3 Sep 2015

10m WSPR disappointment

No Es today seen here on 10m WSPR. It is definitely the end of Es on the band with just really sporadic short openings if we are lucky. Low levels of WSPR activity do not help. At the moment there are just 20 active WSPR stations in the world on 10m!

FTSE up over 2% today - NOT amateur radio

Despite the bad times in China that are rocking markets around the world, the UK FTSE 100 share index is currently up 2.11%. It seems like it wants to recover lost ground but is being held back.

My own view is that what is happening in China is deadly serious and we are heading for another huge crash that, especially for the average Chinese, will make the Wall Street Crash of 1929 seem tame. This could result in revolution in China and real turmoil over there. We will not come out of this unscathed. The world is just shutting its eyes and pretending it is "business as usual". It is not!  The age of low cost imports from China is gradually ending and the world has to adjust. No doubt sweat shops in other poorer countries will replace China, but personally I hope it means more real manufacturing in the EU and USA. At the moment almost everything you buy is "made in China".

BATC Convention

Although I shall not be attending others might be interested:

Dear Roger,
The following Radio Rallies are coming soon:

Finningley ARS HQ, The Hurst Communications Centre, Belton Road, Sandtoft, Doncaster DN8 5SX. 

£10 per day inc free tea & coffee. LEC, TS, demos. Convention Dinner on Sat eve. 

Contact g8adm@btinternet.com www.batc.org.uk.

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

Sunspots and 10m - Thurs Sept 3rd 2015

Sunspot number has fallen to 41 (K=2) and 10m propagation is expected to remain "poor" today.  In a few years we would think this as remarkably good!

UPDATE 1030z: No Es seen here, yet anyway, on either 10m or 6m WSPR. No F2 either on 10m.

Back on 6m and 10m WSPR

For the last hour or so I have been back on WSPR on these bands. Just G4IKZ (18km) on 10m WSPR  and G0OQK (98km) on 6m WSPR. No early Es.

2 Sep 2015

Refugees - NOT amateur radio

I am sick and tired of "our" position here in the UK on refugees. We should be working to HELP these desperate people, not treating them as scum.  Those fleeing wars and conflict need our kindness and care, not hate and indifference. We should be working with the rest of the EU to solve this crisis.

Oh by the way we, here in the UK, sell arms to the value of £5 billion to countries on the human rights "black list" of countries. See https://news.vice.com/article/the-uk-is-going-to-send-billions-in-arms-exports-to-countries-on-the-human-rights-blacklist . We are partly to blame for the worse refugee crisis in Europe since WW2.

QRT on all bands

As 6m and 10m have been poor today, I have gone QRT on all bands until the morning. I should be back on 10m and 6m WSPR after breakfast.

No early Es on 10m and 6m WSPR

There is no sign, yet anyway, of Es on 10m here. I shall turn on the 6m station shortly as this was off overnight. Just spots from local G4IKZ (18km) on 10m WSPR so far today.

UPDATE 1222z:  Still no Es seen here on 10m WSPR. The same too on 6m WSPR  where the only station spotted is G0OQK (98km) by tropo and aircraft reflection. Definitely end of the Es season!

UPDATE 1724z:  Still no Es on 10m or 6m WSPR here. No F2 DX here yet on 10m WSPR. A bad 10m day.

2m Big Wheel

Steve G1KQH has requested that I blog this to say how it performs.

As my health is still not good I bought mine from Wimo in Germany, but with some aluminium tubing, some insulating material and a little skill, making your own should be straightforward. Being in the EC, imports from Germany already have VAT applied and there was no import duty. However the Wimo big-wheel, although well engineered, was not cheap. As purchased, it comes partly assembled for 2m but the 70cm version is sold ready made. The well packed antenna arrived from Wimo in Germany in about 7 days. There were instructions in German and English.

My 2m version had to have the elements attached. It is very easy to miss the screw holes and not assemble it correctly. There were no instructions for the mounting bracket, but this was straight forward enough. Overall, even with my poor health assembly took about 10 minutes

When first installed on my temporary mast my SWR (as indicated on the FT817) was rather high. Carefully bending the elements and adjusting the orientation of the matching stub brought this way down and I left it with 1-2 blobs showing on the FT817. The gain is claimed as around 3dBD horizontal.

In use it proved great: I worked all the stations I had previously worked on the halo (and others) with better reports in last night's 2m UKAC session. Best DX was 181km. In 52 minutes I worked 10 SSB stations. I was using 5W pep from the FT817. The antenna is fed with a length of RG213 (9mm diameter) coax. Not having to rotate the antenna is a great advantage. I received stations in Belgium and Holland, but did not work these in the short time I was "on air". I am sure that a lot more squares would have been worked had I stayed on for longer.  What was nice was being able to hear the activity all around and not having to turn the antenna at all. Ideally it should be used in conjunction with a beam, but the big-wheel suits my style of casual operating well.

Would I recommend a 2m big-wheel? Yes!

Sunspots and 10m - Wed Sept 2nd 2015

Sunspot number has hardly changed and is 49 (K=2) today. As we are now moving towards autumn we should be seeing some 10m F2 propagation on WSPR as long as there is activity! 10m propagation is expected to remain "poor" today.