Gear was turned on at about 1340z.

UPDATE 1455z:  No spots of me yet today.

Windmill next door - NOT amateur radio

This photo appeared as a FB memory today. It shows the windmill next door at 10.10pm local time.

Sunspots - Monday July 13th 2020

Solar flux is 68 and the SSN 0. A=3 and K=1. Poor.

12 Jul 2020

Rear garden - NOT amateur radio

Earlier in the spring we thought our garden would look sparse with the lockdown, but actually it looks better than normal! The photo shows our rear garden just now.

6m FT8

Since just before lunch I have been on 6m FT8 with 10W and the V2000 vertical omni antenna.  Mostly spotted in Scandinavia.

UPDATE 1550z:  Today, 97 stations have spotted my 10W 6m FT8 TX. Just one transatlantic station copied me VE1PZ (4501km) in FN85 square, Nova Scotia, Canada. On 6m FT8 RX I have spotted 106 stations so far. 3 of these were transatlantic.

UPDATE 2117z:  Several QSOs today, all in Europe. In all, 537 stations spotted today including 4 transatlantic. Most interesting was JW7QIA (2949km) in Svalbard in the high Arctic. My own signal was spotted in Canada and it almost feels incidental!

10m WSPR TX beacon

Since just before lunch I have been on 10m WSPR TX using 500mW to the tiny indoor loop antenna. No spots of me yet.

UPDATE 1655z:  A few spots received, but not many. With WSPR it is definitely harder to be spotted than with FT8 even though FT8 is less sensitive. There are far more people using FT8 now.

UPDATE 2145z:  7 unique stations spotted my little beacon today. QRT.