27 Aug 2016

Football - NOT amateur radio

My old "local" team, Plymouth Argyle, had a dreadful start to the football season but have now won the last 3 games and are currently in the play-off places. Mind you, it is very early days. My current "local" team, Cambridge United, is currently at the very bottom of the league. Unless they buck up they could lose their league place at the end of the season.

Brazil (again) on 10m JT65

Another theory bites the dust....

PU2POP (9582km) has copied my QRP 10m JT65 in the last 20 minutes. As there was very little 10m Es here, this suggests F layer only. I was not expecting to reach South America today, although I was hopeful.

UPDATE 1545z:  10m Es now to Sweden and Finland.

UPDATE 1608z:  The storms seem to have missed us, passing over Peterborough and Northampton. Mind you, I am still watching the maps with concern as I think there could be further risks later. New Es from Scandinavia in the last few minutes.

Back on air - 10m JT65

Whilst keeping one eye on the storm map, I have returned to JT65, this time on 10m, hoping to catch some DX to South America. Judging by the lack of Es in the right direction, I'd be quite surprised if my QRP 10m JT65 got that far today.

At the moment, the storms are giving us a miss, although things will get disconnected as soon as the risk increases. See http://www.lightningmaps.org/?lang=en .

UPDATE 1505z:  A few minutes ago I was spotted on 10m JT65 by SM5EPO (1347km). Es I assume.

Rally on Bank Holiday Monday

Ernulf Academy, St. Neots PE19 2SH Further info from rally organiser Malcolm Hirst on 01480 214282 or by email to henry_hirst@hotmail.com

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

Remember to contact the organisers to check details if travelling any distance.

Gone QRT

There are thunderstorms moving up the country. At the moment these are tracking west of Cambridge but I have disconnected everything for now. I'll re-assess the risks later.

Before closing down I spotted 4 different UK stations and was spotted by 2 UK stations on 6m JT65. Up to now, I have seen no 6m Es today. When I reconnect things I'll probably come back on 10m JT65.

UPDATE 1240z:  It looks like the storms are passing well west of us and we will miss them. It is just starting to spit the odd rain spot. I'll give it an hour then re-assess things.

UPDATE 1252z:  Presently, the storm is over March up in the Fens and moving away and nowhere near us.

UPDATE 1402z:  We seem to have missed this one. See http://www.convectiveweather.co.uk/forecast.php?date=2016-08-27 .
UPDATE 1408z:  Instead of amateur radio we went picking blackberries, plums, apples and runner beans in the orchard next door. The owner is away and said, "help yourselves".

Sunspots and 10m - Saturday August 27th 2016

Solar flux is 82 today. Sunspot number is 44. K=1. Yet again the forecast for 10m F2 propagation remains "poor".

6m and 10m JT65 today

As most 10m DX seems to be late evening and afternoon, I decided to go on 6m at present. I was briefly on 10m JT65 first thing. Already I have been spotted bt a couple of UK stations on 6m and I have spotted some Gs too including G0GGG (241km).

There is an outside chance of storms after lunch, so I am keeping  a watching brief.

26 Aug 2016

Now QRT - storm risk

With the possibility of storms overnight I have decided to go QRT and disconnect antennas, PC and plugs. Tomorrow I shall re-assess the risks.

Amateur Satellites

Next year, if all goes to plan, we may have an amateur satellite in a geosynchronous orbit permitting long distance propagation at almost any time day or night. As the solar activity declines, this could be a lifeline.  I have little experience of amateur satellites and only had a single QSO via a low orbit satellite. Geosynchronous should mean lower Doppler and hours of operation whereas low orbit satellites go out of range within 20 minutes. Years ago I recall the excitement of hearing US and Canadians on Oscar 6 and 7 on 2m. Being on microwave bands should mean much greater transponder bandwidths. Also, dishes can be fixed as the satellite will always be in the same place in the sky like a TV satellite.

Brazil on 10m JT65 today

Well my theory about Es and F layer over the equator being needed to reach Brazil on 10m at this time of year seems to be holding up, after a fashion.   PY2IQ (9585km) in Sao Paulo was copied at 1916z. There was some Es today, although not much. As the autumn "kicks in" we may see more South Americans by F2.