20 Aug 2014

Spoiling the natural environment, or not?

The beautiful Kingsbridge Estuary
The petition to NOT allow water skiing in the Kingsbridge Estuary is gathering momentum. The last time I looked there were 851 supporters of the "no" vote. If you want to support the campaign, then go to the link and vote. The more people who support the "no" campaign, the better chances we have of preventing this precious habitat and SSSI being ruined forever.

UPDATE 2015z:  856 votes now.  Keep voting!

Back on 472kHz WSPR

After a brief foray on 6m WSPR, I have returned to 472kHz WSPR now. Antenna current is higher than last night (on the V2000 and halo with strapped feeders) and the only difference is the weather. I assumes the ground is wetter. So far, the usual stations although PA3TKF (286km) was a new station to spot earlier, bringing me up to 20 unique spots this summer. Again, I am sure that I should be able to copy lots more stations and they spot me too.


As I knew G3ZJO and G0LRD were both active on 2m WSPR this morning, I ventured onto 144.492MHz USB dial on 2m. I was immediately rewarded with a spot of G3ZJO (79km). During the morning G0LRD (25km) has spotted me multiple times and I have spotted Eddie, G3ZJO, three times now. Interestingly, Eddies signal was accompanied by up to 6 aircraft Doppler shifted signals. His signal decoded far fewer times than he was visible.
G3ZJO (79km) non-decoding 2m WSPR signals with lots of aircraft Doppler.
In the UK and Europe 144.492MHz USB dial is the frequency of choice, NOT the frequency recommended.  I believe some in Europe have birdie problems on the recommended frequency.

19 Aug 2014

Different 472kHz antenna

Since about 1838z I have been using the strapped feeders to my triband VHF/UHF vertical and halo as my 472kHz antenna.
472kHz WSPR unique spots (of me) so far this summer
Antenna is higher than the Par triband HF antenna with strapped feeder but the antenna current is about the same. If the effective height is a bit higher (it should be) then ERP should be higher too. Initial results suggest in some directions it is down on the earth-electrode antenna but I do seem to be getting more spots at each transmission than on the earth-electrode or Par antennas. G4VJF(151km) is a totally new reporter tonight bringing the number of spots of my 472kHz WSPR this summer up to 16 now.
UPDATE 2032z:   29 active stations on 472kHz this evening.

UPDATE 2044z:   Now 34 active stations on 472kHz.

UPDATE 2055z:   Currently getting about 4 spots per transmission on 472kHz.

UPDATE 2145z:   Now 38 active stations on 472kHz. Will leave 472kHz WSPR running through the night to see how latest (compromise) antenna performs.

Sunspots today

Sunspot numbers are down a bit at 92 (disturbed) and 20-30MHz forecast is just "fair". I think it is unlikely we'll see F2 propagation on 10m today, but you never know on 10m.

Yet again, there seem to be few stations at F2 ranges active on 10m WSPR today. At the time of writing (1302z) there are 32 stations active worldwide on 10m WSPR. FR1GZ is on and he is at classic F2 range.

472kHz WSPR - more on the earth-electrode antenna

Overnight I continued using the earth-electrode antenna on 472kHz. I don't think it is any better than the short Marconi, but it certainly works pretty well, even with a short baseline of less than 15m.
Unique 472kHz WSPR spots this summer on TX
The number of unique spots of my 472kHz WSPR signal has now reached 15 and I have spotted 19 unique stations with my best DX being DH5RAE (995km) using the earth-electrode antenna last night.
Unique 472kHz WSPR spots this summer on RX
The earth-electrode antenna seems far more directional. Several stations orthogonal to the system did NOT copy me (or me them) overnight.

18 Aug 2014

ERPs on 472kHz

I am pretty confident of my "just less than 5mW ERP" on 472kHz (with the very short Marconi) and am a bit suspicious of the claimed ERPs of some stations,, which, judging by the reports exchanged, may be lower than some people think. I think a lot more stations are less than 500mW ERP than they think. Perhaps losses are much higher than they think?

472kHz - earth electrode antenna

Since about 1930z I have been using the (short) earth-electrode antenna on 472kHz.  Baseline is at most 15m, probably less and it runs roughly E-W.  On RX I am seeing F5WK (436km) for the first time and reports exchanged (both ways) with G3WCB (101km) seem to be slightly stronger. Semi-local G0LRD (25km) is spotting me at much the same strength.  PA3ABK/2 is similar on the earth-electrode antenna and the Marconi.   I have yet to spot or be spotted by other stations.

I am matching the loop with a tapped 3C90 transformer and a few turns on a 110mm diameter former, although the Q is so low that this coil is probably not necessary. Antenna current is about 0.4 that with the "short" Marconi vertical. It is probably acting as a loop and I have still to try to work out the ERP.  At this QTH, the earth-electrode antenna looks like a higher resistance than at the old QTH, hence the need for a step-up transformer between transverter and "antenna". At some point, when fit again, I want to try a longer baseline earth electrode antenna and a better Marconi vertical. When fit again - oh please!

I suspect the earth-electrode antenna to be directional, so in some directions it may be better and others worse than the Marconi.  I'll leave it running overnight to see how results compare with the very short Marconi. I suspect results will be worse overall on the earth-electrode antenna, but I may be surprised.

Sunspots today

Sunspot count today is 111 and the 20-30MHz propagation forecast is "normal".

No F2 DX was seen when I was monitoring 28.078MHz JT9-1 all afternoon, although I would expect there to have been F2 propagation on 10m. V53ARC was copied in by CT1JTQ in Portugal on WSPR several times, but not further north as far as I know.

472kHz WSPR this afternoon

After an afternoon monitoring JT9-1 on 10m this afternoon, I have returned to 472kHz WSPR.  To my surprise, at the time I switched on I find I am the only station in the world transmitting on 472kHz WSPR.  Hopefully, this will soon change. G0LRD has already spotted me though.

UPDATE 1605z: Still the only station TXing WSPR on the band but there are now 9 stations monitoring (was 7).

UPDATE 1611z:   Still just me on TX and now only 3 stations monitoring.
UPDATE 1636z:   Just spots from G0LRD so far.

UPDATE 1655z: All spots so far from G0LRD (25km) and I am still the only European TXing on 472kHz at this time.  Maybe more will appear after tea when people get back from work?

UPDATE 1730z:   M0PPP has now spotted me 3 times too. Now 3 Europeans on WSPR TX with 16 stations active (TX and monitoring).