21 Nov 2014


I have been a member of the Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB) for 52 years now. When I first joined I was an SWL associate member - A3554 - as a young teenager.   In those days you had to be proposed and seconded. Joining is much easier today.  When I started there was just one licence. I took my RAE exam in 1966. It was on Friday 13th May as I recall.  I attended RAE classes at Plymouth Tech every Monday night, catching the bus to Plymouth after school. Long gone days!

Over the years I have not always agreed with the RSGB's decisions. In fact, quite recently, I did not like the decision worked up with OFCOM to allocate the 146-147MHz band to some UK amateurs by NoV.  I think the RSGB could have got a much better deal for UK amateurs, but that is my personal view.

Despite this, the RSGB is our national society and deserves our support. Over the years they have supported UK amateurs very well and have a much better relationship with OFCOM than the ARRL has with the FCC in the USA where bands we have had access to for years are still not available! The monthly RadCom magazine is a good read with a mix of technical and non-technical articles.

So, if you are not an RSGB member and you live in the UK, may I encourage you to join?

See www.rsgb.org .

10m WSPR unique spots today so far

So far today, 24 unique spots of my 10m WSPR-AXE 500mW "all in one" beacon, mostly from the USA and Canada. The little beacon has not been re-synchronized to internet time for several days.
Unique 10m WSPR spots received so far today of the 500mW beacon
UPDATE 1910z:   The last USA station to spot me tonight was WG2Z (5600km) at 1742z.

Stroke update

I had my cerebellum brain bleed (stroke) in Sept 2013 and in all honesty I was expecting to be fully fit again by now. I think my wife and I had no idea how serious this was and just how long recovery was going to take. Nearly 15 months on it is a mixed picture.

All my limbs, my eyes and ears and my cognitive functions seem to work OK. But I still have poor liquid swallow, poor speech, giddiness when walking and I tire on the least physical exertion such as washing dishes or gardening. My stamina is better than it was but it is still far from right.

I am still clumsy and amateur radio construction is still out of the question, which I find very hard to accept. This, and my speaking problem, is why I currently use WSPR so much.

I am told a full recovery is probable, but this will take time. This last year as been very hard. I sincerely hope 2015 will be a better year.

In summary, I have felt old suddenly. Until last year I felt as if I would last forever. Now I feel far more vulnerable.

Sunspots - Friday Nov 21st 2014

Sunspot number today is 83, almost the same as yesterday, but 10m daytime propagation is again expected to remain "good".

So far, no exotic DX with the little 500mW WSPR-AXE 10m beacon with best spot so far from 4X1RF (3519km) plus LZ1OI and UR/SWL56.  No Australians spotting me, well yet anyway.

DL-SWL on 472kHz

Overnight DL-SWL (701km) spotted me no less than 7 times on 472kHz. I was using my short baseline earth-electrode "antenna" with a maximum 5mW ERP. Not my best DX but very pleasing. With no real antenna, no loading coils, ANYONE could join the fun on 472kHz!

20 Nov 2014


As regular readers of this blog will know, I just love WSPR. It amazes me that such weak signals can be detected so well at such great distances using this mode. I am even more impressed that such a simple "stand alone" (no PC needed) beacon can be constructed.  My very simple, TINY little 10m W5OLF WSPR-AXE beacon has been copied all over the world now. It is truly TINY.

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WSPR_%28amateur_radio_software%29 .

Landing on a comet

One cannot help but be impressed by the space probe Rosetta to a comet and the subsequent landing of the Philae probe on the comet's surface.

This week I learned that one our friends was the Project Manager for this at Astrium back in the late 1990s. He is now retired but he was invited back for the landing. I hope they manage to get the lander moved to a better illuminated spot.

I was very impressed.

Arizona on 10m

Best 10m DX today,well so far, with the little 500mW WSPR-AXE beacon was WA7HL (8508km).  There is still a chance that I might get spotted in South America later, but somehow I doubt it.

Sunspots - Thursday Nov 20th 2014

Sunspot number has dropped back to 72 today. 10m propagation is forecast to be "good".  The 10m band has been open to the USA yet again this afternoon, but no great DX seen on the band for my little 500mW WSPR-AXE beacon today.

19 Nov 2014

10m WSPR analysis by Bert PA1B

Bert PA1B has analysed my 500mW WSPR spots today, ignoring the many spots by local G4IKZ.   It shows the signal strengths (uV/m) implied by the S/N figures.  In many cases, much lower powers would have been enough to get "spotted".  Thank you Bert.  Of course, for some people, the noise floor limits the minimum signal that can be detected.
UPDATE 2200z:  The last USA spot of my 500mW was WG2Z (5600km) at 1724z. Just local G4IKZ (18km) since then.  Now QRT on 10m until after breakfast, but will stay on 472kHz overnight.