31 Oct 2014


Sunspot number today is 138 and 10m daytime conditions,are expected to be "fair". So far 10m is in good shape with immediate spots from LZ and OH at excellent strengths. No F2 DX outside Europe yet seen.

30 Oct 2014

SPRAT on DVD - new version

I am a great supporter of the GQRP club. Their quarterly magazine SPRAT represents the very best in Amateur Radio. If you are interested in QRP then please join the GQRP Club. It is excellent.

There is now a new, up to date version of the DVD with all back copies of the excellent SPRAT magazine.  If I had to stop all subscriptions and magazines then the GQRP club (and SPRAT every quarter) would be the only one I'd keep  - it is that good.
Tony & I have been working away and we have produced the latest version of the Sprat-on-DVD. This includes all Sprats right up to the one that has just been sent to members (number 160).
It is now available to members at £5 plus £1.20 postage. I will have them at the Galashiels rally and at Rishworth of course. The local guys who represent us at some of the other rallies will also have some shortly.
As we have known that this issue has been on the way for a while, as a concession, we will let anyone who bought the current DVD (1 to 148) after 1st August this year, have a copy of the new DVD for the special price of £2.50 including postage. To get this deal, you have to tell me when you bought the old DVD – if at a rally, which rally it was, and send me the CD case paper label together with the £2.50 in stamps. I do not want the actual DVD, just an assurance that you will destroy it when you receive the new one.
I should add that this is for members only of course, and applies just to UK members! Overseas members who think they also qualify should contact me direct and we may be able to work out a deal for them also.
Overseas prices are on the club website - http://gqrp.com/sales.htm
The new DVD is available to non-members at £12 plus the appropriate postage.

WSPR 4.0 (Beta release)


This is a beta release of WSPR (version 4.0). It has worked fine for me.

This is the version I currently use on all bands. Unfortunately, it does not have the real-time waterfall. You see the action only after a 2 minute TX period and not during the transmission as was the case for WSPRX.

The interface looks very similar to WSPR V2.2.

Please let me, and others, know if there are more recent releases by adding a comment and link.

Sunspots and 10m WSPR today

I ran 500mW again on 10m WSPR, which was quite enough to reach the USA plenty of times and a lot further.

Sunspot number today was 84 (lower than recently) but 10m daytime conditions "good". Best DX today with 500mW was Australian VK3KCX at 16883km around lunch time. Best stateside DX was 8732km.
Last 12 hours with 500mW WSPR on 10m

472kHz WSPR overnight

Overnight, in fact before midnight last night, my 5mW ERP 472kHz WSPR signal was copied by DL-SWL at 701km. Although quite a lot less far than my best DX report from this QTH (1042km) it is my first spot from Germany on 472kHz.

Including spots tonight by M0PPP/A, I have now been spotted by 26 different unique stations on 472kHz WSPR in the last 2 weeks and even more this season.

UPDATE 2140z:  6 unique spots of my 5mW ERP WSPR on 472kHz in the last hour.

29 Oct 2014

30m WSPR transceiver kit

By now, you probably realise that I just love WSPR. With quite simple equipment it is possible to be decoded across the planet consistently with real QRP power levels.   I am always on the look-out for new ideas, although until my health improves I am not in a position to build too much myself. See http://www.knology.net/~gmarcus/WSPR/wspr_v4.pdf for an example of a complete 30m WSPR transceiver.

This is NOT a new circuit  - it has been around for some years - and it still needs a PC for the WSPR software. Some TX-only WSPR beacons use microprocessors to generate the WSPR TX messages, thereby freeing up the PC and consuming little power overall. Some sync to GPS to avoid timing issues too.

QSYed to 472kHz WSPR

For some reason the WSPR4 software stopped working late this afternoon. I decided to restart it but on 472kHz with 5mW ERP instead of with 500mW on 28.1246MHz. As yet, I am being spotted by the 472kHz WSPR stations that have already spotted me before and I am seeing stations I have spotted before.  Now I have my shack back I shall leave the 472kHz WSPR running overnight.

UPDATE 1852z:   Best DX so far this evening, on 472kHz WSPR RX, is F1AFJ (607km).  I expect this will be exceeded later.

UPDATE 1940z:   Best DX on 472kHz WSPR RX this evening so far is now DH5RAE (995km). My 5mW ERP on MF has reached PA3ABK/2 (306km) this evening.

UPDATE 1945z:  A single TX burst on 472kHz WSPR with just 5mW ERP  gets me typically 2 to 4 spots per transmission, which is not too bad I reckon.

UPDATE 2000z: I should really try a bit on 137kHz WSPR from this QTH.  This QTH is quiet and I should be able to hear WSPR from the nearer Europeans and there is an outside chance of being copied by a few semi-locals. I really need a longer baseline earth-electrode system though and the 137kHz transverter needs a rebuild and my health is not really up to these tasks.

UPDATE 2100z:  LA3EQ (769km) running 2mW ERP has been spotted 3 times so far this evening on 472kHz WSPR.

10m results with 500mW out

Just 500mW seems quite enough to get plenty of 10m WSPR spots. The table below shows just recent spots. The actual power from the antenna is probably 1-2dB less than 500mW because of cable losses.
Recent 10m WSPR spots running 500mW from rig.
UPDATE 1520z: So far today on 10m, with 500mW, I have received 174 reports and the day is far from over.

USA copying my 500mW 10m WSPR before lunch

WG2Z (5600km) was the first USA station to copy my QRP 10m WSPR signal at 1152z this morning. 500mW is again quite enough to span the Atlantic Ocean on 10m WSPR. Today looks like being another good day on the 10m band.

I may try JT65 or JT9-1 for some 2-way QSOs on 10m.

Sunspots and 10m conditions

Sunspot number has drifted down to 138 (still good) and daytime 10m conditions are forecast to be "fair".

I am using 500mW WSPR on 10m and am having no problems getting plenty of spots. Best DX so far this morning is 4X1RF (3519km) who gave my -12dB S/N.  I expect the band to open to the USA shortly.

UPDATE 1052z: Best 10m WSPR DX on RX here (so far) is HS0ZKM (9485km).